That is exactly right. We are not getting rid of the Wheat Board. We are allowing marketing choice.
I also want to respond to some of the comments made about the job creation numbers. I encourage people if they question figures that parliamentarians may be using on both sides, to go to the Statistics Canada website and read it. The October 7 release says that following two months, employment rose by 61,000 in September, all full-time employment. This increase pushed the unemployment rate down to 7.1%, the lowest rate since December 2008. It is also dramatically lower than the unemployment rate of the United States, which has been a reversal over the last two to three decades and has occurred under our government. As the Minister of State for Finance has said today, one person who is looking for work and is unemployed is too many and that is why we are continuing to work and introduced this budget implementation act.
For people following the debate, we introduced the first budget in March. The election occurred so we reintroduced the budget in June. However, following a budget there are typically two implementation acts that take all of the measures in the budget and puts them into legislation. We had the first implementation act in June, which passed Parliament, and now we are debating the second budget implementation act.
I will read some of the highlights of the bill which introduces the family caregiver tax credit, the children's arts tax credits making it eligible for artistic, cultural, recreational development activities, the volunteer firefighters tax credit. It removes the $10,000 limit on eligible expenses that can be claimed under the medical expense tax credit.
There are many other things including the accelerated capital cost allowance, which I will speak about at length later. Qualifying environmental trusts for the Canadian pipeline sector is something that many of us from Alberta have worked on. This ensures that those in the pipeline sector set aside some money to ensure the land is returned to the condition it was in before when the pipeline is removed. I know the member for Calgary Centre has worked very hard on that initiative as well.
There are measures in terms of RRSPs.
The bill also proposes to amend the Canada Student Loans Act to authorize the minister to forgive portions of family physicians, nurses and nurse practitioners, guaranteed student loans if they begin in underserved rural or remote communities.
It also proposes to amend the Employment Insurance Act to provide a temporary measure to refund a portion of employer premiums for small business. This is the hiring credit and something the member who spoke previously should be very interested in and should support. This measure was proposed by the Canadian Federation of Independent Business to assist small businesses in hiring more Canadians, because they are the primary employers of Canadians.
The bill also proposes to amend the Wage Earner Protection Program Act to extend in certain circumstances a period during which wages earned by individuals but not paid to them by their employers who are bankrupt or subject to receivership may be the subject of a payment under that act. That is certainly a good measure and I encourage parliamentarians to look at that seriously.
Another measure is the amending of the Canadian Human Rights Act to repeal certain provisions that provide for mandatory retirement. This is another very good initiative in this legislation. That is why I am standing strongly in support of the bill.
I want to talk at length about the extension of the accelerated capital cost allowance treatment for investments and machinery and equipment in the manufacturing and processing sector for an additional two years. This was a recommendation that came from our industry committee. In 2006 the Canadian Manufacturers and Exporters and others even in the labour movement came forward at committee and said that manufacturing was facing some very severe challenges. They said that they were facing a dollar that had rapidly appreciated in a short period of time. They were also facing some energy costs and challenges from emerging economies such as China. They wanted Parliament to look at ways in which we could address these challenges. It was a very co-operative and collaborative approach. The committee studied it through 2006. I would commend members of all parties for their work in that area.
The report was tabled in Parliament in 2007.
In March 2007, the Minister of Finance, to his credit, took the first recommendation we made, which was the extension of the accelerated capital cost allowance for two years, and put that in the 2007 budget. Now it is being extended for another two years in this budget. Essentially this would allow companies across the country to invest in their machinery and equipment.
I would encourage members of all parties to go to manufacturers in their own ridings or across the country and ask the plant managers or the CFOs as to how this has impacted them directly. When I did a walk-through with a manufacturer in Edmonton, he pointed to specific pieces of equipment and said, “This piece of equipment cost $1 million. This one cost $1 million. Because of the accelerated capital cost allowance which allows us to write it off at a faster pace, we can afford it. If that was not in place, we could not afford it.”
It allows that company to be more productive. In fact, from an environmental perspective, it is using the most up-to-date technology. That means it is more environmentally efficient as well.
This is one of the reasons the committee obviously supported this in 2007 and it is the reason the government is continuing to extend this type of accelerated capital cost allowance.
Again, I would encourage members to talk to manufacturers in their own area as to whether they do support this measure or not.
I will point to a couple more companies.
Argus Machine in Nisku in my riding was very straightforward with us. I think the member for Westlock—St. Paul was with me when we visited that facility. Representatives of that company said there are some very specific things our government has done to assist them, such as the accelerated capital cost allowance and the work-share program. In the work-share program the government covered part of the cost of an employee and the company covered the other part. This enabled companies to retain employees through the downturn. One of the biggest challenges, in fact, perhaps the biggest challenge in an area like mine, in Alberta, is ensuring there are enough workers, both skilled and unskilled, who can satisfy that labour need. In fact, this allowed companies to retain those people for when their orders picked up, and they did not lose them to another company, or a company in another part of the country or, in fact, a company in another country. It enabled them to retain them.
The other thing they pointed to was the investments our government has made in things like the industrial research assistance program, which especially assists small- and medium-size enterprises, if they want to make some innovative investments.
Another thing that the IRAP does is it provides good mentorship to businesses, especially businesses in our area, that have gone from $1 million to $7 million in sales. It provides very good mentorship to companies that are expanding in that way.
Another program they point to is the SR&ED program, the scientific research and experimental development program. As parliamentarians know, we received the report today. We were very thankful for the input in that report because it is a very generous program. It is one that works generally very well, but there certainly could be improvements. I would like to thank them for their work in that area.
In terms of the accelerated capital cost allowance, I would like to quote from the March 22 press release by the Canadian Manufacturers & Exporters:
The extension of the two-year write-off for investments in manufacturing and processing technologies announced in...budget  is critical to sustaining Canada's economic recovery.... “In an era of economic uncertainty, this tax measure gives manufacturers the confidence to invest in their future by boosting purchases of productivity-enhancing technologies”....
Another area I would like to turn to is loan forgiveness, especially as it pertains to rural areas, on portions of student loans to family physicians, nurses and nurse practitioners if they begin to work in underserved rural or remote communities. The Canadian Medical Association stated:
The initiative to address the shortage of primary care physicians recognizes the particular challenges of providing health care in rural and remote areas of the country.
It is important to point to these specific initiatives because a lot of rhetoric flows when a budget is introduced. However, these are the specific measures that are in this budget implementation bill that members on the other side of the House should think very carefully about before they vote yea or nay to this measure.
Another initiative I want to point to is the extension by one year of the mineral exploration tax credit for flow-through share investors to support Canada's mining sector.