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Crucial Fact

  • His favourite word was money.

Last in Parliament September 2008, as Conservative MP for Edmonton—Sherwood Park (Alberta)

Won his last election, in 2006, with 64% of the vote.

Statements in the House

Members Of Parliament April 19th, 1994

Mr. Speaker, during the election the party now in government made much of promises to have more open government and freer votes. Today the government and all members of this House have an opportunity to vote for a good idea and to leave party discipline behind.

Later today we will be voting on a Reform amendment to put a cap on the total number of MPs elected. I believe that essentially every Canadian supports the idea that we do not need more than 295 MPs. Many believe we need fewer. I urge all MPs to vote in favour of this amendment, to vote in such a way that undoubtedly represents the majority view in each constituency.

I am expecting that this evening we will see a clear indication of the Liberal Party's commitment to deliver on its promise of freer votes.

Supply March 22nd, 1994

Mr. Speaker, I would like to comment on both. Since I graduated from university at a time when the debt and the deficit were more or less under control we had a choice of jobs, as many members in the House will know. That has changed remarkably. There is almost a 100 per cent correlation between the size of the debt in this country and the level of unemployment.

There is no doubt in my mind that the deficit and unemployment are closely related. The government is pulling more and more money out of the pockets of individuals, entrepreneurs and business people just to service the debt that is resulting. That is the first part.

The second part concerns equality. Indeed I do believe in the equality of people but in quite a different way from the way of those who tend more toward the socialist end. I do not believe that anyone in this country should suffer because of lack of health care or lack of educational opportunities because of lack of ability to pay.

I believe we need to make sure that in our governmental system we provide equality of opportunity. However, I do not believe we serve ourselves well, in fact I believe it is very detrimental if we use government policies, especially in the fiscal area, to provide equality of circumstance irrespective of what the individual does.

We really need to get back to a system of solid rewards for efforts expended. That would still provide everyone in this very rich country the ability and the circumstance to provide for themselves and to be very well off compared with the rest of the world.

Supply March 22nd, 1994

Mr. Speaker, I welcome the opportunity to respond to that. I was previously involved as an educator for 31 years and therefore am well aware of the need for training and the effectiveness of it.

I would like to indicate in answer to the question that there are areas where government needs to be involved. I do not think that anyone would deny that. There are many areas in which we can collectively as a nation do things better than individuals.

However, having worked in the technical field I have found that we work best when we work in consort with the businesses that are hiring our graduates. I worked in a technical institute and we did that. In many areas and many times we provided as individuals and as an institute services on demand from industry for specific training where they needed the help.

Therefore, I would not ever say that government should not be involved at all. However, there are many areas where government interferes. I would like to give a quick example.

At the technical institute where I worked there are some 750 instructors. About a year or so ago in January when we got our cheques, our deductions for UI had increased sharply. Being in mathematics some of us were doing quick calculations and computed that collectively the 750 instructors of the institute were contributing about $1,200 per year into the UI fund, matched by the employer with a total of about $2,800 per year.

Had we been able to keep that money we could have spent it on things we like. I could have had my roof repaired. Someone could have been hired to do that. Instead we were simply contributing an amount of money which would have provided 60 jobs at $35,000 per year just on that UI. That is an interference of government: taking money by coercion to give it to people to meet their basic needs without really providing jobs for them.

Supply March 22nd, 1994

Mr. Speaker, the very first thing on my agenda was to give notice that on behalf of the caucus co-ordinator, called the whip in the standing orders, according to Standing Order 43(2), our speakers on this motion will be dividing their time.

The motion before us today is quite clear and quite succinct. It states that this House deplores the absence of vision and concrete measures from the government with regard to policies toward job creation.

There is really no need to work on establishing the fact that there is a job crisis in Canada today. The unemployment figures are quite convincing. When one adds the innumerable individuals who are unemployed and who have given up and whose names are not even on the lists of the unemployed, there is little doubt that there is a crisis in this area.

In the strictest sense of the wording of this motion, it should be opposed. We should really be opposed to the motion and hence appear to be siding with the Liberal government on its job creation plan. As the members on the opposite side might have applauded, some will be asking why. Is this motion before us not in agreement with what the Reformers have been saying about jobs?

In a way it is but if one takes the wording of the motion exactly as it is stated, at least the last part, one cannot accurately state that the government has failed to declare some concrete measures with respect to job creation. It seems to me that this government has proposed concrete measures for job creation in line with the vision of this government.

The fundamental problem is that this government's so-called jobs plan is the wrong plan. It will not work. I am sure members opposite will correct me if I am wrong, but here is the summary of what I see in their plan.

There is government deficit spending to review social assistance programs. There is government deficit spending to assist the space sector. There is government deficit spending to establish an apprenticeship program. There is government deficit spending to establish a youth service corps. There is government deficit spending on day care potentially. There is government deficit spending on home renovations, otherwise known as the RRAP program. There is government deficit spending on the granddaddy of them all, the infrastructure program.

I hear a howl of protest because I am saying deficit spending. Stop to think about it. Just saying that this money is being transferred from other areas where we will not now be spending it is an inadequate explanation.

My wife would be delighted if I told her that I have decided not to buy a new luxury car. We will have all this money to do renovations to the House. I would have had to borrow the money for the car. Therefore it would be quite deceptive to indicate that we now have a bunch of free money available.

We would now be borrowing it for another purpose but it would still have to be borrowed, and so it is with these proposed programs. As long as we have a $40 billion deficit we are doing what we are doing with borrowed money. Instead of borrowing for helicopters, we are borrowing for the things that I have listed.

There is a jobs plan. The leader of the Liberal Party said often during the campaign: "We have the people, we have the plan". The problem is that the plan, based on borrowing and deficit spending, will not provide any long term solution at all to the problem.

If the government could really solve the problem, and if the only problem were jobs, then it would work for the government to hire people to dig holes in the ground and then hire other people to fill them in again. Obviously with that facetious example I have shown that the job must add to the real wealth of

the country if it is to improve our standard of living and our economic well-being.

It seems to me the only real wealth we have is in the provision of goods and services that have a market among our citizens and the people of other countries. Therefore, and I hesitatingly admit this but I think it is true, to the extent that the infrastructure program enhances our ability to create real wealth, it is useful and will contribute to a longer term well-being, but only to that extent. There seems to be much in the planned activities of this program that is temporary, short term and that does not add to the ability of our nation in providing needed goods and services.

Let me also bring to the attention of the House the problems inherent in the government's debt-deficit plan. To a question I asked in the House last week I was given the answer that the deficit is under control. This government has stated publicly in the recent election campaign, in the red book, in the budget and in numerous statements both inside and outside the House that its goal is to bring the deficit down to 3 per cent of the GDP. I must state seriously that I doubt this will happen.

This first year spending is actually going up and the reduction in the deficit as a percentage of GDP is minimal and based on some fairly generous assumptions on economic growth. If we assume that the government assumptions are right, there is still a huge flaw. If we assume that government spending will help the country's economy, then the deficit as a percentage of GDP should drop dramatically during periods of high growth. The relationship should be the inverse of what is being stated. Conversely, the deficit would normally increase as a percentage of GDP in periods of low growth.

This is not to say that even if the government had it right, its interventionism would be the right policy. Adam Smith said:

The statesman who should attempt to direct private people in what manner they ought to employ their capitals, would not only load himself with a most unnecessary attention, but assume an authority which could safely be trusted to no council whatever, and which would nowhere be so dangerous as in the hands of a man who had folly and presumption enough to fancy himself fit to exercise it.

Is this what our government is doing? I say yes, just look at government spending. Using the government's own projections the deficits and debts will be growing year by year in perpetuity. Using the government's own 3 per cent target, by the year 2000 our debt will be approximately $700 billion.

I challenge anyone to convince me or any of my constituents that this is an acceptable level of indebtedness. It is unbelievable that this government will undertake as a goal taking the people of this country further and further into debt. I cannot be convinced that this will have anything less than a devastating effect on our long term well-being definitely as it relates to the job problem. At the rate given by the government's projections we will have $1 trillion of debt by the end of the first decade of the next century.

What will work? Let us hear Franklin Roosevelt:

A programme whose basic thesis is, not that the system of free enterprise for profit has failed in this generation, but that it has not yet been tried.

People do not need the government's assistance or interference so much as they need it out of the way.

How do we get it out of the way? We reduce the deficit, then debt, then taxes because the component of interest which is growing so rapidly decreases. Then we will instil confidence, both consumer and investor, so we can get the private sector hiring again. We can eliminate interprovincial trade barriers. We can eliminate the red tape barriers to business. We can help with training, among others.

Perhaps I am forced to admit that the government has taken hesitant steps in this direction. By mixing its incorrect theory with some correct theory it is accomplishing nothing but annoying both sides: the entrepreneur, and the worker who cannot find a job.

I highly recommend that the government take the most courageous step any politician can make to really spur job growth and get out of the way. In the words of Lord Acton, the finest opportunity ever given to the world was thrown away because the passion for equality made vain the hope for freedom.

Government Expenditures March 18th, 1994

Mr. Speaker, I was using the number $39.7 billion as the deficit. I was aware that $35 billion is the amount that is in the current request for borrowing.

Will the government undertake to formulate some achievable goals for deficit and debt reduction and state them, and to challenge the people to work together? In other words, I would like to know whether we can expect, sometime in the foreseeable future, that we can stop adding to the debt.

Government Expenditures March 18th, 1994

Mr. Speaker, my question is for the Minister of Finance.

The budget calls for spending $163 billion in the upcoming fiscal year, some $40 billion of which will have to be borrowed. Spread out across the population of Canada this works out to spending about $1,500 per family per month of money that is collected in taxes and other revenue and spending an additional $500 per family per month of borrowed money.

My question for the minister is this. In view of the fact that there are thousands of families who do not even make $2,000 per month and many more for whom that is away too much, will the minister acknowledge that this level of spending is away higher than we can sustain in the long run?

Supply March 14th, 1994

Madam Speaker, I appreciated very much the presentation of the member opposite. In particular I enjoyed his lesson on the use of brevity of words. That was very interesting to me.

I would like to make a comment. He mentioned that we are here to represent our constituents and he gave us a little bit of a tirade about how we are misrepresenting this democratic responsibility. I report to the House that I represent my constituents when I support a motion like this one. I have had people express to me great concern about the amount of debt and deficit. I have had people tell me that they do not support the infrastructure program but they feel blackmailed by a federal government which with a $2 billion commitment has forced a province to match it and the municipalities to match it. They are opposed to going into further debt and they are opposed to further borrowing. Consequently I do represent my constituents when I say we want to put a cap on spending. We want to reduce it.

I had a conversation with one of my constituents this weekend in which we discussed this point. I did a little calculation and found that a deficit of $40 billion is taking us into debt in this year alone to the amount of $500 per family per month and that is a huge concern.

I believe I have used my time allotment and I will stop.

Lobbyists March 7th, 1994

Mr. Speaker, because there is such widespread concern among Canadians that the proposed changes to this lobby legislation will be so weak that they will have very little effect, would the Prime Minister be willing to give a commitment to eliminate the tax deductibility for lobbyist fees?

Lobbyists March 7th, 1994

Mr. Speaker, my question is for the Prime Minister.

During the election campaign the Prime Minister promised to clean up the business of influence peddling in government. It is widely recognized that one of the best ways to address this problem would be to eliminate the tax deductibility of lobbying fees.

Does the Prime Minister believe that the lobbying fees should be allowed as a tax deductible business expense?

The Budget February 24th, 1994

Mr. Speaker, I too would congratulate the member for that first speech.

I am really hesitant to put her on the spot but I would like to at least give notice of a question. This is a really genuine and serious question.

She quoted from the budget speech that for every $1 raised in new revenues, we will cut $5 in government expenditures. That is a worthy goal. I may be putting a new member on the spot here but sometime I would like the answer to where is this being cut? How does it then occur that our government expenditures keep rising every year in the plan, the debt keeps going up and the deficit each year is also going up? How can we then have a ratio of five to one in cuts?