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Crucial Fact

  • His favourite word is conservatives.

Liberal MP for Winnipeg North (Manitoba)

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

Statements in the House

Business of Supply February 8th, 2018

Madam Speaker, you could sense the disappointment when you said that. Perhaps my colleagues would welcome extending my time a little. It would require only unanimous consent. I do not know if I would even get that on my side of the bench, so I will accept the time constraints.

It has been an interesting debate today. In particular, the New Democrats tried to stand on a high moral pedestal to say how great they are, what they would be doing if they were in government, and all these wonderful things. It is a bit tough at times for me to digest this because for many years, when I was in the Manitoba legislature, I saw the reality of NDP governments. They talk about all these expenditures, and how just the taxes on corporations, or going after the tax evaders, would pay for everything their little hearts desire.

When I was sitting as an MLA, I believe the corporate tax bracket was cut seven times under the New Democrats. It went from over 16% down to 12%. At the time, it surprised a lot of people, especially within the New Democratic movement in the province of Manitoba. That is what happens when they are in government.

Then I hear what they are saying today, and the examples they are giving today. If we really stop and think about the examples of why they believe tax fairness is so critically important, we see that they are talking about good ideas that, in good part, are already being acted on. We have seen many positive steps forward on a lot of the things the New Democrats are talking about. I have not heard anything new coming from them. There is nothing new coming from the New Democrats today in their policy announcements.

They talk about tax evasion. Over two budgets, budget 2016 and budget 2017, hundreds of millions of dollars were committed by our government to fight and to get back the tax dollars we are entitled to. Those are historic amounts of money. The Prime Minister and the government are very serious about those who are trying to evade paying taxes, not only offshore but here in Canada.

One of the first measures we put in place was a special tax on Canada's wealthiest 1%. I need to remind my colleagues and my friends in the New Democratic Party that they actually voted against that.

Then they ask, “What about our children?” This government has materialized for our children the Canada child benefit. I believe there is around $9 million a month coming into Winnipeg North. This is a huge investment in our children by our government. I would remind my NDP colleagues that they voted against that, too.

It is the same thing for seniors. I could talk about pharmacare, housing, and many other issues. We are already doing that. We are acting and moving forward on that.

Madam Speaker, I see you are rising. There is so much more I would like to say on this issue, but I will leave it at that.

Business of Supply February 8th, 2018

Madam Speaker, I appreciate that sense of entrepreneurship that the member across the way is referencing. Small businesses are the backbone of our economy. The minister responsible for small business has talked a great deal about it. In fact, since the very first budget, we talked to small businesses about what they wanted and their customers. It is one of the reasons we increased disposable income through the middle-class tax break, and just last year we announced the reduction of the small business tax. These are all positive things for small businesses.

Could my colleague provide some of his thoughts on the importance of having these tax treaties so that Revenue Canada has a better ability to be able to find out the kind of money that Canadians might be using offshore?

Business of Supply February 8th, 2018

Madam Speaker, the comments the member opposite is making are truly amazing. One would think that NDP members had forgotten about their commitment to having a balanced budget.

The government is doing many of these things in a very progressive fashion, and the NDP consistently votes against them. For example, the member talked about small businesses. There was a small business tax cut, but of course, it was not done quickly enough. Nothing is quick enough for the NDP members. If they were in government, they would have done it yesterday, apparently. One can never do anything quickly enough to please the NDP. It is almost as if there is a pie in the sky and we wave a wand at all the problems.

A member earlier talked about tax agreements abroad allowing for more tax cheating. In fact, before we can get some of that tax money back, we have to give the Canada Revenue Agency the authority and have those tax agreements so we can track that money and get some of it back.

I wonder if the member could tell us if there is anything he believes the government could be doing that it is not doing.

Business of Supply February 8th, 2018

Mr. Speaker, just picking up from this morning, we know the Government of Canada has been fairly aggressive in wanting to ensure that individuals trying to avoid paying taxes are in fact being pursued. In the last couple of years alone, the government has committed close to $1 billion to recuperate the hundreds of millions, going well into the billions, of dollars individuals have not paid.

The government is progressively trying to get that money back. That involves everything from the engagement of Revenue Canada, our court system, and many other mechanisms, believing we are going to be able to recover that kind of money.

I am interested in the members thoughts on how important that aspect is in terms of just recovering taxes from individuals who have avoided paying taxes.

Business of Supply February 8th, 2018

Mr. Speaker, the member said she stands up every day for the disadvantaged. The days that I have seen the member stand include the days she voted no to a tax increase on Canada's wealthiest 1%. Members of the NDP stood and said no to the increase to the Canada child benefit. The NDP stood and said no to the increase to the guaranteed income supplement. The NDP even stood to say no to the budgetary measures that included almost $1 billion to go after individuals who avoid paying taxes.

Does my hon. colleague regret standing up against those types of progressive measures that would help everyday Canadians? That does not include the time she stood to vote no against the middle-class tax break.

Business of Supply February 8th, 2018

Mr. Speaker, I am wondering if my colleague could expand on how important it has been for the government to look at those who are trying to avoid paying taxes. One of the most significant things we have done as government to try to recuperate that money is we have invested close to $1 billion into Revenue Canada to go after those who are trying to cheat the system. Does the member have any comments in that regard?

Business of Supply February 8th, 2018

Mr. Speaker, there is the idea that more than just the provincial or federal governments are involved in dealing with this issue. This is very much a global issue. I would be interested in hearing my colleague's thoughts with respect to this.

The other comment I would make is with respect to something I referred to earlier. The Minister of National Revenue has been fairly aggressive in getting the necessary investments in order to go after the people who are avoiding paying taxes. It is estimated that billions of dollars are owed to the Canadian coffers. For the first time in many years, we have a minister who has made this a priority, to the degree where we have invested close to $1 billion in an effort to recoup billions.

Could the member comment on that as well?

Business of Supply February 8th, 2018

Mr. Speaker, I appreciate the comments from the member opposite, but I do not necessarily agree with her entire speech.

We have seen a Prime Minister, in fact a government as a whole in budgetary motions that have been brought forward in this House, deal with the issue of tax evasion. The Minister of National Revenue has gone to great lengths. We have seen close to $1 billion invested in going after those who are trying to avoid paying their fair share of taxes. It is a substantial amount of money. It is literally hundreds of millions of dollars, going into the billions of dollars, and this government is aggressively pursuing it.

I wonder why, when it came time to vote on that measure, the NDP did not vote to support it. We very rarely hear the NDP talk positively about the fine work the Minister of National Revenue has done in going after the hundreds of millions of dollars owed to Canadian coffers.

Business of Supply February 8th, 2018

Madam Speaker, the member referenced the 2018 budget and talked about other initiatives. The member who introduced the motion said that it is all about fairness. He used pharmacare as one example. Listeners should be aware that the government has acted. The member referenced housing. That was the second example he gave. We have invested billions of dollars in the housing strategy, the biggest housing strategy brought forward to this House in probably the history of our country.

Members in the Liberal caucus have been advocating for months the importance of developing some sort of pharmacare program. In fact, the health committee is investigating that particular issue, with the idea of coming up with a report, led by Liberal members of Parliament. The government is moving forward in many progressive areas.

The question I have for my colleague is related to the close to $1 billion being invested by the Minister of National Revenue to recoup literally hundreds of millions, going into the billions, of dollars from individuals who are not paying taxes. What are her thoughts on that?

Business of Supply February 8th, 2018

Madam Speaker, the member said that this debate was about being fair to Canadians. The Prime Minister has been all about that. When we talk about being fair to Canadians, we can talk about the Canada child benefit program, lifting thousands of children out of poverty. We can talk about the guaranteed income supplement, lifting thousands of seniors out of poverty. We can talk about the close to $1 billion being spent to go after and retrieve literally hundreds of millions, going into the billions, of dollars from individuals who are not paying their fair share of taxes. The NDP has voted against virtually all those measures.

When the member across the way talks about that sense of fairness, that is in essence what the government strives to accomplish: to support Canada's middle class and those wanting to be a part of it, and to provide the types of programs that are necessary to those individuals who do not have the economic and financial means.

With respect to many comments raised by the member, all he needs to do is look at what the government has been providing. More and more, we see the contrast between the government and the Conservatives.

Would the member reflect on of some of the voting behaviours? The NDP voted against the tax on Canada's wealthiest 1%. It voted against those social program increases that took seniors and children out of poverty. How would he respond to that vote?