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Crucial Fact

  • His favourite word was question.

Last in Parliament February 2017, as Liberal MP for Markham—Thornhill (Ontario)

Won his last election, in 2015, with 56% of the vote.

Statements in the House

The Economy May 17th, 2001

Mr. Speaker, I have a word or two about the Canadian Alliance's call for an early budget. At least when we get off Parliament Hill people care more about actions than words. In terms of actions, it is abundantly clear that the measures taken last October, including the largest tax cut in Canadian history, constituted maxi action or maxi budget.

We could call these budget measures an economic statement or a mini budget if we wished. If it would make us feel happier we could even call it a hippopotamus or a stockwell day, and I use that term—

Petitions May 14th, 2001

Mr. Speaker, I would like to present a petition signed by approximately 800 individuals regarding a plant closure announced in January of this year. Visteon Corporation will be closed down and the plant will be transferred to another lower wage country. Somewhere in the order of 1,200 jobs will unfortunately be lost.

The petitioners would like to set up a meeting with the Minister of Industry to review the situation and to look into possible solutions for the people who will be adversely impacted by this move.

Foreign Aid April 27th, 2001

Mr. Speaker, those of us who think that Canada should increase foreign aid to less developed countries were dismayed to read in the press that in fact we seem to be going the other way.

Our overseas development assistance which was 0.28% of gross domestic product in 1999 fell to 0.25% last year. Could the minister explain to the House what is going on?

Income Tax Amendments Act, 2000 April 5th, 2001

Over five years, but in the first year there is a big chunk of tax cuts. If we add up the federal contribution and the provincial contribution, it comes to 1.5% of GDP, which is an extremely large number, among the largest in the G-7. No other country's timing is as good.

It is open to debate whether this impeccable timing is a matter of good luck or good advice last year by private sector economists or the brilliance of the finance minister. I will leave it to the opposition to allocate the credit. Whatever the reason, these tax cuts have come in at just the right time, just when the doctor ordered them, just when this slowdown began.

This is my first question: why is the hon. member not more grateful for this impeccable timing?

Second, I will leave out the CPP, Madam Speaker, to be brief.

The hon. member claims that the Alliance program was superior to the Liberal program that has given us the biggest tax cut in Canadian history. I would be the first to acknowledge that the Alliance tax cuts were bigger than ours. However, there is a double problem. With regard to the Alliance tax cuts, according to Department of Finance officials and bank economists—not me, because I know I am tainted now, being a politician—had we gone with the flat tax or single rate tax cuts, we would have had an $18 billion fiscal hole. I would ask the hon. member to explain what he would have done about that fiscal hole.

The only way out of it would have been Draconian expenditure cuts, including cuts to core programs, because that $18 billion exceeded the so-called frivolous spending, according to the Alliance. The cuts would have had to be to core spending programs, which would have made the slowdown slower than it has been. Not only that, but the Alliance program with its flat tax would have, in a single leap, taken us to the most unequal, unfair tax system in the whole of the western world.

My question is this: why does the hon. member not accept the fact that we had this impeccable timing, for whatever reason, and how can he explain the fact that his admittedly larger tax cuts would have either given us an $18 billion fiscal hole or would have required Draconian tax cuts to core social programs, including health care?

Income Tax Amendments Act, 2000 April 5th, 2001

Madam Speaker, I rushed over here to ask a question because I cannot agree with very much that the hon. member has just said. In fact, I have a triple-barrelled question.

First, what I cannot understand is what one might call opposition ingratitude in the face of what the whole world has described as the impeccably timed tax cuts, the largest in Canadian history, praised by the IMF and OECD, et cetera, which came into effect at exactly the right moment, January 1 of this year. Second, I would like to ask a question with respect to the hon. member's complaints about the Canadian pension plan contributions and indexation. Finally, I would like to ask a question with respect to the Alliance proposals. If I may, I will go through each of these very briefly.

The fact of the matter is that the Americans are now talking about tax cuts which the Canadian government has already implemented at precisely the right time, at the moment of the slowdown.

Income Tax Act April 4th, 2001

Madam Speaker, I will begin by congratulating the hon. member for Jonquière on her bill.

I think that the government fully supports her bill's objective, what she seeks to accomplish. It is just the method that is a problem. We think that there are alternative ways of accomplishing the same thing, but more effectively.

I should like to comment on how touching it was to hear the Canadian Alliance all of a sudden jumping on the green bandwagon and wishing to transfer all these funds to seniors and low income people.

It was touching but a little hypocritical. If one recalls the election campaign, that party had essentially no position on the environment. It had its so-called flat tax or single rate tax that would have produced the largest transfer of wealth to the rich. Suddenly the Canadian Alliance has changed its tune on this matter, and that is very nice to see.

The member for Fundy—Royal claimed that the government had done absolutely nothing on the subject of the environment. I would point out that it has committed $1.2 billion over four years for environmental projects. In the Liberal books, $1.2 billion is not nothing.

We need to do further work in this area. Public transit is a hugely important issue, especially with George W. Bush saying no to the Kyoto accord. Achieving environmental success in this area is all the more important because we may be more limited in areas such as forestry, oil and gas.

The Bloc member's basic objective is a laudable one, but we have more work to do in investigating alternatives on how to get there. What is the most efficient way of improving public transit? Is it through the tax system or through expenditures, for example through direct government support for public transit?

The Economy April 3rd, 2001

Mr. Speaker, with the exception of a few Quebec separatists, never have I met an individual so loose with his facts as the finance critic of the Canadian Alliance.

According to him, our foreign debt and our government debt rank second among OECD countries. Again, this is false.

The fact of the matter is that our foreign debt is lower than it has been in 50 years. The fact of the matter is that our government debt fell by more than that of any OECD country in the last five years.

To put the icing on the cake, he says that our income tax is higher than at any time in our history. That is utterly impossible when we cut taxes on January 1.

The member should refrain from trashing the Canadian economy with statements that are utterly false.

The Economy March 26th, 2001

Mr. Speaker, one thing that drives me moderately up the wall is declarations on the Canadian dollar by that well known economic guru, the Leader of the Opposition.

The quickest way to get a 50 cent dollar would be a return to the huge deficits the Alliance was calling for during the last election campaign.

On the other hand, if a stronger dollar is what we want, the only thing that can be done in the short term is to raise interest rates, and that would be the worst possible thing to do.

I have two suggestions for the Leader of the Opposition. First, he should do what good little right wing parties do and trust the markets to determine the value of the Canadian dollar, given that this is a time of U.S. dollar strength rather than Canadian dollar weakness.

Second, at this time of economic turbulence he should stop trashing the Canadian economy on the floor of the House of Commons.

Volunteers February 23rd, 2001

Mr. Speaker, the United Nations has declared 2001 the Year of International Volunteers. As we know, many Canadians benefit from the tremendous efforts of volunteers across the country.

My question is for the Parliamentary Secretary to the Minister of National Revenue. Could she tell the House how volunteers are assisted by her department's community volunteer income tax program?

Presence In Gallery February 19th, 2001

Mr. Speaker, without going into further detail, then, let me register the point that their claims that I said there would be a deficit under the Liberal program are untrue.