Mr. Speaker, I remind the House that I will be splitting my time today with the Parliamentary Secretary to the Minister of Employment and Social Development.
I am here today to oppose the motion proposed by the hon. member for Parkdale—High Park in regard to what the NDP calls a balanced economy.
What is most surprising about the motion is not the New Democrats' bald attempt to reinvent themselves as born-again capitalists, but their audacity in trying to take ownership of some policies that we have already introduced and that they voted against. The member for Skeena—Bulkley Valley even had the audacity to say that the so-called new NDP measures were proven to be successful. They were proven because we introduced them.
It is clear that while the NDP is moving toward our policies, our proposals are much better thought out, and our track record proves this. After all, the forgery is seldom as good as the original.
Today I will respond with Canada's economic and financial story, our fiscal strengths, and our plan to ensure we remain a world leader in an uncertain global economy. It is a plan that is critical to our nation's future. We need to create an environment that encourages further growth and investment. We also need to support our communities, our workers, and our workers' families, given a weak and fragile global recovery and strong global competition.
Canada's economic fundamentals are strong, yet our manufacturers and processors have been challenged over the last 15 years by rising global competition, and while Canada's exports began to show encouraging signs of strength last year, global activity weakness weighed heavily on our export sector during the three preceding years.
Let me start with a basic fact. Contrary to what the opposition may believe, we cannot have a balanced economy that supports innovation, competitiveness, and manufacturing without strong fundamentals and a sound plan. Even with the uncertain global environment, Canada's fiscal fundamentals are solid and sustainable thanks to the leadership of our Prime Minister.
In 2006, when our government assumed office, the world was a different place. Markets were booming and economic growth was strong, but economic storm clouds were gathering. Our government recognized this and was prepared for it long before the storms reached our shores: we reduced the federal debt, we consistently cut taxes for Canadians and job-creating businesses, and we set out an ambitious plan to renew Canada's aging infrastructure.
In 2009, when we reached the depths of the great recession, our government acted quickly, decisively, and responsibly; as a result, Canada fared much better than most. We introduced an economic action plan that funded thousands of critical infrastructure projects, including the construction of roads, bridges, and border crossings, as well as knowledge-based infrastructure like research labs, universities, and colleges and broadband Internet access in rural areas.
If we fast-forward to today, we can see that those actions continue to pay off. The Canadian economy has posted one of the strongest job creation records in the G7 over the recovery, with nearly 1.2 million jobs created since 2009. Let me remind the opposition that over 90% of those jobs created since 2009 are full-time positions, over 80% are in the private sector, and over two-thirds are in high-wage industries.
Real GDP is significantly above pre-recession levels, the best performance in the G7. Both the International Monetary Fund and the Organization for Economic Cooperation and Development expect Canada to be among the strongest-growing economies in the G7 over this year and next.
While it is gratifying to highlight Canada's economic strengths, we also know we cannot afford to be complacent. Today's advantage will not carry into tomorrow simply by sheer luck or even good intentions. In an all too volatile global economy, there is no substitute for decisive action and hard work, and this is never more true than today as we face risks from beyond our borders, risks that could bring with them the potential for severe consequences on the Canadian economy.
On the other hand, what New Democrats fail to say in their motions are all the things that they are not coming clean to Canadians about: raising taxes on businesses; recklessly increasing CPP, which numerous businesses have said would result in job losses; instituting a $20 billion carbon tax, which will hurt the economy, take more money away from Canadian families, increase Canada's debt, and put us back into deficit. The list goes on. It is shameful that New Democrats are failing to reveal what they actually have in store for Canadians.
On the other hand, the Liberal leader has decided to put no policies forward to help our manufacturing sector, instead saying that we need to transition away from manufacturing. Our government will continue to help our manufacturing sector find ways to thrive in a changing global situation. The Liberals as well have promised large tax hikes, increased debt, and bad policies that would damage the Canadian economy. Of course, these are just the latest challenges facing our country, and we refuse to take part in the opposition's reckless approach to the economy.
Canadians manufacturers faced many challenges over the last years and responded. They have implemented competitiveness-enhancing measures, such as managing their cost growth, importing more intermediate inputs, and reorienting exports toward faster-growing emerging economies. However, they cannot do it alone. Our government has listened to manufacturers and has taken significant action to help boost the competitiveness of Canadian manufacturers and exporters, which makes this motion all the more absurd. If imitation is the best form of flattery, that is what we have here today.
Since 2006, the Government of Canada has lowered taxes, made Canada the first tariff-free zone for manufacturers in the G20, eliminated unnecessary regulatory burdens, and improved conditions for business investment. These investments to strengthen the competitiveness of Canadian businesses build on the government's strong record of support for manufacturers and businesses of all sizes.
Let me start with the tax changes we have introduced to help create a highly competitive environment for manufacturing. Our government firmly believes in reducing taxes. It has been a priority of our economic strategy since the day we took office, and it is a belief we have put into action: we have delivered tax reductions totalling more than $60 billion to job-creating businesses from 2008 through to 2014, and the federal tax burden is at its lowest level in over 50 years.
Among these tax relief measures are the reduction of the federal general corporate income tax rate to 15% in 2012 from over 22% in 2007 and extensions of the temporary accelerated capital cost allowance for new investments in manufacturing and processing machinery and equipment through 2015.
The most recent renewal of the temporary accelerated capital cost allowance for manufacturing and processing machinery and equipment announced in budget 2013 will provide over $1.4 billion of support over four years, starting in 2014-15. This is exactly the same measure the NDP is now claiming to now champion. What has the NDP done every year we have given this to manufacturers? The NDP voted against it each and every time.
This measure is helping manufacturing and processors retool to increase productivity and enhance their competitiveness, and the results are clear. More than 25,000 businesses in the manufacturing and processing sector that employ Canadians in all regions of the country have taken advantage of the accelerated capital cost allowance since it was first introduced in 2007.
This commitment to tax relief has delivered real benefits to our country. Canada's tax competitiveness and overall business environment have been significantly improved, with the result that Canada now offers the lowest overall tax rate on new business investment in the G7.
The competitiveness of Canada's business tax system is supported by third party analysis. The KPMG publication Competitive Alternatives 2014 concluded that Canada's total business tax costs are the lowest in the G7 and 46% lower than those in the United States.
This investment-friendly tax environment is critical to the future of Canada's economy. It is a broad-based, fiscally durable, structurally sound, and increasing powerful selling feature in attracting the investment that Canadian businesses need to grow and thrive.
Today and in the years to come, this low-tax environment will play a crucial role in supporting economic growth and enabling businesses to investment more of their revenues back into their operations.
I will conclude by contrasting our approach with that of the NDP. New Democrat members have put forward a motion that completely misrepresents their agenda. While they are finally talking about moving toward some smart tax policy solutions to help Canadian industry, they have also opposed all of these measures in the past.
I would remind them that their proposed plan is not the present to small business they are making it out to be. As I mentioned, we have already provided the accelerated capital cost allowance to the manufacturing industry, and the NDP voted against it time after time. We have reduced the small business tax rate, which NDP members were against.
We have done a lot more than that, but I see that my time is up.