House of Commons photo

Crucial Fact

  • His favourite word was economy.

Last in Parliament October 2015, as Conservative MP for Nipissing—Timiskaming (Ontario)

Lost his last election, in 2015, with 29% of the vote.

Statements in the House

Common Sense Firearms Licensing Act May 25th, 2015

Mr. Speaker, I am pleased to rise in this House to discuss an important piece of legislation that would protect the property rights of millions of Canadians. I am, of course, referring to Bill C-42, the common sense firearms licensing act. This legislation will, among other things, remove needless paperwork around the authorization to transport restricted and prohibited firearms and the arbitrary powers of chief firearms officers, and give elected government the final say over firearms classification decisions.

I would like to take this opportunity today to clarify some falsehoods, mistruths and inaccuracies that have been put forth by Liberals and New Democrats over the course of the debate on this legislation.

First, the Liberals put out an advertisement to try to bolster their sub-par fundraising numbers, which claimed that under the bill, the sky would fall and there would be handguns in the trunks of all cars at shopping malls and grocery stores from coast to coast. We all know this is nonsense. There are clear locations where restricted firearms can be taken that are laid out in the regulations under the Firearms Act, and anyone who has read the bill knows that those do not change.

However, the member for Yukon did his due diligence. During committee study of this important bill, he asked the Assistant Deputy Minister for Community Safety and Countering Crime, a non-partisan public servant, if the Liberal advertisement was accurate, and her response was no. We all know the penchant of bureaucrats for speaking in circles. That is pretty clear and simply condemnation of the leader of the Liberal Party and his inaccurate material.

We also heard from the Liberal member for Trinity—Spadina making a moral equivalency between hunters and terrorists. This type of ridiculous hyperbole would be offensive if we did not consider the source. This was the very same member who had previously called for a ban on the sale of bullets as a solution to gun crime.

Let us look at the facts. Based on the evidence from Statistics Canada, Canadians are 26 times more likely to die from a slip and fall than a firearms accident or homicide. They are 24 times more likely to die from a car accident, three times more likely to die while swimming, and equally as likely to die in a bicycle accident as a death involving firearms.

Clearly the Liberals do not have the ability to set appropriate priorities when balancing private property rights against public safety. Perhaps a ban on bicycles would be the next big Liberal policy.

When we talk about factual inaccuracies, New Democrats do not fare much better. First, the leader of the NDP has said that he would bring back the wasteful and ineffective long gun registry. He even said that he wanted to track every firearm in Canada. This is despite the fact that the NDP member for Timmins—James Bay was very clear when he said that the NDP would never bring forward measures to require registration of shotguns and rifles.

Rural Canadians want to know who is it who really speaks for New Democrats, because they seem to have different messages in downtown Ottawa and Montreal than they do in rural Canada.

It is not only confusion in their own ranks that New Democrats suffer from. They seem to also have a disconnect with reality. The NDP member for Esquimalt—Juan de Fuca said a number of times that the Minister of Public Safety and Emergency Preparedness personally authorized the reclassification of the Swiss Arms and CZ-858 rifles. This is clearly inaccurate. However, I wanted to take the time to do the due diligence. I looked up the database of all orders in council, and I could not find a single one pertaining to this one.

Clearly, what occurred is a unilateral reclassification by the Canadian firearms program, with no notice to elected officials. It is important that we change this immediately as it flies in the face of democratic principles. These unfortunate comments were made by the same member who berated two expert witnesses in the public safety committee before ending his tirade with, “Well, I'm not sure there's any point in continuing to ask you any questions, then, if you're right on everything you've already said to us.” It is clear that there is an anti-gun bias across the aisle. These people simply will not rest until they have prohibited all firearms in Canada.

However, it seems that the NDP and Liberals continue to believe that hunting and sport shooting are the remit of backward rural folks. The fact of the matter is that they are wrong. A low estimate puts about four million Canadians being involved in these activities each year.

I will quote Greg Farrant with the Ontario Federation of Anglers and Hunters, who said before the public safety committee:

Firearms owners in Canada are judges, lawyers, farmers, electricians, mechanics, plumbers, accountants, even federal politicians,...[who] live in and represent urban ridings. They are not criminals. They are not gang members. Rather, they are lawful firearms owners who obey the law.

However, it is clear that the message has not yet sunk in across the aisle. Some Liberal and NDP members have taken the debate on firearms issues as an opportunity to engage in a drive-by smear of outdoor enthusiasts by saying that those who want to be able to obey clear rules are part of an American-style gun lobby or are advocating for a return to, as one NDP member from Quebec said, the wild west gun laws. This is patently ridiculous and offensive to the millions of law-abiding Canadian gun owners. However, they will hear from their constituents in a few short months from now on whether there is support for safe and sensible measures, such as the bill before us today.

I look forward to telling my constituents why I support cutting red tape on law-abiding Canadians. I hope that those who choose to oppose this much-needed bill will be able to face the questions that are undoubtedly coming their way.

Taxation May 11th, 2015

Mr. Speaker, the Liberals do not think that people earning up to $60,000 a year are middle class. The Liberals think that people who earn up to $60,000 are too rich and, therefore, should pay higher taxes.

The Liberals clearly have no idea of how to make life better for the middle class, small businesses, and seniors. They want to replace our family tax cut with a family tax hike. In fact, they admit that their plan has a $2 billion hole, which we know they will fill by taking away tax-free savings accounts and income splitting for seniors.

We will not let them do this to the people of Canada or the people of Nipissing—Timiskaming. The people of my riding work too hard to be double-taxed by the Liberals. Clearly, this side of the House is the only side that stands up for the middle class.

Taxation May 5th, 2015

Mr. Speaker, our government's family tax cut and enhanced universal child care benefit will benefit 100% of families with kids. The vast majority of benefits go to low- and middle-income families. The leader of the Liberal Party plans to take this all away. Instead of giving the majority of low- and middle-income families a break, he will be taxing middle-class families, taxing small businesses and taxing seniors. The opposition's position is clear: raise taxes on the middle class. That is why we are the only ones Canadians can trust to lower taxes and balance the budget. The good people of Nipissing—Timiskaming know that our family tax cuts lower their taxes and the Liberal tax plan or hike increases their taxes.

The Budget April 23rd, 2015

Mr. Speaker, I do not get that this budget has nothing for the middle class. There is a myriad of opportunities to help the middle class, to help low-income Canadians all through the budget.

Perhaps my hon. colleague could tell us what her party would do. The Liberals have no plan. As a matter of fact, their leader has said that we do not have to go through this exercise as budgets balance themselves.

To be fair, I think my hon. friend and her party should take the time to read through all the goodies that are in the budget for honest, hard-working, average Canadians.

The Budget April 23rd, 2015

Mr. Speaker, clearly TFSAs are broadly based. Eleven million Canadians have TFSAs, 60% of whom earn incomes of $55,000 or less. This is a measure that is directed at the average Canadian. Most Canadian families will benefit by it. Canadians as a whole will support this as a firm measure in our current budget to help families.

The Budget April 23rd, 2015

Mr. Speaker, I will be sharing my time with the member for Mississauga South.

I am pleased to rise in this House today to speak to budget 2015, introduced this week by our government.

In response to the greatest global downturn since the Great Depression, our government introduced the necessary and strategic investments to keep Canadians working and maintain confidence in the economy. These investments paid off as Canada rebounded out of the recession faster than any G8 country, with the best results. Indeed, since 2009, Canada has generated the greatest real GDP growth; created more than 1.2 million net new jobs, 80% of which are full time and in the private sector; maintained the greatest performance of private sector investment; and maintained the lowest debt to GDP ratio.

This last point is particularly important. Whereas many nations tried to fight the recession by flexing fiscal and monetary policy almost without limit, our government, under the leadership of our Prime Minister, prudently balanced strong public investments to support the economy with necessary reductions in federal discretionary spending. The result is that our Minister of Finance stood in this House this Tuesday and announced a $1.4 billion surplus along with a $1 billion contingency. The result is that, without the implementation of this government's disciplined and prudent cost-saving measures, the current deficit would have been $17.2 billion.

The result is that our economy is healthy, strong, and growing. Circumstances of other nations have proven that neither reckless spending nor severe austerity is the answer. Success comes from long-term, disciplined leadership.

I am particularly proud of the fact that this government did not balance the budget on the backs of honest, hard-working Canadians. Nor have there been any cuts to critical services such as health care or key programs such as infrastructure, which remain at a historical high. No, we balanced the budget while simultaneously reducing the tax burden on Canadian families to record lows.

The GST was lowered from 7% to 5%. Small-business taxes have been cut. Various tax credits have been introduced for caregivers, volunteers, and those with disabilities. We introduced the tax-free savings account, raised the minimum income Canadians can make before federal rates are levied, reduced the lowest income tax rate, lessened EI contributions, and introduced assistance for first-time homeowners. I could go on, but the bottom line is this. As a direct result of our government's policies, for the typical Canadian family of two parents with two children, there are savings of an average of $6,640 every year.

Balancing the budget has never been just about sound and responsible fiscal management. It has been about principle. Our government promised Canadians that it would balance the budget, and Canadians sent the government back to Ottawa in 2011 with a clear majority and a mandate to do just that. This budget also would cement another promise made to Canadians, that of introducing income splitting for families. The principle of this government has been and remains that we keep the promises we make.

With my remaining time, I would like to highlight specific initiatives from the budget that would particularly benefit my constituents in Nipissing—Timiskaming.

For seniors, we would reduce minimum withdrawal rates for registered retirement income funds, or RRIFs. We would introduce a new home accessibility tax credit. Seniors and persons with disabilities would be able to claim up to $1,500 in tax credits for specific home renovations.

For families, we would increase the TFSA contribution limit to $10,000 so Canadians could improve their investments and have easier access to cash flows when they need them. I would just point out for the opposition members that it is the majority of middle-income Canadians who will benefit from TFSAs, not the wealthy. The facts are that 11 million Canadians have TFSAs and 60% of them make $55,000 or less.

We would expand the eligibility for student loans to make post-secondary education more affordable. There would be $184 million for students applying to short-term programs, and $119 million to reduce expected parental contributions to loan programs.

We would expand EI benefits for Canadians who need to leave work for compassionate care purposes. Benefits would be increased from six weeks to six months.

Budget 2015 confirms the family tax cuts and benefits introduced last fall. They are income splitting and increasing the universal child care benefit and the children's fitness tax credit.

For small business, we would improve access to financing. Available financing would be increased to $1 million from $500,000, and eligibility would be broadened from $5 million in revenue to $10 million in revenue. We would further cut taxes on small business, reducing the tax on small business by 2% from 11% to 9% over 4 years.

We would further reduce the EI premiums. The surplus gained by the EI fund would be reimbursed to employers and employees to lower EI rates.

For the space sector, we would invest in Canada's satellite industry with $30 million to support satellite research and development projects through the Canadian Space Agency. As my hon. colleagues may recall, I have recognized Nipissing—Timiskaming's entry into the space sector on several occasions, and I am very pleased that the government continues to mark its growing importance to our economy. These investments would ultimately serve to expand the space industry in Nipissing—Timiskaming and create high-paying, high-skill jobs.

We are further recognizing the increasing importance of space to Canada's economy and security. For aerospace and manufacturing, we would accelerate aerospace supply chain competitiveness and performance. We would continue to provide accelerated capital cost allowance measures to help manufacturers grow and create jobs.

For agriculture and agrifood, we would promote Canadian farm exports and improve competitiveness, with over $18 million to expand the Canadian Market Access Secretariat and provide more support to farmers trying to access foreign markets. Some $12 million of additional funding would go toward expanding the agrimarketing program to increase the demand for Canadian agricultural goods. We would also increase the lifetime capital allowance for farmers from $750,000 to $1 million.

Finally, for infrastructure, we would continue the improvement of the $53 billion new building Canada plan announced in March 2014. An additional $750 million would go to improve public-private partnerships in addition to continuing to provide $5.3 billion per year for provincial and municipal projects. The new building Canada plan expands on the $33 million building Canada plan introduced in 2007, which included increasing contributions from the gas tax fund, which supports municipal projects, as well as making it permanent.

We remain on the right track. Canada's fiscal position is the envy of the world. Taxes continue to fall for families and small businesses, and key investments in infrastructure, research, and development continue to be realized. The budget is balanced, and further measures have been introduced to ensure that it stays that way, with immediate penalties to senior government leaders who fail to keep it so. Furthermore, Canada is now uniquely positioned to attack its sovereign debt and will do so by applying unused contingencies to it to maintain at least a 25% debt to GDP ratio.

All of this is to say that, in budget 2015, promises made are promises kept.

Islamic State April 21st, 2015

Mr. Speaker, we stand proud that Canada is joining our allies in the fight against ISIS. Due to the competence of our Canadian Forces, we are punching above our weight alongside our allies in this important mission.

Recently Colonel Sean Boyle of 22 Wing/CFB North Bay has been elevated to Canada's air task commander, Operation Impact in the Middle East. Our former wing commander has an exceptional record of service that will ensure Canada continues to perform above expectations.

Operation Impact aims to halt and degrade ISIL's presence in Iraq and Syria. To date, Impact has degraded ISIL's control by 25%.

Commander Sean Boyle's community and country are solidly behind him.

I ask my colleagues in the House to join with me in recognizing the leadership of Commander Boyle and the many Canadians in uniform who continue to serve and protect our great nation.

Justice April 2nd, 2015

Mr. Speaker, when it comes to protecting our streets and communities, Canadian know who they can trust. Since 2006, we have toughened laws, held violent criminals to account, and most importantly, have stood up for victims of crime. In response to the Supreme Court's decision on Bedford, we brought in new criminal provisions to protect vulnerable Canadians from the harms of prostitution. The opposition dragged their feet and ultimately voted against the legislation.

Could the Minister of Justice tell the House the kind of impact our legislation is having on communities?

Common Sense Firearms Licensing Act April 2nd, 2015

Mr. Speaker, as I have indicated, we believe that elected officials should have the power. We have seen the problem with this bill when unelected officials arbitrarily change legislation, contrary to the wishes of this Parliament. We will continue to reform this legislation and achieve the equitable balance as long as we are in government.

Common Sense Firearms Licensing Act April 2nd, 2015

Mr. Speaker, I will be splitting my time with the member for Sault Ste. Marie.

I am very pleased to rise today to discuss the common sense firearms licensing act. This bill is an important step toward strengthening the property rights of all Canadians and especially those law-abiding firearms owners.

The people of Nipissing—Timiskaming know that a firearm in the hands of a trained and licensed individual is simply another piece of property. In North Bay, they know that registering a long gun will not stop someone bent on committing a crime. In Temiskaming Shores, Cobalt and Temagami, they know that serious prison sentences will stop crime with firearms.

In East Ferris and Bonfield, they know that it just makes sense that anyone owning a firearm should be trained on how to handle it safely. In Powassan, Callander and Nipissing, they know that red tape designed solely to discourage participation in Canadian heritage activities, like hunting or sport shooting, simply is not fair.

In Calvin and Chisholm, they know that the best way to reduce the risk of gun crime is to take guns out of the hands of domestic abusers. In Mattawa and Latchford, they know that nobody should face a three-year prison sentence just because they made a paperwork mistake.

My point is the good people of Nipissing—Timiskaming know common sense. In fact, I was pleased to welcome the Minister of Public Safety to Powassan on July 23 last summer to announce the very same safe and sensible measures that we are debating here today. I say “safe and sensible”, very deliberately, because that is exactly what our Conservative government's firearms policies are all about.

We believe that those who are predisposed to obey the law should not have to fill out mountains of paper or be inconvenienced by red tape, but those who break the law should be punished.

I would like to focus on one particular aspect of this important bill that has particular relevance to the people of my riding and indeed all of the people of Ontario. That issue is the limitation of the discretion of the chief firearms officers. For those who are watching at home and are not familiar with firearms legislation, a chief firearms officer is the bureaucrat who is responsible for the administration of firearms laws in a particular province. Some of these bureaucrats are appointed by the federal government, some by the provincial government. They all share one common characteristic: none of them have ever received a single vote from a single elector. In Ontario, and to a lesser extent in other provinces, the chief firearms officer has assumed less of an administrative role and more of a policy-maker role.

First and most notoriously, the Ontario chief firearms officer tried to establish a long-gun registry by the back door just weeks after this Parliament voted to end the wasteful and ineffective long-gun registry once and for all. This move was so outrageous that the government had to take regulatory steps to clarify the intention of the Ending the Long-gun Registry Act. More recently, the Ontario chief firearms officer concocted a plan to require law-abiding, restricted firearms owners to get a letter from any shooting club they visit to say that they are welcome.

I have not found any legal authority for this needless paperwork within the Firearms Act and its subordinate regulations. I have just recently been informed of a situation where the Ontario chief firearms officer has gone so far into interfering with the lawful enjoyment of private property that he has made the approval of a particular shooting club contingent on it drastically altering its hours of operation.

This is clearly beyond limits. There is no added public safety value by trying to dictate the hours of a private business, and there is definitely no authority in law for this type of behaviour from an unelected bureaucrat.

This is why the common sense firearms licensing act would make it clearer that the discretion of the chief firearms officers is limited and can be curtailed by the elected government. It is against principles which are fundamental to Canadian democracy that an unelected bureaucrat should be able to make the decisions that, by one stroke of their pen, can adversely impact the lives of law-abiding individuals. This is a safe and sensible policy. Firearms laws are passed by this Parliament. They should not differ vastly from province to province.

That sounds like common sense to me and to the people I represent. Unfortunately, we have seen too well what the other party leaders think about the rights of law-abiding firearm owners.

While travelling in rural Canada, the Leader of the NDP said that he has changed his gun-grabbing ways, but when he is here in Ottawa, surrounded by the media elite, he says that he believes that the long gun registry was “useful”. Equally appalling is the position of the Liberal leader, who clearly emulates former Liberal justice minister, Allan Rock's policies on firearms. That Liberal minister said that he came to Ottawa with the firm view that only the police and military should have firearms. It seems that if the Liberals had their way, there would be no more hunting and no more sports shooting in Canada. In short, they would eradicate a fundamental part of Canadian heritage.

I am proud and honoured to stand in this House and truly represent the concerns and desires of my constituency and restore trust, unlike my Liberal predecessor who told the constituents of Nipissing—Timiskaming one thing and then went to Ottawa and voted the exact opposite.

Let me assure members as well as all Canadians that such nonsensical policies will never see the light of day under our Conservative government. We will stand up for the democratically-elected member of this House, making safe and sensible firearms policies. We will stand up for the rights of law-abiding hunters, farmers and sports enthusiasts.