Remarks by the Deputy Prime Minister and Minister of Finance on keeping our trucking industry strong and making life more affordable

Speech

August 4, 2022

I would like to begin by acknowledging that we are gathered in Mi'kma'ki, the ancestral and unceded territory of the Mi'kmaq People.

I want to thank my wonderful colleague, Darren Fisher.

And I also want to thank the people from Armour who I’ve had the pleasure of spending a few hours with today. I really learned a lot. They have a very deep and granular insight into what’s happening to the Canadian and US economy, because they move the stuff that makes our economy work.

I think all of us who are not truckers had an opportunity during COVID to realize who really does the essential work in our country. And truckers and trucking companies are among the most essential pieces of the Canadian economy. They are literally the circulation system of our economy. It was a pleasure and an honour to spend some time with you.

As our economy continues to recover from the COVID recession, strong supply chains will be vital to our economic growth in the months and years to come.

Truckers are absolutely vital.

That’s why our government has been working hard to keep our trucking industry strong.

We fought very hard to protect NAFTA and Canada’s trading relationship with the United States—something that the people here know quite a lot about.

To make sure the trucking industry can remain competitive in the green economy of tomorrow, we’re investing in helping make trucks more energy efficient and in getting more zero‑emission trucks into fleets.

And we are helping great Canadian businesses like this one continue to hire and provide more good-paying, middle-class jobs by improving labour mobility and foreign credential recognition.

In a world dealing with supply chain challenges, it’s companies like Armour that are critical in keeping our shelves stocked and making life more affordable for Canadians.

And right now, that is more important than ever.

We all know that inflation is making life more expensive for people here in Dartmouth and across the country.

We also know that inflation is a global phenomenon—it’s driven by Vladimir Putin’s illegal invasion of Ukraine, by China’s COVID-zero policies, and by the snarled supply chains that are affecting people and businesses around the world.

I know that Canadians are feeling it when they go to buy their groceries. I know that they’re feeling it when they go to fill up their cars or trucks with gas.

So, what is our government doing to help Canadians weather this latest storm?

For the Canadians who need it most, our government has an Affordability Plan to help directly with the rising cost of living.

Our Affordability Plan includes:

  • An enhanced Canada Workers Benefit that will put up to 2,400 more dollars into the pockets of low‑income families;
  • We’re cutting child care fees by an average of 50 per cent by the end of this year;
  • There is a 10 per cent increase in Old Age Security for seniors 75 and over. That started last month;
  • Dental care for Canadians with income under $90,000 per year, beginning with children under 12 and again that’s going to begin this year;
  • A $500 payment to help people who rent and who are struggling with the cost of housing. Again, that’s going to come this year;
  • And then, of course, our main support programs—including the Canada Child Benefit, the GST Credit, the Canada Pension Plan, Old Age Security, and the GIS—the Guaranteed Income Supplement—are indexed to inflation and will be increasing.

So, what does that mean specifically for the people here? For a couple here in Dartmouth, with an income of $45,000 and a child in daycare, this Affordability Plan could mean roughly an additional $7,300 on top of existing benefits this fiscal year.

A senior with a disability, living in say, Cape Breton, could benefit from over $2,500 more this year than she received last year.

But, it’s important to remember that these measures are not pouring unnecessary fuel on the inflation fire.

They are accounted for in our AAA‑rated fiscal framework.

And they were accounted for in the fiscally responsible Budget we tabled in April—one in which we committed to a responsible $8.9 billion reduction in government spending.

But for the Canadians who need this support the most—the most vulnerable Canadians among us—these measures represent new money they did not receive last year, and these measures will make life more affordable at exactly the right time.

This is a difficult time for countries around the world, and it’s a challenging time for Canadians too.

But, thanks to companies like Armour and the amazing people who work here, there is absolutely no doubt in my mind that there is no country in the world better positioned to weather the economic storm that the world is facing than Canada.

Thank you very much.

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