Mr. Speaker, as I was saying, this park will allow our citizens from all over our great nation to experience the natural beauty of Pickering—Scarborough East as well as easy access to more than 30% of the Canadian population which is in its close proximity.
Alan Wells, chair of the Rouge Park Alliance has declared, “This is the best news I have heard. I'm glad it is quickly moving forward”. Toronto city councillor, Glenn De Baeremaeker, said, “To see the prime minister...saying loudly and clearly that they'll protect this land is a dream come true for us”. Jim Robb, general manager of Friends of the Rouge Watershed added, “It's wonderful the federal government is going to create a national park that's accessible by transit”. Finally, the Canadian Parks and Wilderness Society said that this “will help safeguard and restore the Rouge Valley's important ecological values, and enable millions of Canadians to develop a greater appreciation for nature”. I hope all Canadians will one day have the opportunity to visit this beautiful national park and share that excitement.
As I said before, today's act is very important for the Canadian economy. Our Conservative government's top focus is just that, creating jobs, promoting economic growth and ensuring long-term prosperity. We know what matters to Canadians and their families and we are getting results for them on that front with nearly 760,000 net new jobs created since July 2009, 90% full-time and over 80% private sector.
However, the global economy is fragile and challenges remain as we see with events in European countries like Spain and Greece. We all know that Canada is not immune to these global challenges and we need to be on guard. That is why we are working hard to implement economic action plan 2012 and why we, along with many Canadians, are so disappointed in the NDP and Liberals for refusing to put Canadians ahead of their own partisan agenda by delaying these important measures to help Canada's economy to keep its good momentum.
Indeed, I will again reiterate the main observations repeated several times by now but worth being emphasized by its accurate and pointed analysis from a recent editorial in the Toronto Sun. It reads:
As Europe stands poised on the brink of a disastrous economic wildfire that could blacken the world, [the] NDP leader['s] hypocrisy and self-obsession is in full flame.
...vowing to delay the passing of [economic action plan 2012]... playing...with amendments and procedure.... This is nothing but grandstanding.
This is a budget designed to create jobs and inspire economic growth, and it comes to the House of Commons at a moment that can only be described as the 11th hour of a global economic conflagration....
Right now, there is only one enemy in our fight to protect Canada from the repercussions of Europe's burning. And it's [the NDP leader]...
This is inarguable.
I agree, and would hope the NDP will listen to the words of that Toronto Sun editorial and many other Canadians.
As I have mentioned, economic action plan 2012 will unleash the potential of Canadian businesses and entrepreneurs to innovate and thrive in the modern global economy through targeted measures that support business investment, invest in Canadian workers and support families.
However, economic action plan 2012 does not do that heedlessly at the expense of the Canadian taxpayer. In fact, all of our efforts will be supported by responsible fiscal management. That has meant a careful review of how we spend money to ensure we are getting the best for our buck, much like most Canadian families would at the dinner table with their household budget.
It is a prudent approach that will see Canada return to budgetary balance in the coming short years, and that is important for many reasons, like freeing up tax dollars otherwise absorbed by interest payments, ensuring we can afford programs over the long run, and ensuring we can keep taxes low and much more.
Although this was a comprehensive review of government spending, it was targeted and effective, including eliminating the penny and getting rid of plastic SIN cards. The reductions reflect changes to refocus government and programs, make it easier for Canadians and businesses to deal with their government and modernize and reduce the back office.
In the words of a recent Ottawa Citizen editorial on our Conservative government spending review:
The overall attitude...has been that every dollar must prove its worth. The answer that “we've always done it that way” isn't good enough...The small and simple cuts have a significance beyond their individual dollar figures. They suggest the government is willing to turn out the couch cushions and come up with change. Good. The elimination of the penny, for example, is not a new idea. But it took a government to decide that now is the time. It's only $11 million a year, but $11 million saved is $11 million the government doesn't have to take from taxpayers or cut from services. The same is true...of the $1.5 million a year the government will save by simply telling us what our Social Insurance Numbers are, rather than issuing cards we never use and aren't supposed to carry with us. These little cuts are sensible...they're conservative in the sense of being fiscally prudent.
The measures I have highlighted today are significant examples of this government's commitment to a strong economy and responsible management in the name of all Canadians. The commitment represents our longer-term view of how we can become more efficient and more prudent with taxpayers' hard-earned money.
As our Conservative government has said all along, the global economic recovery remains fragile. That makes responsible management to return to balanced budgets even more important, and that is why it is the focus of Canada's economic action plan 2012. The steps we take today will give us the ability to withstand the global challenges from Europe and beyond. That is why our Conservative government's main focus has been and will remain the economy, including implementing Canada's economic action plan 2012, and why I do not support the NDP and opposition attempts to delay and defeat it.