It is an honour today to rise to speak to economic action plan 2015, a balanced budget and low-tax plan for jobs, growth and security. Our budget builds upon the government’s strong record of job creation while keeping taxes low for all Canadians. This is a record that I am proud of and it is a record that all Canadians should be proud of. This is also a record of promises made and promises kept.
Since coming into office, our Conservative government’s top priority has been to create jobs, growth and long-term prosperity. This is a priority shared by the citizens of my riding in Mississauga as well as by all Canadians. All the jobs lost during the recession have been recovered, and in addition, more than 1.2 million net new jobs have been created since the depths of the downturn, but we need to do even more to create jobs in a tough global economy. In economic action plan 2015, we are doing exactly that.
The Province of Ontario will receive a record high transfer payment to support health care, education and social programs. Ontario will receive $20.4 billion in federal transfers this year. That is an increase of $9.6 billion from under the old Liberal government. This is an increase of 88% since the last Liberal government, prior to 2006. Ontario’s share of all federal transfers to other governments is now at 35%. That is up from 30% 10 years ago.
Canadians want to be reassured that their government is spending their money wisely and responsibly. In other words, Canadians have an expectation that we will live within our means. What better way to demonstrate this principle than by balancing the budget. Families in Mississauga have to balance their budgets and they expect governments to do likewise. Furthermore, beyond illustrating fiscal prudence, balancing the budget results in a number of other positive fiscal outcomes. A balanced budget means that our government can keep taxes low and ensure that taxpayer dollars are used to support the programs that Canadians depend on, rather than paying interest costs.
Canada’s federal debt to GDP ratio is expected to fall to 27.9% in 2017-18, below its pre-recession low. A balanced budget means that Canada’s total government net debt burden is the lowest of any G7 country and among the lowest of the advanced G20 countries. This contrasts with the comparatively poor fiscal performance of the Liberal Government of Ontario. While the federal debt to GDP ratio is at a pre-recession low and going lower, the Ontario debt to GDP ratio is at a record level of 40% and is forecast to increase even further.
I would now like to discuss some of the specific measures in this budget that would directly assist the people living in my riding.
Economic action plan 2015 delivers on our 2011 election platform promises with a low-tax plan to help families make ends meet. The family tax cut or income splitting for families plan provides a tax credit of up to $2,000 for couples with children under the age of 18. This is effective for the 2014 taxation year, and Canadians have just a few more days to take advantage of this. This will be very helpful to the many hard-working young families who are struggling with expensive mortgages and the high cost of raising and educating children in the GTA. I am so pleased that our government is able to deliver on this promise.
In addition, the current universal child care benefit, which has been so helpful to families with young children, will be increased to $160 per month per child for children under the age of six, and a new benefit of $60 per child per month for children age six through seventeen will be added, again effective January 1, 2015. This government is putting taxpayers’ money back in their pockets so they can spend it on the priorities of their families.
In addition, the budget includes a $1,000 increase in each of the maximum dollar amounts that can be claimed under the child care expense deduction. We are also following through on our promise to double to $10,000 the maximum annual amount that Canadians can contribute to their tax-free savings accounts. These are so popular that 11 million Canadians, or almost one-third of the population, have opened tax-free savings accounts.
We have also doubled the maximum amount of expenses that may be claimed on the child fitness tax credit to $1,000 as of 2014. We have made that credit refundable for the 2015 and subsequent taxation years.
As we are all aware, small businesses are the engine of the Canadian economy. They represent 90% of all businesses in the country and employ half of Canada’s working men and women in the private sector. That is why I was pleased to see that economic action plan 2015 proposes to cut the small business tax rate to 9% by 2019. Our government previously reduced this rate to 11% in 2008. Now, we would go even further. Once the budget is fully implemented, our government would have cut small business taxes by almost 50%. That is 50% more of their earnings that small businesses could use to invest in their companies and create jobs.
Many new Canadians in Mississauga and across Canada create and operate small businesses, and this tax rate reduction would be welcome news for them. For many citizens in Mississauga, removing barriers to foreign credential recognition is important in order to get highly skilled workers back into the workforce. That is why our Conservative budget proposes to reallocate up to $35 million over five years to make the foreign credential recognition loans pilot project permanent, to support internationally trained workers in their pursuit of foreign credential recognition. Under the first two years of the pilot project, nearly 1,500 loans totalling $9 million were dispersed, with average loan amounts of approximately $6,000 nationwide. I know that many residents in Mississauga have taken advantage of this loan program, and many more will be happy to see that this program would be extended over the next five years.
With economic action plan 2015, our government continues to demonstrate its support for the manufacturing sector. To support the continued investment in machinery and equipment, and to help bolster productivity, economic action plan 2015 proposes to provide manufacturers with an accelerated capital cost allowance at a rate of 50% on a declining balance basis for eligible assets acquired after 2015 and before 2026. Providing this new incentive for this extended period of time would help to provide businesses with planning certainty for larger projects where the investments may not be completed until several years after the original investment decision is made, and for longer term investments with multiple phases.
Mississauga is a fast-paced, vibrant, and growing city, and I was happy to see that this budget would provide additional funding that would allow our city to maintain and update its current infrastructure. I was especially pleased to see the commitment of an additional $750 million over two years and $1 billion per year ongoing thereafter for a new and innovative public transit fund. To clarify, this is new, additional money that could be added to existing funds for transit infrastructure projects under the robust $5.35 billion per year new building Canada plan. This is the largest and longest infrastructure investment plan in Canadian history.
In the time available, I have only been able to highlight a small percentage of the benefits that would be derived by the hard-working people of Mississauga from economic action plan 2015. However, what is abundantly clear is that, while we are focused on creating jobs and keeping taxes low, the Liberals would adopt their same old high-tax, high-debt agenda that would threaten jobs and set working families back.
People do not have to take my word for it. There were two budgets introduced in Canada last week, the federal budget of Canada and the budget of the Liberal Government of Ontario. They can compare and contrast those two budgets. They will see a balanced budget at the federal level and a budget at the provincial level that is seriously in deficit, mortgaging the futures of our children and grandchildren.
Only our Conservative government can be trusted to manage Canada’s economy and keep taxes low for the people of Mississauga and all Canadians across the country. I strongly encourage all hon. members to support budget 2015.