Mr. Speaker, I am pleased to share my time with the member for Victoria.
I will start by talking about the Lower Laurentians region, where the riding of Marc-Aurèle-Fortin is found. My riding is strategically located, and there are a number of major highways crossing the riding, including the 15, 13 and 640. We are not far from the Port of Montreal, which, I remind members, is the primary port in central Canada's industrial zone. We are a few kilometres from two major airports, Mirabel and Montreal, which bears the name of someone who shall not be named. In short, this is a flourishing region. At this time, we hope to increase our population by 34%. The only other region in Quebec that has experienced more growth is the Lanaudière region. I am confident that we will overtake that region.
Almost 60,000 jobs have been created, including 37,000 to fill vacancies created by retirements. Nevertheless, there are 22,000 new jobs. What is extraordinary is the nature of these jobs. Although there are many precarious jobs, there are also some very good jobs, such as those at Canadair, Bell Helicopter and Parker Hannifin. Every pharmaceutical company is located in our area. Those are not $12-an-hour jobs. They are jobs that pay more than $60,000 a year and that come with job security, benefits and collective agreements. Furthermore, these major employers purchase goods and services, and there is a long list of SMEs that supply them with parts and other goods.
A little help is needed from time to time— not just a speech, but concrete action—to keep things rolling along. We have talked a lot recently about aerospace and shipbuilding policies. That is all fine and well. However, as far as I know, not many ships are being built in Halifax right now. The government has not even been able to produce the final plans for the Arctic patrol ships. There were supposed to be eight, and that dropped to six, and now it might be five, poorly outfitted vessels. From time to time, you have to deliver the goods. This government boasts that it wants to provide good aircraft for our soldiers. They can try again, because the aircraft has not been delivered. We were expecting them to do a little better. We were also expecting a policy to promote technological innovation in the aerospace sector. This is not just about ordering equipment abroad and spinning off subcontracts with no value added in Canada. We were expecting better and we did not get it.
That is what leads the NDP to say that this will support bad jobs. Some people are telling us that they created 1,200,000 jobs. What they forget to say is that, during the recession, they lost 700,000 jobs. The remaining 500,000 new jobs are precarious, poorly paid and part-time jobs. Jobs that paid $25 an hour are being replaced with jobs that pay $13 or $14 an hour. Something is not working.
When middle-class Canadians are earning $30,000 a year rather than $50,000 or $60,000, it is not easy for them to make their mortgage payments. It is hard to believe but it is true: banks look at what kind of job you have before they will give you a mortgage. They check to see if you have a good, stable job. Generally speaking, the middle class is having more and more trouble going to the bank and proving that they have what it takes to buy a house. You cannot buy a house if you do not have a good, stable, well-paying job.
Because of this problem, we are saying that we are going to provide real support, not just talk about it. We are going to take action to create good jobs, particularly in the manufacturing sector, where a huge number of jobs have been lost.
There will always be a few wealthy people who say that everything is going well. However, the people that worked at the Electro-Motive plant in London, or for GM, Ford or Chrysler, do not share that view. They had good jobs and would have liked to keep them, but that did not happen. We are going to take action in that area.
We propose a two-year extension for the accelerated capital cost allowance, to help people who want to buy equipment improve their productivity. We also plan to lower the small business tax rate. Just now, someone said that the big companies create most of the jobs, but that is no longer true. The vast majority of good jobs are created by SMEs. We are not talking about small food service companies that provide five or six jobs, but firms that have 100 or 200 employees. They have a well-established economic network, they specialize in a specific area, and they create good jobs. I believe that everyone in this House would be happy if every Canadian had a good job.
I am sure that the vast majority of members of this House are interested in seeing people no longer having to rely on food banks. I am sure it gives pleasure to no one to learn that some Canadians are losing their homes because they have lost their livelihood. Sometimes, you have to act and follow through—you have to walk the talk. Therefore, we have to talk about this and provide direction.
We want to support our traditional sectors of resource extraction and manufacturing, while also providing opportunities for innovation. That has to be supported. That is why we are in favour of investments of that kind. We want to create jobs to replace the 400,000 we lost. However, we will be able to do so only if we engage in the primary, secondary and tertiary processing of our resources. It is not a question of loading them on a boat and shipping them as quickly as possible. We have to compel companies to make appropriate investments, and create employment here, so that the added value is generated here.
In the lower Laurentians area, the federal government is virtually absent in terms of job creation. We want to build factories, but this requires land. The federal government is the largest owner of non-agricultural land in the riding, and it is a nightmare to try to get it to take action and provide support.
I would like to take this opportunity to sing the praises of my region, which is the home of the Paccar truck company, the latest Canadian truck manufacturer. This is an important business. It creates employment, even though this is not easy to do. When the company was on the brink of closing, Bernard Landry, Quebec’s former finance minister, said he wanted to keep it open at any price because it was very important and that we should act accordingly. This is exactly what happened. He acted accordingly and he kept this company going.
I would like the government to show us that it is willing to defend the industry and the jobs that it creates. It must defend it tooth and nail. I do not see any sign that the Conservatives are acting aggressively or proactively. They are just standing on the sidelines, watching as the train goes by, and it is not even going in the right direction.