House of Commons photo


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

The Environment April 25th, 2007

Mr. Speaker, this morning the Minister of Natural Resources along with the Minister of the Environment announced another step to protect the health and environment of Canadians.

Last year our government announced new regulations and more stringent energy efficiency standards for a whole range of common products. With these new proposed regulations, Canada is a world leader in efficiency standards.

Could the Minister of Natural Resources explain what further action he is taking today to improve energy efficiency in Canada?

Criminal Code March 28th, 2007

Mr. Speaker, I commend my colleague for bringing forward the bill. As a loving father of four daughters and a great parliamentarian, this is something that clearly needed to be addressed and he has boldly done that.

I also thank the members opposite who worked at committee and who have cooperated on this measure.

Does the member find it passing strange and frustrating, as I do, that while he seems to have support now for this very important initiative to protect children from sexual predators over the Internet, we on this side of the House cannot seem to get the cooperation of members of the Liberal Party, the NDP and the Bloc Québécois on Bill C-27, the dangerous offender bill?

The poster boy for that bill is Peter Whitmore. As my colleague rightfully pointed out in his speech that this individual has countless convictions of sex offences. Bill C-27 would provide for reverse onus. For individuals who are convicted three times of violence sexual offences, the onus would be on them to prove why they are not dangerous offenders as opposed to the Crown proving why they are.

Does the member share my frustration in Bill C-27; that we cannot get the same cooperation on this bill that he seems to get for his private member's bill?

Aboriginal Affairs March 28th, 2007

Mr. Speaker, since 2004, the residents of Kashechewan in northern Ontario have been forced to leave their homes due to flooding. The community has reviewed the options outlined in the Pope report and has come back with its preferred choice.

Can the Minister of Indian Affairs and Northern Development tell the House what he plans to do about Kashechewan?

The Budget March 27th, 2007

Mr. Speaker, Palliser seniors watching at home know that this budget delivered for them. It certainly delivered on their priorities. It increased the age credit by $1,000, as the member pointed out, to $5,066.

Since this government has taken office, seniors see the tax savings every time they go to a store. Seniors are consumers and they see that benefit every time they purchase something at a store.

The member made reference to income trusts. This is a government that makes the tough decisions as opposed to the previous government that dithered, delayed and whispered about perhaps doing things. These whispers caused tremendous turmoil in the markets. Then there were public servants leaking information, which was all under the leadership of the member for Wascana, the previous finance minister. E-mails were sent by the member for Kings—Hants to his friends on Bay Street.

I want to point out for Canadians at home that this government made the tough decisions. This government is not under investigation by the RCMP. The Liberal Party is under investigation by the RCMP.

The Budget March 27th, 2007

Mr. Speaker, the member touches on a number of points and I will try to respond in kind.

The member said that there was nothing in the budget for education and yet we increased post-secondary education funding by 40% to ensure that Canadians are the best educated and that we have the most flexible workforce in the world.

By fixing the fiscal balance and providing two-thirds of the spending in this budget to lower levels of government to discharge their responsibilities, a lot of that money will flow into things like education, health care and housing.

The member asked what the budget does for first nations. In my province, the first nations in Saskatchewan will benefit from $35 million over the next two years in the aboriginal skills and employment partnership, a skills training program for aboriginal people.

What is really significant about the budget is some of the troubling questions that come out of the positions taken by the New Democratic members and the Liberal members of the House. We need to ask ourselves why they are saying no to a budget that provides $1 billion for producers, $250 million of which will go to Saskatchewan. They are saying no to a $2,000 child tax credit for all children under the age of 18. They are saying no to over $1 billion in tax relief every year for seniors.

We have heard a lot of troubling questions, a lot of things that the NDP and the Liberals will need to answer to when they face their constituents.

The Budget March 27th, 2007

Mr. Speaker, it is a great honour to rise today on behalf of the people of Palliser to support budget 2007.

Throughout the great constituency of Palliser, in Moose Jaw, Regina, Avonlea, Wilcox, Rouleau, Caronport, Caron, Pense and other communities throughout Palliser, our constituency is blessed with families who work hard and seniors who have spent their lives building their communities.

Palliser is made stronger through the work of our farm families, whose dedication to the land is an inspiration, and through the small businesses that create the jobs we need to sustain a strong economy.

The people of Palliser want a government that delivers results, a government that cuts taxes for working families and invests in priorities like health care, the environment and infrastructure. That is what our Conservative government has done in budget 2007.

This budget delivers real results for Saskatchewan families. It invests in the important social and health priorities of Saskatchewan people while cutting taxes for families and addressing the fiscal imbalance by delivering the best equalization deal to Saskatchewan of any federal government in our history. This latter point is significant.

Our government campaigned in the last election on the promise to fix the fiscal imbalance that had been allowed to continue under the previous Liberal government. This budget delivers on that commitment by offering the province of Saskatchewan the option of excluding natural resources, as we promised, and delivering $226 million in equalization payments to Saskatchewan this year, the best equalization deal in our province's history.

In fact, under the fiscal balance package in this budget, Saskatchewan will enjoy the largest per capita increase of any province.

A renewed equalization deal is part of the $1.4 billion this budget delivers to Saskatchewan in transfers for health care, infrastructure, post-secondary education, child care and other measures under the Canada health and social transfer.

I want to remind Saskatchewan residents of what happened the last time a Liberal finance minister brought down a budget in this House, a budget that was supported by the NDP. That budget contained no measures to exclude Saskatchewan's natural resources and nothing to provide additional resources to Saskatchewan as part of a long term equalization deal.

Where both the Liberals and the NDP failed Saskatchewan, our government has delivered.

Even Janice McKinnon, the former NDP finance minister in Saskatchewan, agrees with us. She says that Premier Calvert's desire to negotiate a side deal for Saskatchewan is “particularly disturbing” and that “he wants to take us back down the road that got us into this mess”.

It is not just through a new equalization deal that Saskatchewan people are benefiting from this budget. I want to take a moment to list the benefits that the people of Saskatchewan will see because of our government's budget.

The benefits include: $250 million for Saskatchewan farmers as part of our plan to provide producers with a new farm income stabilization program; $75 million for infrastructure; $24.8 million through the patient wait times guarantee trust over the next three fiscal years; $8.9 million to implement an immunization program to combat cervical cancer over the next three fiscal years; $44.4 million from the Canada ecotrust for clean air and climate change; and $10 million to support the Canadian Police Research Centre to establish its permanent base in Regina.

Budget 2007 will provide the residents of Saskatchewan with over $878 million in new money. That funding will be used to directly improve the lives of Saskatchewan residents and deliver real results on the priorities of Saskatchewan people.

Not only does the government's budget provide increased transfer payments to Saskatchewan to address the fiscal imbalance and invest in the priorities of Saskatchewan people, it provides concrete benefits to families and seniors.

Budget 2007 contains a new $2,000 child tax credit for families. This measure will save Saskatchewan parents $45.2 million this year.

The budget increases the basic spousal amount to provide up to $209 of tax relief to a supporting spouse or single taxpayer supporting a child or relative, saving Saskatchewan residents an estimated $7 million.

As well, it contains a working income tax benefit that will provide $19.4 million in tax relief to low income workers in Saskatchewan.

Our government has delivered for seniors.

Budget 2007 delivers on our commitment to allow senior couples to split pension income. It also increases the age credit amount by $1,000 to $5,066, while increasing the RRSP and registered pension plan maturation age, saving Saskatchewan taxpayers $3.9 million this year.

These are the benefits budget 2007 delivers to seniors and families.

Budget 2007 also delivers results for businesses in Saskatchewan.

Our budget will help manufacturing and processing businesses make major investments by allowing them to write off their capital investments in machinery and equipment acquired on or after March 19, 2007, and before 2009, through a special two year 50% straight line rate. This will provide $13 million to assist Saskatchewan businesses this year.

The budget supports Canada's job creators by increasing the capital cost allowance rate from 4% to 10% for buildings used in manufacturing and processing and from 45% to 55% for computers.

The budget rebalances the tax system to encourage investments in oil sands and other sectors in clean and renewable energy while phasing out the accelerated capital cost allowance for oil sands development.

Budget 2007 will provide $3 million in tax savings for farmers and small business owners by increasing the lifetime capital gains tax exemption to $750,000.

Through these measures, plus $75 million for infrastructure in Saskatchewan and $23.6 million in gas tax funding for municipalities in Saskatchewan, our government is delivering real tax relief and enhanced support for my province.

Our government believes in balance. While we have continued to provide real tax relief to Canadian families and businesses and have addressed the fiscal imbalance, we have also strengthened investment in health care and the environmental security of our country.

I have already outlined some of the new funding our government will provide for health care in Saskatchewan, but I want to talk about the commitment that our budget makes to the environment.

Battling climate change and creating a sustainable environment for Saskatchewan people is a priority for this government. Through our budget, Saskatchewan will receive over $44 million from the Canada ecotrust for clean air and climate change initiatives.

Our government is also taking action to preserve and protect the environment by assisting Canadians to make green choices. We will do this through rebates of up to $2,000 to assist Canadians in buying fuel efficient vehicles, through a green levy that will apply to the most fuel-inefficient vehicles and through an incentive plan to retire older, polluting vehicles.

In addition, we will provide $500 million to Sustainable Development Technology Canada to support private sector production of next generation renewable fuels. Iogen, one of Canada's leading biotechnology firms, is seeking $180 million to build a new plant in Saskatchewan and would be a candidate for funding.

We will also be allocating $1.5 billion toward operating incentives for producers of renewable fuels. This funding will help Saskatchewan farmers by creating new market opportunities and creating value added jobs here in Canada.

The measures contained in the budget are good news for Palliser residents, good news for Saskatchewan and good news for Canadians.

Through budget 2007, our government has taken action to build a stronger, better and safer Canada. Our government has delivered a balanced budget that cuts taxes for working families, invests in priorities such as health care, the environment and infrastructure, and moves to restore fiscal balance by giving provinces the resources they need to deliver the front line services that matter to Canadians.

In addition to investing in spending priorities, we are cutting debt by $9.2 billion, bringing our government's total debt reduction since taking office to over $22 billion, or $700 for every man, woman and child in Canada. As well, we are delivering on the tax back guarantee by dedicating over $1 billion in debt interest savings to ongoing personal income tax reductions.

I am proud to support this budget on behalf of the people of Palliser and I am proud to be a part of a government that continues to take action to build a better future for the people of Palliser and for Canadians across our great country.

The Budget March 27th, 2007

Mr. Speaker, I listened with interest to my friend's comments across the aisle. She talks about the money squandered and refers to the budget as one big boutique item. Almost two-thirds of the new spending announced in budget 2007 is related to transfers to other levels of government to restore fiscal balance and provide long term predictable funding for the provinces. Two-thirds of the money would go to health care, education, infrastructure and housing, and I could go on. Of the remaining third of new spending, two out of every three dollars invested goes to tax reductions for hard-working families.

The member refers to these boutique items, but two-thirds of the money goes to other levels of government for the exact priorities that she was identifying. That is the first issue I would like the member to comment on.

Second, the member commented on the wish list of things that the Liberals had promised in terms of justice. Canadians watching at home know that there is only one party, and that is the Conservative Party, that is going to provide the answers in terms of justice, judicial reform, help for our police, and cracking down on crime.

The member listed a litany of things that the Liberals were going to do, but is it not the case that after 13 long years of Liberal government they just simply did not get it done? They talked about all the promises, but they did not get it done and that is what Canadians are well aware of.

Points of Order March 23rd, 2007

Mr. Speaker, I rise on a point of order that was raised yesterday.

During the late show debate on Wednesday, I used language that, upon reflection, I realize I should not have used and I withdraw my words without reservation.

Criminal Code February 27th, 2007

Mr. Speaker, it is my pleasure to rise today on behalf of my constituents in Palliser to speak to Bill C-343, An Act to amend the Criminal Code (motor vehicle theft), which will toughen penalties for car theft.

Before I begin my remarks, I would like to talk about my colleague from Regina—Qu'Appelle, who of course is an excellent Acting Speaker. This is his chance to rise on behalf of his constituents on an issue of great importance in his riding and to deal with a subject of great importance to him. For the member for Windsor—Tecumseh to impugn his future fairness in decisions is way over the top. He is certainly very capable of balancing his role as an elected member of Parliament representing his constituents and his duties sitting in the chair.

Canadians have a right to feel safe in their homes and on their streets. That is why our government has taken tough action since being elected more than a year ago to crack down on dangerous offenders and to make our communities safer.

However, Canadians also have a right to be protected from car theft. Bill C-343 does that by toughening penalties for criminals who steal cars.

The member for Regina—Qu'Appelle has brought forward an important issue worthy of debate as to whether to create a new distinct offence for motor vehicle theft. Under the current law, a person who steals a motor vehicle is normally charged with theft over $5,000.

After they gutted Bill C-9, we know that the Liberals and the NDP think house arrest should be a sentencing option available to judges. Conservative members strongly disagree.

Bill C-343 would create a separate distinct offence with enhanced penalties for motor vehicle theft. Bill C-343 would amend the Criminal Code so that everyone who steals a car will be subject to jail time or a fine or both. These punishments increase if the person steals subsequent cars.

These reforms are essential. Stealing a car is a serious crime. It is critical that this bill be referred to the appropriate committee so these proposed punishments can be debated. Certainly not all members in the chamber will agree on the specifics of the punishments, but they should at least support the bill on its merits of getting tough on car theft, get it to the appropriate committee and have that discussion there. My colleague from Regina—Qu'Appelle has said that he is certainly open to amendments.

Bill C-343 would help deter car thieves because it promises swift and certain punishment. The importance of that cannot be overstated. Of course we need better social programs and we need to work with the youth who are most likely to commit these types of crime, but as part of that strategy, someone who steps outside the law needs to be punished.

This bill would also help those who prosecute car thefts by creating a distinct offence for motor vehicle theft. A problem currently facing the courts is that very often a prosecutor is unaware that the offender is a career car thief. Normally the offender is simply charged with theft over $5,000 and there is no indication on the record as to the type of property that was stolen. The result is that the prosecutor and the judge do not know if they are dealing with a prolific car thief or someone involved in organized crime. The creation of a distinct offence would help to give the courts a clearer picture of the nature of the offender for bail hearings or sentencing.

It is clear from looking at the statistics that we need to reduce auto theft in Canada. In 2003 there were over 130,000 automobiles stolen in Canada. That is roughly one car stolen every three minutes. Car theft costs Canadian insurers over $600 million a year or $43 a year for every insurance policy. It is further estimated that other costs such as health care, courts, policing and out of pocket costs such as deductibles also cost Canadians another $400 million per year.

The real crime that occurs when a car is stolen goes far beyond the loss of property and the financial cost to replace it. Having a car stolen is a serious breach of personal security and a violation of one's right to own personal property. This is not a victimless crime. For those Canadians who rely on cars to get to work or school or drive their children to hockey practice or swimming lessons, having a car stolen can be disruptive and devastating. We as a society cannot stand idly by while this happens.

There is also the threat to public security and safety when a car is stolen. Very often auto theft leads to dangerous driving which can result in serious injury and death to police officers, the accused or innocent bystanders.

A study carried out by the national committee to reduce auto theft reported that between 1999 and 2001, 81 people were killed as a result of auto theft and another 127 people were seriously injured.

We also know that auto theft is not just kids taking cars out for a joy ride. It is also part of the way that gangs and organized crime profiteer while terrorizing ordinary citizens. Because of this, the recovery rate for stolen cars is on the decline. We also know that gangs target young people to commit car thefts.

In 2002, 40% of persons charged criminally for stealing a motor vehicle were between the ages of 12 and 17. Organized vehicle thefts rely on the legal system to be lenient with young offenders and when apprehended, young offenders are unable to identify other members or senior members of the theft ring.

Motor vehicle theft is an ideal recruitment tool for organized criminal groups. Research shows that youth, whose first offence is motor vehicle theft, are most at risk of continuing along the career criminal path. We need to take better action to prevent this and that is exactly what Bill C-343 will do.

Our government is committed to getting tough on crime. In fact, we have introduced a number of pieces of legislation designed to do just that.

Bill C-10 was introduced to ensure that criminals who use guns in the commission of an offence receive a very serious sentence with escalating mandatory minimum penalties.

Bill C-19 introduced by our government created five new offences to combat street racing and also provided for mandatory minimum periods of driving prohibitions. I am proud to say that this bill is now law.

Despite claims from the opposition parties that they will act and get tough on crime, we have not seen evidence of this in the House. The Liberals have declared that they are fighting Bill C-10. The Liberals and the NDP worked together to gut Bill C-9, an important piece of government legislation designed to eliminate house arrests for arsonists, car thieves, and those who commit break and enter.

The opposition parties are soft on crime. They do not like to hear it, but it is the truth.

In addition to introducing legislation our Conservative government has committed significant financial resources to crime prevention. Budget 2006 allocated $20 million over two years for communities to help prevent youth crime with a focus on guns, gangs and drugs. That is our government's record on getting tough on crime.

We have taken real action and our tough on crime agenda has the support of Canadians and certainly the people in Regina and Moose Jaw, and throughout the great riding of Palliser. Part of the reason that there is such widespread support for getting tough on crime in Saskatchewan is that we have a provincial NDP government that has one of the worse records in the country when it comes to crime. It made a promise in 1999 to hire 200 new police officers. It never did; it broke its promise.

Saskatchewan's overall per capita crime rate is higher than Ontario's. Saskatchewan has the highest homicide rate and the highest rate of violent offences of any province per capita. It also has the highest rate of break and enter in Canada. Regina, which is part of my riding of Palliser, is the second most crime ridden city in Canada and Regina has the highest number of car thefts per capita in Canada.

I guess the member for Regina—Qu'Appelle is going to bring this forward when he has a chance to present a private member's bill. That is shocking and totally unacceptable that we have the highest number of car thefts in Canada.

While the recently introduced Regina auto theft strategy has helped to decrease the rates of auto theft in the city, the numbers are still too high and more decisive action must be taken.

That is what this bill does. That is why I am proud to second the bill put forward by the hon. member for Regina—Qu'Appelle. Toughening penalties for car theft is the right thing to do. It is another step that our government is taking to get tough on crime. That is what the residents of Palliser and Canadians across the country have asked for.

We all have a right to feel safe. Enough is enough. It is time to take action to stop people from stealing automobiles.

Senate Tenure Legislation February 14th, 2007

Mr. Speaker, Canadians are wondering who is leading the Liberal Party of Canada. There are persistent questions about the capabilities of the Liberal leader. We have seen him bow to the wishes of the extreme wing of his party and flip-flop on the Anti-terrorism Act.

We have seen him confused about why he sent soldiers to Afghanistan and every day we see his Senate colleagues ignore his will on the bill to limit senators' terms.

Could the Leader of the Government in the House of Commons and Minister for Democratic Reform update the House on the progress of this simple 66 word Senate reform bill?