Mr. Speaker, I would first like to say how honoured I am to address the House on this bill, following the hon. member for Medicine Hat. The hon. member is as familiar with the issue as any other member in the House, and I know that his opinions have been much appreciated by all sides of the House.
My remarks today will touch on three basic points. The first point is how the jobs and growth act, 2012 would meet an absolutely critical international challenge for Canada and for all of the advanced economies of the world. We are not living in normal times. We are not working in normal times. These are extraordinary times and, in some ways, dangerous times.
My second point will point to some of the key ways in which the bill would strengthen Canada's job advantage. My colleague spoke of a bill that focuses really only on jobs and growth, but we need to continue explaining to the House and to Canadians just how concrete the measures are and just what impact they would have on our ridings.
My third point would be about the local relevance of the bill to my home riding of Ajax—Pickering. It is a national action plan for Canada's economy, but it is a concrete plan and would be helpful to entrepreneurs, workers and young people in Ajax—Pickering and the greater Toronto area, the part of Canada I call home.
I will speak first on the international context. We have been through a week in which extraordinary things, complimentary things, have been said about the Canadian economy and Canada's financial management of its affairs. As everyone knows, the managing director of the IMF was in Toronto to receive an award last week. She praised our financial sector again. She praised our prudence and many of the policies this government has brought forward, as examples to the world. This comes on the heels of a litany of compliments that have been paid to Canada in recent years for the way we came through the economic crisis, for the way we avoided the levels of debt, job loss and contraction of GDP that other countries have had to endure. We have heard these measures of our success from the World Economic Forum, Forbes magazine and from The Economist. I will not repeat them now.
Our success is a contingent success. It depends on continuing to do the right things, continuing to position Canada properly, continuing to watch and learn from what is happening around the world, to make sure we stay at the forefront of events and protect the advantage we have for future generations.
I would like to quote briefly from the October 13 IMF communiqué of the policy steering committee. It is the most recent IMF communiqué, and it is just one sentence, "The implementation of credible medium-term fiscal consolidation plans remains critical in many advanced economies".
Members know as well as I do what that statement means. It means that if we do not get spending under control, if we do not make it sustainable, if we do not continue to create jobs, remain competitive and trade while keeping our debt levels under control, many economies in Europe, Asia and even in the Americas could go down the same path that Greece, Ireland and Portugal have gone down.
The same communiqué mentions how positive it is that outright monetary transactions are being undertaken by the ECB, how important it is that the European security mechanism is now working to some extent, but it then points to high debt burdens and the absence of banking and fiscal union in Europe as continuing risks.
Japan is facing a challenge this week of financing its budget and of further fiscal consolidation. The same communiqué mentions the danger in the United States of a fiscal cliff, the need to move the debt ceiling in spite of an election that has not yet concluded, and the fiscal sustainability of trillion-dollar-a year deficits.
These cautionary notes are struck with regard to our peers, the other advanced economies. Canada has avoided these pitfalls thanks to the prudence and the good planning of our Prime Minister and our excellent Minister of Finance.
It is absolutely essential that we understand how fraught with danger it would be for Canada to go down the path that Greece, Portugal and other jurisdictions with high taxes, high debt loads and loss of competitive position have gone. However, that is exactly what the member for Outremont is proposing with his $21.5 billion carbon tax. That is exactly what all of the NDP members who spoke on the bill are proposing with their--