Mr. Speaker, I am pleased to rise in the House today to speak about the motion moved by the member for London—Fanshawe. Our government has always said that it was going to focus on the economy. That is what we have done, and that is what we are going to continue to do. It is what Canadians are most concerned about, and we are on the right track.
I should point out that I sympathize with the employees of White Birch Paper. We are continually reviewing the legislative framework of the Investment Canada Act to ensure that it is up to date and effective. I can assure my colleagues that our government is going to continue to bring in foreign investments that will provide a net benefit for Canada. In order to enjoy a full economic recovery, we must focus on our strengths. What does that mean? It means continuing to welcome foreign investors. Indeed, unlike the opposition, we understand the importance of attracting capital that will help our businesses to innovate and be competitive internationally. As the minister indicated earlier, in practical terms, during our first six years in government, foreign companies have invested approximately $270 billion in Canada in transactions subject to review. Moreover, $150 billion has been invested in terms of transactions not subject to review.
Why would the NDP be opposed to that? Because the NDP dreams of closing our borders, as is evidenced by the measures it proposes. While the opposition attempts to derail the economic recovery by constantly calling for new taxes, we are working hard. We have implemented tax credits, we have invested in skills training and infrastructure, and we have supported research and efforts to bring innovation to market.
We have invested $14.8 billion in order to stimulate job creation through infrastructure, $13.2 billion to support industries and communities, $8.3 billion on training and getting unemployed Canadians back to work, and $3.8 billion to advance the knowledge economy. That is over $40 billion in support for the manufacturing sector.
Finally, our government has eliminated tariffs on a broad array of products used by manufacturers. That reduces production costs for businesses and improves our capacity to go head-to-head with the competition on the world stage. The results have been unequivocal: approximately 600,000 new Canadian jobs have been created since July 2009. Canada is the only G7 country to have recovered more jobs than it lost during the economic slowdown.
Thanks to our world class economic action plan, we have established partnerships with the provinces in order to provide training and financial support to affected workers. All of these steps are being taken to keep our workers in the labour force and to assist in the transition to new jobs, if necessary. We will strengthen our economy by taking concrete action. The motion on the floor, however, is not an example of concrete action.
In this motion, the member laments the closure of the White Birch Paper plant and is concerned about what our government is doing for the forestry sector. To begin with, I would like to point out to my colleague that our Conservative government is extremely concerned about the state of the forestry industry and its workers, and that, just like her, we are extremely disappointed by the turn of events involving White Birch Paper and the closure of its Stadacona mill in Quebec City.
We are concerned about the state of the forestry industry.
That is why, in the midst of the global crisis, we reacted so quickly in order to implement measures to help businesses in the forestry industry, their workers and the communities they live in.
The forestry crisis is not an isolated problem; it is part of a global forestry problem. In Quebec, and elsewhere in Canada, the global economic crisis is only making matters worse and further exposing the vulnerability of the forestry industry. Many of our regional economies depend on this sector. In fact, more than a third of Quebec's regional municipalities are highly dependent on the forestry industry. In 2011, the value of manufactured products from the sawmills and pulp and paper mills in Quebec was nearly $14 billion.
Unfortunately, since 2005, Quebec's forestry product sales have dropped by 27% and exports by 35%. The situation is not just momentary; it is also a structural problem.
Traditional markets for the pulp and paper and softwood lumber sectors are in decline. Just recently in the United States, housing construction was only one-quarter of number the homes being built before the crisis. More than half of our wood products are exported and roughly 90% of our exports go to the United States. The rise of electronic media is another striking example of the scope of this crisis: the consumption of printed news is in decline—roughly 43% less than in 2005.
Competition from emerging countries, the housing crisis in the United States, and the strength of the Canadian dollar are the challenges facing our forestry industry. All communities and the industry have to adapt to the new needs of the market and to the new economic realities. Fortunately, on this side of the House, we believe there is a great future for the forestry industry. That is why we acted swiftly to help the workers and communities who have been seriously affected by this crisis.
I would like to talk about some of our government's initiatives in support of the forestry industry in Quebec and Canada. From January 2006 to February 3, 2012, our Conservative government supported 415 initiatives to either diversify the economy of Quebec forestry communities or support projects in the wood industry. This represents a total of $259.7 million in financial assistance and $800.2 million in total costs. The objectives of these projects were to improve productivity, develop markets and drive innovation.
Under the economic action plan—which the opposition unfortunately voted against—$1 billion over two years was allocated in 2009 to the community adjustment fund, including $212 million to Quebec. Of this amount, $119 million was allocated to the forestry sector. This fund helped Quebec mitigate the short-term impact of restructuring in forestry-dependent communities and create or maintain, under the Canada-Quebec agreements, thousands of silviculture jobs in Quebec's regions.
In 2010, our government also announced $100 million over three years for the temporary initiative for the strengthening of Quebec's forest economies. This measure to diversify and support communities affected by the forestry crisis addresses the issues affecting regions dependent upon the forestry sector.
Thanks to our government, significant funds have also been allocated by Natural Resources Canada to help the Canadian and Quebec forestry sector. Of note, in 2009, $170 million was allocated over two years to fund several other programs.
I am sorry, but my time is up. I hope I will be able to continue during the question and comment period and provide more information.