Madam Speaker, I am very pleased to rise today to support Bill C-63, a second act to implement certain provisions of the 2017 budget.
We have come a long way since we were elected in 2015. I am proud of the record of our government, which is now more than halfway through its term in office. When I was the president of the Regroupement des gens d'affaires de Boisbriand, I remember that the economic conditions were bleak and sluggish. Now that the 2008 economic crisis is behind us, let us be proud of our economic numbers. Canada weathered the 2008 economic crisis better than any other G7 country, and that is something Canadians can be proud of.
During the last election campaign, we proposed an ambitious plan for Canadians. This plan was based on solid evidence and a belief that the entire economy would benefit if we invested in the middle class, in our workforce, and in training for our young people and workers. The numbers now speak for themselves and show that this inclusive plan is working.
Statistics Canada’s labour force survey of October 2017 shows that our economy created more than 500,000 new jobs since we came to power. The Canadian economy is growing faster than it has in more than a decade, and the unemployment rate has fallen to its lowest point since 2008. There is more good news: the most dramatic rise in employment was in Quebec, with 18,000 net new jobs in October 2017, mainly in the manufacturing sector.
Our plan is working. Today, more Canadians are employed, and the situation will continue to improve thanks to a plan that works. I would like to mention a few measures that directly affect the people in my riding, Rivière-des-Mille-Îles. They include a tax break for 9 million middle-class Canadians, the introduction of the new Canada child tax benefit, and the improvement of the Canada pension plan, to ensure that future generations of workers can enjoy a dignified retirement.
Since its introduction in July 2016, the Canada child tax benefit has put more non-taxable dollars in the pockets of thousands of Canadian families. When the Canada child tax benefit was established, the additional money in parents’ pockets had an immediate effect on consumer confidence and economic growth. The increased confidence this money gives families had an immediate impact on economic growth. This is excellent news.
The credit also benefits all children, unlike the tax credits for child fitness and children’s arts proposed by the previous government. In Rivière-des-Mille-Îles, 10,300 families are receiving more money thanks to the Canada child tax benefit. Also, 18,870 children directly benefit from a $530 monthly payment per family. This amount is non-taxable.
These numbers speak for themselves. The Canada child tax benefit has lifted hundreds of thousands of children out of poverty, and we are moving forward with improvements to our government’s key measure. That is why we intend to increase the Canada child tax benefit annually to keep up with the cost of living starting in July 2018, two years earlier than planned.
I will give an example: for a single-parent family with two children and a yearly income of $35,000, this increase represents an additional non-taxable $560 next year, which can be used for books, skating lessons, or warm clothing for the winter.
Another of our government’s key measures in Bill C-63 is obviously the lower income tax rate for small and medium-size businesses. Once again, no sooner said than done. As promised in our 2015 election platform, we are delivering on our commitment to lower the income tax rate for small and medium-size businesses.
That rate, which was 11% in 2015, will drop to 9% in 2019. That is excellent news for the Rivière-des-Mille-Îles businesses and business people who were more than willing to participate in a pre-budget round table with the Parliamentary Secretary to the Minister of Finance when he was in my riding in January 2016.
This great news will give our dynamic businesses more breathing room, allowing them to make capital investments, do renovations, buy new equipment, and even hire more staff.
A number of high-profile Quebeckers also welcomed the news. Here is what Michel Leblanc, president and CEO of the Chamber of Commerce of Metropolitan Montreal, had to say:
The tax cut announced by the Minister of Finance this morning is excellent news for small and medium-sized businesses in all sectors. Our economy is strong, and this announcement will make it even stronger. It is important to keep stimulating investment and making our businesses more competitive. Small businesses are the economic backbone of Canada and metropolitan Montreal. Reducing the tax rate will have a positive impact on our economy as a whole.
I fully support that statement because, when I travel around the four cities in my riding, business people tell me that this measure will help them.
Finally, budget 2017 puts the skilled, talented, and creative people of Canada at the heart of a more innovative economy of the future, an economy that will create jobs for the middle class of today and tomorrow.
For our government, relying on innovation also means relying on the know-how of Quebec and Canadian society. The role of elected officials is now to focus on the economy of the future, invest in their fellow citizens, and give the workers of Rivière-des-Mille-Îles the tools they need to succeed in this economy. It also means educating businesses to help them benefit from new free trade agreements like CETA.
Many measures have been taken to put Canada in a leadership position within the global economy. First, we invested $225 million over four years to identify and address skills gaps in the economy and help Canadians to be as prepared as possible for the economy of the future. Next, we created a new strategic innovation fund that will serve to attract, support, and grow Canadian companies in dynamic and emerging sectors, such as agrifood, which is a very strong sector in Rivière-des-Mille-Îles, digital technology, green technologies, and advanced manufacturing, thanks to an investment of $1.26 billion over five years. We also offered greater support to superclusters of companies that innovate in key sectors such as digital technology and green technology and that have the greatest potential to accelerate economic growth, thanks to an investment of up to $950 million over five years starting in in 2017-18.
I have always been proud to say that the greatest strength of Canada and of Rivière-des-Mille-Îles lies in its skilled, hard-working, and creative workforce. I am very proud of the measures in budget 2017 and their positive impact on my community.
I am confident that our plan will help our country prosper, both now and in the years ahead.