Mr. Speaker, I cannot agree with my colleague more that finding innovative ways to improve the care provided to Canadians is essential.
On top of our government's significant investments in health research that he mentioned, I was proud to announce this morning, along with my colleague from Ottawa—Orléans, over $13 million to support the launch of three new national research networks in the areas of respiratory health, stroke and vascular health.
We are partnering with the Canadian Lung Association, the Heart and Stroke Foundation, and Hypertension Canada to put patients at the heart of our research and deliver life-changing results for Canadians.
Mr. Speaker, today is budget day. We look forward to hearing the Minister of Finance speak to us this afternoon.
Economic development in Ottawa—Orléans has been lagging behind for decades.
Thanks to the attentive team work begun in 2006 by the dedicated Orléans city councillors, our dynamic chamber of commerce, and their servant in this House, we are in the process of re-branding Orléans.
Thanks to an $880 million investment from the government, the new Communications Security Establishment Canada office should be up and running by the end of the year.
Very soon the VENUS Cybersecurity Corporation will be setting up shop in Orléans. VENUS will serve as a business incubator for the knowledge industry.
Orléans has become the computer and telecommunications security capital, generating many jobs.
Orleans, an educated and bilingual community, is on a roll.
The member's time has expired. The hon. member for Ottawa—Orléans will have two minutes to wrap up his speech when the House resumes debate on this motion.
We will now proceed with statements by members.
Before we go to resuming debate with the hon. member for Ottawa—Orléans, I will let him know that we have about eight minutes remaining in the time allocated for his remarks.
The hon. member for Ottawa—Orléans.
Mr. Speaker, I thank my colleague from Ottawa—Orléans for his very good question.
As far as the member for Winnipeg North is concerned, he is grandstanding, saying that basic principles are being undermined, when this bill is very important and has been thoroughly debated.
Hon. members know what Canadians think about this. I hope no one will have the audacity to say that it is no big deal if the amount of counterfeit goods has jumped from $7 million worth in 2005 to $38 million worth in 2012. We must do something about this. There is pressure to do so and we must keep that in mind.
As far as my colleague's second question is concerned, this is far from being a surprise. Two House committees have studied this in the past. Members of the House have spoken to this issue and they are well aware of the scope of the bill.
We should be pleased today. This is about Canadians' health and safety. It is about fighting organized crime and clamping down on cheaters who put fake labels on products. Canadian innovators are working hard, investing all their energy, resources, capital and time in order to contribute to the economy, and they have to deal with cheaters.
The primary duty of a responsible government is to put an end to all this because this situation is absurd. It is time to say enough is enough. Many groups in Canada support this measure regarding the economy.
Mr. Speaker, it is a pleasure to address the House this morning to present the reasons I support Canada's economic action plan 2013, Bill C-60. This plan, introduced by the best finance minister in the world, is thoughtful and reasonable, and most of all, it will help Canada with its economic recovery.
The global economy is still weak, and the economies of several European nations are very precarious. The economy of the United States, our biggest trading partner, is shaky. Canada's per capita GDP has been higher than that of the U.S. since 2011. That is unprecedented.
According to the highly reputable World Bank, Canada's per capita GDP was $50,343 in 2011, compared to $48,112 in the U.S. The performance in our country is 5% higher than our southern neighbour's. The World Bank also stated that Canada's per capita GDP growth outstripped that of our neighbours to the south.
Since 2010, our per capita GDP grew by 8.9%, compared to 3.2% for our most important economic partner. According to Statistics Canada’s report “Canada at a Glance 2013”, our country’s per capita GDP is higher than that of Germany, France and the United Kingdom. However, the government does not boast about these achievements. I am probably the first intervener to share these statistics with the House.
Canada is essentially an exporting country, so our economic recovery continues to depend on foreign markets. Nevertheless, since the depth of the recession, in July 2009, one million net new jobs have been created, the strongest economic growth of all the G7 countries. Ninety per cent of these one million net new jobs are full time, and 80% are in the private sector.
Independent organizations such as the International Monetary Fund and the Organisation for Economic Co-operation and Development predict that Canada will have the strongest growth of all the G7 nations in the coming years. Canada’s economic action plan 2013 has been so successful that the opposition has not had any questions for the best Minister of Finance in the world for several weeks. This plan proposes no tax increases. Small and medium-sized businesses have therefore been able to breathe easier since 2006.
In 2006, a typical small business with a taxable income of $500,000 paid, on average, nearly $84,000 in taxes. That amount has since dropped by $28,600, to $55,000. That is how we help businesses create jobs and drive innovation. While the opposition parties want to increase taxes on all fronts, the government has understood that low taxes are the best way to spur economic renewal. That is certainly why we were the last country to go into the recession and were the first to get out of it.
Thanks to our record of tax relief, a typical family will save more than $3,200 in 2013. One million lower-income Canadians will no longer pay taxes. We are on track to a balanced budget in 2015. That is great news. Thanks to measures to reduce spending and additional revenue, lower travel costs because of technology, the pursuit of measures to limit public service compensation and the elimination of tax loopholes benefiting a few taxpayers, we are even projecting a surplus of around $800 million in 2015-16.
That is a cautious projection. I should also point out that the net debt-to-GDP ratio is the lowest, by far, of all the G7 countries.
Moreover, before the economic crisis hit our country, the government paid down $37 billion of our debt, bringing it to the lowest level in 25 years, and we will balance the budget without doing so on the backs of the provinces, as the third party did in the 1990s.
In 2013-14, the federal government will transfer $9 billion more to Ontario than did the previous government. This funding will give Ontario a second wind, allowing it to pay for increasingly costly health care. By investing in transfers to the provinces, we will avoid the psychodrama that unfolded in Ontario with the closures of 44 hospitals in the 1990s.
At that time we almost lost the only francophone hospital west of Quebec, the Montfort Hospital.
There is an old saying that you can tell a good workman by his tools. Canada’s economic action plan 2013 is there to give Canadians the right tools so they can stand out internationally. It is statistically proven that a number of skilled occupational groups are having a hard time recruiting workers.
We see that 6% of scientific jobs are unfilled. The figure for skilled jobs is 5.2%, and the national average is around 3.9%. If the companies that are having trouble recruiting staff were able to find what they are looking for, the unemployment rate would certainly reach record lows. That is why the government, under Bill C-60, aims to match Canadians with the jobs that are available.
By involving the federal and provincial governments, and with the participation of the private sector, we will be able to invest $15,000 per person to help job seekers gain the skills they need to fill the jobs that are in demand. I want to emphasize the word “invest”, since this is indeed an investment that will pay off in the medium and long term.
We will also continue to invest in our youth, the future of our great country. Canada’s economic action plan 2013 will promote education in high-demand fields such as science, technology, engineering, mathematics and the skilled trades.
We want to support high school students at risk of dropping out with tutoring and mentoring. Giving these students a role model is one of the best things we can do so they can walk out of school with diplomas.
Because we need to prepare for the future, the government also proposes to support young entrepreneurs by awarding $18 million to the Canada Youth Business Foundation. Young entrepreneurs would benefit from useful advice through mentoring, learning resources and start-up financing.
The Canada jobs grant is not the only initiative that would make a big difference for the families of Ottawa—Orléans and elsewhere in the country. Before my first election to this House 2,693 days ago, I pledged to assist families who adopt children. Adopting a child is one of the noblest gestures someone can make in our society. It gives an often needy child a chance to find a home and role models, thereby giving the child a much brighter future.
Bill C-60 will help families who want to change a child’s life through adoption. To help adoptive parents with the costs they face early in the process, certain adoption-related expenses that are incurred before a child’s adoption file is opened will be eligible for the adoption expense tax credit.
Under this tax credit, Canadians could claim adoption-related expenses from the moment they registered with a provincial ministry responsible for adoptions or a government-certified organization or from the moment an adoption request was referred to a Canadian court. The tax credit would apply to all adoptions completed after 2012.
It is my fondest wish that this measure will help more young children find a home.
Families would also be supported through various other initiatives, including our expanding tax relief for home care services, simplifying funeral and burial program for veterans, improving palliative care and combatting family violence.
I am not just talking about what this government has done since 2006, such as the universal child care credit, the family caregiver tax credit and the creation of the registered disability savings plan.
On the subject of job creation, we should highlight the Minister of State for Science and Technology and his tremendous work with the National Research Council of Canada, which will celebrate its centennial in 2016.
This agency, the National Research Council, employs 4,000 people in 50 locations across the country, one of which is at the doorstep of Ottawa—Orléans. The NRC is one of the pillars of Canada's innovation system. Unfortunately, over the past few decades, many innovations have languished on dusty shelves and have not been brought to market. Therefore, the NRC, an agency I value a great deal and have been supporting for several decades, would become more closely aligned with industry.
Global competition is intensifying and getting more complex, and Canada must carve out a place for itself. We have an enviable standard of living, but it comes with no guarantees.
We need to take action: we must encourage business to invest even more in research and technology development so that our country can enjoy sustained economic growth.
In co-operation with Canadian industries, which are major job creators themselves, the NRC will address Canada’s technological gaps so that we can remain an economic leader.
As part of this new approach, the NRC would support Canadian industries in large-scale research initiatives. As stated in Canada's economic action plan 2013, the NRC would receive $121 million to support this new role, and under the economic action plan, the government would also invest in world-class research and innovation by supporting advanced research and business innovation and by enhancing Canada's venture capital system.
As many in this House know, the spirit of volunteering and community support burns brightest in the constituency of Ottawa—Orléans.
There are some 300 organizations in Ottawa–Orléans that run mainly on one of the country’s most precious resources: volunteers.
Some of these agencies support seniors, like the Club 60 Rendez-vous des aînés francophones d’Ottawa and the Roy G. Hobbs Seniors Centre. The Orleans branch of the Royal Canadian Legion is virtually at the centre of veterans' social life in east Ottawa. The list goes on.
These agencies must raise funds to support their activities. In addition to the work of their dedicated volunteers, they need donations to survive.
It is important to encourage philanthropy. That is what economic action plan 2013 is doing with its first-time donor super credit. This is a sensible way of encouraging new donors to make charitable contributions. The super credit complements the charitable donations tax credit by adding a 25% tax credit for a first-time donation of more than $1,000.
It is also innovative that couples can share the super credit.
With an economic recovery that was lagging due to economic instability in other countries, the government understood that it had to meet the demands of municipalities and move ahead with another plan for long-term investment in Canada's infrastructure.
The city of Ottawa and the district of Ottawa-Orleans have benefited greatly from this economic stimulus program. We need only consider the construction of a light rail line in Ottawa. It will be a total investment of $2.1 billion, $785 million of which is from the federal taxpayers through the building Canada plan and the federal gas tax fund.
Economic action plan 2013 is proposing $53 billion over ten years. The city of Ottawa has been dealing with waste water pouring into the Ottawa River for several years. Although sewers are obviously a municipal responsibility, the federal government has a role to play, since the waste water from the city of Ottawa is going into an interprovincial river between the provinces of Quebec and Ontario.
Alas, water runs downhill. That is why the government has invested close to $33 million to help the city carry out the first two phases of the Ottawa River action plan. There is still work to be done. The third phase has not yet received funding. I sincerely hope that support can be provided through the revamped building Canada fund.
These measures will help the great residents of Ottawa–Orléans regain full use of Petrie Island, treasure of this community. When I was a child, we could swim in the Ottawa River. That is not a good idea anymore, and we have to do something about it.
Building Canada is not the only infrastructure program under economic action plan 2013. The government has introduced a community improvement fund, which will invest $32.2 billion over 10 years through the gas tax fund and GST rebates to municipalities. The government also plans to renew the P3 Canada fund, which would invest $1.25 billion over five years to support projects through public-private partnerships.
As the House knows, I am a passionate advocate of our two official languages. Canada's linguistic duality is one of its greatest assets.
That is why I have given my full support to Bill C-419, which was tabled by the hon. member for Louis-Saint-Laurent. I congratulate her on this bill.
Canada’s economic action plan 2013 introduces the most far-reaching and generous initiative in our history to promote our two official languages. The new roadmap will continue to support the learning of English and French as second languages, and will continue its support for minority school systems so as to foster the development of citizens and communities.
In short, Canada's economic action plan 2013 meets the high standards that we have come to expect of our Minister of Finance. It is a plan that calls us to action through sensible and targeted measures.
Mr. Speaker, thank you for your kind attention, and I assure you I will entertain my colleagues’ questions with the same respect.
The electoral district of Ottawa--Orléans (Ontario) has a population of 109,950 with 85,456 registered voters and 228 polling divisions.
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