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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
Housing February 2nd, 2015
Mr. Speaker, I can assure members that the Government of Canada continues to invest heavily in housing, including approximately $2 billion again this year.
These investments are making life better for low-income Canadians, seniors, people with disabilities and others who have real housing needs and need housing assistance from various levels of government and partners.
Regarding the social housing agreements referred to by the hon. member, I will say again that the end dates for these agreements have been known since they were originally signed. They expire between 25 and 50 years after they are signed. When these agreements mature, the last one in the year 2038, federal government funding for the project will end as planned.
The majority of projects are expected to be financially viable, but for those that may face financial difficulties after the mortgage is paid off, CMHC has been actively working to help housing providers prepare for the end of their operating agreements. This work will continue, as will our government's commitment to ensure that Canadians have access to the housing they need.
Once again, Canadians know that when their mortgages are over, they stop paying the bank.
Housing February 2nd, 2015
Mr. Speaker, I want to thank the hon. member for her question of November 24 on affordable housing. I welcome the opportunity to once again explain the government's position on this issue, which we have done many times.
I want to remind the hon. member that the government has a strong record on housing. As I have said on previous occasions, our government has invested more than $16.5 billion in housing since 2006. This has directly benefited more than 900,000 individuals and families across Canada.
Economic action plan 2014 confirmed yet again that our government is committed to ensuring that low-income families and vulnerable Canadians have access to quality and affordable housing.
Our government realizes that some Canadians face financial constraints or have distinct housing needs that impede their participation in the housing market. This is precisely why we have invested heavily in housing and why we continue to work with our provincial partners, the territories, and other stakeholders across Canada to ensure that access to housing remains available to those most in need.
One way we are doing this is by renewing the investment in affordable housing to March 2019, with a federal funding component of $1.25 billion over five years. This funding is being matched by the provinces and territories. It is being delivered through the renewal of existing bilateral agreements.
This collaborative approach has worked well since the investment in affordable housing was first introduced in 2011. This happens in large part because it gives the provinces and territories the flexibility they need to invest in a range of affordable housing programs to meet their local needs and priorities.
We are also providing support annually to households living in existing social housing, including low-income families, seniors, people with disabilities, and aboriginal people. Provinces and territories also contribute to this housing. It is provided under long-term agreements with housing groups. As we previously advised the House on November 25, these agreements span 25 and 50 years, and when they mature, federal government funding ends, as planned. Maybe the opposition just does not understand that when one's mortgage expires, one actually stops paying the bank, but the public understands this.
The majority of non-profit and co-operative housing projects are expected to be financially viable and mortgage-free at the end of these operating agreements. With mortgages now paid off, operating expenses will decrease and housing providers will be in a position to continue to offer affordable housing.
As I mentioned a moment ago, provinces and territories can use the federal funding from the investment in affordable housing to assist housing groups after their operating agreements mature, should the provinces and territories and other operators choose to do so. Our government has provided this flexibility to these partners.
Our government has also taken steps to give some social housing projects greater flexibility when their operating agreements mature. Social housing providers whose operating agreements allow for the establishment of a subsidy surplus fund can now retain any money they may have in this fund after the operating agreements mature. These funds can be used to continue the lower cost of housing for low-income households living in existing social housing. That opportunity and flexibility lies within this partnership
As members can see, our government has taken a common-sense, responsible approach to investing in affordable housing in Canada. We are allowing existing agreements to end, as they were planned to end, but are making needed investments elsewhere in co-operation with the provinces and territories to continue to reduce the number of Canadians in housing need.
Business of Supply January 29th, 2015
Mr. Speaker, I listened intently to the member's speech. He had tons of great information on the history of our country, and on the Prime Minister meeting with the premiers from coast to coast to coast.
Recently Canada has worked with all the provinces and territories to negotiate the labour market agreements and establish the Canada job grant, which will provide literally thousands of Canadians the opportunity to use federal and employer dollars for training so they can build better lives for themselves and their families.
These negotiations took a long time. We negotiated with governments of Conservative, Liberal and NDP stripes. Working together as a federation, we now have a Canada job grant available in every province across the country. Quebec had a great system already in place. It is very similar to the Canada job grant that we have now established in all the provinces and territories.
Could the member elaborate on the impact the Canada job grant can have in providing employment, and why it was so important to work with the provinces to establish this program?
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—