House of Commons photo

Crucial Fact

  • His favourite word was industry.

Last in Parliament October 2015, as Conservative MP for Edmonton—Leduc (Alberta)

Won his last election, in 2011, with 64% of the vote.

Statements in the House

Committees of the House May 13th, 2015

Mr. Speaker, I have the honour to present, in both official languages, the ninth report of the Standing Committee on Finance in relation to its study on the main estimates 2015-16.

Petitions May 8th, 2015

Mr. Speaker, the second petition calls upon Parliament and the Government of Canada to recognize the inherent rights of farmers derived from thousands of years of custom and tradition to save, reuse, select, exchange and sell their own seeds.

Petitions May 8th, 2015

Mr. Speaker, I rise today to present two petitions. The first petition is on behalf of many constituents in my riding.

The petitioners call for the creation of a legislative ombudsman mechanism for responsible mining.

Aboriginal Affairs May 8th, 2015

Mr. Speaker, the Nunavut land claims agreement was signed in 1993. It provides Inuit with significant land ownership, mineral rights, resource royalties, hunting rights, and a capital transfer of $1.14 billion. However, soon after the agreement was signed, it was not implemented properly and Nunavut Tunngavik sued the government.

I would ask the Minister of the Environment to give the House an update on this situation.

The Budget April 29th, 2015

Mr. Speaker, I am not sure of the relevance of the last question. I will leave it to the voters of Alberta, next Tuesday, to decide what colour our city shall be.

With respect to tax-free savings accounts, my friend and I have some very strong disagreements. I think this is the greatest innovation, in terms of retirement savings, since the RRSP was introduced. I think, in some ways, it is even better than the RRSP, in the sense that it encourages savings. It is not a tax benefit right up front, but people pay the tax. It is after-tax income, which is often not mentioned by the other side of the House. It is after-tax income. Canadians pay the tax. They put some money away in investments. Those investments generate innovation jobs because it is in all sorts of companies.

It is interesting that they say only one in three Canadians have these. I actually heard a member on the opposite side say that. Eleven million accounts have been opened. Eleven million Canadians. One out of three Canadians is actually a very high number, a very good number. We certainly hope that number goes up. Again, it goes to that philosophical difference. This allows Canadians to keep more of their hard-earned money after they pay the tax, to prepare for their own retirement, to prepare for an education upgrade, to prepare to move into a bigger home for their family. That is what governments should be doing.

I just want to finish up by saying that I completely agree with my hon. friend that Engineers Without Borders is an outstanding organization. I was so impressed by these young people who could be in Canada, making an awful lot more money, but who are dedicating so many of their productive years to helping those who are less fortunate than we are. I would certainly agree with him on that point.

The Budget April 29th, 2015

Mr. Speaker, I have to tell the member that is not what the Minister of Finance said, at all, and he knows that. He knows that very well.

The reality is this government is committed to reducing taxes. This government has reduced taxes for businesses, for families, for seniors, for individuals. We have reduced taxes because we believe Canadians work very hard and deserve to keep more of their own income for their priorities, whether it is raising their family, whether it is providing for an education, whether it is saving for their own retirement. That is a fundamental, philosophical distinction between this side and the other side of the House. We are very proud of the fact that we have reduced taxes for Canadians in all forms.

The other thing I want to point out, though, is that in terms of balancing the budget, we did not do what previous governments did. We did not reduce health care funding. We did not eviscerate certain departments. Funding for provincial transfers has gone up markedly-: 6% year over year for health care, 3% year over year for education and social assistance. Family benefits have gone up, seniors' benefits have gone up, and we continued that, at the same time, and frankly during a period of modest economic growth, we have balanced the budget. That is a true achievement and something of which I am very proud and of which everybody in this House should be very proud.

The Budget April 29th, 2015

Mr. Speaker, I will be splitting my time this afternoon with the very distinguished member for Macleod. I look forward to his remarks.

It is a pleasure today to rise to speak to budget 2015.

As members know, I chair the Standing Committee on Finance. Each fall we engage in prebudget consultations. This past year we received submissions from 430 Canadian individuals and organizations. We heard from about 100 organizations and individuals at committee in the fall. We submitted our 47 recommendations to Parliament in December, and we are very pleased to see that many of these recommendations made their way into this budget.

The budget has three themes: supporting jobs and growth, helping families and communities prosper, and ensuring the security of Canadians.

I want to take this opportunity to try to address as many of the specific measures as I can, starting with supporting jobs and growth. The first thing I want to mention is that we have provided manufacturers a 10-year tax incentive to boost productivity-enhancing investments. This was very welcomed by the manufacturing sector and Canadian Manufacturers & Exporters. Jay Myers has done an outstanding job leading that organization and fighting for that sector. Many of us go back a long way in this House. I am going back to the industry committee that was studying that sector in 2006-07. We tabled our report in 2007. It recommended a five-year period for a 50% straight-line depreciation. It was put in the 2007 budget for a two-year period and kept being extended for a two-year period. However, the government has very wisely put in place a 10-year window so that manufacturers across this country can build on that.

I want to quote from Alberta's Industrial Heartland Association, which applauds the Government of Canada's budget initiative. It states:

New investment in the manufacturing sector is expected as a result of a long term tax credit announced in the Government of Canada’s 2015 Budget. Alberta’s Industrial Heartland Association commends this initiative. The program provides long term certainty to industry and helps boost Canada’s global competitiveness to attract new investment.

That is very good news for that sector.

The second item I want to highlight is supporting world-class advanced research. The previous member spoke about this. I do not know what budget she is reading if we read all of the budgets presented by this finance minister and the previous one. In this one there is an additional $1.3 billion over six years for the Canada Foundation for Innovation, an additional $46 million per year to the three granting councils, the Canadian Institutes of Health Research, the Natural Sciences and Engineering Research Council, and the Social Sciences and Humanities Research Council, providing funding for basic research, for researchers to do what they do best in terms of supporting that basic research at the university and college level across this country.

Other initiatives in the research area is partnering with Mitacs in support of graduate level industrial research and development internships. A lot of this is geared to supporting the National Research Council so that we not only generate good basic research here in Canada, but we can actually commercialize it. We can translate that good idea into a commercial success, which has been a challenge for this country in the past.

The next area is supporting small businesses. We have reduced the small business tax rate from 11% to 9%. This builds on the reductions in the tax rates we have done for businesses of all sizes. We have reduced the small business tax rate already from 12% to 11%. We have increased the amount that a business can earn from $300,000 to $500,000 before it pays the higher tax rate of 15%. We have encouraged provinces across this country to adopt a 10% rate. The larger businesses pay a 25% rate, but for small businesses the rate is 9%. That is exceptionally good news for these generators of jobs.

The second item I want to highlight is that we are providing $14 million over two years to Futurpreneur Canada in support of young entrepreneurs. Going back to the work of our finance committee, this was recommendation 46.

In terms of training a highly skilled workforce and focusing on students, there are two policies I want to highlight. We are making the Canada student loans program work for families by reducing the expected parental contribution, and we are eliminating in-study student income from the Canada student loans program needs assessment process. This is based on recommendation 13. I want to commend the student organization CASA for bringing this forward year after year as a policy idea to our committee and to the government.

The previous speaker spoke of a lack of investment in public transit. Again, I am not sure what documents the member is reading, because this budget provides an additional $750 million over two years starting in 2017-18, and $1 billion per year ongoing thereafter for a new and innovative public transit fund. The mayor of Edmonton, Don Iveson, has pushed for this for years and was very pleased to see this recommendation in our budget.

The next item I want to mention is something that was actually identified before the budget. It is providing accelerated capital cost allowance treatment for assets used in facilities that liquify natural gas. Obviously, this is very important for our colleagues from British Columbia, but it would have benefits across the country if we were able to competitively locate some of these facilities here in Canada.

The next item is extending employment insurance compassionate care benefits from six weeks to six months to better support Canadians caring for gravely ill family members. This is an excellent idea and there is an excellent policy in place, but the government recognizes that this needs to be extended for people in this situation. Therefore, I am very pleased to see this in the budget as well.

The next item I want to mention in this area is the proposed change to reduce the minimum withdrawal factors for registered retirement income funds. I did a town hall in Edmonton with about 150 seniors who all raised this with me. It is a fact that Canadians are living longer. It is a good news story. Canadians are living longer and if they do not need to they should not be forced to withdraw at the rates they are currently forced to withdraw. Right now, they convert their RRSP to a RRIF at age 71 and start the mandatory withdrawal rates at age 72. All of the RRIF has to be converted at age of 94. The proposed change was based on finance recommendation no. 11. This would allow seniors, if they are in a position to, to preserve more of their income in that form if they are living longer and to better enable them to care for themselves in their retirement. This is a good news policy. It was proposed by a number of organizations at the committee, so this is something we recommended. We are very pleased to see it in the budget as well.

The next item would introduce a new home accessibility tax credit for seniors and persons with disabilities that would help with the cost of ensuring their homes remain safe, secure and accessible. This is another excellent policy.

I want to move on to the issue of health care. The health care issue has been mentioned by some members on the other side. I am very pleased to see the mandate of the Mental Health Commission of Canada would be renewed for another 10 years. This is a very positive item. We heard in committee from various witnesses about the importance of the commission. Dennis Anderson, who very much works on the commission, lives in my riding. He does excellent work. He was obviously very pleased as well to see the extension.

As a member who sponsored a motion on Alzheimer's, I was very pleased to see the next item. The budget would provide up to $42 million over five years, starting in 2015-16, to help improve seniors' health through innovation by establishing the Canadian centre for aging and brain health innovation. I was very pleased to see that, and I want to thank the Minister of Health for that action item as well.

In July of last year I had the opportunity, with the hon. member for Markham, to tour Ghana with Engineers Without Borders. It is an organization that does an outstanding job in its development work. We had such an educational period there. I commend all the, primarily young, people who dedicate so much of their lives to all types of international development. Whether financing initiatives, helping a local government or helping a property tax reform, we spent a very impressive time there. One of the recommendations this organization has been making is to establish a development finance initiative to support effective international development by providing financing, technical assistance and business advisory services to firms operating in developing countries. It was the idea of Engineers Without Borders. It was an excellent idea, and I am so pleased to see it in the budget. I have to say, my colleague from Markham was an excellent travelling companion as well.

In terms of balancing the budget, this was something we committed to back in 2009. The then-finance minister, Jim Flaherty, said the government was committed to balancing the budget over the medium term. That is exactly what we have done this year by balancing this budget. We have done so while increasing funding for provincial governments, for health care, education, social assistance, seniors benefits and family benefits. We have done so by reducing discretionary federal expenditures of $70 billion, between 5% and 10%. We have done so in a very responsible way.

I want to encourage members on all sides to support the budget and I look forward to their questions.

Safe and Accountable Rail Act March 30th, 2015

Mr. Speaker, I want to commend the minister for this legislation and for the actions that she has taken with respect to railway safety. I have railways that go through my riding on a very regular basis, which she knows very well.

This is a very good debate and discussion, with questions and comments from both sides of the House. With regard to the member who asked about CN cleaning up, one example that I remember is the situation that happened in Lake Wabamun. It is not in my riding, but it is near my riding. There was a spill there. I thought that CN did an outstanding job in the remediation at the lake.

I want to ask the minister to just expand on something. She mentioned in her speech that this is not self-regulation. This is a question that I sometimes get from companies in my area and the Nisku area, as well as from my constituents, especially in the southern part of the riding of Leduc. They ask if this is just allowing the companies to regulate themselves.

She pointed out in her speech how that is not the case and that it adheres to international standards. I wonder if she could just expand on that a little.

Petitions March 9th, 2015

Mr. Speaker, it is my honour today to stand and present a petition on behalf of hundreds of Canadians who are concerned that the current impaired driving laws are too lenient. Petitioners call upon the Government of Canada to implement tougher laws, including new mandatory minimum sentencing for those persons convicted of impaired driving causing death, and also to redefine the offence of impaired driving causing death as vehicular manslaughter.

Committees of the House February 26th, 2015

Mr. Speaker, following the usual consultations among all the parties and individuals in this House, I believe you will find unanimous consent for the following motion:

That the Eighth Report of the Standing Committee on Finance entitled “Towards Prosperity: Federal Budgetary Priorities for People, Businesses and Communities” presented to the House on December 10, 2014, be amended by replacing the following sentence on page 56:

“The Green Budget Coalition asked the government to renew the Clean Air Regulatory Agenda beyond 2016, and to increase funding to at least $45 million annually.”

With the following:

“The Green Budget Coalition asked the government to renew the Clean Air Agenda beyond 2016, and to increase its adaptation funding to at least $45 million annually”.