- Her favourite word was energy.
Last in Parliament October 2015, as Conservative MP for Calgary Centre (Alberta)
Lost her last election, in 2015, with 45% of the vote.
Statements in the House
Justice June 18th, 2015
Mr. Speaker, Canadians in my riding do not understand why the absolute worst violent offenders would ever be let out of prison and back onto our streets, where they are a risk to our families and children. Meanwhile, the Liberals and the NDP tout Pierre Trudeau's faint hope clause that would give these offenders an escape route. The opposition even opposes tougher penalties for murderers who kill police, commit kidnappings and sexual assault.
Could the Minister of Justice please tell the public what our government is doing about it?
Economic Action Plan 2015 Act, No. 1 June 15th, 2015
Mr. Speaker, this is something that I fail to understand. We often hear from the Liberals that they want to impose more taxes: tax this, tax that, spend this, and build more government bureaucracy.
For example, the Liberal leader suggested that he would impose a $1,000 tax hike for a worker earning $60,000 a year. That is money right out of the pockets of moms and dads. This is money that, if it was kept in their pockets, they would go out and make their mortgage payment, buy groceries, pay the lease on their vehicle, and pay to put their kids in sports programs.
We do not agree with that kind of a strategy. Our plan is to put money back in the pockets of moms and dads. The 180 times our federal Conservative government has cut taxes since it has been in office has put $100, on average, back in the pockets of every person in this country every month. That is the kind of tax action that Canadians want. That is the kind of tax action we are delivering.
I think the Liberals would do well to look ahead at what is going to actually improve the lives of Canadian families. It is to let them make choices with their tax money.
Economic Action Plan 2015 Act, No. 1 June 15th, 2015
Mr. Speaker, I appreciate the fact that the member opposite is advocating for people in her riding.
All of us understand that these are not perfect economic times, and that is why the leadership we have seen from our Conservative government is so important. This government has kept the top job-creation record in the G7.
We want to make sure that we continue to develop our resources. Newfoundland and Labrador can be a big winner in this. The energy east pipeline could be something that could bring all kinds of jobs. We have seen the cross-Canada benefit of our oil and gas industry.
One of the things we know is that this government and the Prime Minister are the reason that Canada has produced a balanced budget, a blue ribbon budget that sets a new course for this country, that is a beacon of light around the world.
Economic Action Plan 2015 Act, No. 1 June 15th, 2015
Mr. Speaker, I will be splitting my time with my hon. colleague from Kootenay—Columbia.
Today I will talk about four things. I will talk about ships, storms, rocks, and plotting a course in budget 2015. To put this simply, budget 2015 puts Canada firmly on a new course. Not only does it balance the books, but it also provides us with hope and optimism about our future, and it steers us to success. It is a huge, positive sign on Canada's economic horizon. It puts the wind in our sails as a country.
Let us agree that there is no doubt the financial crisis of 2008 was a setback. It was a setback that tested the entire world, along with this Conservative government, and one that left many Canadians nervous. They have been thinking more about their futures and what their government is doing to ensure that they can continue to work and financially support themselves, their families, their children and their aging parents, both now and into the future.
Our federal Conservative government was tested in this financial crisis, and I am very proud to say that it came out with glowing colours, with the best job growth of the entire G7 and the envy of much of the world. How did we do that? We implemented rolling efficiency audits in all federal departments to expertly pare costs, and we rolled out a generous infrastructure spending program to bolster job growth and to take Canada to safe waters. Today with this budget, we are pulled into port.
It is important for Canadians to know that many other countries, such as Greece, Ireland, Portugal and Spain, have ended up on the rocks. Canadians today can enjoy peace of mind knowing that their government is focused on their prosperity and our country's economic growth and stability. This government has expertly guided us through the tempest and is now plotting a course for our $1.9 trillion economy to an even brighter future.
Let me tell the House some examples of what this Conservative government has done to keep its promise to balance the budget and what our sights are set on. We have focused on creating 1.2 million net new jobs, being financially responsible and eliminating government red tape. We have steadily reduced the deficit as a per cent of gross domestic product year after year since the crisis, and we have brought back a surplus, a $1.4 billion surplus.
That is exactly what my constituents in Calgary Centre have been asking for. They know why balanced budgets are so important, because governments can then provide them with many of the benefits and enhanced services to live comfortable and healthy lives, all without mortgaging their future and without mortgaging the future of their children, because mortgaging the future of their kids is simply not acceptable to Canadians, and so is raising their taxes unacceptable.
Contrary to the Liberals' plans, our Conservative government has cut taxes for families, for seniors, for every single Canadian. We have cut taxes over 180 times since coming into office, and we have brought federal tax down to its lowest level in 50 years.
Canadians also know that a responsible government needs to manage its money like they manage their personal finances, and we are doing that with our balanced budget legislation. Because we will not be piling on more interest payments, this balanced budget actually will allow us to increase our support to a typical Canadian family to $6,600 per family per year by increasing the universal child care benefits and others they receive.
We have changed the rules so seniors do not have to take money out of their tax-protected RRIFs. If they do not need it, they can leave the money in there a little longer. If they need to upgrade their homes to stay living independently, or if they need to hire a caregiver, they can also earn tax credits.
To kick-start job creation, this budget will further reduce the tax rate for small business from 11% to 9% by 2019. To boost manufacturing jobs and support continued investment in machinery and equipment, constituents in my riding have been asking for an accelerated capital cost allowance to defer taxes in the liquefied natural gas area until it is making money. We have done that.
Members of the NDP are touting a plan for job creation in their mail-outs that sounds an awful lot like ours. We are glad they like it, but perhaps they should be crediting their source. If they had consulted a copy of economic action plan 2015, they would know that this Conservative government is already way ahead of them on creating jobs.
This budget proposes to further harmonize apprenticeship training and certification requirements so that trades professionals can have their credentials recognized in all Canadian provinces and can move from province to province, if need be, to get a job.
I now want to tack over to the west and focus on how this budget specifically benefits the people of Alberta and those in my constituency of Calgary Centre.
To ensure that they continue to live healthy lives, this government is increasing federal transfer payments to record levels by investing $5.5 billion this year alone for health and social services in Alberta. That is $3.2 billion more than were invested in Alberta under the Liberal government.
Looking out to the horizon, by balancing the budget now and in the future, we know that we will be able to continue to deliver on our promise to continue to increase health care transfers by 3% per year, plus inflation, this year and into the future. The people in my riding of Calgary Centre also depend on public transit, roads and highways, to get their families from home to work, to school, to get the services they need and also to move goods. That is why we have dramatically increased infrastructure investments to an all-time high. The building Canada plan is the largest and longest infrastructure plan in Canadian history, and Alberta will see more than $3.2 billion in dedicated federal funding over the next 10 years. This is for building roads, bridges, light rail, recreational facilities and flood mitigation projects.
I met last weekend with my provincial counterpart in Alberta and I know that this funding will be very welcome. It will help the province deal with the shock of low oil prices. I am also encouraging the province and city council to make flood mitigation a priority with these funds.
Public transit is also high on the list. This budget introduces a new public transit fund that will dedicate $750 million over two years to major city transit projects starting in 2017-18 and up to $1 billion thereafter. That is a very significant step that the Federation of Canadian Municipalities lauded by saying that this is good news and “has the potential to be transformative for public transit across this country”.
The budget also includes environmental measures that demonstrate to Canadians that we are hearing them, that we are listening and we can continue to develop our resources sustainably. Americans have been aggressively developing their oil and gas industry south of the border and they will not be needing as much of ours. Therefore, to continue to support the thousands and thousands of Canadians who work in the oil and gas industry, we need to be able to get our products to markets in other countries. This budget provides $80 million over five years to the National Energy Board to contribute to safety and environmental protection and engage Canadians with new energy transportation infrastructure, such as pipelines that are being proposed. I am proud to tell Canadians we are listening to their concerns regarding the safe transport of oil and gas.
As a member of the Standing Committee on Natural Resources, I worked on drafting Bill C-46, the pipeline safety act, that reinforces the polluter pay principle. It requires companies operating pipelines to be responsible for $1 billion in liability for any incident without proving fault.
This June marks the second anniversary of the southern Alberta floods and it is a month that keeps many of my constituents on edge. It is a stark reminder of the costliest natural disaster in Canadian history. It also took a huge emotional toll. In addition to our infrastructure program which has been open to being used for flood mitigation, we have also introduced a $200 million national disaster mitigation program that will help fund flood mapping to allow for the introduction of residential flood insurance in Alberta and Canada.
Finally, this budget reaffirms our Conservative government's commitment to ensuring that low-income families and vulnerable Canadians have access to affordable housing, with $2.3 billion every year for the next four years. A few weeks ago, I helped open 1010 Centre, a groundbreaking housing first affordable housing facility in my riding, Canada's largest permanent supported housing initiative. It was a very heartwarming and moving ceremony. I heard one resident, Darren, say, “Now I feel like I have a real fighting chance”.
While the opposition chooses to focus on snippets of our government's actions or programs it would find fault with, I ask Canadians to look at the whole picture. We are discussing a balanced budget not by chance, but because this government plotted and planned, and led us to where we are today. With the expert leadership of Stephen Harper at the helm, the budget we present to the House today is the package that will give Canadians and their children the prosperous future they deserve, signed, sealed, delivered.
Taxation June 10th, 2015
Mr. Speaker, our government has consistently lowered taxes. In fact, as a result, we have the lowest personal tax burden than we have had in 50 years, and that is more money in the pockets of families.
Meanwhile, the Liberal leader keeps pushing reckless spending, which we know would actually kill jobs and take money out of the pockets of people. It is clear that the Liberals have only one plan for the economy, and that is to raise taxes.
Will the Minister of Finance please tell the House and Canadians what our government is doing to deliver on our promise to make life more affordable for Canadians?
Infrastructure June 4th, 2015
Mr. Speaker, two years ago torrential flood waters overran the banks of Alberta's Bow and Elbow rivers, creating the most costly natural disaster in Canadian history. It has taken a huge toll as well. My constituents want to know how we are preventing another disaster.
Federally, we allocated $3.2 billion for Alberta flood damages. We funded satellite weather forecasting for early warning and flood mapping to enable overland home flood insurance. Largest of all, we opened the doors to the province and to the city of Calgary to use record federal infrastructure dollars for disaster mitigation.
It is up to the province and city to access those funds. For Alberta, that is $3.2 billion over 10 years. For the city of Calgary, it is $63 million alone, just this year, from the gas tax.
Other provinces are getting shovels in the ground this summer and I urge our new premier, Rachel Notley and Mayor Nenchi to do the same. We are here to work with them.
Public Safety May 27th, 2015
Mr. Speaker, the RCMP recently arrested 10 people who were radicalized in Montreal and who were planning to travel abroad to join the international jihadist movement.
Could the Minister of Public Safety and Emergency Preparedness please tell Canadians what our government is doing to counter this threat?
Economic Action Plan 2015 Act, No. 1 May 14th, 2015
Mr. Speaker, members have no idea how glad I am the member asked that question, because I was there when Jean Chrétien came to Alberta and gave Alberta less money per capita for health care than every other province in Canada. We have corrected that.
Not only that: we have increased funding for health care. Funding for health care for all provinces will go up under this budget. That is what quality of life for Canadians looks like. It is not what they saw under the Liberals.
Economic Action Plan 2015 Act, No. 1 May 14th, 2015
Mr. Speaker, it is hard to spin a budget with such good news as something that is bad.
I want to use the example of a fellow named Ronnie, who could be from New Brunswick. Ronnie is an apprentice. He is a Red Seal apprentice. A person like Ronnie will receive $1,715 in tax relief and increased benefits this year.
We have programs like the Canada job grant and the Canada apprentice loan. With this budget we are also creating better harmonization of certification requirements across the country, so that if there is not a job in New Brunswick, Ronnie can move to another province for work. He can even take the training there to find work.
Businesses have told us that is exactly what they need, and guys like Ronnie from New Brunswick have told us that is exactly what they need as well. We have jobs still waiting for folks like that.
This budget provides for many sectors of our society, including students and people from New Brunswick.
Economic Action Plan 2015 Act, No. 1 May 14th, 2015
Mr. Speaker, I am happy to stand to speak on economic action plan 2015, the 2015 budget.
When some people imagine budgets, they think about only the numbers and their eyes glaze over. They think budgets might have little impact on everyday people. I would like to point out how this particular budget is very significant for all Canadians and how it makes life better for people in Calgary Centre, whom I am humbled and privileged to represent.
When I spoke on the budget last year, I spoke about how we were planning for a balanced budget and the steps we were taking to lead up to it; this year, we have delivered. A balanced budget is exactly what Calgary residents have told me their number one priority is. We have done it, with a $1.4 billion surplus, despite a precipitous drop in oil prices and an uncertain global economy.
People in Calgary Centre and across Canada are acutely aware that given low oil prices and the state of the global economy, the budget did not balance itself. It happened because of the expert guidance of our Prime Minister, the finance minister, former finance minister Jim Flaherty, and the strong encouragement of our Conservative caucus. The budget is where the rubber hits the road. The budget is the proof of the expert leadership that we getting here in Canada. By balancing the budget, keeping taxes low and delivering more benefits to families, we are keeping Canada the envy of the world.
Last year I spoke about energy being Canada's natural competitive advantage. Every province and territory from coast to coast to coast has benefited from this industry. While the industry is now under considerable pressure, making it more important than ever to diversify our markets to China, to India, and to the EU, this budget includes new environmental measures that will demonstrate to Canadians how we can continue to develop and sustain our resources. Energy and the environment can be nurtured and developed together.
This sets us apart from the NDP, whose leader branded the energy industry as spreading Dutch disease, and the Liberals, whose leader opposes many pipelines and west coast tanker traffic, which we know we need in order to get our product to these markets.
We know that Canadians want to make sure that energy development is safe for the environment, as do we. The natural resources minister has emphasized that projects will not proceed unless they are safe for people and safe for the environment. They have to pass a rigorous scientific and fact-based inquiry by the National Energy Board as well as undergo a complete environmental assessment. This budget includes $80 million over five years for the National Energy Board to do its job and give Canadians that assurance.
It is coupled with a strict new polluter pays bill, Bill C-46, that puts energy firms on the hook for clean-ups, thus giving them extra impetus to make sure they get our resources to market without incident—which, incidentally, they do 99.999% of the time. Canadians can have confidence that our environment will be protected as we develop our competitive advantage in energy.
I would like to talk about another type of competitive advantage that this budget provides, and that is economic freedom.
This year, with a balanced budget, we can maintain and grow funding to important areas in health and education, as my hon. friend just spoke about, and at the same time provide tax cuts and benefits to help Canadians balance their own budgets. Unlike the Liberals, we do not believe that Canadians will spend those returned tax dollars on beer and popcorn. “This is people's own money”, the Prime Minister said. “We want to make sure more of it stays in their pockets and creates jobs and economic growth.”
What are the differences in the way Conservatives and other parties view the money that Canadians earn? Our government believes in economic freedom, and this year Canada was ranked number six in the world by the Economic Freedom of the World report. Economic freedom gives Canadians an opportunity to earn and an opportunity to decide how they wish to spend, rather than having those decisions made by someone else. When there is economic freedom, people have more control over their lives, and yes, government has less control.
In contrast to the other parties' belief that the government should take in as much money as it can, our government is taking less, and we are balancing the budget today so we are not mortgaging our children's futures.
Our latest family tax cut would give 1.7 million families more control over their lives. These tax relief measure would give parents like Sara and Sam an extra $6,640 this year that they could spend as they see fit. This measure would have a considerable impact on the quality of life of all Canadian families.
Retirees like Bill and Ruth would also have more economic freedom under economic action plan 2015. Seniors could put off taking funds out of their tax-protected RRIFs and leave the money there longer until it is needed.
What if I am not like Sara and Sam, or a retired couple like Bill and Ruth? What is there in the budget for me? For many young Canadians, owning a home looked like a distant goal, but we have introduced the first-time home buyers' tax credit of up to $5,000 for those buying their first home.
There are incentives for people who are retired. There are incentives for apprentices who want to take apprenticeship training. There are incentives for students who want to go back to school. The bottom line is that our federal government is giving Canadians more economic freedom by giving them more money in their pockets so they can decide how to use it. We are helping the middle class and those who want to join it.
Now I would like to talk about another of the human sides of enterprise, and that is people in need.
Two years ago, Albertans suddenly found themselves grappling with the largest natural disaster in Canadian history, the 2013 southern Alberta flood. As June approaches again, Calgarians in my riding are looking at the skies and praying that there will not be another once-in-a-hundred-years flood.
I can tell them that as a government, we have been acting. As most know, $2.8 billion in federal funds was set aside for flood recovery costs in Alberta. In addition to those funds, $134 million is currently being put into Environment Canada monitoring networks and satellite warning and forecast systems to better predict major events like the 2013 Alberta flood.
Our government has also committed to investing $200 million over four years into mitigation, which would include money for mapping. This is very important for insurance companies, which need it in order to provide flood insurance in Canada for the first time.
Further, federal infrastructure dollars could now be used for disaster mitigation projects. It is now up to the Province of Alberta to prioritize disaster mitigation on its agenda, and I urge the new premier to do that.
In this budget, our government is continuing the Building Canada plan. This is the largest and longest-running infrastructure program in Canadian history. Cities have never seen the kind of funding they are seeing now from our federal government. The program would see $53 billion invested in infrastructure across Canada over 10 years. Alberta would receive $3.2 billion, with $942 million coming from the new Building Canada fund and an estimated $2.27 billion coming from the federal gas tax fund. That is a lot of zeros.
Calgary has gained $427 million through the federal gas tax fund since 2006. We have invested in such projects as finishing the Calgary ring road and improving Calgary's transit. The city sets these priorities.
Federally, we are also helping to fund some 27 summer festivals, such as Sled Island and GlobalFest. There are things like CIFF, and theatre groups like One Yellow Rabbit and the Calgary Spoken Word Festival. We have provided more than $25 million to the gorgeous new National Music Centre in Calgary, $20 million to the Bella Concert Hall at Mount Royal University, and $25 million to the Agrium Centre at Stampede Park.
We have balanced the budget while maintaining and increasing transfer payments to the provinces for important things like health care.
This is happening not only in Alberta, but all across the country. People's lives are better and richer because of our budget. Albertans' lives are better, New Brunswickers' lives are better, British Columbians' lives are better, and we have balanced our budget. That is what leadership looks like.