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Conservative MP for London North Centre (Ontario)
Won her last election, in 2011, with 37.00% of the vote.
Statements in the House
Business of Supply June 10th, 2014
Mr. Speaker, the tax credits the member opposite mentioned are a measure welcomed by many Canadians. I would like to provide some statistics from a report on financial security from Statistics Canada. Statistics Canada found out that the median net worth of Canadian families was up 44.5% from 2005 and almost 80% more than the 1999 median, adjusted for inflation. This is a significant improvement in the wealth of Canadian families, which are benefiting from the policies and tax credits of our Conservative government.
Income inequality has not increased in Canada since 2006, and the proof is in the numbers. We have cut taxes 160 times, saving the average Canadian family over $3,400 a year, and poverty is at a record low for all Canadians, including children and seniors.
Business of Supply June 10th, 2014
Mr. Speaker, I would like to thank the member for Kildonan—St. Paul, who does an outstanding job for her constituents and for women across Canada.
In terms of seniors, the government introduced pension income splitting and doubled the maximum amount of income eligible for a pension income credit to $2,000. We increased the maximum guaranteed income supplement earnings exemption to $3,500 and introduced the largest increase for the lowest-income GIS recipients in a generation in our economic action plan 2011. We also removed 380,000 senior citizens from the tax rolls completely.
In response to persons with disabilities, the enabling accessibility fund has funded over 1,300 community-based projects, totalling over $89 million, since its inception. In our economic action plan 2014, we propose to connect persons with disabilities with jobs by providing $50 million over three years to the ready, willing and able initiative of the Canadian Association for Community Living and $11.4 million over four years to support the expansion of vocational training programs for persons with autism spectrum disorder, led by the Sinneave Family Foundation and Autism Speaks Canada.
Business of Supply June 10th, 2014
Mr. Speaker, I would just like to say that the comments of the member opposite sort of crack me up, especially in his speech earlier. Those members stand here and rhyme off numbers. They pretend they want to help Canadians, but then the NDP member for Skeena—Bulkley Valley mentioned something about a woman's place being in her home. For the record, I just want to say that this government has done more for women and girls in Canada than any other government. Fortunately for Canadians, those members will not see this side of the House.
As I mentioned earlier, the average Canadian family is saving close to $3,400 in taxes, while one million low-income Canadians have been removed from the tax rolls. That is what tax relief is about, and that is what we want for Canadians, but then, the member opposite continues to oppose each and every one of our tax cuts. Let me remind members of some of the tax reductions they voted against: cutting the lowest personal income tax rate to 15%—
Business of Supply June 10th, 2014
Mr. Speaker, I am pleased to have this opportunity to address the motion before us.
I would like to take my time today to describe how our government's economic policies have strengthened Canada's middle class. We all know that a strong middle class is vital for Canada's economy. However, while the NDP and Liberals claim to advocate on behalf of the middle class, it is our government that is delivering results. Consider the following: a recent Statistics Canada study revealed that since this government has taken office, the middle class has flourished significantly, and I quote:
The median net worth of Canadian family units was $243,800 in 2012, up 44.5% from 2005 and almost 80% more than the 1999 median of $137,000, adjusted for inflation.
Another study, one from The New York Times, indicates that Canada's middle class is better off financially than that of the U.S.:
After-tax middle-class incomes in Canada—substantially behind in 2000—now appear to be higher than in the United States. Further, since 2006, Canadian families in all major income groups have seen increases of about 10% or more in the take-home incomes.
These statistics are remarkable in their own right, but they are even more impressive when we consider the global economic challenges Canada has navigated during this period. Indeed, we experienced the worst global recession since the Second World War, yet our economic performance during both the recession and the recovery is among the strongest in the world.
Over one million net new jobs have been added since the height of the recession, the vast majority of which are full-time and in the private sector. This is one of the strongest job creation records in the G7.
At a time when Canada's financial systems were brought to the brink of bankruptcy, Canada's banks remained the soundest in the world. When other countries increased taxes, our government kept taxes at record lows. In fact, the federal tax burden is at its lowest level in 50 years.
Unlike the opposition, we believe that leaving more money in the pockets of hard-working Canadian families is a good thing. That extra money provides flexibility to make the choices that are best for them. It also helps build a solid foundation for future economic growth, more jobs, and living standards for all Canadians. That is why our Conservative government has proudly introduced close to 180 tax relief measures since taking office, reducing taxes in every way the government collects them.
What is more, Canadians at all income levels are benefiting from tax relief, with low- and middle-income Canadians receiving proportionately greater relief, as the Parliamentary Budget Officer recently confirmed. Indeed, Canadian families in all income groups have seen increases of about 10% or more in their take-home pay since 2006. In 2014, the average Canadian family is saving close to $3,400 in taxes, while one million low-income Canadians have been removed from the tax rolls altogether. This is historic tax relief.
Unfortunately, the tax-and-spend opposition continues to oppose each and every one of our tax cuts. Let me take this opportunity to remind it of some of the tax reductions it voted against: cutting the lowest personal income tax rate to 15%; increasing the amount Canadians can earn tax free; reducing the GST from 7% to 5%, putting more than $1,000 back in the pockets of an average family of four in 2014; and establishing the landmark tax-free savings account, the most significant advance in the tax treatment of personal savings since the RRSP.
In addition, the opposition has opposed a variety of tax credits that recognize the costs borne by hard-working Canadian families, credits like the child tax credit, the children's fitness tax credit, the children's arts tax credit, the family caregiver tax credit, and the first-time home buyers' tax credit. They were against other target measures to help Canadian families, including the home buyers' plan, the adoption expense tax credit, and the medical expense tax credit.
We have also enhanced benefits for families and individuals, which the opposition also voted against. These include the universal child care benefit, which offers families more choice in child care by providing up to $1,200 a year for each child under age six, and the working income tax benefit.
More recently, in economic action plan 2014, our government proposed a number of measures to expand tax relief for health care services. These included exempting the professional services of acupuncturists and naturopathic doctors from the GST and HST.
To support people with disabilities, our government introduced the registered disability savings plan, or RDSP, in budget 2007. The RDSP is widely regarded as a major policy innovation and positive development in helping to ensure the long-term financial security of those with severe disabilities. Since becoming available in 2008, over 81,000 RDSPs have been opened.
These important measures are a handful of examples illustrating how our government has responded to the needs of Canadian families and has helped Canadians keep more of their hard-earned money.
However, as we frequently see, the opposition members reject our efforts to lower taxes for Canadians. They prefer that we adopt dangerous economic policies such as a carbon tax that could kill businesses, investment, and jobs and hurt Canadian families to further their own misguided agenda. We will not engage in reckless spending that would inevitably be paid for by middle-class families. Unlike the opposition, we believe in spending taxpayer dollars efficiently, effectively, and only when necessary. After all, Canadian families know the importance of living within their means, and they expect governments to do the same. That leads me to my final point.
Perhaps one of the most profound ways we are helping Canadians is by making sure that future generations will not be paying for past obligations of their parents and grandparents by returning to balanced budgets in 2015. By returning to surplus, we would ensure solid, stable prosperity for all Canadians well into the future. Indeed, balancing the budget and reducing debt would ensure that taxpayer dollars would be used to support important social services such as health care rather than for paying interest costs. It would preserve Canada's low-tax plan and allow for further tax reductions, fostering growth and the creation of jobs for the benefit of all Canadians. It would also strengthen the country's ability to respond to longer-term challenges, such as population aging and unexpected global economic shocks.
This government understands the importance of middle-class Canadians, and as our actions have shown, we have listened and we have ensured a middle class for this country that will continue to lead the world. We will continue with our low-tax plan, unlike the tax-and-spend Liberals and New Democrats, whose high-tax, high-spending agenda would threaten jobs and set working families back.
Mr. Speaker, I rise to participate in this important debate on Motion No. 504 that is before the House today. My colleague's motion reads as follows:
That the Standing Committee on the Status of Women be instructed to undertake a study on the subject of best practices in education and social programs in Canada that prevent violence against women, and report its findings to the House within one year of the study's initiation.
I intend to support this motion because it would provide the Standing Committee on the Status of Women with a valuable opportunity to review and share with all Canadians some of the best practices in education and social programming to help prevent gender-based violence in Canada.
Ending violence against women and girls continues to be a priority for our government as part of our ongoing efforts to make communities safer for all Canadians. For example, we have invested more than $69 million through the Status of Women Canada, since 2007, in projects specifically designed to end violence against women and girls. These projects are helping to address violence in rural and remote communities, in post-secondary campus communities, and in high-risk neighbourhoods. They are responding to violence against women and girls in the name of so-called honour, engaging men and boys to help reduce violence, and working to prevent the trafficking of women and girls through community planning.
Last fall, we had a call for proposals, through Status of Women Canada, for projects that are helping communities engage youth in preventing or eliminating cyberviolence and sexual violence against young women and girls. One of the projects supported by this call is in my riding of London North Centre. This two-year project is helping the London Abused Women's Centre to engage partners in identifying effective strategies for responding to cyberbullying, Internet luring, and cyberstalking against young women and girls. All of these projects, supported by Status of Women Canada, recognize the benefits of working with skilled partners, organizations with the capacity to identify needs at the community level, and develop the tools and resources to meet those needs.
In addition to supporting the women's program at Status of Women Canada with record levels of funding, our government has also taken a number of further important actions to help end gender-based violence. In terms of legislative actions, we passed the Safe Streets and Communities Act to improve the safety of all Canadians. We launched the national action plan to combat human trafficking, and we increased penalties for violent crimes. Just a few weeks ago, our government announced the victims bill of rights, a significant piece of legislation that will create clear statutory rights at the federal level for victims of crime, for the first time in Canadian history. I was proud that members of the London community were at these announcements.
Through economic action plan 2014, the Government of Canada will invest an additional $25 million over five years to reduce violence against aboriginal women and girls, putting money into concrete resources. This plan builds on the results, best practices, and lessons learned from the earlier $25-million investment announced in budget 2010, which will improve the law enforcement and justice responses.
Earlier this year, our government launched the national anti-cyberbullying campaign known as “Stop Hating Online”. It is focused on both parents and youth and is designed to raise awareness of the harmful impact that cyberbullying has, especially when behaviour amounts to criminal activity. We also introduced legislation to give police and prosecutors new tools to address cyberbullying.
All of these actions demonstrate that our government is maintaining a clear focus on eliminating violence against women and girls. We do so, not just because it is the right thing to do, but because it will help remove another obstacle to equality in Canada. We also believe in addressing the issue of violence against women and girls globally. For example, Canada is working very hard with our international partners to end child, early, and forced marriage, wherever it occurs. I am also proud of our government's decision to bestow honorary citizenship upon Malala, who courageously risked her life to promote education for girls and young women everywhere.
All of these measures are very important. They demonstrate that by working together, we can reduce and prevent violence against women and girls. However, at the end of the day, it is not up to any one government or person or community organization alone to achieve this goal. It is up to all of us, those of us in public life, and all Canadians. We all must be a part of the solution because we know the terrible toll that gender-based violence has on individuals, families, and communities.
As we debate this motion here today, let us keep in mind how often women and girls are tragically denied the peace, safety, and comfort of a day without violence or just the threat of violence, which can be just as damaging.
They are the reason we are here to participate in this debate today, and they are the reason I will be supporting this motion.
Mr. Speaker, I would like to thank my hon. colleague for bringing the motion forward to the status of women committee. We have listened to many witnesses at the status of women committee with the aim of preventing violence against women and girls.
Could my colleague tell me why best practices are so important to him and to the organizations in his riding?
Status of Women June 5th, 2014
Mr. Speaker, today the Minister of Status of Women is in Paris participating in the Global Summit of Women, a meeting of women leaders from around the world. While meeting with her international counterparts, the minister will highlight Canada's efforts to promote gender equality, women in our economy, and an end to violence against women and girls.
For example, budget 2014 included specific measures to get more women involved in the economy, and we have helped ensure that aboriginal women enjoy the same rights as women across Canada. We have implemented over 30 laws that crack down on those who commit violent crimes against Canadians, including women and girls. It is a shame that the opposition opposes our efforts at every opportunity.
Canadians can be proud of our Conservative government. Thanks to our leadership, Canada is a world leader when it comes to defending women's rights and promoting their economic prosperity.
Maternal, Newborn, and Child Health May 30th, 2014
Mr. Speaker, the Prime Minister is wrapping up what must be considered an extremely successful summit in Toronto that has focused the world's attention on maternal, newborn, and child health. The summit has allowed, once again, for Canada to continue in our leadership role, addressing the health challenges faced by women, children, and newborns in developing countries.
Yesterday our government pledged an additional $3.5 billion that will allow crucial investments in critical areas, such as immunization, nutrition, and birth and death registration. This announcement has been praised by many, including the president and CEO of World Vision, who said, "I'm really encouraged. It's clear that the prime minister, the government is keeping their commitment.”
Because of our Prime Minister's personal dedication and commitment to saving the lives of mothers and children worldwide, Canada is continuing in its global leadership and saving the lives of mothers and children worldwide.
Remember November 11 Association May 28th, 2014
Mr. Speaker, in 2008, a group of Londoners came together to establish the Remember November 11 Association, dedicated to help honour our heroes by promoting more remembrance events and further strengthen our nation's commitment to remember our fallen heroes.
Led by Director Sean Wilson, the Remember November 11 Association has purchased 1.2 million poppies which have been distributed to Legions and elementary and secondary schools across London-Middlesex.
This Saturday, I, along with members of our community, will come together to plant poppies to pay tribute to our brave men and women past and present of the Canadian Armed Forces. Local companies have donated materials and equipment, and generous Londoners have given monetary donations to make this event possible.
I encourage all Canadians to visit remembernovember11.com to learn more about this great initiative and to make a donation.
Lest we forget.
Leader of the Liberal Party of Canada April 4th, 2014
Mr. Speaker, once again the Liberal leader has demonstrated that he is in way over his head. He recently called on the government to keep an open line of communication with the Iranian regime. As members know, the Iranian regime constitutes the greatest threat to global peace and security. This is a continuation of a troubling trend that Canadians have seen from the Liberal leader.
Let us examine the record. Last year the member made excuses for the Boston marathon terrorist bombers. Last year he said that he admired China's “basic dictatorship”. He also joked about the crisis in Ukraine and said that the Prime Minister's recent visit to Ukraine was no more than a three-hour photo-op.
The Liberal leader does not have the experience, substance, or judgment to lead Canada in uncertain and challenging times.