Mr. Speaker, today, it is my honour to speak here as a representative from the riding of Winnipeg South Centre.
According to Economic Development Winnipeg, Winnipeg has been one of Canada's most diversified economies and has the lowest overall business costs not only in western Canada, but also in comparison with the midwestern and Pacific United States. In addition, in its last CIBCWM Metropolitan Economic Activity Index, CIBC rated Winnipeg's economy as the fourth best in a national survey. We are only behind Toronto, Calgary, and Regina.
However, despite such a positive outlook in Winnipeg, we are most certainly not immune to the global economic challenges facing the world today. Internationally, the economic context is, without a doubt, one of strife and struggle.
After the most severe global recession since the Great Depression, our Conservative government, under the leadership of our Prime Minister, has been able to steer past the recession. As a result, Canada has weathered the economic storms and come out of them ahead of all other member nations of the G7. For Canada, the recession is long gone, but its impact is still weighing heavily on the world economy.
The volatility of commodity prices reminds us that we are not immune to factors beyond our control and beyond our own borders. Geopolitical crises such as those in Ukraine, Iraq, and Syria underscore these concerns. The barbaric terrorist attacks in France, as well as attacks in Australia, and indeed in Ottawa itself, are justifiably alarming people around the world and truly cut to the core of the fundamental liberties that are the basis for human progress. These things remind us that the global economy remains fragile and volatile. It is why we must stay the course with our low-tax plan.
By keeping taxes low, our government is helping Canadian businesses maintain the best economic environment possible and allowing small businesses to maintain their competitive edge. Our country's small and medium-size businesses continue to be job creators for hard-working Canadians, and our government is committed to helping them grow and create new opportunities here at home.
Our government is making life more affordable for families as well. It is our government's actions on job creation and economic growth that have underpinned Canada's recovery from recession, and therefore a debate such as today's on the future of our economy is indeed very timely. The stakes in this debate are high. Canadians cannot afford higher taxes and more debt. Quite simply, what is at stake is a better, safer, and more prosperous future for our families.
The challenges that stand between Canada and this brighter future are considerable. It is not time for risky ideas and reckless spending. This is why, under the strong leadership of our Prime Minister, our government is on track to balance Canada's budget, and we are now in a position to help Canadian families balance theirs.
When speaking to my constituents, they continue to tell me the same thing, that the cost of living from groceries to hydro to housing is going up. While the federal government does not have a say over hydro prices, we do have a say on federal taxes. We know that for a more affordable life, Canadians need a more affordable tax burden. That is why we are cutting taxes for Canadian families and providing benefits to all families with children, with the majority of these benefits going to low and middle-income families.
Continuing with the enhancement of the universal child care benefit, mothers and fathers in Winnipeg South Centre will receive $1,920 each year for every child under age six, and $720 per year for every child between the ages of six and seventeen. We know that Canadian families deserve to make their own decisions and we are proud to be the only party standing up for them.
Unfortunately, the NDP and Liberals want to take this money away and spend it on big government bureaucracy instead of giving decision-making power where it should be: with the parents. The NDP and Liberals think they know best. That is not right.
While our government is making life more affordable for families, the opposition would rather hike taxes and run us back into a deficit. That is its plan; it is not our plan.
Let me remind everyone how the small Trudeau deficits of the early 1970s became massive deficits that went on for a quarter of a century and ended up with the Liberals dramatically hiking taxes on everyone, just as we see Liberal and NDP leaders threatening to do today. The opposition is looking for any excuse not to balance the budget, but to spend more taxpayer dollars. It thinks it can tax its way to prosperity, but Canadians know that no government can spend more than it earns indefinitely. It is just like home.
Higher debt means higher taxes, service costs, and cuts for our children and grandchildren. The Liberal leader believes the budgets balance themselves even if we spend billions of dollars that we just do not have. Canadians know better. Canadians know how budgets work. Only by making tough decisions, as we all have done with our own families, and using sound judgment can a budget be balanced, and that is exactly what we are doing as government.
Through our government's prudent fiscal management, we will balance the budget while investing in the priorities of Canadians. We will also not raise taxes like the Liberal leader has pledged to do. Under the leadership of this Prime Minister, Canada's economy will continue to be the envy of the world. We are leaving more money in the pockets of Canadians to stimulate our economy. We have cut taxes in every way government collects them, including personal, consumption, business, and excise taxes, et cetera, and the result is a total annual saving for a typical family of around $3,400.
We have also removed over one million low-income Canadians completely from the tax rolls, and the overall federal tax burden has not been this low in more than half a century. Given the ongoing uncertainty in the global economic environment, it is more important than ever to stay the course. Canada has a highly diverse economy, and that is why our government supports jobs and growth by connecting Canadians with available jobs, fostering job creation, innovation and trade, and investing in manufacturing, infrastructure, and transportation.
Canada's manufacturing sales have bounced back and are up 25%, the highest level since the start of the recession. That is great news for the residents of Winnipeg South Centre, since manufacturing makes up a large portion of its economy. In fact, just last week on January 21, the president of Canadian Manufacturers & Exporters was quoted in the Ottawa Citizen as saying, “Many of the programs the Conservative government has put in place do support manufacturing, and do it very well”.
However, the Liberal leader would rather encourage manufacturers to close shop. This is not our view. Our government recognizes that Canadians working in the manufacturing sector are some of most innovative people in the world, and we want to help them be that. This is very different than the Liberal high-tax, high-debt plan that would devastate the industry just as it recovers from a global recession. Canadians definitely expect better.
Let me give a first-hand example of how our economic plan is working in Winnipeg South Centre. In 2013, our government announced $1 million in support for West Canitest R and D Inc.—WestCaRD it is called—to assist companies in Manitoba's aerospace sector. This builds on our government's previous aerospace investments and will help support the development of an aerospace facility capable of engine testing and post-testing redesign. Winnipeg is now one of the most cost-effective cities for aerospace manufacturing in North America, and with a highly skilled and growing workforce of over 5,500, it is the third largest cluster in Canada in the aerospace industry.
More than 40 aerospace-related businesses make up a diverse supply chain, with annual revenues surpassing $1.3 billion. This new facility will expand the research and development capabilities of Manitoba's aerospace industry, and this is a positive for our local economy. I am thrilled to see that the Manitoba aerospace industry is creating jobs, economic growth, and long-term prosperity, which is exactly what the Canadian government is trying to accomplish throughout the country.
These are remarkable achievements that have helped the residents of Winnipeg South Centre. It is too risky to reverse and it is far too risky not to support this government's economic plan.