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Crucial Fact

  • His favourite word was talked.

Last in Parliament October 2015, as Conservative MP for Medicine Hat (Alberta)

Won his last election, in 2011, with 72% of the vote.

Statements in the House

Economic Recovery Act (stimulus) October 6th, 2009

Just a minute. I am actually speaking if you would not mind, sir.

We have reduced taxes all across this country. Canadians understand that. They also understand that the Liberal Party wants to have an election. If we were to actually look at where the deficit originally started, that individual might want to check his party's record back in the days of a former prime minister--

Economic Recovery Act (stimulus) October 6th, 2009

Mr. Speaker, I certainly do believe that we are reducing taxes for Canadians from all ends of the country. As part of any funds, the member ought to know that our Conservative government paid off over $37 billion of national debt. We have reduced taxes everywhere across the board for business, for home owners, for low income people. We have increased seniors' ability to--

Economic Recovery Act (stimulus) October 6th, 2009

Mr. Speaker, it is my privilege today to speak in support of the economic recovery act at second reading. The recovery act would implement key measures in Canada's economic action plan and other vital initiatives that would help to secure a strong recovery and protect jobs. Key among these measures is a set of important tax cuts that would support individuals and businesses right across Canada.

To begin with, this act would implement the temporary home renovation tax credit, or HRTC. The HRTC has proved enormously popular with millions of Canadians who will be able to receive up to $1,350 in tax relief on eligible home renovations completed before February 1, 2010. The temporary nature of this tax would provide an immediate boost for Canadians to take on new renovations or speed up already planned projects.

The HRTC is encouraging Canadians to invest in the long-term value of their homes and is increasing the demand for labour, building materials and other goods and services, helping to create more jobs and stimulating our economy when it is needed most.

Do not take my word for it, listen to the feedback we are hearing from right across the country.

Robert Dutton, Rona president and CEO, cheered:

We are happy to see measures such as the Home Renovation Tax Credit being implemented as we believe they will help stimulate the Canadian economy....This initiative directly benefits consumers and the industry while also helping save Canadian jobs.

Paul Straus, Home Hardware CEO, gave the HRTC a big thumbs up. He said, ““That’s been a big help to many of the retailers and certainly we’ve benefited from that”.

Canada's premier celebrity contractor and television personality, Mike Holmes, heralded:

Most homeowners have heard by now of the home renovation tax credit, and many are taking advantage of it. The idea of the tax credit is to stimulate local economy by keeping contractors working and keeping building supply retailers busy. It's a win-win: Invest in your home, and invest in your local economy.

Moncton Times & Transcript columnist, Alec Bruce, said:

—Home Renovation Tax Credit (HRTC) arguably the smartest piece of micro-economic policy this government has yet written....This is precisely how the government stimuli should work. By providing incentives to improve the value of the most important assets most people ever own--their homes--the feds guarantee that public money flows back to communities and neighbourhoods, employing skilled tradesmen and women and leveraging private credit markets.

The Ontario Home Builders' Association, president Frank Giannone, heralded the measure, noting:

—renovators are also witnessing positive trends with increasing consumer interest as a result of the federal government's Home Renovation Tax Credit.

Building Industry and Land Development Association president Stephen Dupuis gives the HRTC his stamp of approval. He said:

There's no question that the renovation tax credit has been the most effective stimulus spending initiative the federal government brought forward last January. The tax credit is spurring economic activity while helping to combat the underground economy...

What about small business owners like Maurice Meagher, who owns a construction company in Halifax and was booked solid through the summer building decks, patios and fences for Nova Scotians. He said:

Without [the HRTC]...maybe we wouldn't be getting these calls....People have been kind of sitting on the fence, looking at projects that maybe they'd be thinking about for a while.

Unbelievable as it sounds, the NDP finance critic, the member for Outremont, in the Winnipeg Sun:

—praised the Conservative government's home renovation tax credit...initiatives like that helped the economy because they got “hammers into hands quickly”...

The economic recovery act would also implement the first time home buyers' tax credit, putting up to $750 back into the pockets of Canadians who bought their first home. This tax credit would also be available for individuals who purchased a home for the benefit of a related individual who would be eligible for the disability tax credit.

I am hopeful, but doubtful, that our Liberal colleagues are listening and reconsidering their decision to vote against the economic recovery act with such popular measures, a decision that they will have to explain to their constituents.

However, if neither the home renovation tax credit nor the first time home buyer tax credit are worthy enough for the Liberals to support, what about the enhancements to the working income tax benefit to help those who are particularly vulnerable during tough economic times? This benefit, often referred to as WITB, is targeted to support low income working Canadians. WITB is a refundable tax credit which helps make work pay by supplementing the earnings of low income workers to help ensure that these workers are financially better off by getting a job. It does this by reducing significant financial disincentives to find and keep a job due to having to pay higher taxes and receiving reduced social services support as their paid income increases. WITB also includes disability supplements in recognition of the fact that low income working Canadians with disabilities generally face even greater barriers to workforce participation.

Even the Liberal leader on page 20 of his 2006 book, “Agenda for Nation Building”, claimed that no other measure would do more to strengthen the spine of equal citizenship than a working income tax benefit. When our Conservative government first introduced the WITB in budget 2007, he and his fellow Liberals shockingly voted against its creation. Now the economic recovery act will, as outlined in budget 2009, effectively double the benefits through WITB, increasing its estimated value for low income Canadians by $518 million for 2009. In subsequent taxation years, he probably boasts that he will vote against it.

The Liberal leader will be shamefully voting against more than 1.5 million Canadians that will benefit from the WITB for the 2009 taxation year even despite the fact that enhancement to the working income tax benefit has already garnered wide praise.

The OECD heralded the move stating:

Recent moves to increase the generosity of Canada’s Working Income Tax Benefit are welcome, particularly given that the benefit is strongly targeted to the lowest-income households.

Food Banks Canada praised it commenting:

We called for increases to the Working Income Tax Benefit (WITB), and the government’s proposed improvement to the WITB is a welcome development.

The Caledon Institute of Social Policy applauded the enhancement writing:

The 2009 Budget’s actions to enhance the Working Income Tax Benefit--an important recent addition to Canadian social policy--are laudable. They strengthen both key aims of the program--helping welfare recipients get over the welfare wall, and supplementing the earnings of the working poor. The investment in WITB will foster economic stimulus by sending more money to more working poor Canadians.

As odd as it may seem, the Liberal leader will likely vote against it as his Liberal leader edict. The Liberal member for Kings—Hants has given it a big thumbs up, telling his hometown paper, the The Hants Journal only months ago:

The Working Income Tax Benefit...has helped many working families and increasing it further will contribute even more significantly to helping make work pay.

Again, I am hopeful, but doubtful, that our Liberal colleagues have listened. I am doubtful that they have the capacity to push aside partisan self-interest, ignore their election-mad leader, do what is best for low income working Canadians and pass the economic recovery act and its enhancements to the WITB, and not scheme to force an unnecessary election that Canadians do not want and that could threaten what is an extremely fragile economic recovery.

Nevertheless, there is much more to the economic recovery act.

For instance, we are reaching out to hard-working farmers who have been hit hard by floods and have to dispose of their livestock by extending these farmers the same tax credit deferral that applies to farmers affected by drought. This is a move that Canadian Federation of Agriculture President Laurent Pellerin gave his nod of approval, saying:

This announcement is welcome news in assisting not only Manitoba livestock producers affected in the summer of 2008 get back on their feet. But it also has the potential to assist all Canadian livestock producers who may find themselves in the unfortunate position of having to liquidate their herds due to weather related events in the future.

Furthermore, on the issue of relief for businesses, the economic recovery act will relax tariffs on temporarily imported shipping containers, primarily by increasing the amount of time that such containers can remain in Canada on a duty tax-free basis from 30 to 365 days. This proposal, recommended by various reports and Canadian transport-related associations, will both promote the efficient movement of empty containers in Canada and improve the efficiency of our transportation network.

This action builds on the previously announced elimination of tariffs on a wide range of machinery and equipment in Canada's economic action plan that will lower business costs by an estimated $440 million over five years and the recently announced public consultations to further eliminate all remaining tariffs on imported machinery, equipment and manufacturing inputs.

Our Conservative government's campaign against tariffs will provide a short-term boost and a long-term competitive edge for Canadian industry and lead the charge against the threat of creeping protectionism around the world. Daniel Ikenson from Cato's Center for Trade Policy Studies, an influential American think tank, said, “Canada is doing a great thing. The idea of lifting tariffs frees up businesses, lowering their costs. It shows the United States the proper way to emerge from global recession. We should be moving towards reducing barriers, not imposing them”.

Together, we will have the lowest overall tax rate on new business investment in the leading industrialized countries by 2010. This adds up to a big Canadian advantage for attracting businesses and the jobs they create. Thanks to the business income tax reductions introduced by our Conservative government since 2006, the business tax rate will continue to fall from more than 22% to 15% by 2012. Provinces have added to their efforts by reducing their corporate income tax rates, helping Canada move closer to our Conservative government's goal of a 25% combined federal-provincial tax rate.

We have been seeing the impacts of these business tax reductions recently. Tim Hortons, a homegrown Canadian icon that was forced to flee the high business taxes under the former Liberal government, has reorganized as a Canadian company once again. As a Calgary Herald editorial claimed:

Talk about a double-double blessing!...Canada's national coffee--Tim Hortons--is leaving Delaware and coming home, for all the right reasons. That is, after years during which Canadian business rightly complained of being at a tax disadvantage compared to its U. S. competitors, the pendulum has swung...However, it shows Canada is doing something right...That a company such as Tim Hortons is prepared to go through the upheaval of moving its head office to take advantage of a lower tax environment shows business tax cuts by successive federal governments are starting to work...Timmies may well be starting a trend.

However, our tax relief measures are also benefiting thousands of businesses that are so vital to our communities and economy. Thanks to measures taken by our Conservative government, small businesses can retain more of their earnings for reinvestment, expansion and job creation through an increase in the amount of small business income that is eligible for a reduced federal tax rate of 11%.

That amount is $500,000 this year, up from $400,000. Through Canada's economic action plan, the economy recovery act, our Conservative government is providing tax relief that will encourage economic growth and create jobs for Canadians.

Indeed, since our Conservative government formed government in 2006, we have been working to reduce the tax burden on Canadians from the day we took office. We have provided and continue to provide tax relief that leaves money in the hands of Canadian families and businesses, where it belongs, to encourage growth and boost our economy.

We have slashed taxes by $220 billion for individuals, families and businesses over the next five years. Tax freedom day fell on June 6 this year, nearly five days earlier than under the former Liberal government.

The tax reductions in Canada's economic action plan reinforce our government's goal to foster a tax system that improves standards of living and investment in Canada.

In my short time here today I have presented but a few highlights of our economic recovery bill related to reducing the tax burden on Canadians.

While there is much more to this important legislation from strengthening pensions, to promoting global growth and co-operation, to improving government transparency and accountability, to supporting public broadcasting, and much more, it regrettably appears that Liberal members do not care enough to discuss them.

The Liberal leader wants to plunge Canada into an election regardless of what it would mean for Canadians or our economy and our recovery. Little wonder the Saskatoon StarPhoenix editorial said of the Liberal leader, “For [the Liberal leader] to propose such a thing only makes him sound patronizing and out of touch”.

Identity Theft September 30th, 2009

Mr. Speaker, identity theft is considered by law enforcement officials as one of the fastest growing and most lucrative crimes in North America, especially for organized crime. Between January 1 and October 31, 2008, more than 9,000 Canadian victims of identity theft were reported, totalling more than $8 million. The Canadian Council of Better Business Bureaus estimated identity theft may cost consumers, credit card firms and other businesses more than $2 billion annually.

Could the minister reaffirm to the House what this government is doing to combat this growing crime?

Justice September 15th, 2009

Mr. Speaker, our government has been clear and consistent in our efforts to fight white-collar crime. We sympathize with families who have lost money at the hands of these criminals.

Yesterday a member of the integrated market enforcement teams of the RCMP announced that charges have been laid in the case of an international ponzi-type investment fraud scheme of over $100 million. I would like to commend the RCMP, the Public Prosecution Service of Canada, and local police for their dedicated work on this investigation.

Arrests like this are only part of our government's commitment to stopping white-collar crime and standing up for victims of these elaborate fraud schemes. In addition to increased funding for integrated market enforcement teams, the Minister of Justice has laid out legislative changes that we plan to introduce soon to combat white-collar crime. I call upon the opposition to work with us to pass our crime bills and not to gut these bills as they have done previously.

In order for this important bill to go forward, the Leader of the Opposition must stop trying to force wasteful, opportunistic elections or a reckless, soft-on-crime coalition government.

Business of Supply June 11th, 2009

Madam Speaker, has the hon. member ever invested in equity markets?

The Economy June 11th, 2009

Mr. Speaker, while the Liberal leader went to Cambridge and said, “We will have to raise taxes”, our Prime Minister went to the city of Cambridge today to tell Canadians that we have lowered their taxes and we have a plan to protect Canada's economy during the global economic downturn, a plan that we have been aggressively implementing.

Can the finance minister update the House on how far we have come in implementing our plan?

Extension of Sitting Hours June 9th, 2009

Mr. Speaker, I listened to the comments of the hon. member opposite regarding the extension of hours.

I am a new member and from my short time in the House, I have seen that the NDP has blocked every avenue in terms of our economic action plan, and yet members of the NDP complain.

Does the member not want this Parliament to work? Does she not want to help us move forward legislation that is needed in Canada?

Taxation June 3rd, 2009

Mr. Speaker, this government reduced taxes on Canadian families by $20 billion, yet the leader of the Liberal opposition wants to reverse proactive tax measures. Can this be true? The Liberal leader wants to reduce the amount of money hard-working Canadian families have to spend. In fact it is true. It was proven when the leader of the opposition stated, “We will have to raise taxes” and that he was “not going to take a GST hike off the table”.

Canadians have a right to know. Does this government believe the Liberal leader's statements?

Taxation May 29th, 2009

Mr. Speaker, last May, CTV's Craig Oliver asked the Liberal leader, “Now you were the first leader as a candidate leader to talk about a carbon tax, and you took a little bit of heat for that. Do you still believe in a carbon tax? Of course you do?” The Liberal leader replied, “I do, Craig. I learned that there's no punishment more severe in politics than being the first guy with a good idea”.

Is that what the Liberal leader meant when he said last month, “We will have to raise taxes?”

Would the Parliamentary Secretary to the Prime Minister please inform the House?