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Conservative MP for Niagara West—Glanbrook (Ontario)
Won his last election, in 2011, with 57.30% of the vote.
Statements in the House
Interparliamentary Delegations December 10th, 2014
Mr. Speaker, pursuant to Standing Order 34(1), I have the honour to present, in both official languages, the report of the Canadian delegation to the Organization for Security and Co-operation in Europe Parliamentary Assembly respecting its participation at the 23rd annual session of the OSCE Parliamentary Assembly in Baku, Azerbaijan, June 28 through July 2, 2014.
Lincoln Alexander Day December 2nd, 2014
Mr. Speaker, we knew about Linc's professional life, but I wonder if the member would talk a bit about how he was around town and the kind of guy he was as he interacted with people on the street.
Economic Action Plan 2014 Act, No. 2 December 2nd, 2014
Mr. Speaker, I am certainly honoured to be here today to speak to a couple of the key features of the 2014 budget and economic action plan.
For Canadian families, this year's budget demonstrates the fulfillment of a promise made by this government to return the Canadian economy back to balanced books and surplus. Currently, this government is right on track to do so. In my limited time here today, I want to give an overview of how this year's budget would meet such a promise through creating jobs, investing in research and development, and supporting Canadian families.
Let us first talk about jobs.
Since taking office in 2006, this government has made it a central priority to address what has been on the minds of Canadians from coast to coast to coast: the creation of jobs. Since the economic recession, Canada has recovered more than all of the output and all of the jobs lost during the global recession. The Canadian economy has posted one of the strongest job creation records in the G7, with nearly 1.2 million jobs created since July 2009. Over 80% of the jobs created since that time are full-time positions, nearly 80% are in the private sector, and over 65% are in high-wage industries.
When I have a chance to travel on parliamentary business, I see that colleagues from all over the world are obviously impressed with the kind of record that we have and that we have created, and they want to know how we do it. If we just look at the numbers we heard last month, we see that in October we had an increase of almost 43,000 jobs, which dropped our unemployment rate to 6.5%, the lowest since 2008.
This government has created an environment in which businesses can flourish, and almost 182,000 jobs have been created in the past years. That is a pretty impressive record by any stretch of the imagination. When it comes to other G7 countries, most countries can only wish to have the kind of record that we have.
One way in which this government has been able to create this substantial accomplishment is through strengthening the investment, training, and employment opportunities available to our young people here in Canada. When it comes to training young people to develop the skills necessary for key growth industries in Canada, this government has taken seriously the demand put forth by employers to gain an increased role in training decisions and to gain the support needed to train new employees with minimal red tape.
Several programs supported within this budget, such as the Canada summer jobs program, the Canada job grant, and the Canada apprenticeship loan, have provided funding to not-for-profits, the public sector, and small-business employers to create a great number of job opportunities for young people.
I had a chance to meet a number of these individuals in my riding. It is always interesting to see them. For example, I think of the Jordan Historical Museum and having the chance to talk to the two young ladies who were there last year who were given an opportunity. The field that they would like to go into in some capacity is museums, whether as curators or being involved in exhibits, et cetera. Because of the money that the Canada summer jobs program provided, these two ladies had a chance to see first-hand what was going on, to experience this work in the field, whereas otherwise they might not have been able to have that opportunity. That is just one small example that I think has very practical applications.
By developing an accessible path for students to transition out of full-time studies into job sectors that they are passionate about—and I can assure members that these two ladies were very passionate about their jobs with the museum—this year's budget looks to continue the strong legacy established by these programs in helping move forward the aspirations of Canadian employers and students alike.
Since it began in 2007 and through to 2013, the Canada summer jobs program has helped over 260,000 students, while the Canada job grant and the apprentice program have allowed for an investment of over $50 million in up to 4,000 internships in both high-demand and small- and medium-sized business sectors. These initiatives all make Canada's labour force more competitive and shape a path toward enhanced national prosperity and growth.
As a member of the Red Tape Reduction Commission, I am pleased to say this government is now implementing another one of our recommendations. We are cutting the administrative burden on more than 50,000 employers by reducing the maximum number of required payments on account of source deductions.
The 2014 economic action plan proposes to continue supporting the elimination of unnecessary barriers for employers and the creation of important programs like these, which put more money back into the pockets of hard-working Canadians.
Youth employment strategy, or its short form, YES, is another program with strong results supported in this year's budget. YES provides skills development and work experience for youth at risk, summer students, and recent post-secondary graduates.
Economic action plan 2014 announces that our government will improve the youth employment strategy to align it with the evolving realities of the job market. This process would also ensure federal investments in youth employment provide young Canadians with real-life work experience in high-demand fields such as science, technology, engineering, mathematics, and skilled trades. Creating these jobs for students benefits not only youth and employers but local economies as well. That is why our government will continue to support programs in this year's budget that help connect young Canadians with available jobs.
Let me talk a little now about research and development and the Internet. Investing in employment opportunities is only one part of how the budget proposes to continue to move the Canadian economy forward. The other half of its strategy is that it is investing in the promise of new inventions, new ideas, and new minds. It is these important features that currently give Canada an economic edge over its international competitors.
Our government has helped foster these innovations and discoveries by funding research and development projects throughout the country. In 2014, we continue the trend of increasing annual research and development funding, with the total spending now at $1.6 billion over 5 years.
We have long recognized that the development of new ideas and new products is key to Canada's future prosperity. It fuels the growth of small and large businesses and drives productivity improvements that raise the standard of living of Canadians.
Improvements to technology and infrastructure, such as our connecting Canadians program, deliver on the government's commitment in economic action plan 2014 to invest in programs that benefit all Canadians. Bringing high-speed Internet to an additional 280,000 Canadian households in rural and remote regions of the country, this program is ensuring that Canadians are equipped with the skills, tools, and opportunities needed to be competitive and thrive in the 21st century.
It is because of programs like these that Canada remains the G7 leader in research and development expenditures in the higher education sector as a share of the economy. Our universities are recognized internationally for providing a world-class education. We must continue this legacy by investing in the intellectual and social capital that culminates in our places of post-secondary and higher learning.
Through our economic action plan 2014, we will continue this legacy through creating funds to support research, academic excellence, and higher learning. Prime examples of the investments the budget makes in the brightest minds of tomorrow are the Canada first research excellence fund and the venture capital action plan. These initiatives help Canadian post-secondary research institutions leverage their key strengths to the benefit of all Canadians. Within the next decade, the Canada first research excellence fund will provide an additional $1.5 billion to advance the global research leadership of Canadian institutions.
The venture capital action plan aims to make significant resources available to support Canada's booming venture capital industry, including the allocation of $400 million to help increase private sector investments in early stage risk capital.
Complementing the investment in research and innovation, I want to conclude my time today by focusing on what the budget aims to do for Canadian families.
In my riding of Niagara West—Glanbrook, families are very important. There is no higher calling for a government than ensuring that every Canadian family with children will have more money in their pockets to spend on their priorities. The family tax cut, a federal tax credit, will provide tax relief by allowing higher-income spouses to transfer up to $50,000 of taxable income to a spouse in a lower tax bracket.
Increasing the universal child care benefit for children under age six, doubling the children's fitness tax credit, and increasing the child care expense deduction dollar limits all represent measures that make important priorities, like child care and after-school sports, more affordable for parents.
Simply put, these measures put hard-working Canadian families and their children first. Whether it is creating jobs, investing in young people, research and development, or supporting Canadian families, our government is displaying strong leadership and taking important steps in moving this economy and nation forward. The budget benefits Canadians nationwide and puts in place initiatives that cultivate growth and prosperity.
Mr. Speaker, it is for this reason that I am honoured to stand before you today and put forward my support for the implementation of this year's budget.
International Development December 1st, 2014
Mr. Speaker, as a Canadian, I was very proud this weekend to see Canada's continued leadership in the fight to save the lives of mothers and children in the developing world.
This past weekend, as Ia Francophonie elected a Canadian to be its Secretary-General, Michaëlle Jean, our Prime Minister and the Minister for International Development announced crucial vaccinations and life-saving nutrition improvements.
Organizations like Micronutrient Initiative work on Canada's contribution that will help deliver and administer 400 million vitamin A and zinc supplements per year to children under the age of five, and increase the production of iodized salt to reach at least 120 million people per year.
As the Prime Minister noted, “In Canada, our newborns and children do not face death from malnutrition. In 2014, we have the means to prevent so many needless deaths.”
This government can and will continue to fight for the many mothers and children throughout the developing world. It is because of our Prime Minister's dedication and commitment to saving the lives of mothers and children worldwide, that Canada is continuing in its global leadership and saving the lives of women, mothers and children globally.
Taxation November 27th, 2014
Mr. Speaker, Statistics Canada has confirmed what we already knew: Middle-class families are better off under our Prime Minister than under previous governments.
The Liberal leader has promised to reverse benefits for middle-class families, as he believes that the government knows better than parents on how to spend their hard-earned tax dollars. Under our family tax cut, 100% of families with children will receive an average benefit of over $1,100. A single mother with two children earning $30,000 will benefit by $1,500 per year. We know that for the important decisions that affect the lives of children, the decision-making power should be with moms and dads, not with government.
We know that, as families, we are better off in my riding of Niagara West—Glanbrook under our Conservative government. We know that, as families, we are better off in my province of Ontario under our Conservative government. We know that, as families, we are better off as Canadians under our Conservative government.
Canadian Executive Services Organization November 18th, 2014
Mr. Speaker, I rise today to recognize the excellence and dedication of the men and women working within the Canadian Executive Services Organization, or CESO.
For over fifty years, CESO volunteers have tirelessly donated their time towards helping create better lives and stronger economies worldwide. Made up of senior executives from the private and public sectors in Canada with over 25 years of experience, CESO volunteer advisers are currently involved in over 47,000 assignments in 122 countries.
In all of its projects worldwide, CESO looks to inspire positive social change and economic development where it is needed most. In Canada, CESO's economic development capacity-building program provides important services that help first nations communities and businesses grow. Last year, 66 of its assignments were supported by community partnerships and private-public collaboration.
It is volunteers like David and Pat Evershed, who are here with us today, who help CESO in strengthening local institutions to help shape their own paths towards economic development.
Mr. Speaker and honoured members, it is with great pride that I extend an invitation to the CESO reception this evening, where members can find out more about the stewardship and excellence of its dedicated volunteers.
Interparliamentary Delegations October 29th, 2014
Mr. Speaker, pursuant to Standing Order 34(1), I have to honour to present, in both official languages, the following reports of the Canadian delegation to the Organization for Security and Co-operation in Europe Parliamentary Assembly respecting its participation at the winter meeting of the OSCE Parliamentary Assembly held at Vienna, Austria, from February 12 to 14, 2014, and its participation at the election observation mission at the OSCE Parliamentary Assembly held in Kiev, Ukraine, from May 25 to 28, 2014.
Canada-Korea Economic Growth and Prosperity Act September 30th, 2014
Mr. Speaker, that is one of the reasons we enter into agreements. It is to create additional access. With trade deficits, we look at trying to get access to other markets, which is helpful to us.
I want to talk about a few of the trade deficits that will be reduced. There is a list for different provinces. However, I will speak specifically to Ontario, and I apologize to my colleague, who is from Manitoba.
In terms of examples of tariffs that are going to be reduced, we can look at aerospace products at 8%; clean technology products at 8%; and nickel, rubber, chemicals, and plastics at 8%. I have a list here of products that will be reduced.
Once again, any time we can have reduced tariffs, it goes a long way to reducing the price of our goods that are going to other countries, which we hope, in turn, they will be purchasing more and at a fairer price.
Quite frankly, we know that we can compete. This was said before by my colleague for Burlington. Take pork, for example. With the U.S. having a head start and our tariffs remaining high, this creates a competitive disadvantage and a disincentive for other countries to import our products.
We believe that by looking at these deals and reducing tariffs, it will give countries an opportunity to buy our goods at a cheaper price and hence give us an opportunity to export more.
Canada-Korea Economic Growth and Prosperity Act September 30th, 2014
Mr. Speaker, I want to thank the member for Windsor West for his question on the auto industry. It is certainly an important industry for us here in Ontario and southwestern Ontario.
I want to talk about some of the things that are going to be lifted as a result of this agreement, and the first thing is tariffs.
In South Korea, there is an 8% tariff on Canadian auto imports, which will be eliminated immediately. Canada's 6.1% tariff will be reduced in three cuts over two years.
The rules of origin will change. Canada will have the ability to source inputs from the U.S. and benefit from tariff-free access, which is not currently allowed under the U.S. agreement. There will be a number of other things in terms of safeguards, internal taxes, and emissions. There is a list of things this agreement has done to try to level the playing field.
Again, I believe that our Canadian companies are among the best in the world. I believe that they can compete and that their products can compete with any products in the world, and certainly our automotive industry is no different.
Canada-Korea Economic Growth and Prosperity Act September 30th, 2014
Mr. Speaker, to the point by my colleague from Burlington, it is true that we are a trading nation. If we look at the size of our country, as the member for Burlington mentioned, it has some 34 million people. With the kind of GDP we have, $1.8 trillion and growing, these kinds of deals are important. If we look at what has happened with Chile over the years, it is not just trade; there is education and a whole bunch of factors that go into it. We have to consider the fact that as a small nation of under 35 million people, the only way we can grow our economy is by finding these kinds of deals to get our goods and services to the rest of the world.
I am pleased to rise here today to speak to this historic Canada–Korean free trade agreement and how this agreement supports the government's firm commitment to expand international trade. It is our government that is focused on what matters to Canadians: jobs, growth, and long-term prosperity. By pursuing an ambitious trade agenda, our government has provided Canadian businesses with access to new opportunities in dynamic markets around the globe.
As an export-driven economy, Canada needs free trade agreements. Trade accounts for one out of every five jobs in Canada and is equivalent in dollar terms to over 60% of our country's annual income.Yet despite all the evidence that trade creates jobs, economic growth, and economic security for hard-working Canadian families, the opposition has been traditionally opposed to international free trade agreements. This anti-trade behaviour negates Canadians who depend on trade for their jobs and puts Canadian workers and businesses at severe risk of falling behind in this era of global markets.
Our government recognizes that Canadian companies are at risk of being at a competitive disadvantage in key markets, as their major foreign competitors, such as the United States and the European Union, are currently benefiting from preferential access under existing free trade agreements. This is why Canada is pursuing the most ambitious trade negotiation agenda in Canadian history.
Eight years ago, Canada had only five trade agreements, but since 2006, Canada has successfully reached free trade agreements with 38 countries: Colombia; the European Free Trade Association of Iceland, Liechtenstein, Norway, and Switzerland; Honduras; Jordan; Panama; Peru; all 28 members of the European Union; and now South Korea.
In addition, Canada has 28 foreign investment promotion and protection agreements in force. These bilateral agreements establish a strong regulatory framework for increased investment by protecting and promoting foreign investment through legally binding rights and obligations. Focusing on sectors and markets that offer the greatest opportunity for growth is a priority under Canada's new global market action plan, or GMAP.
Let us turn now to the historic Canada–Korea free trade agreement. South Korea is identified as a priority market in the GMAP, and the Canada–Korea free trade agreement represents an important step in increasing access to this fast-growing economy. This agreement is a landmark achievement that will restore a level playing field for Canadian companies competing in the South Korean market. South Korea is a dynamic and important partner for us. This nation is already Canada's seventh-largest merchandise trading partner and the third-largest in Asia, with an annual GDP of $1.3 trillion and a population of 50 million people.
Stronger economic ties with South Korea will create new jobs and opportunities and will contribute to Canada's long-term economic growth and prosperity. With this agreement, Canadian companies will become increasingly competitive in the region. With half of the world's population living a five-hour flight away from Seoul, South Korea offers strategic access to regional and global value chains. As a result of improved market access for goods, services, and investment under the agreement, Canadian companies can use South Korea as a strategic base or launching pad for growing their businesses throughout the Asia-Pacific region.
The positive momentum of an agreement with South Korea will carry Canada forward in this vibrant region. However, creating new opportunities for Canadians in the Asia-Pacific region does not stop there. Canada is also actively pursuing a trade agreement with 11 other Asia-Pacific countries through the Trans-Pacific Partnership, or TPP, negotiations. The current TPP membership represents more than 792 million people, with a combined GDP of $28 trillion, or nearly 40% of the world's economy. A prospectively high-quality, state-of-the-art, comprehensive agreement, the TPP stands to provide broad-based benefits across all Canadian industries and regions.
We are also looking at new trade partners in Asia and other priority regions in order to provide a diverse range of opportunities for Canadians. By becoming a member of the TPP and signing more free trade agreements, our government is seizing new sources of export growth and opportunities for international trade and investment.
Canada is committed to updating its existing free trade agreements to maximize benefits and opportunities for Canadians.
During his official visit in January 2014, our Prime Minister announced the launch of negotiations to modernize the existing Canada-Israel Free Trade Agreement. These negotiations are well under way.
Canada will continue to take steps forward in expanding the Canada-Chile Free Trade Agreement. This modernization builds on our agreement with Chile, which dates back to 1997, and a trade relationship worth over $2.5 billion in 2013.
This year also marks the fifth anniversary of the Canada-Peru Free Trade Agreement, the third anniversary of the Canada-Colombia Free Trade Agreement, and the first anniversary of the Canada-Panama Free Trade Agreement.
Peru, Colombia, and Panama are among the fastest-growing markets in the Americas and thus serve as a strategic base for Canadian companies to expand into Latin America. Bilateral trade between Canada and the Americas reached $57 billion in 2013 and will continue to expand with the government's commitment to the region.
Let us not forget that this year Canada also celebrates the 20th anniversary of the North American Free Trade Agreement, another record accomplishment of a Conservative government committed to growing our economy. NAFTA has provided a solid foundation for Canada's future prosperity upon which Canada continues to build and advance North American trade and competitiveness.
Twenty years ago, trade with the North American region was over $372 billion; in 2013, total trilateral merchandise trade reached over $1.1 trillion. Canada is now the top export destination for 35 American states.
The comprehensive economic and trade agreement, CETA, with the European Union will be the most ambitious trade partnership Canada has ever negotiated. On August 5, Canada and the EU announced that the final CETA text had been reached, marking the end of the CETA negotiations. Once CETA is fully implemented, Canada will gain preferential access to the world's largest integrated economy, with more than 500 million consumers and a $17-trillion GDP.
Canada's competitive edge and combined access to these markets will lead directly to jobs and opportunities everywhere in Canada. Whether we are exporting meat, grain, fish, wood products, or industrial goods, the more markets we have access to, the more jobs are created for hard-working Canadians and their families.
Canada's long-term prosperity is directly linked to market access and economic opportunities beyond Canadian borders. Our government understands the importance of trade and exports to our economy. Exports are responsible for one out of every five Canadian jobs.
The prosperity of Canadians depends on continued expansion beyond our borders into new markets that serve to grow Canada's exports and investments.
This agreement represents one of the key economic opportunities and is a watershed moment in our historical relationship with South Korea. For this and other reasons, stakeholders from across the country have called for the agreement's entry into force as soon as possible. That is why our government is moving to pass this bill.
When the agreement enters into force, over 95% of South Korean tariff lines for industrial products will be subject to immediate duty-free access. This means a great deal to Canadian entrepreneurs and SMEs across the nation, which depend upon free trade to enhance their global competitiveness.
Since it was informed by public consultation, this agreement has already received widespread support from Canadian businesses and stakeholders. Our government negotiated this landmark agreement to further the priorities of Canadian businesses while creating jobs and opportunities for Canadian taxpayers across the country.
The agreement is expected to create thousands of new jobs in a wide range of sectors, including industrial goods, agricultural and agri-food products, wine and spirits, fish and seafood, and wood and forestry products. These industrial sectors are crucial for the prosperity of provinces and the continued development of local communities. The evidence demonstrating the growth to be had from agreements like this is overwhelming.
When the United States and the European Union signed their own free trade agreements with South Korea, they both experienced a doubling of their automotive sector exports. Since it is one of the key industries in Canada, this free trade agreement will provide a substantial boost to our own automotive sector and our economy as a whole.
With substantial increases in Canadian exports to South Korea, the agreement is projected to boost the Canadian economy by $1.7 billion a year. Strong trade partnerships are essential to Canada's long-term success.
Canada cannot afford to be left behind, and it is this trade agreement that will provide Canadian businesses a foothold in South Korea and the Asia-Pacific market beyond, opening the doors to economic prosperity and growth.
The Canadian-Korea free trade agreement is essential for securing Canada's economic future and ensuring the sustainability of a high-quality of life for Canadians across this country.