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Track Blake

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Crucial Fact

  • His favourite word is obviously.

Conservative MP for Banff—Airdrie (Alberta)

Won his last election, in 2015, with 63% of the vote.

Statements in the House

Democratic Reform December 8th, 2016

Mr. Speaker, since the minister seems to have trouble answering questions, maybe I could make it a little easier for her by putting it in the form of a multiple choice question, like her so-called democracy survey.

Who ultimately chose the questions that were to be included in the Liberal survey? She could press one for experts, press two for academics, press three for her political staff, or press four for the magical democracy fairy.

Will the minister finally be honest with Canadians and simply admit that this is nothing more than a Liberal distraction tactic?

Democratic Reform December 7th, 2016

Mr. Speaker, yesterday, the minister told us that we were visiting the wrong website. She might even be right.

If we took democracy surveys at BuzzFeed, The Beaverton, or even on the back of a cereal box, we would get less skewed results than what they are trying to pass off as consultation now. We would not have to provide our gender, year of birth, household income, postal code, or even the name of our firstborn child for it to count.

The minister keeps telling this House that we do not need personal information to participate in the survey, but she did not say those answers would actually count.

Is she just using weasel words?

Democratic Reform December 6th, 2016

Mr. Speaker, when I was taking the minister's BuzzFeed, I mean democracy quiz, I learned two things: first that I am more of a Monica than a Rachel; and, as it turns out, the Liberals will only count the surveys that they want to count.

It says that people do not have to provide personal information, but if they do not give their gender, their year of birth, their level of education, their household income, and other demographic information like their postal code, their input will just be thrown out.

Was the minister misleading this House when she said that Canadians did not need to provide their personal information?

Budget Implementation Act, 2016, No. 2 December 5th, 2016

Mr. Speaker, I can tell the member that I am certainly not hearing anything different from what he is hearing. There was recently a huge rally in my riding that was organized by citizens who are opposed to a carbon tax. There were probably thousands of people who showed up. I noticed that cars going by were honking their horns in support. People are hugely concerned. It is like being kicked while we are down. There are thousands of workers out of work, and while needing support and wanting something that offers them hope, the government offers a carbon tax, which would tax everything.

When I knock on doors, in addition to hearing concerns about this carbon tax, I hear about the measures that the government claims will somehow help middle-class Canadian families. I asked my constituents at their doors, and they said they are worse off. I also did a survey in which I asked constituents if they are better or worse off, and 65% of them said they are worse off under the current government. That was 65%.

Budget Implementation Act, 2016, No. 2 December 5th, 2016

Mr. Speaker, that is a great question. The answer is that when a party makes promises during an election campaign, it should keep those promises. We have definitely seen very little of that from the Liberal government. As the member said, that is the one thing we can certainly agree on, that it is not keeping any of its promises. It promised what I think was a terrible promise to begin with, which is that there would be a $10-billion deficit, but it certainly did not keep that promise. It has blown way past that already.

The member talked about infrastructure. The Liberals claim they are going to create all of these jobs with all this infrastructure, and that is why they need to run these deficits. Not only are they running this deficit and taxing Canadians, they are not even providing the promised infrastructure or the jobs. No jobs have been created, and the infrastructure is deferred until way into the future. What we are getting from the government is nothing but new taxes and a massive new debt. That is what we are getting from the government. That is going to be its legacy: taxes for us, our children and grandchildren, and a huge hole that it dug for the entire country. That is its legacy, and it is shameful.

Budget Implementation Act, 2016, No. 2 December 5th, 2016

Mr. Speaker, I am amazed to even hear that comment. We are talking about a government that took us through one of the most difficult economic times that the world has ever seen. Conservatives came out of it with a balanced budget, lowered taxes for Canadians, and somehow that was damage? I can understand why he might think that, because what we are seeing from the Liberals is the complete opposite. There are huge new deficits being created in a very short period of time, and there are massive new taxes being put on Canadians. That, to me, sounds like the real damage, but, of course, Liberals always have it all backward.

Budget Implementation Act, 2016, No. 2 December 5th, 2016

Mr. Speaker, I rise today to talk about the Liberal government's budget. It seems to me that we are stuck in a tax-and-spend cycle with the current Liberal government. Every time we turn around, it seems that the Liberals are finding another way to try to increase government spending, with no regard for Canadian taxpayers. Therefore, we see an increase in taxation, and the prospect for future generations of further increases in their taxation, as a result of large deficits and debt left behind by the government through all of this spending.

When the Liberal government released its fall economic update, it confirmed what we already knew. Liberals are spending so recklessly that they are going to have to borrow more money, and they have no plan to return to balanced budgets. I stand here today because on this side of the House we believe that fiscal responsibility, a framework for creating a strong economy, and a plan to create jobs and get Canadians back to work are what Canadians need and what they have asked for. We will continue to be the ones who stand up for the hard-working taxpayers of this country and hold the Liberal government accountable for its out-of-control spending.

In discussions I have had with constituents, through town halls and a survey prior to the introduction of the 2016 budget, along with a number of other methods that we conduct through the year, the one common link, the underlying concern that constituents had, was about ballooning deficits they were seeing from the Liberal government. This is simply not a solution to Canada's economic challenges. In fact, nearly every constituent who was surveyed indicated that a balanced federal budget was important, almost unanimously. This obviously comes in very stark contrast to what we see in the budget implementation act.

When it comes to broken promises, the Liberals ran on a campaign promise to cap deficits at $10 billion a year and return more to a balanced budget in 2019-20. That frankly was not good enough to begin with, but that was their promise. Instead, they are spending deficits of nearly three times that amount, almost $30 billion in borrowed money. This is in their first year alone. Through the budget implementation act that we have before us today, the Liberals will continue to run deficits, and with no explanation whatsoever about how or when they will return to a balance.

The Liberals may try to blame higher deficits on a weak economy or lower revenues, but it is very clear from the parliamentary budget officer and the Finance Canada “Fiscal Monitor” that Liberal spending is the real culprit. Hard-working Canadians across the country run their personal finances with fiscal restraint. They know that when they run out of money and keep spending, they are going to have an issue. Why does it seem like the Liberal government has such an issue with this concept? The budget is a steep deficit trajectory with no intention to return to balance and no clear plan to create jobs. That is pretty evident when they have not actually created a single net job since they were elected over a year ago. There is nothing to help get thousands of unemployed Canadians back to work. When it comes to managing an economy, there is no second chance. Clearly, Canadians are worse off today than they were a year ago.

The budget still offers no insights into how the government plans to create jobs. Unfortunately, the forecasting by the Liberals is not reliable either. When our previous government introduced a stimulus package in response to the global financial crisis, we used outside experts to vet our estimate of 220,000 jobs that would be created or maintained. The target was actually exceeded by 28,000 jobs.

In contrast, the parliamentary budget office reported in October that despite their out-of-control spending and their skyrocketing deficits, the Liberals have not created one net full-time job since they took office, not one; not a single job. The report also stated that the number of part-time jobs that were created in the last year is only half the average rate of job creation of the previous five years. All of them were part-time jobs.

Further, in comparison, while Canada's employment rate has been falling, rates in the U.S., G7, and OECD have risen. It is very clear that despite a year of reckless spending, the Liberal plan has done nothing to improve our economy. Instead of supporting real job creators, the Liberals are making it more expensive for companies to hire and raising taxes on the small businesses that employ 95% of Canadians.

For small businesses, the budget reneges on promises to lower the small business tax rate that were planned in the last Conservative budget, from 11% to 9%. Instead, the Liberals will hold the rate at 10.5% and have introduced new conditions around eligibility. I will get to those in a second.

It is not only that, but the budget did not renew the tax credit for El premiums paid by small business, and over $1 billion in new El expenditures points to higher premiums for all employers in the near future.

All of this drives away jobs and drives away investment. Now the Liberals are talking about a federal carbon tax, and we know what impact that will have on every Canadian family's budget. We know what it will mean for businesses and their costs. Again, it is further costs being added to families, further costs being added to businesses who are trying to employ Canadians.

Not only are the Liberals not creating jobs, but they are not even going to enable the private sector to do the job it wants to do, which is to create jobs. They are also saying to some small businesses that they are too small to be small businesses, so they are now going to be increasing their tax bills. For some of these small businesses we are talking about, when they deal with rules around active and passive income, they will see a tripling of their tax bills. This will put people out of business, and it will put more Canadians out of work.

I also want to touch on our natural resources industry and the workers it supports. The Liberals have imposed arbitrary, political, and unpredictable regulatory processes at a time when we urgently need to get our resources to new markets and when we should be supporting our natural resource workers. While unemployment in Alberta continues to climb, the Liberal government's budget fails to address support measures for our natural resource workers.

Skilled workers are struggling to provide for their families and are being forced to leave the province to seek better opportunities for employment. The number of unemployed Albertans has nearly doubled since the start of 2015. It went from 112,500 in January last year to 206,900 in August 2016, up 84.6%.

I see the signal you are giving me, Mr. Speaker. Unfortunately, I have so many points that I want to raise about the nature of this terrible budget that I will have to leave some of them out. Of course, we can thank the Liberal government for that as well. They have indicated that we are going to have a limited debate on this, so unfortunately there is no opportunity to raise all the points we would like to raise.

I want to touch on the point of infrastructure. I think I have already made it clear that the Liberals are completely oblivious to the needs of Alberta energy workers and getting them back to work. The budget certainly reflects that.

When we talk about the infrastructure program, the Liberals claim they are going to create this legacy of infrastructure. However, when we look at it, most of the claims are quite false, because it is in the so-called phase two of the plan where we will see most of the infrastructure. Most of these things will not even be realized for at least six years. Until then, the municipalities are basically out of luck.

The Liberals have taken a huge chunk of this fund and put it into an infrastructure bank, which means small communities across the country are out of luck because they do not have access to any of that We talk about them having to be massive projects of $100 million or more.

On top of all that, we have higher taxes. We keep hearing from the government how families are better off. I asked my constituents if they were better off. I went to their doors and asked them in a survey. Over and over again, what I heard was no, that they were worse off. The government has taken away some of their tax credits for income splitting, fitness, arts, education, textbooks, their ability to save through tax-free savings accounts, and that it is forcing new mandatory premiums increases on them for the Canada pension plan.

It goes on and on. Then, of course, the cherry on top is the carbon tax. We are not all looking forward to that one. My constituents are telling me that they are going to be worse off.

Not only is the government taxing Canadian families to death and putting them in huge deficit and debt situations so that their kids and grandkids will be taxed to death, but it is not doing anything to create jobs or to help businesses do the same. It is a terrible budget, and I speak in opposition to it today.

Democratic Reform December 2nd, 2016

Mr. Speaker, not only do the vast majority of Canadians expect a referendum, but according to a recent poll, it turns out that even 74% of Liberal supporters want one too. Instead, the government is talking about a postcard and a website.

Let us be clear. There is no other form of citizen engagement that can replace a referendum, certainly not a postcard, or a website, or telephone calls. If the minister is actually serious about listening to each and every Canadian, and actually serious about the apology she has made, will she commit to taking the recommendation seriously and offer Canadians a referendum?

Democratic Reform December 2nd, 2016

Mr. Speaker, yesterday the Minister of Democratic Institutions insulted the thousands of Canadians who participated in the work of the committee on electoral reform when she questioned the committee's work by saying, “We asked the committee to help answer very difficult questions for us. It did not do that.” Or is it simply that the committee did not answer the way she wanted it to?

We appreciate the apology, but if the minister really wants to make this right, will she take the committee's recommendation seriously and offer a referendum?

Royal Canadian Legion December 2nd, 2016

Mr. Speaker, every year, the Royal Canadian Legion conducts the poppy campaign to raise funds for veterans and their families, and most Canadians give generously. However, it is disappointing to know that there are those who disregard what the poppy stands for and our veterans by stealing poppy boxes.

I rise today to recognize an important initiative in my riding. In response to some thefts last year, Dan Kroffat from Cochrane designed a new anti-theft poppy box. Fifty prototypes were created with support from the Cochrane legion, the Cochrane & District Chamber of Commerce, Alex Baum of Cochrane Toyota, Garney Baker of EGB Manufacturing, and Jon Cornish, retired Calgary Stampeders star.

These new boxes were placed in high-traffic areas as they garner more donations and are more at risk of theft. I am pleased to say that the donations collected in Cochrane this year have surpassed last year's record totals. When donors felt the funds were safe, they contributed more.

Congratulations on a job well done. I hope to see this initiative rolled out nationally next year.