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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 2014 Act, No. 1 April 8th, 2014
Mr. Speaker, what we do in this House, and what we as members of Parliament do all day and when we go back to our ridings, is to try to communicate with people. It is two-way, and we do our best to listen. In my office, we get 1,000 emails, phone calls, visits, and letters a week, and we try to deal with that. We try to get messages back out, and it is a blur for people. It is extremely difficult to get messages to people.
Having a background in marketing, I can tell the member that people get home at the end of the day and they will have taken in a number of messages, from billboards, from things they have read on the GO train or the streetcar or whatever, and things they have heard on the radio. That is the way people get information. A lot of people do not sit down and go through all the letters they might have had from their member of Parliament. They do not read all the papers, and they do not watch all the news programs. Sometimes it is the only way to get important messages to people about our economy.
Arguably, the most important thing the government does is to advertise on television and tell them what the government is doing. If people do not know what the government is doing, how can they possibly vote as an informed voter?
Economic Action Plan 2014 Act, No. 1 April 8th, 2014
Mr. Speaker, I am not the former finance minister or the current finance minister, but I knocked on doors in my riding of Oakville and promised income splitting for families with children under 18. I believe that is what my government is going to do. I would like to say why I support it. It is because of what I said earlier in my speech. It is extremely expensive to live, especially for people with children.
It is the greatest honour in the world to have children; I do not mean to complain. I am saying how costly it can be when children start the activities they do after school. For example, in Oakville there are 12,000 children and coaches in soccer. Soccer is not that expensive of a sport; it is a fraction of the cost of hockey. When children get into extracurricular activities, choirs, soccer, or hockey, it starts to bear on the finances of families. It is extremely expensive. Income splitting would give those families relief to give their children the opportunities that they so deserve.
Economic Action Plan 2014 Act, No. 1 April 8th, 2014
Mr. Speaker, I'm pleased to have this opportunity to speak today regarding budget 2015 and this new budget implementation bill because I think their significance is so easily understated.
In this budget, our former finance minister and our current Minister of Finance, with the support of a highly principled Prime Minister, a dedicated caucus, and a hard-working civil service, have brought Canada within a hair's breath of a very significant goal. That goal, a balanced budget, will be achieved next year.
This has been accomplished with many tough decisions by our government, such as saying no to many requests for funding and ending programs that were not necessary. It includes a three-year wage freeze for members of Parliament, a change that will demand that civil servants pay half the cost of their own pension plan, and a demand that MPs, who serve an average of less than six years, also pay half their own pension plan moving forward in 2015. That means an additional $1,733 will be taken off the paycheque of each MP every month at that time, so we cut our own benefits too.
My point is that balancing a budget requires sacrifice and principled leadership. It is very difficult to do. It is no fun. That is why most countries in southern Europe could not do it year after year for decades until their debts overwhelmed them. Every member of this House knows what happened there.
Economists who have never been in government say that balanced budgets are not that important. They themselves are a very well-paid group who can afford more taxes, but what about ordinary Canadians? What about the people who spend most or all of what they earn on daily life, because life is just expensive? They are trying to pay a mortgage or save for a house or a family vacation or save for post-secondary education for their children. What about them?
I do not think most economists, who work for banks that earn tens of millions of dollars on interest from loans to governments or for universities or corporations where they have generous pension plans, feel it so profoundly if their taxes go up year after year. It will not affect their lifestyle very much. For everyone else who is taxed out, three or four levels of government are taking too much, and no one believes most governments spend all that money wisely.
Balancing a budget means that the government is spending the same as it takes in. It is not creating more and more debt that working people will pay their entire lives, plus interest. Balancing the budget also means that the federal government can start paying back the $619 billion it has borrowed in the taxpayer's name.
Bill C-31 is the track to this reality. It means that families can truly plan their own future with less fear that some future government will get its hands on more of their paycheque, before they even get it, for something that no one really needs.
Balanced budgets mean we are not mortgaging our children's future or saddling them with debt that they will pay for over their entire lives. Balanced budgets mean we pay our own way.
Balanced budgets mean investors worldwide want to invest in infrastructure in Canada because they know that they will get their money back with a return.
In February the Liberal leader, who has no economic policy to speak of, implied on a party convention video that the Government of Canada does not have enough debt and should take on more. That should get the attention of every Canadian, especially our young people, who will pay back any new debts created by a Liberal government, if elected, for the rest of their lives, and who will have a diminished quality of life because their paycheques are smaller because of high taxes.
The Liberal leader, who, as everyone knows, has always had the benefit of an inherited trust fund, is trying to convince the middle class that he is their new best friend. All he talks about these days is the middle class. It is as though he is trying to join it. He wants to help us. All of a sudden, ordinary working people are his priority.
On the other hand, we have a track record. Our government helped ordinary middle-class people and low-income people by reducing the GST by 2%, by enhancing the working tax credit, and by providing the universal child care benefit of $1,200 a year for each child under six years of age.
We have also taken one million low-income people off the federal tax rolls and provided a whole raft of tax credits to help low-income people who work to keep more of their own money. Conservatives care about low-income people and the middle class and are acting to make their lives easier. Most Conservatives are in fact low-income and middle-class people.
In a video prepared for the Liberal convention, the Liberal leader said, “while the middle class is tapped out, the federal government has room to invest”. He also said that the government of Canada needs to step up. He supported a party resolution at the Liberal Convention that the Liberals should spend 1% of GDP a year, which would be $18 billion that must be borrowed on infrastructure. Therefore, in four years, that would be $72 billion plus interest that our children and grandchildren would have to pay back, for their entire lives.
The Liberal leader is preparing to convince Canadians, as his father did, a former prime minister, that debts do not matter. Someone else will pay, not them. We have lived through this before, in the 1970s, under that former prime minister. Since Pierre Trudeau resigned, subsequent governments have achieved operational surpluses of $634 billion. Yet, during that time, Canadians have paid over $1 trillion in interest, all due to the debt that Pierre Trudeau and the Liberals left us with.
I have a rhetorical question. Who said this:
We were caught in a trap of our own making – a vicious circle in which our chronic deficits contributed to economic lethargy, which in turn contributed to even higher deficits, and then to greater malaise.
That was the former Liberal finance minister and prime minister, Paul Martin, the last Liberal finance minister to balance Canada's federal budget, years ago. He was right, and the Liberal leader today wants to do it all over again: promote the illusion that borrowed money does not have to be paid back, at least not by them.
In 2015, we will begin paying down debt again. We will reduce the interest we pay out and get more for our money. Canada will increasingly decide its own fate and never be beholding to banks and foreign leaders to direct our nation. We will never be ordered to cut back pensions, health care, or education funding by banks because we are near bankruptcy, like most of southern Europe has been. This is our solemn commitment to the people of Canada.
This budget is the step just before the top, the last step. We will get out of the borrowing paradigm. We will not turn around and head back down. Canada will control its own destiny, and this bill would take us one step closer.
Health April 8th, 2014
Mr. Speaker, for years I have been an advocate for drug safety and for making sure that Canadian families have the information they need to make informed choices on the medicines they are taking. With the numerous risks inherent in many drugs, we simply must do better at making people aware. It is imperative that drug safety information be available and accessible not only for over-burdened doctors but also for patients and the parents of children.
Will the Minister of Health recommit today to ensuring that drug safety information is made available for those who need it?
Leader of the Liberal Party of Canada April 7th, 2014
Mr. Speaker, Canadians are alarmed today to hear the Liberal leader's latest attempt to divide Canadians into two groups, with him defining the middle class as those who are living paycheque to paycheque.
Why is the Liberal leader trying to divide Canadians into two groups at all, those who have savings and investments, like most of our seniors and families, and those who do not? It is because he is looking for a pot of gold to fund his hidden plan to spend tens of billions of dollars on bigger government and open-ended socialist schemes, the same thing a former prime minister did in the 1970s, simultaneously creating debt that cost taxpayers $1 trillion in interest over the subsequent 20 years.
The majority of Canadians who do not have a trust fund but have managed to save for a rainy day, to start a business, or to retire, with much help from Conservative tax reductions, should be fully aware that they are the target to fund a massive nostalgia tour of the Liberal glory years by a new Liberal leader of the same name.
Health April 3rd, 2014
Mr. Speaker, Canadian families, and parents especially, are always on the look out for healthy food options for their children. However, these choices are not always easy. As a parent, I find food labels lacking the information I need to make the right choices for my family. Serving sizes are unclear, and the terminology used can be complex.
Can the Parliamentary Secretary to the Prime Minister please update the House on the work that our government is doing to improve the quality of nutritional labelling for Canadian families?
Taxation April 1st, 2014
Mr. Speaker, the opposition leaders cannot help but repeat the promise to not raise taxes on the middle class, which begs the question: what income range constitutes the middle class?
I will assume that the opposition did its homework and knows that the middle class is leading Canada's wealth increase, with the median net worth of Canadian families increasing by 45% since 2005.
However, based on the leader of the third party's answer to such a basic question, it is clear that the former teacher does not do his own homework. He claims that “...the middle class is people who work for their income, not people who live off their assets and their savings.” Under this reckless definition, our Canadian pensioners and retirees, who live off their savings, are not middle class. It is unbelievable.
Canadian families have seen increases of 10% or more in their pay since 2006. We are on the right track for Canadian families. As for the Liberal leader, he is clearly in over his head.
Paralympic Winter Games March 31st, 2014
Mr. Speaker, I stand in the House today to recognize the successes of Oakville Paralympian Greg Westlake for leading Canada's sledge hockey team to bronze medal success at the Sochi Paralympics.
Greg lost both of his legs at 18 months of age but never seemed to recognize what others call a physical disability, nor did it deter him from becoming a superb athlete or developing a love for Canada's favourite sport. Greg's popularity in Oakville came with a fiercely competitive spirit. The people of Oakville and Canada have borne witness to Greg's successes with joy over the years, including his team's gold win in the Torino Paralympics, in 2006, and his charity work as ambassador for sledge hockey.
Canada's Paralympians exemplify the qualities that Canadians strive for: courage, tenacity, supportive teamwork, and achieving success by never giving up. Their leadership and example inspire not only Canadian youth and Canadians with disabilities, but all Canadians in every area of endeavour.
Congratulations to Greg and his fellow Paralympians.
Health March 28th, 2014
Mr. Speaker, 14 years ago, my 15-year-old daughter Vanessa Young tragically died from a heart attack while on the prescription drug Prepulsid, which was later deemed not safe and was removed from the market.
Today, our government has taken an important step to improving drug safety for all Canadians. Can the Minister of Health inform this House what is being done to strengthen drug and patient safety in Canada to better protect all Canadians from the dangerous consequences of adverse drug reactions?
Food and Drugs Act March 28th, 2014
Mr. Speaker, I want to thank all the members for their contributions to the debate and their kind words today.
The member for Victoria raised an issue, and I guess he did not hear what I said in my speech. I mentioned that for situations of criminal negligence, where a pharmaceutical company covers up the risk of one of their drugs and it leads to serious harm to patients, there is authority for unlimited fines.
If a judge saw fit, he or she could fine the drug company, for example, the total amount of sales for that drug for the period it was on the market. That would be the absolute best way, and I would suggest the only way, to stop these corrupt practices.
The key problem with the pharmaceutical industry and why Vanessa's law is so important is that CEOs of pharmaceutical companies, like all companies that sell shares on the market, have to by law increase shareholder value. On the other hand, there is no law against putting a risky drug on the market because all drugs cause adverse effects.
It is the level of the risk that has to be monitored. That is why Vanessa's law is necessary.