Mr. Speaker, I thank my colleague from Oakville for his speech. However, the thing that is missing in this budget is real job creation. When the Conservatives took over in 2006, there were one-quarter million fewer unemployed individuals in Canada than there are today, which speaks to the Conservative's record. There are one-quarter million people who are now unemployed who were not unemployed in 2006. At the same time, we have one-quarter million more temporary foreign workers.
Members can do the math, and it is very simple. The temporary foreign worker program has been increased by the government over the course of its being, which has had a direct impact on the number of people who are unemployed in this country. However, the Conservative government has done nothing about it.
I would like the member to comment on what it is that the government is going to do to correct those numbers and bring more people to more jobs in Canada in a way that is actually going to work. We have heard it all before, and it is not working now.
Mr. Speaker, I am pleased to be participating in the debate today on the budget implementation bill.
The success of a nation is due to the manner in which society values its workers, its innovators and the way it allows everyone the opportunity to succeed and improve their lives through hard work and ingenuity. This is supported in a recent book, Why Nations Fail, by Daron Acemoglu from MIT and James Robinson of Harvard University.
Why Nations Fail provides a historical study of civilizations that have succeeded and failed and determines that civilizations have fallen or thrived based on, above all else, their political institutions. Governments thrived when they provided the rule of law, secure property rights and a strong independent judiciary. Good government prevents any elite from extracting the wealth out of a country for themselves and spreads opportunity around.
Geography, culture and resources, all gifts that Canada has in abundance, take a back seat to good government that is responsive and accountable to its citizens in this manner. When money can travel over wireless networks in a split second and investors from anywhere in the world can invest anywhere else in the world within a matter of minutes, people will invest in a nation that will secure their investments and grow them with minimal risk. The people of those nations benefit with jobs and opportunities, as Canadians do.
Canada's economic action plan for 2013 is part of an economic process. It is in its seventh year. It began in 2006, from our Minister of Finance and Prime Minister. It prioritizes stability, prudent fiscal management and careful stewardship of our economy, something that most of Europe and the U.S. are struggling toward.
How is Canada doing? Most Canadians know these facts. Canada has had the most stable and sound financial system in the world for five years straight. Canada is the number one place in the world to do business. Canada has the highest possible credit rating from the three major rating agencies. We are in the best fiscal position of any of the G7 countries. We have the lowest government net debt to GDP ratio in the G7. During the recent recession Canada did not have to bail out a single bank. By 2015 we will have a balanced budget without putting our hands in the pockets of taxpayers and business owners for new taxes.
However, what some members of the House do not understand is that none of this happened by accident. This was achieved by good management and tough decisions. Let me give a few examples.
Back in 2006, when the U.S. government allowed risky mortgages that covered the entire value of the house, plus in some cases even the furniture, our government tightened up the mortgage rules, asking for higher credit ratings and stopping the 40-year terms the banks were pitching. This helped save Canada from a U.S.-style housing crisis. Despite our deficit, created to fight the 2008 recession, and the difficult task of limiting spending now to balance our national budget, just last year the NDP and Liberals wanted to send billions of our tax dollars to Europe to bail out governments that have not made the tough decisions we are making. We said, “No way”.
We would never consider the NDP plan to grab $60 billion out of the pockets of business owners, shareholders and workers, although personal debt is at an all-time high. Given the chance, that plan would include a death tax on the wealthy, promoted by the NDP academic branch at the Broadbent Institute. Of course, the definition of wealthy would be anyone who had perhaps $50,000 a year after they die, which is about the cost of a parking space at a condo in downtown Toronto.
Democracy is sharing power. Sound economics and strong institutions support that sharing and ensure the security of all Canadians, not just the wealthy. That is why those who are not wealthy are often the first to support Conservative budgets. In bad times the wealthy do all right, but those who are not wealthy are at the risk of losing everything. They have the most to lose when governments overspend for decades and go bankrupt. They are the ones who line up at the EI office. A good budget must balance the interests of all citizens, while not confiscating the earnings of entrepreneurs.
Where democracies get into financial trouble is when the public sector grows out of control and confiscates more than the private sector can afford to pay. Bill C-60 would implement a budget process that would reduce the size and cost of government, to be affordable. The budget would reduce full-time equivalents by attrition and eliminating positions and would reduce spending by another $600 million a year. The budget would be balanced by 2015.
On the other side of the floor, there are a lot of members who believe in their heart of hearts that governments exist to decide who gets what. They want to be the ones who write the rules for everyone else to divvy up the pie. They actually think that governing is like contract bargaining. What they do not understand is where wealth comes from. That is our focus. We cut it down, dig it up, manufacture it, reap it from the soil, add value through trade, and we must do it all better through innovation. The budget would help entrepreneurs and businesses that take risks and innovate to create wealth and new jobs for others.
There is something else they do not get. This is a free country, and when taxes get too high people and businesses leave.
I have seen this happen when the NDP, under the leadership of the then member for Toronto Centre—Rosedale, was in power as the NDP premier. The taxes in Ontario became the highest in North America: businesses left in droves; unemployment skyrocketed; government revenues crashed; and government debt more than doubled, from $38 billion to almost $100 billion. Ontario was essentially bankrupt.
As Dr. Phil says: “How's that working for them in Europe today?” Well, how about Greece with 27% unemployment, or Cyprus where bank deposits are being confiscated, or Portugal where the unemployment rate has reached 17%? It is no surprise that these countries are not prospering.
In Canada, we offer a vast land of opportunity which supports and rewards hard work while protecting people's human and property rights. This government values that above all else.
Budgets must be realistic and express tough decisions made for the long-term success of our country. This budget is building a foundation and structure for a secure future for our children and grandchildren. It closes tax loopholes for tax fairness and improves the integrity of the tax system. It supports innovation and research, and it is a commitment to Canadians that their economy is on the right track. Its success is founded on two major platforms: the first is paying down the debt on time and without excuses; and the second is strategic investment in growth and innovation.
The year 2013 began with a welcome announcement in my riding of Oakville when our Prime Minister visited Canada's largest Ford plant, the Oakville assembly plant, on January 6. The Prime Minister was there to announce an investment of $250 million in the automotive innovation fund to 1,000 CAW folks who build these high-quality low-emission cars. The fund is for auto industry firms undertaking large-scale research and development projects that are focused on innovative, greener and more fuel efficient vehicles. The fund is working.
The money invested in Ford's Windsor engine plant originally created 450 full-time jobs, but since then it has grown to 600 full-time jobs. What is more impressive is that there are 3,000 people working at the Oakville assembly plant who now work full-time as a result of investments made by this government in 2006.
Other projects supported by the AIF include Toyota Motor Manufacturing Canada's project green light, which includes the production of the RAV4 electric vehicle at Toyota's plant in Woodstock; Magna International's development of clean vehicle technologies, including energy-efficient components and innovative powertrain parts for next-generation vehicles; and construction of a new Toyota blended assembly line that will permit the simultaneous production of both the current Lexus model and the hybrid model.
Perhaps our single biggest problem at this point in our history is addressed in this budget. With hundreds of thousands of Canadians hitting retirement age in the next few years and the emergence of the knowledge economy, the Canadian Chamber of Commerce says that without action we could have over 500,000 unskilled workers who will not be able to find work by 2016. Without action in this budget, there could be over one million skilled job vacancies by 2016. The former president of Seneca College, Rick Miner, summarizes the problem in the title of his report, “People without Jobs, Jobs without People”.
The most significant contribution of this budget is perhaps the creation of the Canada job grant, which could provide $15,000 or more per person, with matching funds to match people with jobs. This fund will help up to 130,000 Canadians with access to training for the jobs that are available. This will be at community colleges, career colleges and trade union training centres.
This budget and our previous budget have demonstrated that Prime Minister Harper and our Minister of Finance are building our nation to heights we have never seen before—
The electoral district of Oakville (Ontario) has a population of 113,714 with 83,752 registered voters and 218 polling divisions.
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