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Crucial Fact

  • Her favourite word is liberals.

Conservative MP for Kamloops—Thompson—Cariboo (B.C.)

Won her last election, in 2015, with 35% of the vote.

Statements in the House

Business of Supply October 5th, 2017

Mr. Speaker, we have also heard today that the health committee is reviewing this whole issue intensively and looking at all the different opportunities. What the NDP has done, which is typical of the NDP, is to go to the universal system, one that is universal for everyone, and they do not analyze the different opportunities that could present themselves.

I agree that perhaps there are opportunities, but most importantly, we do not want the federal government with its big bureaucracy taking over something like the Liberals did with the Phoenix system and making a huge mess of something so important.

Business of Supply October 5th, 2017

Mr. Speaker, that is a very important point. My issue is that we do not necessarily need to look at a one-size-fits-all universal program. There are many opportunities to be flexible and creative to make sure that those who are most in need get support. There are other ways to support small businesses. I look at how the Liberal government could have reduced the tax burden like they promised to do. Had they not been threatening our small businesses with extraordinary changes in how they are taxed, then perhaps our small businesses would have had more of an opportunity to invest in their employees and business.

Business of Supply October 5th, 2017

Mr. Speaker, the point my colleague is making is very clearly that one size fits all will not work for how we both administer and deliver our systems. We know that the First Nations Health Authority in B.C. is part of self governance by first nations in British Columbia. They have chosen a way to create access to medication that will be far more seamless. Instead of someone going through the very centralized bureaucratic system of the first nations non-insured health benefits program, they will be able to bring their status card, see a pharmacist, and have the seamless provision and delivery of pharmaceuticals.

On the issue pf appropriate prescriptions, we all know about the opioid crisis not only in the north but also across this country, and certainly in Vancouver and British Columbia. It is a huge issue, although perhaps that is a bigger debate for another day.

Business of Supply October 5th, 2017

Mr. Speaker, I am really pleased to join the debate today. I will be sharing my time with the member for Yellowhead.

I want to thank the NDP for this motion, because the discussion around access to pharmaceuticals is really important. Today we are having an important discussion for all Canadians.

We have heard about the many people who are having challenges accessing medicines. Despite this being an important debate, the NDP has jumped to a one-model solution. I am not entirely convinced that a one-model solution would really be in the best interests of Canadians as we move forward.

The NDP members have lots of heartfelt goals they want to achieve, whether universal child care or housing or many other items. Here I would also note that they tend to be complicit with the Liberals in supporting things that destroy our economy instead of building it. The very difficult news today about energy east and the government's decision to back away from that project was applauded by the NDP. The Liberals made it such a challenge to move that forward.

The NDP are complicit with the Liberals in creating an economic environment that will, over the next few years, make it more challenging to enact the programs they want for Canadians. There should be some careful reflection by both the Liberals and the NDP on how to create an economy that will allow us to do the things that all Canadians want us to do, whether around pharmaceuticals or giving a hand up to those in need. That is my first point.

The next point I want to make is about the issue of constitutional jurisdiction. I remember being on the health committee. At the time, the Bloc had official party status. I can remember that whenever we talked about doing anything national for health, the Bloc members regularly reminded us that health was in their jurisdiction and that federal government should give the provinces the money but not talk about moving forward with any national programs. They felt that the provinces were very capable of dealing with it. The Bloc members said it very explicitly. We hear that from many of the provinces. Even in the most recent negotiations that were held, we heard the provinces saying that the federal government should send the money, but they were very reluctant to be told what to do with it. I think they are rightfully concerned about any large federal government program.

Again, the federal government should probably stick to the pieces of governance that it is actually responsible for. I look at the Liberals and the Phoenix pay system as an example. If the federal government cannot even create a pay system to pay its own employees, how can we expect it to implement a national pharmacare program? The government has a couple hundred thousand employees it needs to pay, but it is much more complex to have a national pharmacare program providing drugs for millions of people. I would be very leery of putting anything like this into the hands of the Liberal government especially, which has shown itself to be inept at that kind of delivery. It is not in the federal government's responsibilities.

I look at the medical marijuana issue, which is another area where the Liberal government, quite frankly, has created a real mess. We have landlords whose homes are being ruined. The Liberals have set up a system that will not work very well, because that is not their area of expertise.

If the NDP is suggesting that they want the Liberal government to take over negotiations and create something that is very complex, it should perhaps rethink what it is asking for.

I really do want to talk about the solutions.

Ten percent of the population is under-insured, and 2% is not covered by a plan. I think that every one of us agrees that we need to find a way to deal effectively with the examples we have heard today. We need to make sure that someone has their diabetes medication, especially those with low incomes. Just as I have always said that the government should not be paying for my child care when I can afford it, we should be focusing on the people who cannot afford child care and to work at the same time.

I also believe there is a role and an opportunity for those of us who, quite frankly, have advantages in life to pay our fair share and to save those valuable dollars for the people who perhaps need it the most. That is the whole idea of universality versus having people support themselves, and we need to make sure that when the opportunities arise, they can take advantage of them.

I want to talk about British Columbia, which we have not talked much about. Some provinces have moved forward, and again this is about the nimbleness of the provinces and their ability to create a system and solutions that work for their province. What might work in Prince Edward Island, which is a small island, might not work in British Columbia, which is much larger, more diverse, and has many more issues in terms of rural and remote communities. This universal one-size-fits-all approach is probably not going to be the most effective way to deal with it.

A number of years ago, B.C. put in fair pharmacare, a provincial income-based program designed to provide fair access to coverage for prescription drugs. The lower a person's income, the more assistance the government will provide them toward eligible drug costs. It is available to single people or families. For example, if a person's net income for two years is $15,000 or less and they are registered for fair pharmacare, they will have 70% of their eligible prescription drug costs covered immediately, with no deductible.

I think that is a good example where, perhaps, if there were additional money provided for the pharmaceutical system, they might be able to look at it and be more responsive. There might still be a few gaps, but a system has been set-up that works and recognizes income.

British Columbia has also done something very interesting in the last little while that perhaps some of the other provinces can learn from. We should be very proud. What they have done is that the first nations health benefit plan is now under BC PharmaCare as of October 1. This was done in partnership with the First Nations Health Authority in B.C., and they joined with the drug insurance program PharmaCare. With this change, first nation clients of the drug services of Canada's longstanding federal system moved to a new made-in-B.C. pharmacare plan designed specifically for first nation clients. Previously, they received this through their non-insured health benefits. B.C. put in place regulations to change and integrate the system.

This week I had an opportunity to talk to pharmacists and asked if this were going to work. They said it would greatly improve their ability to provide prescriptions to the first nation communities they serve, or the indigenous people who come in for medication. They said they were having real challenges before and that this was an amazing change. What I am getting at is that provinces are more nimble and flexible. They can create best practices.

I have listened to a lot, but not all, of the debate today. The NDP have not yet convinced me that their motion and plan is going to be the best way forward to really make sure that those who need drug coverage the most will be the ones who will get it.

Indigenous Affairs October 4th, 2017

Mr. Speaker, last week the Minister of Indigenous Services gave a great speech about her commitment to improving health services for first nations. The Minister of Crown-Indigenous Relations and Northern Affairs went on Twitter to encourage people to call Health Canada if they know a child who needs care. What they did not say was that then the government was going to fight them in court all the way.

It was $110,000. How can the Prime Minister explain to Canadians again that a convicted terrorist he had no obligation to pay gets $10.5 million, but he is going to fight Josey and her family all the way in court?

Indigenous Affairs October 4th, 2017

Mr. Speaker, the Liberal government needs to gain some perspective. It rushed a $10.5 million payout to convicted terrorist Omar Khadr. It had no legal obligation to do so. At the same time, the government is fighting Josey, a young Cree girl who needs $6,000 worth of dental surgery. It spent $110,000 fighting her in court.

Can the Prime Minister stand up and justify why a convicted terrorist gets a rushed payment, while the Liberals continue to fight Josey and her family in court?

Business of Supply October 3rd, 2017

Madam Speaker, they might make $250,000 a year, but then they have to take $100,000 or $150,000 off in terms of the expenses of their operation, and the next year they might not make anything.

Again, I will use ranching families as an example. They might have made a good income a few years after the BSE outbreak. They had terrible times before that. They made good income, and left the money in their companies. Now they are having to draw down because they are in crisis. They might make $250,000, but that has to be netted out. We then need to look at the difference over the years.

The fact that the member is using that kind of comparison is absolutely shameful.

Business of Supply October 3rd, 2017

Madam Speaker, we are talking about a pretty simple proposal, which is that the Liberals look at this issue further. The finance committee has had many recommendations, endorsed by many parties over the years that have talked about more comprehensive reviews. Conservatives are talking about putting a halt to the closure of this consultation period. As I indicated, British Columbia just lifted the state of emergency. How could people have paid any attention to what is going on here? It is time to spend a little more time getting the information the government needs to make sure that what it does is done properly.

Business of Supply October 3rd, 2017

Madam Speaker, the whole problem is that the Liberals have not listened to a thing we have said during this debate. We are for tax fairness. What the Liberals do not recognize is that they have created a system that is about tax unfairness. It is about tax unfairness for the many people with small and medium-sized businesses who have worked very hard. Rather than speaking the talking points all the time, it is about time they listened to people like the lawyers, accountants, and small business operators and understand the important impact these changes are going to have on their lives and their livelihoods.

Business of Supply October 3rd, 2017

Mr. Speaker, before we were interrupted for question period, I was talking about the process. I was suggesting that perhaps the Liberals, instead of reading the talking points generated by their leadership, should be listening to some experts. I have three experts I was talking about.

I am going to go back to the quote from the B.C. Chamber of Commerce. This is a group that prides itself on trying to be non-partisan, but in this case, it had to talk policy. We are talking about the process. It said:

The federal government has engaged in rhetoric that divides the country, directly stating that small business owners do not “contribute” to the wellbeing of the country and implying poor character on their part if they employ tax planning strategies that were established many years ago, to encourage the growth and sustainability of innovation and entrepreneurship and to compensate small business owners for the higher level of risk they undertake in their venture, compared to that of an employee.

That is a very important group in Canada that represents business owners.

The next person I want to quote is a tax accountant, a very experienced person who works with small businesses. He was at a round table in the riding. Regarding the process, he said that there are consultation papers released all the time. They tend to be very mundane and very boring but are important to people like him. He said that the language in this release was very political. It said that the wealthy need to pay their fair share. The finance minister even tweeted that if people do not support changes then they oppose tax fairness.

The accountant said that this was supposed to be an open consultation, when the initial consultation paper and tweets from the finance minister indicated that it would be anything but. He went on to say that most of the organizations that will be impacted are not wealthy. They are mom-and-pop businesses, and they will be deeply affected. He said that the statement by the finance minister that it would not affect the middle class is absolutely false. It is not closing loopholes. These are policies that were developed for very purposeful reasons. As the chamber indicated, these are policies that were developed to support organizations, not loopholes. Even before the famous video by the member for Carleton about the pizza shop, he said that there is a pizza shop in the riding of Kamloops—Thompson—Cariboo that will also be impacted.

His next concern was the layers of bureaucracy for monitoring compliance. It will take a new horde of CRA auditors to monitor and watch that very nebulous language. This is an accountant who has very important knowledge and does this work all the time.

The next person who had something to say was an experienced tax lawyer. One of the things I thought was very interesting was that he said that tax changes are very complicated, and he doubts that most of the members in the House actually understand the implications and what the language in the proposed changes means. It is people like the accountant and the lawyer who really understand what is being proposed by the government. His bottom line was that the government has taken a sledgehammer when all it needed was a scalpel.

I suggest that the Liberals listen to these three experts, one who represents business, one who represents accounting organizations, and one who understands tax law. Perhaps they should look at the suggestion that we have an additional bit of a consultation period.

That is about the process. The process obviously has been botched. People are very upset. They are feeling insulted, hurt, and angry.

I want to talk about a couple of specific examples. First, I talked earlier about the ranching families in my riding. We were in a state of emergency until the long weekend in September. They are busy fixing their fences, looking for their cattle, and trying to recover their lives.

How can Liberals actually suggest that there has been adequate time for consultation, when people across British Columbia have been dealing with very difficult circumstances all summer? Tourism businesses have been incredibly impacted by the fire season. People do not have time right now to even consider what the changes are going to mean, much less provide meaningful consultation.

Finally, when we were in Winnipeg, I met with an aboriginal entrepreneur. She said she has never had a grant and has never asked the government for money. She was a single mom and started a business with her sweat and tears and many sleepless nights, like so many entrepreneurs. She grew her business. She is now in a position where she wants to turn her business over to her son, and her accountant has said that it is going to be much more difficult for her. The government talks a lot about consultation. The Liberals should be asking themselves if they have talked to aboriginal entrepreneurs across this country.

There is a reasoned argument to continue this consultation period, at least into January. It is certainly unprecedented to have so many dramatic changes in such a short time, during the dog days of summer and during an emergency situation in British Columbia. I urge all Liberals to vote for the motion.