Mr. Speaker, I wish to stand here as the newly-appointed Parliamentary Secretary to the Minister of Finance and address this very important question. This opportunity to stand up against the tax and spend philosophy of the Liberal Party, as demonstrated through today's attack on Canada's job creators, is an important one.
While our Conservative government believes in keeping taxes low for Canadians, the Liberal Party is always looking for ways to increase taxes on Canadians, as just suggested by the Liberal member who has confirmed they will raise the tax rate from 16.5% to 18%. The Liberals do not think Canadian families or businesses, still trying to recover from the worst recession since World War II, are sending enough of their hard-earned money to Ottawa.
While the Conservative government believes in keeping taxes low, the Liberal Party is always looking for ways to tax Canadians.
The Liberals, the people behind the HRSDC boondoggle, the sponsorship scandal, the wasteful long gun registry, and countless other examples of wasting taxpayers' money, want families to forget about trying to save their money for their retirement and for their kids education because they want it. From a GST hike, to the carbon tax, and now increasing taxes on Canadian businesses, the Liberal Party is constantly thinking up ways to have big government in Ottawa dig deeper and deeper into the pockets of hard-working Canadians.
The Liberal leader himself has been at the forefront of a tax hike movement. He is a self-described tax and spend Liberal. He was the first Liberal to propose a carbon tax. He has publicly demanded a GST hike. During the worst of the global recession in 2009, he went to southwest Ontario, among the regions most negatively impacted, and publicly boasted that under a future Liberal government federal taxes must go up and we will have to raise taxes.
Clearly, then, it is well established that the Liberal leader believes that higher taxes and more government deficit spending are the way to go when it comes to the economy.
Our Conservative government believes that higher taxes are harmful to families and businesses. The tax hikes called for by the Liberals will curtail growth and the economic recovery and will cost Canadians jobs. For that reason, we are determined to reduce the tax burden through our policy of low taxation, which, together with Canada's economic action plan, helped Canada get through the recent economic crisis better than other industrialized countries. While the global economy continues its fragile recovery from the worst recession since World War II, Canada remains one of the least affected countries.
That is why we are committed to keeping taxes low through our low tax plan, a plan that, along with Canada's economic action plan, has helped Canada weather the recent economic storm better than other industrialized countries around the world.
Indeed, as the global economy continues its fragile recovery from the worst and deepest recession since World War II, Canada has remained among the least affected.
We know the Liberals like to constantly talk down the Canadian economy, but the facts are clear. The Canadian economy has seen five consecutive quarters of growth. Over 460,000 new jobs have been created in the last year and a half, the strongest job growth in the G7. Our financial system has been again ranked the soundest in the world. Statistics Canada announced that nearly 70,000 net new jobs were created in January.
Additionally, both the IMF and OECD continue to project that Canada will have among the strongest average growth in the G7. As the Conference Board of Canada recently declared:
Canada is clearly in better shape than almost anybody else in the world.
Or, as the New York Post enviously reported, following the announcement of Canada's strong January job numbers:
--Canada's economic comeback seems to be in full gear, no rose-colored glasses required. Back here in the US, the first report of 2011 shows a situation that is the near-polar opposite, as the jobs picture looks as tricky as ever. (...) Yes, Canada is leading the continent out of the Great Recession. Let's hope the President and the Fed Chief are taking notice.
What a fantastic quote to really honour the efforts of this government here in Canada.
Nevertheless, Canadian workers and businesses were negatively affected during the global recession. What is more, ongoing events beyond our borders, especially in the United States and Europe, posed risks to a sustained economic recovery. However, as widely acknowledged, Canada has been both better prepared for and has better responded to the recent economic turmoil.
Indeed, prior to the onset of the recession, our Conservative government situated Canada in an enviable economic position with significant personal and business tax relief, key investments to improve the country's infrastructure, record health and social transfer support to provinces and territories, and much more. What is more, our nearly $40 billion in aggressive debt reduction ensured Canada has more flexibility when competing in the global downturn.
We built on our already strong economic record with the introduction of a timely and effective response to the global recession, Canada's economic action plan. The plan was a $60 billion shot in the arm for the Canadian economy when it needed it the most. This plan proved instrumental in fuelling growth and putting Canadians back to work.
So, what did we do as part of this plan? Taxes were lowered. Benefits and retraining were expanded for the unemployed. Over 26,000 job-creating, infrastructure-improving, projects were launched. Major investments were made in science and technology. Vital support was extended to struggling sectors of the economy like the auto and forestry sectors. Extraordinary steps were taken to improve access to financing, and much more. Clearly, Canada's economic action plan has proven a tremendous success.
As of December 2010, it is estimated that the economic action plan has created or maintained over 220,000 jobs. The Federation of Canadian Municipalities agrees, noting the plan has been effective and has created a lot of jobs.
Despite Canada's relative position of strength, compared to other countries, we cannot rest on our laurels by adopting the Liberals' dangerous spending policies. In order for Canadian families to benefit from the economic recovery, our Conservative government will continue to make the economy and job creation its priorities, while remaining firmly committed to returning to balanced budgets.
That is why our Conservative government is preparing the next step in Canada's economic action plan. A key element of this next step is our unwavering commitment to our job creation and tax reduction program.
Once again, in contrast to the Liberal opposition's tax and spend policy, we believe that Canadians should not have to pay higher taxes, period. That is why, since first being elected in 2006, our government has reduced more than 100 types of taxes. We have in fact reduced all types of taxes collected by the government: personal income taxes, consumption taxes, corporate taxes, excise taxes and more. We have lowered the GST from 7% to 5%. We have removed more than one million low-income Canadians from the tax rolls.
We have created a legacy of tax relief by reducing taxes on savings with the new tax-free savings account. We have reduced the overall tax burden to its lowest level in nearly 50 years.
Our Conservative government's tax reduction plan has already made it possible for the average Canadian family to pocket tax savings of more than $3,000 per year, as well they should.
The tax and spend Liberals and their big government friends may not like that, but our Conservative government has delivered for Canadian taxpayers.
As Andrew Jackson, the chief economist of the left-leaning Canadian Labour Congress, begrudging admitted recently:
They [the Conservatives] have really implemented the tax cut agenda they championed when in opposition.
We are also lowering taxes on job creators, leaving more money in the pockets of Canadian businesses to grow our economy and jobs.
Since 2006 our government has been working to create the best possible climate in which businesses can invest. This plan is not a short-term plan but a long-term plan announced and passed by Parliament in 2007 to reduce taxes, to encourage investment and the creation of jobs, a plan that is making Canada one of the best places in the world to do business and to invest. The purpose of our long-term plan is to allow businesses to have the certainty of a stable tax regime so that they can plan ahead.
Businesses, like families making a household budget, do not make major investments overnight. They plan ahead for the level of taxation they will face and how much money they will have left to invest in their business, invest in productivity, improving machinery and equipment, and most importantly, to invest in more workers, more families, more individuals with children to create them more jobs.
That is not all that we have done. We also eliminated the federal capital tax. We increased the income limit for the small business tax rate to $500,000. We reduced the small business tax rate from 12% to 11%, and much more.
Canada's long-term economic recovery will be driven by our job creators, by the entrepreneurial hard-working Canadians, businesses large and small, by their hard work, not permanent government deficit spending as advocated by the Liberal leader. That is why our Conservative government is backing an ambitious plan to create a competitive low tax environment for job creators to succeed.
The Liberals are saying we should raise taxes on job creators. Should we do that now as we try to recover from a global economic recession? We know that higher taxes mean less money for businesses to invest. That means fewer jobs in Canada and more unemployment for our families. We know that higher taxes mean more unemployment in Canada.
Our Conservative government is working to create jobs in Canada. We realize the best way to do that is to encourage job creators to actually grow.
In fact, Canadian Manufacturers & Exporters recently released an analysis that concluded that reducing corporate taxes “creates jobs, boosts investment...and puts more money in the pockets of the Canadians”. The conclusions of the report, which I encourage Canadians to read online, show that the Conservative government's plan to reduce the tax burden is creating nearly 100,000 jobs in the short term. It is increasing the personal incomes of Canadians by $30.4 billion or 2.4%. It is increasing per capita personal income by $880 and is contributing from $2.6 billion to $3.7 billion in additional net revenues for all levels of government.
Maybe the Liberals could look at the recently released study by a respected academic, University of Calgary economist Jack Mintz, who predicts over 200,000 jobs will be created due to our low tax plan over the long term. In the words of Professor Mintz:
We’re just beginning to stake our claim as a country that is good for business. To revoke Canada's planned corporate tax cuts would reverse that trend, and cost jobs, business growth and competitiveness. Calling for an increase in corporate taxation is irresponsible policy as far as the overall economy is concerned.
Maybe the Liberals should actually talk to private sector businesses across Canada, businesses which, despite the fact they employ the vast majority of Canadians, the Liberal leader seems more content with demonizing and threatening for cheap political purposes.
The Liberals really should meet with some business people, for instance from the Canadian Automobile Dealers Association, which recently told the House of Commons Standing Committee on Finance that it recommended:
...that the already announced corporate tax reductions be fully implemented in coming years. The best way for the federal government to spur investment in job creation is to allow businesses to reinvest more of their profits to fund self-sustaining private sector growth. Our members, and indeed all businesses, require a large degree of stability and certainty regarding tax policy in future years. To plan for one set of previously announced tax reductions while conducting medium- and long-term business planning only to learn down the road that they may not be implemented is the very opposite of the certainty businesses need to create self-sustaining economic recovery.
The Forest Products Association of Canada emphasized that “the tax reductions announced in 2007...are an important part of the industry's recovery plan for the period ahead”.
Even the Canadian Chamber of Commerce noted that:
The single most important or most damaging thing the government could do at this point to stall the recovery would be to cancel the planned tax reductions. Business has been planning on them. The private sector has been hiring based on them. The private sector has been investing based on them. If suddenly those were repealed at this point, the impact would be to get business to shelve its plans for expansion and getting people back to work.
The Canadian Federation of Independent Business proclaimed that the planned business tax cuts are necessary. This has been laid out as a plan for several years now and businesses do not just plan on a three-month basis. Changing direction is problematic for a number of different reasons. If that is to happen we are already seeing favourable foreign investment flow into Canada, which benefits everyone ultimately as a result of being reasonably competitive. We are still not competitive where we are now compared to some countries. We are getting there.The notion that this is some outrageous thing is just dead wrong. Also, it is not just big companies that benefit, small and medium-sized companies benefit as well by lower corporate income tax rates.
That is from the Canadian Federation of Independent Business. I do not understand why the Liberals choose to ignore that kind of expertise.
Maybe they should talk to Ontario's Liberal finance minister, Dwight Duncan, who said:
Scrapping such a big slice of corporate tax cuts would hurt the fragile economic recovery by raising taxes on the struggling forestry and automotive sectors. It is about the most short-sighted, dumb public policy pronouncement one can envision.
While our government is focused on continuing to implement our job creation, low-tax plan, the Liberals want to dramatically hike taxes, halting our recovery in its tracks, killing hundreds of thousands of jobs and setting hard-working families back. This is a recipe for disaster.
Canadians cannot afford that risk. Canadians need the continued strong economic leadership that reflects the values and principles of hard-working Canadian families such as living within our means, producing savings by reducing waste and duplication, keeping taxes low to create jobs and sustain growth and letting Canadians keep more of their hard-earned money. The Liberal job-killing tax and spend agenda will only hurt hard-working Canadian families.
In the words of a recent Times &Transcript editorial:
--while [the Liberal leader] is touting raising taxes and says spending on education and families will create growth. The Liberal Party is obviously still stuck in its outmoded 1960s style tax and spend mode. Nobody disputes the importance of education or families, but throwing money at them has a dubious connection with spurring the economic growth we need...[the Liberal leader] and the Liberal welfare state approach will only worsen the nation's debt and deficit, forcing hikes--
In conclusion, as a mother of five, on behalf of Canadian families who rely on jobs to sustain their families and to really count on education for their children, I implore the Liberal leader and the Liberal Party to stop playing political games, to do the right thing and to reverse their push to hike taxes which would destroy Canada for years to come. I invite them to join with the rest of Canadians and our government to ensure our fragile recovery is not jeopardized.