THUNDER BAY -- This October brought the third anniversary of when our government was elected. It has been an amazing three years, and I am looking forward to another exciting year of working hard for the people of Thunder Bay-Rainy River and representing our region in Ottawa.
During the last election, we made it very clear that strengthening the middle class is a top priority for our government. Canadians put their faith in our plan to invest in the middle class and build an economy that works for everyone. With a strong and growing economy, middle-class Canadians are seeing first-hand that this plan is working and delivering the results. More Canadians are working – pushing unemployment to near 40-year lows. There are 500,000 Canadians who are working today, full-time, who weren’t working when we first took office.
Wages are growing, consumer and business confidence are strong, and businesses are investing because they are confident in our plan for creating long-term growth. Small and medium-sized businesses are the backbone of the Canadian economy, they account for 99 per cent of all businesses and almost 90 per cent of all private sector jobs. This is why we have made it a priority to support small businesses through initiatives such as lowering the small business tax rate from 11 per cent to 9 per cent by 2019 – saving small business owners up to $7,500 each year. We also launched Innovation Canada, a one-stop shop for business owners looking for government support, and implemented a new regulatory reform agenda to ensure federal programs and initiatives are supporting innovation, business investments, and other initiatives.
As we celebrate Canada`s first ever Gender Equality Week from September 23-30, we’re strengthening our government’s efforts to advance gender equality and women’s economic empowerment. We have a $150 billion reason to do this well – that’s what we’ll add to Canada’s GDP in less than a decade if we successfully bring in policies of fairness and equality. Women’s economic empowerment is not just the right thing to do, it’s good for the bottom line. The full and equal participation of women in the economy is essential to Canada’s competitiveness.
This year our government also launched the first-ever National Housing Strategy to strengthen the middle class, promote growth, and improve the lives of all Canadians. Over the next 10 years, the National Housing Strategy will create over 100,000 new housing units, repair over 300,000 existing units, and reduce chronic homelessness in Canada by 50 per cent. With the National Housing Strategy, our governmental is taking action to lift Canadians out of poverty, build healthy neighbourhoods, and give every person equal opportunity to grow.
This fall sitting, we’ll continue delivering results for Canadians by investing in the middle class and supporting people working hard to join it.
Finally, I would like to thank everyone who put their name forward to run in the 2018 municipal elections in Northwestern Ontario, and across the province. Your hard work and dedication to your communities is always appreciated! Congratulations to all the new and incumbent mayors and city councillors in Thunder Bay--Rainy River. I know you will all serve your communities with distinction over the next four years, and I look forward to working with you soon.