Mr. Speaker, I am thankful for the opportunity to add my comments to this debate.
Today I will focus on ways in which economic action plan 2013 helps strengthen Canada's economy in these uncertain times.
Let me assure the House that our government remains committed to what matters most to Canadians: job creation and economic growth. Indeed, just last week Statistics Canada announced that Canada's economy expanded in the third quarter of 2013. This is the ninth consecutive positive quarter of economic growth and this is just the most recent example that our economy remains on the right track.
What is more, Canada continues to have the best job growth record among all of the G7, with over one million net new jobs created since the depth of the global economic recession.
However, Canada is not immune to the challenges beyond our borders. The global economy remains fragile, especially in the U.S. and Europe, our largest trading partners. That is why our Conservative government is working hard to grow the Canadian economy with positive measures such as tax breaks to help small businesses create more jobs, freezing employment insurance premium increases to allow Canadians to take home more of what they earn, and introducing new tax relief to help our manufacturing sector grow.
Indeed, implementing the job-supporting measures in economic action plan 2013 will help Canada's economy continue to grow. It is these job-supporting measures that I would like to discuss today.
Our Conservative government recognizes the vital role small businesses play in the economy and job creation. That is why we are committed to helping them grow and succeed. We know that we have been growing. We see the results in that Canada is leading the world in job creation with more than one million net new jobs since the recession. However, while the Canadian economy is improving, uncertainty remains.
We heard the concerns of business owners. That is why Bill C-4 would extend and expand the hiring credit for small business. By expanding this credit over 560,000 employers will benefit, helping them hire new workers and grow. This would provide an estimated $225 million in tax relief in 2013.
Bill C-4 would also increase the lifetime capital gains exemption to $800,000 from $750,000. This would increase the rewards of investing in small businesses and make it easier for owners to transfer their family businesses to the next generation. Today's legislation would also index the exemption to inflation for the first time. This would ensure the real value of the lifetime capital gains exemption is not eroded over time. Overall, this measure would provide an estimated $5 million in tax relief in 2013-14, and $15 million in 2014-15.
As Dan Kelly of the Canadian Federation of Independent Business said:
...they've expanded the lifetime capital gains exemption to $800,000. That's really good news, with a promise to index it each year going forward. That will help a lot of entrepreneurs.
There is still more. Bill C-4 would freeze employment insurance premium rates in 2015 and 2016. This tax relief would help support Canada's continued economic recovery and sustained business-led, long-term growth. This would build on our government’s recent announcement to freeze EI premium rates, bringing more stability and predictability to employers and workers. What is more, it would save them $660 million in 2014 alone.
Diane J. Brisebois, president and CEO of the Retail Council of Canada, agrees. She stated, “This freeze on premiums will mean more money for employers to invest in other important areas such as employment, training and infrastructure”.
Furthermore, the employment insurance freeze would enhance Canada's globally competitive business environment. The freeze would help to attract foreign investment into Canada, create jobs for Canadians and foster long-term economic growth.
Dan Kelly, president of the Canadian Federation of Independent Business, stated:
...payroll taxes like EI are particularly challenging for small business, [the] announcement of an EI rate freeze is fantastic news for Canada’s entrepreneurs and their employees.... This move will keep hundreds of millions of dollars in the pockets of employers and employees which can only be a positive for the Canadian economy.
Bill C-4 would also extend tax relief to manufacturers, by expanding the accelerated capital cost allowance to include the equipment used in the production of biogas and equipment used to treat gases from waste.
Unlike the opposition, our government understands that tax relief is important to Canadians and families. In fact, as a result of our government's low-tax plan, in 2013 the average Canadian family now pays $3,400 less in taxes. This includes reducing the GST from 7% to 5%, putting an estimated $1,000 back into the pockets of the average Canadian family; introducing and enhancing the working income tax benefit; introducing the tax-free savings account, the most important personal savings vehicle since RRSPs; and eliminating consumer tariffs on babies' clothes, sporting goods, exercise equipment and more.
Having said that, our government is under no illusion that our work is finished. The global economy remains fragile with the growth in advanced economies slower than expected, and Canada is not immune. That is why Canada's economic action plan actively pursues new trade and investment opportunities, particularly with large, dynamic and fast-growing economies. Indeed, our government recently completed negotiations on a comprehensive economic and trade agreement with the European Union. This agreement alone has the potential to add more than 80,000 new jobs. In fact, John Manley, president and CEO of the Canadian Council of Chief Executives agrees, “the [comprehensive economic and trade agreement] will create jobs, spur investment and promote economic growth.”
Unlike the members of the opposition, we understand that the pursuit of free trade is beneficial for the economy. Our government trade agenda has already made Canada one of the most open and globally engaged economies in the world. Since 2006, we have reached free trade agreements with nine countries and are currently negotiating with many more. Canada has also joined the Trans-Pacific Partnership negotiations, and we are actively pursuing new trade and investment opportunities in large, dynamic and fast-growing economies, such as South Korea, reflecting our belief that freer and more open trade is a key stimulus for global economic recovery.
Our government remains firmly committed to supporting Canadian jobs and fostering long-term prosperity for Canadians and their families. Canada's low-tax approach continues to be a beacon to other nations around the world in a time of global economic uncertainty.
Our efforts have not gone unnoticed. Indeed, KPMG's Competitive Alternatives 2012 report concluded that Canada's total business taxes are more than 40% lower than those in the United States, and confirmed that Canada has the lowest tax burden on business in the G7. Along with growing investment and our support for free and open trade, our government continues to support the low-tax environment that is required to create jobs and economic growth.
Canada is now one of the top five destinations in the world to start a business. Colleen McMorrow of Ernst & Young remarked that:
Canada has emerged as a real leader in fostering an entrepreneurial culture... Canada also offers a supportive tax and regulatory environment for entrepreneurs. All these factors are combining to really promote the growth of entrepreneurs and entrepreneurship from coast to coast [to coast].
She concluded by saying that Canada’s government has been highly supportive of entrepreneurs, providing regulatory and tax regimes that have enabled start-ups and growing companies to flourish.
Clearly, Canada's competitive tax system plays a crucial role in supporting economic growth. These tax reductions would leave more money for job creation, to hire more workers and to invest in new machinery, equipment and other technology that will further strengthen Canada's economic partnerships.
With that in mind, it is shocking that just last week the Leader of the Opposition again confirmed that he would increase taxes on Canadian job creators in a time of global economic uncertainty. Clearly, when it comes to the economy the NDP cannot be trusted. With no economic action plan, the Liberals cannot be taken seriously as well. When it comes to the economy, there is a clear choice. It is our Conservative government that will keep Canada's economy strong.