House of Commons photo


Crucial Fact

  • His favourite word was brunswick.

Last in Parliament October 2015, as Conservative MP for New Brunswick Southwest (New Brunswick)

Lost his last election, in 2015, with 39% of the vote.

Statements in the House

Taxation June 2nd, 2015

Mr. Speaker, Winston Churchill once said that:

...for a nation to tax itself into prosperity is like a man standing in a bucket and trying to lift himself up by the handle.

His words aptly explain why nations cannot raise taxes to punitive levels and be successful.

States or provinces with excessive tax levels have less dynamic economies, fewer dollars for social programs, and witness the departure of entrepreneurs, workers, and young families to other jurisdictions with lower taxes and more robust economies.

Yet, these real-world lessons are lost in New Brunswick.

Under the Liberal government, my home province has imposed the highest personal income tax rate in North America. Today, the combined rate on top income earners, like doctors and surgeons, is 54.75%.

The federal Liberals would make the situation even worse. If elected, they would hike the top tax rate on personal income to an eye-popping and heart-stopping 58.75%.

Unlike the Liberals, we understand that high taxes hurt growth, kill jobs, and cause economies to slow or even regress.

Our Conservative government will keep taxes low to keep Canada working.

Firearms Regulations May 26th, 2015

Mr. Speaker, I rise on a point of order. I do not believe the member is misleading the House, but his data is incorrect. The United States has not ratified this agreement. It has revoked that ratification, that signature.

Financial Institutions April 30th, 2015

Mr. Speaker, I recently applied for a credit card from a major financial institution I do banking with. I am appalled at the depth and scope of the questions I was asked by one of the country's leading banks. Particularly, I was told my information could be shared with any of its other business operations. The banks are simply asking and, obviously, collecting too much information from Canadians, right down to the amount I pay for rent, my building fee, and even the liquidation value of my 2007 F-150.

Respect is a two-way street and Canadians are entitled to it when dealing with our banks. If my treatment is typical, and I certainly hope it is not, then we are not getting that respect. We all have credit trouble at some point in our lives, so what was equally egregious is being told the card's interest rate at 20% rises to 25% if a payment is missed by the due date. When the prime lending rate is at 3%, this is near extortion on working families and makes payday loans look like a giveaway.

Foreign Affairs April 27th, 2015

Mr. Speaker, Canadians are ready to respond to the disastrous earthquake that struck Nepal and northern India this weekend. The loss of life and the ensuing humanitarian crisis are unimaginable. I know that all members of this House will extend their deepest sympathies to all those affected.

Canada is always at the forefront when it comes to aiding those in need. Can the Minister of Foreign Affairs please update the House on the actions that our government is taking to respond to this natural disaster?

Harmonized Sales Tax April 23rd, 2015

Mr. Speaker, there are reports that federal and New Brunswick Liberals have made a backroom deal to raise the HST in my home province. According to one Globe & Mail columnist, the man who ran Premier Brian Gallant's election campaign, the Liberal MP for Beausejour, did not want an HST increase lest it corrode the Liberal brand before the next election.

MLA Blaine Higgs, the respected former finance minister, has said the Gallant Liberals backed off raising taxes on working families to avoid hurting the federal Liberals.

What are New Brunswick Liberals saying? Minister Rick Doucet has said that additional tax increases have not been ruled out. Last month, Minister Victor Boudreau, with a straight face no less, released a report that said voters actually wanted an HST increase.

Our Conservative government cut the HST by two points to help working families. I call on the premier to come clean and spell out his plans for the HST. Are Liberals going to raise taxes, yes or no? Voters deserve a clear answer before October 19.

Taxation February 23rd, 2015

Mr. Speaker, millions of families across Canada will benefit from our government's family tax cut and benefits plan, but New Brunswick residents are deeply concerned about a plan by the new provincial government that will allow the Liberals to raise highway tolls and taxes without first getting the consent of voters in a referendum. The Canadian Federation of Independent Business is concerned that this is unfair, and the Canadian Taxpayers Federation says that the Liberals are clearing the way for future tax increases.

Can the Parliamentary Secretary to the Minister of Finance please update this House as to what our government is doing to keep taxes low?

Natural Resources February 20th, 2015

Mr. Speaker, Canada's natural resource sector supports an impressive 1.8 million good paying jobs. It accounts for nearly 20% of our economy and provides government tax revenue for important services like health, education, and infrastructure.

Residents in my riding expect our government to create jobs and grow our economy, while, of course, protecting the environment. Most are eager to see more oil and pipeline development in New Brunswick.

Could the minister share with the House what we are doing to provide benefits for working Canadians?

Protecting Taxpayers and Revoking Pensions of Convicted Politicians Act February 3rd, 2015

Mr. Speaker, I thank my hon. colleague from Bonavista—Gander—Grand Falls—Windsor. His explanation of the bill was both fair-minded and quite elegant. He did a good job explaining both the bill and also the rationale to hold parliamentarians to a higher standard because of the privileged position we hold in this House. The member has given me a few more minutes to address some other points. I am not going to explain what is in the bill, since he has done such a wonderful job already.

The bill does focus on some two dozen Criminal Code violations. These are all indictable offences, meaning they are serious crimes that members of this House or the other place would have to commit and be found guilty of in a court of law before a pension were revoked. That is an important part of this bill because it would take these decisions out of a political theatre and put them into a court of law where, because these are serious matters, those decisions should rest.

There is one aspect of the bill that I would like to address, and some points that I have heard in the first hour of debate and that have come up in discussions with colleagues here and elsewhere.

The first measure is that there remains in this bill some measure of partial retroactivity. Initially when I tabled this bill in June 2013, I suggested that convictions be retroactive from that date forward. In the committee, that was modified and the modification is acceptable so that the crime itself could have happened at any time before this bill, should it receive royal assent, came into effect, but the conviction would now have to happen on or after that date. Going forward, if this bill became law, it would still apply to malfeasance that occurred in the past. That is a good compromise, and I understand the reasons for that were dealing with potential court challenges. That was an amendment that I thought was wise and good.

This bill, after discussion over the last 20 months, does have and I hope it will have support from both sides of the House. When I first tabled the bill, I had suggested a floor of two years, that the maximum sentence be two or more years. However, upon consultation with members on both sides of the House at the first debate, I suggested that be moved to five years, within the Criminal Code and an indictable offence. In working with both sides of the House, trying to find a bill that would accomplish its objective—which, at the end of the day, was to penalize members who broke trust with taxpayers, members who through illegal activities misplaced or misused tax dollars—the bill was further refined in committee, with amendments I suggested in committee, to focus on violations like breach of trust, fraud, theft, and forgery, aspects that have to do directly with how we spend and use tax dollars in this place. Our role as legislators is to come here and decide on behalf of Canadians how tax dollars are going to be spent.

I will give one good example of why an across-the-board five-year threshold posed some challenge. I say this respectfully mostly for members in the official opposition who believe the bill has been weakened because of these changes. When we are at home in our riding, we drive around a lot. If we were to ever hit someone with our vehicle and kill him or her, the punishment is up to a five-year prison term. The point of this bill was never to capture someone or to have someone revoke or lose a pension through an error or momentary lapse of judgment; it was for deliberate theft of tax dollars.

To have an across-the-board blanket meant that a member in this House, because of a terrible accident, a tragedy and a crime but not something that was intentional, could very well be in a position of losing a parliamentary pension.

That is the rationale for focusing on the two dozen or so provisions in this bill that focus on infractions that deal directly with our duties as parliamentarians.

Recently a number of amendments have come forward from the official opposition that I must confess I disagree with. In fact, I actually thought it was the will of this House, as I was proposing these changes, to focus the scope of this bill on our actual duties. I can say that, because on December 10, 2013, the member for Burnaby—New Westminster, when I suggested raising it to a threshold of five years, said:

However, as the member has already indicated, we would be looking and seeking amendments to change it to five years for a criminal offence and we have seen, I think, from the member, some willingness to compromise on that. That is welcome.

I went back through the debates we had in this House on this bill to be sure I understood the mood of the room. Member after member, from both sides, had suggested or debated or told this House that in fact we wanted to be careful, that we did not want to inappropriately strip a member of a pension for a violation that was not related to his or her duties. It was only as one of our colleagues found himself in violation of the Canada Elections Act that suddenly the debate became about widening it. This is a problem, because as we look at legislation, we have to be somewhat consistent in our approach.

I have correspondence from the Leader of the Opposition, who talks about our former colleague, Dean Del Mastro, who was found guilty of breaking the Canada Elections Act. The Leader of the Opposition said that this former member would have lost his whole pension under the restrictions of the Nova Scotia law, which states that any MLA convicted of a crime with a maximum sentence of five years or more in jail will lose the right to a full pension.

This is actually false, because this former member, while he was found guilty of a provision under the Canada Elections Act, was actually found guilty of a crime with a maximum penalty of one year. It did not reach the threshold, in my original bill, of two years. It does not reach the threshold of the penalty of the Nova Scotia law, nor did it ever reach the threshold of this bill, at five years. That is simply not true.

It is important, because the mood of this House was such that we wanted to focus on our duties as legislators and on the appropriation and disbursement of tax dollars.

Where are we? We have a bill today that has gone through several hours of debate, has gone through committee, and has had several changes to it proposed, which I think, by and large, have strengthened it.

I will not be supporting the amendments put forward by the official opposition, because I think they attempt to, at the last minute, the 11th hour, open this bill up in a manner that not even the Nova Scotia bill, which the NDP cites as the standard, does. In fact, they would endanger the likelihood of this bill passing the House, because it was both government members and opposition members who urged me throughout the process to be very focused in this bill and to go after penalties that are in line with our duties as parliamentarians.

Twenty months later, we have this bill before us, and I hope it will receive support on both sides of the House. I believe it will receive support on both sides of the House, and I urge members to support it so we can get it off to the Senate. I hope to see it become law before Parliament is dissolved in advance of the next election.

Economic Action Plan 2014 Act, No. 2 December 2nd, 2014

Mr. Speaker, I find it laughable that the hon. colleague, with all due respect and deference, suggests that the Prime Minister does not understand the struggles of ordinary, hard-working Canadians, particularly when we look at the numerous policies that the government has put out with respect to benefiting workers through various tax credits, the doubling of the fitness credit for kids and, more recent, the family tax relief that was announced to be rolled out next year. Thankfully, we were able to do this because of the tough measures that were taken by the government over the last couple years as we moved to a balanced budget.

I would ask the member to answer a question that reflects on her own leader. How could her leader suggest that budgets balance themselves and do not require decisions to be made by the government of the day?

Economic Action Plan 2014 Act, No. 2 December 2nd, 2014

Mr. Speaker, predictable funding is key to other levels of government, which can rely on it year in and year out and plan around it, whether for one-off projects or ones over many years, which tends to be the case when it is larger infrastructure.

I will give another example where predictable funding has been very helpful. Since 2006, the beginning of our time in office, federal transfers to the Province of New Brunswick, my home province, have increased by 27% and this year stand at $2.6 billion, which is a very good amount of money for a small province like New Brunswick.

The point I want to make is that under our government, those transfers for health, social services, and equalization have gone in one direction every year, and that is up. We have managed to do this while we have looked at Ottawa's operations and reduced spending that was not in taxpayers' interest. At the same time and in parallel with the question about municipalities, this has ensured that the Province of New Brunswick can guarantee quality social programs going forward, unlike the changes the Liberal government made in its time in power when it cut health and education by 30%.