Mr. Rodger Cuzner (Parliamentary Secretary to the Minister of Employment, Workforce Development and Labour, Lib.)
Mr. Speaker, if I could first clarify for all those in the House this evening, there were a couple of misstatements by my colleague.
He talked about the management of the economy. The fact is that this government has created 800,000 new jobs since coming to government in 2015. The fact is that unemployment rates are at record lows. The fact is that the youth unemployment rate is at its lowest level since records have been kept. When we look at under-represented groups in our workforce—women, persons with disabilities and indigenous Canadians—we see that those unemployment numbers are at all-time lows, so we can feel a great deal of pride.
The other thing he mentioned was the fact that we changed the OAS eligibility age back to 65 after the Conservatives had moved it up to 67. That will keep 130,000 Canadians, the most vulnerable Canadians, from the poverty lines. That is what that measure will do.
Since we came to office, the government has invested in the things that matter to Canadians and to middle-class Canadians. One of our first actions was to raise taxes on the wealthiest 1% of Canadians, while over nine million Canadians are benefiting from the middle-class tax cut.
We introduced the Canada child benefit, or CCB. Compared to the system of child benefits that it replaced, the CCB is simpler, more generous and better targeted to those who need it most. Indeed, nine out of 10 families are receiving more in child benefits than they did under the previous Conservative system. As a result, the typical middle-class family of four is receiving about $2,000 more in support than they did in 2015. This year, on average, families benefiting from the CCB will receive around $6,800 to help with the high cost of raising children. This benefit amount will continue to rise with the cost of living, as it has been indexed to inflation as of July 2018, two years earlier than promised.
It is worth reminding Canadians that the Conservatives voted against every one of these measures.
We have a plan to invest in and strengthen the middle class and to grow the economy, and the results are certainly beginning to show. There are strong employment gains for women, persons with disabilities and indigenous Canadians. The pace of job gains in these areas has been significant over the last three years.
Building on this momentum, we recently introduced in budget 2019 the next step to this plan. Our debt-to-GDP ratio has continued to come down. We know that in 2009, under the Conservatives, it was up to about 38%; it is back down now to about 31.5%.
We are on the right course. Canadians know that we are on the right course, and they will demonstrate that come October.
Topic: Adjournment Proceedings