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Crucial Fact

  • His favourite word was budget.

Last in Parliament April 2014, as Conservative MP for Whitby—Oshawa (Ontario)

Won his last election, in 2011, with 58% of the vote.

Statements in the House

Finance April 11th, 2006

Mr. Speaker, I thank the former Liberal minister of finance for telling me what I should say. However, instead I will say that we acknowledge that there is a fiscal imbalance, which is a big step forward from the party opposite over the course of the past 13 years.

We await the provincial report from the Council of the Federation which I believe was to be released today. A report will also be released with the budget in this place. We are also waiting for the report that is to come from the O'Brien committee to the federal government, which should be about mid-May, I believe.

Resumption of Debate on Address in Reply April 6th, 2006

I assure you, Mr. Speaker, that I am always short but I will also try to be brief.

The Minister of Canadian Heritage and I share the honour of representing two of the ridings in the great Durham region, one of the fastest growing areas of Canada and the greater Toronto area in southern Ontario. We have had the opportunity to work together before on projects that are of great importance to our area and to our communities. I am honoured to serve in the House with her now.

We intend to keep the trust that Canadians have placed in us. Although not all Canadians voted for us in the last election, we intend to be a government serving all Canadians and all families which is why we intend to proceed with tax reductions that will serve, not just people who happen to have income tax to pay but all Canadians every time we can.

Resumption of Debate on Address in Reply April 6th, 2006

It wasn't passed here.

There is a fifth set of numbers that we hear from the Liberal members and they expect the people of Canada to figure out what they mean by raising or lowering taxes. I know there were tax reductions in budget 2005, but that was four sets of numbers ago.

Resumption of Debate on Address in Reply April 6th, 2006

Mr. Speaker, I listened with interest to the comments of the member opposite. He talks about raising taxes and lowering taxes. One has to have a starting point, so I have looked for one. There was a traditional budget last year for 2005 which was one of the longest budgets ever with all the papers that went with it, but it did not last very long. All of a sudden there was another budget, the NDP budget. So now we have two budgets from one government in one year.

Then there were more announcements made after the second budget. This is all in one year by one government, the last government the members opposite were involved with. Then we have three sets of numbers. My friend says we would raise taxes, from where? From the first set of numbers, the second set of numbers, or the third set? But there is more. There was then a fourth set of numbers in the fall. And that is not enough. The numbers the member opposite is talking about I believe are election promises numbers. That is the fifth set of numbers that we have from the members opposite. The member suffers from the confusion that his election promises are the law of Canada.

Resumption of Debate on Address in Reply April 6th, 2006

Mr. Speaker, I am pleased to take part in this debate on the Speech from the Throne. The government was elected to get things done. We are rolling up our sleeves and taking a workman-like approach to government. I can assure members that we are committed, focused and frugal.

The Speech from the Throne charts a new course for Canada. We will replace the culture of entitlement with one of accountability. We will put the interests of the country ahead of the interests of a privileged few. We will focus on the priorities of Canadians.

During the last election, we promised to take action on five priorities: cleaning up the government by passing the federal accountability act; reducing the tax burden of Canadians, starting with a one percentage point cut to the GST; making our streets and communities safer by cracking down on crime and introducing minimum sentences; supporting families by providing parents with direct financial support to make the child care choices that meet their specific needs while also working with stakeholders to create new child care spaces; and working with the provinces to improve health care by establishing a patient wait times guarantee.

I will return to these priorities in a moment, in particular our promise to reduce taxes for all Canadians, but before doing so there are two principles I would like to talk about that will underpin what our government does in all five areas.

First is fiscal responsibility. I believe and the government believes that balanced budgets and paying off debt are essential to our nation's success. They are not something to be bargained away or compromised. The road to our country's impressive economic and fiscal performance in recent years began with the elimination of annual government deficits. Now is not the time for a U-turn, not only because we have an obligation to the taxpayers of today but because we have an obligation to the generations of tomorrow.

My wife, Christine, and I are blessed with triplet sons and I am not prepared to mortgage their future or any child's future. Deficit financing simply passes tax payments on to our children with accumulated interest piled on top. We must keep our country on the right path and point it in the right direction.

The second principle that will guide us is that the money we manage and spend as a government does not belong to us. It belongs to hard-working, tax paying Canadians. I imagine a number of members know that under the previous government, federal spending jumped by 15% in one year, more than six times the rate of inflation. As the Prime Minister concluded, that kind of spending is simply unsustainable. It is why our government has committed to limiting future growth on federal grants and contribution programs, and limiting growth within federal departments and agencies by reallocating money from existing programs.

Clearly, we must do a better job of controlling government spending, making every dollar count. We must ensure Canadians get results and good value for the hard-earned tax dollars they entrust to us.

I should note, Mr. Speaker, that I will be splitting my time with the hon. member for Calgary--Nose Hill.

Our government will spare no effort to review spending and reallocate resources, so that money will only be spent on programs that are effective and efficient, that is, on programs that work for all Canadians. Canadians should not work for the benefit of the government. Government should work for the benefit of all Canadians.

It is in that spirit and with those basic principles in mind that we will keep our word to Canadians on the five priorities that the Prime Minister outlined during the last election campaign, priorities for practical and positive change and for a new era in government.

Our number one priority is to clean up government by making it more accountable. Let us face it. Canadians must be able to trust their government and know that their tax dollars are being spent wisely. We will provide decisive leadership. We will stand up for honesty and integrity in government.

To that end, our first piece of legislation will be the federal accountability act, a sweeping reform plan to make government more accountable and transparent than ever.

Second, we promise to make our streets and communities safer by providing stiffer sentences for crimes involving firearms and reallocating funds from the gun registry program to support the hiring of more front line police officers.

Third, the government recognizes that strong families ensure a bright future for Canada. No two families are alike and parents must have the ability to choose the child care option that best suits their particular needs. Our government will help Canadian parents make these choices by providing them with direct financial support. At the same time we will also work with the provinces and territories along with employers and community non-profit organizations to create more child care spaces across the country.

Fourth, the government promises to work with the provinces to improve health care by establishing a patient wait times guarantee. Our goal is to set wait time reduction targets to ensure that all Canadians are treated within medically acceptable time limits.

Finally, our fifth priority of tax reduction will be front and centre in our first budget. The government promised Canadians that it would reduce taxes, starting with a one percentage point cut to the GST. Delivering on our promise to reduce the GST is a vital component of our plan to put more money into the pockets of hard-working Canadians. The government knows it must create more opportunity for individuals, families and small businesses to get ahead and we believe that starts with reducing the GST. Why? Because a cut in the GST is a tax cut for everyone, whether one earns enough to pay personal income taxes or not.

People in Canada will see the cut in the GST every time they buy something, regardless of age level or income level. Everyone from a newspaper carrier to a senior on a fixed income will see a savings. Unlike other tax measures, no future government will be able to take this tax cut away from Canadians by stealth.

On big ticket items, the savings can be very significant. For example, the GST savings when buying a new car could translate into hundreds of dollars. On the purchase of a new home, it could mean thousands of dollars. These kinds of savings could mean a lot to young families from one end of Canada to the other.

We believe the purpose of tax policy should not be to give government more options, but rather to give Canadians and their families more freedom and more choice to spend their own money on things that matter to them. That too is government working for Canadians.

Canadians are reminded of the GST every time they buy something. It is clearly itemized on every receipt. Canadians will see it reduced to 6% and eventually to 5%. Of course, a reduction in the GST is not the only tax relief taxpayers will see. The government has also promised to lighten the tax burden for business people. After all, it is investment by businesses, large and small, that generate economic growth and create well paying jobs for Canadians. The previous government promised but did not deliver tax relief for business. We will deliver.

We also want to ensure we support the life blood of Canada's economy, which is small business. We all know it is small businesses in towns and neighbourhoods right across this country, like the grocery store, the corner framing shop or the dry cleaners, that create the vast majority of jobs across the country. As we move forward, we will implement our opportunity plan for small business, a package that will lower small business taxes and create an incentive to hire new apprentices in industries that so urgently need them.

It is estimated that Canada currently has a shortage of some 20,000 skilled tradespeople, an unacceptable situation that we all know needs to be addressed. I heard it in Calgary, I heard it in Surrey, British Columbia, and I have heard it in my own home town of Whitby, Ontario, and the greater Toronto area. This shortage of skilled tradespeople poses a threat to future growth and prosperity and it must be dealt with.

The government is prepared to address this issue head on by offering much needed support for businesses that establish apprenticeship positions. Our plan will also raise the threshold at which businesses have to pay the general corporate tax rate and cut the small business rate itself within five years.

Taxation April 6th, 2006

Mr. Speaker, there was a campaign recently and the people of Canada voted for change. One of the changes they voted for were lower taxes. Unlike the party opposite, we do not just talk about lower taxes. We will reduce taxes for all Canadians so that all Canadians will bear less of a tax burden.

We are looking at all of our fiscal commitments. We will honour our fiscal commitments to the people of Canada who voted to turn over a new leaf.

Taxation April 6th, 2006

Mr. Speaker, increase taxes from where? We have different sets of numbers from 2005 from the party opposite, which was then the government. We have budget 2005. We then have the NDP budget which followed that. We then have the spending announcements post-budget 2005, and the fiscal update. Then we have all the promises that were made after the fiscal update.

When the member opposite talks about taxes, I ask, increase taxes from where? Which of the five sets of numbers?

Taxation April 5th, 2006

Mr. Speaker, I am sure the member opposite will understand that I rarely confirm anything written in the Toronto Star having had some experience in that place over the years.

I assure the member opposite that we do intend to keep our commitment to reduce the GST. This is a tax which a former leader of the party opposite in 1993 said should be scrapped entirely. I cannot understand why the member opposite would be against this government reducing the GST to the benefit of all Canadians by one point.

Taxation April 5th, 2006

Mr. Speaker, the proposal is to reduce the GST by a full percentage point. This is a tax cut for which Canadians voted and on which we intend to deliver. I can assure the member opposite that overall Canadians will pay less tax under this government than they did under the previous government.

Taxation April 5th, 2006

Mr. Speaker, this is one of the issues that has to be addressed in terms of the broader discussion with respect to fiscal imbalance. There not only will be a federal paper with the budget, but the O'Brien report is to be delivered to the federal government probably in the month of May. The Council of the Federation has a report. Various provinces have delivered reports, some with their budgets, the provinces of British Columbia and Manitoba among others. I think the big city mayors and chairs also have a report coming in June.

There will be lots of reports and lots of opportunity for discussion.