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Crucial Fact

  • His favourite word was taxes.

Last in Parliament October 2015, as Conservative MP for North Vancouver (B.C.)

Lost his last election, in 2019, with 27% of the vote.

Statements in the House

Pensions May 29th, 2015

Mr. Speaker, it is our Conservative government that has fought for seniors. We have increased the GIS by the largest amount in a quarter century. The opposition members voted against it. We have introduced pension income splitting for seniors. They voted against it.

Economic action plan 2015 introduces even more support for seniors, such as the new home accessibility tax credit, more compassionate care benefits, and lower required RRIF withdrawals. Those members want to raise taxes on seniors. We are putting money back into the pockets of Canadian seniors.

Employment May 29th, 2015

Mr. Speaker, our Conservative government is focused on what matters to Canadians: helping families make ends meet by lowering taxes and protecting and creating jobs. Since coming to office, our government has had one of the best job creation records in the G7, and we are leading in economic growth.

While we are focused on creating jobs, the Liberal leader's only solution is raising taxes. Members do not have to take my word for it, this is what he said, “We're looking at an expansion and a mandatory expansion of the CPP of the type that Kathleen Wynne put forward in Ontario”. For people earning $60,000, that means an extra $1,000 in taxes every year that they will have to pay under his scheme.

Employment May 29th, 2015

Mr. Speaker, as I said, the finance minister said no such thing. The GDP number is a further indication of global economic uncertainty, which is why we must continue with our low-tax plan for jobs and growth, a plan that is working. The Bank of Canada, the OECD and the IMF are all projecting another year of economic growth in Canada.

However, the Liberal leader is proposing a dramatic payroll tax hike that would kill jobs in Canada. As I mentioned, the CFIB survey of employers in Ontario said that 69% would have to freeze or cut salaries, and 53% would have to terminate jobs to cope with the added costs of an increase in the CPP.

Employment May 29th, 2015

Mr. Speaker, this is a further indication of global economic uncertainty and how it is affecting Canada, which is why we must continue with our low-tax plan for jobs and growth, a plan that is working. Since the depths of the recession, over 1.2 million net new jobs have been created. These are overwhelmingly full-time private sector jobs in high-wage industries.

However, the Liberal leader's proposed dramatic payroll tax would kill jobs in Canada. In fact, the CFIB survey of employers in Ontario said that 69% would have to freeze or cut salaries, and 53% would have to lay off workers if this were to happen.

Employment May 29th, 2015

Mr. Speaker, the Minister of Finance said no such thing. As I said, he was talking about the situation in European countries like Greece and France.

Let me tell members what we are doing in Canada. While we are letting middle-class Canadians choose how they want to spend and save their money, the Liberals and the NDP want to raise payroll taxes. The Liberal leader announced that he would dramatically hike payroll taxes on middle-class Canadians. He even said, “We’re looking at an expansion and a mandatory expansion of the CPP of the type that Kathleen Wynne put forward in Ontario”. For people earning $60,000, that means an extra $1,000 in taxes that they will have to pay each year.

Employment May 29th, 2015

Mr. Speaker, the Minister of Finance said no such thing. He was talking about the situation in European countries like Greece and France where their liberal policies have resulted in out-of-control deficits and out-of-control spending. As a result, there have been tax hikes, massive layoffs and cuts in services, the same thing the Liberal government did in the 1990s because of its own financial mismanagement.

In contrast, our government has balanced the budget, while giving benefits directly to families and reducing taxes on the middle class. However, the Liberals and the NDP want to take those benefits away and raise taxes on the middle class.

The Economy May 29th, 2015

Mr. Speaker, since coming to office, our government has had one of the best job-creation records in the G7, and we are leading in economic growth.

While we are focused on creating jobs, the Liberals are pushing a high-tax, high-debt agenda that will threaten jobs and set working families back. Their leader even said, “We’re looking at an expansion and a mandatory expansion of the CPP of the type that Kathleen Wynne put forward in Ontario”. For people earning $60,000, that means an extra $1,000 of tax that they will have to pay each year.

Business of Supply May 25th, 2015

Mr. Chair, our government's long-term commitment to keeping taxes low is making life more affordable for all Canadians. By reducing taxes year after year and enhancing direct benefits to Canadians, the government has given families and individuals greater flexibility to make the choices that are right for them.

Canadian families and individuals will receive $37 billion in tax relief and increased benefits in 2015-16 as a result of actions taken by our government since 2006, including measures announced by the Prime Minister on October 30, 2014. These new measures will provide more than $4.6 billion in annual tax relief and increased benefits to all families with children under age 18.

These measures include an enhanced universal child care benefit that will provide $160 per month for children under the age of 6 and a new benefit of $60 per month for children aged 6 through 17, and that is effective January 1, 2015; a $1,000 increase in each of the maximum dollar amounts that can be claimed under the child care expense deduction, effective for the 2015 taxation year; and the family tax cut, a federal non-refundable tax credit of up to $2,000 for couples with children under the age of 18, effective for the 2014 taxation year.

Among the multitude of tax relief measures this government has introduced, perhaps the most popular is the tax-free savings account, or TFSA. The TFSA is the most important new savings vehicle introduced in Canada since the RRSP was introduced over 50 years ago. As a matter of fact, as of the end of 2013, nearly 11 million individuals had opened a TFSA and the total value of assets held in TFSAs was nearly $120 billion. The TFSA gives Canadians the flexibility to save for their priorities. Whether they want to purchase a new home or car, start a new business or save for retirement, Canadians have many reasons to save at every stage of their lives. That is why the government introduced the TFSA in the first place.

Available since 2009, the TFSA is a flexible, registered, general purpose savings vehicle that allows Canadians aged 18 or older to earn tax-free investment income. I should point out that it is a voluntary program. The contributions are not tax deductible, but investment income earned in a TFSA and withdrawals from it are tax free. Unused TFSA contribution room can be carried forward, and the amount of withdrawals from a TFSA can be re-contributed in future years.

The TFSA provides greater savings incentives for low- and modest-income individuals because, in addition to the tax savings, neither the income earned in a TFSA nor withdrawals from it affect a person's important benefits and credits. Like the Canada child tax benefit, or old age security and guaranteed income supplements that supplement benefits, it is no wonder that Canadians have embraced the TFSA for their savings needs. Best of all, Canadians of all income levels can benefit from TFSAs.

The opposition claims that TFSAs benefit only the rich. This is categorically false. In fact, at the end of 2013, individuals with annual incomes of less than $80,000 accounted for more than 80% of all TFSA holders, and about half of TFSA holders had annual incomes of less than $42,000. About 1.9 million individuals have contributed the maximum amount to their TFSAs. About 46% of these individuals were seniors and over 70% were aged 55 and older. About 60% of the individuals contributing the maximum amount to their TFSAs had incomes of less than $60,000.

In order to provide Canadians with greater opportunity to save on a tax-free basis, this budget proposes to increase the TFSA annual contribution limit to $10,000, effective for 2015 and subsequent years. This new measure will help Canadians save from coast to coast to coast.

Take, for example, Giselle , a small business owner who saves in her TFSA. She now has the flexibility to contribute $10,000 per year to her TFSA. By earning tax-free investment income on $10,000 of annual savings for 10 years, Giselle can accumulate about $3,700 more dollars in after-tax savings than if she had saved the same amount for 10 years under the existing TFSA annual contribution limit with the remainder in a taxable savings vehicle. Giselle will be able to better save for future priorities, which will be good for her, good for her business, and good for the Canadian economy.

The TFSA is also a great savings tool for seniors. The fact is that Canadians are living longer than ever, which is great news. Since 2006, seniors have been benefiting from important money-saving measures such as pension income splitting, and taking advantage of their tax-free savings accounts. In fact, as of the end of 2013, close to 2.7 million Canadian seniors had TFSAs. In a low-interest rate environment, the TFSA can help to boost after-tax returns, as these returns are not subject to taxation. The TFSA provides seniors with a savings vehicle to meet their ongoing savings needs, something to which they previously only had limited access to once they were over the age of 71.

Here is another example. Barry is a retired 72-year-old who does part-time consulting work, and is required to withdraw a minimum amount of $18,000 from his registered retirement income fund, or RRIF. Taking into account his other pension income, his income from part-time consulting work, and his income taxes, Barry's RRIF withdrawal exceeds his current needs by $7,000. With a $10,000 TFSA annual contribution limit, Barry can now save the entire $7,000 remaining from his RRIF withdrawal in his TFSA.

This government understands that Canadian society thrives in a low-tax environment. It is why we introduced the tax-free savings account. It is why we have cut taxes over and over again, in fact over 180 times since we became government in 2006. It is a shame that opposition members have opposed our changes to the tax-free savings account. They do not realize the benefits that it would bring to Canadians across the country. Unlike our Conservative government, the opposition believes in a high-tax, high-spend agenda.

Our government has lowered taxes every year since coming into office and, as I mentioned, we have introduced over 180 tax-relief measures. This equates to over $37 billion in savings for all Canadians, and $6,600 in average savings per year for the average Canadian family. As a result, the overall federal tax burden is now at its lowest level in over 50 years. In fact, John George Diefenbaker was the prime minister the last time that taxes were this low. Going forward, we will remain committed to keeping taxes low and allowing Canadians to save more of their hard-earned money.

I would like to ask the Minister of Finance a question. In what other ways is the government helping Canadians to save and prepare for their retirement?

Business of Supply May 25th, 2015

Mr. Chair, I am thankful for this opportunity to appear before this committee. In my time today, I would like to focus on the importance of balancing the budget.

Let me begin by saying how proud I am that our government has fulfilled our promise to Canadians. We have balanced the budget in 2015. We have done it while giving benefits directly to families and by reducing taxes on the middle class. However, the Liberals and the NDP want to take those benefits away and raise taxes on the middle class.

Thanks to the strong fiscal prudence and economic stewardship under our Prime Minister, the deficit has been reduced from $55.6 billion at the height of the global economic crisis to a projected surplus this year of $1.4 billion, and $1.7 billion the year after. That is a solid foundation upon which to build a more sustainable public finance.

On this strong foundation, we are building a brighter future, but we must stay the course with our low-tax plan. Canadians know what to expect from our government. Our budget prudently accounts for changes to the global economy, eliminates the deficit, and continues to deliver low taxes, economic growth, and long-term prosperity.

Contrast our low-tax plan with the Liberal one, according to the current Liberal finance critic:

It is unacceptable, frankly, that the [previous Liberal government] balanced the budget on the backs of ordinary Canadians and [refused] to provide any benefits back to the ordinary Canadian taxpayer.

That is the Liberal plan. In contrast, our government will continue our low-tax plan for jobs, growth, and security, and while balancing the budget as well.

There is a path to prosperity, and then there is a path to spending hikes, tax hikes, and unaffordable debt. We must choose the right course, the course that will create jobs and growth, not stifle the Canadian economy and hurt families. That is what Canadians expect of their government. Unlike the Liberals, our government does not believe that we can nor should tax our way to prosperity.

Let me remind members that it was the Liberal leader who said “Canadians could be convinced to accept a tax hike if it means a better economic plan”.

This type of ideology of tax and spend is not surprising, given the last time that Canada saw a Trudeau in government. Federal spending tripled, prompted by temporary highs in commodity prices, and this type of reckless spending was not in response to economic crisis. As a result, under Pierre Elliott Trudeau's mandate, Canada experienced some of the worst federal budget deficits in peacetime history. We are still paying for it today.

In common Liberal fashion, Jean Chrétien balanced the budget by hiking taxes, cutting vital programs, and slashing billions in transfer payments. Such actions put Canada's health care and education at risk. Everything we have learned from the post-recession history proves that Liberal policies would be devastating for the economy.

Unlike the Liberal leader who thinks budgets balance themselves, our government has brought Canada back to balance this year. Canadians understand the importance of living within their means and expect their government to do the same. Balanced budgets keep taxes low and ensure that government services are sustained over the long run. More importantly perhaps, they ensure that future generations like our children and grandchildren are not saddled with huge debts.

However, if given the chance, the opposition would raise taxes and drive Canada into dangerous levels of deficit and debt. The Liberal finance critic said it himself: “Liberals believe Canadians will not be bothered by being taxed more and more..”. Again, that is an example of the Liberal's tax and spend policies.

This is not a formula for success, nor what Canadians need or want. Canadian families sit around their kitchen table to talk about their budgets and how to stretch every dollar. They cannot afford to pay more taxes. Such Liberal schemes will not help them balance their budgets; in fact, it would do the opposite.

Our government is not only setting an example by balancing our budget, but we are helping families balance theirs as well, by giving money directly into the pockets of every hard-working Canadian family. Again, this is in stark contrast to the Liberal leader, who said, “benefiting every single family is not what is fair”. I believe that contrasts with the very definition of fairness.

Our Conservative government believes it is fair to benefit every single Canadian family and provide opportunities for all Canadians. We will make no apologies for helping all Canadian families. We understand that benefiting every single family is indeed our definition of fair.

Given the ongoing uncertain global economic environment, it is not the time for risky plans or reckless spending as proposed by both the Liberal and NDP leaders. Instead, it is crucial for the government to continue to pursue the objectives that have underpinned the economic action plan since its inception in 2009.

That is why we have introduced balanced budget legislation. It will ensure that the hard-won gains achieved by our government will remain in place for future generations. It will also ensure that the only acceptable deficit will be one that responds to a recession or an extraordinary circumstance, such as war or natural disaster.

It is not uncommon for a government to run deficits to respond to a severe downturn in the economy, but deficits outside of a recession or an extraordinary circumstance are unacceptable, and the need to return to balanced budgets is immediate.

To that end, this legislation proposes that should Canada again enter into deficit, the finance minister would be required to testify before the House of Commons committee on finance within 30 days and present a plan, with concrete timelines, to return to balanced budgets. Moreover, should the deficit be due to a recession or other extraordinary circumstance, operating spending would be frozen, as would the salaries of ministers and deputy ministers government-wide, once the recovery begins. If, on the other hand, the deficit is due to mismanagement, operating budgets would be frozen automatically, and the salaries of ministers and deputy ministers alike would be reduced by 5%.

This approach would ensure that any increase in spending to respond to a recession, war, or natural disaster would be temporary, targeted, and timely. By balancing the budget, we are raising Canada's economic potential and creating stable, well-paying jobs.

By staying the course and sticking to our proven economic action plan, Canada remains on track to a better future for all Canadians. That is what Canadians want and deserve. They cannot afford a tax and spend government, something the opposition is much too eager to do. Canadians know that it is our government that will keep taxes low, help foster jobs, and create long-term prosperity so that our children and grandchildren have a bright future.

In closing, I would like to ask a question to the Minister of Finance. I would like to ask him why balanced budgets matter.

Business of Supply May 25th, 2015

Mr. Chair, through you, I would like to ask the Minister of Finance what economic action plan 2015 is doing to help hard-working Canadian families make ends meet.