Mr. Speaker, it is a pleasure to stand here today and speak in support of Bill C-51, the economic recovery act.
Before I start illuminating many of the reasons why this bill deserves the support of all members of this place, «i will first add to the chorus of congratulations we heard many times throughout the day in stating the fact that our finance minister, the member for Whitby--Oshawa, has received a very prestigious award from an organization called Euromoney magazine, an international magazine that has been around for about 27 years. It is a real earmark and spokesmodel for the economic climate worldwide. I want to say that for the first time in 27 years since this award has been handed out, we have a Canadian finance minister who has won the prestigious award of finance minister of the year.
I wanted to point that out because there is a real strong reason for that. It means that the world is watching Canada with great envy as we deal with this global economic crisis that has seized almost every industrialized nation in the world, which is one of the many reasons that our finance minister won this very prestigious award.
Why should our finance minister have won this? There are very good reasons. The economic recovery act speaks to the implementation of many of the temporary stimulus measures that we brought forward to combat this global recession, things such as the homeowner's tax improvement credit and the first-time home buyers' credit. These temporary measures are meant to kickstart our economy and get our economy back on track.
Where other industrialized nations throughout the world are struggling, our economy seems to be showing signs of recovery and that is due in large part to the chief architect, our finance minister.
I also want to say that we could not pass this legislation without the support of other members and other parties in this House. Therefore, I really do want to quite sincerely congratulate, applaud and thank our colleagues in the New Democratic Party for offering their support when this legislation comes before the House for a vote. I must say that it is a bit of a surprise but a very good surprise because on many occasions in the past, at least 79 times, the New Democratic Party has opposed every initiative that we have brought forward.
In fact, Mr. Speaker, I think you will remember, as I do and members opposite remember, when we brought down our budget in January, the New Democratic Party said that it would oppose the budget without even reading it. Something has changed but I do not know what that is. Perhaps it is because it had an epiphany. Perhaps it has just discovered that our government is handling our economy with great due diligence. I want to thank our colleagues in the New Democratic Party for finally seeing the light in agreeing with us that our approach to managing Canada's economy is the correct approach.
I wish, on the other hand, that many of the members of other political parties in opposition would take the same approach, a considered and studied approach that the NDP has taken, to closely examine what we are attempting to do and in fact take a close look at the accomplishments that we have made over the course of the last several months. If they did, I am sure they would join the chorus of NDP members who have stood in this House, applauded our recovery efforts and said, quite clearly and quite graphically, that they will be supporting this legislation when it comes to a vote.
Once again, on behalf of all of us on the government side of the House, I applaud and congratulate members of the NDP for finally seeing the light when it comes to what is required to stimulate an economy that has been in trouble.
Before my closing remarks, I want to point out a few things that perhaps members of the Liberal opposition should recognize. Canadians at this point in time, in the midst of an economic recession, do not want to see an unwanted and unnecessary election. I beseech the members opposite to pay careful attention to this because if other members of this House, particularly members of the Liberal Party, paid careful attention to some of the information we were gleaning from polling companies, they would find out that Canadians do not want an election. However, members of the Liberal Party, the official opposition, seem bent on forcing this election upon Canadians who desperately want to concentrate on getting our economy back on track.
I can honestly say from our standpoint that we have no intention and no desire to enter into an election at this time.
When we examine the polling numbers of all major polling firms in Canada, the great irony is that it seems that only one party would benefit if an election were held today and that is the Conservative Party, and yet we are the only party that has consistently said that we do not want an election. The reason we do not want an election is that we understand the need to concentrate on economic recovery. That is all we want to do right now. The economy is fragile. Yes, it has shown strong signs of recovery but we are not there yet.
We will still face some heartache and some hardship. Unemployment numbers will continue to be higher than we want. We understand that but we also understand that as a Parliament we need to work together to focus on economic recovery and put in place elements of our economic action plan that will help stimulate the economy.
The stimulus package that we are talking about today is temporary in nature. We are only looking at a two year window but it dovetails nicely with the ongoing efforts that our government has made to keep taxes down, to create a regulatory environment that attracts new business into Canada. I think we have done that.
A good shining example of what we have been doing to attract business to this country is the recent announcement that Tim Hortons, a Canadian institution, an icon, is coming back to Canada to set up its worldwide operations. Why? It is because this government understands the reasons that businesses want to come to Canada, or to any other jurisdiction for that matter, to do business and that is lower taxes and an understanding government that wants to promote economic achievement.
For too many years, in fact for 13 long, dark years, the previous Liberal government did not understand that fundamental truism, and so taxes rose. The Liberals drove companies out of Canada to other jurisdictions worldwide where they could find a better tax regime. Now we are finding that companies want to come back to Canada. They want to open up their shops in Canada and do business in Canada, and that is because of the vision of our Prime Minister and our finance minister.
We may hear opposition members yelp, complain, whine and catcall, but the reality is that Canadians understand that this government is acting in their best interests.
Business leaders, both small and large, understand that our government wants to lead the world in terms of economic recovery. We want to lead the world in terms of giving businesses an opportunity to create employment opportunities for their people.
This, in simplistic terms, is what the economic action plan is all about. It is a plan to attract businesses, to increase jobs, to increase employment and to ensure that Canadians can feel the strong effects of our efforts to improve their lives on a day to day basis.
Let us not forget that in the first four years of our government we have reduced the GST by two full points. We are on the way to reducing business tax to the lowest level of most of the G20 countries. In fact, by 2012 or 2015 at least, we should have a combined personal and corporate income tax of 25%. That would be so much of an attraction to businesses to open up their shops in Canada and also be of benefit to average Canadians who want to take more of their hard-earned wages back home with them, put it in their pockets and spend it so they can put it back into the economy.
However, what we cannot afford at this time is an election. We cannot afford to destroy the good work that this government has done over the past several months to get Canada into a position where we will come out of the recession stronger than we have ever been before. That is because of the vision of our Prime Minister and our Minister of Finance.