FOR BRANT NEWS
While many of the world’s most advanced economies are consumed with efforts to simply tread water and avoid disaster, our government’s sights are set on growing Canada into a thriving 21st century economic powerhouse.
If that sounds like wishful thinking, it’s not.
The strength and resiliency of the Canadian economy throughout the global downturn – coupled with the enormous economic opportunities that are emerging for Canada and smart economic policies to help capitalize on those opportunities – is a recipe for incredible success.
Our approach is a full, government-wide engagement to position Canada for long-term economic prosperity.
A major pillar of our comprehensive economic plan is spearheading the most ambitious trading agenda in Canadian history. We have already concluded nine new free trade agreements and we’re engaging in high-level negotiations with large, dynamic markets like India and Japan.
The benefits of an ambitious free trade agreement with the European Union could be enormous, while Canada’s entry into negotiations for the Trans-Pacific free trading partnership opens the door to a market of 658 million people and gross domestic product of $20.5 trillion.
Meanwhile, our Beyond the Border Action Plan with the Obama administration is the largest trade promoting initiative between Canada and the United States since NAFTA.
We also want to grow the Canadian resource economy in a sustainable manner, which is why we are pursuing opportunities for lasting economic benefits while ensuring and strengthening environmental protection.
In the next 10 years, more than 500 new projects representing over $500 billion in new investments will be proposed for Canada in the natural resources sector. The potential for job growth in every corner of the country is enormous, as Canada’s natural resources ultimately account for nearly a fifth of our economy.
At the same time, we are making Canada the most attractive place in the world to do business. We have provided businesses of all sizes with tax reductions to give our job creators a competitive advantage over the United States and other markets and we are providing additional support for small and medium-sized businesses through the world’s most ambitious red tape reduction plan.
Small businesses are also receiving an additional credit of up to $1,000 for hiring new employees.
Our government is also taking bold action to address the challenges of an aging population that could lead to a labour shortage of up to a staggering one million unfilled jobs in the next decade alone.
For this, there is no single solution. That is why we continue to invest in education and training while also taking steps to better connect Canadians who are unemployed to the jobs that are available to them through Employment Insurance reforms and other measures.
We are simultaneously making smart, long-overdue immigration reforms to ensure that Canada welcomes the hard-working, skilled workers that our economy requires. This will help ensure that new immigrants can be successful and that all Canadians benefit from the welcoming of newcomers and their contributions.
We are delivering targeted support tailored to the unique characteristics of southern Ontario, which includes support to rejuvenate the southern Ontario manufacturing sector to help it thrive in the 21st century economy.
To this end, our government created the Federal Economic Development Agency of Ontario (FedDev Ontario) to help develop a prosperous and globally competitive Ontario through a suite of targeted programs. The support of FedDev has been instrumental in supporting many of Brant’s most innovative employers, from John G. Wilson Machine’s advanced manufacturing for the global robotics industry to supporting GreenMantra Technologies and its proprietary technology to produce industrial waxes from recycled plastics.
Meanwhile, all manufacturers and processors seeking to innovate, enhance productivity and expand their market share will find support from our government. We continue to provide additional tax relief for manufacturers importing new machinery and equipment, we’re investing to help businesses re-train workers and upgrade their skills and we are opening up borders for imports and exports while reducing their costly red tape.
Our policies also recognize the tremendous opportunities that will emerge by aggressively supporting education, research and development in southern Ontario, while more effectively connecting researchers with employers and entrepreneurs to create the sustainable jobs of tomorrow.
That is why we are investing in research and development at unprecedented levels in a region that is home to many of the world’s best schools, students and skilled workers. In fact, our government has invested a record $8 billion in education, research and development and placed a focus on more effectively linking our ideas to commercialization and jobs.
The next Jim Balsillie or Steve Jobs is probably studying in a southern Ontario university today. Our government is taking action to make sure that he or she has the tools and motivation to prosper right here in Canada.
Our comprehensive approach to the economy has been effective, creating almost one million net new jobs since the economic downturn (90 per cent of them full-time). I recognize that there remains much more work to be done for the Canadian economy and for our region of Ontario. I am thrilled to be back in Ottawa getting down to that work.
Phil McColeman is Member of Parliament for Brant.