Mr. Speaker, I am very pleased to rise today on behalf of the constituents of Fleetwood—Port Kells to participate in the debate on Bill C-4, the economic action plan 2013 act no. 2.
The proposed act will implement key measures from economic action plan 2013 as well as certain previously announced tax measures to help create jobs, stimulate economic growth and secure Canada's long-term prosperity.
Our government remains focused on the number one priority of my constituents and of people right across Canada, which is jobs. The measures contained in Bill C-4 reflect that priority and include support for job creators such as: extending and expanding the hiring credit for small businesses, which would benefit an estimated 560,000 employers; freezing employment insurance premium rates for three years, leaving $660 million in the pockets of jobs creators and workers in 2014 alone; increasing the lifetime capital gains exemption to $800,000 and indexing the new limit to inflation; expanding the accelerated capital cost allowance for clean energy generation equipment to include a broader range of biogas production equipment and equipment used to treat gases for waste; measures to close tax loopholes and combat tax evasion; modernizing the Canada student loans program by moving to electronic service delivery; improving the efficiency of the temporary foreign worker program by expanding electronic service delivery; and phasing out the labour-sponsored venture capital corporations tax credit.
As our government has made clear, while Canada leads the G7 with more than one million jobs created since the depth of the global economic recession, we are not immune from the challenges beyond our borders. We cannot afford to become complacent.
By implementing the measures from economic action plan 2013, our government is helping to create jobs and opportunities for Canadians and grow Canada's economy.
Canada's economic action plan 2013 demonstrates our government's continued strong support for British Columbia through record federal transfer support for hospitals, schools and other critical services. Totalling over $5.9 billion in 2013-14, this transfer support represents an increase of nearly $2 billion since the former federal Liberal government.
Already there has been unprecedented federal investment in B.C.'s Lower Mainland, in Surrey and into British Columbia communities under this Conservative government impacting nearly every aspect of the lives of hard-working families.
We are making a real difference in the everyday lives of Surrey residents. In total, our government has spent over $1.56 billion on local projects since 2006. This includes the new RCMP headquarters, the South Fraser Perimeter Road and the new Surrey Library, among others.
I have personally made dozens of federal funding announcements totalling over $40 million. Some are the result of the economic action plan, while others are through the Pacific gateway project of the building Canada fund.
Regardless of where the money comes from, it is resulting in local jobs, local opportunities and local facilities for my constituents and Surrey residents. It is all about helping hard-working families, helping the unemployed, seniors and youth in our communities.
In recent months, I have had the pleasure of delivering over $250,000 for the Surrey YMCA, over $110,000 for the Surrey Sport and Leisure Complex, nearly $180,000 for the Newton Wave Pool, over $200,000 to improve water quality at four Surrey community facilities, $350,000 to aid Sophie's Place and protect child victims of crime and nearly $400,000 for 42 projects to allow for the summer employment of students.
It is all about improving our communities, creating jobs, and stimulating the economy. Bill C-4 contains measures that would not only create jobs but would also keep government spending in check so that we can return the budget to balance.
Budget 2013 has our government on track to balance the budget, on schedule, in 2015-16. From 2006 to 2008, our government paid down almost $37 billion in debt, bringing Canada's federal debt-to-GDP ratio to its lowest level in nearly 30 years. This placed Canada in a very strong position to weather the global recession. When the recession hit, we made a deliberate decision to run temporary deficits to protect the Canadian economy, and that plan worked, with over one million net new jobs created since July 2009.
At the same time, we committed to return to balanced budgets over the medium term. We ended temporary stimulus as planned. We controlled government spending. We eliminated wasteful and inefficient spending.
Budget 2013 announces further saving measures that will total $2 billion by 2015-16, including examining spending to ensure that government operations are managed efficiently, reducing travel costs, standardizing government information technology, closing tax loopholes, and improving the Canada Revenue Agency's compliance program to reduce tax evasion.
Canada's fiscal position remains the envy of the G7. Economic action plan 2013 reinforces our position and ensures that our economy is ready to meet the challenges of the 21st century.
As recently confirmed in the government's annual financial report, we are right on track to return to budget surplus. That is good news. In fact, the deficit last year fell to $18.9 billion, down by more than one-quarter from the deficit in 2011-12 and down by nearly two-thirds from 2009-10.
Our government is acting prudently and decisively to ensure that Canada's economy creates good jobs and sustains a high quality of life for Canadian families. With economic action plan 2013, our government remains squarely focused on the number one priority of Canadians, with a forward-looking plan to create jobs and to grow the economy in British Columbia and across Canada.
Under our plan, Canada will also return to balanced budgets in 2015, and federal taxes will remain at the lowest level in 50 years.
Budget 2013 builds on our government's solid record of achievement, a record that includes unprecedented funding for Surrey infrastructure, lowering taxes over 160 times, and lowering the average family's tax bill by over $3,220. It is a good budget for Canada. It is a good budget for British Columbia, for Surrey, and, of course, for my riding of Fleetwood—Port Kells.