Mr. Speaker, I will be sharing my time with the member for Windsor West.
I am rising today to speak to the NDP motion, which proposes a series of practical, targeted and carefully thought-out measures that will lay the foundation for a more solid and sustainable economy. These measures will support the middle class, strengthen the manufacturing industry and help small businesses and manufacturers create jobs.
To that end, we are proposing that the accelerated capital cost allowance be extended by two years; that the small business income tax rate be immediately reduced from 11% to 10%, and then to 9% when finances permit; and that an innovation tax credit be introduced to support investment in machinery, in equipment used for research and development and in property to further innovation and increase productivity.
This last measure will repair the damage caused when the Conservatives cut the tax credit for scientific research and experimental development and will encourage innovation in Canada.
This is an intelligent, innovative and balanced approach to resource management that will get the country back on track. These measures, which were carefully developed by our team, were well received by broad range of stakeholder groups.
I would like to quote a few of them who gave their opinion on this subject. First, 84% of members of the Canadian Federation of Independent Business indicated that a reduction of the small business tax rate would be a very effective measure to maintain or strengthen business performance. The federation believes that any lost tax revenues for the federal government will be more than made up for in the longer term by the benefits of small businesses' contributions to the economy through job creation and the growth of small businesses at the local level.
The tax burden is the most important issue for over 75% of the small businesses that make up the 20,000 members of the CFIB who answered this survey on March 3, 2014.
Canadian Manufacturers and Exporters also supports us. The organization said that the NDP made the manufacturing sector the cornerstone of its economic plan in Ottawa, following the NDP leader's announcement that he wants to reduce taxes for small businesses and support investment in job creation in the manufacturing sector.
After a decade of the Conservative government mismanagement of the economy, middle-class families are working harder than ever but their situation continues to deteriorate. The Conservatives have not built a sustainable and balanced economy. Their policies have caused the loss of more than 400,000 jobs in the manufacturing sector alone.
The Conservatives have reduced taxes by 25% for rich companies since coming to power, yet they have reduced taxes by only 1% for small businesses. Why do they still prefer to grant generous tax benefits to the wealthy few and leave most Canadians behind?
Canadians have had enough. They want a government that is capable of bringing about real and tangible change, a government that truly understands what needs to be done, not one that favours the interests of the wealthy few.
Against a backdrop of growing economic uncertainty, due in large part to the Conservative government's poor management, many Canadian families are being left behind and have difficulty making ends meet. It is becoming increasingly difficult for Canadian households to meet their economic needs, which puts at risk their long-term economic security. Businesses are closing and employees are losing their jobs right across Canada. According to recent data released by Statistics Canada, the Canadian job market closed out the previous year with a total loss of 4,300 jobs in the month of December alone. That is a very difficult situation for many families who found themselves unemployed overnight.
This is the situation in every region of the country. Southwest Montreal is also in the grips of this new reality. In my riding, especially Lachine, the Finnish industrial group Metso will shut down its Lachine plant on February 13, resulting in the layoff of 95 employees still working there. At the beginning of 2014, Metso had 191 employees. The company's reason for the decision was the plummeting number of orders because of the decline in the mining sector. This is the fourth plant to close its doors in the Lachine industrial park since I was elected in 2011. This unfortunate case among so many others perfectly illustrates that the Conservatives' economic policy does not work for employment in Lachine. It does not work for employment in Quebec and it is certainly not working in the rest of Canada.
The Conservatives' strategy aims to make foreign multinationals wealthier, but it does not benefit the majority of middle-class Canadians whose jobs are unstable. The Conservative government's policy focused on natural resource development exposes jobs to the fluctuation of the raw materials market. This policy simply does not work, and in Quebec it does not create jobs—it destroys them.
We need bold action to address this problem. We will work to develop solid economic measures that make job creation a priority. The NDP believes that we need to strengthen the traditional sectors, such as resource extraction and manufacturing, while also taking advantage of new opportunities, innovation and growth to diversify Canada's economy. This plan will help create the next generation of jobs for the middle class.
We will continue to work tirelessly to help Canadian workers. The NDP continues to support small and medium-sized businesses, the real job creators in Canada. Under our strategy, we will reinvest nearly $1.2 billion to help small businesses.
One thing is sure. New Democrats will continue to fight for the middle class, which is and will continue to be a central priority for the party. We are ready to fix the damage done by the Conservatives, and we will not rest until we reverse the dangerous trends that have pressed middle-class families and made their lives more difficult.
As our NDP leader has said, it is without doubt that one of the most important economic assets that Canada has is the middle class, and I could not agree more.
We urge the government to seriously consider these practical and effective suggestions that will have a positive impact on Canada's industrial sector and will kick-start our economy. These measures were designed to support Canada's manufacturing base and to give a strong signal to investors, telling them that they can count on a New Democrat government to help Canada's manufacturing sector successfully transition to a new era.
I would like to add that I have visited a lot of businesses in my riding since I was elected. Two years ago we launched a big campaign focusing on credit cards. We spoke to small-business owners about a variety of topics. These are concrete actions that will help them.
I mentioned the manufacturing sector, which is not doing well in southern Ontario. A number of factories are closing down in Montreal. This is quite alarming, and our government has yet to introduce a budget while telling us everything is fine. Every time we hear from the government, it is as though the figures are perfect and everyone is doing well.
This is not the situation in my riding. In fact, a member of Parliament is primarily a service to the public. Constituents come to meet me to say that they have lost their job and that they are finding it hard to feed their children or to buy them decent clothes. When I go visit the food banks in my riding, I realize that they are being very heavily used. I go on Wednesdays sometimes to give out food and I see hundreds of people coming in for a loaf of bread because they cannot afford to buy it if there is no food bank to help them.
It is high time we diversified our economy. What has been done so far shows it is not working. It is very sad to hear our Liberal and Conservative colleagues say that they will not support this motion, because these are really very concrete measures. They have been examined and they can really make a difference for workers in the manufacturing sector. We have today to convince our friends in the other parties, for the sake of the vitality of our economy and Canada’s economy.
I heard my colleague from Parkdale—High Park earlier today telling us that Canada has always been a prosperous country. People from all over the world used to come to Canada for work because the country was creating good jobs. This is no longer the case. The situation is getting worse and it has been allowed to get worse by the current government, which tells us that everything is fine. It is often said that if we want to change something, the first thing to do is to admit there is a problem and face the facts. Once we are aware of the situation, we can change it.
I hope that this will be the case today, because when I am told all the time that everything is fine, I get the impression that the government really does not know what is going on and what is happening in ridings such as mine, where factories are closing down.
I really hope that we can make progress for the benefit of the Canadian community.