Mr. Speaker, I am proud to rise today in support of budget implementation act No. 2. This act would ensure that important provisions in budget 2013 would be implemented.
Before discussing the highlights of the bill, I want to mention the government's plan for balancing the budget and I also want to mention Canada's economic success. This government has an effective plan to balance the budget by 2015. It is a challenging task, but achievable. As with budget 2013, the bill would help the government to achieve financial sustainability.
World leaders, of course, are very interested in Canada as a result of our government's example and our economic success. Canada leads the G7 in job creation, in income growth and in keeping debt levels low. Canada is among the few countries in the world with an AAA credit rating.
The government's continued sound fiscal management will generate continued respect, but despite our strong financial performance, there are still challenges that we must face. The United States is experiencing ongoing difficulties. The European Union is continuing its long upward climb.
Last week's historic trade deal between Canada and the European Union shows our government's determination to seize international opportunities for Canada. The government must reduce its deficit so Canadians will be encouraged to do the same. We must practise what we preach.
The deficit was a justified response to the 2008-09 economic recession, but it must be temporary. By 2015, the government will balance the budget and will introduce legislation to encourage balanced budgets in the future. This will ensure that in normal economic times there will be concrete guidelines for returning to balance after any economic crisis.
With an aggressive debt to GDP target of 25% by the year 2021 and a plan in place, this government is on the right track. I am proud that the government, during and after the world's worst economic recession in almost 80 years, remains recognized around the world as an example for others to follow. I am very proud of the leadership of our Prime Minister and our Minister of Finance.
The bill will deliver real solutions for Canadians and it reflects the goals of reducing the country's deficit and returning to balanced budgets. I want to highlight three aspects of the bill that I am particularly pleased with. I will elaborate on how the bill would support job creators, close tax loopholes and also respect taxpayer dollars.
Job creation is especially important to me as the representative for Kitchener Centre. BlackBerry, based in Kitchener—Waterloo, has suffered losses over the past couple of years and some of my constituents are on the hunt for jobs that match their highly talented skills. We enjoy some business incubators which support start-up companies and these include the renowned Communitech and also programs at the University of Waterloo and Wilfrid Laurier University, world-class leading centres of education.
As Canada's small business week wraps up tomorrow, I am grateful to say that this bill would extend the hiring credit for small business. This would benefit 560,000 job creators across Canada, and hundreds of those job creators are in my region of Kitchener—Waterloo. With over one million jobs created since the depth of the global recession, this hiring credit would create even more places for the bright minds of Canada's future.
The bill would also freeze employment insurance rates for three years, leaving $660 million in the pockets of job creators and workers in 2014 alone. EI costs employees and employers hard-earned money. When I look at small businesses employing just two, three or four individuals, I see that this freeze will help owners to balance their books just as the government is balancing its books.
The government will also help the environment through the expansion of the accelerated capital cost allowance to include investments in clean energy generation. I was very pleased to see this. It adds to the government's existing investment for small business which is given through a small business financing program offered by Industry Canada and by loans offered by the Business Development Bank and by grants from the Canadian Youth Business Foundation.
Achieving clean energy solutions is a priority. The challenge business owners face is to secure initial capital to develop those long-term solutions. Finding cost-efficient clean energy solutions is critically important for our future and developing those solutions takes extensive research.
As a long-time member of the environment committee, I am always looking for ways to ensure a sustainable future. Job creators will be encouraged to continue looking for clean energy generation through the accelerated capital cost allowance measure in this bill.
I am confident that Bill C-4 will benefit small businesses, start-ups and job creators in Kitchener Centre over the next number of years based on these new initiatives.
A second focus within this bill is closing tax loopholes and combatting tax evasion. I want to highlight the importance of these measures.
Hard-working taxpayers can be confident that the bill would ensure that everyone would pay their fair share of taxes. When everyone is paying their fair share, it keeps taxes low for Canadian families and creates incentives to invest in Canada.
The government will introduce new administrative monetary penalties and offences to deter the use, possession, sale and development of software designed to falsify records for the purpose of tax evasion.
Although this government will always keep taxes low, we insist that all citizens pay all of their required taxes. Heavier penalties will force wrongdoers to use proper software and pay what they owe.
The government will also close more tax loopholes related to money transfers to ensure that everyone pays their fair share. It has already introduced rules to prevent foreign affiliates from converting otherwise taxable surplus income into the form of loans. There is also an information reporting regime for tax avoidance transactions.
Finally, the government will extend in certain circumstances the time for the Canada Revenue Agency to reassess taxpayers who fail to report income from foreign property.
The third point that I will highlight are measures to respect taxpayer dollars through initiatives introduced in March, scheduled to be rolled out upon budget approval. For example, by modernizing the Canada student loans program with digital communication, the government will deliver efficient ways for students to pay down their debt quickly and to apply for loan approvals or extensions sooner.
Another timely measure in economic action plan 2013 are steps to prevent abuse of the temporary foreign worker program, abuses which concern my constituents. The program was created to fill acute labour needs when Canadians were not available. It was never intended to bring in temporary foreign workers to replace Canadian workers. The reforms brought forward in the spring budget stem from the government's ongoing review of this program.
The budget would increase the government's ability to revoke work permits, enabling immediate action against employers who did not comply with the rules. These changes would also require that employers using the temporary foreign workers program pay temporary foreign workers the prevailing wage for a job. These are common sense changes made to the program to remove unintended incentives to hire foreign workers. These reforms would ensure that Canadians would always be at the front of the hiring line.
Other measures will deliver important savings for Canadians. The fact is that many products needed to support families are consistently priced higher in Canada than in the United States. By removing tariffs on imported baby clothing and sports equipment, budget 2013 will ensure that difference is reduced.
We can all be pleased that budget implementation bill No. 2 delivers a solid plan for creating jobs and economic growth, all while keeping taxes low and still balancing the budget by 2015.
This bill is great news for my constituents in Kitchener Centre. I invite all members of the House to join me in supporting jobs, growth and long-term economic prosperity. I ask that members vote yes to this bill.