House of Commons photo

Crucial Fact

  • Her favourite word was tax.

Last in Parliament October 2015, as Conservative MP for Winnipeg South Centre (Manitoba)

Lost her last election, in 2021, with 28% of the vote.

Statements in the House

Leader of the Liberal Party June 18th, 2015

Mr. Speaker, the leader of the Liberal Party's 32-point plan shows very clearly why he is just not ready to be Prime Minister. It really looks like a plan written on the back of a napkin, not one item of which corresponds to anything he or his party has ever done in the past on these or other issues.

On top of that, he accepted 94 recommendations from the Truth and Reconciliation Commission report without even reading them.

It is clear that the Liberal leader is just not ready to be Prime Minister.

Questions Passed as Orders for Returns June 15th, 2015

With regard to government funding in the riding of Winnipeg South Centre, for each fiscal year since 2007-2008 inclusively: (a) what are the details of all grants, contributions, and loans to any organization, body, or group, broken down by (i) name of the recipient, (ii) municipality of the recipient, (iii) date on which the funding was received, (iv) amount received, (v) department or agency providing the funding, (vi) program under which the grant, contribution, or loan was made, (vii) nature or purpose; and (b) for each grant, contribution and loan identified in (a), was a press release issued to announce it and, if so, what is the (i) date, (ii) headline of the press release?

Points of Order June 9th, 2015

Mr. Speaker, it is my absolute pleasure to take part in this debate on Bill C-59. It is a bill that I am very proud of and a bill which will make a big difference to my constituents in Winnipeg South Centre.

To begin, Bill C-59 builds on our government's record of support for Canadian families by keeping taxes low and helping families save more and invest more in their children, their families, their future.

Since 2006, our government has introduced measures to make life much more affordable for families. These measures include: reducing the lowest personal income tax rate and increasing the basic personal amount, so making more income tax-free; cutting the GST from 7% to 6% to 5%; introducing pension income splitting for seniors, which makes a huge difference to so many seniors, and certainly is one thing I hear about in my riding; establishing tax credits to support working low-income individuals and families, public transit users, first time homebuyers. I received a thank you note from someone who had just bought their first house. Especially for families caring for disabled relatives, we have done amazing work in that area.

We have also provided additional support for families with children through the children's art and fitness tax credits, enhancements to the registered education savings plan, and adoption expense tax credits. Most recently, the government has proposed a new family tax cut and enhancements to the universal child care benefit and child care expense deduction.

Canadians of all income levels are benefiting from tax relief introduced by our government with low- and middle-income Canadians receiving proportionally greater relief.

I am going to speak specifically to what economic action plan 2015 has done for families, for seniors and for students.

This year, Canadian families and individuals will receive $37 billion in tax relief and increased benefits as a result of actions we have taken in government since 2006.

For example, a typical two-earner family of four will receive tax relief and increased benefits of up to $6,600 annually in 2015 and every year going forward in perpetuity. This is thanks to measures such as the family tax cut, the universal child care benefit, the goods and services tax rate reduction, the children's fitness tax credit and other new credits, especially the broad-based income tax relief, including the reduction in the lowest personal income tax rate.

By reducing taxes year after year and enhancing benefits to Canadians, our government has given families and individuals greater flexibility to make the choices that are right for them. Families are just like pantyhose: one size does not fit all.

Additionally, while we have been busy cutting taxes for families, we have in turn made sure that federal transfers to our provinces and territories, the transfers that help pay for what Canadians cherish so much, education and health care, have continued to grow. In fact, including the Canada health transfer and the Canada social transfer, this year, 2015-16, the amount is going to be almost $68 billion. This is an all-time high, and all the more impressive, it is at the same time as we brought the budget into balance.

This economic action plan is also very supportive of seniors who are already benefiting from important money-saving measures such as pension income splitting and of course, their TFSAs.

Bill C-59 will introduce new measures that give seniors freedom and more flexibility when it comes to managing their retirement income. For example, our government will be reducing the minimum withdrawal factors for registered retirement income funds. This will make a huge difference for many seniors in my riding of Winnipeg South Centre and across Canada. By permitting more capital preservation for our seniors, the new factors will help to reduce the risk of outliving one's savings, while ensuring that the tax deferral provided on RRSP and RRIF savings continues to serve a retirement income purpose.

I am also very pleased that our government is introducing the new home accessibility tax credit. This proposed 15% tax credit will apply on up to $10,000 of eligible home renovation expenditures per year for seniors and for people with disabilities all across Canada. Eligible expenditures will be for improvements that allow a senior or a person who is eligible for the disability tax credit to be more mobile, safe and functional within their homes. We will also be providing up to $42 million over five years to help establish the Canadian centre for aging and brain health innovation. We have allocated $37 million annually to extend employment insurance compassionate care benefits from the current six weeks to six months as of January 2016.

Our government continues to invest significant funding in training and education for students. Federal support for post-secondary education amounts to $10 billion annually and includes financial assistance, such as Canada student loans, Canada student grants, the Canada apprentice loan, and specific programming targeted to first nations and Inuit students. There are also programs designed to enhance skills training among specific groups, including through our youth employment strategy, through our opportunities fund for persons with disabilities, and of course, for aboriginal peoples, through investments of over $440 million annually.

In addition to ensuring Canadians have the skills they need, we also invest in labour market programming, which helps to bridge the current needs of our labour market with the future evolution of our labour force. In 2014-15, the government transferred $2.7 billion to support labour market programming, including $500 million for provinces and territories through the Canada job fund agreements, which include the Canada job grant.

The government has also taken action to support the labour market participation of older Canadians who wish to remain in the workforce by providing $75 million to renew the targeted initiative for older workers, providing assistance to improve the ability and employability of unemployed workers age 55 to 64.

This budget builds on existing measures to help people find jobs and help jobs find people. It commits to working with provinces and territories to facilitate the harmonization of apprenticeship training and certification requirements in targeted Red Seal trades. Some members know that Red Seal trades include mechanics, electricians, carpenters, and even bakers. Our government, since last year, has made it so apprentices in these trades have had access to over $100 million in interest-free federal loans each year.

Overall, Canada saw a 20% increase in registrations in apprenticeship programs between 2006 and 2012. Based on that success, Bill C-59 will provide $1 million over five years to Employment and Social Development Canada's Red Seal secretariat to promote the adoption of the Blue Seal certification program across Canada. Blue Seal certification recognizes business training among certified tradespeople. Currently offered in a few provincial jurisdictions, the certification can help increase the chances of business success for entrepreneurial tradespeople.

Finally, our government has fulfilled a long-standing commitment of increasing the annual contribution limits of tax-free savings accounts to $10,000. This will be helpful to all Canadians, including families, young people and seniors. TFSAs help Canadians save at every stage of life, whether for retirement, starting a business, or buying their very first home. By doubling the TFSA limit, which when we introduced the TFSA in 2009 was $5,000 annually, we are empowering Canadians to save even more of their own money for their own priorities. We hope that more Canadians will take advantage of the tax-free savings account going forward. Of the nearly 11 million individuals who already have a TFSA, 2.7 million are seniors.

I am extremely proud of our government and the continued commitments it has made to Canadian families, Canadian students and Canadian seniors.

Russia June 9th, 2015

Mr. Speaker, at the G7 meetings, world leaders agreed to continue supporting the isolation of Russian president Vladimir Putin through economic sanctions. All members of the G7 agree with Canada's position, that sanctions cannot be lifted until Putin respects the sovereignty of Ukraine's borders.

I am proud of the fact that our Prime Minister has taken the principled stand that Russia cannot be allowed back into the G7 so long as Vladimir Putin is president.

Canada and this Conservative government stands with Ukraine. Whether it takes 5 months or 50 years, we will never recognize Vladimir Putin's aggressive annexation of Ukrainian territory. There will be no business as ususal with Russia as long as it insists on violating international law.

As the Minister of Foreign Affairs has said, if the Russians want to be responsible global citizens, they need to prove it and get out of Ukraine.

Digital Privacy Act June 2nd, 2015

Mr. Speaker, I very much appreciate the comments of my colleague from Elmwood—Transcona on this very important act.

I wonder if the member could expand on exactly how our government is helping to protect Canadians' personal information by mandating that organizations inform their clients when personal information is lost or stolen.

The reason I ask is that I know the people I serve in Winnipeg South Centre are very concerned about this issue, and so I would like to know what we are doing on it.

Leader of the Liberal Party of Canada May 27th, 2015

Mr. Speaker, the prime minister is not an entry level job, and time and time again the leader of the Liberal Party has proven that he just is not up to the task. He wants to take away all of our middle-class benefits and replace them with a high-tax, high-debt plan that will kill jobs and hurt families.

Budgets do not balance themselves, and benefiting all families is what is fair. The Canadian middle class knows that they can trust this government to deliver for them.

Table for 1201 Dinner May 26th, 2015

Mr. Speaker, this weekend I had the distinct pleasure of attending Table for 1201, the second edition of the pop-up dinner that took place at another exquisite setting in our city, beautiful Winnipeg.

This spectacular event, organized by Storefront Manitoba with the help of Deer and Almond and Diversity Food Services, was again a great success and brought people together in the spirit of design.

It was a fabulous opportunity to come together and enjoy great food and friends with 1201 guests gathered to share a meal. We enjoyed a beautiful summer night and spent an evening focusing on the great design culture that is growing in Winnipeg.

Each table's captain played an amazing part in the creative presentation. I thank them for their hard work and I congratulate the competition winners.

Congratulations to all involved and to all who attended an incredible event. I am already looking forward to next year.

Business of Supply May 25th, 2015

Mr. Chair, it is an honour to be here tonight talking about small business and the impact that small business has on our economy.

Small businesses are the backbone of the Canadian economy. They account for 99% of all businesses in Canada and employ half the working men and women in the Canadian private sector.

Our government believes that owners of small businesses should spend their time growing their business and creating jobs, not choking on high taxes and wallowing in red tape.

Today I want to give members a quick snapshot of why it is only our government that can be trusted to keep taxes low for all Canadians.

We have cut taxes significantly for small businesses and their owners. We cut the small business tax rate to 11% as of 2008, and by the way, as soon as we pass economic action plan 2015, we will be reducing it to 9%. We increased the amount of annual income eligible for this lower rate from $300,000 to $400,000 in 2007 and to $500,000 in 2009. We cut the general corporate income tax rate to 15% in 2012 from 22.12%. All of these benefits help successful small businesses when their income exceeds $500,000.

We increased the lifetime capital gains exemption on qualified small business shares to $750,000 from $500,000 in 2007. The government further increased this exemption to $800,000 in 2014 and indexed the limit to inflation, bringing it to $813,600 for 2015. The exemption is estimated to be delivering over $1 billion of tax relief annually to small business owners and owners of farms and fishing businesses. By the way, they are creating jobs with those savings.

We also reduced small business EI premiums by introducing the small business job credit. This credit is expected to save small businesses more than $550 million over 2015 and 2016. These measures will benefit hard-working small business owners all across the country.

Unlike the opposition, our government believes that the best way to create jobs is to lower taxes for job creators. That is exactly what we are doing.

Economic action plan 2015 cuts taxes even further for small businesses. To encourage small business growth, economic action plan 2015 proposes to reduce the small business tax rate to 9% by 2019. This would be the largest cut in the tax rate for small businesses in more than 25 years. It is estimated that the cut to 9% for small businesses would reduce taxes for small businesses and their owners by $2.7 billion over 2015 to 2019.

For example, a small business with a taxable income of half a million dollars would pay 46% less tax in 2019 compared to when we came into office in 2006. This means that their annual tax reduction can be reinvested in the business to fuel its growth and create jobs for even more Canadians. By the way, we have already created 1.2 million net new jobs since the depths of the recession, and that is only the beginning.

Alongside lower taxes, businesses also need access to capital. They have to have capital if they expect to develop. That is why our government is introducing changes to the Canada small business financing program. This program facilitates the extension of loans by private sector financial institutions to small businesses for the acquisition of real property and equipment and for leasehold improvements.

The program helps new businesses get started, helps established firms to make improvements and expand, and improves access to loans that would not otherwise be available to small businesses. That stimulates economic growth. That creates jobs for Canadians.

Since 2006, when our government took office, this program has provided over 50,000 loans to small businesses, with loans totalling approximately $1 billion per year.

Economic action plan 2015 proposes to amend the Canada Small Business Financing Act to make two changes: first, it will increase the maximum loan amount for real property from $500,000 to $1 million; second, it will raise the small business eligibility criterion from firms with gross annual revenues of $5 million or less to firms with gross annual revenues of $10 million and under.

In addition to reducing taxes and improving access to capital, action is also being taken to reduce the amount of red tape that is hindering the growth and success of small businesses across the country.

Any entrepreneur will say that running a small business means long hours and selfless sacrifice. Our government believes that entrepreneurs' time is best served growing their businesses, rather than being bogged down in red tape and having to pay exorbitant taxes. That is why cutting red tape is an absolute priority for us.

Since its implementation in 2012, the red tape reduction action plan has proved to be a very successful control on the growth of red tape, while maintaining high standards for safety and protection.

The one-for-one rule and other reforms have brought a new level of discipline on how the government regulates businesses. The one-for-one rule requires that when a new regulation is added, one must be removed. This measure alone has saved businesses an estimated $22 million last year alone, along with 290,000 fewer hours dealing with red tape.

Economic action plan 2015 will build on these successes to reduce the tax compliance burden faced by our businesses. That includes a new quarterly remitter category for the smallest new employers, which will reduce the frequency of remittance payments by two-thirds. Beginning in 2016, new employers will be eligible to make quarterly rather than monthly payments to the CRA if their monthly withholdings are less than $1,000 and they have maintained a perfect compliance record.

That is valuable time employers can reclaim and reinvest in both their operations and their families. Going forward, our government remains committed to continuing to provide tax relief to all Canadians, including small business owners and families.

Speaking of small business owners and their families, I think one of the most important pieces in our economic action plan 2015 is the introduction of an increase to the tax-free savings account. This is being lauded by not only business people, who recognize that this is a pool of capital that will be created for use and investment, but also by our children, who are perhaps saving for their first home purchase. It is being lauded by our seniors, our parents, who are putting a little bit by because they do not want to be terrorized by the fact that they are living longer. They want to be able to have savings for their wonderful long lives.

It is very important that we recognize that the tax-free savings account is helping all Canadians. As the minister said earlier, 60% of people who hold a tax-free savings account earn less than $60,000, and half of tax-free savings accounts are held by people who earn less than $42,000. That is a program that is helping the middle class.

I am thankful for the opportunity to speak on economic action plan 2015 and the previous elements we have completed. I have just reiterated what we are doing for small businesses because it matters so much; would the Minister of Finance speak to what our government has done to help families? I have said what we have done to help businesses. I would love to hear from him how we are helping families.

Business of Supply May 25th, 2015

Mr. Chair, I so appreciate the comments from our Minister of State for Finance. Given his discussion on the pension situation and what our government has done, and given the sustainability and solvency issues that are being faced by many defined benefit plans, I wonder if the minister would be kind enough to elaborate on priorities going forward to maintain a strong retirement income system and what new options are being considered.

Taxation May 13th, 2015

Mr. Speaker, our Conservative government's universal child care benefit and family tax cut are going to help every single Canadian family with children. That includes each and every family in my riding of Winnipeg South Centre.

Could the Minister of Employment and Social Development please update this House on our government's plan for all families?