Mr. Speaker, I am pleased to address the House today to talk about how our Conservative government is successfully implementing the initiatives in our economic action plan in order to promote jobs and growth and support families and communities.
Our initiatives greatly benefit Canadians and families in rural regions such as my riding, Glengarry—Prescott—Russell.
Now that we are on our way to keeping our promise to Canadians to return to a balanced budget, our government is focusing on moving forward with our initiatives so that hard-working people can also benefit from the surplus.
The Liberal Party and the NDP both want Canadians to pay more taxes. They want more revenue so that they can turn around and spend it.
The Conservatives believe that Canadians need to keep more of their hard-earned money.
It is because of the Conservatives' economic management skills that the initiatives we have already implemented are producing such positive results. Thanks to our action plan, the Canadian economy has already created more than a million net new jobs since 2009. Our country has ascended the ranks and our middle class is now among the wealthiest in the world. Considering the economic challenges that exist outside our borders, we can be proud of what we have achieved as Canadians.
We know that urban and rural businesses are crucial to our economic prosperity and growth. The 2014 budget and Bill C-43 focus on the needs of small businesses. We want to encourage entrepreneurship and innovation, and we are clearly offering additional support to small business owners.
One of my goals, as the MP for Glengarry—Prescott—Russell, is to bolster local economies within my riding because they create jobs and employ the people living in the region.
I hope to see the local businesses in my riding succeed because when they are successful, they grow, and when they grow, they create new jobs and hire more people.
According to a study by the Canadian Federation of Independent Business, small and medium-sized businesses employ 70% of Canada's entire private sector workforce.
Thanks to our job credit aimed at small businesses, these companies and their employees will soon benefit from a tax credit that will lower small business employment insurance premiums by 15% over the next two years.
More than 90% of Canadian companies will benefit from this initiative, which will save them $550 million. They can then use that money to solidify their business or expand it and create more jobs.
The Canadian Federation of Independent Business has estimated that 25,000 person-years of employment will be created due to our EI credit.
I had the pleasure of joining the Prime Minister in a trade mission to the United Kingdom in September. There, I had the opportunity to meet with Dan Kelly, the president of CFIB, Canadian Federation of Independent Business, to discuss the needs of small and medium-sized businesses, particularly in rural economies such as Glengarry—Prescott—Russell.
This is what Mr. Kelly said in support of our EI credit. The small business job credit “will make it easier to hire new workers or invest in additional training to help entrepreneurs grow their business.”
It is plain to see that our Conservative government is indeed supporting small businesses in very concrete ways in order to ensure that Canada's economy continues to thrive.
As I had previously mentioned in the House in the last budget debate, the launch of the Canada apprentice loan, a key initiative identified by employers and various organizations with which we have consulted, would provide apprentices in Red Seal trades with access to over $100 million in interest-free loans each year. This is important in communities such as my riding, which has a great demand for skilled trades, for example, related to agriculture.
Family farming is an integral part of our rural communities and our country. Farmers and producers have greatly contributed to our many successes and have the well-earned reputation of growing extremely high-quality product, both for Canadians and international consumers.
As part of economic action plan 2014, we have allocated over $3 billion, including provincial and territorial contributions, toward investments in innovation, competitiveness, and market development for our Canadian agricultural sector under Growing Forward 2. Now we are implementing further measures to support farmers by making the tax system simpler and fairer for farmers who already work very long hours to provide what goes on our tables at every meal. Many farms, in fact, will benefit from the small business tax credit, which I mentioned earlier in this speech.
Another important initiative that I would like to highlight is the doubling of the children's fitness tax credit. We have heard the concerns of Canadian families regarding the rising cost of raising a family, and we understand that organized sports in our day and age play an important role in the health and growth of our children. Our federal government is taking concrete steps to make life more affordable, especially for low-income families. Canadians saw this with the Prime Minister's most excellent and well-received announcement yesterday concerning income splitting between parents, increasing the universal child tax benefit, and increasing child care deduction limits.
However, I digress. I actually wanted to speak of us having doubled the child fitness tax credit from $500 to $1,000. To us, it is important that we promote a healthy and active lifestyle, especially with children. It is vital that all children of all walks of life have access to sports and athletic activities. Our youth have access to many great sports, including hockey, which, as Canadians, we consider to be our national pastime. Our child fitness tax credit would help ensure that future generations continue active participation in sports and recreational activities.
I am encouraged by our Conservative government's initiatives to create jobs and encourage economic growth, as well as long-term prosperity, all while returning to balanced budgets. Unlike the opposition, which votes against measures to strengthen our Canadian economy, our federal government continues to take action in implementing initiatives, such as supporting families and communities, and improving the fairness and integrity of the tax system, among many others. In addition, we have been transparent. The budget was tabled in the House long ago, back in February. We value democracy and have been openly debating inside and outside the House.
I urge the opposition to join us in helping hard-working Canadians. I urge them to stop stonewalling and voting against important measures that will create jobs, strengthen our economy and alleviate some of the financial challenges facing Canadians.
I know that the Liberals and New Democrats love nothing more than imposing taxes and increasing spending, but I urge them to make an exception and to vote in favour of Bill C-43.
Canadians can rest assured that our Conservative government will continue to move forward and take the necessary action to create jobs and promote economic growth, while still working toward a balanced budget.