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  • His favourite word is jobs.

Conservative MP for Cumberland—Colchester—Musquodoboit Valley (Nova Scotia)

Won his last election, in 2011, with 52.50% of the vote.

Statements in the House

Questions on the Order Paper January 26th, 2015

Mr. Speaker, ESDC is not in a position to respond to the question in a specific way within the time allotted. However, in general, ESDC is committed to providing seniors with information about government programs and services.

The department has implemented budget and Speech from the Throne commitments by taking a number of steps to improve seniors’ access to benefits. They include enhancing mobile services to better reach seniors where they live; ensuring clients have easier access to the information they need on the web, by phone, and in person through the Service Canada network; increasing the number of applications that are sent proactively to Canadians before they turn 65 of age; and reorganizing and rewriting the pension-related pages on the Service Canada website using a plain language perspective to better explain the retirement income system in Canada and improve access to the Canada pension plan, CPP, and the old age security, OAS, pensions and benefits.

Through inserts with tax slips for CPP or OAS benefits, we advise seniors on how to access information on the full range of benefits available to them. In 2013, we sent out 7.2 million tax inserts.

Between April 2013 and March 2014, Service Canada mobile outreach services delivered 1,774 information sessions to 22,490 senior citizens and caregivers, community groups, and service delivery partners across the country.

Service Canada also mails application forms for CPP and OAS benefits or the renewal of guaranteed income supplement, or GIS, and the allowances to many senior Canadians. In 2013-14, Service Canada mailed OAS application forms to approximately 250,000 individuals who recently turned 64 years old. A CPP retirement application was also included for individuals not yet in receipt of CPP Retirement benefits. An additional 10,000 CPP application forms were sent to individuals who recently turned 64 and were not in pay for CPP, but for whom an application for OAS had already been received. As well, 138,605 individuals received automatic enrolment letters instead of an application form. Most of these individuals will not need to apply for their OAS pension. Approximately 50,000 applications for the GIS and allowances were sent to individuals who may be eligible, based on Canada Revenue Agency income.

Service Canada has also introduced a landing page on the Internet devoted to content of particular interest to seniors at servicecanada.gc.ca. This page is continually updated with new information of interest to seniors.

In addition to the above, automatic enrolment of OAS beneficiaries using existing information on their CPP and Quebec pension plan began in April 2013 and was fully implemented in October 2013.

As of November 2014, Service Canada has sent automatic enrolment letters to notify individuals that they will be put into pay for their OAS benefit without having to apply. It is estimated that the first 130,000 of these individuals will have been put into pay at the age of 65 by the end of 2014-15.

Questions on the Order Paper January 26th, 2015

Mr. Speaker, with regards to the employment insurance, EI, program, ESDC has not yet conducted any assessments or evaluations of the reforms implemented in 2012.

The EI program is evaluated through the employment insurance monitoring and assessment report on an annual basis. The most recent version of the report can be accessed at http://www.esdc.gc.ca/en/reports/ei/monitoring2013/index.page

Questions on the Order Paper January 26th, 2015

Mr. Speaker, the amount of employment insurance regular benefits paid, which is under part I of the Employment Insurance Act, and the number of employment insurance beneficiaries, meaning the number of new claims for which at least one dollar of employment insurance regular benefits was paid, are available by province and employment insurance economic region and by year until 2012–13. Annex 2.5 of the 2012-13 EI Monitoring and Assessment Report provides this information. The report is accessible via the following link: http://www.esdc.gc.ca/en/reports/ei/monitoring2013/index.page.

The employment insurance program is designed and administered based on 62 employment insurance regions. As a result, data by electoral district and regional county municipality, or RCM, are not available. As for the data in 2013–14, they will be available in the first quarter of 2015.

Taxation January 26th, 2015

Mr. Speaker, over the break I was pleased to talk to hundreds of families across Cumberland—Colchester—Musquodoboit Valley. I was pleased to hear the confidence they had that our Prime Minister would protect the tax cuts that our government was delivering for Canadian families. They also expressed their concern with the Liberal leader's plan to actually reverse these tax cuts, raising taxes for Canadian families across the whole country.

This year, every parent in Canada will receive tax cuts equal to about $2,000 per child thanks to our expansion of family tax cuts and the universal child care benefit.

The Liberal leader has pledged to reverse these tax cuts and is threatening to do exactly what Liberal elites always do: raise taxes on ordinary hard-working people and spending it on big bureaucratic programs because they do not trust parents to make choices for their own families.

Canadians know that this Conservative government will continue to deliver these tax cuts and they can count on it to do what is right for Canadian families.

Employment Insurance December 12th, 2014

Mr. Speaker, the Social Security Tribunal is delivering for Canadians. We are ensuring that Canadians from coast to coast to coast, many of whom have severe disabilities, are getting the money they need. We are working to ensure this happens in a timely fashion. We are going to ensure that the Social Security Tribunal continues to provide excellent service for Canadians, particularly at Christmastime.

Housing December 12th, 2014

Mr. Speaker, first, we pass on our condolences and thoughts to people who lose their jobs around the holiday time.

CMHC is a crown corporation and it makes its own administrative decisions.

As far as housing goes, we are engaging housing first, which is an evidence-based program to provide housing from coast to coast to Canadians. This is a program that has shown great results. The opposition should get on board and support a program like housing first, because it is delivering for Canadians.

Taxation December 12th, 2014

Mr. Speaker, I want to thank the stellar hon. member for Prince George—Peace River for his hard work on lowering taxes for Canadian families across this country.

We are delivering on our promise to balance the budget, and now we are in the position to make targeted tax cuts for Canadian families so they can balance theirs. The majority of these benefits will go to low- and middle-income class Canadian families. For example, a single parent making $50,000 a year with two children would get about $1,000 in benefits from these tax cuts.

The Liberal plan is to take these tax cuts out of the pockets of Canadian families and use them to hire bureaucrats—

Questions on the Order Paper December 11th, 2014

Mr. Speaker, with regard to (a), automatic enrolment in the OAS pension, Canada pension plan/Quebec pension plan, CPP/QPP, for beneficiaries with 40 years of CPP/QPP participation, category 1, began in April 2013. The Old Age Security Act stipulates that the minister can only waive a pension application for an individual on their 65th birthday. As a result, individuals over the age of 65 are not captured by this process.

Therefore, no individuals aged 65 and over in 2012 have received benefits without having had to apply for them.

The first individuals to be automatically enrolled for the OAS pension at the age of 65 began receiving benefits in May 2014. From May 2014 to October 2014, approximately 60,750 individuals began to receive the OAS pension without having had to apply.

With regard to (b), 0% of individuals aged 65 and over in 2012 have received benefits without having had to apply for them.

Seniors December 10th, 2014

Mr. Speaker, that is exactly what we have done. As I said in my previous remarks, we have increased health care transfers to the provinces each and every year we have been in office so that the provinces can deliver equitable, adequate, and sound health care to our seniors, and in fact, to all Canadians. That is why we continuously increase those valuable transfers, not only for health care but for education, as well.

As I said, Canadian seniors show one of the lowest poverty rates in the world today. One of the reasons is our increase in the guaranteed income supplement, which, as I said, has lifted hundreds of thousands of seniors in this country out of poverty.

We have introduced things to help support the finances of seniors. Income splitting for seniors has provided seniors I know throughout my riding with literally thousands of dollars, in many cases, of added revenue in their coffers, in the pockets of these seniors, which they can spend on supporting all the things the member across the way spoke about: their home care, their health care, and their ability to get out and enjoy society, stopping what we call the isolation of seniors. There is support in cases of elder abuse so that we do not have seniors who are being preyed upon by neighbours, friends, or even, in some cases, family.

We are standing up for seniors. I can tell members that no government has done more for seniors in Canadian history than this Conservative government.

Seniors December 10th, 2014

Mr. Speaker, it is a pleasure to answer my colleague's question today concerning the efforts our government has made on behalf of seniors from coast to coast to coast. I welcome the opportunity to respond to the concerns of the member for Thunder Bay—Superior North.

First, his assertion that nothing is being done at the federal level for seniors is completely and utterly false. This is exactly why our government wants the information for seniors and information for caregivers portals on our seniors.gc.ca website. These new programs introduced by our government allow seniors, their families, and caregivers to easily find information on federal, provincial, and territorial services that seniors can utilize.

As members know, seniors' issues are the responsibility of all three levels of government in various jurisdictions across the country. Just this fall, we published another helpful resource, the Government of Canada—Action for Seniors Report. This demonstrates how the government works across departments and agencies to support seniors. Visiting this website or reading through the report reveals very clearly that there is a great deal being done for seniors by the federal government.

For example, largely owing to the sound management of our public pensions, Canada now has one of the lowest levels of seniors poverty in the world. Further to that, since 2006 our government has implemented the biggest increase in the guaranteed income supplement in over 25 years, which lifted hundreds of thousands of seniors across the country out of poverty.

While every bit of financial support helps our seniors, we also recognize the importance of staying active and staying engaged. This is why the National Seniors Council recently released its “Report on the Social Isolation of Seniors”, which has some key information on how to tackle this issue of isolation and inactivity by seniors. One way is through the new horizons for seniors program. New horizons program funding supports projects for intergenerational learning.

However, there are seniors in Canada who need more help. It pains me to say that the estimates we have say that between 4% and 10% of seniors experience some form of abuse. That is why we adopted the Protecting Canada's Seniors Act. This act sets tougher penalties for elder abuse. We also developed financial literacy strategies that specifically respond to seniors' needs.

Those are just a few of the many programs and services that we have provided for Canadian seniors across the country.

I would like to address one further thing that the member across spoke about, and that is health care issues. As we all know, the delivery of health care in Canada is within provincial jurisdiction. The Government of Canada's role is to ensure that the provinces have the resources to provide equitable health care service for seniors and for all Canadians from one end of the country to the other. That is why we have increased health care transfers to the provinces each and every year we have been in office, and those increases will continue. We are actually now increasing money to the provinces at a rate that is higher than the rate at which many provinces are increasing their own spending on health care.

A lot of the issues the member across the way put forward we actually agree with. We agree that there needs to be more seniors' housing. We agree that there needs to be better health care for seniors in many measurable areas of health care. The provinces have been given the resources by the federal government to deliver adequate, equitable, good health care for seniors across the country. It is up to the provinces to put programs and policies in place to deliver those health care programs.