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Crucial Fact

  • Their favourite word was foreign.

Last in Parliament September 2021, as Conservative MP for Steveston—Richmond East (B.C.)

Lost their last election, in 2021, with 34% of the vote.

Statements in the House

Schools June 22nd, 2021

Mr. Speaker, last year, schools across the country received $2 billion in funding to see COVID-19 safety measures implemented before the school year began, including schools within SD38, the district where I once held the honour of serving as a board of education trustee.

This year, schools are still facing uncertainty as the pandemic continues. I must bring to the government's attention that vaccines for people 12 years or older alone are not enough. Richmond schools require enhanced sanitization and staff to disinfect high-touch areas. They also need support for essential health and safety supplies and PPE, including child-sized masks and hand sanitizer.

As well, with learners having been greatly impacted by the isolation, mental health supports for students and staff are also critical. There is still work to be done to prepare our nation for reopening and to ensure our children and youth have a safe return to school this fall.

Federal Dental Care Plan June 15th, 2021

Madam Speaker, our country’s health care system is nationally seen as a source of great pride. Canadians deserve and have come to expect a health care system that meets their needs and that does not leave anybody behind. I believe the government should always strive to improve the care Canadians receive while maintaining fiscal responsibility.

It has been made particularly clear over the last year that oral health and overall health are inextricably linked, as we saw people with poor oral health fare worse during COVID-19. We Conservatives believe the citizens of this country deserve the best care possible, in order to live a happy and healthy life, that our nation can afford to provide within our means. We believe in empowering Canadians to be able to look after themselves and trust them to make responsible choices. Rather than an Ottawa-knows-best approach, Canadians should be able to make decisions regarding their health, and our government should be able to support them without breaking the bank. For example, the previous Conservative government under Prime Minister Harper had made strides toward sufficient Canadian health care. His government refined the Canada health transfer to create a stable and predictable increase in funding Canadians need while restoring a balanced budget.

With that said, it has been shown through various reports that our health care system lags far behind those of other developed nations, such as the U.K. and Australia, which is made all the more damning when we take into account that Canada and Australia share a similar percentage of GDP spent on health care and dollars spent per person.

Currently, the federal government transfers roughly $42 billion to the provinces each budget year. However, during that same time, even with a historically low borrowing rate, we still pay over $20 billion in interest payments alone on our ballooning national debt, a simply unnecessary waste of $20 billion in tax dollars that could be beneficially repurposed elsewhere, had our Liberal government had the foresight to act responsibly in preparation for hard times. It is therefore obvious that the health care challenges we are facing are not a resource problem.

How is it that Canada cannot seem to adequately provide for its people or responsibly manage our fiscal resources? Better yet, what can we do about this? These are two of the many questions I doubt my NDP colleagues could answer.

The Parliamentary Budget Office has weighed in with an analysis of the cost of the proposed program. It estimates that financing the plan would cost almost $10 billion over the next few years. Even that estimation, however, does not necessarily reflect the true price we might have to pay. The report released by the PBO states that its assumptions and calculations reflect moderate uncertainty as it is difficult to predict how behaviours might change from an increase in demand.

With that said, it can be understood where the NDP is coming from. After seeing how the current government spends money like it is an eight-year-old playing a game of Monopoly, it is no wonder the New Democrats are not worried about the potential cost of their proposal. After all, they must be thinking what does a few more billion spent matter when we had accumulated close to $100 billion in debt pre-pandemic, lost our nation’s AAA credit rating and are now almost $1.3 trillion in debt. Motion No. 62 proposes a measure that would bring a health benefit, but likely at a cost, which would require unfortunate austerity elsewhere, or worse yet, transferring even more debt to future generations.

The Conservatives cannot support being so cavalier with our hard-earned taxpayer dollars. We believe in approaching the issues of inadequate access to dental coverage from a practical and realistic perspective.

What other concerns might the NDP not address? Most obviously, there is policy that fails to recognize the important separation of powers that exist in our country. In Canada, the operation and funding of health care programs fall under the authority of the provincial governments. This way, the specific needs of individual provinces are met without interference. An Ottawa-knows-best approach breaches the fundamental partnership that is supposed to exist between the federal and provincial governments.

The framework proposed by the NDP fails to allow for provincial participation, and instead eliminates what is supposed to be a collaborative agreement between the two levels of management. This is particularly the case given that the provinces are the ones that best understand the needs and intricacies of their respective health care systems. As such, a solution should work to support existing provincial programs or increase health transfers to the provinces for them to be better able to meet the needs of their constituents.

We have also heard from major stakeholders that say the NDP’s plan misses the mark. The Canadian Dental Association, CDA, which is the national voice for dentistry, representing tens of thousands of dentists across the country, has voiced its concerns. Although the association agrees that any steps taken towards addressing issues of oral health are commendable, a bad proposal with the best intent may cause more harm than good. This is just like when the dentist gives a child a sugary lollipop after her visit.

The CDA further notes that they believe a superior approach to increasing access to oral health care would be to improve funding for existing public programs. This speaks volumes, as it means that the largest organization in Canada authorized to speak on the behalf of dentists from coast to coast to coast does not endorse the proposed policy. Why would the NDP purport to believe it knows better than the dentists themselves what would constitute an improvement to the current system?

Conservatives believe that there exist better options for improving access to dental care instead of the NDP’s proposal. COVID-19 has negatively impacted the global economy and has greatly increased near-term uncertainty. Historically Canada’s health care expenditures have dwindled and grown with the status of our economy. Given the magnitude of health care spending brought forth by this pandemic, we may be in a position to see this trend change. However, this change will be because we take steps to secure Canada’s future.

In short, national dental care, like national pharmacare before it, is an NDP proposal we could not afford before, and we certainly cannot afford it now. Though personally, I do hold hope for a future where we can.

Government Business No. 10—Broadcasting Act June 14th, 2021

Mr. Speaker, I do not have as deep of experience as the member for Saskatoon—Grasswood does in media, but in my previous life I debated on ethnic TV and in the media. I actually championed the right for our Bloc Québécois members to be able to debate and articulate why Quebec should be independent, although, of course, I am a federalist.

I would like to hear from the member for Lethbridge what kind of control there could be, should any other province campaign to be independent because, obviously, then it would not be Canadian content.

Questions Passed as Orders for Returns June 14th, 2021

With regard to the Federal Framework for Suicide Prevention: (a) what national level research has been conducted on lesbian, gay, bisexual, trans, Two-Spirit and queer or questioning populations, people with disabilities, newcomers and refugees, youth, seniors, Indigenous Peoples, first responders since issuance of the framework; (b) where can the public access the findings of the research in (a); (c) is the framework being updated to account for the impact of COVID-19 on these populations; (d) what current support programs are being offered under the framework; and (e) what knowledge-sharing and outreach initiatives have been undertaken since the framework has been implemented?

Questions Passed as Orders for Return June 11th, 2021

With regard to immigration removals and the 2020 Spring Report of the Auditor General of Canada: (a) what is the current national removal inventory; (b) how many removal orders have been confirmed removed in the past year; (c) what are the current working and wanted removal order inventories; (d) of the inventories in (c), how many are criminal cases; (e) which of the Auditor General’s recommendations are currently being acted upon; (f) what is the proposed timeline for fulfilling these recommendations; and (g) has COVID-19 adversely impacted the Canada Border Services Agency's ability to complete removal orders in any way, and, if so, what are the specific details?

Housing June 8th, 2021

Mr. Speaker, in my home city of Richmond, house prices have gone up 20% in the past pandemic year, averaging $1.5 million. Richmond has become the epicentre of housing challenges in the GVRD and Canada. We would benefit from well-developed policies on affordability and supply.

What will the government do to make affordable housing project approvals and make funds accessible faster and in a more transparent manner?

Business of Supply June 8th, 2021

Mr. Speaker, in my previous answer, I did mention multi-party co-operation to tackle the housing crisis that we are facing. That would also include the private sector helping by contributing their efforts. I believe we have to think out of the box in order to deliver solutions that will satisfy our next generation. It is our responsibility to do that. I thank the hon. member for her contribution.

Business of Supply June 8th, 2021

Mr. Speaker, I have lived in Richmond for multiple decades, and can assure the House that people here do not feel the presence of the federal government's help. Many housing projects were actually from decades ago. It is time for the federal government to use its legislative power and also its fiscal responsibility to reintroduce a change in the region. The housing crisis in Canada cannot be solved with just one single level of government, be it federal, municipal or provincial, so I agree with the hon. member in his view.

Business of Supply June 8th, 2021

Mr. Speaker, I thank the parliamentary secretary for the intervention. It was as if he was giving a speech instead of asking a question. The only short answer I could provide is that it shows how out of touch the Liberals are. The drop in the bucket solutions and the reannouncing of the announcement that they had before will not help the housing crisis we are facing in Greater Vancouver or across the country.

Business of Supply June 8th, 2021

Mr. Speaker, I will be splitting my time with the member for Calgary Shepard.

I am the father of two young adult daughters who, in the not-so-distant future, with their effort and determination, like countless other young Canadians, will be entering the home-buying market. Similar to countless other young Canadians, my daughters are living at home, watching the never-ending stream of media reports saying housing in Canada is entirely unaffordable. Young Canadians looking to enter the market cannot do so on their own, nor should they bear the expectation that they should at this time, especially in my home city of Richmond. Even with hard work and saving up for a down payment, the reality is that many will still require parental support, something I will likely be blessed to be able to give my daughters, but something that is not available to everyone.

We see Canadians faced with a sudden expectation adjustment, one reminiscent of our Prime Minister's comment that this generation could be the first generation in many decades to be worse off than their parents. I, for one, would like to point out that the rampant, reckless spending and deficit spending prior to or after the pandemic and the types of policies being implemented by his government will pretty much guarantee that outcome.

The reality is that much-anticipated tax expansion and government programs will not address the affordable housing shortage or the underlying causes of our housing crisis. To the contrary, the tax burden imposed by reckless spending over the past six years, even excluding pandemic relief, will tie the hands of future governments and prevent them from tackling other housing priorities such as homelessness and poverty.

Home prices have skyrocketed over this past COVID year and the dream of home ownership is becoming more distant for Canadians to attain. The national average home price was a record $678,000 in February 2021, up 25% from the same month last year. In my home city of Richmond, single detached home prices are up 20% in the past year, averaging at $1.5 million, far above the rest of the country. I find it ridiculous and ironic that Canada, with the world's second-largest land mass and sparse population, has to suffer such a housing crisis. The difficulties Canadians face are certainly exacerbated by the government's mismanagement of supply in our housing markets. Its incompetence is not limited to only home ownership.

The Liberal government has done nothing to address the rental market as an affordable option for Canadians either. Increasing supply within the rental market would be a boon for renters trying to make ends meet in increasingly unaffordable conditions. The government's ideas so far do nothing to address the real issues affecting affordability in our real estate market, namely through the lack of housing supply. To top it off, the two-years-too-late Liberal budget failed to rule out the introduction of capital gains taxes on the principal residences of Canadians. Punishing those who have a home as a way to pay for the government’s current or future excessive and poorly managed spending does not help solve the housing crisis.

The Liberals' national housing strategy has been defined by funding delays and cumbersome, difficult-to-navigate programs. It has consistently failed to get funding out of the door in a timely fashion for the projects that need it most. The national housing co-investment fund is one of the worst-offending programs, as we have heard from the member for Vancouver East.

However, members do not have to listen to me on this. Housing providers across the country have called it “cumbersome” and “complicated”, which is slightly higher praise than what the Liberals received on their first-time homebuyer initiative, a program that has proven to be a fatally flawed, dismal failure. It was intended to help 20,000 Canadians in the first six months, but has only reached 10,000 in over 18 months. It did not accomplish its primary objective of improving affordability in high-cost regions. These changes will not help prospective buyers in Victoria, Vancouver or Toronto.

When the Liberals' only solution to affordable home ownership is to take on a share of a Canadian's mortgage, and when their solution is actively discouraged by brokers, the government should realize that it is time to change direction, not double-down on poor policy. The Liberals should be helping Canadians by giving them the tools to save, lowering their taxes and creating jobs. For example, by incentivizing the use of RRSPs, Canadians could leverage their own savings to purchase a home.

Once again, the bureaucratic, Ottawa-knows-best approach is hurting our communities. It goes to prove that the Liberal government consistently misses the concerns of Canadians, such as concerns over legislative and enforcement gaps that have allowed the drug trade to launder illicit money through our real estate markets; concerns over supply, funding and support program criteria for long-term care homes; and the concern to fix the shortfalls of the national housing co-investment fund, a program that housing providers across the country have voiced their criticism of, stating that the application process is too cumbersome and the eligibility criteria too complicated.

Canadians cannot afford more inaction. Only Conservatives are focused on ensuring Canadians are not left paying the price for Liberal mismanagement. Conservatives recognize the severity of the nationwide housing affordability crisis faced by Canadians.

I believe in a bold vision for my home of Richmond, one where every family who works hard and saves responsibly can achieve home ownership. I believe that the future of housing in Canada will be built on proper management of our nation's supply. Following consultation with my colleagues, I was pleased to learn that Conservatives share a belief in a nationwide plan to get homes built as part of Canada's economic recovery.

We believe in real action, not lip service, to address the consequences of money laundering and the negative impacts it has in our society. Our plan to secure the future will prioritize the needs of Canadians before foreign investors, provide meaningful housing solutions and put families in the housing market. Conservatives have advocated and will continue to advocate for improvements to mortgage policies, to the taxation system, to combat money laundering, to increase housing supply across the continuum, and to address rampant speculation and unfair profiteering.

Canada needs a plan to get our economy back on track, but over a year into the pandemic the Liberal government, like a ship that has lost its anchor, is still operating lost at sea. In response, we Conservatives have developed Canada's recovery plan that sets a course to secure Canada's future, including the modest dream of owning a home.