Madam Speaker, I thank my friend from Gatineau for his speech.
I am very proud to rise this afternoon to speak on Bill C-63 , a second act to implement certain provisions of the budget tabled in Parliament on March 22, 2017 and other measures.
I want to start by acknowledging that we are gathered here on the traditional unceded lands of the Algonquin people.
This is the first time I am actually making a full speech since my good friend and mentor Arnold Chan passed on September 14. I do want to take this opportunity to remember him and to reflect on his enormous contribution to Canada, and express my continued support and love to the Chan-Yip family.
I want to congratulate the Minister of Finance on directing such a great job on our economy. I know there is limited time for me to speak before question period, so I want to just have the first part of my speech contextualize the position of our economy today, two years since our government took office.
It is very clear that our policies are indeed working. In the past four quarters alone, the Canadian economy grew at the fastest rate since 2006. The average growth was 3.7% for the past four quarters. The economy created 450,000 jobs since late 2015. That is a remarkable number to reflect on.
The unemployment rate is the lowest it has been since 2008. This economy is projected to continue growing with a forecasted growth of 3.1% annually, the fastest growth rate in any of the G7 countries.
We have the lowest debt-to-GDP ratio of any G7 nation. The economy is directly benefiting from our progressive economic policies. Our aim is to reduce the gap between the rich and the poor, and build a middle class that will be the engine of this country. We want to ensure that no one is left behind, and, yes, that will mean that those with the ability to pay more ought to pay more.
Members may recall the measures that our government has put in with respect to where the economy has now landed. First, with respect to the middle class, we have lowered taxes on the middle class. We have put more money into the pockets of people who drive the economy. We have cut taxes for nine million Canadians.
The Canada child benefit has been an enormous source of strength to our economy. I look forward to picking up on that and elaborating more on its benefits to my riding.