Mr. Speaker, I would like to indicate that I will be sharing my time with the member for Surrey North.
I am pleased to rise in the House today to support the NDP motion to support small businesses in creating jobs, stimulating innovation and diversifying our economy. The motion calls on the government to extend the accelerated capital cost allowance by two years, reduce the small business tax rate immediately and introduce an innovation tax credit to increase productivity.
I am going to focus on the benefits of the second and third actions proposed in the motion for my constituency of LaSalle—Émard. I would like to describe the entrepreneurs in my constituency. After the halcyon years of the manufacturing sector, it experienced a significant decline, leaving room for small enterprises and businesses in various economic sectors. According to Statistics Canada’s Business Register, the economic profile of the borough of Lasalle shows that 71% of the small businesses in Lasalle employ fewer than 10 workers, and 20% of them are in the retail trade sector, followed by transportation and warehousing with 11%.
I would like to say that I have had an opportunity to visit many businesses and retailers in my constituency, whether along Dollard Avenue in Lasalle or on Monk Boulevard in the southwest. The entrepreneurs and retailers in my constituency demonstrate resilience, hard work and creativity, in spite of a difficult economy and fierce competition. Despite all their goodwill, however, and like the middle class, they are having trouble making ends meet. This is why tax relief for small businesses, as proposed in our motion, would mean they could focus on creating jobs in the community.
Ours has traditionally been a manufacturing economy. Canada, and in particular the Montreal region, was recognized for the strength and innovative capacity of its businesses. Unfortunately, in recent years, under the Liberal and Conservative governments, more than 400,000 jobs have been lost in the manufacturing sector. Those jobs were well paid and secure. They have given way to much more precarious jobs in economic sectors that are much more vulnerable to upheavals in our economy.
The small and medium-sized businesses that have managed to survive in the manufacturing sector represent nearly 40% of our GDP and employ some eight million people. In my constituency, the majority of which is middle class, 49% of business establishments are small, and I would even say very small. They operate in the manufacturing, retail trade and services sectors.
In 2013, 21.5% of the residents of Lasalle worked in the manufacturing industry. However, that figure indicates a decline from 2001 when 37% of the labour force in my constituency worked in the manufacturing sector.
In an urban constituency like the one I represent, with an unemployment rate of 8.2% that is rising to 15% among young people, where the middle class is having trouble making ends meet and where the next generation of entrepreneurs is a priority, we need concrete measures like the ones proposed by the NDP to support the middle class, to make our economy work for people and to encourage the creation of good jobs.
Furthermore, according to a recent study published by the OECD, Canadian federal investments in funding innovation as a percentage of GDP devoted to research and development are among the lowest of the OECD countries. While the average is 2.4% of the GDP, Canada is only investing 0.69%. This situation has a negative impact on our industrial competitiveness, our innovation capacity, job creation, and is damaging our economy.
As the Council of Canadian Academies mentioned in a study named, “Innovation Impacts: Measurement and Assessment”:
Today, economic and social well-being is perhaps even more intimately tied to innovation....To ensure continued prosperity, governments must commit to innovation as a cornerstone of long-term public policies.
It is for that reason, and many other good reasons, as noted by the Council of Canadian Academies and the recent report by the OECD, that we are also suggesting the introduction of an innovation tax credit for the manufacturing sector to assist companies that invest in machinery, equipment and property to further research and development.
Through such a credit, we seek to stimulate innovation and improve the productivity of Canadian manufacturers who make crucial investments in research and development by enabling them to save some $40 million a year. These are key, specific proposals to stimulate innovation and job creation and help diversify our economy.
I would like to take this opportunity to pay tribute to some key partners: entrepreneurs and merchants in my riding with whom I work actively, including the Chambre de commerce et d'industrie du Sud-Ouest de Montréal, the Regroupement économique et social du Sud-Ouest, Développement économique LaSalle and other organizations that assist our entrepreneurs, encourage creativity and support our businesses.
In co-operation with the chamber of commerce and the Coopérative de développement régional Montréal-Laval, I organized a working lunch on the theme of co-operatives for business creation and for succession, a model for today and for the future.
As the critic for co-operatives, I would remind the House of the importance of co-operatives in business creation and succession. Entrepreneurs often do not think of this business model for entrepreneurial succession, and I would like to bring it once more to the attention of the House.
As an NDP MP, this is the work I am doing to support SMEs, merchants and industries in LaSalle—Émard.
The NDP motion designed to stimulate our economy and create jobs is part of the NDP plan to put Canada on the right track. It is part of our plan to build a sustainable economy for the benefit of all.
I call upon all members of the House to support the NDP motion and show their support for small and medium-sized enterprises, which create the vast majority of the jobs in Canada, and for our manufacturing sector.