House of Commons photo


Crucial Fact

  • His favourite word was province.

Last in Parliament September 2008, as Conservative MP for St. John's East (Newfoundland & Labrador)

Won his last election, in 2006, with 47% of the vote.

Statements in the House

Committees of the House June 12th, 2006

Mr. Speaker, I have the honour to present, in both official languages, the second report of the Standing Committee on Citizenship and Immigration on the main estimates for the fiscal year ending March 31, 2007.

Conservative Party of Canada June 1st, 2006

Mr. Speaker, ours is a government of action. In the first 100 days we have introduced the federal accountability act and tough anti-crime legislation.

We brought in a budget that keeps our election promises.

We have seen the Prime Minister visit our troops in Afghanistan.

We immediately delivered $755 million for our hard-pressed farmers, with a further $1.5 billion to come.

We have reached a residential schools agreement and a softwood lumber agreement with the U.S.

We have cut the immigration landing fee in half and introduced a plan to reduce the GST.

We have doubled the pension income deduction for seniors and introduced a choice in child care allowance.

We have given Quebec a formal role in UNESCO.

We have announced an Air India inquiry and reinstated the Gander weather office.

Actions speak louder than words and our actions put truth in our words.

Committees of the House May 16th, 2006

Mr. Speaker, I have the honour to present, in both official languages, the first report of the Standing Committee on Citizenship and Immigration, on citizenship issues, entitled “Procedures on how to review Order in Council appointments”.

Witness Protection Program Act May 16th, 2006

Mr. Speaker, I rise on a point of order. I wonder if we could revert to presenting reports from committees. I was standing at the time of presenting reports from committees, but you failed to notice me.

The Budget May 11th, 2006

Mr. Speaker, I want to congratulate the Minister of Finance on an excellent budget, a budget which is good for Atlantic Canada and for Newfoundland and Labrador in particular.

The budget honours our commitment to reduce the GST and to provide a truly universal child care benefit of $1,200 for each child under the age of six. It keeps our commitment to seniors by doubling the pension income deduction to $2,000 and will ultimately raise the basic personal exemption to $10,000.

In my province the budget's tax relief measures will put an extra $124 million in the pockets of our people. The new child care benefit will put an extra $34 million in the hands of families in our province. It will provide up to $16 million for university infrastructure and nearly $10 million in gas tax revenues for our municipalities.

Yes, it is a good budget that provides real tax relief and it puts real money in the pockets of our people.

Arts and Culture May 9th, 2006

Sorry, Mr. Speaker.

Born in Twillingate, Newfoundland. Ms. Troake is a choreographer, filmmaker, costume and graphic designer. Her documentary, My Ancestors Were Rogues and Murderers, will screen tonight in the auditorium of the Library and Archives of Canada.

This film, produced by the National Film Board of Canada, is the true story of the Troake family of Twillingate.

For the Troakes and many others in Atlantic Canada, a well managed seal hunt is essential to their way of life and survival. Because of their very public participation in the seal hunt, the Troakes have become the target of groups who stridently oppose the hunt.

We are pleased that the National Film Board is providing a forum for a view of the seal hunt that is not often reflected in conventional media.

Once again, I thank Ms. Troake for making this film and sharing it with all of Canada.

Arts and Culture May 9th, 2006

Mr. Speaker, I am pleased to welcome Ms. Anne Troake who is in the gallery of the House today.

The Budget May 9th, 2006

Mr. Speaker, I am wondering how the member could say that the budget does not address the problems of Newfoundland and Labrador.

Surely the member is impressed with the tax relief and the infrastructure spending that we see in the budget. Does he not agree that the tax relief in the budget gives the people of Newfoundland and Labrador an extra $124 million per year?

The people of the province will pay $124 million less in taxes in 2007. The $1,200 per child per year will put $33.7 million in the hands of his constituents and my constituents. The budget will provide the provincial government with an additional $2 million for health care, bringing it to $352 million in health care spending in 2006-07. The province will also benefit to the tune of $54 million in extra equalization payments, bringing the total to $687 million in equalization payments each year.

For seniors the budget honours the election commitment to go from a $1,000 to a $2,000 deduction in pension income. This move will benefit 2.7 million taxpayers and will remove 85,000 people from the income tax rolls.

Then we have the commitments that the federal government has made to 5 Wing Goose Bay, which happens to be in the hon. member's riding. Is he saying that the government has fallen short on its commitment to 5 Wing Goose Bay?

I am astounded that the member could stand in the House today and make that kind of a statement with regard to this budget, when the people of Labrador are benefiting so much from this budget. How could he make that statement?

The Budget May 8th, 2006

No, Mr. Speaker, I am not really concerned about it. We worked very diligently for the Atlantic accord. The Atlantic accord is a document that has now been signed, sealed and delivered to the people of Newfoundland and Labrador and to Atlantic Canadians generally. It ensures that the oil revenues coming into the province are not going to be affected by equalization payments. As I said, that agreement was put to bed. It is signed, sealed and delivered.

The member mentioned that the budget does not deliver a great deal for Atlantic Canada. Of course, I do not represent all Canadians. I represent a specific area like St. John's. I could make a few observations on how this budget affects the people of Newfoundland and Labrador generally.

Earlier I said I was impressed by both the tax relief and the infrastructure spending in the budget, but as a result of the tax relief that I referenced earlier, the people of Newfoundland and Labrador, for instance, will pay $124 million less in taxes to the federal government in 2007.

The $1,200 per child per year child care plan is going to put $33.7 million more in the hands of the parents in Newfoundland and Labrador over the next year. The budget will provide the provincial government with $2 million in additional moneys for health care, bringing the cash transfer to the province to $352 million for health care in 2006-07.

We will also benefit to the tune of about $54 million in extra equalization payments. Equalization payments in the province of Newfoundland and Labrador for next year will be $687 million. That is a result of this year's budget, which means we will get $54 million more.

The budget puts $1 billion extra into post-secondary education and infrastructure. We will get about $15.8 million out of that as well.

The Budget May 8th, 2006

Mr. Speaker, I will be sharing my time with the member for Kildonan—St. Paul.

I am pleased to make a few remarks on the first Conservative federal budget in 13 years. I know when members have been given the opportunity to study the budget document and debate its merits, they all will come to the conclusion that it is indeed a very good budget and one that should be supported by all members of the House of Commons.

I consider it to be a good budget from the point of view of tax relief. It is also a good budget from the point of view of investments in key areas, especially infrastructure. The budget will see roughly $17 billion spent on infrastructure and about $20 billion in general tax relief.

It is very important to me as a member representing the city of St. John's that a great deal of money is set aside for infrastructure replacement and infrastructure relief. Why? Because I happen to represent the oldest city in North America. When one represents an old city, infrastructure replacement and having the government set aside infrastructure money are very important. I am very pleased to see $17 billion set aside in the budget for infrastructure projects. My province will certainly be taking advantage of this money and will be applying for infrastructure replacement.

It is a budget that embraces a different vision of the country. The new Conservative government believes that Canadians really pay too much in taxes. All members have known for quite a number of years that Canadians pay too much money in taxes.

Any money that is in excess of what is needed to run the country and to make sure that the federal programs and responsibilities are met should be passed back to the taxpayers in the form of tax relief if at all possible. In the budget we are making sure that Canadians get some tax relief. Twenty billion dollars in tax relief is quite a step for a new government to take in its first budget.

Holding people's money to fund pet projects had long been the way our money was handled in this country. That is not the way it should be handled. I believe firmly that the government will make sure that the taxpayers' money is spent in a very wise and responsible way, and will not fund pet projects of politicians.

The budget takes some very significant steps. It honours our commitment to lower the GST by 1%. We are going to eventually lower the GST by 2%, but to begin with in our first budget it is being lowered by 1%. The GST has been a sore point for Canadians generally ever since it was implemented. It was brought on stream by the Progressive Conservative government a number of years ago. It has been a sore point for Canadians but it has helped tremendously in the effort to balance our budget over the years and to have the healthy surpluses that we have had.

The former government balanced the budget and had surpluses, but we cannot forget that the GST helped tremendously in that. Free trade helped tremendously as well. But the GST has been a sore point and we made a commitment in the election campaign to start the process of lowering the GST and lowering taxes generally for Canadians. This is what we are doing.

The budget has a number of initiatives. It creates a new $1,000 Canada employment tax credit effective July 1. The GST reduction will start on July 1 as well. It is going to be a great Canada Day present for Canadians.

The employment tax credit will give Canadians a break on what it costs to work. That is visionary. We concentrate more on trying to find employment for people and create new jobs, but we never really concentrate on what it costs for people to go to work. It is going to give Canadians a break on what it costs to work, recognizing expenses for things such as home computers, uniforms and supplies which can be quite a significant cost. That is a bit of a visionary thing.

The budget will also increase the basic personal exemption not only this year but for the next three years. Ultimately the basic personal exemption will be $10,000, which is something Canadians have been asking for as well.

The budget also keeps our election commitment on child care. Starting July 1, and it is no coincidence that we are starting on Canada Day, families with young children under six will receive $100 a month per child to assist with the cost of child care, $1,200 per child per year. This money is not going to be clawed back through reductions in any other income tested family support programs currently being offered by the federal government.

People were worried that it would be clawed back because of our federal income support programs. It is not going to be clawed back. We are encouraging the provinces not to claw back any of these benefits through reductions in their family support programs. That is very important because our child care plan is truly universal. The former government had a child care plan which was one size fits all. It did not meet the needs of many families in rural areas, families where parents are shift workers or families with a stay at home parent. Our plan delivers $1,200 per child per year to all families who have children under six years of age.

Also for families there is going to be a new physical fitness tax credit of up to $500. We have to help families wherever we can because the family unit is the basic building block in our society. The family needs help in a lot of areas. When looking at our budget, people will see that families are receiving help, that it is a family oriented budget so to speak.

The budget will create a $2,000 apprenticeship job creation tax credit for employers, a $1,000 apprenticeship grant to new apprentices, and a $500 deduction for the cost of tools needed to practise a trade.

This is the Conservatives' first budget, and it is indeed a good budget.