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Crucial Fact

  • His favourite word was system.

Last in Parliament September 2008, as Conservative MP for Prince Albert (Saskatchewan)

Won his last election, in 2006, with 54% of the vote.

Statements in the House

Income Tax Act March 30th, 2007

moved that Bill C-294, An Act to amend the Income Tax Act (sports and recreation programs), be read the third time and passed.

Mr. Speaker, I thank the members of the House at this stage because the bill has the unanimous support of all 308 members of Parliament in this esteemed chamber.

I think the members understand the specific purpose of the bill but I will quickly go over it again. It is intended to help young people under the age of 21 in amateur sports programs and the organizations that support them by exempting up to $300 of room and board or lodging costs per month from the Income Tax Act.

If the bill is passed, the direct beneficiaries of this measure will be the young people in amateur sports and the organizations that support them.

What is near and dear to my heart and what motivated me to present this bill are the junior A hockey programs in Canada. We have about 140 junior A teams in small cities and towns and in remote and rural areas across Canada that will be the direct beneficiaries of this amendment to the Income Tax Act. It will reduce the cost of their operation probably in the area of $4,000 or $5,000 a year, which in this town might appear to be chump change, but to the organizations that are trying to keep junior A hockey teams viable in their small towns and communities this is significant. It will go a long way to making their hockey operation viable.

Hockey is our national sport. I talked with Mr. Tretiak the other day, the famous Russian hockey coach. He even realized the great goaltenders that came from Saskatchewan, Glenn Hall, Johnny Bower and many others. He learned many of his techniques and skills by studying their methods of playing in goal. We have a rich history of hockey in Saskatchewan and the junior A hockey program is very much a part of that.

I want to acknowledge some of the people who should be acknowledged on this bill. The real champion of this bill and who took the bull by the horns was Roy Bailey, a good friend of mine and a former colleague in this House in the 37th Parliament. He fought hard to get this injustice sorted out when it occurred. He did not really accomplish that but he laid all the groundwork for it. I am basically finishing the job that Roy started.

I once again want to thank MPs from all parties who contributed to this matter. They have been very good in discussing the matter. When we are talking hockey, I think partisanship disappears and we are all on the same side.

The member for Renfrew—Nipissing—Pembroke and her staff have been very helpful on this matter. I specifically want to thank the member for the accommodations that were made to expedite this bill.

At report stage the bill received the unanimous support of the House. I do not intend to go over all the merits of the bill. We have done that before. I think the members of the House understand the bill quite well. Not much would be accomplished by going over the benefits of the bill, except that it is a good news story for amateur sport and young people in Canada. This is good public policy.

The cost of this amendment to the taxpayer would be minimal. I do not think it would amount to more than $700,000 or $800,000 a year, which, in the age of obesity and all the problems we are having with type two diabetes, it is a measure that would encourage people to be active and be healthy, which is something we should all be encouraging.

I will not be using all my allotted time on this matter. I commend the bill to the good judgment of the 308 members of Parliament in the House of Commons. I trust they will continue to do the right thing and push this bill into reality and make it the public policy of this country.

The Budget March 27th, 2007

Mr. Speaker, we went off the track sometime in the 1970s with the Trudeau regime. Sections 91 and 92 of the Constitution were forgotten. Section 92 states that health, education and social services are the exclusive jurisdictions of the provinces and we piled up money in Ottawa for all sorts of Liberal games that went on, such as the sponsorship and money blown away, whereas those areas have been very much neglected.

I have heard the Liberal members whine and complain, but in this budget there is $2.9 billion more in social transfers. Going forward it is going to be predictable and in place. There is $1.9 billion more in equalization payments for the provinces. There is $650 million more money for infrastructure that will help to build roads and bridges and so on in the communities. There is $612 million for wait time issues and so on.

I heard the member from the Liberal Party say that there is nothing in the budget for people. Social services, education and health, if they do not benefit low income Canadians, I do not know what does. When people need these services they really do not care whether the services are coming from Ottawa or from their provincial government, just as long as they get the services they need when they require them.

Because the Liberals cannot take credit for it, it bothers them but it is not a problem with us. We respect the Canadian Constitution and the budget reflects that understanding.

The Budget March 27th, 2007

Mr. Speaker, the provinces have exclusive jurisdiction for education, health and social services. There are $2.9 billion in social transfers, $1.9 billion in equalization, $650 million in infrastructure, and $612 million for health wait times. These address all of these issues.

The member spoke as if nothing was happening. We are giving the provinces, who have these responsibilities, the fiscal capacity to get on with their job and the member should give us some credit.

The Budget March 20th, 2007

Mr. Speaker, last Friday I had the pleasure of announcing on behalf of the minister continued funding for the new horizons program, which will bring 660 high quality jobs in the oil sands project for people in the member's riding. We are getting things done and we are putting money where we get results.

I listened with interest to the member's comments about equalization. There is some $870 million of new money in Saskatchewan as a result of this budget. In total there is $1.4 billion when we factor in the per capita increases in education and social transfers.

The member should be well qualified to answer my question. The O'Brien report said that there should be a cap on equalization programs, the point being that provinces that receive equalization should not be doing better than the provinces that do not receive equalization. I am going to ask the member who is from a northern Saskatchewan riding whether he agrees with the concept that provinces that receive equalization should not be able to do better than the provinces that do not receive equalization.

Business of Supply March 1st, 2007

Mr. Speaker, I listened with interest to the member's presentation. It sounded like a good, socialist, centralized planning regime. The North Koreans have the most extreme central planned economy. I guess Cuba would fit into the story. The old Soviet Union did.

For the life of me, Boeing is a successful company because it knows how to make airplanes. I think the member who spoke would have trouble putting air in the tires of an airplane, yet alone manufacturing one, but now he has become an expert on airplanes. The member is telling the House that we should be dictating to Boeing how to build airplanes. We are here to make laws in Parliament, not to get into the politics of directing successful companies on how to build airplanes.

I am quite sure about this. Boeing is building aircraft for the Canadian armed forces, something that the Bloc is generally opposed to. The reason why this investment is going to be made in our country, and in all regions of the country, is that we have a government that supports the military, as opposed to the Bloc and so on.

Why does the Bloc believe that politics should be the driving force in determining how contracts should be procured? One would think, given some of the scandals that have occurred--

Income Tax Act February 28th, 2007

Yes, Mr. Speaker.

Income Tax Act February 28th, 2007

moved that the bill, as amended, be concurred in.

Income Tax Act February 23rd, 2007

Mr. Speaker, I understand where the member is coming from. We all should be trying to encourage athletic participation as best we can but I believe the amendment would create a lot of problems.

The bill is completely confined to $300 per month for room and board. It is also restricted to organizations where the participants are all under the age of 21. If we are to use the Laval football team as an example, which is an excellent team with a top notch program and it won the Vanier Cup, most of the players are over age 21 and therefore would not be eligible for this.

Second, the junior teams got into difficulty because the tax department said that was an employer-employee relationship. If a university were providing room and board to a student, which I doubt is happening right now, but even if it were, that would not be an employer-employee relationship. There would be no tax consequences for the room and board at a university level. If it is happening, it is being done by a third party, in the case of Laval by a very wealthy person who supports the program.

However, as best as I can understand, if he is helping students with their room and board it is not subject to taxation under current law. It is a different category altogether and it diverts away from the main attempt to get the 140 junior A teams across Canada, many of them in Quebec, and the junior B teams to bring the tax relief to them so they can have the same benefit that maybe the Laval football players have at present.

This is a catch 22. It does not really lean anywhere. If there were some way the Bloc member could withdraw the motion, it would keep us focused on the main issue, which is to help midget hockey, junior B hockey and junior A hockey which are really suffering a great deal right now because of current tax rules. The university people do not experience this problem.

Business of Supply February 22nd, 2007

Mr. Speaker, I have listened with interest to the Liberals' supply day motion today and their constant talk about all the great things they have done for citizenship in this country, as if they have a monopoly on it. I wish they could have been more fair-minded on these things. I just want to set the record straight on a few things.

I know they will hoot and holler about this but it is factual. In the second world war a ship carrying Jewish refugees from Germany landed in Canada seeking refuge. We sent them back to the death camps. The Liberal government during the second world war interned Japanese Canadian citizens and deprived them of their most fundamental rights.

The only time soldiers ever walked through the streets of cities with their guns pointed at citizens and hauling people off to jail during peace time was when the Liberal government brought in the War Measures Act in the 1970s.

The government that gave aboriginal people the right to vote, one of the most fundamental things in this country, was John Diefenbaker's Conservative government.

When the member for Kitchener—Waterloo went through all the things on citizenship and the rights of citizenship, he forgot one person in that list. He forgot John Diefenbaker who introduced the first bill of rights to protect and defend fundamental human rights in this country. It was something that was long overdue even though the Liberals had many opportunities.

Just recently there were two incidents, the first one being the Air-India inquiry, a great tragedy in the history of Canada and a great violation of civil rights of Canadian citizens. The Liberals did nothing to speak of on that inquiry. We set up an inquiry to get to the root of the incident and, from what I can see, the Liberals are taking steps to make it difficult to get to the bottom of the truth on this matter.

We also dealt with the Chinese head tax, which was the creation of the Liberal Party and a black day in the history of this country.

I am just trying to set the record straight here. The Liberals certainly do not have a monopoly on civil rights and citizenship rights in this country. In many cases, they have been a real threat to those things.

If the member wants to respond to my comments she is welcome to do so.

Business of Supply February 22nd, 2007

No, he did not. You were not listening, Garth, because that is not what he said.