House of Commons photo

Elsewhere

Crucial Fact

  • His favourite word was jobs.

Last in Parliament October 2015, as Conservative MP for Mississauga—Streetsville (Ontario)

Lost his last election, in 2015, with 40% of the vote.

Statements in the House

Petitions March 23rd, 2015

Mr. Speaker, I rise to present a petition on behalf of dozens of Canadians who are calling on the Government of Canada to enact a policy to reduce the risk for anaphylactic passengers using Canadian airlines.

World Plumbing Day March 11th, 2015

Mr. Speaker, today is World Plumbing Day, an opportunity to recognize the very important contribution the plumbing sector makes in our lives every day.

The United Nations declared 2005 to 2015 the International Decade for Action “Water for Life”, setting a world agenda that focuses increased attention on water-related issues. In our world, preventable diseases related to water and sanitation claim the lives of about 3.1 million people per year, most of them children younger than five. Of these, about 1.6 million people die each year of diseases associated with the lack of safe drinking water and adequate sanitation.

I would like to pay tribute to the leadership of the Canadian Institute of Plumbing & Heating, which supports manufacturers, distributors, and associates in the plumbing and waterworks industry. It also runs the career tap program to encourage Canadians to choose plumbing as a high-skill career.

If members had a safe, clean drink of water today, they should thank a plumber.

Business of Supply March 10th, 2015

Mr. Speaker, the employment insurance system is an insurance policy.

It is an insurance policy that employers and employees pay into for individuals to be eligible to receive benefits if they have lost their jobs due to no fault of their own. Like any insurance scheme, any policy of that nature, there are some restrictions and some caveats in the program. One of them is the two-week waiting period.

What I am particularly proud of is that for a vast majority of the claims that are made under the EI system, those individuals receive those benefits. They receive those benefits within the timeframe the department has prescribed for those benefits to be received. We have heard testimony to that effect at the human resources committee, of which I am a member. I am particularly pleased that we continue to have a strong income support system to support Canadians who have unfortunately lost their job due to no fault of their own.

Business of Supply March 10th, 2015

Mr. Speaker, the hon. member for Winnipeg North talks about the EI system, and I am certainly happy to talk to him about that.

It was actually our Minister of Finance who announced the three-year rate freeze for EI premiums for businesses, long before the Liberals came up with whatever scheme they believe will actually create jobs. We have been listening to groups like the Canadian Manufacturers & Exporters, Canadian Chamber of Commerce and the Canadian Federation of Independent Business, which have all been very complimentary of our government's track record in this regard.

The Liberals talk about their EI plan, which is that one only has to work 45 days in a year in this country to be able to claim EI benefits. That is going to kill jobs, kill small businesses, and drive premium costs through the roof because there is no other way to pay for a 45-day work year.

Business of Supply March 10th, 2015

Mr. Speaker, even one Canadian without a job is one too many. All of us in this House want to work to ensure that every single Canadian who wants to work has an opportunity to do so.

The facts are quite different from how the NDP spins them. The fact of the matter is there are 1.2 million more net new jobs today than there were at the end of the worldwide economic recession. There are more Canadians working today than at any other time in the history of the country. However, there are still too many people who cannot find adequate jobs in this country. I appreciate this and I know it in my own community.

We have more work to do. Great work has absolutely been done at the federal level through a number of initiatives that I talked about in my speech today, and many more are coming down the pipe. Our partners in the provinces and municipalities have to play their role as well. When the provinces bring in policies that are anti-job creation, that make businesses not want to stay in Canada or not start up in Canada, that is a huge problem in our ability to create good jobs for all Canadians.

Business of Supply March 10th, 2015

Mr. Speaker, I am particularly pleased that my Liberal colleague got up and talked about the loss of manufacturing jobs. I can tell the House as a member of Parliament from the province of Ontario that when I talk to manufacturers and business people about their number one cost and concern, why they cannot grow their business and, in some cases, why they move their businesses out of Ontario, they say it is because of the Ontario Liberal provincial government's policy of high hydro prices. That is the number one reason that manufacturers give me for not wanting to do business in the province of Ontario.

Maybe my friend from Winnipeg North can have a chat with the Premier of Ontario and help us all bring those jobs back to the province of Ontario.

Business of Supply March 10th, 2015

Mr. Speaker, the fact of the matter is that the vast majority of the 1.2 million net new jobs that have been created in our Canadian economy since the recovery have been full-time, high paying and private sector jobs. These are exactly the kinds of jobs that our economy needs to create.

I often hear the opposition criticizing any type of job. All jobs are good jobs. I started as a checkroom attendant in the local pool in Mississauga when I got my first job at 15 years old. I was proud to do that job. It was minimum wage, but I learned a lot and I moved up the ladder. Eventually, I became the pool supervisor when I was 18 years old. I worked along.

All jobs are good jobs. We know that we have more work to do. The government is focused on doing that. It has brought in a number of initiatives that help people retrain to get better jobs, to go back to school, and to learn a trade through apprenticeship grants and loans that are helping people to get better jobs in the country, that reflect the labour needs of the businesses that I meet with. They tell me what kinds of people they need to work in their places of business right away. They are good jobs. They are high-paying jobs and they support families.

Business of Supply March 10th, 2015

Mr. Speaker, I am indeed pleased to rise today to respond to the motion by the member for Skeena—Bulkley Valley. This debate is really about how our government is responding to the needs and aspirations of Canadian families. The impression put before the House is that this government is not doing enough. That is simply dead wrong, and I welcome the opportunity today to set the record straight.

The Government of Canada believes that the most important way to raise the incomes of Canadians and improve their standard of living is to grow the economy as a whole. That is why, since 2006, our top priorities have been creating jobs, fostering economic growth, and building for long-term prosperity. To achieve these goals, our government is taking a wide-ranging and comprehensive approach. We are cutting taxes, increasing support for hard-working Canadian families, promoting trade and investment, supporting key economic sectors, making education accessible and affordable, reducing barriers to labour market participation, and being responsible fiscal managers. Our policies are working.

Canada's economy is making a good recovery from the most recent worldwide recession. For example, Canada is among the G7 leaders in job creation, with over 1.2 million net new jobs created since the recovery. Canadians enjoy one of the highest standards of living in the world. The low income rate in Canada has been declining and it now sits at an all-time low.

Canadian families in all income groups have seen increases of about 10% or more in their take-home incomes since 2006. The federal tax burden is at the lowest it has been in 50 years. Our government has cut taxes 180 times, saving close to $3,400 a year for an average Canadian family of four. These tax reductions give parents greater flexibility to make the choices that are right for them and help build a solid foundation for future economic growth, more jobs, and a higher standard of living for themselves and their children.

Canadians at all income levels are benefiting from tax relief, with low- and middle-income Canadians receiving proportionately greater benefit. More than one million low-income Canadians have been removed from the federal tax rolls altogether. And since 2006, our government has also steadily lowered taxes on businesses.

Today, Canada's total business tax costs are the lowest in the G7 and more than 40% lower than those in the United States. Thanks to our low taxes, more businesses will want to invest and set up shop in Canada, and that will generate more jobs. It is important to note that we have cut taxes without reducing transfers to Canadians and other levels of government. In fact, we have increased our cash transfers to the provinces and territories in support of health and social services to all-time record highs. This fiscal year, the provinces and territories will receive almost $65 billion through the major transfers, an increase of $3 billion over 2013-14.

It is clear to me that supporting strong families and preparing Canadians for jobs go hand in hand. Keeping taxes low for families means that parents have more to invest in their children's futures.

Because it is important to ensure that all children get the best possible start and have the opportunity to reach their full potential, we have also provided over $6.5 billion in 2013-14 to support early childhood development and child care, through transfers to the provinces and territories, direct spending, and tax measures for families. This is the largest investment in early childhood development and early learning and child care in the history of Canada.

We are also making work pay. We often hear about the dilemma of the working poor, who cannot make ends meet, even when they have full-time jobs. To make work pay, in 2007 we introduced the working income tax benefit, or WITB. This is a refundable tax credit that supplements the earnings of low-income workers to ensure they are financially better off when they are employed. Up to 1.5 million working individuals and their families receive assistance through the WITB.

More people working means more people who can support themselves and their families. Of course, more people working in better-paid jobs means more equality in our society. One of the best ways to reduce inequality, of course, is through education first, and we are funding programs like Pathways to Education Canada that encourage secondary school students in low-income communities to stay in school.

Our government also makes significant investments to ensure that students and their families can afford post-secondary education. We offer incentives to help families save for their children's educations; subsidized loans and grants to help students cover both education and living expenses; and tax credits for tuition and books.

We have also taken significant action to make post-secondary education more accessible and affordable and to help students make informed career decisions in line with labour market needs. Young people, however, often feel that they are not getting a fair chance in the labour market. It is true that their unemployment rate is higher than the national average, and that is certainly a cause of inequality. Our government invests, however, more than $330 million a year in the youth employment strategy to help young people between the ages of 15 and 30 gain the skills and work experience they need to make a successful transition to the labour market.

We are also encouraging Canadians to go into the skilled trades, where they can make excellent wages. We now offer both grants and loans to help apprentices complete their training in Red Seal trades. For example, in January, we officially launched the Canada apprentice loan. The loan will provide apprentices with interest-free loans of up to $4,000 to complete their technical training in a Red Seal trade. Anyone pursuing one of the 57 categories of designated Red Seal trades, from electrician to sheet metal worker, can apply. This initiative will assist more apprentices in completing their training and encourage more Canadians to consider a career in the skilled trades, and we expect that 26,000 apprentices per year will benefit from $100 million in loans.

The Government of Canada offers several other existing supports for apprentices. The apprenticeship incentive grant provides $1,000 to apprentices who have completed their first and/or second year or level, up to $2,000. The apprenticeship completion grant provides an additional $2,000 to apprentices who have completed their training and obtained their journeyman certification. In total, an apprentice can receive $4,000 from our government with these two grants. To date, our government has already provided over 500,000 apprenticeship grants.

There is no doubt, though, that too many people in our society are still out of a job and left on the sidelines. That is why our government offers a number of targeted training and employment programs for vulnerable and under-represented groups, such as aboriginal people, youth, people with disabilities and newcomers.

Canada's economy has demonstrated the capacity to create jobs, setting the conditions for Canadians and their families to be successful. A recent Statistics Canada study found that the median net worth of Canadian families was up by 44.5% from 2005. Our government's economic strategy has a direct and positive impact on Canadian families and children each and every day, at the dinner table, paying the rent or the mortgage, shopping for winter clothes and in so many other areas.

We believe that families are the building block of our society and are critical to Canada's long-term prosperity. That is why the government takes a direct role in supporting a number of initiatives that offer help to millions of families across this country.

The universal child care plan respects the role of parents in determining how to best care for their children, and recognizes the responsibility of the provincial and territorial governments for the delivery of child care services.

In addition, there are existing measures in place as part of the employment insurance program that support low-income families and individuals. For example, the family supplement allows low-income families with children to receive up to 80% of their insured earnings, higher than the normal rate of 55%.

In 2011-12, low-income families received $112.6 million in additional benefits through the family supplement. The program also offers a premium refund to low-income workers. Individuals with less than $2,000 of insured earnings are eligible to have their EI premiums refunded after having completed their personal income tax forms.

Our government also recognizes the emotional and financial challenges faced by parents when a child has a life-threatening illness or injury and the important role parents play in that child's recovery. As part of the Helping Families in Need Act, the parents of critically ill children EI special benefit provides income support for up to 35 weeks to parents or legal guardians of children under 18 years of age with a life-threatening illness or injury.

As all members know, young children need stability in the home, but they also need better access to education as they move into their teen years and eventually into the workforce. Through the Canada education savings program, the government encourages families to start saving early for their children's education.

Modest-income families benefit from the Canada learning bond. The Canada learning bond is $500 that the federal government deposits into a registered education savings plan, or RESP. A child may be eligible for another $100 per year, up to a maximum of $2,000.

Most important, parents or primary caregivers do not have to contribute any of their own money to receive the Canada learning bond. When we open an RESP, we can also receive the Canada education savings grant. The federal government adds between 20% and 40% of contributions to the RESP, depending on income, with a lifetime maximum of $7,200 per child.

We truly believe the most effective approach to raising the incomes of Canadians and their families is to keep growing this economy and help ensure that Canadians are well equipped with the skills required to obtain and keep the well-paying jobs available today and in the future. That is why our government's top priorities remain creating jobs, economic growth and long-term prosperity.

We on this side of the House are very proud of the progress we have made over the past few years in improving the lives of families and children. We will continue to support these initiatives and look for even better ways to meet our future challenges.

Taxation March 9th, 2015

Mr. Speaker, while the NDP and the Liberals want to impose a job-killing carbon tax, the Conservative government is delivering the largest tax breaks in Canadian history. With our new family tax cut, the average family will receive more than $1,100 per year to spend on their priorities.

But that is not all. We have also doubled the children's fitness tax credit and enhanced the universal child care benefit. All parents, including single parents, will benefit from our plan. That is over four million families and over seven million parents.

Perhaps only someone with a trust fund would think that middle-class families can afford higher taxes and higher prices, which is what the Liberal leader would do. We reject the high-tax, high-debt Liberal plan. Our government will continue to stand up for middle-class families.

Tougher Penalties for Child Predators Act February 25th, 2015

Mr. Speaker, to the best of my knowledge the Canadian Centre for Child Protection is located in Winnipeg. It is one of the strongest supporters of this government's allocation of resources and initiatives to fight child pornography, child exploitation, and ensure that we are standing up for victims of crime. I do not believe it is suggesting that this government has short-changed organizations with respect to resources to do this important work in any way.

What is important today is that we are debating a piece of legislation that will amend the Criminal Code of Canada. It is our job as parliamentarians to pass laws that protect Canadians. That is the focus tonight and that is what we should continue to do, do our job and pass legislation that protects children.