Madam Speaker, I have listened to the debate on Bill S-6 this morning and I must say there are plenty of things that one can draw upon in order to shed more light and to be a bit more forthright with respect to the bill.
The Government of Canada and the Liberal Party of Canada recognize the important role that trade plays in the development of our nation. Having observed the NDP for many years now, it is my experience that as a general rule that party does not support trade agreements.
There have been dozens of trade agreements. On one occasion, the vote was not a recorded vote, so NDP members claimed not to have voted against the bill. They might have voted in favour of one other bill. A couple of MPs have indicated they have voted in favour of trade, but as a general rule the NDP does not support trade agreements between Canada and other countries, and that is somewhat unfortunate.
Bill S-6 is about a tax treaty with Madagascar. Madagascar has wonderful opportunities for Canadians, and individuals from that country have opportunities here in Canada. We have many tax treaties with countries around the world, and tax treaties provide significant benefits to both countries.
That is why it is with pleasure that I rise today to address this legislation and to add my comments on a wide variety of issues, all stemming from our economy, social justice and the tax laws that we currently have. I have a fairly wide spectrum to work from based on the debate I have heard so far today. Let me attempt to do it in the best way I can.
The number that comes to my mind, which ultimately demonstrates what this government has been able to accomplish by working with Canadians, is one million, and that is a fairly recent number that has come out relating to employment.
It is worth mentioning that since we took office in October 2015, we have seen the generation of over one million new jobs. That is historic, in the sense of the last 40 or 50 years. It is an incredible number of jobs, and it is due in good part to the policies that this government has put in place, budgetary measures and legislative measures, all with the idea of supporting Canada's middle class and those aspiring to be a part of it.
Day after day, for weeks, months and years, our government has taken Canada's middle class seriously. We have developed progressive measures to assist middle-class Canadians, bringing forward policies that will support them, policies such as the Canada child benefit program and the guaranteed income supplement for our seniors, which have added great value to our economy.
We hear a lot about taxation. People expect to pay their fair share. From day one, our government has taken this very seriously.
Members will recall that during the last election, today's Prime Minister made a commitment to Canadians that there would be a tax cut for the middle class. If members look at Bill C-2, which was our first piece of legislation, they will see that we delivered on that tax cut, which put hundreds of millions of dollars into the pockets of Canadians. I would argue that the money going into the pockets of Canadians enabled them to increase their disposable income, allowing them to spend more into the economy, and it is one of the reasons for the one million-plus jobs that have been generated. Working with Canadians, investing in Canadians, allowing Canadians to have more disposable income has allowed Canada's economy to perform that much better.
Taxation policy matters. The NDP and the most recent speaker talked about tax fairness and said that the rich need to pay more. That was an important part of the very first budget we brought forward, in which Canada's wealthiest 1% had to pay more. The millions raised through that one initiative supported giving Canada's middle class a tax break. The issue of tax fairness, much like the tax break, has been of the utmost importance to this government. It was one of the very first actions taken when we assumed office in 2015, recognizing some of the comments made today, whether it was the NDP talking about tax fairness or the Conservatives talking about the tax on Canada's middle class.
When the member for Calgary Shepard asked who benefits from the tax break that we gave to the middle class and then said it is members of Parliament who benefit, I think of the tens of thousands of teachers, the tens of thousands of nurses, the tens of thousands of factory workers or the tens of thousands of people who work for our financial institutions. Those individuals also benefited from that tax break.
I indicated that when I had the opportunity, I would put some facts on the record, and there is no disputing what I have said, because it is all factually correct. The government has consistently gone out of its way to develop policy through legislation and budgetary measures that has had a positive impact on Canada's middle class.
The tax treaty that we are debating today is all about international relationships and ways for these treaties to further advance Canadian interests. This is not the only tax treaty legislation that we have put forward in the last three years. Bill S-4 also dealt with tax treaties. It is not the first time we have had to deal with tax treaties, because we understand and appreciate the true value of having these types of treaties with countries. It allows us to have a better sense of taxes flowing, both here in Canada and in the country in question. It provides additional security, if I can put it that way, for investments flowing to countries with which we have tax treaties.
We recognize, as we do on the broader picture, trade and international relations. No government in recent history has done more with respect to trade agreements than this government. The previous government likes to say that it had 30-plus trade agreements, but that is just not true. Through this administration, we have been able to sign more trade agreements than any other government in the last 40 to 50 years. Since trade agreements have been tied into tax agreements or tax treaties, I would challenge any member in the House to list a government that has been able to accomplish so much in such a short period of time on that file.
An hon. member: Oh, oh!