Mr. Speaker, the hon. member for Rimouski-Neigette—Témiscouata—Les Basques is concerned about the general state of the economy and seems to think that the government is supporting companies in western Canada, especially those involved in oil and gas development, to the detriment of industries located elsewhere in Canada.
First, I assure the hon. member that our economy is showing signs of continued strength. According to CIBC World Markets research, the Canadian economy generated close to 360,000 jobs last year, mostly in high paying sectors, and our unemployment rate is near the lowest in 33 years.
We recognize, however, that not all sectors and regions are benefiting from current market conditions. To address this situation, the Prime Minister announced the community development trust on January 10. This $1 billion trust is designed to help communities that depend on a single employer or a sector under pressure to adjust to current challenging circumstances. This will support the diversification of local economies, address issues like job training and skills development and assist workers in unique circumstances facing adjustment challenges.
The hon. member is also claiming that the government is favouring the oil sands sector in western Canada. This is patently false. As the Prime Minister told the House on May 14, budget 2007 saw the elimination of subsidies for the oil sands that the previous government had implemented. More specifically, that budget announced a phase out of existing accelerated capital cost allowance for assets in the oil sands sector, starting in 2010. This move improves fairness and neutrality between the oil sands and other sectors.
Perhaps the hon. member could take a look at “Turning the Corner”, the government's ambitious plan to regulate greenhouse gas emissions in all major industrial sectors. If the hon. member did, she would know that the oil sands developments that come on stream in 2012 or later will be required to meet stringent targets based on the use of carbon capture and storage.
Not only that, but the government is listening and responding to the needs of different Canadian sectors. For example, we have allocated more than $10 million over two years to promote Canada's forestry in international markets as a model of environmental innovation and sustainability. We also contributed $127.5 million to encourage the long term competitiveness of the forest industry.
To promote Canadian capabilities in the aerospace sector, the government has worked extensively with global players in the industry to attract foreign investment to Canada and leverage private sector investment in research and development. The government's actions are expected to increase opportunities for trade and technology collaboration, which will create significant economic benefits to Canadians.
The pharmaceutical sector, specifically in Quebec, has benefited from strategic government investments to maintain a competitive business climate. This has been accomplished through Genome Quebec, the NRC's Biotechnology Research Institute in Montreal, BDC's venture capital investments and new centres of excellence for commercialization and research.
The government is also ensuring that Canada's intellectual property regime for pharmaceuticals and bio-pharmaceuticals is balanced, more predictable and internationally competitive.
In addition, we are providing manufacturers and processors with $9 billion in tax relief over seven years and we have extended the accelerated capital cost allowance by three years. We are addressing their infrastructure concerns by providing $2.3 billion for trade related infrastructure, of which $400 million is allocated to support the development of the Windsor-Detroit gateway.
We have also allocated $34 million per year for collaborative research that contributes to knowledge and innovation needs of the automotive, manufacturing, forestry and fishing industries.
This, combined with our other measures outlined in previous budgets, should contribute to advance our economy, support our industries and benefit our communities and their workers.