- Get e-mail whenever he speaks in House debates
- Subscribe to feeds of recent activity (what you see to the right) or statements in the House
- His favourite word is trade.
Conservative MP for Niagara West—Glanbrook (Ontario)
Won his last election, in 2011, with 57.30% of the vote.
Statements in the House
Economic Action Plan 2014 Act, No. 1 April 3rd, 2014
Mr. Speaker, obviously, reducing the amount of the debt that we have to service frees up more dollars for other programs.
One of the things I did not get a chance to mention is that I am particularly proud of this government and finance minister for introducing the adoption expense tax credit. It is something that I believe is very important. It further recognizes the unique costs that families incur as they adopt children, and the kinds of one-time expenses they have. Of course, there will also be ongoing expenses, but this is particularly important.
As the member mentioned, as we continue to reduce the debt, it continues to free up dollars and we can look at additional programs and tax incentives.
Economic Action Plan 2014 Act, No. 1 April 3rd, 2014
Mr. Speaker, one of the things I have noticed in my role as chair of the foreign affairs committee is the number of individuals from other countries who approach me, whether they are ambassadors or the like, to talk about some of the amazing things that have been going on here in Canada.
If we look at what has happened since the economic downturn in 2008, we understand that many countries did not fare nearly as well and as a matter of fact were absolutely crippled by what happened during that downturn.
One of the things that is constantly raised to me by these ambassadors and other individuals is that there is more and more desire on the part of parliamentarians from other parts of the world to come to Canada to talk about the successes we have.
We continue to move forward. I know that if we look at the debt to GDP ratio, we see that ours remains the lowest in the G7 by quite a bit. I know we will continue to move forward as we implement our action plan over the coming years.
Economic Action Plan 2014 Act, No. 1 April 3rd, 2014
Mr. Speaker, what I would like to point out is that as we look at this budget, we are looking at a balanced way of approaching things.
What I mentioned in my speech was the fact that it is not just one thing that is going to make a difference in this country. Just cutting corporate taxes or any other of a number of issues is not going to be what makes the difference. It is a combination of things that we do, including reducing spending, which I talked about in terms of government spending. I talked as well about reducing taxes, about immigration, about trade deals. There is a whole host of issues that we need to continue to work on in order to make our economy strong and to prosper.
Economic Action Plan 2014 Act, No. 1 April 3rd, 2014
Mr. Speaker, I am honoured to rise today to highlight several features of budget 2014. Each year we bring out a new budget with new particulars but with the same steady principles and long-term priorities. We have looked at our economic circumstances and listened to Canadians and we know that they support our government's continued efforts to secure jobs, economic growth, and long-term prosperity.
This government is proud to serve Canadians in both domestic and international affairs. On the domestic side, I would like to speak to specific job-creating and economic measures as well as our low-tax plan on the road to balance. Moving to international issues, I hope to address economic immigration, free trade agreements, and Canada's relationship with the United States.
Allow me to start with an issue that is near and dear to all Canadians: jobs. Our government knows that Canadians are willing to work hard to get ahead, but we recognize the gap between the demand for skilled work positions and our current graduates and trainees. We are taking action to address these challenges. We would encourage students to enter the skilled trades by making interest-free loans available for Red Seal apprentice programs. Apprentices would be able to get interest-free loans of up to $4,000 per technical training period.
Our government is committed to workers who have lost their jobs and those who need retraining. Economic action plan 2013 introduced the Canada job grant to address this very issue. The grant would go toward training Canadians for jobs in high-demand fields and will be fully implemented in fiscal year 2017. The plan is to invest $300 million in the new program from the existing $500 million labour market agreements with the provinces. Budget 2014 would continue this implementation process.
In addition to training Canadians for available jobs, we are making it easier for businesses to hire them. As a member of the Red Tape Reduction Commission, I am pleased to say that this government would now implement another one of its recommendations. We would cut the administrative burden on more than 50,000 employers by reducing the maximum number of required payments on account of source deductions.
Despite these and other measures, the Canadian economy will experience periodic labour force gaps. Companies can address these gaps with temporary foreign workers if there are no Canadians available to do the work. Our government sees the value of the foreign worker program and its ability to help businesses in need, but we strongly believe that Canadians should always get the first shot at available jobs. To that end, we would commit $11 million over two years and $3.5 million each year going forward in reforming the labour market opinion process.
In addition to training, cutting red tape, and filling labour gaps, our government continues the trend of keeping corporate taxes low. Low taxes encourage more start-ups and attract more international companies to move here. Our steady course on corporate taxes works nicely with our reduction in personal taxes, but I will speak more on that later. To supplement these direct measures, budget 2014 includes several less direct approaches that would encourage economic activity by creating a more conducive climate.
New inventions, ideas, and methods give Canada an economic edge over international competitors. Our government helps to foster these innovations and discoveries by funding research and development projects throughout the country. In 2014, we would continue the trend of increasing annual R and D funding, with the total proposed spending now at $1.6 billion over five years.
We all know that sometimes brilliant ideas come from surprising sources and that the Internet is the single greatest advance in knowledge sharing in generations. Getting more people online increases the chances of new ideas coming to the fore. Budget 2014 proposes to spend $305 million over five years to extend and enhance high-speed broadband access to roughly 280,000 households in rural and northern Canada.
Of course, information flowing online is not the only thing that needs to move in Canada. People and goods require quality roads and rails to navigate our vast country. We have set aside $53 billion for the building Canada plan. Among other things, this plan would fund transfers to provinces and municipalities and would accept applications for the building Canada fund. It would also renew the P3 Canada fund to find new ways for state and private actors to co-operate on projects. It would contribute to on-reserve infrastructure, and much more.
Canadians know that governments pay for these kinds of infrastructure projects through taxes. However, if taxes get too high, it can actually slow the economy down. With that in mind, since 2006, we have introduced over 160 tax-cutting measures. The average family of four's yearly taxes are now around $3,400 lower.
Building on that solid record, budget 2014 includes many individual cuts. For example, we propose increasing the GST exemption measures, such as exempting training in coping tactics for people with disorders and disabilities. One of my personal favourites, due to the exciting technology element, is the exemption for eyewear specifically designed to electronically enhance the vision of people with impairments. Along with a host of other cuts, these measures would continue to make life just that much easier for Canadians.
Governance is about trade-offs, such as tax relief versus deficit elimination. Our government is doing both, which brings me to my personal favourite part of budget 2014: staying on track to balanced books and surplus.
Canadians trust our government to protect the nation's finances, to tax wisely, to rein in spending, and to respond to crises. Responding to the great recession of 2008 took a heavy toll on the budget. However, I can proudly say that the budget is on track to balance for the next fiscal year, and the sooner the better. As a small businessman, I can say first-hand that I understand the occasional need for borrowing, but I also understand the immense joy and relief of being in surplus again.
We are eliminating the deficit in two ways: by increasing revenue and by cutting spending. By fostering a healthy economic climate, our government has helped the GDP rise, which increases tax revenue without raising taxes. Unlike what the inexperienced Liberal leader thinks, budgets do not just balance themselves. Unlike what the reckless New Democrats may hope, a carbon tax on everything depresses GDP and lowers tax revenue.
The second way we are tackling the deficit is by making concerted efforts to reduce the size of government through attrition and modernization.
Growth in GDP and population brings me back to the matter of immigration I introduced when speaking of the LMOs earlier.
Along with most Canadians, our government believes that our immigration system should benefit Canada. As such, we have taken several important steps to reform the system, including proposing replacement of the immigrant investor program by the immigrant investor venture capital fund. The new program would ensure that this class of immigrants would make substantial contributions to our economy.
Immigration is just one way that we interact with the wider world. Canada also trades extensively, and trade is good for economic growth.
As I mentioned, we have managed to grow GDP without raising taxes; in fact, we have grown our GDP by cutting taxes over 160 times.
Increasing resource development and increasing trade are two of the best ways to increase our GDP. With the signing of the Canada-European trade agreement late last year and the Canada-Korea trade agreement a few weeks ago, Canada has secured new opportunities for growth.
Of course, trade requires goods and services to exchange. Canada is blessed with abundant natural resources, fertile soil, and the workforce needed to translate those assets into exports. I am particularly pleased to note that budget 2014 continues funding for agricultural development through the Growing Forward 2 framework. I also appreciate the proposed expansions to the types of livestock qualifying for tax deferral on sale by farmers dealing with drought or excessive rain.
Measures like these clearly show that our government is pursuing a sound strategy of diversifying our economy through developing our resources, opening new markets with new partners, and drawing closer to old friends and allies.
The great thing about trade is that it is not a zero sum game. Seeking out new trade opportunities in the Asia-Pacific zone and in Europe does not diminish our existing trade with the United States. The fact is that the United States is, and will continue to be, our closest ally and greatest trading partner. Our government is determined to increase that trade through improved cross-border infrastructure, such as the new international trade crossing between Windsor and Detroit. Budget 2014 proposes to provide $470 million over two years on a cash basis for the procurement and project delivery parts of the new bridge project. Since the Windsor-Detroit corridor handles 30% of Canada-US trade by truck, and since that trade is forecast to increase, expanding our infrastructure is an obvious choice.
Whether it is implementing direct job-related measures, cultivating a high-growth economic climate, cutting taxes while balancing the budget, or launching new trade initiatives, our government is taking solid steps for the good of the country. All Canadians can benefit from the sound governance budget 2014 demonstrates and from the prosperity to which it contributes. That is why I am looking forward to seeing the budget implemented.
International Trade April 2nd, 2014
Mr. Speaker, it is my privilege to rise today to celebrate the signing of the Canada-Korea Free Trade Agreement. I am pleased to say that this agreement will benefit Canadians across the country, and the residents of Niagara West—Glanbrook in particular.
Niagara is world famous for our wines and spirits and is home to many farms and orchards. Among its many other benefits, this deal eliminates the 15% tariff on ice wine, the 20% tariff on whiskey, and tariffs on other agricultural products. I am expecting good things for Niagara farmers, vintners, and growers in the years to come.
Speaking of Canadian whiskey, I would like to congratulate Forty Creek Distillery in Grimsby on its acquisition by Gruppo Campari earlier this year. Canadian whiskey is growing in foreign markets, and this sale goes to show international recognition of the quality and appeal of Niagara spirits.
I want to wish John Hall and all the others at Forty Creek all the best.
Interparliamentary Delegations April 1st, 2014
Mr. Speaker, pursuant to Standing Order 34(1), I have the honour to present, in both official languages, the fall report of the Canadian delegation to the Organization for Security and Co-operation in the European Parliamentary Assembly respecting its participation at the 22nd annual session of the OSCEPA in Istanbul from June 29 to July 3, 2013.
Foreign Affairs March 27th, 2014
Mr. Speaker, last year our government announced that a tentative deal was in the works to sell Macdonald House. The sale represents an important step in our government's plan to consolidate Canada's diplomatic presence in London by revitalizing and renovating the historic Canada House in the heart of London, Trafalgar Square. This consolidation will ensure that Canadians will be better served in one centralized location.
Could the Minister of Foreign Affairs please update the House on the sale of Macdonald House?
Committees of the House March 4th, 2014
Mr. Speaker, pursuant to Standing Order 107(3), I have the honour to present, in both official languages, the second report of the Liaison Committee, entitled “Committee Activities and Expenditures--April 1 to December 31, 2013”. The report highlights the work and the accomplishments of each committee, as well as detailing the budget's funded activities approved by committee members. It is the liaison committee's intention to present such reports to the House three times a year.
Committees of the House February 6th, 2014
Mr. Speaker, I have the honour to present, in both official languages, the third report of the Standing Committee on Foreign Affairs and International Development in relation to Bill C-6, An Act to implement the Convention on Cluster Munitions. The committee has studied the bill and has decided to report the bill back to the House with amendments.
Women's Equality January 28th, 2014
Mr. Speaker, it is my pleasure to stand before the House today to share with members and all Canadians the courage in the actions of Professor Paul Grayson of York University.
In September of last year, Professor Grayson received an unusual request from one of his students. The student asked to be exempt from in-person group work on religious grounds, because it would involve having to be in the presence of women. Professor Grayson consulted with the dean of the faculty and with the campus' Centre for Human Rights. Both asked him to accommodate the student's request. Professor Grayson refused to follow their instructions. Courageously, he refused to accommodate sexism at York University.
Women's equality is not negotiable. It is important to clearly state that the equality of women is a fundamental Canadian value. Women have made tremendous strides in all areas of society. It is unacceptable to ignore, stifle, or reverse this progress. I would like to thank Professor Grayson for standing up to his superiors on this important issue and for standing up for women's rights and equality.