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Crucial Fact

  • His favourite word was terms.

Last in Parliament October 2015, as Conservative MP for Sault Ste. Marie (Ontario)

Lost his last election, in 2015, with 31% of the vote.

Statements in the House

Inauguration of Pope March 19th, 2013

Mr. Speaker, an estimated 14 million Catholics in Canada, along with the rest of the world, have been watching today as Jorge Mario Bergoglio was installed as Pope Francis, Supreme Pontiff of the Catholic Church and 265th successor to Saint Peter. He is the first pontiff from Latin America.

Could the Minister of Transport please update the House on Canada's representation at this historic event?

Curling March 18th, 2013

Mr. Speaker, for the first time since 1985, when skip Brad Jacobs was born, a team from northern Ontario will represent Canada at the world men's curling championship.

I would like to congratulate my riding of Sault Ste. Marie's skip Brad Jacobs, third Ryan Fry, second E.J. Harnden and lead Ryan Harnden for their outstanding performance in winning the 2013 Brier and for being the first ever Brier champions to come out of the Soo. The Jacobs rink won its final six games, becoming only the second rink since 1995 to come out of the 3-4 game to win the Brier. In the playoffs it defeated Team Newfoundland and Labrador 6-5 and Team Ontario 9-7, culminating in a resounding 11-4 victory in the final over Team Manitoba.

At age 27, Brad Jacobs is the second-youngest skip to win the Brier and also won the Hec Gervais award as Brier playoff MVP. Brad Jacobs' Team Canada rink will now represent Canada at the world curling championship starting on March 30 in Victoria, B.C. I know all MPs in the House will be cheering Team Jacobs on to victory.

Ted Brooks February 26th, 2013

Mr. Speaker, a well known community leader, Ted Brooks, passed away on December 4, leaving a huge void in my riding of Sault Ste. Marie.

Ted was the proud owner and founder of Eazy Express, a company that grew to be the largest contractor for Canada Post in Canada.

Ted was fondly recognized in the community through his numerous philanthropic involvements, including sponsorship of team Eazy Express, who will be representing northern Ontario for the fourth consecutive year at this year's Brier.

Last week I had the pleasure to host community volunteers from Habitat for Humanity and St. Vincent Place at a local Soo Greyhound game in the Eazy Express suite, courtesy of Ted's wife, JoAnne.

Recipient of the Queen Elizabeth II Diamond Jubilee Medal and the local Chamber of Commerce president's award for going above and beyond the call of duty in business and community development, Ted was never someone to seek recognition. He was content to work quietly behind the scenes.

I was honoured to enjoy a close friendship with Ted, who was also my campaign manager. I am indebted to Ted. He will be deeply missed.

Business of Supply February 7th, 2013

Mr. Speaker, to speak to the Library of Parliament specifically, which is where the parliamentary budget office belongs, we all believe that the researchers within the Library of Parliament do excellent work on our behalf. In terms of the Parliamentary Budget Officer, maybe his mandate needs to be clarified. I suggest moving forward we might look at where he did overstep his mandate, if in fact he did, for the future Parliamentary Budget Officer who takes office.

Business of Supply February 7th, 2013

Mr. Speaker, what we need to look at is what is factored into the costs of the F-35 and what we refer to as life cycle costing. As a government we have always used a 20-year life cycle costing. The Parliamentary Budget Officer chose to use a different methodology. Ultimately what has come out of this is that we will have some clear definition of life cycle costing. We have come to our seven-point plan with the secretariat for procurement. Ultimately all the costs will be clear. KPMG just did a study, which reaffirmed the acquisition costs as being $9 billion. It reaffirmed the ongoing operating costs.

Quite frankly, the reports were very accurate and the government was very accurate.

Business of Supply February 7th, 2013

Mr. Speaker, I guess it really boils to what is need for making this position an officer of Parliament?

Under the position's current mandate, the Parliamentary Budget Officer is to provide independent analysis to Parliament on the state of the nation's finances, government estimates and trends in the Canadian economy. The role is not designed to be an independent watchdog. It is not designed to be an auditor general, chief electoral officer, privacy commissioner or access to information commissioner. All of those are independent officers, but that is not what this role was designed to be. The PBO is functioning perfectly well within the Library of Parliament, and that is where it belongs.

As for replacing the PBO, who has a five-year appointment, it is up to the Library of Parliament to go through the short list, which it is doing right now in looking for new candidates. The Library of Parliament will make the selection on behalf of the House of Commons, the Senate and the Government of Canada.

Business of Supply February 7th, 2013

Mr. Speaker, I will be splitting my time with the member for Palliser.

I would like to take this opportunity to restate the government's view of the parliamentary budget office. As members know, it was the Conservative government that created the Office of the Parliamentary Budget Officer to provide independent analysis to the House of Commons and Senate about the state of the nation's finances and the economy.

This office was a key element in the Federal Accountability Act that demonstrated our commitment to accountable government following 13 years of Liberal mismanagement. In fact, strengthening accountability and increasing the transparency of our public institutions has been one of the hallmarks of this government.

On coming into office, our first order of business was to introduce and implement the Federal Accountability Act. This act provided Canadians with the assurance that the powers entrusted in the government were being exercised in the public interest.

Some of those items from the Federal Accountability Act included reforming the financing of political parties, banning secret donations to political candidates, strengthening the role of the Ethics Commissioner, toughening the Lobbyists Registration Act, making qualified government appointments, cleaning up the procurement of government contracts, cleaning up government polling and advertising, providing real protection for whistleblowers, and strengthening access to information legislation.

The act was wholeheartedly embraced by Canadians. That was just under seven years ago. The Federal Accountability Act and its supporting action plan contain dozens of measures and hundreds of amendments to some 45 federal statutes, touching virtually every part of government and beyond.

We did not stop there. We recognized that parliamentarians and parliamentary committees needed access to independent, objective analysis and advice on economic and fiscal issues to better hold the government to account for its decisions.

That is why we established the Office of Parliamentary Budget Officer within the Library of Parliament. The mandate of that office is to provide independent analysis to the Senate and House of Commons about the state of the nation's finances, the estimates of the government and trends in the national economy. It is to undertake research on the nation's finances and economy and the estimates of the government when requested to do so by certain parliamentary committees. When requested to do so by a member or a committee, it is to estimate the financial cost of any proposal relating to a matter over which Parliament has jurisdiction.

Essentially, the job of the Parliamentary Budget Officer is to give parliamentarians information and independent analysis they can use, along with information provided by the government, to hold the government to account with respect to the nation's finances and the economy.

This is exactly what has happened since the office was formed in March 2008. The Parliamentary Budget Officer has published many reports since his appointment. In his role within the Library of Parliament, the PBO has studied many things, including our government's economic action plan, which has created more than 900,000 net new jobs since July 2009.

The Parliamentary Budget Officer's position within the Library of Parliament provides an excellent platform for the officer to perform credible, non-partisan research and analysis on fiscal matters within his mandate.

Our Conservative government has continued to provide Canadians, parliamentarians and the Parliamentary Budget Officer with record amounts of information on government spending.

Another hallmark of this government has been the strong management of the nation's finances and the economy since 2006. In fact, I am happy to say that the main message of the Parliamentary Budget Officer's most recent report, the “Expenditure Monitor: 2012-13 Q2,” is that the government is on track with its spending reductions. In other words, our reductions in direct program spending are in line with the restraint efforts we announced in budget 2012.

The “Expenditure Monitor“ is a periodic report that examines recent changes in the government's expenditures and compares them to our stated expenditure plans. As the report makes clear, we are making good headway toward our goals of contributing to balanced budgets and reducing growth in government. I would add that the Parliamentary Budget Officer is not the only who thinks so. Our strong management of the national economy is recognized around the world.

For a few years now, Forbes magazine has ranked Canada among the best countries in the world to operate, thanks to our sound banking system, declining tax rates and, yes, our relative lack of red tape. Also, in December, Canada cracked the global top 10 when it comes to corporate tax competitiveness, according to a report by PricewaterhouseCoopers. It looked at our tax rates, now the lowest among the G7, as well as the number of hours it takes a business to fill out all the forms and actually pay those taxes. Guess what? Under our Conservative government, Canada went from 28th in the world in 2010 to 8th place.

However, taxation is not the only area where Canada is outperforming. Canadian economic growth has also been more resilient than growth in other G7 economies, both during the recession as well as throughout the recovery. Most striking, Canada has outperformed all other G7 economies in job creation during the recovery. Our government remains on track to balance the budget in the medium term and to maintain its position of having the best fiscal record in the G7 with the lowest debt to GDP ratio.

Taken together, it is not surprising then that Canada is internationally recognized as one of the best places in the world to do business. Our fiscal situation is the envy of other nations. Our taxes are low. We continue to create jobs and we are cutting red tape. This is what we were mandated to do and it is exactly what we are doing.

I would add to that list our strong commitment to accountability and transparency, as demonstrated by our government's sweeping anti-corruption measures under the Federal Accountability Act. It was our government that created the parliamentary budget office. We believe it is capable, in its current form, of conducting credible, non-partisan support for parliamentarians.

Veterans Affairs February 6th, 2013

Mr. Speaker, our government is focused on the well-being of Canada's veterans. When questions arose about the potential risks of exposure to depleted uranium, the Minister of Veterans Affairs struck an arm's-length committee of international medical experts to study the issue. The committee spent countless hours meeting with witnesses and reviewing evidence from around the globe. The minister promised to make this report public so veterans and Canadians could be assured they would have the best information available.

Will the Minister of Veterans Affairs please update the House on this important promise?

Sault Ste. Marie October 30th, 2012

Mr. Speaker, jobs, growth and long-term prosperity are all evident in Sault Ste. Marie. I am pleased to speak today about a recent survey published in The Financial Post entitled, “Communities in Boom: Canada's Top Entrepreneurial Cities”. The survey was conducted by the Canadian Federation of Independent Business, and it ranked my riding of Sault Ste. Marie second in Ontario and 23rd in the country. The survey, based on entrepreneurial rankings, studied things such as business-hiring growth, overall state of business, industry diversity and life satisfaction.

In the last year, Sault Ste. Marie has climbed in its entrepreneurial ranking from 49th to 23rd in Canada, one of the biggest increases in the “Communities in Boom” rankings. The economic health and growth of a community correlates with the life satisfaction of those who live and work there. In the study, Sault Ste. Marie scored exceptionally high in the life satisfaction component.

Saultites are proud of their city, and I am extremely honoured to represent them here today.

Leader of the New Democratic Party of Canada October 15th, 2012

Mr. Speaker, many Canadians wrestle with a significant decision around this time of year: when to turn on their heat for the winter.

Should the NDP leader get his way and implement his carbon tax, that decision will be a lot harder. The NDP leader's carbon tax would significantly increase the cost of heating our homes.

On this side of the House we understand that Canadians are already doing everything they can to conserve energy and keep their energy bills down. We fundamentally disagree with the NDP leader and his members opposite, who would punish Canadians with a chilling carbon tax.

We will continue to stand with Canadians against the NDP leader's carbon tax, which would increase the cost of gas, groceries and electricity.