Madam Speaker, I am honoured to rise in the House today to talk about the new NAFTA deal, which Canadians throughout this great nation have worked so hard on.
For over a year we have negotiated hard, for a good, modernized free trade agreement with our partners: the United States and Mexico. I would like to thank all Canadians, from every part of this country, from all walks of life, and from all political points of view for helping and supporting our government over the course of these negotiations.
We have heard from over 47,000 Canadians to ensure their views were considered at the negotiating table, and we have spoken to over 1,300 stakeholders, including businesses, unions, indigenous groups, women entrepreneurs, academics, youth and political leaders from all parties.
A special thanks to our Prime Minister, Deputy Prime Minister, the NAFTA council, premiers and municipal partners for joining in this effort to protect, support and create Canadian jobs, and sustain and enhance our business communities throughout this great nation.
Our focus in bringing the new NAFTA to Parliament is to preserve and foster opportunity for our workers, our businesses and Canadians, and for our communities from coast to coast to coast to thrive, ensuring that their business interests, once again and well into the future, are sustained, as well as enhanced.
Businesses and industries across our country rely on free trade agreements, like the new NAFTA, to grow their customer base, ensuring that their products and services are available at competitive pricing in Canada and the United States, as well as Mexico, and to strengthen their diversification options to contribute to strengthening their overall global performance.
By reaching more consumers and building more profits, Canadian businesses are then able to create jobs, build stronger communities and grow our economy. The new NAFTA is certainly excellent for Canada's growing economy, as it will support well-paying, middle-class jobs.
With this new agreement, we are being proactive and constructive for our national steel industry, especially for local industries in Niagara, such as Welland's ASW Steel. We are supporting innovation, as well as diversification in steel and in steel-related industry, sustaining the industry and the skilled trades that support it.
In Niagara Centre, small and medium-sized businesses will in fact benefit from this new chapter, including Iafrate Machine Works in the city of Thorold, a family-owned, custom machine business in that community.
Reliable trade agreements will not only increase trade and investment opportunities specifically for small and medium-sized enterprises, but will also allow such businesses to continue growing and have the potential to expand abroad.
Despite remarkable improvements in the area of skilled trades since 2015, our government is aware that it needs to do much more. Our government is committed to continuing its work in order to provide necessary tools and support for Canadians to be at their very best, and to ensure they get the skills they need to improve and contribute to this great nation, find and keep stable jobs, as well as sustain our economy. This is being made available to them as individuals to once again contribute.
Several regions across our great country are finding it extremely hard to find qualified workers to fill many positions. Niagara Centre is no exception. We are experiencing a skilled trades shortage throughout our region as well.
We need welders, pipefitters, boilermakers, seafarers, tile setters, plumbers, technicians, cooks, chefs and other hands-on hardworking skilled tradespeople.
For example, we introduced the Canada training benefit in 2019. It is a personalized and portable training benefit to help Canadians plan and get the training they need for a successful career.
Our government was able to boost federal support to provinces and territories by $2.7 billion over six years. This investment aims to help unemployed and underemployed Canadians access the training and employment supports they need to find and keep good paying jobs.
Our government has also invested $225 million over four years to identify and fill gaps in the economy in order to help Canadians be best prepared. Additional investments and collaboration with our different partners will allow us to work collectively in our fight against skilled trade shortages.
The new NAFTA will bring more job opportunities for Canadians, enabling them to pursue stable and successful careers in construction, transportation, manufacturing and service-related industries.
I bring this to the attention of members of the House because many programs introduced by our government align with the new NAFTA, sustaining and growing this great nation's economy. This will certainly have a positive impact on the standard of living of all Canadians and our economic growth. As many members in the House know, I am extremely passionate about transportation and infrastructure, and that is also key to my riding in Niagara.
The Welland Canal, the Queen Elizabeth Way, Highway 406 and the Niagara-Hamilton trade corridor all position Niagara-Hamilton as a perfect example of how strategic, interconnected locations with different modes of transport can come together and benefit from trade agreements.
As a binational region connecting the U.S. to our great nation, Niagara-Hamilton is a vital economic gateway for trade between Canada and our American trade partners.
As advantageous as it is for Niagara-Hamilton, our strategic location benefits our nation, ensuring fluidity in goods movement. With the new NAFTA, we are able to safeguard more than $2 billion a day in cross-border trade and tariff-free trade access to our largest trading partner, the United States.
I am honoured to have been a member of the Standing Committee on Transport, Infrastructure and Communities throughout the last Parliament, which led to the establishment of a national transportation strategy, trade corridor strategy and ports modernization review that once again align with the new NAFTA, sustaining and growing Canada's economy.
Much progress has already been made to improve rail, air, road and marine transportation, integrating distribution and logistics, particularly in strategic areas of the country, such as the Niagara-Hamilton area, and in turn, working on the productivity and quality of life in Canadian communities.
With the new NAFTA come great new opportunities for all Canadians and for the people living in my riding of Niagara Centre. With this in mind, and moving forward in the 43rd Parliament, I look forward to working with all members in this House to further economic, environmental and social strategies that will contribute to all 338 ridings and all Canadians.