Crucial Fact

  • His favourite word was plan.

Last in Parliament October 2000, as Liberal MP for Windsor—St. Clair (Ontario)

Lost his last election, in 2004, with 34% of the vote.

Statements in the House

Committees Of The House April 14th, 2000

Mr. Speaker, I have the honour to present, in both official languages, the third report of the Standing Committee on Citizenship and Immigration with regard to Bill C-16, an act respecting Canadian citizenship.

National Day Of Mourning April 14th, 2000

Mr. Speaker, April 28 is a National Day of Mourning, a day to commemorate those who have been injured or who have died in the workplace.

I rise to remind all Canadians of the importance of preventing work related injuries and death. Work related accidents cause more than 800 deaths and some 800,000 injuries every year. I encourage all Canadians to help prevent workplace accidents so that all workers can enjoy safe and healthy work environments.

On April 28 the Canadian flag will be flown at half-mast on Parliament Hill to mark the National Day of Mourning. I encourage all Canadians to please set aside some time to remember the workers who lost their lives or who have been injured on the job. Our thoughts and prayers are with their families and friends.

French Language Colleges April 13th, 2000

Mr. Speaker, yesterday, the Minister of Canadian Heritage announced the signing of the Canada-Ontario agreement on French language colleges.

Can she tell us how this agreement will be beneficial to the development of the Franco-Ontarian community?

Income Tax Act March 30th, 2000

Under the leadership of this Prime Minister and Minister of Finance, we have a fiscal situation in this country today that allows this government to build on the foundation secured by the many sacrifices of Canadians in my riding and across the country. We must avoid the temptation, no matter how well-intentioned, to advocate tax cuts that depart from the plan which set out principles for tax action, principles that were acted on in budget 2000.

I recommend to all hon. members that we vote against any proposed legislation that is not based on these principles.

Income Tax Act March 30th, 2000

These are principles that have governed our actions, highlighted by the multi-year tax cutting plan announced in the February budget.

However, even before that, in the update itself, we announced steps that provide concrete benefits to every Canadian employee, not just a single group like mechanics. We announced that for the sixth year in a row employment insurance premiums would be reduced from $2.55 to $2.40 for the year 2000. This means that employees and employers will save an additional $1.2 billion this year, bringing total annual savings relative to the rate that prevailed in 1994 to $5.2 billion.

We then followed up with budget 2000 and its proposed five year tax reduction plan. This is a plan to provide real and lasting tax relief for all Canadians, providing accumulative savings of at least $58 billion over the next five years with a particular emphasis on families with children.

The plan is based on two measures that break with the past to implement the two most important structural changes made to the tax system in more than 10 years.

First, the plan provides for full re-indexation of personal income tax, retroactive to January 1, 2000. This measure will benefit all Canadians, particularly low and middle income earners.

Second, the plan will reduce the middle income tax rate to 23% from 26%, beginning with a two point drop to 24% on July 1, 2000. This will cut taxes for nine million Canadians. I would expect that many mechanics would fall into this category.

These changes anchor a range of other actions to help reduce working Canadians' tax burden.

Personal income taxes will be further reduced within five years by increasing to at least $8,000 the amount Canadians can earn tax free and by raising the income amounts at which the middle and upper tax rates begin to apply to at least $35,000 and $75,000 respectively, again, to the lasting benefits of all Canadians.

To assist families with children, the Canada child tax benefit, CCTB, will be enriched by $2.5 million a year by 2004 to more than $9 billion annually. Maximum benefits will reach $2,400 for the first child and $2,200 for the second child.

Personal tax cuts alone will not deliver new jobs and growing incomes over the long term. A growing economy centred on innovation is an important part of the equation. That is why budget 2000's five year tax plan takes additional measures to help Canadian businesses become more competitive internationally by making the tax system more conducive to investment and innovation. This will help to ensure continued growth and job creation in a global economy that is increasingly knowledge based.

To that end, the plan proposes to reduce the corporate tax rate to 21% from 28% within five years for the highest taxed businesses, such as high technology, with a one point drop to 27% effective January 1, 2001.

To assist small businesses the corporate tax rate will be reduced to 21% from 28% on small business income between $200,000 and $300,000 effective January 1, 2001.

The net effect of these measures will be to create jobs and improve the lives of Canadians from coast to coast.

As members can see, the goal of the five year tax reduction plan is clear and concrete: more money in the pockets of Canadians, stronger economic growth and enhanced job creation.

Taxes will be reduced by a cumulative amount of at least $58 billion, with personal income taxes being reduced by an average of 15% by 2004.

While all Canadians will benefit from the tax plan, it recognizes the needs of low and middle income Canadians who will see their personal income taxes reduced by an average of at least 18%. In particular, relief will be provided to families with children. Including the enriched benefits under the CCTB, families with children will see their personal income taxes reduced by an average of 21%.

Accordingly, the immediate tax relief under the plan will grow over time. Consider, for example, that in 2001 a typical one earner family of four with about $32,000 in income will receive more benefits from government, thanks to the CCTB and the GST tax credit, than they will pay in personal income taxes. What this really means is that this family will pay no net tax. By 2004, that family could earn up to $35,000, or $3,000 more, and still pay no net tax.

Here are two more examples of the tax plan at work. In the first full year of the plan, a typical one earner family of four with $40,000 in income will see its net federal income taxes reduced by at least 17%. In 2004 their taxes will be cut by at least 48%, a savings of over $1,600 compared to what they would pay without the plan.

A typical two earner family of four with an income of $60,000 will see their taxes reduced by almost 9% in 2001, and by $1,546 in 2004. That is a 27% savings relative to what they would have paid had the plan never been established.

Full indexation of personal income tax will put an end to automatic and hidden tax increases that result from what is called bracket creep and to the erosion of tax benefits that has characterized Canada's tax system since the middle of the 1980s.

This means that salary increases that simply correspond to the inflation rate will no longer automatically put many taxpayers in a higher tax bracket. In other words, taxpayers will no longer see their taxes raise when their real buying power has not increased.

Moreover, benefits, such as the Canada child tax benefit and the GST credit, will automatically increase to offset inflation.

Income Tax Act March 30th, 2000

Mr. Speaker, I am always pleased to have any opportunity to discuss tax relief. It is a subject that is very important to me and tax relief for all Canadians is a cause that I care passionately about.

The proposed legislation must not be considered in isolation since it will no doubt set a precedent for other groups that follow. When we discuss tax relief, we must ensure that it is tax relief that is practical and that will benefit all Canadians, particularly low and middle income Canadians and those raising families. To suggest anything else would be less effective and lack any sense of priority.

Even if we now have balanced budgets or surpluses and a strong economy, our financial resources are not unlimited. This government is committed to ensuring a rational and conscientious use of these resources, in the interests of the greatest number of Canadians possible.

That is why in last fall's fiscal and economic update the Minister of Finance set out clear and concrete principles that set the priorities for federal tax relief.

First, tax reductions must be fair and give priority to those who need them most, middle and low income Canadians, especially families with children.

Second, broad based tax relief should focus first on personal income taxes.

Third, the business tax system must be internationally competitive.

Finally, broad based relief should not be funded with borrowed money.

In other words, the type and size of any tax action we take must be managed so as to never endanger our continuing commitments to balanced budgets. These are the principles that have governed our actions.

The Budget March 27th, 2000

Mr. Speaker, I am very glad that the member from the NDP has brought up health care funding once again. Indeed the figures speak for themselves. This is the fourth consecutive increase in Canada health and social transfers by the government. We are now surpassing the levels of the pre-cutback years.

When the government took office in 1993-94 a total of $37.429 billion were going to the provinces in Canada health and social transfers. This year it will be $39.399 billion or over $2 billion more. The $2.5 billion we have added to this year's budget will help the provinces.

As the Minister of Health said it will take more than money. It will take innovative solutions from every province. It will take health care ministers from across Canada getting together to come up with ways in which we can better fund and deal with the health care crisis we are currently facing and the provinces are trying to manage their way out of.

The Budget March 27th, 2000

Mr. Speaker, I would be very pleased to respond to that question. One does not have to look too far into the headlines today in North America, both in Canada and the United States, to know that gun control is a very important issue. It is an important issue of safety for all Canadians. I make absolutely no apologies. No one in the House should take the position that gun ownership is something that we ought to be promoting in the way in which that party promotes it.

Certainly people have a right to own guns for certain purposes, hunters, for example, and so on. However we have more than a right; we have a responsibility. When we are talking about responsible gun ownership, no responsible gun owner can possibly complain about the fact that we want to put controls on these very deadly, dangerous weapons to ensure that they do not get into the wrong hands and to ensure that we know where they are and we can protect not only the children in schools but people on the streets and in their homes. I make no apology.

The Budget March 27th, 2000

Mr. Speaker, after watching the Minister of Finance previously deliver six innovative budgets from outside the Chamber, it is an honour for me to stand here today to speak in favour of his seventh budget and to participate in the budget debate.

When I decided to speak in support of this budget, I thought back to a time when federal budgets focused on deficits and a ballooning national debt while Canadians had to deal with deep spending cuts; a time when the tax burden on Canadians, particularly low and middle income Canadians, was increasing at an alarming rate; a time when the national unemployment rate was over 11%; a time when Canadians were worried about their future and the prospects for their children.

Today we have a federal budget that is able to address very different issues. Under the leadership of the Prime Minister and the Minister of Finance, we have a budget today that allows the government to build on the foundation secured by the many sacrifices made by Canadians in Windsor—St. Clair and across Canada.

This budget, the first of the new millennium, takes decisive action to take advantage of Canada's better finances to improve our lives. The balanced approach of this budget works to return hard earned income to Canadians, improve the quality of life for Canadians, prepare the Canadian economy for the new millennium and make our workplaces more productive and competitive.

The balanced approach of this budget addresses several areas of concern and challenges facing this country. Since I only have a few minutes I cannot highlight the entire budget but one area which I would like to discuss today is that of tax relief.

Tax relief is a very important issue in my riding of Windsor—St. Clair. Since my election last April, many of my constituents have told me that tax relief is important in order to improve their quality of life. This budget goes a long way to address this concern by approaching tax relief in a fair and balanced manner.

Budget 2000 introduces a plan that will reduce taxes by at least $58 billion over the next five years. On an annual basis, it will reduce personal income taxes by an average of 15% by 2004-05. This five year tax reduction plan delivers immediate and growing tax relief to my constituents in Windsor—St. Clair and to all Canadians. This is very much the case for middle and low income Canadians, as well as families with children.

Low and middle income Canadians will see their net personal income tax reduced by an average of 18% annually, perhaps even more if our economic circumstances permit. Families raising children will enjoy an average reduction in their net personal income tax of 21% annually because of the added assistance provided through the enrichment of the Canada child tax benefit.

The combination of tax relief measures and the government's last three budgets and the five year plan will reduce the federal portion of personal income tax for all Canadians by an average of 22% annually by 2004, even more for families raising children.

As a key element of the tax reduction plan, the budget immediately restores full inflation indexation of the personal income tax system. This will stop the hidden tax increases known as bracket creep. This means that the real value of federal benefits, such as the Canada child tax benefit, the CCTB, and the GST credit, will no longer be eroded by inflation, thus protecting the integrity of these programs which were designed to help low and middle income families, especially those who are struggling to raise children.

In short, the government is providing meaningful and permanent tax relief for Canadians, relief that is sustainable because it is built on a solid foundation of fiscal responsibility and not borrowed from future generations through deficit financing as we have seen with some provincial governments in this country.

In another key measure, the middle income tax rate applied to income between $29,590 and $59,180 will be cut. Effective July 1 this rate will be reduced to 24% from the current 26%. This middle rate will be cut another full point to 23% by 2004 or sooner, if possible. Under this plan Canadians in Windsor—St. Clair and across the country will earn more tax free income and more of their income will be taxed at lower rates. The plan also enriches the CCTB so that by 2004-05 an additional $2.5 billion annually will be provided to low and middle income families in my riding of Windsor—St. Clair and across Canada.

As a result of these and other measures, a typical one income family of four earning $40,000 will have its net federal personal income taxes reduced by $1,623 a year by 2004, a reduction of 48%. A typical two income family of four earning $60,000 will have its net federal portion of personal income taxes reduced by $1,546 a year by 2004, a reduction of 27%.

The government's commitment to tax relief goes beyond tax reductions to individuals and families. The budget 2000 tax plan also helps Canada to become more competitive internationally by encouraging investment and innovation. Measures include reducing corporate tax rates by 7% for businesses in the highest tax sectors to the lasting benefit of our economy in Windsor—St. Clair and all of Canada.

Capital gains taxes which tend to freeze up vast amounts of capital are being reduced as well. Now only two-thirds of these gains are taxable instead of the previous three-quarters.

Opportunity for our young innovators will be found in Canada now that our tax system will promote creative wage and benefit packages, including incentives such as share options.

Today Canada enjoys a new economic reality. The federal deficit is history. The national debt burden is in decline. Canada's unemployment rate is at its lowest level in more than 20 years. The disposable income of Canadians in Windsor—St. Clair and across Canada is on the rise.

The balanced approach of budget 2000 continues to build on Canada's fiscal and economic success. The government has clearly recognized that tax relief is an important part of a balanced approach to dealing with the problems of success that we are thankfully facing today and into the future.

The government is committed to taking these better finances and transforming them into better lives for all Canadians. Budget 2000 delivers just that. Budget 2000 is good for Windsor—St. Clair and it is good for Canada. I ask all hon. members of the House to give their full support because it is the right thing to do.

National Parks March 23rd, 2000

Mr. Speaker, Canadians are becoming increasingly concerned that our beloved national parks might lose their lustre and environmental significance if usage and development are not properly controlled in accordance with a sustainable long term plan.

Can the Minister of Canadian Heritage report on her plans for action to ensure ecological integrity in our national parks?