Madam Speaker, my colleagues and I want to congratulate you on your re-election and your appointment as Deputy Speaker.
I want to take the opportunity, and I am hoping I will be given the latitude to do this, to give some thanks. This is my first opportunity to speak in the House since my election. It is my third election in five and a half years and there are a lot of people to thank for the time they put in leading up to, during and subsequent to the election campaign. As we know, there are a lot of things that need to be taken care of even after the election is completed.
First and foremost, I want to thank the folks in my riding who supported and voted for me in unprecedented numbers. I recognize it is an incredible responsibility that I have been given for the third time and I want to thank each and every person who supported me. I recognize that 100% of the constituents did not vote for me, but I am here for 100% of them in my riding and I will do my utmost over the next number of years to represent the interests of my community in the long term.
I want to make brief reference to some of the team members who helped me get elected. First and foremost, I want to thank my campaign manager, Alden Harms, who was dedicated throughout the campaign to getting me elected for the third time. He has been my right-hand man through three elections and did an incredible job, as he always does.
I want to thank Lydell Torgerson, my official agent, a leading accountant in the province of Alberta. He has been recognized by his colleagues and dedicated a significant amount of volunteer time to my campaign. I want to thank him in the House for his ongoing dedication in getting all of the necessary paperwork done in order to fulfill the requirements that Elections Canada has.
I want to thank Dena Short, who works day in and day out to manage the office in my constituency. For that, I owe her a great debt of gratitude. I certainly want to recognize her work, as well as that of Lamont Anderson who was in charge of the sign crew. He worked diligently to get the signs up and down and taken care of.
I want to take the opportunity to thank the dedicated staff in my constituency office, as well as my Hill office, who make me a more popular guy, quite frankly. They are the people who continue to work day in and day out to represent my desire for my constituents, which is that they be well represented. Anybody who comes into my constituency office is always well represented because of the staff. I want to thank Trudy, who has been with me for the last five and a half years, and Kim and Crystal, who have also been with me for the last number of years. Their commitment to my constituents is, without question, their number one priority and I want to thank them.
I also want to thank my family, my mom, dad, siblings and their families for their support. Having five siblings is always positive because more people will vote for one and then when they have spouses as well, that increases the base. They went well beyond what they were called on to do during the election campaign in many capacities and I want to thank them.
I also want to thank my immediate family, my kids for giving me the luxury of being able to campaign, as well as my wife, who is a remarkable person. She is really the trooper in my family. She is the one who holds everything together during very stressful election campaigns and has given me great latitude in doing my job and serving my constituents. She really is an amazing partner and has dedicated the last five and a half years to working with me to represent the constituents in my riding.
I wanted to extend those thanks before I moved on to the budget.
Today I am talking about the low-tax plan for Canadians that the minister brought forward yesterday. Of course, this was not an entirely unexpected budget. We expected many of the provisions within the budget. Obviously, we had a preview of this budget last March prior to the election campaign and then we fought during the campaign for the opportunity to reinstate the budget and to have it debated in the House and hopefully passed by it. However, we did add a few other things to the budget. We made a number of other commitments in the election campaign and those things are being followed through with.
Our Prime Minister said that we were going to get things done, get back to work, and do a whole host of things in addition to the budget that was put forward before. Those things are included in this budget. I think that is a testament to the commitment of our finance minister and Prime Minister to doing what we said we were going to do during the election campaign. I give them a lot of thanks.
Canadians can be reassured that we are intent on doing what we said. We are seeing the evidence of that in this budget as well as in the Speech from the Throne. My many thanks to the finance minister for including those provisions in the budget. I know my constituents, as well as many of my colleagues' constituents, are depending on those things being carried out.
When I was first elected, my hope was that I would be able to represent my constituents well and build a stronger, more vibrant community. I was a small business owner at that point in time. My wife and I had just recently been married. I had been involved in politics for a number of years. I had been an active member of our association for over 10 years.
I hoped to become an elected member of this House to get a few things done. I was a small business owner and I was increasingly frustrated by the government's response to small business owners. Increasingly, we saw a government, in a previous incarnation, that was hard on small business owners, the engine to our local economies. I was often disappointed with the responses and an increased tax burden that small business owners were expected to bear.
Over the last five and a half years since my election, I have worked to advocate on behalf of small business owners. I believe it is important that we give all of the latitude that is necessary for small business owners to innovate and to create jobs in our local communities.
This budget is an extension of some of the things that we have seen over the last five and a half years in terms of reducing the tax burden for small business owners, for giving more resources to small business owners, and in paying tribute to small business owners for what they are, the drivers of our national economy.
One of the important measures within this budget, that there has not been a lot of attention drawn to, is the fact that our government has made the commitment to continue along the effort to reduce red tape for small businesses.
I had the opportunity in the last Parliament to sit on the red tape reduction commission. I had to opportunity to travel across this great country. What was remarkable, no matter where I went in this country, were the similarities in the concerns that I heard from people which were incredibly consistent.
We heard of struggles in terms of getting certain things done. Oftentimes it related to unnecessary red tape within the federal sector. We also heard about red tape that was in provincial and municipal jurisdictions as well.
I had the opportunity to sit on that commission with representation from the Canadian Federation of Independent Business. Catherine Swift was a representative on that commission. It actually brought forward the information, its analysis, that Canadian businesses bear a cost of approximately $30 billion on an annual basis in trying to comply with red tape.
That is red tape that comes from the federal government, the provincial governments and the municipal governments. What is distressing is that oftentimes there is a duplication or redundancy in that red tape from the federal level, the provincial level and the municipal level.
I am so excited to see that the federal government is committed to continue on the effort of the red tape reduction commission to continue to see red tape slashed at the federal level. It has made the commitment that it is going to reduce that red tape to a manageable level to help support small businesses.
Unfortunately, red tape disproportionately affects small businesses. Large businesses have large accounting firms and large legal representation, and are able to manage to get through it. Disproportionately small businesses are affected by it.
As a member who comes from the small business sector, I am really pleased and very thankful to see that our government is going to continue to reduce red tape for small businesses across this country.