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Conservative MP for Flamborough—Glanbrook (Ontario)
Won his last election, in 2015, with 44% of the vote.
Statements in the House
Business of Supply October 20th, 2016
Mr. Speaker, I want to remind the parliamentary secretary that a committee of parliamentarians is not government action. It is independent parliamentarians coming together to try to make recommendations to the government because of actions that have not been taken for two years. The hon. member spent the time when he did focus on Yazidis laying the blame at our partners' feet.
I am assuming that if we are in a partnership, part of the partnership is direction and part of our responsibility when we are working with our partners is to insist on specific directions that are actually going to save people from genocide. Rather than lay the blame at our partners' feet, will the member not recognize that Germany was able to come up with an innovative way to rescue 1,000 Yazidis? Will he be committed right now to the same kind of innovation to make sure that the record of nine will be in the past and will he move right away to rescuing Yazidis now?
The Environment October 7th, 2016
Mr. Speaker, all week the Liberals have been trying to portray themselves as Robin Hood in their own carbon-tax forest, all the while acting like the Sheriff of Nottingham, shaking down Canadians to build their own kingdom.
It is no fairy tale that the cost of everything will go up under the Prime Minister's plan. For my constituents, the commute to Kitchener-Waterloo or into the GTA, or a flight out of Hamilton airport, or simply putting fuel in a tractor will cost them more.
When will the Liberals come clean about their motives to the Canadian people? Even Friar Tuck and Maid Marian would like to know.
Human Trafficking October 6th, 2016
Mr. Speaker, last Friday, I held a round table discussion in my riding on the plague that is called human sex trafficking.
Alarmingly, Ontario has become a major hub for human trafficking, and even more alarming is that the victims are predominantly girls with an average age of 14.
Attending the round table were victims service providers; the Hamilton Police Service; and Laurie Scott, MPP, who introduced a private member's bill on this issue in the Ontario legislature. The attendees were unanimous that more resources and collaboration between all levels of government and police services was needed to combat this heinous crime.
I know the subject well. The largest human trafficking arrest and conviction in Canadian history took place not far from my home in 2012.
I ask all members of the House to work with local victims groups and police, and I call on the government to continue to make ending human trafficking a priority, as our Conservative government did in 2012 with legislation that has delivered tangible results.
Let us hope that there will be a thanksgiving in the not too distant future when no Canadian family will need to worry that their daughter has been lured into and lost to this horrible crime.
National Security and Intelligence Committee of Parliamentarians Act September 28th, 2016
Madam Speaker, the lack of consultation, the power of the Prime Minister, the way the chair was chosen, and this committee's lack of investigative capability are all huge problems that fly in the face of the openness and transparency the Liberals campaigned on.
The security and intelligence committee in the U.K. that the Liberals say they fashioned this committee after has nine members, and they are appointed after consultation with the opposition, and then by all members of both Houses.
Does the member agree that this bears no similarity to that Westminster tradition in the U.K.?
Questions Passed as Orders for Returns June 17th, 2016
With regard to the renting of venues or properties for executive retreats or meetings outside of a government department, agency, or Crown corporation’s own offices, for all government departments, agencies and Crown corporations, and for the period of November 4, 2015, to April 22, 2016: (a) what was the total cost of the rental of these venues, broken down by department, agency, and Crown corporation; (b) how many times were venues or properties contracted for or rented, broken down by department, agency and Crown corporation; and (c) in each case, (i) what was the name and location of the venue or property, (ii) what was the purpose of the venue or property rental, (iii) how many people attended the retreat or meeting, (iv) what was the overall cost of the rental of the venue?
Questions Passed as Orders for Returns June 17th, 2016
With regard to the Prime Minister’s Office, ministerial exempt staff, and Ministers, for the period of November 4, 2015, to April 22, 2016, what is the total amount incurred for airline change fees, as well as the details of each change fee incurred including the date, amount, and reason for change?
Questions on the Order Paper June 17th, 2016
With regard to changes to government advertising policies, and as of April 22, 2016, what are the details of any changes made during the prior six-month period?
Taxpayer Bill of Rights June 15th, 2016
Madam Speaker, it is always an honour and a privilege to speak in the chamber. I would like to thank my colleague, the member for Calgary Rocky Ridge for the motion. I believe my colleague tabled the motion with the best of intentions and great practicality.
I would like to say up front that I am profoundly disappointed by the tone of the last two speeches that were partisan in nature rather than realistic about what actually happens in our constituency offices. All the members in the House, once they have had just a few months of experience, know, although there might be some differences, that one of the number one areas that all of us deal with are constituents who have concerns with the Canada Revenue Agency. Those concerns end up being very emotional for them. It is very emotional for anyone whenever there are concerns with their bank account and their pocketbook. The member for Calgary Rocky Ridge is simply trying to do the best he can in a motion to the finance committee to ensure that some of those concerns are addressed.
In the multitude of concerns that come into our constituency offices, fortunately, with a couple of phone calls, sometimes with faxes, these situations can be cleared up. We actually have to use a fax machine in order to communicate with Canada Revenue Agency. My colleague over here seems to think we cannot have any improvements. We are still using a fax machine to communicate with the Canada Revenue Agency, so there are some improvements we could make. Fortunately, most of the time, with a couple of faxes and some phone calls, most of the situations are cleared up.
However, as the hon. member for Calgary Rocky Ridge illustrated so well on April 18 with the stories of Irv from British Columbia, Doug from Alberta, and Janet from Ontario, there are times when the Canada Revenue Agency has wronged Canadians and stubbornly refuses to correct its errors. Even worse, it causes significant financial and emotional strain on Canadian taxpayers. It is true it does not happen often, but when we look at the details and circumstances of the stories illustrated by Irv, Doug, and Janet, our goal should be that it should never happen. This is why we have a taxpayers' ombudsman and a taxpayers' bill of rights. On that we can all agree, and for good reasons.
What Motion No. 43 is seeking to do is simply ask the Standing Committee on Finance to study ways to establish an enforceable duty of care from CRA to all Canadians by taking five very reasonable steps. One would think that is fair enough.
As Canada Day approaches, we know Canadians are mindful that we are all indeed very blessed and fortunate to live in this great land. It is a privilege that was hard won by the courageous young women and men who defended our values in two world wars, Korea, Afghanistan, and many peacekeeping missions. It is a privilege that continues to be earned today by our women and men in uniform.
With the privilege of citizenship comes the duty to pay taxes so that our society can function in the caring, compassionate way we all want it to function. I do not believe Canadians object to paying taxes when they believe they are fair and instituted democratically and when governments of any level respect the hard work that provided those tax dollars, and spend the money wisely according to that respect.
Fair is fair. Canadians are known around the world for fairness and compassion. That is why I take exception, along with my colleagues, to the comments made by the Parliamentary Secretary to the Minister of National Revenue in debate of this motion on April 18. The parliamentary secretary noted the $185-million investment in telephone technology and easier-to-understand correspondence at CRA. We accept that as good, but we do not accept that as enough. Those are well-meaning and reasonable improvements, but they are not mutually exclusive with exploring ways the taxpayers' bill of rights can be enhanced with an enforceable duty of care.
Further, the parliamentary secretary levelled a familiar accusation our way, stating that the Conservatives are smearing public servants again. We heard that here again tonight. Well, that is just a bunch of balderdash. The vast majority of our federal officials are dedicated to serving Canadians. I have mentioned this on innumerable occasions, and so have my colleagues. We have also said all along that the vast majority of Canadians file and dutifully pay their taxes without incident. However, that does not preclude a study of continuous improvement. That is all we are asking for here. That is not anti-public servant. That is pro-taxpayer. Perhaps most arrogantly, he said this is a solution in search of a problem that does not exist.
Well, I think he needs to visit some of our offices more often. Canadian taxpayers who have survived ordeals with CRA that have impacted their health, their finances, and their homes would disagree vehemently.
I reject the notion that CRA, or any other government body, is beyond reproach, unable to make a mistake, or above the law. When someone is wronged, is it unreasonable to expect a dignified and expedient resolution? When many individual taxpayers, citizens, and permanent residents provide tens of thousands of dollars in revenue to the Government of Canada, should they not expect more?
Let us look at what the hon. member for Calgary Rocky Ridge is asking the Standing Committee on Finance to do over the next 18 months and put it in perspective.
All of us here have had some interaction with the health care system in Canada during the course of our lifetimes, and hopefully most here, and the majority of Canadians, have been blessed not to have had too much interaction with the system. While there are always concerns and issues, we know that the public health care system is a source of pride for Canadians.
For the purpose of illustration, let me compare what we are asking for in this motion to a critically ill patient in a Canadian hospital asking the same of the hospital's ombudsperson.
We are asking for an enforceable duty of care between the CRA and individual taxpayers. Most hospitals already have such a code, and certainly the professionals who run them, the doctors and nurses, absolutely do. This is very reasonable.
We are asking for the insertion of reasonable and necessary steps to avoid vexatious, malicious, and grossly negligent actions. In health care, this is a called good bedside manner, quality administration, and avoiding malpractice. These are all good, reasonable things to do, especially when it is a matter of life and death.
We are asking to empower the Taxpayers' Ombudsman. By comparison, in a health care setting, a patient ombudsman is automatically respected and is given the deference she or he is due. In more serious situations, where there is medical power of attorney, it is enforceable by law.
We are asking for service matters to be dealt with in a timely manner. In medicine, time is always of the essence, and again, that is not unreasonable.
These are just four comparisons. However, I believe that all members can see the point. This is not a solution in search of a problem, as the Parliamentary Secretary to the Minister of National Revenue so arrogantly put it. This is as reasonable a code for taxpayers as it is for patients, and we should aspire to and embrace this level of care.
The Standing Committee on Finance would have 18 months to study best practices, consider the best approach, and consult with experts, which is entirely doable in 18 months. All we need is the political will to stand up for taxpayers.
That is why I urge all members who believe in serving and representing their constituents who have come to see them in regard to CRA members, who believe in the best nature of Canadians who pay their taxes in support of the privilege and honour of citizenship, and who also believe in fairness for taxpayers to vote yes to this motion.
This motion would give the Standing Committee on Finance the mandate to support good customer service and accountability. That is what we are asking for. It is a reasonable request that this motion be approved by the House so that the standing committee can do the work and make good and reasonable improvements to the Canada Revenue Agency for all Canadians.
Petitions June 3rd, 2016
The second petition is a large petition that calls upon Parliament and government to pass a resolution to establish measures to stop the Chinese Communist regime's crime of systematically murdering Falun Gong practitioners for their organs, to amend Canadian legislation to combat forced organ harvesting, and to publicly call for an end to the persecution of Falun Gong practitioners in China.
Petitions June 3rd, 2016
Madam Speaker, I have two separate petitions on two different subjects.
The first petition calls upon the Government of Canada to maintain the listing of the Islamic Republic of Iran as a state supporter of terrorism, pursuant to section 6.1 of the State Immunity Act, for as long as the Iranian regime continues to sponsor terrorism.