Mr. Speaker, it is a real pleasure for me to rise in the House today to speak about budget 2013. I will be sharing my time with the member for Mississauga—Brampton South.
A lot has been said by members on both sides of the House about this budget. Let me weigh in with what I think is important for my constituents in Etobicoke—Lakeshore, across the great city of Toronto and the GTA, and across Canada, in fact. It is a good budget in the sense that it brings balance to what we have to spend money on, tax measures and thinking to the future in terms of our long-term prosperity.
This budget touches on issues of connecting Canadians with available jobs and looking at the skills gaps. Representatives of businesses and manufacturing industries in Etobicoke—Lakeshore talk over and over again about the challenges they have of finding skilled people in Canada and sometimes having to go overseas to find people to fill the jobs. It really would be of benefit to our Canadian economy if we could match people, help them develop the skills and get them working right away in some of the important sectors of the economy like manufacturing in Etobicoke—Lakeshore.
Another important feature and one of the reasons I support this budget is the new long-term infrastructure plan. It is really important. If we look at the infrastructure deficit that was created in this country and what was spent on infrastructure between 1993 and 2006, we see it was less than $1 billion a year in transfers to municipalities and provinces. We are looking at a long-term plan so provinces and municipalities can lock in on developing the infrastructure they need to keep people and goods and services moving and keep our economy going.
A third important element is the new investments in world-class research and innovation. It is one thing to do pure research, but an important aspect in the budget is commercialization, looking at the D in the R and D and how to take great ideas and scientific research and make it into something commercially viable and, therefore, sustainable for the long term.
A fourth cornerstone of this budget is around the new measures to support communities and families. We have been doing a lot of things since 2006, which I attribute to our finance minister. This is his eighth budget and he has figured out the mix of things over the last seven years to make sure we are supporting families in a sensible, sustainable and affordable kind of way.
Fifth, there are measures to specifically help the private sector grow and succeed in this global marketplace. As we know, the world is very competitive. Even small and medium-sized businesses now have to compete worldwide, and Canadian enterprises are rising to that challenge. They are doing what they need to do to be successful. We are seeing that in the numbers.
I would say the most important part of the budget is the plan to return to a balanced budget. It is absolutely critical. I will say one thing. There is only one party in the House that is proposing a balanced budget. On the one hand, the official opposition is talking about spending increases in the order of $56 billion a year, with no plan to raise the funds, whether it is through taxes or otherwise. In its proposal, it is looking at putting Canada in a deep fiscal hole for generations. The other part of it is that not only would it create a deep fiscal hole, but my children, their children and everybody's children would be paying for it, and that kind of intergenerational debt transfer is just not right.
On the other hand, members of the third party do not have a plan at all. I will forgive them as they do not have a leader in place now, but everything they say suggests that they are speaking out of both sides of their mouths. We are the only party in the House that really has any plan whatsoever to restore Canada to fiscal balance.
I will provide a bit of context in the time I have. It has been said many times before that we are on a strong economic track. We have created 950,000 net new jobs since the depth of the recession in July 2009 and that is something to be very proud of. It is not the government that created those jobs but the Canadian economy.
I should mention also that, for the fifth straight year, the World Economic Forum ranked Canada's banking sector the soundest in the world. That is partly because of strong measures we put in place as part of our culture as Canadians. We are proud of our banks. In the city of Toronto a lot of people work in banks, are very proud to work for the banks, and that provides the financial underpinning for our strong economy. Reflected in that is the AAA credit rating that our government has. That was awarded by Moody's, Fitch and Standard and Poor's.
I also want to highlight the debt that the federal government has as well as that of provincial and municipal governments. If we look at the total net government debt across all levels of government, we see Canada leads the G7. However, it is important to make the distinction between net government debt and total debt. Our federal government pension plans, like the CPP and the Quebec pension plan, have significant financial assets that underpin them. Many countries in the world do not have that solid underpinning. For that reason, we lead the G7 when it comes to net debt to GDP ratio by far.
I want to talk about job creation, and 950,000 net new jobs is a lot of jobs. That means a lot of Canadians are back at work. In some parts of the country, they cannot fill all the jobs that are out there for lack of people with the right skills. However, some of the criticism from the opposition is that these are part-time jobs, which is simply not true. The information we have is that 91% of those jobs are full-time jobs and 79% are in the private sector. Over and above that, 68% of those jobs are in high-wage industries.
To get back to the plan for a balanced budget, when the recession hit we made a deliberate decision to run a temporary deficit. By the way, that was a decision that was supported by all parties in this House. However, as I mentioned, our net debt to GDP ratio is currently 35.8%, but in comparison, Germany is next at 58.4% and the G7 average is around 80%. Therefore, we are in strong fiscal shape compared to the rest of the G7, but we are not going to rest on our laurels. We are going to keep moving forward because that is the right thing to do, which is why we have made a commitment to return to a balanced budget.
Between 2006 and 2009, before the recession hit, the Conservative government paid down $37 billion in debt, which positioned us well. Obviously, we could not predict every aspect of the global economic downturn that happened with the fall of financial institutions around the world, but we are in a strong fiscal position and we want to become even stronger.
I should mention that we reduced the deficits and debt without increasing taxes. Opposition members talk about grandiose spending plans that they cannot afford, but hidden behind that message is the intention to increase taxes, whether with carbon taxes, a hike in the GST or personal income taxes. That is the only way the opposition could afford to pay for its program, short of passing the bill to the next generation.
However, since 2006, we have cut taxes more than 150 times. We have reduced the overall tax burden to its lowest level in 50 years by cutting personal income tax, adjusting the brackets as appropriate, and reducing consumption taxes. The GST was reduced from 7% to 5%. We reduced business taxes and we have also reduced excise taxes. We have accomplished a lot of tax reduction, which means significant savings for families. For a typical family of four, that is a tax saving of about $3,200.
Small businesses are important stakeholders in this economy and they have also seen significant tax decreases. A typical small business with $500,000 in revenue is seeing about $28,600 in reduced taxes.
One of the things we plan to do with our budget, which is one reason I support it, is take action to close some tax loopholes and make our tax system more consistent with economies in the rest of the developed world. Other countries have taken tax measures to make sure there is no tax loss trading that is done unethically and illegally. We will be making sure those loopholes are closed.
I want to highlight a couple of things that are critical for Toronto and Ontario, one of which is the long-term infrastructure plan. No country has committed this much money, as some members on the government side have mentioned, with $53 billion over 10 years in the new building Canada plan, which is significant. Municipalities like the City of Toronto really appreciate that help from the federal government. As well, there is the commitment to Massey Hall, which is a project I really support. There is an investment of $8 million in 2013-14 that has to do with some adjacent building that is going on. It is important that we get that Canadian landmark built, and the federal government is proud to participate in that.
To wrap up, there are some things in this budget for important industries like manufacturing and the automotive sector. It is a good budget for Canada, and the opposition has recognized the wisdom and the good sense in this budget. I wish it would support it. It puts economic opportunities for Canadians in place now and in the future.