House of Commons photo

Track Ben

Your Say

Elsewhere

Crucial Fact

  • His favourite word is dementia.

Conservative MP for Huron—Bruce (Ontario)

Won his last election, in 2015, with 45% of the vote.

Statements in the House

Hockey in Clinton September 22nd, 2016

Mr. Speaker, September 8 was truly a remarkable night in my hometown of Clinton, Ontario. A tremendous hockey game took place. The CHL and OHL champion London Knights played the Erie Otters before a huge crowd. There were 1,400 enthusiastic fans from a town of just over 3,000 people. It was truly remarkable.

Special thanks go to Brent Scrimgeour and his army of volunteers who put on a great game. Over $5,000 was raised. The money goes toward the Blyth Brussels Hockey Association, the Clinton recreation department, which supports figure skating and minor hockey. The local Alzheimer's Society had a raffle in the county. The Clinton Kinsmen put on a fantastic barbeque. It was tremendous. The Huron Heat women's hockey association also raised money.

Small town communities like mine can put on world-class events. To the Hunter boys, let us see them back in 2017.

Questions Passed as Orders for Returns September 19th, 2016

With regard to government spending since November 4, 2015: how much money has been spent, broken down by department, on (i) taxi services, (ii) promotional materials, including but not limited to pens, stationary, mugs, and stickers, (iii) floral arrangements?

Questions Passed as Orders for Returns September 19th, 2016

With regard to exempt staff working out of Minister’s regional offices: (a) how many exempt staff currently use the Minister’s regional offices as their primary office, broken down by department and regional office; and (b) what is the current budget for those staff, broken down by department and regional office?

Questions Passed as Orders for Returns September 19th, 2016

With regard to the Cabinet retreat in St. Andrew’s, New Brunswick: (a) what was the total cost for the retreat; (b) for any government employees with expenses related to the retreat, what were their departments and titles, and their costs for (i) accommodations, (ii) airfare, (iii) land transport, including taxis, (iii) meals, (iv) all other claims; and (c) what were the costs related to individuals not employed by the government who were invited to attend the retreat?

Questions Passed as Orders for Returns September 19th, 2016

With regard to the Cabinet retreat in Kananaskis, Alberta: (a) what was the total cost for the retreat; (b) for any government employees with expenses related to the retreat, what were their departments and titles, and their costs for (i) accommodations, (ii) airfare, (iii) land transport, including taxis, (iii) meals, (iv) all other claims; and (c) what were the costs related to individuals not employed by the government who were invited to attend the retreat?

Excise Act, 2001 September 19th, 2016

Mr. Speaker, it is a pleasure to rise again today with regard to this bill.

There is one thing I would like to correct on the record, namely, that it might be the second time that the member for Winnipeg North has misspoken on trade compliance with the WTO. This bill was specifically crafted so it would be WTO-compliant. I worked with experts in industry to make sure that it is compliant, because they did not want to get into the situation that beer and wine are currently in. Therefore, the reductions in excise tax are not targeted to a specific sector, but to all businesses in the distillery industry. If the bill happens to go to committee, it would be great if the trade officials could provide their take on it. I am sure that their take would be the same as mine.

It is also disappointing to hear the Liberal member for Winnipeg North talk about how lucky the industry is that the taxes have not gone up in 30 years. I hope that is not the Liberal position on all taxation. We should do our very best each and every time to reduce taxation. That said, there is a significant difference between the excise tax that brewers and vintners pay compared to the distillery sector. This bill would reduce it by a small amount to help businesses throughout the country survive and excel.

The other point that the member for Selkirk—Interlake—Eastman brought up is that two years ago, the U.K. reduced its excise tax by 2%. The obvious thinking at the time was that less excise tax would be collected as a result, but the opposite was true, and the U.K. collected more excise tax. That is what happens when taxes are reduced. It provides more money to the people who manage their own businesses, money that they reinvest.

I have received emails and phone calls literally from coast to coast from Conservative ridings, Liberal-held ridings, NDP ridings, and maybe even a Green riding, where distillers are located. What do they say? They say they support this bill and ask why anyone would not support it. One distillery said that if this reduction happens, it would hire 30 people. Another distillery said that if this happens, its excise tax would be reduced by $50,000 and it would be able to hire another person.

This is what Conservatives are talking about: a chance to reduce taxes in a certain sector that would create economic activity by enabling companies to purchase plant, equipment, and materials, as well as hire more people. I can speak from my own experience in my riding of Huron—Bruce. Since the excise tax for wineries and breweries was reduced, we have had many more wineries and many more opening, employing many people. They are becoming more and more specialized each and every day. On the brewery side, there were zero breweries when I was first elected in 2008 and now there are five, with many employees and many growing opportunities.

The great thing about the Ontario example is that the LCBO finally woke up and is now working with small producers to first get their products on the local shelves, and, if there is success there, across the entire province as well. I can speak of one company, Cowbell Brewing, in my riding, which has its products on 100 to 200 shelves across the province. One of the things that enabled them to do that was the excise tax, which allows a certain degree of profitability in the industry.

I would ask my colleagues across the way to speak with small distilleries in their ridings between now and Wednesday to see if they support this or not. We have already contacted them. Members should speak to them to find out what they think. Instead of presenting a rubber cheque at some government funding announcement, this is an opportunity for them to provide a tax reduction that does not cost the government anything and that would create jobs.

It has been a pleasure to research the topic, introduce it in the House of Commons, and have a good debate on it. I am looking forward to the standing vote on Wednesday. Hopefully five or more of my colleagues will stand when I sit.

Budget Implementation Act, 2016, No. 1 June 6th, 2016

Mr. Speaker, the Liberal member asked a question around infrastructure. The previous government had record levels of infrastructure.

I wonder if the member for Edmonton West would comment on an issue with small rural municipalities, especially in Ontario, and in the one I represent. Municipality after municipality has received letters from Kathleen Wynne that the municipalities are too wealthy, that they have too much money and they are not eligible for infrastructure projects, for sewers, roads, bridges. It is outrageous.

I wonder if the member for Edmonton West would comment on that and maybe have the Liberals across the way send a message to Kathleen Wynne in Toronto to get going on helping rural municipalities across this province, and in other provinces.

Privilege May 19th, 2016

Mr. Speaker, my take-away from this morning, from the Prime Minister, was that he is indeed sorry. The other two things I took away from it are that he has learned nothing and that he is not going to change. That is my take-away from it.

I want to ask the member if he would explain to the House, if I had done the same thing as the Prime Minister did yesterday but grabbed the Liberal whip and elbowed a Liberal female member of Parliament, what might have happened to me today. I would probably be kicked out of caucus, and maybe asked to resign as a member of Parliament. I want the member to outline what might have happened if I had done the same thing in this House.

Air Canada Public Participation Act May 17th, 2016

Mr. Speaker, right from the beginning this has been a rotten deal. We can go right back to the day the Liberals announced the technical briefing, which I was at. I think they gave us two hours notice on a Thursday or Friday, and they had the briefing at 1 Wellington. I left that briefing scratching my head, thinking this was a rotten deal.

The minister was at the meeting. If he had said that Air Canada was helping out Bombardier and in order for it to do that, the government would help Air Canada out a bit, then I think a lot more people in the House today would have a better feeling about what the Liberals are doing. This is quid pro quo, absolutely 100%, and I wish those members over there would say what it is.

We have talked about the review of the Transportation Act, and we have done this and that. We have explored it all. However, the Liberals are talking about jobs and growth for the Canadian economy. Therefore, will the minister stand and say that there will be no more Embraer jets getting serviced in Brazil? Will he say that there will be no more Boeing jets serviced in Ireland? Will he say that there will be no extra jets serviced in Singapore, Hong Kong, China, and all the other ones? Is that what he is going to say? He is talking about jobs, but it does not sound like that to me.

Will he stand in the House today and say that this deal will not allow one more jet to be serviced in another country? Is that what he is going to do?

Air Canada Public Participation Act May 16th, 2016

Madam Speaker, I have enjoyed pointing out the inaccuracies with the Liberal member from Winnipeg. He made comments about the strength of Air Canada. I would point out that the last two years have been two consecutive record years for Air Canada, with this year being better than the year before. That is pointing in the right direction.

Could the member from Saskatchewan take a look at two things? One is on the annual report. For the last two years at least, Air Canada has referenced exchange issues on labour for maintenance. That would lead me to believe it should be doing more maintenance in Canada. The other one is this. We just went through a massive Transportation Act review by Mr. Emerson. Why not take a larger, broader look at it instead of this piecemeal approach at which the Liberals are looking?