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Crucial Fact

  • His favourite word is believe.

Liberal MP for Winnipeg North (Manitoba)

Won his last election, in 2015, with 69% of the vote.

Statements in the House

Business of Supply March 21st, 2017

Mr. Speaker, maybe we should get a little more factual.

When Stephen Harper took office, he was left a multi-billion-dollar surplus. That was not in question at all. He had a multi-billion-dollar surplus. Before the recession even began, he turned that billions of dollars in surplus into a deficit. I would ask the member across the way to explain how the Conservatives can say today that deficits are bad when Stephen Harper had a deficit every year, even during good times.

Business of Supply March 21st, 2017

Mr. Speaker, there is an issue that Conservative members across the way like to raise, and that is the issue of the deficit. I wonder if the member can explain to me that while Stephen Harper was the prime minister, in budget after budget there was a significant deficit, to the degree that, in total, over $150 billion accumulated. The best-case scenario for the opposition is that it is debatable whether or not the country was left in a deficit situation. We would argue that it was left in a deficit situation.

Therefore, my question to the member is this: when did the Conservatives have this road-to-Damascus revelation that all of a sudden deficits are bad? Every year that Stephen Harper was the prime minister, the country had a deficit, but now the Conservatives seem to feel that deficits are bad. I do not quite understand. When did that conversion take place?

Business of Supply March 21st, 2017

Mr. Speaker, the member across the way is factually wrong. That is as simply as I can put it.

The member needs to realize that the New Democratic Party voted against—and this is a fairly long list—a special tax on Canada's rich, a middle-class tax break, a substantial increase to the Canada child benefit that would have delivered tens of thousands of children out of poverty, and increasing the income of Canada's poorest seniors, once again which would have delivered tens of thousands of seniors out of poverty.

The NDP has done something I would never have thought it would do. Here, last year, we had one of the most progressive budgets in our country's history, and the NDP actually voted against it. I suspect it has something to do with the mentality that the NDP had during the last general election when it said it would balance a budget at absolutely all costs.

We know that if the New Democrats had to revisit that decision, they would probably back away, but they do not have the courage to admit that they would back away from it.

Business of Supply March 21st, 2017

Mr. Speaker, first, in regard to the price on pollution, the most important thing for Ottawa to demonstrate is its ability to work with the many different stakeholders and to demonstrate very strong leadership.

The leadership we have seen on the environmental file has come not only from the minister responsible for the environment but, I would suggest, right from the Prime Minister of Canada. We have made a genuine commitment to work with others, demonstrating strong national leadership, something that was missing in the previous 10 years.

In regard to the deficit, I would put it up as a cautionary note that members across the way need to realize that Stephen Harper had a higher deficit than any other prime minister. It was well over $150 billion. Stephen Harper took a budget surplus and converted it into a budget deficit, even before the recession kicked in.

The reason I point it out the way I have is that the Liberal Party would be best advised not to take advice from the Conservatives on deficits.

Business of Supply March 21st, 2017

Mr. Speaker, one of my colleagues across the way suggested that I start over. I would love to start over. I would only ask that they reset that clock, the 10-minute clock.

I want to emphasize, as I did when I started my speech just a minute ago, the importance of the first budget, because tomorrow we will be witnessing part two of the first budget, and I am anticipating that Canadians as a whole will welcome that budget, much as they have expressed so much appreciation for the first budget. This is the reason why I believe that first budget was one that really benefited Canada's middle class and those aspiring to be a part of it.

I have made reference to the tax break for Canada's middle class. I have made reference to the special tax that was created for Canada's wealthiest one per cent, which is a redistribution of wealth, which I believe is really important to the constituents in the riding I represent.

There was so much more in that budget. The Canada child benefit program and the increase that this government has provided that program will literally lift tens of thousands of children out of poverty. Many of those children are residents and call Winnipeg North their home.

It does not stop there. Think of Canada's most vulnerable seniors. If seniors are receiving a guaranteed income supplement, that means that their annual income is significantly low and they face many hardships. One of the biggest increases was given to the guaranteed income supplement, much like the Canada child benefit. As a direct result, tens of thousands of seniors will be lifted out of poverty. Again, we are talking about many residents whom I represent.

There is so much more to be optimistic about. We now have a government that genuinely understands that, in order to build a great, strong country, we need to invest in infrastructure. We have a government that has made a historical commitment in terms of the billions of dollars we are putting into Canada's infrastructure. It does not matter what region of our great nation. There is a commitment to work with municipalities, provinces, and other stakeholders to make sure we realize, in a very tangible way, infrastructure projects that will create jobs, that will build Canada's infrastructure, which will assist us into the future. That is good news.

We hear about what else is happening even beyond the budget. The opposition members talk about the creation of taxes, and they are somewhat misleading. They should be looking at what the government was able to accomplish, things at which the previous Harper government failed miserably. Let me give two or three examples of that. The first example is the price on pollution that was created. The vast majority are very supportive of that. People are concerned about our environment.

The Prime Minister went to Paris, along with other stakeholders, including provincial representatives. When they came back from Paris, a discussion and dialogue took place. Imagine the premiers working with the Prime Minister, and the different governments came up with an agreement where there will in fact be a price on pollution.

I think Canadians were so pleased when they saw the type of support there. Governments of all political stripes got behind it. Even some of the former Conservative leaders are behind the price on pollution. Only the Conservative Party, the party that has genuinely lost touch with what Canadians want, is in opposition to having a price on pollution.

The Conservatives try to say that Ottawa is getting all this money as a result of it. That is just not true, and they know it is not true.

All of the revenue that will be generated by a price on pollution is going to provincial governments, and it is up to those governments to determine what they will do with that revenue.

This is about a vision for Canada. For the first time in many years, we have a Prime Minister who has a long-term vision for this country, a country that is going to deliver in tangible ways to Canada's middle class and the many others aspiring to be a part of it, and in fact to all Canadians.

The price on pollution file is not the only file. There are others.

For the first time all premiers have come to the table, have come to an agreement with respect to the CPP. The CPP is about ensuring that our workers of today have the finances for tomorrow when they retire.

The Conservative Party across the way has lost touch with what Canadians really think. Those members do not support the CPP. However, once again, provinces of all political stripes have come together, worked with this government, and ultimately came up with a historical agreement that will ensure we are providing that much more to individuals who are working today for their retirement in the future.

The good news does not stop there either. There is, for example, the issue of health care, an issue with which Canadians most often identify. I had this discussion with my daughter just the other night. We talked about the importance of health care to the constituents we both represent in the north end of Winnipeg. I can assure the House that, whether provincially or federally, both of us have a role to play. The Minister of Health has done a phenomenal job of reaching out to the provinces. We now have an agreement with all provinces, with the exception of one, and I will not say which one, but I am hopeful that province will join the agreement.

Why do I raise these three issues in particular? It is primarily because I want Canadians to know that not only does our government take a proactive approach to building our country and providing support for Canada's middle class, but it is prepared to work with other levels of government to get the job done. This government has demonstrated that time and time again.

Tomorrow will be a good day for Canadians. The Minister of Finance will deliver on the decisions that have been made through our caucus, through cabinet, and through the Prime Minister's Office. Canadians will see a reflection of what they really want to see. I say that because our Prime Minister has consistently told not only Liberal members of Parliament but all members of Parliament that he wants them to represent here in Ottawa the interests of their ridings. He does not want them to represent the interests of Ottawa in their constituencies. I take that challenge from the Prime Minister seriously. It is one of the reasons why I always take the opportunity to share my thoughts with ministers and other members of this privileged chamber. The budget we are going to see tomorrow will be a continuation of what was in the 2016 budget. That is why today is also a good day.

I thank the House for allowing me a few minutes to share the many wonderful things that we can be happy about in Canada. It could have easily been an hour-long speech, because there are so many wonderful things to be happy about in Canada.

Business of Supply March 21st, 2017

Mr. Speaker, when I think of the first budget, there are a number of elements in that budget that should be repeated and reinforced. Number one for me, as I have indicated, was the tax break for Canada's middle class. Another really important aspect was the additional special tax created on Canada's wealthiest 1%. It is a redistribution of wealth to ensure that there is a higher degree of equality.

Business of Supply March 21st, 2017

Mr. Speaker, I will be sharing my time with the hon. member for Davenport.

It is a happy day today. Tomorrow we are going to be witnessing part two for Canada's middle class and how the middle class of Canada is going to be further advanced.

Let us talk about part one. When we think about part one, what comes to my mind is the middle-class tax break that was given to Canada's middle class. That was really important, I believe, and very well received by—

Points of Order March 21st, 2017

Thank you, Mr. Speaker. Remuneration amounts for payment are established in the Salaries Act for ministers with a portfolio, ministers of state who preside over a ministry of state, and the Leader of the Government in the House of Commons. This statute does not authorize remuneration for either ministers without a portfolio listed in the Salaries Act or ministers of state who do not preside over a ministry of state. Therefore, the vote lC wording contained in the supply bill for certain organizations provides the authority to make such payments.

Using a supply bill to authorize such payments is a long-standing arrangement going back at least to 1995. At that time, the authority appeared only in the program expenditures vote on the Privy Council Office. Since 2007-08, the authority appears in the program or operating expenditure vote of each department that could potentially support a minister without a portfolio or a minister of state who does not preside over a ministry of state.

With respect to Bill C-24, with the exception of the Minister of La Francophonie, the individuals appointed on November 4, 2015, to positions of Minister of Science, Minister of Small Business and Tourism, Minister of Sport and Persons with Disabilities, and Minister of Status of Women are remunerated under vote 1C.

When Bill C-24 receives royal assent, it will authorize payment under the Salaries Act and vote 1C will no longer be used for this purpose in future estimates.

The payment under vote 1C not only respects the supplementary estimates process, it is also fully within the legal mandate and authority of the government.

Points of Order March 21st, 2017

Mr. Speaker. with regard to the point of order raised earlier today, I listened with interest to the member's intervention and his allegation that the government was seeking to legislate Bill C-24 through the supply bill for the supplementary estimates (C). Nothing could be further from the truth. Let me explain.

Remuneration amounts for a payment are established in the Salaries Act—

Points of Order March 21st, 2017

Mr. Speaker, as we know, the Prime Minister has made it a top priority to have a gender-neutral cabinet. The Prime Minister has also made it a priority, in a very clear statement, that all cabinet ministers are equal.

I will report a direct response with respect to the point of order that has been raised by the member back to the House in due course.