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Crucial Fact

  • His favourite word was liberal.

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

Won his last election, in 2006, with 43% of the vote.

Statements in the House

Leader of the Opposition January 31st, 2008

Mr. Speaker, once again we are seeing weak leadership from the Leader of the Opposition who has failed to make passing our tackling violent act a priority.

Our government's Bill C-2 would better protect our children from sexual predators, protect society from dangerous offenders, get serious with drug impaired drivers and toughen sentencing and bail for gun crimes.

Bill C-2 was passed by this democratically elected House and has widespread support from Canadians and yet the Leader of the Opposition has failed to direct his Liberal senators to pass this legislation quickly.

Why is the Liberal leader so allergic to leadership? Why does he refuse to stand up for the safety of Canadians? The opposition leader is weak and could never be entrusted to lead our country. Furthermore, he has revealed the true agenda of the Liberals. They are just like members of the NDP. They talk tough when it is time for an election but Canadians know they are soft on crime.

Only one party continues to stand up for safe streets and communities and--

Budget and Economic Statement Implementation Act, 2007 December 10th, 2007

Mr. Speaker, I have a question for the member for Sackville—Eastern Shore. I listened carefully to his comments. The member likes to paint himself as a champion of veterans and their families. How does he square this with the actions of the NDP caucus last Thursday evening when those members stood in the House to vote against the supplementary estimates?

The NDP was the only party to oppose the supplementary estimates, estimates that contained additional funds for ex gratia payments for victims of agent orange, for the establishment of five clinics for operational stress injury, for the Office of the Veterans Ombudsman, for the restoration of World War I monuments and for the Vimy commemoration. I could go on. The NDP voted against $42.8 million for veterans and veterans services.

How does the member square that with his regular efforts to paint himself as a champion of veterans? When will he start to walk the walk? The member takes hypocrisy to staggering new heights.

How does he square the circle for the entire NDP as a party? NDP members talk and talk, but when it comes time to walking the walk and voting for the supplementary estimates and real money, significant money, $42.8 million for veterans, they do not walk the walk. They just talk the talk. I would love to hear his reaction to that.

Old Age Security Act November 26th, 2007

Mr. Speaker, in case I do not have a chance to speak later on today, I want to take this opportunity to congratulate the Saskatchewan Roughrider organization and loyal Rider fans everywhere on being successful yesterday in winning the 95th Grey Cup. My wife and my family took to the streets. The Batters family certainly celebrated late into the evening and the Lesiuk family did the same. They joined throngs of people on Albert Street in Regina in celebrating a great win yesterday.

I am pleased to join the debate on Bill C-362 and address the proposals put forward in this bill to amend the Old Age Security Act. I appreciate the hon. member's intentions in proposing a reduction in the residence requirement from 10 years down to three to receive OAS. However, there are several reasons why this is not a sound course of action.

First, let us look at the issues of fairness and equality. Length of residence in Canada has been this program's central eligibility requirement since its inception in 1952. The purpose of the 10 year requirement then, as now, is meant to be a measure of partial income security in recognition of a person's attachment and contribution to Canadian society, our economy and our communities.

It is a perfectly reasonable expectation that people live in this country for a minimum period of time before being granted the right to a lifelong public benefit, since this public benefit is paid entirely from general tax revenue and does not require any direct contribution from its recipients.

The Old Age Security Act has withstood the test of time, even over the course of several Liberal governments. Why do the members opposite pretend to care so much about this issue now? In fact, the sponsor of the bill has even admitted that the previous Liberal government fought seniors groups in court until they ran out of money because the Liberal government believed so strongly in the current program.

The current Old Age Security Act does not discriminate between citizens and non-citizens as the sponsor would have us believe. It is based solely on length of residence and not, as some critics have suggested, on citizenship. In fact, the residence requirement makes no distinction between immigrants who have just arrived in Canada and other Canadians who are returning to Canada after being away. In both cases, applicants must meet the same 10 year requirement.

In my mind, the present system of requiring 10 years of residence is the most fair and equitable criterion for receiving OAS. I am certainly not alone in this belief. Twice, the previous Liberal government defended this issue of fairness in court. Twice, the previous Liberal government's view was upheld when the courts found that the current requirements do not discriminate against applicants on the grounds of national or ethnic origin and do not conflict with the charter.

The old age security system is fair and sound. It provides more than four million seniors in Canada with a retirement income. Its benefits are universally allotted. Yet, it is only one program in Canada's social safety net. There are built-in safeguards for those who do not qualify for OAS through many federal and provincial assistance programs.

Within the public pension system itself, many low income seniors also receive the guaranteed income supplement, or GIS, designated to help Canada's poorest seniors. Here, too, citizenship is not a requirement, only a minimum 10 years' residency and an income below a specific threshold.

Under the current system, every senior has the potential to receive OAS and GIS. This is true even if they arrive in Canada at the age of 60 and never work. By the age of 70, they can begin receiving benefits.

Right now, we have a sustainable and robust pension system. Obviously it is in the interest of all Canadians to ensure that our pension system remains healthy. We know that the requirement for pensions will only grow as our senior population continues to expand. In fact, 25 years from now, nearly one-quarter of Canada's population will be 65 years of age or older. It is incumbent upon us to ensure that the polices that we enact today protect our pension plans in the future.

The Liberals believed these same things a few years ago, but now they appear to have changed their minds. Relaxing the OAS eligibility requirements from 10 to 3 years would have significant fiscal implications for Canada. It is estimated that the consequent costs would be more than $700 million annually in combined OAS and GIS benefits, with approximately $600 million of this amount due to an increase in GIS payments. We cannot in good conscience place this financial strain on our pension system.

As well as our domestic concerns, we must almost consider the effect Bill C-362 would have on the international agreements we now have in place and for those we will be negotiating in the coming years. Fifty countries have established agreements with Canada based on the current 10 year residency requirement. Lowering this requirement by seven years could create a disincentive for other countries considering reciprocal agreements with Canada.

Clearly, there are sound reasons for maintaining the current OAS system. It is fair and equitable. It recognizes the contributions seniors have made to our country. OAS pension benefits are based on residence rather than citizenship or national origin. Also, the OAS program is financially sound. Under the current system, OAS is sustainable. It is our duty as our constituents' representatives to ensure that OAS is there for them when they need it.

I can assure this House and all Canadians that this Conservative government intends to take every measure possible to protect our seniors today and in the future.

We have demonstrated our intentions through such measures as those contained in Bill C-36, which simplify and streamline the OAS and GIS application process.

We have also introduced a number of initiatives, such as the National Seniors Council, aimed at improving the lives of seniors. We have introduced a range of measures to reduce the tax burden on seniors.

We will continue to act to protect seniors and Canada's old age security system. I urge my hon. colleagues to vote against the proposals contained in this bill, just as the Liberals did when they were in power.

The Grey Cup November 23rd, 2007

Mr. Speaker, Sunday is the 95th Grey Cup, featuring the green machine, Saskatchewan's beloved Roughriders versus the Winnipeg Blue Bombers.

In the heart of the CFL, Rider pride has never been stronger. Today is Green Day and the Rider nation is descending upon Toronto for a prairie party to remember and for a victory that all Rider fans will cherish forever.

Last night our QB Kerry Joseph was named the CFL's outstanding player. He will triumph over a young Dinwiddie who will be dominated by the big rider D and have to watch Scott Schultz's Moose Jaw Stomp all day long.

On behalf of all Saskatchewanians and the entire Rider nation, congratulations to everyone in the Roughriders organization on a very successful 2007 campaign. We cannot wait to see the cup paraded through Regina by Gainer the Gopher and the whole team next week.

To Bomber fans, thanks for coming out. Go Riders go!

Economic Statement October 30th, 2007

Mr. Speaker, today the statement on Canada's economic and fiscal health will be delivered outside the House of Commons because of obstructionist tactics by the NDP.

The NDP's latest move is an outrageous and hypocritical reversal of its previous position that major announcements should be made in the House.

The NDP House leader sat on a parliamentary committee which recommended that “more ministerial statements and announcements be made in the House of Commons”.

Perhaps the NDP has changed its position because it does not want Canadians to be reminded that it is under this Conservative government that the economy is growing. We have the lowest unemployment rate in 33 years and taxes are being cut, leaving more money for Canadians to spend, save and invest.

Canadians know that it is thanks to this Conservative government that they have more money in their pockets. They deserve better than petty NDP partisan games. It is time that the NDP started working with this Parliament instead of holding it back.

Petitions October 30th, 2007

Mr. Speaker, pursuant to Standing Order 36 I have the honour to present petitions on behalf of a number of concerned citizens residing in my home province of Saskatchewan. The petitioners call upon the government to proceed with changes to the criminal justice system so that those convicted of serious Criminal Code offences serve their time consecutively, not concurrently, and that those convicted of multiple Criminal Code offences have time served for parole eligibility with those convictions counted consecutively.

These petitioners want to ensure that the victims of violent crime see justice done in our criminal justice system.

Violent Crime October 25th, 2007

Mr. Speaker, my constituents are pleased that our Conservative government is introducing comprehensive legislation to tackle violent crime. This issue is a very serious concern in my riding of Palliser.

Regina has once against been named the murder capital of Canada. This week, a 94-year-old Regina resident was attacked in his River Heights home by an unknown assailant.

Last week, a 16-year-old student from Sheldon-Williams Collegiate was shot in her Regina home. A 16-year-old male has been charged with attempted murder.

Unlike the NDP and Liberal opposition, the Conservative government is committed to getting tough on crime. We will take further steps to tackle youth crime. We want to amend the Youth Criminal Justice Act to send a clear message that these heinous acts will not be tolerated in our society.

Tackling crime is a top priority for our Conservative government all the time, not just at election time. We are taking action to make communities safer across Canada.

Resumption of Debate on Address in Reply October 23rd, 2007

Mr. Speaker, that was quite a dissertation from my friend opposite. I found it ironic that he would be wishing everyone luck in their campaigns, as though there would be a campaign in the near future.

Every member in the House knows that the Liberal Party exists only to wield power. That is all the Liberals care about. Everyone knows that if they thought they could win a general election tomorrow, I would be pounding in signs as we speak.

The Liberal position on tax relief, like their stance on most issues, has been less than clear. In 1993 the Liberals promised to scrap the GST. That was in their famous red book. I challenge anyone here to find a red book today because they have burned them all. Now they are opposed to cutting the GST, which the government proposed in the Speech from the Throne. The Leader of the Opposition has even talked about raising the GST.

Why will the Liberal Party not stand behind the government in our effort to lower this excessive and regressive tax?

Resumption of debate on Address in Reply October 17th, 2007

Mr. Speaker, I want to ask the member for Toronto—Danforth a question about Afghanistan.

For all that member's talk of compassion and human rights, why is he so eager to pull our troops out of Afghanistan, thereby abandoning that nation's citizens to the brutality of the Taliban? Women would have absolutely zero human rights as a result. Is it his solution that we should negotiate with Taliban terrorists?

My NDP opponent for the next election told the Moose Jaw Times Herald yesterday that the more Canada attacked offensively, the broader the base of the insurgency in Afghanistan. What a ludicrous statement and how demoralizing to our troops. It is a statement that is absolutely void of principles. Our troops deserve better.

Afghan citizens have made tremendous strides because of the work of our armed forces and our brave men and women in uniform. They deserve to be praised at every step and not be told that because of their attacks they have somehow added to the insurgency in Afghanistan.

I would like a brief response from the member. Is it still his strategy to negotiate with terrorists?

Pilotage Act June 20th, 2007

Mr. Speaker, I rise on a point of order. I have listened with great interest to my friend opposite, as the last hours of this session of Parliament wind down. He was here earlier today and he spoke many times to Bill C-6, the Aeronautics Act, which involved airplanes, pilots of airplanes and those types of issues. Now we are debating Bill C-64, the Pilotage Act. We are not talking about pilotage of airplanes any more. We are talking about the pilotage of ships.

I wonder if the member could try to stick a bit closer to the topic, the Pilotage Act, and leave Bill C-6 alone for a bit. We debated that bill at length earlier today. Could the member be a bit more relevant in his comments?