Mr. Speaker, I am very happy to speak on this issue of government advertising today.
Let me begin by stating that everything we do in our Conservative government is driven to ensure that our activities stand up to the highest level of public scrutiny. This includes our communications and advertising efforts to inform the public about programs and services we have in place to build a strong Canada. This makes me think of the work we do to help Canadians stay healthy and prevent the spread of infectious diseases, as an example.
It also makes me think of the work we do to support job creation and economic growth through our low-tax plan for jobs and growth, as outlined in Canada's economic action plan.
As part of these efforts, we want to ensure that Canadians are able to make the most of the programs available to them. This includes vital programs to modernize a broad range of infrastructure, such as roads, bridges, public transit, and parks. It also includes vital programs to support home ownership, help stimulate the housing sector, and improve housing across Canada.
We use a variety of means to expedite funding to individual Canadians and businesses. For example, we work closely with our many partners across the country, including officials in every level of government and countless stakeholders in industry, and, yes, we use advertising.
Advertising has played a key role in explaining the many programs that are part of our low-tax plan for jobs and growth. Like any responsible organization, we make use of advertising because we understand that programs to help Canada prosper cannot possibly work if no one knows about them. That is why we set out to tell Canadians and Canadian businesses what our plan can do for them. As part of our efforts, we have launched advertising campaigns. We have created a strong online presence, and we have travelled from coast to coast to coast to educate Canadians about the programs in place to help them. They need to know.
The communications policy of the government says, “In the Canadian system of parliamentary democracy and responsible government, the government has a duty to explain its policies and decisions, and to inform the public of its priorities for the country”. The policy also states, “The public has a right to such information”.
Our government takes its duty very seriously, and we are proud of the communications work we have done to ensure that Canadians have received timely, accurate, objective, and complete information about the programs and the services available to them.
Our plan to creating jobs, growth, and long-term prosperity for Canadians is clearly working, and this is something we can take pride in.
I would ask members to consider the following. The Canadian economy has posted one of the strongest job creation records in the group of G7 countries over the recovery, with over 1.2 million jobs created since June 2009. Over 90% of the jobs created since that time are full-time positions. Over 80% are in the private sector, and nearly 60% are in high-wage industries. Real GDP is significantly above pre-recession levels, the best performance in the G7.
Of course, we have balanced the federal budget as promised, and we are now in a position to fulfill our promise to help Canadians balance theirs. We just have to go around the world and listen to leaders and people in other countries to realize this, because they see Canada as a huge success story.
What does this all mean? It means that today we are in an even better position to weather new challenges.
Let me make an important point. The advertisements used to spread the word about our low-tax plan for Canadians have been done in a way that respects the principles of accountability and transparency. They have been done in a way that respects the existing framework of rules found in the government's communications policy and related administrative procedures. This includes the procedures in the management of advertising.
These procedures ensure that all advertising activities provide value for money and uphold the principles of the communications policy. We also require that all advertising is guided by the Canadian code of advertising standards, which defines government advertising as distinct from political advertising.
The procedures in place on advertising are a key part of good management. They provide detailed, step-by-step information to help federal departments and agencies manage advertising activities and ensure efficiencies and consistent practices across government. As well, they promote strong collaboration among the key organizations responsible for managing government advertising.
Our government is always looking for ways to ensure that its activities are well coordinated, transparent, and managed in a way that provides value for money for Canadians.
I can say that the bill before us today is not one of those ways. We already have a strong system in place. This is completely redundant. It is not clear that the additional financial resources and administrative requirements in Bill C-544 would provide value for money for Canadians. As such, the government will not support this legislation, and we encourage all members to do the same.
Allow me to reiterate that we already have a robust system in place. It includes safeguards to ensure the integrity of government advertising. This includes various mechanisms to ensure that communications across the Government of Canada are well coordinated, effectively managed, and responsive to the diverse information needs of Canadians.
I discussed several of these mechanisms earlier. They include the communications policy of the Government of Canada as well as the procedures for the management of advertising. Advertising is an essential way for the government to inform Canadians about issues that affect them. We continue to make use of this tool to better serve the citizens of this country.