Mr. Speaker, it is great to rise to speak to this opposition day. It is great to rise because we know the economy of Canada is strong. We know the economy is growing. We know that benefits all middle-class workers and those Canadians who are working very hard and diligently to join the middle-class. I am proud to state that.
I would like to offer my colleagues on the other side a chance to take a look at The Globe and Mail today and the article from the CEO of Linamar, Linda Hasenfratz. She talks about her company investing hundreds of millions of dollars in their plants in Guelph. She talks about the company competing and winning. She talks about Ontario being a place the world can invest in because of its innovation and highly-valued manufacturing. She talks about those jobs coming to the province of Ontario.
I, as a member of Parliament for the riding of Vaughan—Woodbridge, know full well the economic contributions of our entrepreneurs who are working diligently, putting capital to work and employing thousands of Canadians and, most important, creating those good middle-class jobs that we want for Canadians and their families.
Three years ago, Canadians chose a government committed to growing the middle class and creating new opportunities for Canadians to succeed. They wanted a government that would base its decision on science and facts. They wanted a government that would be bold, that would be a trailblazer, that would lead, and we are certainly doing that. They wanted solutions that worked, with a proven record of delivering positive results for Canadians.
Canadians do not want Canada to be more competitive simply to enrich the top 1% at the expense of everyone else. Canadians want a more competitive Canada so hard-working Canadians have more opportunities to share in the benefits that come from a strong and growing economy.
We asked the wealthiest 1% of Canadians to pay a little more so we could cut taxes for the middle class Canadians, a tax cut for nine million Canadians over a five-year period, a multi-billion dollar tax cut for hard-working middle-class Canadians from coast to coast to coast.
With new measures like the Canada child benefit, we have provided real help to those who need it. These results are not built on ideology; they are built on facts and the facts are clear. Over the course of the past three years, Canadians have created over half a million full-time jobs. Many of those jobs are in the city of Vaughan in the riding I represent, Vaughan—Woodbridge.
The unemployment rate is at a historic 40-year low and the share of working-age Canadians with jobs is at an all-time high. Our economy grew at the fastest pace among our G7 peers in 2017, at 3%, and we are expected to remain among the leaders in growth this year and next year. Most important, the economic growth we are seeing in Canada is inclusive and Canadians are benefiting from it. Groups that have been under-represented in the labour force, such as young Canadians, new Canadians, women and indigenous peoples, are joining the workforce and improving their position in it.
Our successes in building a more competitive economy are far from over. We know, for example, that there is tremendous untapped potential within Canada's small business sector. By empowering entrepreneurs, we are empowering Canadians.
Seven out of ten jobs in the private sector are created by small businesses. We know that keeping taxes low and competitive allows Canadian business owners to keep more of their revenues so they can invest more in their companies and create even more well-paid jobs.
That is why we reduced the small business tax to 10% effective last January. In January 2019, the rate will be reduced even further to 9%.
However, there is still work to be done. Even though Canada's economy is strong and growing, we know that we cannot take that for granted. The Government of Canada listened to the business community. We understood that many businesses are concerned about their competitiveness, the recent tax reform in the U.S., and the impact that current international trade disputes could have on their bottom line.
We also know that Canadian businesses have what it takes to compete and succeed. In our fall economic statement, we looked for ways to encourage this investment in a responsible and targeted way so that businesses can have confidence in the future and be better able to invest in jobs for the middle class.
We continue to grow and strengthen our middle class here in Canada, the backbone of our economy.
Our fall economic statement proposed a number of tax changes designed to support business investment. These changes include allowing businesses to immediately write off the full cost of machinery and equipment used in manufacturing and processing as well as the full cost of specific clean-energy equipment.
We are also introducing the accelerated investment incentive to allow businesses of all sizes and across all sectors to write off a larger share of the cost of newly acquired assets in the year they are purchased.
These are important changes because increased deductions will attract more investment in assets that will stimulate business growth and make more jobs available for middle-class Canadians.
An accelerated capital cost allowance will grow our economy, incentivize firms to invest here in Canada and continue to invest here in Canada, and is something we can be proud of as a prudent fiscal measure in response to the measures that were brought in by the United States. We are doing it in a fiscally prudent manner. We are lowering our debt-to-GDP ratio. We are strengthening our fiscal anchor. We are growing our economy. We are strengthening our middle class, something we should all be proud of in this country.
The fall economic statement also proposes measures to do more to modernize regulations so as to make it easier for businesses to grow.
Perhaps my colleagues have heard people say that one of the biggest challenges for businesses is complying with all the necessary regulations imposed by the government. Members who have owned businesses might have first-hand experience with this. Let me be very clear: regulations play an important role.
We need to understand that regulations play an important role in attracting investment. Our regulations need to be transparent. They need to be effective. There needs to be a certainty. With bills like Bill C-69, that is what we are doing. We are putting regulations in bills for investors to know and understand the rules that they face so that they can invest here in Canada and continue to grow our economy.
Regulations serve as a book of rules governing how businesses must carry out their activities, and they play a crucial role in protecting the health and safety of Canadians and protecting our natural environment. Over time, however, regulations can become outdated, and regulatory burdens can accumulate, making Canada a less attractive place to invest and do business.
In our fall economic statement, we are taking action to overcome that challenge, for example, by planning a review of the legislative provisions so as to encourage regulators to take into account efficiency and economic considerations. To that end, we are introducing an annual modernization bill to keep regulations up to date, striking an external advisory committee to look at Canada's regulatory competitiveness, creating a centre for regulatory innovation and taking immediate action in response to a number of business recommendations.
We are also taking steps to help make Canada the most globally connected economy in the world. With the successful conclusion of the new North American Free Trade Agreement, as well as the Canada-European Union Comprehensive Economic and Trade Agreement, CETA, and the Comprehensive and Progressive Agreement for Trans-Pacific Partnership, CPTPP. We are continuing our ongoing negotiations with Mercosur, and let us hope we can come to a trade agreement there. We know that progressive liberalized trade lifts all boats, strengthens our middle class, creates jobs here in Canada, creates jobs abroad, and is something good that we need to do for our future, the future of my children, and those great manufacturers and entrepreneurs located in the riding of Vaughan—Woodbridge.
Canada is now the only G7 country to have free trade agreements concluded with all other G7 nations. We want to give Canadian businesses more opportunities to grow and succeed. That is why we are proposing things like an export diversification strategy, to help grow Canada's overseas exports by 50% by 2025, with more help for small and medium-sized businesses, to help them explore new export opportunities.
To boost trade overseas, the government is also proposing accelerated investments in transportation corridors leading to Asia and Europe.
The actions taken by our government are not just making Canadians more competitive, we also want Canadians to benefit from being more competitive, with more jobs and brighter futures. That is what our government is about: strengthening the middle class.