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Crucial Fact

  • His favourite word was farmers.

Last in Parliament March 2016, as Conservative MP for Medicine Hat—Cardston—Warner (Alberta)

Won his last election, in 2015, with 69% of the vote.

Statements in the House

Jobs and Growth Act, 2012 October 29th, 2012

Mr. Speaker, on March 29, the Minister of Finance presented the 2012 budget, Canada's economic action plan for jobs, growth and long-term prosperity. The budget was developed after extensive consultation with fellow MPs, department personnel, economists, business and community leaders and ordinary Canadians. It is not surprising that our Minister of Finance has been called the best finance minister in the world after the World Economic Forum rated Canada's performance as the best among G8 economies in the midst of a global crisis.

The overwhelming message I received from constituents throughout the year was, “Keep on keeping on. Your plan is working. Continue to keep taxes low, continue to reduce redundant red tape, continue to facilitate trade among the provinces and continue to open up new markets around the world”.

Albertans in particular support this disciplined and balanced approach to managing the country's economy. The vast majority of Canadians support our focus on substantial, responsible and necessary change, while taking advantage of global economic opportunities and ensuring sustainable social programs and sound public finances for future generations. However, the NDP does not support this.

As members may recall, shortly after the budget was announced, the NDP leader made headlines with his divisive comments of blaming Alberta's successful energy-based economy for the downsizing of the manufacturing-based economies in Quebec and Ontario. He also blamed the strong Canadian dollar, for which Alberta's booming economy is responsible, for the downturn in manufacturing. Prairie premiers and other western leaders were quick to reject his claims and he was even criticized by left-leaning eastern journalists who recognized his comments to be divisive and unsuitable for a national leader.

However, we have to hand it to the Leader of the Opposition, he does stick to his guns. Notwithstanding the public outcry, he has not backed down. In fact, he got bolder and even more bizarre. In a question period he went so far as to say:

—the Canadian dollar is being held artificially high, because they are failing to enforce environmental legislation....500,000 good-paying manufacturing jobs have been lost because we are not enforcing legislation. We are not enforcing the navigable waters act. We are not enforcing the migratory birds act. We are not enforcing the Fisheries Act.

Behold the NDP plan to revive the manufacturing sector: enforce the Migratory Birds Convention Act.

It is an unfortunate but acceptable consequence of environmental regulations that the economy should suffer. However, the NDP suggest that we impose environmental legislation, not to protect the environment, but to deliberately hurt the Alberta economy in particular and the Canadian economy in general.

Some people have said that it is disingenuous to suggest there are environmental restrictions which negatively impact the economy, while doing very little to actually protect the environment. This is not simply an accidental result of miscalculating the effects of well-intended policies. The Leader of the Opposition reveals that it is an intentional and integral part of the NDP environmental agenda.

The NDP wants to impose strict environmental restrictions upon the Alberta energy sector to significantly undermine its profitability and weaken the general economy. This would bring down the value of the Canadian dollar thereby making Canadian manufactured goods less expensive to foreign markets. Its bizarre economic philosophy suggests that we would all be better off if only the economy was not doing so well.

This line of thinking is not unique to its leader; it is typical NDP mentality. Nor is this philosophy and methodology new. When fighting against the implementation of the same socialist philosophy in the 1840s, Frédéric Bastiat pointed out that in order to gain power, “Ambitious hypocrites...planting the seeds of international discord in the mind of the public”. He stresses the importance of exposing the false assumptions upon which their economic theories are based. He says, “the public can be robbed only if it is first deceived...and we may be certain...every sophism is the precursor of an act of plunder”.

In other words, whenever we see a wonky argument for equalization that is superficially plausible but makes huge leaps and depends on false assumptions, hold on to our wallet.

Since our motive should be the welfare and prosperity of the country, no matter how politically incorrect they are, if the words of the NDP leader are right, we should swallow our pride and implement them. However, they are wrong and there are reasons much more important than scoring politically for pointing it out.

In politics, false assumptions are especially harmful because they mislead public opinion, and public opinion is the guiding force of public policy. If deception and false assumptions are the weapons of the plunderer, then the best shield for the public is correct understanding.

Pitting one region against another is not just politically incorrect, it also discourages inter-regional and inter-industry co-operation, harming national unity and stagnating economic growth for all regions in all industries.

The words of the leader of the official opposition are not just divisive. The belief that each region's gains depend on the losses of others not only destroys the economies of weaker regions but also eventually destroys the strong as well, just a parasite must perish after it has fully consumed its host.

The economy is not a zero sum game. If we are to prosper, it is important to understand that in a free market, it is the very nature of free economic exchanges that both parties gain and, in fact, that co-operation is more effective than competition. Supposing that a region cannot prosper in the absence of abundant natural resources without forced equalization weakens that region and stifles its creativity. The downturn in manufacturing was not caused by a strong dollar but was a natural correction in an artificially supported sector. The strong dollar is a reflection of a strong economy and a strong economy inspires confidence, encouraging outside investment and internal growth.

A lower loonie may increase demand for domestically manufactured goods, but increased demand would also increase their price for foreign markets and Canadians. Ironically, it would also lower the value of the dollar earned by people in the manufacturing sector. Also, the opposition's anti-oil, lower loonie plan would increase revenue for the oil companies too, since their prices are based on U.S. dollars. Therefore, we would end up shipping crude oil at a lower Canadian dollar price, only to have to import gasoline at high U.S. prices. Protectionists always seem to forget that the economy is not made up only of producers and sellers, but also includes consumers.

The economy of a country is not actually a race to the top where only one team can win. If we wanted to make sure that all of the runners crossed the finish line at the same time, it might make sense to place some artificial obstacles in the path of the fastest runners or to give slower runners a head start. A national economy is more like a team of mountain climbers working together to reach the summit. Would it make sense to put obstacles in the way of a climber with the best chance of getting to the top first if, from there, he could better assist those below? However, that is what the member for Outremont and his not-so-merry band of socialists want to do with respect to industry. They forget that the desired result is Canada's well-being, all of it.

Canadian Heritage October 16th, 2012

Mr. Speaker, Canadians are bound together by a rich cultural diversity and by an inspiring history that points us to an even brighter future.

This year, 2012, is the start of the five-year countdown to Canada's 150th birthday in 2017. We have an unprecedented opportunity to celebrate our history and the successes that define us and unite us as Canadians.

Can the Minister of Canadian Heritage and Official Languages please tell the House what our government is doing to help Canadians better understand and appreciate our heritage and showcase our legacy to the world?

Local Leaders October 15th, 2012

Mr. Speaker, on Friday I presented the Queen Elizabeth II Diamond Jubilee Medal to 30 of southern Alberta's finest citizens. They are shining examples of the community spirit that thrives in southern Alberta.

All great movements have their great leaders, but the great movement can only come to pass and take root with the help of countless other local leaders working together to serve a great people.

India had Gandhi, and it needed Gandhi, but Gandhi also needed India, half a billion people willing to live as Gandhi lived.

The civil rights movement had Martin Luther King Jr., but it also had Rosa Parks and countless other individuals quietly and constantly practising what he preached.

Today Canada leads the world and we do so because of great local volunteers and leaders serving the world's greatest people, quietly working together not for praise and glory but out of a commitment to make the world a better place for their friends and neighbours.

It is through people like them that God keeps our land glorious and free.

Petitions September 25th, 2012

Mr. Speaker, this petition is from people from my riding. They all happen to be women but it just adds to the dozens of petitions with dozens of signatures of people who are in favour of Motion No. 312, and for whom the subject has not been closed.

Study on income inequality June 7th, 2012

Mr. Speaker, there are two general reasons to reject the Liberal motion to study various income equality and tax issues. The more obvious fact is that there is content with which we fundamentally disagree. But there are a few points with which we do agree, so why should we reject the motion altogether? Is that not like throwing out the baby with the bathwater? No. We are already taking action on the sensible parts of the motion. We have a nice clean baby and the motion wants to throw the baby back into the dirty bathwater.

The finance committee will already be engaging in its annual prebudget consultations this fall, where the member can raise the issues in the motion. The Senate is already engaged in studying and examining the sensible points of the motion. It has been studying social inclusion and cohesion in Canada since November. So the issues reflected in today's motion are already being or will be examined.

When I conduct prebudget consultations in my riding, and whenever I meet with constituents in general, I find that there is one thing that frustrates Canadians. If there is one thing they want us to cut back on, it is government waste. They want the government to quit wasting money and quit wasting time. With that in mind, I am confident that the majority of constituents in my riding would not support the establishment of another study to study something that is already being studied.

I do not have a problem with wanting to improve or increase equality for Canadians when it comes to opportunities and prosperity for all. However, we need to take action to get to that point.

We need action. Please do not let me give the House the impression that our commitment to concrete actions based on sound understanding is the only way we differ from the Liberals. Another fundamental issue on which our Conservative government cannot agree with the Liberal Party is the issue of taxation, which is core to today's debate.

In recent years our government has made decisions to reduce taxes, whether it be lowering the GST, lowering business taxes or lowering income taxes and leaving more money in the hands of Canadians to support their families and grow their businesses to create more jobs. The Liberal Party has made it clear that it believes those decisions are the wrong decisions.

Our Conservative government is committed to continue to lower taxes for all Canadians, building on our record of lowering taxes 140 times and saving the average Canadian family more than $3,100 per year in taxes. The Liberal Party has unsuccessfully fought against these measures every step of the way.

The motion talks about looking for tax regimes that would increase per capita GDP, that would increase prosperity for all Canadians. The Liberals want to look for a plan that they have already voted against. The best thing a government can do, the best social program it can provide, is to help create jobs for Canadians.

However, the Liberals have voted against and campaigned against our low tax plan that has helped fuel job creation in Canada. Since we formed government in 2006, Canada has seen more than 1.3 million net new jobs created, the best record in the entire G7.

The motion talks about looking for ways to eliminate disincentives for paid work that may exist as part of a welfare trap. Now I know why the Liberals are rejecting reforms to the employment insurance program that do exactly what they are looking for, because if they accept it, they will have to stop looking for it. It seems that, for the Liberals, looking is better than finding and better than implementing.

Let me remind the House what the motion's sponsor, the Liberal finance critic, once believed and what he said in this very chamber only a few years ago. He was already a Liberal at the time. He said:

Innovative, forward-thinking governments globally have proven that we can build a competitive economy with dramatic reductions to corporate taxes...

We only need to look at the Netherlands, Sweden.... Australia and New Zealand.... They have reformed their tax system to make their economies magnets for capital and talent....

The old globaphobic, socialist, Luddite nonsense that somehow innovative and forward-thinking economic policy is contrary to good social policy is wrong.

I could not agree more with these words. In fact, it seems as if I agree with them more than the member agrees with them.

The member's political evolution is indicative of the entire Liberal Party. The Liberals have turned their back on supporting lower business taxes, a policy they once said they supported. Instead they have chosen to align their policies with the extreme left, anti-business NDP.

“Another study”, they say, “another review”. There is nothing wrong with study and review, but struggling Canadians cannot be helped by the study of potential action alone. What they really need is targeted support and concrete action. We will continue to look for ways to improve the lot of all Canadians, but that will not stop us from acting on those proven principles of freedom, happiness and prosperity.

The NDP and Liberal members will tell us that our tax cuts have only benefited a select few ultra-rich, but the facts clearly show that nothing could be further from the truth. Besides the fact that corporate tax cuts actually do help create jobs, one-third of all the personal income tax relief provided by the Conservative government is going to Canadians with incomes under $42,000, even though they pay less than 15% of all taxes in Canada.

Furthermore, because of measures taken in 2006, more than one million low-income Canadians, including about 380,000 seniors, have been removed from the tax rolls altogether, and we have introduced unique targeted tax relief for low-income Canadians to help them engage in the workforce, by removing financial barriers to work. In other words, we have not only identified disincentives to paid work; we have implemented measures to remove them.

Another noteworthy example is the working income tax benefit, or the WITB. Since it was introduced in 2007, the landmark WITB has made work pay for low-income individuals by combating perverse policies that penalize them for taking a job.

For years under the Liberal government we had situations where taxes, reduced income support and loss of benefits often discouraged individuals receiving social assistance from working, because it would claw back nearly 80% of their working income.

Consider an example of a single, unemployed father living in Nova Scotia with a five-year-old daughter receiving $15,020 in combined federal and provincial benefits. If he were to find a part-time job and earn $15,000 a year, his provincial social assistance benefits would be reduced to about $4,800, and his overall income would now be about $19,810. In other words, he would only gain $4,790 by making the decision to go to work, but now with the WITB refundable tax credit, he would see an extra $1,605, or 34% more due to his decision to go to work.

Overall, over $1 billion in working income tax benefits is provided to individuals and families every year. Clearly, this is a major, positive development, and many diverse third-party organizations like the OECD, TD Economics, Food Banks Canada and the United Way have welcomed it. Even the member for Kings—Hants who sponsored this motion welcomed it, at least at one time. The February 3, 2009, edition of the Hants Journal quotes him as saying:

The Working Income Tax Benefit...has helped many working families...helping make work pay.

Again, this is concrete action that our Conservative government has already taken to support low-income Canadians, rather than simply studying potential ways to help them.

Here are some more examples of concrete Conservative action.

The universal child care benefit provides all families with up to $1,200 a year for each child under the age of six to help cover their child care costs.

We have introduced the child tax credit, improved the Canada child tax benefit and improved the national child benefit supplement.

We recently enhanced the guaranteed income supplement by providing a top-up of more than $600 a year for a single senior and $840 a year for couples.

We have made significant investments in housing, and our Conservative government provides record amounts in social and health transfers for the provinces, and these amounts are not only insured, but they are committed to grow.

I could go on, but in summary, I just want to suggest that our record of action bodes well, and our Conservative government is committed to continuing its record of action.

I would like to end with a quote from an Ottawa Citizen editorial that dealt with the subject matter of this motion:

This isn't a problem we can tax our way out of....

The thing we should be discussing is how to broaden our economy so that more people have a chance of earning a decent living. In the end, that's what Canadians really want, and need.

Copyright Modernization Act May 14th, 2012

Mr. Speaker, it is very simple. I use an online service that provides audio books in a format other than MP3, but I use it because I think it is convenient, even though I cannot put it on my BlackBerry. I do not use another service that puts music in a format that is not MP3 simply because I do not like how restrictive it is. I use another service to get the very same music that I am looking for. No one is required to buy a digitally locked program.

Yes, it is against the law if the terms of the contract state that when purchasers buy it they cannot break the lock.

Copyright Modernization Act May 14th, 2012

Mr. Speaker, as I said in my speech, I have heard a lot of feedback about this bill, most of which has been positive.

A lot of the concerns that I have heard are based on the misunderstandings based on the deliberate feeding of misinformation. Once those misunderstandings were cleared up and people understood what the bill actually does, I received overwhelming support and an overwhelming understanding that it is good for business.

Copyright Modernization Act May 14th, 2012

Mr. Speaker, the answer is no.

Copyright Modernization Act May 14th, 2012

Mr. Speaker, the member addressed the question to an MP other than myself, but I will answer it anyway.

Obviously, when a government sets up provisions that allow for a free market, and protects the ability for people to produce and enjoy the fruits of their intellectual property, we do not know the exact number that will result from a free market decision. However, we do know that when we do not protect those intellectual property rights, for example, if we do not protect the rights of software producers to protect their material, they will take their business elsewhere where they have protection.

Copyright Modernization Act May 14th, 2012

Mr. Speaker, I have carefully studied this bill. I have consulted with constituent, stakeholders and my fellow legislators and I have consulted carefully with members of the committee who studied the bill. After this research and consulting with stakeholders and people in my riding, I am happy to speak in support of Bill C-11.

I am proud that our government kept its promise to introduce this bill.

This is important legislation that would update Canada's copyright law so it would be responsible in the digital age. Copyright matters to Canadians from all walks of life. Whether they are creators or users of that copyrighted material, Canadians understand that copyright impacts their daily lives whether at work, at play or at school. They also recognize the importance of copyright in the digital economy and Canada's global competitiveness. The bill therefore reflects a common sense approach that addresses all these issues. It does so by taking a balanced approach to copyright modernization.

Given all these different interests in copyright modernization, there has been a lot of debate about the bill. This important legislation has been reviewed and studied in committee under two different Parliaments. These committees heard from dozens and dozens of individuals and organizations and they listened to these stakeholders. These included representatives of creator groups, high-tech businesses, consumer groups, publishers, broadcasters, educators, artists, telecommunications companies. As well, they received many written submissions from the general public. All these perspectives helped guide the current committee as it completed its review of the copyright modernization act.

In Bill C-11, the government has proposed a balanced approach to copyright modernization. This approach balances the needs of creators and users. Furthermore, this approach brings Canada's copyright laws into the 21st century and positions our country for success in the years to come. At the same time, the committee recognized that some tweaks, amendments and fixes were in order and it adopted a number of amendments. These amendments added clarity to certain provisions of the bill, improved our ability to implement the bill and improved fairness for users and producers.

I will speak now about some of these important amendments.

As members know, the proposals in Bill C-11 will help ensure that Canadians are able to enjoy their legally obtained copyrighted material when and how they want it. It does this through several measures that facilitate the use of copyrighted material for private use.

During the committee process, members heard that there was a lack of clarity about these private purposes that were being referred to in the bill. Accordingly, the committee adopted amendments that clarified the exceptions that would apply for private purposes, to ensure it referred to the individuals and not to all their friends to whom they wanted to give their privately obtained material. These amendments address the concerns about lack of clarity and we believe Canadians will see this is fair and that they will be better served by more precision and predictability.

Bill C-11 responds to the challenges presented by online copyright infringement. Many, but not all, of the concerns that I hear about the bill express a lament that people will be unable to legally steal copyrighted material anymore online and this is a bit disturbing for some people. The committee recognized the importance of putting in place measures to address online piracy. However, it recognized that the wording of the initial bill created confusion about its scope. Therefore, the committee supported changes to the bill to address this as well.

With these changes, our government is now sending an even clearer message that enabling online copyright infringement is not acceptable. Our government recognizes the significant harm illegal file sharing inflicts upon online businesses and software developers in Canada.

Bill C-11 would promote innovation in many ways, including through exceptions for activities related to computer programmer interoperability, encryption research and security testing of computers, networks and systems. However, there was concern that hackers could hide behind these exceptions to protect themselves from litigation. Therefore, the committee responded to this concern by adopting an amendment to ensure that Bill C-11 would not inadvertently protect unethical hackers who would seek to exploit vulnerabilities in computer systems and mobile devices.

With this amendment, Bill C-11 would ensure that innovators are still afforded the freedom needed to keep thinking about the future. At the same time, it would ensure that those who intend to take advantage of Canadian ingenuity are legally pursued. In short, the amendment would allow the bill to achieve its goals.

I mentioned that many of the concerns I have been hearing about the bill are based on a desire to continue to obtain copyrighted material and the notion that because it is in digital form, it is not stealing.

A lot of the concerns are based on misinformation, or misunderstanding which is based on misinformation which is often blatantly provided. A lot of the concerns raised, for example, are about students having to burn their notes at the end of the semester. Of course this is not true.

Basically the bill would bring us into the digital age.

Right now, if students are sitting in a real classroom and the professor shows a movie clip, they are not able to take the movie home and keep it. That is the only kind of thing that students are not able to keep if they are online students, things which in the real physical world they are not allowed to keep. That is all it refers to.

It is the same for digital locks. A lot of the concerns about digital locks would not be a concern if they were locking actual material or actual merchandise. It is similar to saying, “Well, he didn't actually rob me, but he did break into my store”. That is what digital locks refers to. We think that it makes sense. Most Canadians understand the necessity to protect private property, including intellectual property.

In today's world, technology is evolving at breakneck speed. Bill C-11 does not just take aim at current issues or issues that are 15 years old. It is forward looking and responsive. It would help ensure that Canadians' copyright laws are flexible enough to evolve as technology evolves.

Everyone knows that our copyright law has not been updated for 15 years. It is woefully out of date. Moving forward, we are committed to ensuring that the Copyright Act remains responsive to the reality of today and the days to come. That is why the bill includes an automatic review process every five years to ensure the Copyright Act remains responsive to the changing digital environment.

There is a desire to get the copyright law right, but we know that as the years go by, the demands will change, as will the necessities, and therefore, a review of the process is built in.

After all that we have heard, after all the discussions we have had, it is time to move forward with copyright modernization.

Bill C-11 would balance the interests of all Canadians who are touched by Canada's copyright law. With that balance in mind, Bill C-11 would offer a range of benefits to all Canadians, including new rights for Canadian creators and greater protections for the incentive to create. It would include changes that would legitimize the everyday activities for ordinary Canadians. A lot of the concerns about the limits on digital copying, et cetera, would actually allow for more than the current law allows for.

Furthermore, the benefits would include clear copyright rules to encourage innovation and the sharing of ideas online.

Last but not least, there are more options for educators, not fewer.

Clearly, this is good news for all Canadians, artists, businesspeople, teachers, students and families. Canadians deserve a copyright regime that would allow them to fully participate with confidence in the digital world. With Bill C-11 our government would deliver these benefits.

I invite hon. members of the House to join our government to support the bill, which would effectively modernize Canada's copyright law and protect the interests of all Canadians.