Mr. Speaker, I am going to make a statement that I am sure has never been heard before in this House. Canadians actually gave our government a strong mandate to fulfill our commitments to Canadians, and that is exactly what we are doing.
Despite what the opposition would have us believe, each of our bills has been extensively debated in the House of Commons and at committee hearings.
Bill C-13, the keeping Canada's economy and jobs growing act is an example that I can speak to personally. As the Minister of State for Finance, I have been deeply involved in that.
We have heard that there have been 12 days of debate on the measures in Bill C-13 in this House. It should also be noted that there have been almost 120 speeches and over 32 hours of debate on Bill C-13 itself in this House.
I would remind hon. members, as was mentioned by my colleague, that the budget was actually tabled on March 22. It was debated extensively throughout the election campaign. I would say it was passed by Canadians, a term that is not often used in connection with elections, but it actually passed because that is what we ran on. The finance committee studied it, including all of its other studies which it had started in 2010 to discuss what was going to be in budget 2011.
We will not allow the opposition to continue playing political games and delaying our important legislative agenda, especially our budget proposals, in today's economic climate.
On Monday, the opposition voted against Bill C-13, despite all the important job-creating measures that are included in this bill and which were extensively debated. I would like to take this opportunity to share some of the proposals in Bill C-13 that illustrate clearly just how the government is keeping our commitment to Canadians and just why we needed to take swift action.
As we all know, Canadians have weathered some very difficult economic times over the last couple of years. Our government has taken unprecedented action to help them through this challenging period, and we are seeing some reassuring signs of economic recovery.
The next phase of Canada's economic action plan builds on the government's record by announcing new measures for families and additional support for communities. This includes encouraging hiring by providing a temporary hiring credit for small business of up to $1,000 against a small firm's increase in its 2011 employment insurance premiums over those it paid in 2010. We are almost in 2012. Clearly the time is here to implement this hiring credit.
The economic action plan also includes an extension of active or recently terminated work-sharing agreements by up to 16 weeks, so that companies can avoid layoffs by offering EI benefits to workers willing to work a reduced work week while their company recovers.
The government is focused on supporting Canadian families with a range of targeted measures that will help Canadians find and hold onto good, high-paying jobs while improving Canadians' quality of life in big and small communities all across this country.
Lower taxes support businesses by providing them with the freedom to grow and invest. Reductions in corporate taxes increase incentives for firms to invest in new equipment, to undertake innovative research, and to continue creating jobs.
Bill C-13 builds on actions taken by our government by continuing to keep taxes low. We cannot afford to further delay this.
For example, to promote the exploration and development of Canada's rich mineral resources, Bill C-13 proposes to extend the temporary 15% mineral exploration tax credit for an additional year into 2012. The credit helps companies raise capital by providing an incentive to individuals who invest in flow-through shares issued to finance mineral exploration.
Similarly, investments in clean energy technology and innovation are essential to realizing economic opportunities, creating employment and enhancing the Canadian advantage. Canada is an energy superpower with one of the world's largest resource endowments of both traditional and emerging sources of energy. Canada is increasingly looked to as a source and dependable supplier of a wide range of energy products.
Bill C-13 proposes to expand eligibility for accelerated capital cost allowance treatments for clean generation equipment to include equipment that generates electricity using waste heat. The government will continue to invest in Canadian capabilities, the drivers of our economic growth.
As a trade-dependent economy, Canada benefits from having an open and efficient trading system. As part of the economic action plan, Canada's trade instruments, notably the customs tariff, will be simplified and streamlined in order to facilitate trade and lower the administrative burden for businesses as well as government.
More specific, Bill C-13 proposes to reduce the customs processing burden for businesses by reducing the number of tariff items contained in the customs tariff to facilitate the classification of imported goods. By ensuring that Canada's trade instruments are modernized and streamlined, these measures will lower customs processing costs for Canadian businesses, making them more competitive at home and abroad and supporting their participation in global supply chains.
We want to get rid of this red tape now, not later. It is important that we move on with many of these initiatives.
There are many more that I would like to have talked about, but I see my time is up. I could go on and on about all the initiatives the NDP are trying to block, initiatives that businesses and Canadians need now.