Mr. Speaker, I will be splitting my time this evening with the hon. member for Pickering—Uxbridge.
This is my second opportunity to speak in response to the throne speech. I appreciate this opportunity to explain why I think all MPs should vote in favour this evening.
I want to begin this speech talking about climate change, which was a predominant theme in the Speech from the Throne, and rightfully so, given its importance to all of us, not only here in Canada but across the world.
This past weekend, I held pre-budget consultations in my riding of Kings—Hants. The consensus was clear. People are expecting their government to do more as part of a global effort. This is key. Not only does Canada need to continue along its path of transition, we need to build an international framework to put pressure on countries that have not yet taken this issue seriously.
I also believe it is important that we recognize the important role the private sector will play in ensuring we meet our international targets. Incentives, like the 50% corporate tax cut for companies focused on zero-emissions technologies, will help to ensure Canadian ingenuity and technology is at the forefront of the necessary work ahead. I suspect this should resonate with many of my opposition colleagues, particularly Her Majesty's loyal opposition, who highlighted this point last month.
In Kings—Hants, we are home to the highest tides in the world in the Bay of Fundy. We are very fortunate to be able to call this place home and are well positioned to bring tourists from around the world to Nova Scotia. However, the highest tides in the world are also a stark reminder that, with rising sea levels, our coastal communities are vulnerable. For me, this is a reminder every day of the important work that needs to continue.
Canada is a trading nation and the export of our products and services around the world is important to maintaining quality jobs and ensuring a high standard of living for our people. The Speech from the Throne outlined the importance of CUSMA. This week, I know debate will begin on the ratification of this important piece of legislation.
I want the House to understand the importance of international trade for Kings—Hants. The Annapolis Valley is known for our delicious apples, particularly the Honeycrisp variety, which our farmers and processors ship around the world, particularly to the United States. We are home to a Michelin plant that produces tires, many of which are sent to the United States as part of an integrated supply chain. Our sawmills export lumber for residential home building and construction. I could go on, but simply put, whether we are discussing Kings—Hants or any other of the 337 ridings in this country, CUSMA represents a crucial trade deal with our largest partner.
To those who would criticize our work on this important file, I remind them that the former interim leader of the Conservative Party has openly said that this is the best deal that could have been struck. I expect all parliamentarians to ensure Canadian jobs and our economy are not put at risk unnecessarily by delaying the ratification of this legislation.
Canadians expect their government to be focused on growing the economy and creating the conditions for the private sector to create jobs. Over the last four years, this government, in partnership with Canadians from coast to coast to coast, has created over one million jobs, including 35,000 in December and 340,000 for 2019 alone, many of which were full-time work.
I was pleased to see that an emphasis was put on the economy in the Speech from the Throne, and I want to focus on two topics that I believe will be important in the days to come.
The commitment to cut red tape for business owners is excellent. It is an initiative that was launched by my predecessor during the last Parliament, when he was the president of the Treasury Board.
I think it is a good thing for us to take every chance we get to make it easier for business owners and entrepreneurs to interact with our government.
In Kings—Hants, the seasonal agricultural worker program is an important federal tool to ensure our farmers have access to the labour they need to grow their businesses and ensure our Canadian agricultural products reach markets both domestically and around the world. While this program is absolutely crucial, I believe there are ways we can streamline the process to make it even easier for our farmers and applicants in our communities.
That leads me to my second point. One of the priority issues I hear about in Kings—Hants is access to labour and having the workforce to fill the jobs required to grow our economy in rural Nova Scotia. In order to ensure we have vibrant rural communities and a workforce that will ensure they remain viable, we need to continue to focus on bringing immigrants from around the world to Canada, who will bring their energy and talents to not only drive our economy forward but also make our communities even better places to live.
I want to highlight a specific example of a couple in my riding of Kings—Hants, Chris and Melissa Velden, who immigrated from Germany to Summerville, a small community located on the Bay of Fundy in Hants County. They brought a work ethic and vision second to none and in the process, have started the Flying Apron Inn & Cookery. One key feature of their business is the ability to dine on the ocean floor at the highest tides in the world at Burntcoat Head Park in East Hants. Every year, in under one minute, 120 couples from around the world reserve their right to have this unique opportunity. In fact, their business was recently highlighted in the weekend edition of The Globe and Mail's must-do tourist experiences. This is but one small example of the benefit of ensuring Canada continues to attract talented people from across the globe to our shores.
Health care is a priority for Canadians across the country, especially in rural communities in Atlantic Canada.
In the region I represent, there was a coordination effort between the local government, provincial authorities and the chamber of commerce to ensure a coordinated recruitment process to attract and retain family doctors.
While, of course, the administration of health care is a provincial responsibility, the federal government plays an important role in partnering with the provinces. This government has contributed more money to Nova Scotia than ever before to support health care, but we know there remain challenges. I know our government will continue to do more to ensure the health and safety of Canadians across the country.
I want to highlight other important points in the Speech from the Throne. With respect to working with indigenous peoples, no other government in Canada's history has taken this relationship more seriously, and we know that the work will continue in the days to come.
On the natural resources sector, our primary industries across the country provide important jobs and revenue to support public spending on areas such as health care, infrastructure and education. In Nova Scotia, it is the forestry sector that faces uncertainty at the moment and I am happy to know that our government is focusing on ensuring a sustainable industry moving forward.
Investing in the middle class has been a priority for the government since 2015. The results are indisputable: almost one million people have been lifted out of poverty and more than one million jobs have been created. The unemployment rate is proof of the government's economic stewardship.
I am pleased to see that our government will continue to focus its efforts in this area.
The Speech from the Throne contains important priorities for Canadians from to coast to coast to coast. It speaks to the needs of Canadians, regardless of where they call home, and I hope all members will be supporting this speech at tonight's vote.