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Crucial Fact

  • His favourite word was veterans.

Last in Parliament August 2023, as Conservative MP for Durham (Ontario)

Won his last election, in 2021, with 46% of the vote.

Statements in the House

Combating Terrorism Act April 22nd, 2013

Mr. Speaker, we would hate for accuracy or the truth to interrupt the full flight of rhetoric we hear from the member for Kenora—Rainy River.

He used the picture of a group of students getting off a bus, or protestors going to protest, which is our right as a Canadian to do. Considering that parts of the act were previously law in Canada, could the member point to an example of when that occurred? Other members of his caucus, and people in the House today, have mentioned that most of the powers in the act were not called upon when they were in force. What is he basing his analogy on?

Combating Terrorism Act April 22nd, 2013

Mr. Speaker, I have to stand up and ask a question. The hon. member for York South—Weston quoted former Prime Minister Diefenbaker. The debate going on here, particularly between the NDP and Liberals, reminds me of an old Diefenbaker quote, which was that the Liberal Party—now we can use the NDP members as the opposition—is much like a UFO in that no one really understands it, and it is rarely seen in the same place twice.

Our debate today acknowledges that. The NDP caucus was up talking about our federal Canadian Forces, firefighters and service people. In fact, the member for British Columbia Southern Interior, in his remarks, wanted to thank law enforcement for foiling the VIA Rail plot today. Yet his central concern with Bill S-7 is that it would be used “inappropriately”. Are opposition members saying that they fear that our federal law enforcement officials and the folks investigating these same plots they are thanking them for foiling today would not use it appropriately?

I would like him to answer that please.

Treble Victor April 17th, 2013

Mr. Speaker, the military theorist Clausewitz once said, “If the...leader is filled with high ambition and if he pursues his aims with audacity and strength of will, he will reach them in spite of all obstacles”.

On April 11, I had the honour of attending a dinner with such leaders. I joined Treble Victor at its Highland Mess Dinner, which was graciously hosted by our friends at the 48th Highlanders of Canada. Treble Victor is a volunteer network of Canadian and allied veterans who have served their country with distinction and transitioned into successful careers in the private sector. The men and women of Treble Victor continue to serve our country and their comrades-in-arms. They have raised funds for military families, wounded veterans and other charities.

Most importantly, Treble Victor members have helped Canadian Forces members transition out of uniform. They have also educated corporate Canada on the tremendous value of hiring veterans.

I salute the men and women of Treble Victor for their continued audacity and strength of will, as they help our Canadian Forces, support our veterans and build a strong Canada.

The Budget March 25th, 2013

Mr. Speaker, I would like to return the kind words to the member for Etobicoke Centre about our veterans. Since he spoke, I was able to look around this House. The members for Pickering—Scarborough East, Glengarry—Prescott—Russell, Winnipeg North, Westmount—Ville-Marie and British Columbia Southern Interior have all served. They would share our combined passion for the fact that the budget focuses on skilled trades and apprentices, specifically the helmets to hardhats program, and how the skilled trades can take in our veterans and be targeted on the building Canada plan.

I would ask the member to speak a little about the coordination that the government has been doing.

The Budget March 25th, 2013

Mr. Speaker, I thank my colleague for highlighting what is, unfortunately, one of the portions of the building Canada plan that I did not have time to speak about, which is partnering with municipalities instead of the previous government's penchant for multiple announcements and no action. This has truly been a partnership with the municipal level of government across the country, not only in the sharing of the gas tax, which, as my learned colleague has just recognized, will be indexed going forward, but also an important GST rebate that will help municipalities, large and small, in all regions of the country be a strong partner in our economic action plan, in particular the building Canada plan and infrastructure.

The Budget March 25th, 2013

Mr. Speaker, my friend particularly is from the Liberal caucus that I highlighted earlier. The previous Liberal government's approach to balancing the federal government was essentially through passing along the challenges of a changing economy to provincial partners, a massive reduction in transfer to the provinces that left provincial premiers, whether NDP in Saskatchewan or Progressive Conservative in Ontario, to be the real people cutting for the federal government. At the same time, the hon. member would know that the government of the day also took advantage of an EI surplus that had grown to help it in a way that really was not a revenue stream it should have taken.

One of the key things our government recognized when we came to office was that Canadians, particularly seniors and families, were overtaxed. Therefore, the Prime Minister made it his objective to lower those taxes, both through a reduction to the GST and reductions across the board, and I think Canadians have appreciated that.

The Budget March 25th, 2013

Mr. Speaker, I thank my colleague for identifying exactly the balance our government is trying to set. It would be much easier for a government to impose cuts in the way the Liberal Party did in the mid-1990s by simply slashing National Defence and slashing transfers to our provincial partners.

The government has tried to stay on a pragmatic course, and I direct the hon. member to this course, which set 2015 as a goal for balanced budgets, but along the way make strategic investments in infrastructure and in skills training as a way of softening the impact of the global economic downturn on Canada. The results speak for themselves with Canada's leadership of the G8.

The Budget March 25th, 2013

Mr. Speaker, I will be dividing my time with my friend, the member for Etobicoke Centre.

It is with great honour that I rise today in the House to speak to the budget delivered by the Minister of Finance last Thursday. Economic action plan 2013 builds upon the work from previous budgets and the government's impressive track record guiding Canada through the worst global economic slowdown. We are now in a leadership position amongst the countries of the G8.

The focus of the 2013 budget is clearly upon jobs for Canadians. It is about leveraging the jobs we have now in Canada through our leadership in financial services, resource development and technological innovation. It is also about securing the jobs of the future and reorienting our skills training and lifelong learning programs to ensure we provide Canadians with the tools they need to maintain our strong position in the world. Finally, economic action plan 2013 makes key investments in areas of priority for Canadians: families, seniors, veterans and our first nations. These investments are important and are being made in a budget premised upon two fundamental principles.

First is the government's laser-like focus on getting Canada back to a balanced budget by 2015. This is to ensure we maintain our quality of life and maintain one of the strongest credit ratings in the world for the purpose of financing our debt. Second is the critical commitment we make to seniors and families across Canada to balance our budget without resorting to raising taxes.

At a time when government revenues are somewhat flat, these two fundamental principles are not easy. The opposition suggests billions in new spending on almost a weekly basis. The Leader of the Opposition has suggested that the government should not stick to our timeline of balancing the budget. Mere days before the budget, he went to New York to tell the business press that he would raise taxes on Canadian employers if the NDP were in power.

Following the release of economic action plan 2013, which was very careful to maintain core entitlement program spending and increase transfers to the provinces and territories, the NDP leader said, “You cannot 'austere' your way out of a crisis”. The NDP leader's cute turn of phrase and commitment to runaway spending and higher taxes reminds me of the Winston Churchill quote that compares a nation trying to tax its way into prosperity to a man standing in a bucket, trying to lift himself up by pulling the handle.

The challenging global economy and shifting labour realities requires the type of strong leadership that our Prime Minister has shown from the doldrums of the global economic recession to the present day. Economic action plan 2013 is about setting priorities that will maintain a focus on jobs for Canadians and a plan to ensure our prosperity for decades to come.

Our government is proud of its record of 950,000 net new jobs having been created since the depth of the recession in 2009. This leads the G8 nations and has helped maintain our quality of life when other areas of the world are in turmoil. Our government is, however, committed to a relentless pursuit of higher employment, particularly for young Canadians, aboriginal Canadians and in areas of the country experiencing a higher than average rate of unemployment.

Accordingly, I would like to speak to three key areas of economic action plan 2013, premised upon securing jobs for Canadians.

The first area is the government's innovative approach to filling the skills gap in Canada, while also helping transitional industries retrain and re-equip their workforces. The Canadian Federation of Independent Business, in its 2012 statistics, indicates that 34% of small to medium-size businesses face a skilled labour shortage. This means that while some Canadians are having a hard time finding a job, some Canadian employers are having a hard time filling a job. Finding a solution to marry these two aspects of our economy should be the overarching public policy goal of any government. Our government is making that the top priority.

The Canada job grant will address the skills shortage in Canada by assisting up to 130,000 Canadians each year with short duration training for the workforce. The $5,000 per person grant has the multiplier effect two times over, up to $15,000 with our provincial and employer partners. The Canada job grant will allow employers facing skills shortages or training facilitators in the industry to work with both the federal and provincial governments on a solution that will help them increase their productivity, while also helping more Canadians find long-term employment.

The skills deficit in the marketplace is the true determinant of where skills training investment needs to go. This will allow the federal government to negotiate transformative labour market agreements with the provinces and territories.

Our government recognizes that the largest skills shortage in Canada is in the skills trades and in the engineering and mathematics fields across the country. Economic action plan 2013 will work toward reducing barriers on apprentice accreditation and support the use of apprentices in all areas of national procurement and investment.

The government is also earmarking $19 million to promote engineering sciences and mathematics to young Canadians in an effort to help young people fill these critical roles in our economy. Outstanding schools like the University of Ontario Institute of Technology, which serves my riding of Durham, have world-class programs in these core areas that will help our young men and women find engaging employment right out of school.

The government is committing $241 million to ensure that young aboriginal Canadians have access to skills training to assist in raising employment levels on reserve through a realignment of the income assistance program.

I had the pleasure of joining 200 other Canadians at the Governor General's Canadian leadership conference last summer near months before my election to Parliament. It was an excellent opportunity to see some of the policy challenges facing our country. I was part of a group of 17 Canadians who toured the province of Alberta, meeting with business, political, social and aboriginal leaders. Every community we visited and almost every leader we spoke to described the labour shortage in Alberta as one of the most pressing issues facing the province. Indeed, it was placed as one of our key findings in our Governor General's Canadian leadership conference group. The economic opportunity in Alberta is of tremendous benefit to all Canadians and meeting the challenges this opportunity poses must engage all Canadians.

The second key area I would like to highlight from economic action plan 2013 is the building Canada plan. Nothing underscores the ability of this government to set priorities to secure our long-term prosperity better than this element of the budget. I would recommend page 171 of the budget to my colleagues to see this impressive plan represented visually.

The building Canada plan is an ambitious $53 billion 10-year plan to secure and enhance our nation's critical infrastructure and establish predictable long-term partnerships with the provincial and municipal governments across Canada.

The building Canada fund will inject $14 billion into our economy in priority infrastructure projects, with a national, provincial or local significance. First nation infrastructure is part of the building Canada plan and will see $155 million directed toward critical energy, road, bridge and civic infrastructure alongside investments in broadband connectivity to complement economic development efforts on reserve.

The relentless focus on jobs and supporting skills trades in Canada is built into the building Canada plan. As part of its consultation and planning with other levels of government, the federal government will directly encourage the use of apprentices in projects receiving federal funding.

The third area I want to touch on briefly in economic action plan 2013 provides for small business in the manufacturing sector in Ontario. On the same day that our Minister of Finance delivered the budget, the Scugog Chamber of Commerce in my riding celebrated its business of the year awards.

Small businesses are often the foundation of our local economies and have been an important focus of our government. We have kept taxes low for these businesses for many years and have assisted with the difficult challenge of whether to hire one more person or not through the small business hiring credit. This budget expands this hiring credit by providing up to $1,000 against the rise in EI premiums as a result of hiring a new person. We are also increasing the lifetime capital gains exemption to $800,000, which will also directly benefit small business owners.

While our government has shown its support for small businesses in Canada, I take this occasion to support Kenna Kozak from the Scugog Chamber of Commerce, Sheila Hall from the Clarington Board of Trade and Angela Horne from the Uxbridge Chamber of Commerce. These organizations in Durham, and others like them across the country, are the lifeblood of the small business community. They not only raise important policy issues to our government, they also serve to connect small businesses in a way to one another.

Finally, manufacturers will also benefit in southern Ontario with our government's proposed $1.4 billion toward an accelerated capital cost allowance—

Tariff Reductions March 22nd, 2013

Mr. Speaker, I applaud economic action plan 2013 and its sharp focus on keeping Canada's economy strong while also delivering key measures that support Canadian families.

In order to lower prices for Canadian families, the budget will eliminate all tariffs on baby clothing. My son Jack turns 21 months old today and is going through clothes like wildfire. Parents of infants will notice this change.

Tariff reductions will also keep prices low on ice skates, hockey equipment, skis and other equipment to promote physical fitness. This will not only leave money in the pockets of Canadians but it will also lower the price gap between the U.S. and Canada, something we monitor closely.

On Saturday morning, I know that moms and dads in the Garnet Rickard arena in Bowmanville and on the slopes of Brimacombe ski resort in Durham will be talking about this family-friendly budget.

Here is what Dean LaPierre of the Windsor Minor Hockey Association had to say:

This is awesome. This will definitely help because the cost of equipment is the main thing people cite when deciding to register. ... It could cost $600 to $700 to equip one player, double if the kid's is a this is a great.

Indeed it is great. I hope the NDP supports families and this budget.

Canadian Rotary Clubs March 1st, 2013

Mr. Speaker, this weekend Canada will welcome Mr. Sakuji Tanaka, the president of Rotary International. Today he will join celebrations marking 100 years of Rotary in Toronto and tomorrow he will highlight the leadership role of Rotary in the effort to eradicate polio.

Rotarians are the voluntary backbone of their communities, and Canadians appreciate their work with youth and seniors and on important local projects. Canadian Rotary Clubs are also making a tremendous impact around the world. In my riding, the Rotary Clubs in Bowmanville and Port Perry have supported clean water projects in Laos and the Rift Valley region of Africa. The Rotary Club in Uxbridge has been working with Dignitas in Malawi to prevent the transmission of HIV from mother to infant. My own Rotary Club in Courtice has worked with the Michael “Pinball” Clemons Foundation and Free the Children to build schools in Africa.

Today also marks the conclusion of the Pennies and More for Polio program, through which our government and the Gates Foundation each matched dollar for dollar the millions raised across Canada by Rotary. As Rotary's founder Paul Harris once said, “Great things happen when good people come together”.

Today I salute the good Rotarians working across Canada and the great impact they are making around the world.