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Crucial Fact

  • His favourite word is citizenship.

Conservative MP for Don Valley East (Ontario)

Won his last election, in 2011, with 36.80% of the vote.

Statements in the House

Economic Action Plan 2014 Act, No. 2 December 9th, 2014

Mr. Speaker, I do not think any government creates the jobs. It is those to whom we give the tax rebates who actually create the jobs. These are the small business owners who work so hard. They are entrepreneurs who make their ideas come to reality, take them to market, and create the businesses that actually create the jobs. By doing what we are doing, we will actually be doing that and creating many more jobs than this particular statement.

Economic Action Plan 2014 Act, No. 2 December 9th, 2014

Mr. Speaker, I am not sure which fantasy world my colleague is working from, but the Liberals' plan would definitely not create the jobs that we would provide here. The jobs are created by small businesses, the hundreds of thousands of small businesses that actually employ real people and create the jobs. Our way of reducing the costs of that by $0.5 billion is a real incentive for small businesses to create those jobs for the long term.

Economic Action Plan 2014 Act, No. 2 December 9th, 2014

Mr. Speaker, I will be sharing my time with the Parliamentary Secretary to the Minister of Industry.

I thank the House for this opportunity to discuss Bill C-43. The bill would implement important measures announced in economic action plan 2014. The measures in the bill would make a real difference in the lives of hard-working Canadians.

Life for all Canadians has never been better. We are blessed to live in the greatest country on earth, the economic envy of the post-recession world. However, we must also remain where we came from. We can never forget the great recession, the worst economic downturn since the Great Depression, the downturn that erased $10 trillion in global market value and eradicated 62 million jobs. The great recession taught us one lesson: we can never take our affluence for granted. We must constantly and relentlessly take action to create jobs, growth, and long-term prosperity, and that is exactly what our government is doing through Canada's economic action plan. We have recovered all the jobs lost during the recession, but far more than that, we have created more than 1.2 million net new jobs since the depth of the downturn. These are overwhelmingly full-time, high-paying private sector jobs. More than that even, more Canadians are working now than at any other time in our history.

All Canadians are wealthier for their work. A recent New York Times analysis found that after-tax, middle-class incomes in Canada, substantially behind in 2000, now appear to be higher than in the United States. In fact, the Canadian middle class is among the richest in the developed world.

Yet despite our success, we cannot afford to be complacent. Canada refuses to be mediocre. That is why our measures take action across the economy. There are many measures contained in Bill C-43, but unfortunately I cannot touch on all of them. Today I would like to highlight measures to create jobs and growth and support hard-working Canadian families.

Let me begin with creating jobs. Central to our efforts in this regard is making sure Canadians have the skills they need to get hired. In Canada, apprentices in skill trades do most of their learning during on-the-job paid employment and participate in technical training for periods ranging from six to eight weeks each year. They face a challenge. There can be serious costs to complete the technical training required by their programs. That can include fees, tool and equipment costs, and living expenses. That is why we introduced the Canada apprenticeship loan in the first budget bill. This initiative will help apprentices get registered in Red Seal trades by providing access to over $100 million in interest-free loans each year to complete their training.

The parameters of Canada's apprentice loan program are similar to those of the Canada student loan program. That is why we believe that both programs would benefit from the same tax treatment. Bill C-43 proposes that the Income Tax Act be amended to extend the existing student loan interest credit—a non-refundable tax credit available for interest payments on loans approved under the Canada student loan program and similar provincial programs—to interest paid on the Canada apprentice loan. We are proud to help Canadians gain the skills they need for the jobs they want.

To create even more good, paying jobs, Bill C-43 takes action to lower taxes for small businesses. Small businesses and the entrepreneurs who power them are the lifeblood of our economy. Under our government, Canada is open for business, and in 2013 leapt from sixth to second place in the Bloomberg rankings for the most attractive destination for business. According to KPMG, Canada's total business tax costs are the lowest in the G7, 46% lower than those in the United States. We will not rest on our laurels. Those hard-working entrepreneurs deserve more money in their pockets, money they can use to expand their businesses and create more jobs.

That is why today's legislation includes the new small business job credit. This new credit would effectively lower small business' employment insurance premiums from the current rate of $1.88 to $1.60 per $100 of insurable earnings in 2015 and 2016. Any firm that pays employers' EI premiums equal to or less than $15,000 in those years, would be eligible for the rebate. That means 90% of the employers making EI contributions in Canada, or about 780,000 in each year, would directly benefit from the credit. There is even better news for business owners. This credit would require no new paperwork. The Canada Revenue Agency would automatically calculate it on a business' return.

Overall, our small business job credit would reduce the EI premiums paid by small businesses by nearly 15%. We expect to save businesses over half a billion dollars over the next two years.

This job credit represents yet more action for our government to lower taxes for Canadians. Today, the overall tax burden is at its lowest level in over 50 years. An average family of four now pays $3,400 less in taxes as a result of actions taken by our government.

That figure does not even include our latest measures to cut taxes for hard-working Canadian families, and our strong action stands in stark contrast to the Liberals and the NDP. Unlike them, we will not raise taxes for Canadian families, drive the country into deeper deficit, and pile on debt.

There is a simple difference between our Conservative government and the opposition. They want more money in the pockets of Ottawa bureaucrats and less in the pockets of hard-working families. They need to raise taxes to pay for their reckless schemes, and that is not our Conservative approach. We believe in stronger families, more money in the pockets of those who care most about their kids, which is their moms and dads.

This past October we offered hard-working families even more tax relief, tax relief that would help literally every family with children in Canada. We increased and expanded the universal child care benefit, introduced the family tax cut, and raised the child care deduction expense limits. Before that in October, we announced our intention to double the children's fitness tax credit and make it refundable.

Bill C-43 confirms that our government would double the maximum amount of expenses that may be claimed under the credit from its current limit to$1,000 for the 2014 tax year and subsequent years. Parents would be able to take advantage of the new $1,000 maximum limit in the spring of 2015 when they file their tax returns for 2014. Making the credit refundable would increase the benefits to low-income families claiming the credit for 2015 and subsequent years.

This represents even more action by our government to cut taxes for low-income Canadians. In fact, since 2006, we have taken more than a million low-income Canadians off the tax roll entirely.

Let me conclude as I began. We live in fragile economic times. Canadians expect our government not to sit on its laurels. They expect us to take action, to create jobs, growth, and long-term prosperity, not just for this generation but for our children and grandchildren. That is its top priority. Bill C-43 would do precisely that. It would deliver the actions Canadians expect from us and ensure that Canada continues to be the envy of the post-recession world.

As such, I would like to ask all hon. members to support the implementation of this important legislation.

Maternal, Newborn and Child Health November 26th, 2014

Mr. Speaker, on behalf of my constituents of Don Valley East, I am proud to support our government's efforts on maternal, newborn and child health.

For over four years, our government has identified this as Canada's flagship development priority. By 2015, our government will have provided $2.85 billion in funding since 2010. This year, we announced Canada's continuing commitment of $3.5 billion to improve the health of mothers and children for the period of 2015 to 2020, supporting the global efforts to end the preventable deaths of mothers and newborns, and children under the age of five.

I commend the efforts of Senator Asha Seth who has proposed a motion to establish an international maternal, newborn and child health week each year during the second week of May, in Mother's Day week. I look forward to the support of all members in the House for this initiative.

National Defence November 24th, 2014

Mr. Speaker, the Royal Canadian Navy is in the midst of its most intensive and comprehensive renewal in its peacetime history. This includes the Halifax-class frigate modernization program. This program, which remains on schedule and on budget, represents an investment of $4.3 billion from our government.

Can the Parliamentary Secretary to the Minister of National Defence please update this House on the modernization of our frigates and what it means to our armed forces?

Protection of Canada from Terrorists Act November 18th, 2014

Mr. Speaker, the best definition I have for an expert is a drip under pressure. I would be very interested to find out who these experts are that my colleague is talking about who are asking about these things.

Clearly, this bill is in place to protect Canadians and Canada for the future and for the long term. It is a fine bill that needs to be put through as soon as possible.

Protection of Canada from Terrorists Act November 18th, 2014

Mr. Speaker, there is quite a bit of oversight already for CSIS through the various committees, et cetera, that we have, so there is no need for creating a new system. In my personal opinion, I do not think we need to take up the member's colleague's input, mainly because we already have these things under control, and there is no need to do that.

Protection of Canada from Terrorists Act November 18th, 2014

Mr. Speaker, obviously everything would be impacted by this act, including immigration. It is important that we integrate all of those things into this bill to make sure that we cover what is needed to prevent terrorist acts against Canada and Canadians throughout the globe.

Protection of Canada from Terrorists Act November 18th, 2014

Mr. Speaker, I will be sharing my time with the member for Desnethé—Missinippi—Churchill River.

It gives me great pleasure to stand today and speak to Bill C-44, the protection of Canada from terrorists act. We have heard in these debates that this bill contains amendments to the CSIS Act and technical amendments to the Strengthening Canada's Citizenship Act. My remarks today will focus on the amendments to the CSIS Act and why we are taking steps to give this vital agency the tools it needs to conduct investigations out of Canada related to threats to the security of Canada.

First I would like to speak to the global terrorist threat, the impacts here at home, and the steps Canada is taking to address that threat.

Acts of terror and murder have been carried out across the globe by extremist groups that have no regard for the lives of innocent people. In fact, we have all witnessed in the past weeks that Canada was the victim of two terrorist attacks within the span of one week. Because of radical Islamist terrorism, we lost two fine soldiers: Corporal Nathan Cirillo and Warrant Officer Patrice Vincent, who was laid to rest this past weekend.

Terrorists kill people from all walks of life, including people from communities they claim to represent. Significant work has been done over the past decade, in particular since September 11, 2001, to counter terrorist activities. Canada has been a leader in global counterterrorism efforts. We have citizens and civil society organizations representing people of all faiths and beliefs. They work among themselves and with our government to prevent terrorism by building stronger and more resilient communities. All of these measures were captured within the four pillars of Canada's counterterrorism strategy: prevent, detect, deny, and respond. That strategy will serve us well on the difficult road we face ahead as our Canadian Armed Forces engage in a campaign to degrade and destroy the threat that ISIL poses to western civilization.

Indeed, our security agencies have been monitoring groups like al Qaeda and ISIL closely for years. We have taken concrete measures to disrupt and prevent violent and extremist activities. This is a comprehensive approach. While we join our allies in air strikes, we are also taking other measures that are working to help isolate ISIL and deny it and its partners resources, including funds and new recruits.

Let me explain.

As we know, terrorists need money, media access, weapons, and explosives among their resources to sustain themselves. We want to make sure that all groups that would assist terrorist organizations are restricted from doing so. Preventing terrorists from using the global financial system to commit an act of terror is essential in helping to suppress these groups. Therefore, we have certain provisions under the Criminal Code that we can use to deal with the assets and the operations of groups that support terrorist activities. Listing these entities under the Criminal Code is a public means of identifying a group or an individual as being associated with terrorism, and listing carries significant consequences. Once listed, an entity's assets are frozen and may be subject to seizure, restraint, or forfeiture.

Further, it is an offence for Canadians at home or abroad to knowingly participate in or contribute to, directly or indirectly, any activities that facilitate the activities of a listed terrorist entity. We know that terrorist groups are inspiring westerners to take up arms in support of their cause. In order to reach the individuals and guard against these tactics, we work closely with diverse communities, including through cross-cultural round tables on security.

We are working with leaders in communities right across the country to help engage Canadians in a long-term dialogue on matters related to national security, particularly in countering violent extremism. Through the round table, we have reached out to hundreds of respected cultural and religious leaders who have their finger on the pulse of their communities. These leaders have been integral to helping law enforcement and security agencies to address threats and identify the best ways of reaching individuals who may be leaning toward violent behaviour and redirecting them from the paths of radicalization that lead to violence.

However, rapid changes in technology, ease of communications, and the mobility of terrorist travellers have created new and complex challenges for Canada and all our allies as we work to keep our citizens safe.

As in other countries, despite everyone's best efforts, a small but significant number of individuals have left Canada to join terrorist groups in the Middle East. Denying ISIL its new recruits also means using Canadian law to crack down on those so-called extremist travellers. We brought forward the Combating Terrorism Act to make it an offence to leave Canada to take part in terrorist activities, and laws are in place to revoke the passports of Canadians who travel abroad to join extremist groups.

Both the Prime Minister and the Minister of Public Safety and Emergency Preparedness have stated clearly that our government will continue to look at ways to help our national security agencies to investigate and track the activities of terrorists at our borders and beyond. One of the ways to do this is with the legislation that is before us today, which would amend the existing CSIS Act so that we would be better able to provide CSIS with the tools it needs to investigate threats to the security of Canada wherever those threats occur and ultimately to protect the security of Canadians.

It is important to note that the CSIS Act was created three decades ago. It was the age of the rotary phone, when our world was under the shadow of the Cold War. The act is in need of updates and upgrades that would confirm the authority of CSIS to investigate Canadian extremists and other threats abroad. That is why I urge members to support the bill that is before them.

The protection of Canada from terrorists act would confirm that CSIS has the authority to operate outside of Canada when investigating threats to the security of Canada or when conducting investigations for the purpose of security assessment. It would confirm as well that the Federal Court has the authority to issue warrants authorizing CSIS to conduct activities outside of Canada without regard to the laws of the other states. This new legislation would also reinforce CSIS's statutory authority to investigate threats abroad and that when issuing a warrant, judges would only need to consider relevant Canadian law, the Charter of Rights and Freedoms, and the CSIS Act, and not foreign laws.

Clearly there are a number of ways our government protects the safety and security of Canada against terrorism, but first we must be sure that we have the right tools in place for our security intelligence agencies to do so. There is no time to waste. We must amend the CSIS Act and allow this vital agency to continue its work.

I urge members in this House to join me in supporting this bill.

National Defence November 17th, 2014

Mr. Speaker, once again the brave men and women of the Canadian Armed Forces have acted with professionalism, bravery, and selfless courage in the face of danger. While stationed in Antalya, Turkey, several members of HMCS Toronto responded to a fire on the second floor of the restaurant where they were having a meal ashore. Without hesitation, our armed forces members acted not only to put out the fire but to assist those in need.

Can the Minister of National Defence please provide further details on this incident and the brave actions taken by our crew on HMCS Toronto?