Mr. Speaker, I thank my colleague, the member for Renfrew—Nipissing—Pembroke, for sharing her time.
It is an honour to rise in the House today to speak to third reading of Bill C-13, keeping Canada's economy and jobs growing act. I am proud to stand to speak in support of our government's record.
Last May Canadians elected a strong Conservative government, a government that has earned the trust of Canadians. Our government worked hard in two minority governments to achieve this. For too many years before that, Canadians had a government that lacked accountability and transparency, a government that treated taxpayers' dollars recklessly. In May, Canadians spoke loud and clear, and chose a government that has earned their respect and confidence.
Our government has steadfastly provided good economic policies that have allowed this great country to weather the global slowdown better than many other industrial countries. It is our task to continue on and support the policies that have allowed Canada to remain strong.
Our government is focused on what matters to Canadians: creating jobs and promoting economic growth. While Canadians are keenly aware of this, the G7 countries are also aware of our economic position. The International Monetary Fund has projected that Canada will be among the strongest in economic growth of the G7 for the next two years. This is a time to continue with the sound policies of our 2011 budget which does this.
It is our duty as a government to look beyond this moment and work to create positive successful policies that will provide for our future generations. Bill C-13, keeping Canada's economy and jobs growing act, is about precisely that. With the support that is provided to communities by legislating a permanent annual investment of $2 billion in the gas tax fund to provide predictable long-term infrastructure funding for municipalities and enhancing the wage earner protection program, we are looking to the future and working beyond today's economy. Canadians expect that and we are delivering it.
In my riding of Willowdale, a very urban riding, we recently announced a new partnership between Seneca College with small and medium-sized businesses, enterprises that will help conduct research and bring innovative ideas to market, bringing innovative ideas to commercialization.
Commercialization is the engine for job creation and employment for young entrepreneurs and students who are coming into the job market. This is due to investment from the Federal Economic Development Agency. Our government is working to make the most of our opportunities to innovate, adapt and grow, and secure a prosperous future. I was proud to share in this announcement. It is policies like these that have Canada moving in the right direction, a direction that has been envied by many countries in the world.
We are continuing to help families by introducing the new family caregiver tax credit to assist caregivers of all types of infirm dependent relatives. We know that families are the pillars of our communities. We want them to have the resources they require to have the best opportunities and sound futures. By removing the limit on the amount of eligible expenses caregivers can now claim under the medical expense tax credit, we are assisting those who are financially dependent on relatives. We understand the pressures that Canadians face.
Furthermore, the child arts tax credit is one of that many parents in Willowdale will want to utilize. We understand the benefits of these programs to children and families, and we know that supporting these artistic, cultural and recreational activities will benefit our future citizens in many ways.
Our government has shown respect for taxpayers. The keeping Canada's economy and jobs growing act phases out the direct subsidy of political parties. Political parties should not be directly subsidized by Canadian tax dollars.
The Toronto Board of Trade has said that the 2011 federal budget achieves a prudent balance of taxability and deficit reduction measures while pointing to long-term infrastructure investment opportunities. This is a good plan for both Toronto and Canada.
Our government believes in low taxes. We want to leave more hard-earned money in the pockets of Canadians. My colleagues across the floor continue to have a high tax agenda that would increase taxes on job creating businesses to pay for billions and billions of reckless spending and bloated government programs in Ottawa. Canadians spoke against such policies last spring.
We have cut taxes 120 times since 2006, reducing the overall debt burden to the lowest level in nearly 50 years.
I think we are one of the most competitive low tax jurisdictions in the world.
Under our government, Canada has had seven straight quarters of economic growth and created nearly 600,000 net new jobs since July 2009, of which over 80% are full-time positions.
Our government is enhancing our guaranteed income supplement. Eligible low income seniors will now receive an additional benefit of up to $600 for single seniors and $840 for couples, helping more than 680,000 seniors across Canada. We understand the challenges that some seniors are facing in these tough economic times and the GIS will put more dollars in their pockets.
Recently, the Royal Bank of Canada released its economic survey suggesting that Canada's economy is set to pick up despite volatile global financial markets. The RBC has indicated that it is expected that the Canadian economy will rebound. I am confident that the sound fiscal and sometimes difficult choices of the government have paved the way for this.
On this side of the House we also understand that families want to lower their heating and electricity bills by making their homes more energy efficient. That is why we are extending the eco-energy retrofit homes program. This program has been a success. Until March 31, 2012, homeowners are eligible to receive grants of up to $5,000 to make their homes more energy efficient. I know many of the residents of Willowdale will want to make energy-efficient improvements at home and this program will help them.
Our government understands the importance of this program to Canadians. It has the added benefit of creating a green economy, the precise economy that we are looking for to meet the challenges of the 21st century and to help the new economy on its path to conserve jobs and to build new jobs. There has been much discussion with respect to new technologies and the new green economy.
Our government understands that Canadians are worried about the quality of the air we breathe, along with pollutants and chemicals affecting our environment. Canadian families deserve the best air, water and cleanest environment possible.
The next phase of Canada's economic action plan maintains our Conservative government's strong record of supporting a cleaner and more sustainable environment. I will outline some of the measures that we have put in place to do this.
Indeed, for 2011-12, our Conservative government is investing more to protect the environment than in 2010-11. Investments include: $400 million for the eco-energy retrofit homes program to support Canadians in making their homes more energy efficient, $252 million to support regulatory activities to address climate change and air quality, nearly $200 million to help address the health and environmental risks posed by dangerous chemicals through the chemicals management plan, $97 million to develop and promote clean energy technologies, $86 million to support clean energy regulatory actions, $68 million to clean up federal contaminated sites, $48 million to develop transportation sector regulations and next generation clean transportation initiatives, $40 million to support new climate change and clean air projects under Sustainable Development Technology Canada, $35 million to support climate and atmospheric sciences research, and the list goes on.
Our government is moving in the right direction on the environment. I am confident of the results of these initiatives for today and for future generations.
We are focused on what matters to Canadians, which is to create jobs and promote economic growth. We have taken strategic measures to help weather the global economic slowdown. However, we need to stay the course and implement the next phase of Canada's economic action plan.
I urge my colleagues across the floor to support this legislation, which is a continuation of sound policy that has made Canada the envy of many countries.
We have worked hard as a government to assist our entrepreneurs and we are continuing this in budget 2011. The new hiring credit for small business will provide up $1,000 against small business EI premiums for new hires.
The World Economic Forum has ranked Canada's banking system as the strongest and safest in the world. The policies of our government have not gone unnoticed. The Economist magazine has named Canada the best place to invest and do business in the next five years.
Having indicated all of these policies are in place, I urge my colleagues across the way to support these measures, the continuation of sound economic ideas that have proven to be sound and comprehensive.