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View Kody Blois Profile
Lib. (NS)
View Kody Blois Profile
2020-03-09 16:12 [p.1816]
Mr. Speaker, what a privilege it is to rise today to speak to the opposition motion brought forward by the member for Carleton.
Let me start by giving credit where it is deserved. The member for Carleton is a great orator in the House, but listening to his remarks during question period and during debate on this motion, it is important to include facts on this government's economic and job creation record since we formed government in 2015.
There are many reasons I am proud to stand on this side of the House with the Liberal party, but it is perhaps our record on job creation and improving the lives of Canadians across the country which is why I am most proud.
I have mentioned before that my father was a truck driver and my mother was an administrative assistant at the local school. Simply put, I grew up in a family that was paycheque to paycheque. Therefore, I am sure members of the House can appreciate that when the Prime Minister spoke in 2015 about supporting Canada's middle class and those seeking to join it, his message resonated with me.
However, it has not just been a message; it has been a delivery for Canadians. Over one million Canadians have been lifted out of poverty since we formed government in 2015, including 334,000 children and 73,000 seniors. Poverty rates have decreased in all 10 provinces, and this is the largest three-year reduction in Canadian history. This has not been discussed enough in our debates today about Canada's economic status and our ability to improve the lives of Canadians.
We know more work needs to be done, but we have invested in Canadians and, as a result, it has helped drive a stronger economy.
I have spoken at length in the House about the stories I have heard directly on the doorsteps of residents of Kings—Hants of the benefits of programs like the Canada child benefit and the middle-income tax cuts and what they have meant for families and their ability to buy healthier groceries and to allow their children to participate in recreational opportunities.
I want to talk about job creation. Obviously, today's motion is premised on the idea that our government has not been focused on the economy and that there has not been success in the last five years. That is simply not true. It follows that when individuals have extra money in their pockets, and we just talked about one million Canadians having more money at the end of the month, they will spend it. Our investments in the middle class have created a strong economy that has been buoyed by significant job creation.
I have listened to some of my opposition colleagues criticize the economic performance of this government, but they do not seem to appreciate the fact that 1.2 million jobs have been created in the country since 2015. That is a significant number, and I stand here recognizing that there remain challenges.
I do not provide this statistic in anyway suggesting that our government is content or we do not recognize there remain challenges to ensure our growth in the days ahead. However, like we have in the last 5 years, we will continue to rise to the challenge to deliver for Canadians and work with the private sector to create opportunities for Canadians.
Again, I want to put some numbers on the record, on the Hansard, because the member for Carleton, and certainly earlier the member for St. Albert—Edmonton, has frankly a very elegant way of speaking politically to convey a point, but we are in the business of informing Canadians what is actually true. Therefore, I want to rhyme off some things that are actually true.
Unemployment in the country is at a near-historic low, in fact the lowest since 1976. That is not disputable; that is fact.
Foreign direct Investment in 2018 and 2019 increased substantially by 60% and 18.9% respectively. If people were in the House, they would not believe that to be true by some of the narrative coming from our members opposite. That is a fact.
In February 2020 this year, the Canadian economy added 30,000 net jobs, most of which were full time. Again, these are facts, and hopefully my Conservative colleagues will not get into the theory of suggesting Statistics Canada is somehow fake news.
Let us talk about Canada's marginal effective tax rate. It now stands at 13.8%, which is the lowest of the G7 countries. I am sure my Conservative colleagues would not deny that lower taxes are not beneficial for new growth. We have cut small business tax rate from 11% to 9%.
I want to contrast this against where we were before 2015. It is important to remind Canadians from where we have come. We inherited an economy emerging from a second recession within a decade and the unemployment rate was over 7%. Annual growth was stalled and investment in research and development was declining. As the parliamentary secretary for finance mentioned today, the Conservative government before us was responsible for the lowest economic growth rate in a generation.
I could go on, but the point is some of the members opposite may resort to rhetoric. This government has created a strong economy and has the room to respond to the global economic downturn in the days ahead.
Let us talk about the ability for the government to respond to the challenges in our global economy. Of course all Canadians, and indeed all parliamentarians, have been focused on the impact of the coronavirus and what we are seeing around the world.
Earlier today in question period, the member for Carleton mentioned cupboards and the ability for the cupboards to be stocked to respond to a global downturn. I have news for him that the cupboards are stocked and we are ready to respond. Our debt-to-GDP ratio, which is the debt to the size of our economy, is on a downward track, and that is a key measure. We know from economists that when we borrow we have to ensure that the economy is growing, which it has been.
Canada is one of the only 11 countries in the world with a AAA credit rating. The Parliamentary Budget Officer has concluded that current government spending is sustainable over the long term and that our fiscal plan gives us the room we need to confront new and evolving challenges to keep our economy growing.
The Minister of Finance has communicated that he will be tabling a budget that will ensure we, as a government, are ready to respond to the coronavirus and the challenges it represents.
I want to conclude with just a few points. Our economy is strong; it has shown strength over the last five years. Job numbers are up; unemployment is lower than when we formed government. In fact, it is the lowest it has been since 1976. One million Canadians have been lifted out of poverty. We are well positioned to tackle the global uncertainties that may result from the coronavirus.
The last thing I want to mention is that I welcome the opportunity to debate in this House our economic policy and the government record of creating jobs and meaningful conditions for Canadians across the country. However, when we look at the text of this motion, it asks for essentially every document related to the economy that has been in government hands since 2015.
While our government may respond and support this motion in the days ahead, it begs asking whether this is just pure politics. The men and women in our public service, who are focused on delivering for Canadians, would then have to spend time pulling these documents together. For what purpose, I am not necessarily sure, and I do not know if that has been well articulated by the members opposite today.
What a privilege it is to be able to speak on this topic today, and I welcome any questions from members.
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