Address by the Deputy Prime Minister for the 2023 Fall Economic Statement
November 21, 2023 - Ottawa, ON
Check Against Delivery
Thank you very much, Mr. Speaker.
Our government was elected on a promise to deliver for the middle class.
And our economic plan is focused on building an economy that works for everyone—with good jobs that people can count on.
Major investments in public transit, in EV battery factories, and in new energy projects are not just red ink in our fiscal statement. They are truly investments—decades-long investments—in the economic growth which creates middle class jobs, raises incomes, and makes middle class communities more prosperous.
Like the Transcontinental Railway a century ago, these are foundational investments which only government can make. We believe in Canada, and we believe in the incredible possibility of Canada’s future—and that is why we are making the investments Canada needs to make that bright future a reality.
Affordable early learning and child care is likewise an investment in our social infrastructure—and it is also transformative economic policy. It gives children the best possible start in life and saves middle class families thousands of dollars a year—while also supporting record women’s employment and helping to address the labour shortages which contributed to inflation.
When we announced our plan to build a Canada-wide system of affordable early learning and child care, some Canadians were skeptical, and justifiably so—after all, it was a promise that had been made and broken for five decades.
But today, just two-and-a-half years after we launched our plan, it is working. Child care fees are down by at least 50 per cent across Canada. In six provinces and territories, child care costs just $10-a-day already—and we are on track to deliver outstanding, nurturing care for $10-a-day, everywhere in Canada, by 2026.
Enhancements to Canada’s social safety net, ranging from the Canada Child Benefit, to the Canada Workers Benefit, to the Canada Pension Plan, are about driving down inequality, raising incomes, and ensuring by design, not by trickle-down, that everyone can truly share in our country’s prosperity.
With investments in our economy, our communities, and a new generation of middle-class careers, we have focused, relentlessly, on ensuring that government investments deliver real economic opportunities for all Canadians.
That is our economic plan.
And think about how far we’ve come, Mr. Speaker.
Our government has lifted nearly 2.3 million Canadians out of poverty.
Inflation is coming down, wages are going up, and private sector economists now expect Canada to avoid the post-pandemic recession that many had predicted.
And because of our economic plan, Canada is now a global investment destination of choice.
In the first half of this year, Canada received the third-most foreign direct investment of any country in the entire world—and more investment per capita than any of our G7 allies: more investment than the United States, the United Kingdom, Germany, Italy, France, or Japan.
And the IMF projects Canada to likewise see the strongest economic growth in the G7 next year.
All of this means that our economy is creating great jobs for people from coast to coast to coast—and compared to before the pandemic, I can proudly say that over a million more Canadians are employed today.
We have more work to do, Mr. Speaker—but our economic plan is working.
Now, I don’t want to deny the reality that many Canadians are facing today.
I absolutely understand that after three difficult years—with a global pandemic, global inflation, and global interest rate hikes—Canadians are worn out, frustrated, and feeling the squeeze.
What Canadians deserve today is for us to address the very real pain that so many are feeling—with a hopeful and achievable vision for our country’s future.
That is my priority. That is our government’s priority. And that is the priority of our Fall Economic Statement.
The foundation of our Fall Economic Statement is our responsible fiscal plan.
In the face of global inflation, our government has reduced the deficit faster than any other country in the G7.
And with inflation down from 8.1 per cent last year, we are taking care not to feed inflation—by carefully targeting new investments towards the priorities of Canadians today, and towards the future growth that makes our finances sustainable.
Canada maintains both the lowest deficit- and debt-to-GDP ratio in the G7—and with new reductions in government spending, this Fall Economic Statement builds on the $15 billion in public service spending reductions that I announced in the spring.
We are ensuring that Canada’s finances remain sustainable—because that is how we will be able to continue investing in Canadians for years to come.
Built upon our responsible fiscal plan, our Fall Economic Statement has two objectives.
The first is to continue to support the middle class at a time when some prices are still high and mortgage renewals are looming.
That is why we are making generational changes to competition law in Canada. This historic step includes cracking down on predatory pricing and other tactics that big corporations use to raise costs for Canadians.
Competition law may sound esoteric. But it is not. This is new, significant, concrete action that will help stabilize prices and provide more choice for Canadians.
We are cracking down on the junk fees that Canadians are saddled with every day, and an investigation will soon be launched into the international roaming charges that drive up Canadians’ phone bills.
We are lifting the GST and HST on counselling and psychotherapy services so that Canadians can receive the support they need.
We are extending Employment Insurance to parents who adopt, and we are introducing a new leave for federally regulated workers who are grieving from miscarriages—because every family, no matter how it comes together, needs time to bond, and every parent should have time to heal from the painful loss of a pregnancy.
And to protect Canadians who are struggling with their mortgage payments at a time of higher interest rates, today I am announcing the new Canadian Mortgage Charter.
The Canadian Mortgage Charter details the tailored mortgage relief that Canadians at risk can expect from their banks if they are in financial difficulty.
Our goal is to help Canadians through an incredibly challenging time—by making sure Canadians at risk have the support they need to afford their mortgages and keep their homes when renewing at a time of higher interest rates.
And we are committed to taking further action if necessary.
Our second objective is equally urgent.
For generations, Canada has been a place where if you worked hard—if you went to school, found a good job, and squirreled some money away, there would be a home that you could afford.
For generations, that promise was kept.
But today, for a generation that ranges from new high school graduates to couples in their thirties making six-figure salaries, it is a promise that is under threat.
Keeping that promise demands a great national effort—and it is an effort that our government is stepping up to lead.
Building on the significant action we have already taken—including this fall alone—I am today announcing new measures through our economic plan to build thousands upon thousands upon thousands of new homes across the country—and to build them faster.
We are unlocking billions of dollars in new financing—money that will go towards supporting the construction of new homes for Canadians.
We are supporting non-profit, co-op, and public housing providers.
We will be helping to cut the red tape that prevents construction workers from moving across the country to build homes—and we will be bringing to Canada more of the skilled trades workers that our construction sector needs.
And we will be cracking down on short-term rentals—listed on sites like Airbnb and VRBO—which are keeping far too many homes off the market in communities and cities right across the country.
That is just what we are doing today.
We are also making it easier for more than 250,000 Canadians—and counting—to buy their first home with our new tax-free First Home Savings Account.
The federal government owns more land than anyone else in Canada—and we are going to build more homes on it.
We are lifting the GST on new rental construction to make it more affordable for builders to build.
We are building and repairing hundreds of thousands of new homes, and we are financing the construction of tens of thousands more.
We have banned foreign investment in Canadian housing, and we are ensuring that property flippers pay their fair share.
We are making it more affordable for families to construct secondary suites.
And we have signed agreements with cities across the country to slash the red tape which is preventing homes from being built in the first place—and in exchange, we are providing them with new funding to build more than 100,000 new homes, faster.
Because our country needs more homes—and we need more of them, fast.
We must build homes in our biggest cities and our smallest towns.
We must build detached family homes and secondary suites. We must build co-op housing and rental apartments.
And it will take all of us—the federal government and the provinces; cities and towns; the private sector and non-profits right across this great country—working together in common cause.
Our government is doing our part—and we are approaching this task with the purpose, drive, and intensity it deserves.
We will keep working—day after day, week after week, month after month, and year after year—to build the homes that Canadians need, and expect, and deserve.
At the heart of the promise of Canada is the conviction that, no matter who you are—no matter what you look like or who you love or where you were born, every day represents a new opportunity.
That if you work hard, you can share in the remarkable possibilities of our remarkable country—with a good career that pays you well, and with a home you can afford.
Building a Canada that delivers on the promise of the greatest country in the world will be our government’s work for these next two years—and beyond.
Canada is not and has never been broken.
We are the imperfect but remarkable creation of generations of Canadians who did their part to build a better country—in good times and in tough times, calloused hand by calloused hand.
Generations of Canadians who fought fear and cynicism with hope and hard work.
Generations of Canadians who fought, day after day, to keep Canada moving forward.
And generations of Canadians who believed—just as I do, today—that better is always possible.
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