Mr. Speaker, I do appreciate the opportunity to speak to Bill C-4. It is a real privilege for me, not only to speak to it but also to tell my colleagues on the other side that there is good news within this piece of legislation. It is good news on a number of fronts. It is good news for Canadian families. It is good news for Canadian workers.
We have a lot of naysayers on the other side of the House, people who criticize the work that our government has done. There have been a lot of folks saying that more should be done. It is interesting. They want to see a smaller bill. Then they want to include a whole number of additional measures within the bill. It is always a contradiction when we are dealing with the other side.
We listen to the complaints from the other side, but there are some folks who have some expertise when it comes to finance and when it comes to world finance. I think it is important that we listen to them.
We know that there are organizations, such as the OECD and the IMF, that have passed judgment on our government's work and on the efforts that we have undertaken to protect Canada's economy. They have, again and again, praised, not only our government's initiatives, but our finance minister, who has brought forward these initiatives.
We know that there are folks around the world who are watching what Canada is doing and who are seeking to replicate it in their countries, as well.
We are seeing significant benefits as a Canadian population, things that are hitting home in communities across this country. When we look at what has resulted from the work that our government has done following the great recession, we know that there are over a million net new jobs that have been created as a result of the efforts of our government. Specifically, within that million jobs that have been created, over 90% of them are full-time jobs and 80% of those are in the private sector. Therefore, our government's initiatives to bring forward changes have freed up business to create jobs, to create opportunity.
We often talk about these big numbers that often just flow off our tongues but do not really have an impact, I do not think. However, every job is meaningful because it impacts the person who has that job.
Most important, at this Christmas time, we know that many of these jobs that have been created impact families. Families, of course, are one of the most important building blocks of our communities. Having a job makes a world of difference, especially as we approach this Christmas time. To know that our employment rate keeps rising, that the unemployment rate keeps dropping, that more and more families have the necessary means to get what they need to have in order to support their families is great news. It is something that I wish the opposition would spend more time recognizing and spend more time giving credit for. Because I think that we, as parliamentarians, need to be concerned, first and foremost, about ensuring that families have jobs to ensure that families are supported in those mechanisms. This bill would go a great distance to continue that great effort.
I think it is important to reflect on the past. I think it is important to recognize that Canada's track record, when it comes to the economy and making these changes, did not just start yesterday. Many of these changes and these initiatives we have undertaken started nearly eight years ago when our government first got into office. We started to prepare for the possibility of a rainy day.
In the first number of years of our government, we paid off $37 billion of debt. That was surplus. We recognized it was important to reduce the debt of our country, so we paid off $37 billion of the Canadian debt. Any family knows that in order to prepare for a rainy day, if money comes in from a windfall or from any mechanism, the most important thing to do is to pay off any debt. That is exactly what Canada did.
As a result, Canada was praised during the great recession. First, we were prepared for the possibility of that, better prepared than any other of the G8 countries. We also saw that Canada was able, then, to put money into the economy. We were able to support initiatives across this country to help reduce the impact of the global economic recession.
Obviously it was something that was beyond the borders of this country that caused the great recession, but people across this country were feeling the impact of the recession. Therefore, to immediately start flowing out money in an initiative to support local communities and job creation was absolutely essential.
It is important to note that in 2012, the great recession had come and many governments had put a lot of money into their economies to support initiatives to lessen the impact of the recession. Canada had a debt-to-GDP ratio of 34.6%. That was the lowest in the G7 and the second lowest was Germany. It had 57.2%, so a significantly higher debt-to-GDP ratio.
To give some scope of what this meant in terms of our fellow members of the G7, the average debt-to-GDP ratio within the G7 was 90.4%. If members compare 90.4% to Canada's 34.6%, they will recognize, as all Canadians have recognized, that Canada was in a better spot than most other countries. However, Canada has continued to lead, because we will be the first within the G7 to move from a country that continues to run deficits to being a deficit-free country.
Our Minister of Finance has continued to lead and ensure that Canada reaches that point of being deficit-free in the coming months. No other country can boast that. No other country can boast the debt-to-GDP ratio. However, we are not going to sit here and boast. We are going to continue to do the work that is necessary to ensure that we never fall back, that we never fall behind.
We hear many calls from the opposition benches to engage in risky spending schemes. They say it is just a billion here or several billion there. The NDP had plans to bring forward a $20 billion carbon tax and we know that the Liberals have all kinds of interesting plans, including their efforts to raise the GST. We know on this side that it is important for a government to remain constrained to the dollars that come in, not simply to drag in more money from Canadians.
We believe it is important to continue to support families. It is important that families are not taxed to death. As a matter of fact, as a father of three young kids, I had an interesting conversation the other day. My daughter, who is seven years old, told me she does not think Santa Claus is real. She thinks that Santa Claus is her mother and I. It was awkward but I told her that mom and dad help out Santa Claus.
Families across this country are finding it easier to help out Santa Claus because the average family of four is getting $3,200 back that they were not getting eight years ago. As families prepare for Christmas, they recognize that our government has put over $3,200 back into their pockets so that they can support their families and can continue to help out Santa Claus at this time of the year.
The budget bill is our effort to continue to have an environment in Canada where we have opportunity, hope, prosperity and jobs for all Canadians. More importantly, when it comes down to the family level, it means more prosperity and more ability for families to support those who are most important in their lives, such as their kids, and to contribute to the local communities we live in.
I think it is important at this time of giving for the opposition to recognize that the bill is an important step forward to ensure not only that Canadians have jobs, but what that means at the family level as well.