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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

Technology Partnerships Canada June 20th, 2005

Mr. Speaker, we expect that audit will be made public then. In fact, Technology Partnerships Canada has spent over $2 billion since 1996. Now we learn through the media that $2 million in forbidden commissions has been received by at least one lobbyist. This revelation has finally prompted an audit of this program, which this party has been calling for for years, yet the investigation remains incomplete and there is no word on when the audit will be completed.

It is starting to look like another sponsorship scandal or firearms registry fiasco. When will Canadians finally get the truth on this program? When will the industry minister finally come clean on this program, that over $2 billion--

Technology Partnerships Canada June 20th, 2005

Mr. Speaker, Technology Partnerships Canada is again under scrutiny for its misuse of taxpayer dollars.

According to The Canadian Press, Industry Canada has ordered a massive audit into $490 million in handouts to dozens of technology firms. The department has already uncovered four cases where a lobbyist received more than $2 million in forbidden commissions.

Is it not true that this audit is so damning that the industry minister has had to establish a full team of audit control specialists, a damage control team, to try to assuage this audit?

An Act to Authorize the Minister of Finance to make Certain Payments June 16th, 2005

The member knows there is a lag in terms of when economic policy is implemented and it actually takes effect.

The fact is that the Liberal-NDP coalition set it up so that the Conservatives had a very difficult time in office. Operationally there was a surplus in terms of incoming money, but the problem was what I referred to earlier: the debt was so big at that time. The yearly payments to service that debt were so large that it caused an increase in the debt up to $400 billion.

Those members created the problem and they are making it worse with what they are doing right now.

An Act to Authorize the Minister of Finance to make Certain Payments June 16th, 2005

Mr. Speaker, I will address the last issue first. It was the debt; it was the increase in spending that started in the Trudeau years, from 1968 until about 1984, that caused the increase. There was a $200 billion debt at that time because of the way the system was set up.

An Act to Authorize the Minister of Finance to make Certain Payments June 16th, 2005

Because the government has been overtaxing Canadians.

In the budget of February 23, the government said that if it spent $5 billion it would implement the Kyoto protocol. Three weeks later, the government said it was sorry, but it got that wrong and it was going to have to spend $10 billion.

At the environment committee, I know that the member for Essex and the member for Red Deer looked at where the money is going. They cannot find out where the money is going. It has gone off into various programs. We cannot find out where it has gone. While the government has actually spent about $2 billion, emissions have gone up.

That is the fiscal record of this government. It is absolutely disastrous. The only reason it has surpluses is that it has been overtaxing Canadians.

That is my final point. The Liberals have no concept of the fact that average Canadians are working harder and harder, even according to Don Drummond, and there is no increase in their take-home pay. That is fundamentally wrong and it needs to change.

An Act to Authorize the Minister of Finance to make Certain Payments June 16th, 2005

Mr. Speaker, I have a lot of respect for the member. I know that he has a fine mind, but he is twisting himself into a pretzel to defend this legislation.

The fact is that he and his colleague, the Minister of Finance, defended the first budget bill as a perfect bill and a month later they are twisting themselves into pretzels, saying, “Whoops, we missed $4.6 billion. We are going to have to put this in”. It is a perfect budget now, they say, after they have changed it by $4.6 billion.

He talks about the issue of unplanned surpluses. The reality is that the finance minister in the last election stood up and criticized our party when he said that there was no way we could afford those things we talked about because the surplus was $1.9 billion. We all know what he said after the election. He said, “Whoops, I got that wrong too. It is actually $9.1 billion”. Maybe he is dyslexic and he got the numbers mixed up, but that shows what this government is doing with its own surpluses. It has no idea. That is one of the concerns: it has no idea in terms of fiscal forecasting.

Second, on the whole issue of “enabling legislation”, that is a euphemism. This is a $4.5 billion slush fund. That is what this is. After closely watching this government operate for 2000, I have absolutely no confidence whatever in its ability to manage or spend taxpayer dollars.

I will give another example of that. In the budget of February 23--

An Act to Authorize the Minister of Finance to make Certain Payments June 16th, 2005

Mr. Speaker, it is my pleasure to speak tonight to Bill C-48, the second budget bill produced by the government, the Liberal-NDP budget.

It probably will come as no surprise to anyone to find out that I am strongly opposing the legislation for various reasons, which I would like to lay out before the House.

It should be noted that what the government has done to the budgetary process in Canada has basically thrown every parliamentary tradition surrounding budgets out the window. The Liberals have taken every fiscal framework in this country and thrown it out the window.

In the last election the finance minister from Regina stood up and said that there was no way we could afford these Conservative promises because we only had a $1.9 billion surplus. Months later, it turned out that the forecast was actually a $9.1 billion surplus. Obviously the government was not revealing the accurate figures.

In that respect it is nice to know that people like the member for Peace River, vice-chair of the finance committee, has actually rectified this by having some independent experts provide some forecasting so we can have some confidence in the numbers the government is producing.

It is so amazing to see a government in which a Prime Minister, without even phoning or consulting his own finance minister, meets with the leader of the NDP and Buzz Hargrove in a hotel room and rewrites his own budget that he presented in the House on February 23. The finance minister found out later on that the Prime Minister had completely rewritten the budget.

Imagine if the former prime minister, Jean Chrétien, had done that to the present Prime Minister when he was finance minister. This is a man who was ready to resign over the fact that his friends at Earnscliffe were not getting enough contracts. Imagine what he would have done if the prime minister at that time had changed his own budget.

It is unprecedented for a government to introduce a budget, saying that it is the budgetary document that has been worked on for a year, and then, a month later, say that it made a big mistake and that $4.5 billion of tax cuts will be taken out and put back in another budget.

As the member for Peace River pointed out, the Prime Minister stood in the House and said that we could not tinker with the budget because it was perfect and it was the ultimate document, but then a month later he stands in the House and says that it was a $4.6 billion budget but, “oops, I missed the $4.6 billion. We will put it into a new piece of legislation”.

That brings me to my second point. This legislation is the worst legislation I have ever seen and that has probably been produced in the history of this country. It contains no fiscal framework whatsoever.

Just for the reference of members, the 431 page budget plan 2005 lays out a lot of specifics as to where money goes. We could debate the specifics all we wanted. Then the government introduced Bill C-43, the budget implementation bill. Again we could debate the pros and cons of the legislation

Let me read some specifics: Increase the amount that Canadians can earn tax free; increase the annual limits on contributions to tax deferred retirement savings plans; extend the scientific research and education tax incentives; amend part 6 of the Excise Tax Act. Another good one is that part 2 amends the air travellers' security charge to reduce the air travellers' security charge for domestic air travel to $5 for one way travel and to $10 for round trip travel, for transport air travel to $8.50 and for other international air travel to $17, applicable to air travel purchased on or after March 1, 2005.

Why am I saying this? It is because this is how we introduce a piece of legislation. We can debate it, but all Canadians know that if they go to the website and pick up Bill C-43 they can see where their money is going. They either like it or they do not and they can debate it.

Bill C-48, with $4.5 billion on two pages, is the most ridiculous piece of legislation ever introduced. This is what it says, “This enactment authorizes the Minister of Finance to make certain payments”. That provides a lot of solace to those taxpayers working till June to fund the government. He will make certain payments. What will he fund? He will fund things for students. What will he fund for students? I do not know. The Liberals do not know. They will just fund things for students. They will go to universities across the country telling students that they will not have to pay as much for education. How will the Liberals do that? They do not know but they will do it because they will ensure there is a contingency fund of a few billion dollars.

They are going to fund foreign aid with $500 million. Where is that going to go? It does not say. This piece of legislation, at the very least, after they threw out the entire budgetary process of the Parliament of Canada and the Government of Canada, ought to have stated exactly where the $500 million would be going so we could have actually debated something, rather than debating a nothing piece of legislation.

I encourage all Canadians watching the debate to go to the parliamentary website or pick up Bill C-48 and read what an absolute farce it actually is.

Thirdly, the bill is fiscally irresponsible. The Government of Canada has been on a spending spree like no other in our history. From 1999 to this fiscal year, we have seen a 44.3% increase in spending that is unsustainable in the long term. It has completely forgotten about the debt. We have a $500 billion debt in this country. We have debt payment charges on a yearly basis of about $35 billion to $40 billion. I believe it is the largest outlay every year by the Government of Canada from a fiscal sense and the government is not even addressing that.

What that means is that the government is basically mortgaging our children's future to pay for present programs. That is fundamentally wrong and it is unjust to future generations of Canadians. The debt ought to receive the proper attention. We need a true debt retirement program over a 20 year period.

Another point is that this does not respect taxpayer dollars. It is very easy for MPs, especially on the left side of the spectrum, to stand up and say that we should spend more and more and that there are wonderful areas that need to be addressed. In fact, as members of Parliament we could all stand and say that this is a very good initiative so we should spend more on it.

However the counterbalance to that is that we in the House do not produce this money. We do not generate the wealth. We do not generate the jobs that generate the wealth across the country. It is Canadians working hard until June. Canadians work until June to fund the government's activities and yet it seems so little in the House do we hear from the other side any recognition of the fact that very moderate Canadians of modest means work until June to actually fund the activities that we fund.

It is very easy to spend other people's money. This is very sensitive to me. I want to indicate that I was raised in a very middle class home by two parents who were school teachers. They never made more than $65,000 per year, most of the time on one income, whether it was my mother or father working. They raised four kids and were paying 40% of their income in taxes and paying more and more in taxes and user fees each year. That is where the money is coming from.

All the NDP talks about is corporate tax cuts. Fine, let us not debate that right now, let us debate the fact that we are taking money out of the pockets of average Canadians who cannot afford the little things in life that they would like some money to actually afford, whether it is for music lessons or a two week holiday that year. What the government and the NDP is doing is taking money away.

We ought to rephrase the way we actually talk about taxes in the country. We are not taking taxes. We are taking people's life energy because what they are doing each and every day is getting up, going to work for 8 to 12 hours a day, pouring their life energy into something. What the government does, without respect for any of that hard work, is it takes away that life energy and spends it indiscriminately, wastes it on all sorts of programs, whether it is Kyoto, the firearms registry or whatever one wants to say.

That is why the whole paradigm, the whole shift needs to occur. We cannot just say that money grows on trees and that we will spend it in whatever way we please. We actually have to start realizing that taxpayers are working hard to produce this money and we should treat that money as funds in trust. This is not our money to spend. It is money to divert to the priorities of Canadians but at the same time we must have respect for the fact that they work until June for the government to even fund all these activities. It is fundamentally wrong and it needs to change but it will only change as a result of a Conservative government in Canada.

Government Appointments June 16th, 2005

It is unbelievable, Mr. Speaker. The fact is that this appointment clearly demonstrates that the Prime Minister broke his promise. The industry minister appointed his own official agent, according to Elections Canada, his top volunteer, the person who signs off on his election returns, to the Business Development Bank of Canada, a government bank that reports to the minister himself.

Does the minister not see anything wrong with appointing his own official agent to a bank for which he himself has responsibility?

Government Appointments June 16th, 2005

Mr. Speaker, last year during his “mad as hell tour”, the Prime Minister promised to condemn to history the politics of cronyism and patronage.

Now we learn that the industry minister's official agent in the last election campaign, Mr. Bracken-Horrocks, has been appointed to the board of directors of the Business Development Bank of Canada. Why did the Prime Minister break his promise to end patronage and cronyism?

Statistics Act June 13th, 2005

Mr. Speaker, I want to ask him a question about getting it right because he did identify correctly the challenge fulfilling the need of the right to know of historians and genealogists in terms of tracing our respective family histories and our collective history. There is also the challenge in terms of respecting the personal privacy and the fact that there are some ambiguities that were left in place because of two acts that seemed to be contradictory in certain places in terms of getting this balance right.

I would also like him to comment further on the fact that the bill originated in the Senate. Many people have asked me why it was taking so long to get to this point in debating the bill. Some people suggest that it could be passed in two hours rather than have Parliament do its full work on it. The fact is that the Conservative caucus, one of the legacy parties, introduced a motion in 2000 on this issue. In 2001 we were ready to debate the issues.

We have been waiting for years and it is interesting, as my colleague from New Brunswick pointed out, that the government asked for sitting hours to deal with this piece of legislation. I know I cannot comment on the absence of members in the House, and frankly, if I were to comment on the absence of government members, it would take me too long because I only see one government member over there.

I find it interesting that the government says that we are not actually ready to debate the legislation. The Conservative Party and the NDP are here debating the legislation. I wonder if the member could comment on those issues.