Mr. Speaker, there is a crisis in the manufacturing industry in Canada. During the past 20 years, Canada has lost more than 200,000 manufacturing jobs as companies downsize, move operations abroad, or simply close due to declining profit. In my region of Niagara alone, we have lost 4,400 jobs during the last five years and more are imminent. Canada's manufacturing sector is in dire need of attention.
This loss poses a major threat to the economy and the future of social programs. Manufacturing jobs generate over $20 million in real taxes that help maintain publicly funded health care, education and our country's infrastructure. More important, it pays mortgages, puts food on the table and clothes on backs.
Our country needs to set short term priorities and a long term plan to strengthen our manufacturing sectors. By focusing on fair trade, investment in research and development, the introduction of innovative technologies and continuous skills upgrading of our workforce, we will create a positive climate within Canada to lead the wave of new global manufacturing strategies, but we must act now.