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Crucial Fact

  • His favourite word was heard.

Last in Parliament October 2019, as Liberal MP for Oakville (Ontario)

Won his last election, in 2015, with 49% of the vote.

Statements in the House

The Budget April 12th, 2016

Mr. Speaker, perhaps the member was not listening during my 10-minute address, but I recited many examples of the investments that we were making in small and medium-sized businesses to ensure they prospered in Canada. I will not recite them again. Most important, we are investing in the middle class, in families, and in infrastructure to create thousands of new jobs.

Small and medium-sized businesses need customers. We need a strong and robust middle class to ensure this economy grows and supports those businesses to which the member referred.

The Budget April 12th, 2016

Mr. Speaker, this budget is about an inclusive and fair Canada. It is about families, and I did not mention the tax cut for the middle class. It is about supporting families through the Canada child benefit. It is about growing a robust economy.

The infrastructure investments that I recited are there, and they are significant investments. What I like best about them is that those dollars go directly to the communities to make decisions on what is most important to their communities. Therefore, we have spending decisions being made very close to where the dollars are needed, and that maximizes the federal investment.

I am very proud of this budget. I believe it fulfills the commitments that were made during the election period.

The Budget April 12th, 2016

Mr. Speaker, I will be sharing my time with my colleague, the member for Scarborough Centre.

It is an honour to rise in the House today and speak in favour of budget 2016. During the last election and through extensive pre-budget consultations, I heard personally from many people in Oakville. Oakvillians shared their concerns about jobs and job security. Many felt trapped in poor-quality jobs or had family members who were struggling in a sluggish economy.

Young families expressed concerns about the cost of day care and their struggles to make ends meet. Many seniors and young Canadians said they also were having difficulty making ends meet. The root causes were different, and different solutions will be required, but if we do not act to help, the outcome is the same: people trapped in poverty or people trapped in underemployment.

The Town of Oakville, Halton Region, and many business owners talked about failing infrastructure and problems with road congestion. Owners of small and medium-sized businesses spoke about their concerns with access to trained workforces and support for the innovation and entrepreneurship that has been a staple of the Canadian economy. They are also worried about the slow economy and the need for revitalization and stimulus.

Social agencies expressed concerns about housing, poverty, inadequate shelters from violence, and care for the elderly. Green advocates like the Halton Environmental Network and Oakvillegreen raised concerns about reliance on greenhouse gases and the need to move our economy from a carbon dependency.

Many residents of Oakville were concerned about the loss of federal investments in arts and culture, and particularly the reduction in funding to the CBC.

The reason I am so honoured to rise and speak today is my confidence that this budget will begin to address these myriad concerns and many others that I have not specifically addressed. Let me speak to some of the specific budget provisions.

For young families, budget 2016 would introduce the Canada child benefit. This would provide families with a maximum benefit of up to $6,400 per child under the age of six, and up to $5,400 per child aged six through 17. With the Canada child benefit, more than three million families would receive more benefits than before—on average, $2,300 more per year, tax free. This would lift almost 300,000 children out of poverty.

For young Canadians, budget 2016 would ensure that students graduating from college or university would not have to start paying back their student loans until they make at least $25,000 in annual income. Budget 2016 would boost grants to low- and middle-income college and university students by as much as $1,000 per year. This measure would put more money in the pockets of 360,000 students a year.

The introduction of a flat-rate student contribution to determine eligibility for Canada student grants and loans would encourage students to work and gain valuable labour market experience while studying. This measure would provide assistance of $268 million over four years. Employment opportunities for youth are also planned through an investment of an additional $165 million in 2016-17 for the youth employment strategy, and $300 million over three years for the Canada summer jobs program to create 35,000 additional youth jobs each year.

When I met with young Canadians who were progressing after post-secondary education with jobs and low debt, many had benefited from co-op placements. Co-op placements provide essential networks and in-year funding to help with educational costs. Support for new co-op placements and work-integrated learning opportunities for young Canadians is planned in the budget through an investment of $73 million over four years for the post-secondary partnership and co-op placement initiative.

To help universities and colleges develop highly skilled workers, to act as engines of discovery and support the growth of innovative firms, budget 2016 would provide up to $2 billion over three years for strategic projects to improve research and innovation infrastructure.

For seniors, the budget would increase the guaranteed income supplement benefit for single seniors up to $947 annually to help lift low-income single seniors out of poverty. This measure represents an investment of $670 million per year and would improve the financial security of about 900,000 single seniors across Canada.

The government would restore the eligibility age for old age security and guaranteed income supplement benefits to 65, which would put thousands of dollars back in the pockets of Canadians as they become seniors.

Budget 2016 provides infrastructure support for the construction, repair and adaption of affordable housing for seniors through an investment of $201 million over two years to help the many seniors facing challenges in accessing affordable housing.

To improve the retirement income security for all working Canadians, the government has begun discussions with the provinces and territories to enhance the Canada pension plan, a portable, low-cost and defined benefit pension.

To grow the economy and create jobs, phase 1 of the infrastructure plan invests $11.9 billion to build roads, bridges, improve public transit, improve water and waste water facilities, and refurbish affordable housing. This will create tens of thousands of jobs and boost the economy. Specifically, the government will invest $3.4 billion over the next three years to upgrade and improve public transit; $5 billion over five years for investments in water, waste water, and green infrastructure projects; and $3.4 billion over five years for social infrastructure, including affordable housing, early learning and child care, and cultural and recreational infrastructure.

In addition to the new funding announced in budget 2016, the government will continue to make available approximately $3 billion each year in dedicated funding for municipal infrastructure projects through the gas tax fund and incremental goods and service tax rebates for municipalities.

To help businesses and manufacturers of all sizes, budget 2016 makes available up to $800 million over four years, starting in 2017-18, to support innovation, networks and clusters.

To support an innovative automotive sector, budget 2016 announces the extension of the automotive innovation fund through to the end of 2021. The government will also examine approaches to maximize the impact of federal support offered to the automotive sector, including assessing the terms of the fund.

To assist the transition to lower carbon transportation fuels, budget 2016 provides $62 million over two years to support the deployment of electric vehicles and alternative transportation fuels infrastructure.

Building on Canada's proud history in space and to create employment opportunities for the space industry sector, budget 2016 proposes to provide up to $379 million over eight years for the Canadian Space Agency to extend Canada's participation in the international space station to 2024.

For small and medium-sized enterprises that are receiving advice and project financing through the industrial research assistance program, budget 2016 proposes to provide the program with a further $50 million in 2016-17.

Budget 2016 invests in the Canadian cultural sector to create jobs and ensure that our unique Canadian perspective is shared with the world. Included in this allocation are $1.3 billion in support for long-standing arts and cultural organizations, such as the Canadian Broadcasting Corporation, Radio-Canada, the Canada Council for the Arts, Telefilm Canada, and the National Film Board.

Canada will also be able to showcase Canadian artists and cultural industries abroad with an investment of $35 million over two years, which will immediately help Canadian foreign missions promote Canadian culture and creativity on the world stage, particularly in the lead-up to the Canada 150 celebrations.

As I said at the outset, I am proud to rise and speak to the benefits of this budget for the people of Oakville, for Canadians and for our economy. This budget specifically addresses the concerns I have heard in my community. It puts us on a course for economic growth, expands opportunities for the middle class, and for those striving to be in the middle class.

Finally, this budget allows the government to reach out with help for those most in need in our communities.

Employment Insurance February 25th, 2016

Mr. Speaker, the NDP motion proposes a universal threshold for EI, regardless of regional rates of unemployment.

EI has been designed to respond to various labour market changes. For example, the government is sensitive to the ongoing situations resulting from lower oil prices and is carefully monitoring the impact across Canada, and the duration of EI benefits has increased in all four economic regions in Alberta.

Could the member comment on the need for EI to respond to variable labour market conditions?

Employment Insurance February 25th, 2016

Mr. Speaker, I would like to thank the hon. member for her thoughtful presentation.

When I consider the NDP motion, there are several issues that I could support. It is what is not in the motion that concerns me. I am wondering if a fuller review of EI would be of greater benefit to Canadians.

For example, in the motion, there is no mention of developing more flexible parental benefits, no mention of easing access to EI support for caregivers, no mention of developing flexible compassionate care benefits, and no mention of reducing wait times and improving service standards.

I am wondering if the hon. member would not agree that a fuller reform of EI could bring greater benefits to Canadians than those that are proposed in the motion.

Health February 24th, 2016

Mr. Speaker, the Canadian health care system is relied upon by all Canadians for access to universal, high-quality, and comprehensive health care, helped by collaboration between federal, provincial, and territorial jurisdictions.

The previous health accord, negotiated in 2004, has lapsed. There remain many shared priorities before us, including home care, health innovation, access to prescription drugs, and mental health.¸

Can the Minister of Health assure the House that a new health accord will be negotiated with the provinces and territories?

Income Tax Act February 1st, 2016

Madam Speaker, I want to congratulate the hon. member on his address.

The previous government's plan to nearly double the contribution limit to the tax-free savings accounts would have helped Canada's wealthiest save more, while costing the federal treasury several hundreds of millions of dollars over the next five years—tens of billions of dollars over the longer term—while only 6.7% of eligible Canadians were able to make the maximum contribution in 2013.

Could the member share with us the fairness of the Liberal plan for the tax free savings account?

Legion of Honour January 26th, 2016

Mr. Speaker, it is an honour to advise the House that a 92-year-old resident of Oakville, Edward James Kersey, has been awarded France's highest order, the rank of Knight of the French National Order of the Legion of Honour.

Reverend Kersey joined the Canadian Army on January 24, 1943. He came ashore at Juno Beach on July 10, 1944, and fought in battles through France, Belgium and Holland. He was with his unit in Oldenburg, Germany when the war ended. His efforts and personal bravery helped to ensure that today Canada and France are democratic and free societies.

This award attests to his courage and devotion to the ideals of liberty and peace. For this, we all owe Reverend Kersey a great debt of gratitude.

As a Knight of the Legion of Honour, he joins an international order that has been instrumental in creating a stronger, fairer and more just world.

I wish to thank and congratulate Reverend Kersey.

Business of Supply December 10th, 2015

Mr. Speaker, I thank the hon. member for his impassioned speech.

I have heard several recitals of the atrocities that are happening and are committed by Daesh. I want to say that everyone in this House can agree that the Daesh atrocities are despicable, deplorable, and inhumane, by every moral standard. I know we all believe that passionately in this House.

Our government has never been opposed to deploying armed forces into combat when it clearly serves Canada's national interests. In this endeavour, success will require highly trained, well-equipped local forces that are invested in the fight for the long term. Our men and women in uniform have years of combat and training experience and can have a major impact on ensuring that local Iraqi and Kurdish forces are well prepared to defeat Daesh once and for all.

Why does the hon. member not recognize the power and the impact of our forces in this form of deployment?

Resumption of Debate on Address in Reply December 8th, 2015

Madam Speaker, as I said, there is a very strong commitment to innovation, science and development from this government. We have formed a small group of members that have auto parts manufacturing and assembling units in their ridings, which is sort of a caucus on our side.

I would very much like to collaborate with other parties. However, what we hear from all of those areas is that the innovation and research is happening in this sector, and that there is a willingness to partner and work with government to ensure we move this sector forward successfully to grow our economy and to keep the automotive sector strong in Canada.