House of Commons photo


Crucial Fact

  • Her favourite word was billion.

Last in Parliament September 2017, as Conservative MP for South Surrey—White Rock (B.C.)

Won her last election, in 2015, with 44% of the vote.

Statements in the House

The Budget April 4th, 2017

Mr. Speaker, clearly fairyland is going on over here, because the budget clearly states that transit infrastructure is going to be built according to ridership. If we have a community that is fast-growing, there is no ridership because there is no transportation. Therefore, the funding does not go to the growing communities.

Second, if we actually look at the budget, we see that 95% of the transit projects are not under way, they are not under construction, and they are not even going to be under construction until past the next election.

What about the people now? What about the people who need to function and live now without all of the taxes that the Liberals have put into this budget and into the lives of everyday Canadians? They need help now. They need help now when it comes to homelessness. They need help now when it comes to affordable housing. They need help now when they need to get to work. They need it now when they are struggling from paycheque to paycheque. They need those tax credits now.

The Budget April 4th, 2017

Madam Speaker, I am pleased that the drama lessons on this side of the House are paying off.

I am pleased to rise and speak to the 2017 budget that was tabled in the House on Wednesday, March 22.

During the election—and everybody knows this, including members on this side of the House—the Liberals went door to door promising they would run a small temporary deficit of $10 billion for two years and would then balance the budget in 2019. In 18 months, the Liberals have given Canadians a debt of $100 billion and no plan to balance the budget. Even if they started to try right now, they would not balance the budget until 2055. They have missed the target by 38 years.

Since budget 2016 was tabled, the Liberals have failed to deliver on a majority of the allocated infrastructure funds. Ninety-five per cent of the announced infrastructure projects are still not under construction.

As the critic for infrastructure, communities, and urban affairs, I had hope and optimism for budget 2017. I really thought the government had a chance to introduce a new infrastructure plan, a plan that would actually get infrastructure projects built instead of just announcing and reannouncing them; a plan that included transparency measures to ensure Canadians could clearly see where the infrastructure funds were going and how their tax dollars were being spent; a plan that included performance measures, a framework to measure progress and to ensure that the promised announcements were actually creating jobs and growing the economy; a plan that included clear funding commitments for Canadian municipalities; a plan that was transparent and accountable. After two parliamentary budget officer reports that identified these shortfalls, a Senate committee report that identified these shortfalls, two independent reports that identified these shortfalls, we see budget 2017 has included none of these measures. What we have is a back-ended budget. Canadians must wait. They must wait for child care dollars, housing, and transit projects.

The Liberal government is the government of announcements and reannouncements.

Several initiatives that support the most vulnerable will not start this year. They will not start next year. In some cases, they will not start until after 2022, well after the next election.

Let us just leave that piece for now.

I would like to switch gears for a moment and discuss infrastructure banks. Both the Prime Minister and the minister stated that we needed desperately to set up an infrastructure bank. Why? It was to leverage private sector dollars.

In 2009, the Conservative government set up PPP Canada specifically to leverage private sector dollars for infrastructure, and it worked. We leveraged almost $7 billion. The infrastructure is in place, the expertise is in place, and there is a proven record of success. Why does the government need to take $15 billion from Canadian communities, from rural communities, from projects that have already been announced and reannounced? In fact, $1.3 billion in committed funds from PPP Canada was already leveraged in public infrastructure.

As well, last August, during the Prime Minister's visit to China, he announced that Canada intended to join the Asian Infrastructure Investment Bank. This is an institution, backed by the Chinese government, is based out of Beijing, and it is specifically designed to build infrastructure projects in Asia. Upon its inception in 2014, both the Conservative government and the Obama administration decided that this bank was not the best way to use taxpayers' dollars, and both administrations decided to decline joining the bank.

Fast-forward to 2017, and it is clear that times have changed. This clearly shows where the Liberal government's priority is, so it was no surprise that this budget included $256 million committed from Canada for the Asian Infrastructure Investment Bank. However, what the budget conveniently left out is that Canadians will actually be on the hook for approximately $1.3 billion if the projects default, not just the $256 million that had been promised. Nowhere in the budget is this mentioned.

Going back to Canadian infrastructure, 95% of the announced infrastructure projects in Canada have not started construction. Instead of focusing on building projects here at home, the government is spending billions of dollars to build roads and bridges in Asia. Canadians need a government that is focused on their needs first, not spending their hard-earned taxpayer dollars overseas. Note that Liberal commitment spending outside Canada has exceeded $9 billion. The Liberal government members excel at telling Canadians how much they are spending on infrastructure, how they are creating jobs, how they are growing the economy, and how they are growing the middle class. Words are only words if there are no actions to back them up.

Furthermore, budget 2017 announced that the public transit tax credit will be eliminated starting July 1, 2017, Canada's 150th birthday. This common sense tax credit makes public transit more affordable for low-income workers, for students, and for seniors. In the budget, the Liberals have taken away the public transit tax credit that helps make public transit more affordable for Canada's most vulnerable. Their argument was that this tax did not help low-income Canadians because those who make less than $12,000 per year could not use the credit. Today we heard from another parliamentary secretary that the tax credit was for the rich. This is astounding, because I have never seen billionaires take a bus.

The rationale for slashing the tax-free savings account was that it was only for rich people. In my riding, seniors, the disabled, and youth are the ones using the TFSA and transit passes.

The Liberals took away income splitting, which allowed parents to stay home with their children, because it was only for the rich. This is a similar Liberal brain trust that believes “budgets will balance themselves”.

I now want to go back to my earlier point. There is a significant disconnect between Liberal announcements and reality, and let me give some examples. Page 120 of the budget lists five upcoming transit projects across Canada. On the list is the Vancouver Broadway subway project in the Lower Mainland, which I would note has no dollar figures attached, nor do any of the five transit projects. Just two hours after the budget was announced, the mayors said that the federal government had told them that $2.2 billion is committed toward their projects. Where did they get the information, and where are the funds coming from?

The budget states there is no new public transit spending this year, and most of the new public transit dollars will not flow until 2018-19. It is funny; that is just in time for the next federal election. The truth is that the Liberals will use existing Conservative infrastructure programs and the stacking of other green infrastructure programs to fund these projects, which is to the detriment of other promises they have made to Canadians.

Furthermore, this “announce now but delay funding” budget is not just related to public transit but also social infrastructure. When it comes to day care, billions of dollars were announced in the budget, but none of these new dollars will be forthcoming this year and 70% of the new money will not be spent until after 2022. The same thing goes for affordable housing.

As I am running out of time, I would also like to point out that there is no new funding in the 2017-18 budget for early childhood learning and child care, homelessness, home care infrastructure, housing research, northern housing, or indigenous programs, and there is no mention of funding for the RCMP or the Canada Border Services Agency at all.

I note that the Liberal government has allowed nearly $1 billion in infrastructure funding in 2016 to lapse. That means the government is unable to fund announced projects.

I could go on, because the budget is very thick, and on each and every page there is something missing, but I have run out of time.

The Budget April 4th, 2017

Madam Speaker, I noticed throughout the budget that it is to build a strong middle class, and it has “middle class” right through it. I am not a proponent of defining people within class systems. However, would the member define for us exactly what the middle class is, and who those are who are trying to join it?

The Budget April 4th, 2017

Madam Speaker, I was happy to listen to my colleague talk about many things in the budget, but we need to talk about what is not in the budget.

When we look at homelessness, there are zero dollars for this year and zero for next year. For cultural recreation infrastructure, there are zero dollars for this year and zero for next year. For disability accessibility, there are zero dollars for this year and zero for next year. For creating Canada's growth economy, there are zero dollars for this year and zero for next year. For skills training, there is nothing for this year. For skills training and innovation, there is nothing for this year. When we look at the transit tax, it is purported that it is only for the rich.

Then we can look at innovation. I thank the member for bringing up innovation. When the Conservatives were in government, we started the science and tech co-operation agreements in 2007. I am glad the Liberals are building on the manufacturing and auto sector innovation, as well as the Canada Foundation for Innovation.

When we look at all the programs that were under way under the Conservative government, there is a lot of repackaging.

When we look at all the things happening now for the middle class, nothing is going to be funded over the next two years and the budget is back ended. Could the member please comment on that?

The Budget April 4th, 2017

Mr. Speaker, I was glad to hear my colleague's comments that the Liberals were taking child care seriously. They were elected 16 months ago. Regarding child care, there is no funding this year. For the housing strategy, there is no money this year. On homelessness, there will be no money for two years. For disabled accessibility, there is zero this year and zero next year. We look at creating Canada's clean growth economy. There is no money this year and no money next year. For skills training, there is nothing this year. For innovation, there is nothing this year for middle-class jobs.

When the member says that the Liberals take this seriously and want to get the economy moving, how is giving zero dollars doing any of those things?

The Budget April 4th, 2017

Madam Speaker, I was pleased to hear about the importance of rural communities. Right across the country we are all affiliated with rural communities.

I would like to ask the member for his thoughts about the almost 300 jobs from the rural community of Vegreville being removed to go into an urban centre, Edmonton; the $15 billion from communities, including rural communities, being pulled out of infrastructure to go into an infrastructure bank; and of course the removal of the credit for public transit that would help seniors and youth get around his community. Perhaps the member could comment on those items.

The Budget April 4th, 2017

Madam Speaker, I was happy hear that the budget offers immediate help, but if we look at child care and at the housing strategy, there is no money this year. For homelessness, there is zero this year and zero next year. For cultural and recreational infrastructure, there is zero this year and zero next year. For disability accessibility, there is zero this year and zero next year. For creating Canada's clean growth economy, there is zero this year and zero next year. For skills training, there is nothing this year, and in some sectors, nothing next year. For skills innovation and middle-class jobs, there is nothing this year.

Could the member please explain what he means by offering immediate help?

The Budget April 4th, 2017

Madam Speaker, I was really pleased to hear my colleague's words about addressing the issues for the most vulnerable, so I would like him to give us the rationale behind the removal of the transit credit for the most vulnerable, the people who use transit, and the rationale behind the fact that there is no money for child care in the budget for next year. Also, on the national housing strategy, the dollars are not flowing until after the next election. While I am really thrilled to hear about helping the most vulnerable, can he tell me how he can square that?

The Budget April 4th, 2017

Madam Speaker, I thank my colleague for his comments, especially for those around the green energy strategy.

The Conservative government started signing agreements in 2007, and then in 2010 there was another one with Sweden. We funded genome innovation clusters research, digital research, and the Canadian Foundation for Innovation, and of course we set up the green infrastructure fund.

As the member said, in his community there are some clean energy facilities, as there are in mine, such as a biofuel facility and Endurance Wind. Many cities are doing a lot of work. The foundation was put in under the Conservative government for a lot of these things to be funded, and through PPP Canada as well.

I wonder if he could talk a little bit about bringing all of these pieces together under a national strategy for clean energy.

The Budget April 4th, 2017

Madam Speaker, we talked about the proudest things that the Liberals were coming out with in the budget being the child care initiatives and the national housing strategy. Of course, we know that in some of the major urban centres affordable housing is very problematic. Being that the budget is pretty much totally back-ended, could he explain how this would impact those who are most vulnerable who really need those opportunities?