Mr. Speaker, I am pleased to speak today in support of Bill C-13, keeping Canada's economy and jobs growing act, as introduced by my colleague, the Minister of Finance.
Since the last federal election, I have heard a common message from constituents, business owners and community leaders alike. They have said again and again that they want our government to continue to focus on strengthening the economy and creating jobs for Canadians.
Through the economic action plan, our Conservative government delivered a record $60 billion in investments across Canada to aid Canadians and businesses during the worst global recession since the Great Depression. Through these investments and the leadership shown by our Prime Minister, Canada has seen seven straight quarters of economic growth, one of the strongest fiscal positions among the world's top performing and advanced economies.
However, more important, Canada has seen a record of 600,000-plus jobs created since July 2009, with over 80% of them being full-time jobs. Clearly, our economic action plan is working and it is putting Canadians back into the jobs they want and need.
The good news does not stop there. On October 7, Statistics Canada further reinforced that our action plan was working. In September of this year, Canada saw employment rise by 61,000 new jobs, almost all of which were full-time jobs. This increase pushed our national unemployment rate to the lowest it has been since December 2008, down to 7.1%. These jobs were spread across a number of industries, such as education services, accommodation services, natural resources and public administration, all of which provide meaningful employment opportunities to Canadians.
The good news does not stop there. Last Friday, our good friends at Statistics Canada further reinforced that the action plan was delivering to Canadians the way our Prime Minister and ministers had envisioned. In August of this year, manufacturing sales rose by 1.4%, to $47.6 billion, which is the highest level we have seen since October 2008.
Despite this good news, I find it ironic that the “new voice of Quebec”, as they call themselves, the official opposition, has and continues to vote against every economic measure the government makes. After all, it was Quebec that saw one of the highest increases in manufacturing sales of 3.5% to be exact, to $11.8 billion.
For every realist in the House, we know that magnificent increase is due to the stimulus this government made in industries, such as manufacturing, as well as industries in our markets and our economy, and yet the opposition members continues to vote against our economic plan. When good news like this is released they are the first to claim how they did this or they attempt to take credit for it.
We must not be fooled. The facts are there. The economic action plan is working and we need to stay the course to ensure that we continue to lead our G7 and G20 colleagues in coming out of this economic recession. Why will the opposition not see that and join us in building a more vibrant, stronger and better economy by supporting this bill?
Our government tabled the economic action plan which has seen enhancements in a vast array of sectors: the economy, the programs and services that the Government of Canada delivers to its citizens, and the leadership our country has taken on the global financial stage. Whether it is extending programs to help businesses keep workers on the job and gainfully employed or enhancing benefits to seniors in our country, Canadians know they can count on this Conservative government to deliver for Canadians.
Supporting job creation, families, communities and investing in innovation and education will continue to be important pillars of our government's economic plan. Even with all these continued investments to help Canadians most in need, the Minister of Finance is still on track to balance Canada's budget. Is it a miracle? I think not.
It is clearly the result of sound fiscal management, expenditure review and proper economic management by the government, our ministers and the Prime Minister.
As stated a few moments ago, supporting job creation has been and will continue to be the top priority of our government.
From providing a one-time credit of up to $1,000 to small businesses to encourage additional hiring to enhancing and extending successful programs such as the work-sharing program and the wage earner protection program, our Conservative government is focusing on sustaining and creating jobs across this nation while improving government services and programs so that they are delivered efficiently, effectively and affordably to Canadians.
Our great initiatives do not stop there. We have invested hundreds of millions of dollars in economic sectors that are important to our country and our economic recovery. From innovation, agriculture, energy and manufacturing to forestry and tourism, Canadian businesses know that they can count on our government to deliver the best balance to keep their doors open and business flowing, and to aid them in hiring Canadians.
That is what it is all about: building our economy to create new jobs for Canadians, young and old alike.
However, our focus has not only been on business; we are focused on two other things that are also important to Canadians: their families and their communities. That is why the government has put into law the permanent investment, annually, of $2 billion in gas tax funding for cities to support the infrastructure programs and projects that matter most to them.
In my riding of Don Valley East, this has enabled the City of Toronto to plan and prioritize local projects because they know they will have stable funding to better our city and our local community's infrastructure.
Building strong and more vibrant communities has been a priority of our government. In Don Valley East, I am confident to say it is evident. In addition, it was our government that introduced a new children's arts tax credit that enables parents to claim up to $500 for programs associated with arts, culture, recreation and development. We did this because we know that a child's education and intellectual growth happens not only inside the four walls of a classroom but also in the extracurricular activities that they do in the mornings, after school or on weekends.
Just as important is what we did for the most needy seniors--over 680,000 of them, to be exact. In the budget, we took action to enhance the guaranteed income supplement to enable seniors to receive additional annual benefits of up to $600 for single seniors and up to $840 for couples.
Our parents and grandparents worked hard for many years to build Canada into the great nation it is today, and when it comes to keeping their money where it belongs, in their pocket, they know they can count on the Conservative government to deliver without the reckless spending that the opposition proposes.
I think one of the most important investments our government has made in Bill C-13 is the new family caregiver tax credit, which alleviates the financial burden on families who have loved ones who are not well. As someone with parents who are seniors, I find it reassuring to know that if a family member has to take care of them, the government will recognize their sacrifice by providing them with a tax credit when they have to file their returns with the government.
As we all know, families should always come first, and I believe the government and the ministers have made that clear in this budget and through all the programs and services we have created or enhanced. As a former professor at Centennial and Seneca Colleges in Toronto, I strongly support the investments in innovation, education and training that Bill C-13 makes.
After speaking with former colleagues of mine, I know they too applaud the government's investment and commitment to education, innovation and research. As we all know, education and training provide our young citizens with bright, vibrant and encompassing opportunities for their future.