Mr. Speaker, I am happy and proud to stand today to speak to Bill C-45, the jobs and growth act, 2012.
I consistently hear time and time again from my constituents that their top priorities for our government are jobs and economic growth. I believe the same holds true for all Canadians.
Our government has listened to Canadians and job creation and continuing to strengthen and expand the Canadian economy are our top priorities. We can see that in the small things, like the title of this bill, the jobs and growth act, and we can see it in the big things, like the international praise and recognition our government has earned. We can see that in the more than 820,000 plus net new jobs created under our watch since July 2009.
Our government is delivering what we promised to Canadians: careful and competent stewardship to improve our employment rates and strengthen our economy to benefit all Canadians from coast to coast to coast.
Strong as our economy is, there are many external factors which we cannot control. Many of these pose a threat and the American and global economic state can affect us. However well our economy is doing, how ever many jobs we have created, it can still be jeopardized by global financial uncertainty. That is why it is crucial that we get our fine tuning right.
The budget tabled last March got it right. The first implementation act, the Jobs, Growth and Long-Term Prosperity Act, got it right. Bill C-45 gets it right.
Before the global recession hit in 2008, our government had cut taxes 140 times, saving the average Canadian household $3,100 a year. That $3,000 is being spent by Canadian families or being saved by Canadian families that they would not have otherwise. That extra money in the pockets of Canadians stimulates various economic sectors.
Before the recession hit, our government had brought our national debt to its lowest level in 25 years, paying down $40 billion. Since the recession, the government has invested substantially across Canada to ease the pain caused by the recession and to stimulate growth.
The days now are not as dark as they were in 2008 and 2009. We have to ensure we are protected against further economic decline, but we also cannot spend borrowed money forever. The balance is in the fine tuning I spoke of earlier. The government has balanced this correctly, hedging ourselves against further global downturns and growing public debt.
A prime example of our continued focus on jobs and economic growth is the renewal of the hiring tax credit for small businesses. Anyone who has driven through Mississauga East—Cooksville, the riding I represent, will know that it is full of small businesses and across our country small businesses employ about half of the workforce. However, small businesses are often the first hit and the hardest hit by economic downturns. That is why our government is so concerned with helping small businesses.
The hiring credit for small businesses offers a tax saving of $1,000 per new hire. Extending this credit incentivizes hiring new people to help reduce employment and it makes life easier for small businessmen and women across Canada to create and fill new staff positions. Last year it benefited nearly 534,000 employers. The capacity and scope of this tax credit to improve employment and help small business grow is massive, and I am proud to support its extension.
In the 1990s Canadians saw the harm and risk caused by sustained deficits. The government of the time managed to drastically reduce government spending, but it had done so at the cost to services and by cutting transfers to the provinces that pay for many services.
Our government made a pledge to Canadians that it would not cut transfer payments to provinces and it would not cut the funding that paid for health care and other services. We will reduce the deficit, but not at the cost to front line services to Canadians.
Instead, we have opted to make systemic, long-lasting reductions in the overall cost of government. These reductions will ensure that moving forward, the public service will be leaner, more streamlined and more sustainable.
The reductions come from all over the government. From simplifying regulations around grain elevators, to changes in public service pensions for new contributors after January 1, 2013, the bill would further our reductions in the actual cost of government.
I am pleased the House unanimously passed Bill C-46, which was originally a part of this bill. I heard first hand from many constituents, and I doubt that I am alone in this, that they found the benefits politicians and public servants much greater than their own, and they found this to be very problematic.
It is important that we show Canadians that we are taking the lead on cost reductions, and we have done this. It is important that we show Canadians that we respect the trust they have put in us to spend their tax dollars, and the bill does that. Our government will continue to show Canadians that we respect tax dollars.
These are just some of many reasons to support the bill.
Canadians know the benefit of tax credits like the hiring tax credit for small businesses, not least the millions of them who work at small businesses. Canadians know that jobs and continuing our economic growth is job one in these challenging times. Canadians also know that we need to balance our public sector spending to a sustainable level. Canadians know that this act reflects those needs.
When I spoke in the House regarding the first implementation act of Canada's economic action plan 2012, I was able to read out millions of dollars that our government invested in infrastructure and in research and development throughout the city of Mississauga. I know many other members can point to similar investments in the communities they represent. I was able to speak to improvements we were making with respect to foreign qualifications. These were steps forward for my community and for our country.
With Bill C-45, the jobs and growth act, 2012, we are taking further steps forward for the constituency I represent, for the constituencies each of us represents and for all Canadians.
I urge all parties and all members to support the bill.