Madam Speaker, as the member of Parliament for Oshawa, I rise in the House today to speak about the trans-Pacific partnership, a partnership that will allow our quality Canadian goods access to new markets in Asia-Pacific continents.
The proposed trade deal is a commitment that I hope the Liberal government will stop dithering about and make before June 29, as it is a strong indicator of the increased trade relations, which means good things for my community of Oshawa. Oshawa is where manufacturing in the automotive sector is extremely important, and we will be able to export our domestically-made vehicles to these newly-established markets.
The Canadian-European trade agreement opens Canada's market to over 500 million new customers. The 28 different countries that will be included in the Canadian-European free trade agreement have a combined GDP over $20 trillion, allowing Canada to access sound economic prosperity through the export of our domestic goods.
The previous Conservative government had laid down the groundwork of beginning the negotiation process and strived to ensure that Canadians would prosper as a result of the trade relations that had been freshly established in these markets. Our manufactured goods, including the vehicles that have been prepped for global sale by Ford Canada and Honda Canada, are seeing new investment because of access to the European market. Hopefully, with the TPP, vehicles manufactured in my community of Oshawa by General Motors will now have the increased ability to access markets, not only in Europe but also the Asia-Pacific.
As Oshawa is facing a contract renewal year in 2016, the establishment of new markets is pivotal for the decision process. It is also pivotal to companies making long-term decisions and long-term investments, especially those aimed at our export markets. After all, 85% of Canadian cars made are exported, meaning an expanded market will be beneficial to Canadian automotive manufacturers. This sort of commitment and flexibility is exactly what is needed for the automotive sector.
As I said, Oshawa is facing a contract year. This type of commitment will help decision makers understand the importance of investment and the potential that Canadian communities like Oshawa have to bolster exports and, simultaneously, the Canadian economy.
If the TPP goes through, Canada will be the only country in the world with access to North America, Asia, and the European Union, which is 1.3 billion new customers.
What is crucial for the Liberal government to understand is that we can grow the economy without spending billions of dollars that we do not have. Access to over 800 million new customers through the TPP is exactly the kind of trade partnership that will allow Canada to grow our economy and participate in the new reality of trade in the 21st century. Supporting the TPP will send a clear signal to Canadian businesses, allowing exporters the opportunity to prepare and take advantage of preferential market access with lower tariffs and further integration of global supply chains, setting the rules for trade within North America and the Asian-Pacific region for generations to come.
Under our Conservative government, Canada became a global leader in eliminating the barriers affecting trade and the fight against protectionism. Ratifying the TPP at this time gives the Liberals a chance to prove they are actually serious about trade. Canada needs to continue to be a leader of trade relations and eliminating barriers and red tape.
Job creation and manufacturing has unfortunately become a stalled priority for the Liberal government. As a Conservative government, we understood that jobs were a vital part of our economy, in any climate. Even during the global recession, under our Conservative government, we saw the creation of 1.1 million net new jobs. That is because we know the recipe for job creation. The method includes freer trade, lower taxes, minimal red tape, and responsible spending of taxpayer money. Why do the Liberals not respect these principles?
Job-creating businesses will not invest in the Canadian economy if they do not know the cost and the environment of doing business. The Liberal government has failed to deliver a strong plan to support the manufacturing sector. From the start, the Liberal government has ignored the sector in its Speech from the Thrown and continues to offer nothing concrete to support manufacturers. This is not surprising, considering the Prime Minister actually said that Canada needed to transition away from manufacturing.
Frankly, the Prime Minister and the Liberal government are out of touch with the lifeblood of many Canadian communities. My community of Oshawa has been an automotive manufacturing hub for many years. Manufacturing is a significant driver in our local economy and provides thousands of good-paying middle-class jobs across our country.
I was proud to sponsor a petition put forward by a local union shop steward that calls on the government to immediately release its plan to support manufacturing in communities like Oshawa.
The Liberal government has chosen to extend the automotive innovation fund and promised to be flexible with how it operates, but many of my constituents from the auto sector in Oshawa want to know why the government has not included any details about flexibility. A strong position on the TPP will give certainty to international investors, who will see Canada as the preferred location for new investments for access to more markets around the world.
If we establish this new trade deal, there will be no need to transition away from manufacturing, as the Prime Minister wants to do. In fact, we should see even greater manufacturing, good jobs, and more investment, as Canada's role in the world expands through TPP.
Instead, unfortunately, the Liberals have only offered more confusion. This year, as I said, is a contract year for auto manufacturing at Oshawa's General Motors plant in my riding. A decision needs to be made sooner rather than later for the TPP, so we can be established for future investment of industry in Oshawa.
Manufacturing provides thousands of good-paying middle-class jobs in Oshawa, and it is a shame that the Liberal government has not done more to promote the industry and build a competitive atmosphere where businesses would want to invest. Instead, they only offer confusion. The cost of doing business will increase with some of the Liberals' policies on new taxes, such as carbon taxes. The Ontario Liberals put in their pension plan. They want to put in a CPP payroll tax and extreme hydro rates. It is killing the industry and making us less competitive. The TPP will help offset some of these poor policies by the Liberals.
The automotive industry and union members need more certainty, not more confusion. Automotive investments are made five to 10 years into the future. They need certainty. They need commitment for their investments in order to create good-quality jobs. That is why a decision on the TPP is required sooner, not later.
During this new trade deal, there will be no need to transition away from manufacturing. In fact, this will be great for our Canadian economy. Canada will be the hub for manufacturing in North America, Asia, and Europe. We are the only country that will have access to these markets, and it is a great opportunity. We should not be afraid of it.
During the economic crisis, we, as the Conservative government, were flexible, looking forward, and I was very proud to be part of a government that saved the automotive sector in Canada. As a result of that flexibility, we managed to do what needed to be done to save jobs and save operations in Canada. Trade deals like CETA and TPP are central to growing an economy and promoting investment and job growth in Canada for communities such as Oshawa.
I would like to finish by talking about some of the numbers we have seen. On trade, I have heard the Liberals today talk about our exports versus our imports. If I could quote some numbers from Stats Canada, between 2010 and 2014, our exports increased from $103 billion to $528 billion. That is a 32% increase in just four years. Our imports grew from $413 billion to $524 billion. This shows that our approach to growing the economy has worked by opening freer markets.
What it means, quite simply, is that our exports grew 32%. In the worst economic recession since the Great Depression, we were able to create 1.2 million net new jobs, and Canadians had more money in their pocket. They were able to buy more things and we were able to import more things.
In closing, I want to encourage the Liberal government to stop dithering. Businesses and communities such as mine need certainty. In Oshawa this year, there is going to be a decision made. During this contract year, please stop dithering. Give a solid signal to the business sector, to companies that want to invest in Canada, that want to be part of Canada being a world hub for export and automotive export around Asia, North America, and Europe. Allow that to take place by making a decision on the TPP.