Mr. Speaker, I thank the House for allowing me to conclude the debate on Motion No. 585, which sets out the fundamentals of the NDP's economic recovery plan.
Canada has recorded its worst economic performance since 2009: a 0.6% recession during the first quarter of 2015. That means we need economic recovery now more than ever. I will not say any more about this worn-out government's attempts to frame our proposals as its own.
Over the past two hours, we have witnessed two economic policies collide. The Conservatives' policy is based on absolute laissez-faire. That is why they gave big businesses huge tax cuts and employers more latitude in how they treat employees and control the workforce.
After 10 years of that approach, Canadians and Quebeckers can see that it is not getting them anywhere. On the contrary, the Conservatives' approach has been totally counterproductive. It has undermined the true foundations of our economy: small and medium-sized businesses and the manufacturing sector. As a result, the middle class has suffered terribly because of job losses.
In the Montreal suburbs, where my seat is, the job losses are never-ending at Bombardier, Bell Helicopter, Electrolux, and now Pratt & Whitney right next door on the south shore.
The number of jobs is decreasing, job quality is at its lowest level in 25 years and the purchasing power of Canadian families is shrinking constantly. The closing of retail chains like Mexx, Jacob, Sears, Target and Future Shop prove this. Are we doomed to be forced into more and more precarious jobs as long as the Conservative government is in charge? Yes, without a doubt.
However, another economic policy is possible, and that is what the NDP is proposing to Canadians. Unlike the Conservatives, who spend their time reacting to the circumstances, we believe that to govern means to look ahead to the future. The NDP wants to give our economy some direction. We want to invest, innovate and train our workforce in order to stimulate economic activity, on the basis of what we consider the key to tomorrow's economy: SMEs and the manufacturing sector.
Motion No. 585 proposes restoring the tax advantage for SMEs by lowering their tax rate immediately from 11% to 10%, and then to 9%, when finances permit. In an increasingly competitive world, preparing the next generation means we must be able to innovate. That is why we want to restore the scientific research and experimental development tax credit, which was cut by the Conservatives.
Preparing the economy of tomorrow also requires renewing the machinery in our manufacturing sector, in order to improve its competitiveness. We propose extending the accelerated capital cost allowance for manufacturing and processing machinery and equipment. Lastly, preparing the economy of tomorrow requires massive investment in job training and skills development.
For years, I worked closely with young people who were re-entering the labour market. Many wanted to relaunch their career in skilled trades. I can say that most of those trades require specialized technical skills. However, Canadian businesses have dramatically reduced how much they spend on training.
In that context, the government made the disastrous choice to cut $300 million in transfers to the provinces for skills development with the introduction of the Canada job grant.
Conversely, the NDP is choosing a voluntary approach to raising the skill level of the workforce, which requires the broadest possible access to job training programs related to labour market development agreements.
The record is clear: the Conservatives have failed when it comes to the economy. Their rhetoric can no longer hide the reality. They have failed because of their ideological refusal to take action and plan for the future. The NDP, on the other hand, is proposing to transform our economy to ensure that everyone contributes to it and it benefits everyone. Those are two irreconcilable views of public action.
I am very proud to contribute by defending my Motion No. 585. I hope that its adoption will give hope to all my constituents who struggle to make a living.
That is why I invite all members of the House to support my motion and vote for the economic recovery we are proposing for the country.