House of Commons photo


Crucial Fact

  • Her favourite word was children.

Last in Parliament September 2008, as Conservative MP for Saskatoon—Rosetown—Biggar (Saskatchewan)

Won her last election, in 2006, with 46% of the vote.

Statements in the House

The Budget March 26th, 2007

Mr. Speaker, the member has raised a very thoughtful question. He understands where my riding is and the poverty and tragedy I see every day when I am in my riding in the city of Saskatoon. The Minister of Finance, the Minister of Indian Affairs and Northern Development and I as a person living in the province of Saskatchewan, and through the portfolio of western economic diversification when I had it, and through my consultations with Chief Manny Jules, the Indian tax commissioner with whom I meet every month, are seriously looking at all those issues. These issues are of grave concern to us. I assure the member that there is great thought on these issues at all times and there will be as long as I live in the province of Saskatchewan.

The Budget March 26th, 2007

Mr. Speaker, it is a pleasure to speak to budget 2007, a historic budget that will deliver more funds to Saskatchewan than any other budget.

I would like to take this opportunity to thank the Minister of Finance for an outstanding document and especially for fixing the fiscal imbalance in this country. I would also like to thank the Parliamentary Secretary to the Minister of Finance, the member for Calgary--Nose Hill, for all her hard work on the budget.

Restoring fiscal balance in Canada will bring federal support for provinces and territories to unprecedented levels. For Saskatchewan this totals more than $1.4 billion in 2007-08. I am pleased that Saskatchewan is the recipient of the largest per capita gains of any province under the new fiscal balance package. This budget contains an extra $230 for every person in our province.

I would like to discuss what $1.4 billion will actually mean to the people of Saskatchewan, and how each and every person's life will improve as a result of last week's budget. There is more support for families. There is more money for health care, more support for seniors, and more incentives for new industry in Saskatchewan.

The most important investment we can make in a country is to help families raise their children. I would like to discuss what this budget will mean for hard-working families in our province.

Let us take Vanessa and Mark Webber and their young farming family for example. Vanessa and Mark are two hard-working Canadians who live just outside of Goodsoil, Saskatchewan. They have two daughters, Kelsey, who is three, and Mia, who is one. Mark is a farmer and Vanessa is currently on maternity leave.

The introduction of the new $2,000 child tax credit alone will save this farm family $620 a year to be exact. Coupled with the new increase in the basic personal amount, this will result in nearly an extra $1,000 per year. Let us also not forget that this family receives $100 per child per month through the universal child care benefit. This universal child care benefit is particularly beneficial to this rural family that does not have access to day care.

As a result of our budget, this hard-working family will have almost $3,400 back in their pockets. This $3,400 will buy clothing, groceries and books for their family. I can assure the House they will not be spending this money on beer and popcorn. They could even put this money toward their daughters' RESPs. As a result of budget 2007, they can contribute as much as they want because there is no longer a limit. This is particularly important for rural families as these children will not have the option of living at home during their post-secondary education. All rural students face this financial burden and easing the restrictions on RESPs will be particularly helpful to them.

This is just one example of how federal money will go back directly into the hands of the people of Saskatchewan. However, this is not all this budget will do to help farming families such as the Webbers.

Saskatchewan farmers will receive approximately $250 million from budget 2007. The government has proposed a separate, simpler and more responsive income stabilization program through the establishment of a new savings account program for farmers.

The amount of $1.5 billion has been allocated 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 and all over Saskatchewan.

The Webber family is just one of the families in Saskatchewan that will benefit directly from this budget. I am pleased to say that every family will benefit.

I also received a letter last week from one of my constituents, Trent Lalonde of Saskatoon, owner of TA Lalonde Transport Limited. He had this to say about the federal budget:

I have been a truck driver for the past fourteen years, and the recent federal budget is the first and only help I have ever received from any government at any level.... The money I save will afford me the luxury of taking a little more time off each year to spend with my wife and children. Thank you.

The trucking industry will benefit from the budget and so will many other industries. The budget created a $500 million fund for Sustainable Development Technology Canada to support the private sector production of 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 this funding. Saskatchewan will also benefit directly from the extension of eligibility for the mineral exploration credit.

To sum things up, I could not be prouder of this historic budget, especially for what it will bring directly to hard-working people in Saskatchewan. We have a wonderful province. Had the Conservatives' new equalization system been in place over the last 20 years, Saskatchewan's equalization payments would have doubled from $6.6 billion to $11.8 billion. Fully $1 billion of that increase would have been a result of fulfilling our commitment to exclude natural resource revenues in calculating Saskatchewan's equalization entitlements.

I am proud of what this government is doing for families. This government recognizes that the people and the families of Saskatchewan are what make it such a great province.

As Minister of National Revenue, there are several other budget items I would like to discuss.

Since I became minister, reducing the compliance burden for small businesses has been our priority. I am pleased to see that important steps have been taken in the budget toward reducing this burden.

Throughout the taxation year, businesses are generally required to pay their income tax in regular installments. Budget 2007 will allow small businesses to reduce their number of remittances and filings. These changes will reduce red tape for small businesses and improve cash flow positions for more than 350,000 small businesses.

The filing and remitting requirements for small businesses will be reduced by about one-third and for some small businesses the reductions will be up to 70%. This is a great first step toward reducing the compliance burden on small business. The CRA's action task force on small business issues will continue to provide useful input on how to further simplify the tax system.

This government is committed to a fair tax system, which is why I am pleased that the CRA will be provided with additional resources to strengthen the enforcement of Canada's tax system. Particular emphasis will be placed on complex international tax avoidance cases. In Advantage Canada the government committed to making the tax system simpler and fairer. Budget 2007 delivers on this.

I am asking all opposition parties to look closely at this budget, and before voting, to think what it will mean to all Canadians. We must think of Canada.

Canada Revenue Agency February 26th, 2007

Mr. Speaker, I take my job very seriously and we are trying our best to get people who can audit our corporate overseas accounts, as many as we possibly can. I must reassure my colleague that they are very qualified people and we intend to look after the situation.

Canada Revenue Agency February 26th, 2007

Mr. Speaker, the internal audit of the CRA demonstrates yet another example of the Liberals ignoring the Auditor General's recommendations.

In 1996, the AG made recommendations to the Liberal minister but it took 10 years and nothing was done. The Liberals may not take the Auditor General seriously but this government does and the internal audit will be implemented this year.

Questions on the Order Paper January 29th, 2007

Mr. Speaker, the Canada Revenue Agency, CRA, has included the following contextual information to provide a framework for its response to the honourable member’s question.

Canada is part of a global trade and financial system. Countries compete to attract investors and trade partners, and this competition extends to tax systems. Countries offer tax concessions and favourable tax rates to all or some industries/investors. Some of these competing countries are tax havens. Every country has the right to structure its tax system to meet its needs and these are issues of tax policy for each country, not for tax administrations.

Residents of Canada must report and pay tax on their worldwide income. The CRA has no view on where Canadian businesses or individuals invest so long as they report their income and pay taxes as required under Canada’s tax laws. The CRA’s concern lies with the abusive use of tax havens; i.e., when taxpayers use bank secrecy laws, or the absence of effective exchange of information with other countries, to conceal assets and income that should be taxed.

The abusive use of tax havens is an element of what is known as “aggressive tax planning”. Aggressive tax planning consists of transactions that offend the object and spirit of the Income Tax Act, the Excise Tax Act, or of treaties. As part of the strategy to combat aggressive tax planning, the CRA established 11 “centres of expertise” across the country in 2005-2006, and created teams of experts from the specialized audit areas of international tax and tax avoidance to, among other things, combat aggressive tax planning and the inappropriate use of tax havens and tax shelters, both domestic and international.

a) In the context mentioned above and at any given time, the CRA has a number of active audit cases of corporations whose business transactions include offshore jurisdictions (though not necessarily lower rate jurisdictions and/or tax havens). As of the end of November 2006, there were 305 such audits underway. (Please note that the CRA uses the term “investigations” to describe suspected cases of criminal tax fraud, whereas “audits” are carried out to ensure compliance with tax laws.)

b) In this context, the CRA refers to “additional taxes assessed” rather than “recoverable taxes”. The value of additional taxes assessed is only known when audits are completed. In 2005-2006, the CRA assessed additional taxes of $174 million directly related to aggressive international tax planning and, in the first six months of 2006 2007, the CRA assessed additional taxes of $215 million.

c) As the number of audits, auditors, and the amount of time spent each day on any specific file can vary at any given time, the CRA does not monitor the cost per day of carrying out its compliance activities. Rather, the CRA captures the total audit time on a file.

d) While the CRA does capture information on the component parts of additional tax assessed for each completed audit, it does not aggregate each of the components across all 300,000 plus compliance actions each year. The CRA does report additional tax assessed in total and for each of its programs such as large business and GST/HST audits in its annual report.

It should be noted that the 2005 federal budget allowed for specific funding for the aggressive international tax planning program. In 2005-2006, the CRA began tracking results related to aggressive international tax planning separately. Statistics are not available for years prior to 2005.

During 2005-2006, the CRA assessed additional taxes of $174 million directly related to aggressive international tax planning and, in the first six months of 2006 2007, the CRA assessed additional taxes of $215 million.

Committees of the House December 12th, 2006

Mr. Speaker, I have a comment and then a question for the hon. member.

The member noted he had been doing a lot of reading. I read a blog titled “Small Dead Animals” and I ask him to look at it. There is a comment in the blog about the Canadian Wheat Board by Larry Weber from Weber Commodities in Saskatoon. He is a noted marketing authority. I would like my colleague to have a look at that website and read the comments. After he does, I would be interested in hearing back from him.

How many farmer producers of wheat and barley are in his riding?

Sales Tax Amendments Act, 2006 December 5th, 2006

moved for leave to introduce Bill C-40, An Act to amend the Excise Tax Act, the Excise Act, 2001 and the Air Travellers Security Charge Act and to make related amendments to other Acts.

(Motions deemed adopted, bill read the first time and printed)

Certificates of Nomination December 5th, 2006

Mr. Speaker, it is my pleasure to table this nomination on behalf of the Prime Minister today. It is pursuant to Standing Order 111(1). It is a referral to the Standing Committee on Access to Information, Privacy and Ethics. It is a certificate of nomination for the Information Commissioner.

Privilege November 1st, 2006

No, it was after because he said something to me about Mayor Basil Stewart, and what he had told him after he met with me.

It is false. The numbers were given to me by Revenue Canada officials.