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Conservative MP for Oakville (Ontario)
Won his last election, in 2011, with 51.60% of the vote.
Statements in the House
Economic Action Plan 2013 Act, No. 1 May 7th, 2013
Mr. Speaker, I thank the member for the question, but I am not so grateful for his fictitious preamble.
I believe the last time this government balanced the budget was in 2007. However, prior to the recession, which the member might remember started in 2008, this government had a surplus which it reinvested by paying down debt. That is what we promised to do. That is why the voters made us the government. We paid down over $30 billion of debt, which is what we are supposed to do.
When there is a recession, government money is invested to help people stay working. However, when there is a surplus, the government is supposed to pay down debt. That is acceptable fundamental economics. That is exactly what we did. We will not apologize for lowering taxes on Canadian families and putting more money into their pockets once the budget was balanced.
Economic Action Plan 2013 Act, No. 1 May 7th, 2013
Mr. Speaker, I do not know where the member opposite has been for the last few months, but since the end of the recession this government is responsible for the creation of 950,000 net new jobs, most of which are full time.
In addition, it seems the member has totally missed what happened in 2008. I do not know where he was in 2008, but we were here dealing with the most serious recession since the 1930s. This government got this country through that recession. We purposely created a deficit through Canada's economic action plan, and now that the recession is over we are balancing the books.
With specific regard to the member's question on this budget on job creation, in talking about the future and the need for infrastructure in our communities, the roads, bridges and transitways that our children and grandchildren will need, in budget 2013 we have pledged over $53 billion over 10 years for a new building Canada plan. It is long-term predictable funding that represents the largest and longest federal infrastructure investment in Canadian history.
Economic Action Plan 2013 Act, No. 1 May 7th, 2013
This budget and our previous budget have demonstrated that the Prime Minister and our Minister of Finance are building our nation to heights we have never seen before. Canada is a place where immigrants and investors want to be. We have every reason to be optimistic about our future. I will gladly support this budget and the great economic stewardship of our government.
Economic Action Plan 2013 Act, No. 1 May 7th, 2013
Mr. Speaker, I am pleased to be participating in the debate today on the budget implementation bill.
The success of a nation is due to the manner in which society values its workers, its innovators and the way it allows everyone the opportunity to succeed and improve their lives through hard work and ingenuity. This is supported in a recent book, Why Nations Fail, by Daron Acemoglu from MIT and James Robinson of Harvard University.
Why Nations Fail provides a historical study of civilizations that have succeeded and failed and determines that civilizations have fallen or thrived based on, above all else, their political institutions. Governments thrived when they provided the rule of law, secure property rights and a strong independent judiciary. Good government prevents any elite from extracting the wealth out of a country for themselves and spreads opportunity around.
Geography, culture and resources, all gifts that Canada has in abundance, take a back seat to good government that is responsive and accountable to its citizens in this manner. When money can travel over wireless networks in a split second and investors from anywhere in the world can invest anywhere else in the world within a matter of minutes, people will invest in a nation that will secure their investments and grow them with minimal risk. The people of those nations benefit with jobs and opportunities, as Canadians do.
Canada's economic action plan for 2013 is part of an economic process. It is in its seventh year. It began in 2006, from our Minister of Finance and Prime Minister. It prioritizes stability, prudent fiscal management and careful stewardship of our economy, something that most of Europe and the U.S. are struggling toward.
How is Canada doing? Most Canadians know these facts. Canada has had the most stable and sound financial system in the world for five years straight. Canada is the number one place in the world to do business. Canada has the highest possible credit rating from the three major rating agencies. We are in the best fiscal position of any of the G7 countries. We have the lowest government net debt to GDP ratio in the G7. During the recent recession Canada did not have to bail out a single bank. By 2015 we will have a balanced budget without putting our hands in the pockets of taxpayers and business owners for new taxes.
However, what some members of the House do not understand is that none of this happened by accident. This was achieved by good management and tough decisions. Let me give a few examples.
Back in 2006, when the U.S. government allowed risky mortgages that covered the entire value of the house, plus in some cases even the furniture, our government tightened up the mortgage rules, asking for higher credit ratings and stopping the 40-year terms the banks were pitching. This helped save Canada from a U.S.-style housing crisis. Despite our deficit, created to fight the 2008 recession, and the difficult task of limiting spending now to balance our national budget, just last year the NDP and Liberals wanted to send billions of our tax dollars to Europe to bail out governments that have not made the tough decisions we are making. We said, “No way”.
We would never consider the NDP plan to grab $60 billion out of the pockets of business owners, shareholders and workers, although personal debt is at an all-time high. Given the chance, that plan would include a death tax on the wealthy, promoted by the NDP academic branch at the Broadbent Institute. Of course, the definition of wealthy would be anyone who had perhaps $50,000 a year after they die, which is about the cost of a parking space at a condo in downtown Toronto.
Democracy is sharing power. Sound economics and strong institutions support that sharing and ensure the security of all Canadians, not just the wealthy. That is why those who are not wealthy are often the first to support Conservative budgets. In bad times the wealthy do all right, but those who are not wealthy are at the risk of losing everything. They have the most to lose when governments overspend for decades and go bankrupt. They are the ones who line up at the EI office. A good budget must balance the interests of all citizens, while not confiscating the earnings of entrepreneurs.
Where democracies get into financial trouble is when the public sector grows out of control and confiscates more than the private sector can afford to pay. Bill C-60 would implement a budget process that would reduce the size and cost of government, to be affordable. The budget would reduce full-time equivalents by attrition and eliminating positions and would reduce spending by another $600 million a year. The budget would be balanced by 2015.
On the other side of the floor, there are a lot of members who believe in their heart of hearts that governments exist to decide who gets what. They want to be the ones who write the rules for everyone else to divvy up the pie. They actually think that governing is like contract bargaining. What they do not understand is where wealth comes from. That is our focus. We cut it down, dig it up, manufacture it, reap it from the soil, add value through trade, and we must do it all better through innovation. The budget would help entrepreneurs and businesses that take risks and innovate to create wealth and new jobs for others.
There is something else they do not get. This is a free country, and when taxes get too high people and businesses leave.
I have seen this happen when the NDP, under the leadership of the then member for Toronto Centre—Rosedale, was in power as the NDP premier. The taxes in Ontario became the highest in North America: businesses left in droves; unemployment skyrocketed; government revenues crashed; and government debt more than doubled, from $38 billion to almost $100 billion. Ontario was essentially bankrupt.
As Dr. Phil says: “How's that working for them in Europe today?” Well, how about Greece with 27% unemployment, or Cyprus where bank deposits are being confiscated, or Portugal where the unemployment rate has reached 17%? It is no surprise that these countries are not prospering.
In Canada, we offer a vast land of opportunity which supports and rewards hard work while protecting people's human and property rights. This government values that above all else.
Budgets must be realistic and express tough decisions made for the long-term success of our country. This budget is building a foundation and structure for a secure future for our children and grandchildren. It closes tax loopholes for tax fairness and improves the integrity of the tax system. It supports innovation and research, and it is a commitment to Canadians that their economy is on the right track. Its success is founded on two major platforms: the first is paying down the debt on time and without excuses; and the second is strategic investment in growth and innovation.
The year 2013 began with a welcome announcement in my riding of Oakville when our Prime Minister visited Canada's largest Ford plant, the Oakville assembly plant, on January 6. The Prime Minister was there to announce an investment of $250 million in the automotive innovation fund to 1,000 CAW folks who build these high-quality low-emission cars. The fund is for auto industry firms undertaking large-scale research and development projects that are focused on innovative, greener and more fuel efficient vehicles. The fund is working.
The money invested in Ford's Windsor engine plant originally created 450 full-time jobs, but since then it has grown to 600 full-time jobs. What is more impressive is that there are 3,000 people working at the Oakville assembly plant who now work full-time as a result of investments made by this government in 2006.
Other projects supported by the AIF include Toyota Motor Manufacturing Canada's project green light, which includes the production of the RAV4 electric vehicle at Toyota's plant in Woodstock; Magna International's development of clean vehicle technologies, including energy-efficient components and innovative powertrain parts for next-generation vehicles; and construction of a new Toyota blended assembly line that will permit the simultaneous production of both the current Lexus model and the hybrid model.
Perhaps our single biggest problem at this point in our history is addressed in this budget. With hundreds of thousands of Canadians hitting retirement age in the next few years and the emergence of the knowledge economy, the Canadian Chamber of Commerce says that without action we could have over 500,000 unskilled workers who will not be able to find work by 2016. Without action in this budget, there could be over one million skilled job vacancies by 2016. The former president of Seneca College, Rick Miner, summarizes the problem in the title of his report, “People without Jobs, Jobs without People”.
The most significant contribution of this budget is perhaps the creation of the Canada job grant, which could provide $15,000 or more per person, with matching funds to match people with jobs. This fund will help up to 130,000 Canadians with access to training for the jobs that are available. This will be at community colleges, career colleges and trade union training centres.
Aerospace Industry May 2nd, 2013
Mr. Speaker, the Canadarm, a marvellous technological innovation created and developed by Canadians is, simply put, a national icon. It was one of the most important inventions of our space industry, one that entrenched Canada' international reputation for its expertise and innovation in advanced robotics.
The robotic arm made its space debut on November 13, 1981, and remained a critical element in the space shuttle program for almost 30 years.
Will the Minister of Canadian Heritage and Official Languages please tell this House how our government is recognizing this amazing Canadian invention?
New Democratic Party of Canada March 21st, 2013
Mr. Speaker, the people of Oakville are shocked that the official opposition voted against our bill that would remove foreign criminals faster from Canada. They are also worried that the opposition parties will revive their socialist coalition to reverse all the bills our government has introduced for safe communities, lower taxes and a dynamic economy.
What bills would such an opposition introduce? We know from their voting record that they would introduce the slower removal of foreign criminals act and a new CETA, the cancel every trade agreement act. Their first move would be the carbon tax on everything you need to live act. They would prioritize the borrow billions to bail out European banks act, quickly followed by the never-ending long-gun registry or duck farmers act. However, to seal the deal, the NDP would have to accept the Liberal political loan shark forget about it act.
New Democratic Party of Canada February 13th, 2013
Mr. Speaker, 60% of my constituents in Oakville work outside our communities, from Hamilton to Mississauga to Toronto. I have met many working people in Oakville who budget down to the last dollar for GO Transit fares and really appreciate the tax credit our government introduced to save them money and keep more cars off the road. Others, who do not work near GO Transit stops, will sometimes hold off on filling their gas tank for days, waiting for when gas will be just a few cents lower per litre.
Over 1,200 families in Oakville use food banks to make ends meet. They have been overloaded with taxes from the McGuinty-Wynne government such as new sales tax, the eco-tax and the health tax. More taxes will only deprive their families of the basics. The last thing they need is a new super tax on gas, public transit energy, home heating fuel, that would drive up the price of everything they need at malls and stores, including clothes, cleaning supplies and groceries.
My constituents in Oakville say “absolutely not” to the NDP job-killing $21 billion carbon tax.
Petitions November 28th, 2012
Mr. Speaker, I present petitions signed by concerned constituents from my riding of Oakville. They ask this House to pass Bill C-398 without significant amendment to facilitate the immediate and sustainable flow of life-saving generic medicines to developing countries. I am happy to present this petition for a response from our government.
The Environment November 27th, 2012
Mr. Speaker, for years the Liberals ignored climate change and did absolutely nothing when it came to reducing greenhouse gas emissions. We know the NDP want to implement a job-killing carbon tax that would cripple our economy and raise the price of everything. Our government is working to reduce greenhouse gas emissions without disrupting the economy, and we are getting it done.
Can the minister tell us what new measures he has put in place to make real greenhouse gas reductions?
Taxation November 27th, 2012
Mr. Speaker, economic and social mobility is the key measure of a successful democracy. The Fraser Institute recently showed that Canadians can get ahead and are getting ahead, that where someone is today does not determine where he or she will be in 10 to 15 years. Two of every five Canadians in the bottom group of income earners in 1990 ended up in the top 40% by 2009. However, despite our government's lowering of taxes, the cost of living and the cost of three other levels of government are squeezing Canadian families. Many are spending more than they earn just to pay their bills.
Meanwhile, the NDP's mentors at the Broadbent Institute have unveiled the biggest threat to Canadians' ability to get ahead. The $21.5 billion carbon tax would be just a start; they also want new sales taxes and an inheritance tax. That is the potential agenda of the NDP if it were ever to become the government. The socialists want to seize Canadians' lifetime savings after we die. That is something Conservatives would never do.