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Crucial Fact

  • His favourite word is tax.

Liberal MP for Kings—Hants (Nova Scotia)

Won his last election, in 2011, with 39.60% of the vote.

Statements in the House

Hon. Jim Flaherty April 11th, 2014

Mr. Speaker, just a few weeks ago, on March 18, when Jim Flaherty retired from politics, we all expressed our best wishes to Jim, Christine, and family for their next promising chapter of life together.

It seems unfair that, so soon after, we now have to say goodbye to this great public servant, husband and father.

To Christine, Quinn, Galen, and John, while Jim's time with you has been cut tragically short, his legacy, one of his enduring gifts to you, is the example Jim set with his life of public service.

Jim and I sparred in the House and at committee, but away from the spotlight we had a trusted and candid relationship. He used to call himself an old hockey player and he was disciplined enough to be in the MPs' gym just about every morning at 6:30 or before. Jim's locker was near mine in the men's changing area. We would often chat there, sometimes about policy and issues of the day, and we would enjoy a few laughs. Mind you, Jim's Irish sense of humour was tested by me from time to time. Later in the day if I met him when he was surrounded by caucus and cabinet colleagues, I would say, “Jim Flaherty's the first man I see naked every morning”.

Jim was even competitive when he congratulated me on the news of the impending birth of my twins. He winked at me and reminded me, “You know we have triplets”. Even then and to his credit, Jim's greatest pride was his family. Jim was a tough, resilient warrior. He ran in four provincial elections. He lost the first time in 1990, but came back to win in 1995, 1999, and 2003.

He won three federal elections in his riding and he ran in two leadership races. All told, that is about 700 days of campaigning, not including all of the times he campaigned for others. Jim suffered losses, but his defeats neither stopped him nor defined him. He bounced back and went on to bigger and better things.

His life sets a high bar and serves as a lesson to all of us and to his boys that there are no permanent victories or permanent defeats, just permanent battles. Jim never gave up, and all those campaigns, all those battles, prepared him for what was ultimately his biggest battle: Canada's response to the global financial crisis. It was not easy. He faced immense ideological pressure to take a different approach. Ultimately, Jim knew what he had to do; he knew what Canada had to do, and he showed great international leadership in getting the job done.

I met with Jim on January 28 in his office to discuss the upcoming budget and I had not realized until that meeting just how much he was suffering from his illness. Even so, he battled on. He kept working and kept serving the public. Jim believed profoundly in public life. In his own words he probably put it best, “Public service is good for you. It will give your life a greater impact on others and your country”.

The following words by Teddy Roosevelt make me think of Jim.

The credit belongs to the man who is actually in the arena, whose face is marred by dust and sweat and blood; who strives valiantly; who errs, who comes short again and again, because there is no effort without error and shortcoming; but who does actually strive to do the deeds; who knows great enthusiasms, the great devotions; who spends himself in a worthy cause; who at the best knows in the end the triumph of high achievement, and who at the worst, if he fails, at least fails while daring greatly, so that his place shall never be with those cold and timid souls who neither know victory nor defeat.

On behalf of the leader of the Liberal Party and all of us, goodbye to an old hockey player and a happy warrior.

Thank you, Jim, for your commitment and for everything you did for Canada.

Thank you to Christine, Quinn, Galen, and John for sharing Jim with Canada.

Presence in the Gallery April 8th, 2014

Mr. Speaker, during question period the Prime Minister said he was unaware of the letter I referenced in my question. Therefore, I would like to seek unanimous consent to table the letter from the Canada-Nova Scotia Infrastructure Secretariat, in which the province stated clearly that it has not signed an agreement with the federal government and no details have been released to it on the application process.

Infrastructure April 8th, 2014

Mr. Speaker, that letter was from the Canada-Nova Scotia Infrastructure Secretariat.

Under the Conservatives' new building Canada fund, smaller communities must apply through the provinces for infrastructure funding, but the Conservatives will not release details on how it would work. In the meantime, no applications will be received and no money will flow.

With construction season coming, will the Conservatives stop playing games and start working with the provinces, so that infrastructure projects can move forward, and will they finally reverse their decision to cut infrastructure funding by 87%?

Infrastructure April 8th, 2014

Mr. Speaker, when the Conservatives say that the new building Canada fund is open for business, Nova Scotia does not believe it. In fact, yesterday the provincial government wrote this to the municipalities in a letter:

Nova Scotia, like all other Provinces and Territories, was surprised by this announcement. The Province has not signed an Agreement with the federal government for the NBCF and no details have been released to us on the application process.

Did the Conservatives not learn anything from the Canada job grant fiasco? Why are they ignoring the provinces and promoting a program that does not even exist?

Infrastructure April 7th, 2014

Mr. Speaker, it is on page 178 of budget 2013. The Conservatives have cut infrastructure funding by 87%. Again, in budget 2013, page 178, the Conservatives cut infrastructure funding by 87% from last year.

Growing communities like Wood Buffalo and Fort McMurray, already feeling the strain of traffic congestion and overcrowded facilities, will have to wait for new infrastructure investment until 2019.

Why are the Conservatives turning their back on the families of Fort McMurray and Wood Buffalo? Why are they punishing them for growing their economy?

Infrastructure April 7th, 2014

Mr. Speaker, by cutting infrastructure investment by 87%, the government is making communities and families pay the price for previous Conservative waste and mismanagement.

One of the major infrastructure needs in Fort McMurray is the upgrading of roads to deal with growth. However, the building Canada fund specifically excludes these projects.

Why are the Conservatives punishing Fort McMurray for growing its economy? Why are the Conservatives turning their backs on the families of Fort McMurray?

Economic Action Plan 2014 Act, No. 1 April 3rd, 2014

Mr. Speaker, clearly mutual companies are against demutualization. The government's intentions with this bill are not clear. We hope that when we discuss this bill in committee, we will get a better understanding of the direction the government wants to take. This is another case where, with omnibus bills, the government is making it difficult for us to do our jobs and assess bills responsibly.

Economic Action Plan 2014 Act, No. 1 April 3rd, 2014

Mr. Speaker, I really appreciate the question from my colleague from Kingston and the Islands. This bill does not do anything for young people and for middle-class families. The youth unemployment rate is higher than it was before the recession. We have lost 255,000 jobs for young people since the recession. This will have a terrible long-term effect on the economy.

According to TD Economics there is a $23 billion cost to the Canadian economy as a result of the scarring effect of young Canadians not getting a good start. This is leading to an unprecedented level of unpaid internships and growth in inequality of opportunity. Bill C-31 would do nothing to address the challenges faced by young Canadians or middle-class families.

Economic Action Plan 2014 Act, No. 1 April 3rd, 2014

Mr. Speaker, this speaks to the challenge of these omnibus bills.

We were denied the opportunity at the appropriate committees to consider all aspects of these changes in a more thorough, methodical, and thoughtful way. There are legal and constitutional issues to consider.

Members of the justice committee, for instance, ought to have been more engaged on the changes to the Supreme Court Act in the last omnibus bill, but instead we ended up getting into an embarrassing fiasco around Justice Nadon's appointment. This was embarrassing not just for the Conservatives but our citizens as well.

There is some expertise at the finance committee studying FATCA, but there is also a need to work with other committees.

Parliament could be mobilized and engaged more thoroughly if we did not have these kinds of disparate measures lumped together in one budget omnibus bill.

I would agree with the hon. member.

Economic Action Plan 2014 Act, No. 1 April 3rd, 2014

Mr. Speaker, I really appreciate my colleague's question.

Indeed, it is important for us to take a close look at tax havens and to implement appropriate measures. I do not agree with the government's approach to the FACTA agreement with the U.S. government. According to experts, this agreement could violate our Canadian Charter of Rights and Freedoms, among other things.

I agree with my colleague from Rimouski-Neigette—Témiscouata—Les Basques that we should work harder with Canadian banks to develop an approach on tax havens. The overall capacity of our banks and their presence around the world should enable us to do more and to take more leadership on this issue. However, the Conservative government does nothing to address tax havens in its approach to FACTA.