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Conservative MP for Huron—Bruce (Ontario)
Won his last election, in 2011, with 54.90% of the vote.
Statements in the House
Committees of the House November 27th, 2013
Mr. Speaker, I have the honour to present, in both official languages, the first report of the Standing Committee on Health on the supplementary estimates (B) 2013-14.
Veterans Affairs November 21st, 2013
Mr. Speaker, it has been 10 long days since the Liberal Party reminded Canadians that it just does not trust them with their hard-earned money. On Remembrance Day, no less, the Liberal Party slammed veterans by saying that giving money to veterans who are injured in the service of Canada is like “hanging a case of beer in front of a drunk”, who will go and spend it on booze and addictions.
Veterans are scratching their heads. How can the Liberal veterans affairs critic claim to stand up for veterans and criticize their intentions at the same time? Veterans deserve better. How many more days do veterans have to wait for the leader of the Liberal Party to fire his veterans spokesman?
Murray Cardiff November 19th, 2013
Mr. Speaker, Murray Cardiff, a long-time resident of Huron County, passed away on October 31, 2013. Murray served the riding as the member of Parliament for Huron—Bruce from 1980 to 1993. During his time in Ottawa, Murray was parliamentary secretary to the solicitor general, parliamentary secretary to the minister of agriculture, and parliamentary secretary to the president of the Privy Council.
Murray was a pillar in his community and always encouraged those around him to get involved with their local government. He was an inspiration as a farmer, dedicated politician, husband, father, and grandfather. Murray never shied away from a meeting in his Brussels office and was active in his community well after his time on Parliament Hill. He was a charter member of the Brussels Optimist Club and a member of the Brussels Legion.
Murray Cardiff was a shining example of how a member of Parliament should represent their constituents: hard-working, dedicated, and relentless.
Our thoughts and prayers go out to Murray's wife Betty, their children, and their extended family. Murray will be missed, but he will not be forgotten,
Economic Action Plan 2013 Act No. 2 October 29th, 2013
Mr. Speaker, with that kind of scrambled logic, there is no doubt why the Liberals are in third place and heading to fourth very quickly.
Under the leadership of our finance minister and our Prime Minister, the biggest problem we have right now in Canada, and certainly the biggest problem we have in Huron—Bruce, is finding people who are qualified to do the job.
Canada job grant: those are three words the Liberals should learn really quickly. We have people who want to work hard, who have worked hard, who need a hand up. They need retraining. I know all the professors down at the far end in the third party have no comprehension about that because they learned it in a classroom, but here, where we have actually done the jobs that are in the economy, we understand that sometimes people need to be retrained. Sometimes people need a chance to improve.
In Huron—Bruce, that is what we need. We need the Canada job grant. The professor party down there at the far end needs to clue in.
Economic Action Plan 2013 Act No. 2 October 29th, 2013
Mr. Speaker, one of my suggestions to the member would be to call Dalton McGuinty.
I was the chair of the auto caucus for a number of years. Time and time again we heard from automakers that Dalton McGuinty's flawed electricity policy in Ontario raised costs.
I used to work at a foundry. The furnaces in that business use a lot of electricity. Because of the policies of the Province of Ontario, companies that use a lot of electricity are now at a disadvantage because of Dalton McGuinty's policies.
I would call Andrea Horwath, the leader of the NDP, and ask her what she is going to do about it. She is quite happy to support Kathleen Wynne and Dalton McGuinty.
Economic Action Plan 2013 Act No. 2 October 29th, 2013
Mr. Speaker, it is a pleasure to rise today to speak to the budget implementation bill.
If we think back five years ago to the day to where we were in the global economy, certainly no one would forget the financial crisis that occurred in the United States, the failures of investment banking houses and the failures of banks throughout the United States. The Lehman Brothers, a 158-year-old investment bank, went out of business. We remember the troubled asset plan, TARP, that the United States brought in, which was $700 billion to help keep the banking sector alive in the United States. We can all remember the “credit crunch” terms.
What is the point of that? The point is that it was one of the geneses of the economic downturn that occurred in early 2008 and for more than a year after that.
The idea is that the economic downturn did not start in Canada. No one would ever say that. Certainly, we were negatively impacted by the downturn. The contraction of the U.S. economy in 2005 was minus 1.5, a negative growth. The Europe eurozone went down 2%. Japan contracted as well by 2.5%.
When we put that in context, looking back five years ago, that is what this government dealt with. How to get out of it was the question we needed to answer.
Some of the realities in July and August 2009 were that the unemployment rate in Canada was 8.6% and 8.7% respectively, new car sales in 2009 dropped precipitously to under 1.5 million new cars, the Toronto Stock Exchange composite index was at 8,500, and I mentioned the economic contraction that took place.
The job of government is not one to create jobs. The job of government is to create an economic climate so it creates ease and assurance for businesses to conduct business, feel strong and secure, grow, make it through the tough times and add jobs.
My former employer, prior to getting elected, had about 150 employees. Today it has over 800. It was not due to our government. We did not create those jobs, but we created an economic climate for it to succeed, make it through those tough times and to now hire many new employees.
Since the economic downturn in 2008-09, and July 2009 is a benchmark we have used many times, the Canadian economy has added over one millions jobs, which is truly remarkable.
Another important fact we need to remember when we look back is that our unemployment rate in Canada is actually lower than the United States, and it has been that way now for a couple of years. It has literally been decades since our unemployment rate was lower than the United States. Canadians should be proud of that. Canadian businesses should be proud that they have created these jobs.
In addition to that, Canada's net debt to GDP is the leader of G7 countries with developed economies. That is something to be proud of. We have been able to get through these tough times of deficit and yet keep our net debt low. We will lead the G7 in net growth as well.
There are many things that Canada has done. We have been through the tough times and, again, it was not brought on by us but by the other much larger economies. However, because of our fiscal policy, we have been able to get through it.
The unemployment rate from September 2003 is now down to 6.9%. Huron county is at 5.4% and in Bruce county it is 4.5%. Certainly, I can take credit for none of that, but I am very proud of the people in our communities who are job creators. They have been able to adapt, respond and react to the fiscal realities and create unique and interesting jobs in our communities.
I mentioned new car sales. They were under 1.5 million in 2009. I can remember meeting in my office with car dealers at the time. They were thinking of any possible way to create a carrot, an incentive for people to buy new cars and get them going, because in December 2008 to July 2009 sales basically ground to a halt. In 2012, I am proud to report, sales were at a 10-year high. We saw 10-year highs in auto sales of over 1.7 million units. That is a 15% increase over the 2009 levels. The TSX composite index, as I mentioned, was at 8,500; it is at about 15,500 today, which is over a 50% increase.
What does that mean? Well, it means that the general health of the largest Canadian corporations is much better. Their earnings have increased and their capacity to grow and hire new employees has expanded. That is why we have seen the million-plus job increase since then.
What does BIA 2 have in it that is going to continue this growth? As policy-makers in our country, how do we continue to create a stimulus to continue to grow our economy? One of the things, in my opinion, is the freezing of employment insurance rates.
Here is an interesting fact. If we go back to 2000, the rate for the employee was $2.40 per $100 in earnings. Today, the frozen rate is $1.88 per $100 in earnings. We have been able to come through good times and bad, and we still have a very competitive rate.
Freezing the rates also helps employers, because we know that they pay 1.4 times what the employee pays, and that comes right off their payroll. It is very important for employers to be able to save as much as they can. I believe it is about $660 million that Canadian businesses would have available to use to invest in capital and employees and to continue to grow their businesses. That is vitally important.
Another point that is important for policy-makers in creating a climate where investment is going to occur and create stimulus for our economy is increasing the lifetime capital gains exemption. The last time an increase took place was in 1988; in 2007, our Conservative government increased it from $500,000 to $750,000, which is a tremendous benefit to people who are in business and are there to create jobs in small businesses.
I come from a rural riding, and that is certainly a huge benefit for our farming community. Many farmers sell their farms and move into a new community where they will reinvest that profit and interest and create jobs and economic prosperity.
The lifetime capital gains exemption would now be increased from $750,000 to $800,000, and then in 2015 it would be indexed moving forward. That is very important, because a lot of the time, what happens is that capital gets locked in. It gets locked up, and the person holding that capital and that asset does not want to sell it because he or she will trigger a taxable occurrence. That is a part of life. That is just the way it is. However, for us as government, to create a policy that provides a reason to sell and let somebody else come in to reinvest and maybe grow the business is vitally important.
There is a ton that I would like to speak about. Another point that I will mix in very quickly is the accelerated capital cost for biogas. There is a farm in my community near Walkerton that has created a biogas facility that uses methane and food waste from the food industry to power two Caterpillar engines that create electricity. To be able to now accelerate the depreciation to create a stimulus and a reason to make an investment is a great opportunity.
There are about four or five other things that I would like to talk about. Hopefully, during the questions, I will be able to address them.
Nobel Prize for Literature October 21st, 2013
Mr. Speaker, on October 10, 2013, the world took notice of something that we as Canadians have known for the past 40 years: Alice Munro is a great author. She is the first Canadian female author to win the prestigious Nobel Prize in Literature, and only the 13th woman to have ever won the award since its inception 112 years ago.
Alice was born in Wingham, Ontario, and now calls Clinton home. She has published more than a dozen collections of short stories, most of which focus on women living in rural southwestern Ontario.
The people of Huron—Bruce are immensely proud of her accomplishments, and I encourage all Canadians to pick up one of her books and have a read. Alice published her first collection of short stories in 1967 and has continued writing acclaimed Canadian works for the past four decades.
Congratulations to Alice and all Canadian writers, as this is a testament to the skills and the foresight of our heritage. I speak for all of us in this House when I thank her for representing Canada with such a passion and insight. We wish her all the best, in health, spirit and mind.
Labour June 18th, 2013
Mr. Speaker, I opposed Bill C-377, the union transparency bill. I can also tell the House that I never have taken any money from unions before or after being elected MP. Had I done so and voted against Bill C-377, I would have been in a conflict of interest.
To contrast, the Liberal leader took over $100,000 in personal payments from unions, including tens of thousands of dollars in his time as MP. After receiving this money, he is now a vocal opponent of the union transparency bill and his party is opposing it in the Senate.
I will be raising this matter with the Conflict of Interest and Ethics Commissioner. Could the government comment?
Leader of the Liberal Party of Canada June 17th, 2013
Mr. Speaker, I believe as a member of Parliament, one of our fundamental roles is to do everything we can to help people and organizations in need. That is why I believe charity starts at home.
As an auctioneer, I have had the great opportunity to help many charities and organizations throughout the riding of Huron—Bruce and beyond: Ausable Bayfield Conservation Authority, Goderich Legion tornado fundraiser, Central Huron community living, WOAA, Clinton Hospital and many more. As athletes and hockey players, many of my parliamentary colleagues and I have had the great honour of raising money for the United Way, muscular dystrophy, Robert Warner Memorial Fund, and the RVH Cancer Centre, to name a few.
Martin Luther once said, “Every man must decide whether he will walk in the light of creative altruism or in the darkness of destructive selfishness.”
With $1.3 million dollars in speaking fees charged to charity, I know which side the Liberal leader has picked.
Economic Action Plan 2013 Act, No. 1 May 7th, 2013
Mr. Speaker, the member asked about four or five questions, but one I would like to answer. He did make a point about the efficiencies that have been found within the department. It is not 1972 anymore. It is 2013. We can do things differently. We can do things more efficiently. As taxpayers, we expect that.
I choose to look at the fact that it is 2013 today. We can operate business differently. Up until a few years ago it was almost as if the highest technology Veterans Affairs had from the Liberal legacy was a typewriter. Therefore, we have made the investments. We have gone on our initiative to transform Veterans Affairs. I am proud of that. We are operating in a way that delivers funds to veterans, and they do not get spent on administration.