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Crucial Fact

  • His favourite word was money.

Last in Parliament November 2005, as Conservative MP for Southern Interior (B.C.)

Won his last election, in 2004, with 37% of the vote.

Statements in the House

An Act to Authorize the Minister of Finance to make Certain Payments June 16th, 2005

Mr. Speaker, I would like to thank the hon. member for his very enlightened question. I would just point out a couple of examples of the irresponsibility of the government.

First of all there was ad scam. Never mind the scandal of what the Liberals did with the money; they could not even get that right. They budgeted $250 million and now we find out from the forensic auditor that they spent $350 million. There is the firearms registry. They budgeted that one at $2 million and now it is approaching $2 billion. Finally, the biggest scandal of all, when we hear those guys talking about the deficit that they inherited, I would like to remind them that the largest deficit for current dollars ever hit in this Parliament was under a Liberal finance minister by the name of Jean Chrétien.

An Act to Authorize the Minister of Finance to make Certain Payments June 16th, 2005

Mr. Speaker, I was trying to understand his first question. He asked if there is any increased support for public support. I am sure he got his words mixed up in trying to figure out some kind of intelligent question to ask.

With regard to public transit, one of the things that the fuel tax rebate is going to address is public transit. The government would like to say that this is one of its great brainchildren.

In actual fact, I am on record as far back as 1996, not in Hansard but in committee evidence, and we still have the transcripts of that, questioning in a meeting the then finance minister who is now the Prime Minister of the country. Back then I was trying to get a commitment from the government to give back some of the revenue from the fuel tax the government imposed on people, to help pay for public transit, highways and things of that nature.

With regard to the bill, if that is what the member was trying to get out in his stumbling way, if that is he wanted to ask with regard to this particular legislation, then I refer him back to the parliamentary secretary, who asked a question of my colleague from Kelowna—Lake Country, wherein he said very clearly that under the terms of the bill some of this money may never be spent.

The minister may spend it or may not. He may spend it here or he may spend it there. If the member is really concerned about funding for public transit, why does the government not write a document that clearly spells out where the money is going, when the money is going and how much people are getting?

An Act to Authorize the Minister of Finance to make Certain Payments June 16th, 2005

Mr. Speaker, I would like to start this evening with a quote from Scott Reid, the Prime Minister's communications director: “But we can guarantee that we will play no part in compromising one bill for another”.

Further to that, the government House leader is reported to have pounded his fist on the table at the caucus meeting yesterday and stated that he had made no deals with anyone over any legislation.

Maybe he has not, but his party certainly has. In fact, that is the very reason we are here tonight debating Bill C-48, which is nothing more than a deal made by the Liberals on legislation. That deal includes the creation of this bill and the modifying of Bill C-43 to remove some of the previously promised tax relief measures. Once again the Liberal Party has been caught red-handed in stretching the truth to the breaking point.

We have a lot of serious things being said tonight, but I want to talk about the tax side because we have many members who are going to speak on many issues of this bill. Removal of tax relief was one of the things the Liberals did in order to create a window of money to buy the NDP to support them. In fact, the leader of the NDP was not actually bought, as I heard someone suggest one time; he was just rented for a short period of time.

Some time ago an article appeared in the Salmon Arm Lakeshore News . It was an article written by a local financial adviser, who is a regular contributor, to try to put taxes and tax relief in perspective in terms of how they work in Canada. This is something that the NDP in particular might want to listen to. The article as written by this individual states:

I was having lunch at PJ's with one of my favourite clients last week and the conversation turned to the [provincial] government's recent round of tax cuts.

“I'm opposed to those tax cuts,” the retired college instructor declared, “because they benefit the rich. The rich get much more money back than ordinary taxpayers like you and I and that's not fair.”

“But the rich pay more in the first place”, I argued, “so it stands to reason they'd get more money back.”

I could tell that my friend was unimpressed by this meagre argument. Even college instructors are a prisoner of the myth that the “rich” somehow get a free ride in Canada.

Nothing could be further from the truth.

Let's put tax cuts in terms everybody can understand. Suppose that every day, 10 men go to PJ's for dinner. The bill for all ten comes to $100. If it was paid the way we pay our taxes, the first four men would pay nothing; the fifth would pay $1; the sixth would pay $3; the seventh $7; the eighth $12; the ninth $18. The tenth man (the richest) would pay $59. The 10 men ate dinner at the restaurant every day and seemed quite happy with the arrangement until the owner through them a curve.

“Since you are all such good customers,” he said, “I'm going to reduce the cost of your daily meal by $20.”

Now dinner for the 10 only costs $80. The first four are unaffected. They still eat for free. Can you figure out how to divvy up the $20 savings among the remaining six so that everyone gets his fair share?

The men realize that $20 divided by 6 is $3.33, but if they subtract that from everybody's share, then the fifth man and the sixth man would end up being paid to eat their meal.

The restaurant owner suggested that it would be fair to reduce each man's bill by roughly the same amount and he proceeded to work out the amounts each should pay.

And so the fifth man paid nothing, the sixth pitched in $2, the seventh paid $5, the eighth paid $9, the ninth paid $12, leaving the tenth man with a bill of $52 instead of $59. Outside the restaurant, the men began to compare their savings.

“I only got a dollar out of the $20”, declared the sixth man, pointing to the tenth, “and he got $7!”

“Yeah, that's right,” exclaimed the fifth man. “I only saved a dollar too. It's unfair that he got seven times more than me!”

“That's true,” shouted the seventh man. “Why should he get $7 back when I got only $2? The wealthy get all the breaks.”

“Wait a minute,” yelled the first four men in unison. “We didn't get anything at all. The system exploits the poor.”

The nine men surrounded the tenth and beat him up. The next night he didn't show up for dinner, so the nine sat down and ate without him. But when it came time to pay the bill, they discovered something important. They were $52 short!

And that, boys and girls and college instructors, is how Canada's tax system works.

The people who pay the highest taxes get the most benefit from a tax reduction. Tax them too much, attack them for being wealthy, and they just may not show up at the table anymore. There are lots of good restaurants in Switzerland and the Caribbean.

And we know where a certain Prime Minister has all his cruise ships, do we not?

Let us talk about this legislation. Tax cuts were proposed and then yanked out in order to pay the NDP to rent its leader for a few weeks so he would support the Liberals.

First, that affects job creation. When the Liberals loads taxes on businesses, that is one of the expenses businesses have to meet in order to do business. Businesses will operate only when they can make a profit. If they cannot make a profit, they have to do one of two things.

They have to add that cost on so the consumers pay more. In turn, they also fund the government in yet another way by the consumer prices they pay, never mind paying their taxes, and then the businesses from which they buy their goods can pay the taxes this government extracts from them.

Then there is the alternative. If their competitors can do better, particularly with foreign trade, then our companies start closing down. We cannot compete with the United States, let us say, which has much lower taxes than we do, both at the corporate and the individual level. Our companies start closing down. They start cutting jobs. Canadians end up out of work. This is just like what is happening in the car industry right now.

The government has sold out Canadians. It could have taken the tax cut, which could have helped job creation. It could have reduced costs for consumers on necessary goods. Instead, it used that on a wish list for the NDP. What is really a crime is that, having cut out the tax reductions from the government's bill, the parliamentary secretary himself just a few short minutes ago admitted that this is money that may never get spent, which the NDP should be taking note of.

Let us talk about the NDP members and their priorities, because they were the ones who laid out the priorities on this particular bill. I had a group of NDP MPs, including one sitting in the House right now, come to my riding.

I could be mistaken, but I believe that all the elected NDP members of Parliament from British Columbia came to my riding. They said they were there because they wanted to find out what the people of my riding wanted, and they wanted to know the priorities of people in every area. I was at the meeting they held, an open house with wine and cheese. I said I was very happy to see them because I work very hard to get the things that are necessary for the people of my riding. I said that in a minority government in particular we would be looking for help and we would certainly welcome their help. I said we were glad they were there to find out the priorities of the people of my riding.

The NDP members negotiated $4.6 billion worth of changes to the budget with the Liberal government. How did those changes affect my riding?

One of the really big things that has hit my riding is the softwood lumber dispute. It is devastating. We are a very forest dependent riding. When they had a gun to the heads of the Liberals, did the NDP members put anything in their budget to provide compensation for individuals, companies and communities affected by the softwood lumber dispute throughout British Columbia, where a large majority of NDP members come from? Not one dime. It was not a priority for them. Foreign aid was a priority, but not B.C. aid, not aid for B.C. communities and aid for forestry workers. It was not on their agenda. It was not their priority.

They also found out in my riding that it was very important for people to get some help with the BSE problem with cattle. We have a lot of ranchers in areas of my riding. What did the NDP ask the Liberals for on that? Not one dollar. The NDP asked for money for housing, which the parliamentary secretary to the minister said may never get spent, but not for one dollar to help the cattle industry in my riding and throughout British Columbia, particularly through the rural area where they claim they have strong support. There was not one dollar asked for there.

We have a bogus budget that the parliamentary secretary to the minister says may never get spent. We have the priorities of the NDP that do not meet the priorities of the area they claim they most represent.

This whole thing is a sham. It should be shut down. It should be stopped. That would be the best thing we could do for the taxpayers of this country.

An Act to Authorize the Minister of Finance to make Certain Payments June 16th, 2005

Whatever the figure is, with the Liberals, it is “What's a few hundred million?”

There is no detail whatsoever. As the parliamentary secretary says, this is enabling legislation and they can spend this money as they wish.

Would the hon. member comment on the fact that is exactly what they did with the Quebec advertising scandal. They created a pool of money and then they spent it the way they saw fit.

An Act to Authorize the Minister of Finance to make Certain Payments June 16th, 2005

Mr. Speaker, I listened with great interest to my colleague from Kelowna—Lake Country, eloquent as always. I listened in particular to what he said about how we had $4.8 billion or $4.6 billion--

Supply June 14th, 2005

Mr. Speaker, I listened to the minister's little Liberal cradle to grave diatribe. I would like to ask him about this, particularly as it affects the people in my constituency. I have a riding that has 19 official communities, the largest of which has 8,000 people. Several have less than 1,000. These are official communities.

I would like to know a number of things. First, does he really believe that rich socialites should be able to drop their kids off for free while in essence being subsidized by taxpaying Canadians where one family member stays at home to raise their kids because they think that is of value?

Next, what is he going to do for shift workers who need help but who would get nothing unless there is an around the clock type of centre available?

Last, particularly as it relates to my riding, what kind of service or help are hard-pressed people going to get when they live in communities of less than 1,000? Does the government really think it is going to put in tens of thousands of day care centres around this country, including in these small communities in my riding?

Committees of the House June 14th, 2005

I apologize for that, Mr. Speaker. I was referring to the party as a whole and not any of the individuals. I was talking collectively.

We have a situation now where we have a Privacy Commissioner who helps make Parliament work, who helps the opposition and the people of Canada by giving us access to the kind of wrongdoings the government is involved in.

I can understand why the hon. member would not want to give us the opportunity to extend the job of one of the few appointees who is actually doing the job. It must have been a great shock to the Liberals when they appointed someone, given their usual track record of appointing hacks who just do whatever they are told, their typical lap dogs, and are now finding they have someone who actually does the job.

Why does the hon. member think that the opposition is not doing its job by opposing the very thing the government is doing by trying to replace someone who is doing their job? The government is ignoring the recommendations of the committee by turning around and saying that it does not want to do what the committee recommended.

If the hon. member can answer that and if his party was honourable, did the right thing and agreed to follow what the committee has recommended, we would be happy to get on to our opposition motion of the day.

Committees of the House June 14th, 2005

Mr. Speaker, the truly frightening part about the diatribe of the hon. member is that he actually believes some of what he said. That is really frightening. Basically, he has stood up and said that it is the opposition's job to oppose the things being done by the government. Heaven knows the government makes that very easy for us by doing so much wrong.

However, that is exactly what we are doing. He says that we should be on our opposition day motion. We would very much like to get to that. If the Liberals were honourable people, they would rise right now and support--

Supply June 7th, 2005

I would rather you stay inside and sign some cheques.

Supply June 7th, 2005

Mr. Speaker, it is ironic the minister would keep emphasizing the term “lead us down the path”. It seems very apropos.

The war on cancer should not have to depend on the efforts of a heroic young man who lost his leg and eventually his life to cancer. It should depend on the government and on Parliament. The strategy of the Liberals reminds me of a brush fire where the responsible agency, in trying to save money, instead of sending the equipment and manpower necessary to put out that fire, sends one person with a small extinguisher. Eventually they lose control and lose a lot of forest land, jobs and taxes and create problems for the environment instead of doing the job right upfront.

I would be interested to know if the government has ever done a cost benefit analysis. For example, if it put in large sums of money, what benefit would it get in terms of savings to the health care system, lost wages, taxation and all the other things that come up?

In terms of what money is available, recently the government came out with a budget and said, “This is all we have”, yet a few short weeks later, the Liberals managed to find another $4.6 billion. I will not even go into whether or not the things they targeted with the additional money were really wonderful, but they had $4.6 billion, presumably, to make this commitment. If they took a large part of that and instead of talking about putting hundreds of millions of dollars or even a few million, and I think the minister said an additional $60 million, the figures I have seen lead me to believe that if we would invest hundreds of millions, we would save in the long run hundreds of billions.

Has a cost strategy analysis every been done? If so, why does the government not take a serious look at making a genuine commitment to a real war on the health problems of the citizens of this country and deal with it once and for all for net saving and also for quality of life?