Mr. Speaker, I would like to put some comments on the record that I feel are very important. The member for Edmonton—Leduc did a great panorama and detailed synopsis of the reasons why it is very prudent in this day and age, right now in November 2004, to ensure that these recommendations are pushed through and action is taken.
I want to go over one aspect that has not been touched on at great length. As members know, duty remissions, which underpin Canada's apparel industry, are set to expire December 31, 2004. As a result of this, employment decisions have to be made. The apparel industry is the 10th largest manufacturing sector in Canada and because of this point, we can see quite readily how this is going to impact on families all across our nation.
More than 93,000 employees, working in approximately 4,000 establishments, are employed and are counting on this employment to bring bread to the table. The apparel industry accounts for 2% of Canada's total manufacturing GDP and 4% of manufacturing investment, as well as 4.4% of total manufacturing employment. So this is a very critical issue.
The president of the Canada Apparel Federation told the committee that this industry draws on a large range of skills, including technology employment suitable for some entrance to the Canadian labour force. In urban areas, where the industry is concentrated, entry level jobs enable these apparel companies to play an important role in socializing new entrants into the Canadian workforce. These entry level workers develop their language, their work skills, and confidence that allows them to move into more skilled jobs here in Canada.
This infringes on what I believe to be a very important statement that we make to the immigrants of our country. I just signed 58 letters in Kildonan—St. Paul for new immigrants to my riding who are very thrilled to be in the country. I must say that none of them are in the exotic dancing industry. Having said that, these are people who are employed in the garment industry. These are people who are looking forward to advancement in Canada and the kinds of decisions that are made in the halls of the House reflect on the everyday lives of new immigrants to Canada.
We have to look at what is happening right now. We are coming close to the Christmas season. If we look at the statistical studies across Canada during Christmas time, even though it is a joyful time for many people, it is not so joyful for those people who are looking at losing their jobs because of the slowness of the government on this issue. It is not so joyful to those families who are wondering if they can afford to have Christmas dinner.
With all due respect, the Prime Minister has been away on a world tour and we hear on a daily basis how he drops into one country on one day, climbs on the jet and drops into another country on another day, and makes wonderful photo ops and wonderful press releases, all having to do with what he feels his treasured words do to these countries. I would like to bring forward that it is more prudent in this day and age for the Prime Minister to be here in Canada at this time when we have critical legislation and decisions that have to be made that impact on Canadians and on immigrants coming to our country in a major way.
We on this side of the House stay in touch with Canadians. We care about what happens to them. I am very much in support of this motion. As we look at this more closely, I would implore members opposite to ensure that they address this issue in a very speedy manner so that families, who are waiting to hear what is going to be happening to their jobs and how it is going to impact on their families, will be able to rest assured that they will have employment.