Mr. Speaker, I am very pleased to conclude debate on Motion No. 183.
This is a journey that I started nearly two years ago and I am pleased to be taking these final steps toward the successful passage of this important policy recommendation.
Over the past two years, I have spoken with many hard-working Canadians about the intent of the motion and I have come to understand even more clearly just how vital it is that Canadian taxes support Canadian jobs.
I think of the Bombardier plant in my riding. Just a few years ago, most of its workers were laid off because of a shortage of work. I attended numerous meetings with plant manager Ron Dysievick, union leader Paul Pugh and other local elected provincial and municipal government members to discuss how we could get these people working again.
The community rallied behind us and, through a lot of hard work by many, many people, Bombardier was successful in obtaining a contract with the Toronto Transit Commission. That contract will provide thousands of hours of work to hundreds of people over the next four years.
I heard from Nova Bus in Quebec about its plan to open a facility in New York to allow it to bid on U.S. projects and about its frustration at not having the same level of policy support at home.
I worked with the Canadian Manufacturers and Exporters, whose association undertook a study to explain the economic benefits of using our tax dollars to expand and improve our infrastructure.
I spoke to Talfourd-Jones Incorporated, a Canadian bus bumper manufacturer, who expressed its aggravation at this country, which clearly indicates there is a national interest in this program, and at seeing American-made bus bumpers on government funded buses in Canada.
I benefited from the help of the Thunder Bay Chamber of Commerce, the Canadian Auto Workers, the Canadian Labour Congress and the Ontario Chamber of Commerce, which spread the message among their members.
I conversed with suppliers to Canadian manufacturers who expressed their strong support for this policy because they immediately recognized positive benefits to our economy. I talked to thousands of people across my riding and around the country who also believe that their taxes should benefit the Canadian economy rather than some other nation. Indeed, when we see the community rallying, when we see Bombardier's success, when we see these things happening, we know that this cause is a valid one.
Implementation of this recommended policy is an opportunity for the federal government to lead the way for our provincial, territorial and municipal governments.
I am pleased to see that this discussion is now spreading to other levels of government. I know that Bill Mauro, a member of the Ontario provincial parliament, will soon be reintroducing a private member's bill in the Ontario legislature on this very issue.
As we know, every other G-7 nation and the 27 European Union member countries have each implemented domestic content policy levels for their public transit projects. It really is time for Canada to get on board.
The goal of this motion is not to solve every Canadian procurement issue but to provide a measure focused on public transit that will put Canadian manufacturers on a more level playing field with their international competition and will encourage foreign manufacturers to invest in our economic future.
I believe this motion is an indication to our manufacturing sector companies that we are standing up for them. It shows our skilled workers that we are sincere about keeping them meaningfully employed. It signals to our engineers that they do not have to leave Canada. It signals to Canadians that we are serious about restoring Canada's prominence as world class innovators and exporters.
All parties have cooperated on this motion. To repeat an old slogan of mine, “Working together really works”.
I look forward to the day when, regardless of whatever city we are in, we can feel pride in knowing that the bus, the trolley, the light rail vehicle or the subway we are travelling in has been made in Canada by Canadian workers, and that I played a small part in making it happen.
I thank all the MPs and all the parties for supporting this motion.