Mr. Speaker, again, I certainly will not have enough time to say everything I want to say about this motion so I am relying on your totally impartial time management skills.
I am particularly pleased that this motion, Motion No. M-585, moved by my colleague from Saint-Lambert, allows me to give a bit of hope not only to my constituents, but to all Canadians when it comes to the economic measures that would be introduced by the NDP, which, as everyone knows, has a good chance of forming the next government.
I am particularly pleased that my speech follows that of my colleague from York Centre, who said that the motion was redundant. It is probably redundant because his own government decided to take some of the ideas in the motion and incorporate them into its budget, proving the merits of the NDP's proposals. However, obviously a copy is never the same as the original. The Conservatives managed to do less than what we were offering.
It always surprises me when I hear my colleagues say or fuel the illusion that the Conservative government creates jobs, when ever since they formed a majority government, we have seen the Conservatives cut thousands of jobs. It would take a lot to convince me that a government, regardless of its political stripe, creates jobs. The role of a government is to create the right conditions to allow entrepreneurs, the business people in this country, to create jobs. The real job creators are the men and women in the business community.
It seems to me as though the Conservatives' policies in recent years have had some rather negative consequences. The breaks given to big business do not seem to have been reinvested into the economy. Members will all remember what I would essentially call a cry or a plea for help from the former finance minister, who urged big business to take that dead money and reinject it into the economy. We know that the Conservatives' theory is that tax cuts should lead to job creation, but it is clear that this has not worked at all. Furthermore, there are 200,000 more unemployed workers in Canada than there were before the recession. Since the Conservatives came to power, their economic policy has resulted in 1,300,000 unemployed workers.
My riding is reeling from this government's economic decisions. For example, 120 jobs were lost when Target closed. Many families are struggling, and many part-time workers do not have access to employment insurance benefits.
Members will probably recall the Conservatives' slogan during the last campaign: “Our regions in power”. Their slogan appears to have become “Our regions abandoned”. The Mauricie region is suffering as a result of the Conservatives' mismanagement. Wood processing is at a standstill and the manufacturing industry is slowing to a crawl. So many companies have shut down, so it makes sense that the household purchasing power in my region has been reduced. According to Statistics Canada, families owe $1.63 for every dollar earned.
While the Conservatives' poor economic record speaks for itself, the Liberals' plan is conspicuous by its silence. The Liberals are abandoning the 1.7 million manufacturing workers. The Liberal leader himself said that he did not have a plan to help the manufacturing sector get back on its feet. The Conservatives have been an economic failure and the Liberals have no plan, but the NDP is going to set things straight. We are making concrete proposals to stimulate the economy and job creation. We will start by lowering the small and medium-sized business tax rate.
The Conservatives deliberately gave tax breaks to big business. To justify these cuts, the government claimed that higher profits for big business would stimulate economic growth and job creation through productive investment. We see that the Conservatives' dogmatic position was quickly negated by the facts. Several studies have shown that companies are not investing their savings in the economy. Thirty-two per cent of GDP remains in the cash reserves of these major corporations. This money, which has been accumulated as a result of the Conservatives' tax cuts, is not being used to create jobs or innovate.
I would like to quote in passing the conclusion of a study carried out by Canadian Labour Congress economists:
...cuts in corporate income tax have contributed to a significant increase in cash reserves held by corporations, delivered higher compensation to CEOs, cost Canadians billions in lower than expected government revenues, led to a higher federal deficit and debt, and cuts to public services.
The Conservatives have chosen to tailor their economic measures to big business to the detriment of SMEs. The Conservatives have almost eliminated the tax advantage of SMEs, which are now facing unfair competition from big business.
The NDP has chosen to focus its economic policy on SMEs because they are vital to job creation in Canada. We are choosing to help SMEs because they have been responsible for the creation of 78% of new jobs in the private sector in the last decade. Small business is the engine of job creation in Canada.
For that reason, the NDP is proposing to reduce the small business tax rate from 11% to 10% immediately, in the first year. This immediate reduction of the tax rate will inject $600 million into Quebec's and Canada's small businesses.
As soon as the financial situation allows, we will further reduce the small business tax rate from 10% to 9%. Once this measure is fully implemented, small business will have some breathing room, as they say.
Martine Hébert, senior vice-president of CFIB, supports our initiative and has congratulated the leader of the NDP for proposing the small business tax cut.
The Conservative government borrowed the measure, but will implement it in small doses by making cuts of 0.5% at a time.
We will extend the accelerated capital cost allowance. This measure is crucial for the manufacturing sector because it will encourage new investments and improve the international competitiveness of our businesses.
Thanks to this NDP measure, manufacturers will save $600 million a year for two years. Small business will mainly use this measure to increase their exports, because 90% of Canadian exporters are small businesses.
To support businesses' research and development efforts, we will establish an innovation tax credit to stimulate small businesses' ability to innovate. Quebec and Canadian manufacturers that make significant investments in research and development will save $40 million as a result of this measure.
On the Conservatives' watch, Canada has fallen from 18th to 25th of 41 on companies' investment in research and development. It is clear that other countries and our number-one competitor just across the border have rather more quickly grasped the importance of investing in research and development.
In closing, I would say that this Conservative government has failed dismally when it comes to creating new jobs—stable, full-time jobs, that is.
What is more, under successive Liberal and Conservative governments, employment quality has declined considerably. According to the CIBC report, over the past 25 years, the number of poorly paid jobs rose twice as fast as the number of well-paid jobs. That is to be expected considering the kind of measures I just discussed.
In light of that failure, the NDP wants to get Canada back on track. We have a plan to create good-quality jobs in a diversified economy.
We will certainly have plenty of opportunities over the coming weeks and months to bring our proposals to the people.