Mr. Speaker, as I was saying, the NDP carbon tax would increase the price of everything, including purchases such as gasoline, groceries and electricity. That would mean less money in the pockets of Canadian families and less money to pay their bills. According to the NDP's election platform, it plans to take $21 billion out of the pockets of Canadian families to pay for its carbon tax scheme. To me, this sounds like a costly and unnecessary burden on Canadian families, Canadian businesses and the entire Canadian economy. That is certainly not what my constituents want to see.
While our Conservative government is talking about job creation, the opposition is focused on job destruction. That is why in these uncertain economic times Canadians continue to trust our Conservative government to keep Canada's economy on the right track. Even as we speak global economic headwinds from outside the country threaten Canada. Many are rightly concerned about the impact of the situation in Europe, and Canada is no exception. However, while others fail to address their challenges, Canada has chosen to lead by example.
Given that Canada has fared better than most countries, it is worth highlighting some of the measures our government has taken to ensure that Canada's economy remains strong.
One key component of our government's strategy is the expanding of our trade opportunities and creating the conditions necessary for our homegrown businesses to compete in the global marketplace. The pursuit of free trade is key to our growth agenda. Through structural reforms like trade liberalization, Canadian businesses and their workers will be able to compete in the global marketplace.
Our government's trade agenda has already made Canada one of the most open and globally engaged economies in the world, something which the protectionists and isolationists in the NDP adamantly oppose with their anti-trade agenda.
In six years we have signed free trade agreements with nine countries and are in negotiations with many more. We have also concluded foreign investment promotion and protection agreements with 11 countries and are in active negotiations with 14 others.
By the end of this year, we hope to conclude negotiations for a free trade agreement with the European Union. On this front, a few weeks ago the Prime Minister met with German Chancellor Angela Merkel in Ottawa to strengthen dialogue on this key initiative. In fact, during her visit, Chancellor Merkel remarked on how initiatives taken by Canada during the global economic recession helped Canada sit in a position of strength. She said, “Canada is an example for how one can actually emerge from a crisis in a robust way.”
Adding to this trade agenda, Canada is also joining the trans-Pacific partnership negotiations. We are actively pursuing new trade and investment opportunities in large, dynamic and fast-growing economies such as China, India and Japan. This reflects our belief that freer and more open trade is a key stimulus for global economic recovery.
Combined with our free trade commitment is our continued tariff relief to enhance the competitiveness of Canadian manufacturers and importers. In all, our government has eliminated more than 1,800 tariff items and provided more than $435 million in annual tariff relief to Canadian businesses. As a result, Canada is now the first tariff-free manufacturing zone in the G20.
These measures build on our proven record of support for entrepreneurship, investment and growth.
Since 2006 our Conservative government has been making a concerted effort to promote investment and reduce regulatory burdens that only serve to impede business growth.
In 2011 Forbes magazine ranked Canada as the number one country in the world for doing business and cited our strong economic recovery and competitive tax system.
Yet, those who wish to invest in Canada's resources have been facing an increasingly complicated web of rules and bureaucratic reviews that have grown over time, adding costs and delays that can deter investors and undermine the economic viability of major projects. This approach is not economically sound, nor is it environmentally beneficial.
Our government responded by introducing system-wide improvements to streamline the environmental assessment review process for major economic projects that would put in place a one project, one review system in a clearly defined time period. These measures will make project reviews more predictable and timely, reduce duplication and regulatory burdens, and enhance consultations with aboriginal peoples, while protecting the environment.
Along with promoting investment and our support for free and open trade, the government continues to support a low tax environment required to create jobs and growth.
In 2007, prior to the global crisis, Canada passed a bold tax reduction plan designed to make Canada a low tax destination for business investment.
Canada's competitive tax system plays a crucial role in supporting economic growth. These tax reductions will leave more money for the private sector to reinvest in machinery, equipment, information technology and other physical capital that will further boost productivity in businesses across Canada. Furthermore, they will allow businesses to hire additional workers and offer higher wages as they expand production and take on the world.
Our government also continues to create the right conditions to enable Canadians and Canadian business to feel confident to invest, create jobs, participate in the global marketplace and grow our economy. One of these conditions includes a sound and stable financial system. Even as global economic conditions worsened during the crisis, Canada's finance system was stable and well capitalized with one of the most effective regulatory frameworks in the world. As a result, Canada did not suffer one single bank bailout nor failure.
Canada's enviable financial system did not lessen the government's resolve to act when it was under threat by outside forces. Make no mistake: the threats were real. As credit markets around the world began to freeze, the prospect of total financial economic breakdown became a realistic concern. Even in Canada, businesses were finding it difficult to get the basic financing they needed for everything from inventories to payrolls. The seriousness of this threat meant that traditional approaches just would not work.
In Canada we understood there was a critical need for our government to take steps to ensure the financial system could get secure access to the funding it required so that consumers and businesses would be able to access this much needed financing.
Today Canada has the world's soundest banking system for the fifth year in a row, as affirmed earlier this month by the World Economic Forum. In addition, the Financial Stability Board's peer review praised Canada for the government's response to the global financial crisis and highlighted the resilience of Canada's financial system, calling it a model for other countries.
The strength and resiliency of the Canadian financial system has served us well during the recent global economic and financial crisis and will continue to do so as we face a global economic situation that remains fragile and uncertain.
Unfortunately, NDP members would rather that we tinker with Canada's financial system. They feel that a time of economic uncertainty is the right time to test risky economic schemes like another tax, this time a financial transactions tax on everyday financial transactions. Fortunately, our Conservative government is adamantly opposed to the NDP's tax schemes.
With one of the most successful economies in the world today, Canada offers many advantages as an investment destination and partner for global business. Canada's competitiveness, excellence, depth of talent, innovation and creativity offer a great environment to potential investors from around the globe. That being said, there is still a lot of work to be done and our government recognizes that Canada cannot become complacent with its past successes.
It is pretty clear that when it comes to creating jobs for Canadians, the last place the government is looking for ideas is the NDP. As outlined during my speech, when it comes to creating the kind of economic growth that will mean a greater future for Canadians and their families, this side of the House knows the best route to getting there.
In fact, the NDP's grand plan to help the economy is to hold meetings months down the road. It is simply outrageous. The simple fact of the matter remains that when it comes to initiatives that will help Canadians, the only thing the NDP seems capable of doing is voting against them and finding ways to tax everything Canadians do.
Unlike the NDP, our Conservative government has a plan to support job creation and economic growth through Canada's economic action plan 2012. Therefore, I urge all members to join with me in opposing the motion and the NDP's risky economic high tax schemes which would only jeopardize Canada's fragile economic recovery.