Mr. Speaker, I rise with pleasure this morning to support Motion No. 518 by the member for Calgary Centre. I speak as a proud Londoner and a member of a government committed to doing what is necessary to bring opportunities to Canadians.
The Government of Canada has been capitalizing on every opportunity to tell the world about these and our many other competitive advantages. From natural resources and energy to digital media, life sciences and advanced manufacturing, the government is working closely with its partners, the provinces and the territories, to reach out to business leaders and investment decision makers around the world. We are proud to highlight Canada's competitive offering and eager to welcome them to look at growth and investment opportunities in Canada.
Last year, Canada's trade commissioners in 150 cities and markets around the world reached out to thousands of investment decision makers and influencers. They met with hundreds of high-potential investors and helped prepare solid business cases for making investments in Canada. These efforts by our trade commissioners abroad helped to attract more than 100 new greenfield and expansion investments in Canada last year, and created more than 3,500 high-value jobs across Canada. Our efforts also helped to generate a great deal of positive media coverage of Canada in the international press.
In budgets 2009 and 2010, the government responded to recommendations of the Competition Policy Review Panel, reduced foreign investment restrictions in the air transport sector, introduced measures to make Canada's investment review process less restrictive and more transparent and to remove restrictions on foreign ownership of Canadian satellites, in uranium mining and to open the door to foreign venture capital. Investors took note.
Wherever we meet with global investors, we are proud to have such a great and compelling story to tell about Canada's advantages as a destination for business and investment. We are proud to tell them about our top-performing economy, about our excellent business conditions, about Canada's tax advantage, our world-class transportation, education and research infrastructure, and about the many leading-edge companies and industries in Canada.
That is a great story to tell, but even more rewarding is what we are hearing more and more from global business leaders. Many say they are most impressed with Canada's people advantage. Increasingly they see Canada as a great place to find capable, creative, loyal and supportive workers, so essential to innovation and to gaining competitive advantage in today's economy.
Canada's high quality of life is another advantage that is not lost on these business leaders. They see Canada's safe, family-friendly cities, beautiful natural environment and world-leading research and education institutions as providing a wonderful backdrop against which the best and most creative workers in the world can thrive.
In my own city of London, we have an exceptional workforce. The University of Western Ontario is a world-leading research institution, and along with Fanshawe College, we train a very sophisticated workforce.
No wonder the Economist Intelligence Unit ranks Canada as the best place to do business in the G7 over the next five years. KPMG has also confirmed that among industrialized countries, Canada leads in terms of business cost competitiveness. We enjoy a cost advantage over our American partners and offer the lowest research and development costs in the G7, in fact 12.9% lower than in the United States.
It is no wonder that people look to Canada first. Quite simply, Canada is a great place for foreign business and investors looking for a foothold in the North American market. Why would they not choose Canada? Why should they not choose Canada?
There is a lot of interest from around the world in Canada's offering: our economic stability, our commitment to innovation, our position in the North American marketplace, and certainly the excellence of our private sector and our superb workforce.
Since before the onset of the global economic crisis, and as reiterated again in budget 2010, the Government of Canada's economic action plan for Canada has been quite clear. Lasting economic recovery requires more trade and more investment, not less. For Canada and indeed the rest of the world, jobs, prosperity and opportunities are created when we keep the doors open to trade and investment.
Canadians have every reason to be optimistic and confident in the future. As a nation, we were well prepared for the global downturn, as challenging as that was around the world and for Canadians as well. However, the government acted quickly to respond to the crisis and today, our performance is world leading and we stand poised to emerge from the global downturn stronger than ever.
The Government of Canada is committed to giving Canadians every opportunity to succeed and prosper. This motion speaks to the heart of what defines us as a nation. I urge all members of the House to support Motion No. 518.
I would like to share with the House one more time what this motion says:
That, in the opinion of the House, the government should (a) recognize that improved competitiveness will continue to stimulate economic growth and create jobs for Canadians;--
Can anyone in the House disagree with that? I think not. The motion continues:
--and (b) continue to diversify and expand markets for Canadian goods and services by encouraging investment in Canada through lower corporate tax rates, maintaining a stable economy and the signing of free trade agreements.
Can anyone in the House disagree with that? Many may, but as someone with 32 years of experience in business and understanding what it means to make this country succeed and our economy prosper, I say we must support the spirt of this motion. We must support this motion.