Mr. Speaker, it is Small Business Week in Canada, but it seems there is not a lot to celebrate.
A recent study from the Canadian Federation of Independent Business shows confidence among owners of small businesses has declined for the fourth month in a row.
Last week I travelled to Winnipeg, Calgary and Yellowknife, meeting with chambers and owners of small businesses. I heard that many were struggling to find and retain employees, gain access to credit and deal with bureaucratic red tape.
I also heard strong criticism for how the government's decisions had hurt small businesses. For example, in the Prime Minister's adopted home of Calgary, business leaders complained that the cuts to the long form census would hurt their ability to plan and grow.
The Liberal Party has a different approach. We have a plan to help small businesses expand, attract investment and create jobs. SMEs account for 98% of all businesses in Canada and create 80% of new jobs. We are putting small businesses at the core of our economic vision. It is too bad the Conservatives do not think the same way.