Madam Speaker, I would like to take this opportunity to congratulate you on your appointment. I would also like to inform you that I will share my time with the hon. member for Parkdale—High Park.
I would like to thank all of my constituents in Marc-Aurèle-Fortin for giving me the privilege and honour of representing them here in the House. I would also like to thank all those who helped me throughout the election campaign: my many friends and particularly my family, including my sister Marianne and my niece Stéphanie.
I rise today in support of this resolution in favour of small businesses. I support it because, historically, the CCF and the NDP have always been in favour of small business. We must remember that, historically, the founding members of the CCF were farmers, people who ran their small agricultural businesses, people who worked in transport, in construction, who had small businesses. These people got together in 1933 for their first big battle: creating the Canadian Wheat Board. They succeeded in 1935. Throughout the economic recession, they understood that uniting their small businesses could help create large Canadian institutions. These small businesses continued to prosper and now, these same small businesses create the majority of jobs. They also represent 30% of our exports.
Small businesses in Canada are firmly committed to innovation. Quite often, these small businesses are the creation of young university grads who, upon getting their university degree, set up small laboratories, innovative companies. They create companies that they hope will become successful. They hope that they will grow and will create jobs.
Clearly, we must support small businesses. That is why the NDP resolutely decided to show its complete trust in them, as demonstrated in our platform. The NDP would like the government to give a $4,500 tax credit for each job created. A $4,500 tax credit could be a lifeline for a small business. Not only would this allow it to create jobs, but it could even help the company survive. Indeed, we must not kid ourselves; the first few months for any SME can be excruciating and difficult. However, SMEs create jobs. They create real wealth, not speculation. That is not something that can disappear in just a few days, at the speed of an email. That is what happened in the U.S., a country that is big on deregulation, big on perfect and free enterprise, a country that systematically favours large institutions. At this time, the U.S. government has had to go heavily into debt in order to save institutions that may not have deserved to be saved. A $4,500 tax credit for each job created in an SME could go a long way.
We will also support scientific research and experimental development. The government had the opportunity to increase funding for small businesses. It did not do so. Yet we all know that innovation in biotechnology, electronics and all the areas that represent Canada's economic future takes research and development funding. The government missed a good opportunity to support this segment of the economy.
They are also lowering taxes. At present, small businesses are taxed at 11%. That rate could have been lowered to 9%. Lowering taxes in a sector that creates jobs is important.
We have to support job creation and lower taxes for industries that agree to create jobs. Unfortunately, after 12 years of programs from Paul Martin and the current finance minister, we have not seen the major beneficiaries of the tax cuts pass on the slightest benefit to the Canadian public by creating massive numbers of jobs. Twelve years is a relatively long time over which to evaluate a program. This program of systematic corporate tax cuts has clearly not worked, while, despite all the challenges they face, small businesses are creating jobs.
We also generally see in SMEs all the problems that come from the absence of a pension plan. They are too small to qualify for the major private pension plans. The NDP is in favour of revitalizing the Canada pension plan by increasing the pension benefit from 25% to 50% in order to guarantee Canadian workers 50% of their salary as a pension regardless of where they work.
The Canada pension plan was tailor-made for SME employees who do not have access to major pension plans. The NDP has continued working for small business. We believe that SMEs are the future. Entrepreneurs are focusing more and more on the social economy, the environmental economy, the knowledge economy, and they are increasingly running their businesses as co-operatives. They are following in the footsteps of those who created the CCF and the NDP.
This motion simply acknowledges the fact that Canada's economy and job creation are actively supported by SMEs. Without this economic activity, the recession would have hit much harder. We would have suffered a much higher unemployment rate. As in the United States, we would have suffered from the social exclusion of the poorest people. SMEs, firmly focused on the social economy, work to care for and support the poorest in our country who have reached an age where they need active support to stay in their homes. Yes, this social economy will continue to grow. It would be nice to see the government actively supporting it.
The knowledge economy will continue to grow at the speed with which students graduate from university, trained and ready to apply their knowledge to wealth creation and not speculation. This SME economy is firmly focused on job co-operatives, social housing co-operatives, and fishery development co-operatives. Co-operatives can be created in any sector. This economy is based on the idea that wealth creation should belong to those who create wealth, not those who invent it through speculation.
We are strongly opposed to all of the economic activities proposed by the Government of Canada, which aim only to support big businesses and which do nothing for Canada.