Madam Speaker, it is an honour and a pleasure for me to rise to support Bill C-13.
This is a wonderful opportunity for me to speak to Bill C-13, the keeping Canada's economy and jobs growing act. I was happy to support the bill when it was referred to the finance committee for study earlier this month and I am pleased to speak to it once again.
Our government has introduced the next phase of our economic action plan, which keeps us on track to return to balanced budgets in the medium term.
This legislation builds on the success of our stimulus plan by creating the right conditions for business to create jobs and grow our economy through low taxes and a clear plan for sustainable economic prosperity.
As we know, these are troubled financial times. Mark Carney, the Bank of Canada governor and newly appointed chairman of the Financial Stability Board, warns us that Europe is headed for a second recession. Sovereign debt and the undercapitalization of European banks threaten economic stability.
While Canada's strong regulation and prudent fiscal policy keep us strong in the face of crisis, we are not an island. We are not immune. Global events demand sound decision-making to be certain that we do not succumb to the mistakes of others.
The best way to ensure that our economy remains productive is with a fair, efficient and competitive tax system.
Lower taxes support Canadian business by providing entrepreneurs with the freedom to grow. Reductions in corporate taxes increase incentives for firms to invest in new equipment, undertake innovative research and create high-quality jobs. That is why I am pleased to support Bill C-13, because it gives employers the advantage they need to keep our economy strong.
I am proud that this legislation continues to build on the success of Canada's economic action plan, especially through the support it provides for small business.
Local enterprise is the engine of our economy, creating opportunity not just for owners, but for those that they employ.
The government agrees with the Canadian Federation of Independent Business when it says that small businesses are indispensable in their role as job creators and innovators all across Canada.
To hedge against resurgence and global economic uncertainty, it is important that small businesses are able to hire new workers so they can take advantage of emerging opportunities.
That is just one reason Bill C-13 includes a temporary, one-time hiring credit for small business which provides up to $1,000 against an employer's increase in its 2011 employment insurance premiums over those paid in 2010. This temporary credit will be available to approximately 525,000 employers, reducing their 2011 payroll costs by about $165 million.
Again, I would like to quote the Canadian Federation of Independent Business which told us:
This credit will be a major help to small firms in growing their workforce.... This credit will exempt some small employers from having to pay premiums on an increase in their payroll in 2011 over 2010 levels. As an example, this credit will allow a [new] firm with less than $413,000 in payroll to create one new $40,000 per year job without paying any EI on that new position.
These businesses may be small but their impact on the Canadian economy is anything but. They represent almost half of Canada's economic output, and we are grateful for their resilience in supporting our economic recovery.
Our government's support for the job-creating power of business extends beyond main street to a growing number of international markets.
Canadian business owners need the ability to compete not just next door, but with partners all around the world. We are opening these markets through an ambitious trade agenda, including mutually beneficial deals with the European Union and India.
To maximize the benefits of these agreements, we are improving our trade policies and regulations.
By simplifying and streamlining the Customs Tariff Act, we are lowering the administrative burden for business and government. Less red tape will result in lower customs processing costs for Canadian businesses, ensuring that they are more competitive both at home and in the global marketplace. Our government understands that Canada is a trading nation. This measure recognizes the importance of remaining globally competitive in order to sustain a fragile economic recovery.
While we have made great strides in improving our open and efficient trading system, we know that global competitiveness demands highly skilled workers. That is why the keeping Canada's economy and jobs growing act invests in education and training by making occupational, trade and professional examination fees eligible for the tuition tax credits. It is estimated that more than 30,000 individuals will benefit each year from this measure. This includes foreign trained workers who are often required to complete additional examinations in order to obtain their professional status here in Canada.
This tax relief builds on the support provided to apprentices through the apprenticeship incentive grant provided in budget 2006, and the apprenticeship completion grant, which was introduced in budget 2009.
Furthermore, this legislation makes important enhancements to the Canada student loans program to ensure that large numbers of full- and part-time students have access to financial assistance. We are expanding eligibility for Canada student loans and grants by allowing students to earn more money without impacting their loans, allowing part-time students to have higher family income without affecting their eligibility for support, and reducing the in-study interest rate for part-time students to 0%. These measures will save part-time students approximately $5.6 million per year, making part-time study more affordable for more Canadians. Not only that, they will ensure that Canada's workforce remains highly skilled and internationally competitive, helping to lay the foundation for sustainable economic growth.
In keeping with our investments to strengthen our global competitiveness in uncertain economic times, this legislation offers targeted tax reductions to further encourage business to drive our economy forward. We are expanding tax support for clean energy generation to encourage green investments. We know that clean energy technology and innovation are essential to realizing economic opportunities, creating employment and enhancing the Canadian economic advantage.
We are extending the mineral exploration tax credit for flow-through share investors by one year to support Canada's mining sector. We understand the importance of promoting the exploration and development of Canada's rich mineral resources.
We are extending the accelerated capital cost allowance treatment for investments in manufacturing and processing equipment for two years. We realize that our manufacturing sector needs our support, now more than ever, in adapting to the demands of the recovery.
As recent world events demonstrate, there remains considerable risk and uncertainty in the global economy and too many Canadians remain out of work. For these reasons, the government is building on the achievements of Canada's economic action plan with Bill C-13, designed to secure the recovery, create jobs and preserve Canada's fiscal advantage.
The government knows that this is the right action to take. I urge members of the House, and all Canadians, to remember that the alternative, which is the NDP's massive tax hikes, would kill jobs, stall our recovery and set Canadian families back.
I will take a moment to address something that my colleague said earlier, something that was misleading to Canadians. When it comes to this Conservative government, we have made a promise to make sure that jobs are protected. We have made a promise to protect Canadians and we have said that, to protect Canadians, an office for a securities regulator is important to prevent things like the Earl Jones tragedy in Quebec. I would implore the Quebec MPs on that side of the House, who were elected by Quebeckers who want this to happen, to support that decision, if that in fact is the decision of the Supreme Court of Canada, to allow the jurisdiction to be recognized by the Government of Canada.