House of Commons photo

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

The Budget January 29th, 2009

Mr. Speaker, we did pay down $37 billion in debt because that was something we needed to do. It is like a home mortgage; we need to pay it down to ensure that funds are available.

In terms of the economic situation, things changed dramatically throughout 2008. Even in the last number of months things have gotten worse. This economic crisis did not start here in Canada. It started in the United States and it is global. It has gone far beyond what anyone would ever have thought.

According to the IMF, Canada is one of the best placed countries in the world to ensure that we come out of this economic situation in a lot better force and a lot sooner than any other country.

The Budget January 29th, 2009

Mr. Speaker, I will be sharing my time with the hon. member for West Vancouver—Sunshine Coast—Sea to Sky Country.

It is an honour for me to rise in the House to give my maiden speech. I would like to take a few minutes to thank the constituents of my riding of Medicine Hat for their support in the past federal election and for their confidence in electing me as their representative to the House of Commons for this 40th Parliament. It is an honour and privilege to serve them to the best of my ability.

I also want to thank my extremely efficient campaign team and the numerous volunteers who worked so diligently on my campaign and made it possible for me to be here. I have found this to be a very humbling experience.

Finally, I am taking this opportunity to express my gratitude to my wife, Micheline, for her unwavering support and understanding. She has truly been a pillar of strength for me. I am also very thankful to our children, Scott and Carmen, Darcy and Jennifer, Nicole and Jerry, Todd and Brandy, for their encouragement, along with our grandchildren, Jessica, Chelsea, Megan, Conner, Abby, Carter, Mason and our newest baby, Tristan.

I am sure members will want to know a little about my riding so I will take a couple of minutes to talk about this vast rural, urban area of more than 33,000 square kilometres, extending south from the Red Deer River, from the Saskatchewan border, west to Bassano and southeast to Taber/Bow Island and further south to the Wild Horse, Montana border crossing.

We have an impressive farming and ranching industry. The crop varieties include numerous types of grain from sugar beets, corn, sunflowers, potatoes to beans, peas and even mints used in the manufacturing of chewing gum. I am sure members have heard about our Taber corn or tasted its tender sweetness. We have a very active and productive oil and gas sector with its many support services.

Brooks is known for its major beef packing plant which supports over 2,000 workers and also for the aquaduct started in the early 1900s by the Eastern Irrigation District. A world renowned heritage site, the Dinosaur Provincial Park, is just north of Brooks.

I am also pleased to extol the virtues of the Vauxhall Baseball Academy which brings talented teens from across the country to develop their baseball skills.

We have the honour of having the Canadian Forces Base Suffield, along with Defence Research Development Canada working at CFB Suffield. I also want to mention that Medicine Hat is now the new home for the Canadian Centre for Unmanned Vehicles in the aerospace industry.

We have a beautiful recreation area in the Cypress Hills of Alberta that boasts lakes, great fishing, boating, golfing, camping and hiking.

As the House can see, I am honoured to be able to represent such a diverse riding of more than 115,000 people.

I will now focus my comments on the economic action plan. Our Conservative government made choices to put Canada in a strong position. Since 2006, we have reduced federal debt by $37 billion and we continue to respond to Canada's needs.

My constituents, along with the rest of Canadians, are concerned about the economy. Times are tough. While the recent economic forecasts are not rosy, Canada remains in the best position of any G7 country. Because we recognized in 2007 what was on the horizon and implemented tax relief, we are in a position to weather the storm better than virtually any other nation.

While Canada is being negatively impacted by the global recession, our government's priority is to protect Canada during this extraordinary time.

Canada's economic action plan is designed to stabilize and grow our economy while protecting Canadians. Let me remind members of how this plan will benefit the people in my constituency.

The temporary tax credit for home renovation will stimulate housing construction and will keep our trades gainfully employed. Home-owners will get back up to $1,350 for renovations such as energy efficient windows and doors to new kitchens and bathrooms. Over the next two years, Alberta communities will be able to access up to $338 million as part of the home renovation tax credit program.

First-time home buyers can get back up $750 on closing costs and can now withdraw more from RRSPs to buy or build that first home.

Our farmers will be able to access some of the $500 million to address short-term economic challenges. This will help our farmers to innovate, implement new initiatives and increase competitiveness.

Our government will also amend the Farm Improvement and Marketing Cooperatives Loans Act to make credit more available.

Fifty million dollars is available over the next three years to strengthen the slaughterhouse capacity. This is a significant funding opportunity for the meat-packing plant located in Brooks.

There are so many ways the residents of my constituency can benefit from our economic action plan. For example, under the business communities program, money is available for culture and arts which would benefit projects in every part of our constituency.

This is an excellent action plan developed by our government. Over the next five years we are providing $4.5 billion in Alberta for new infrastructure spending to build roads, bridges and waste water treatment plants. These programs have a far wider implication in that they will require other supports, such as engineering and design.

What does this really mean? It means jobs. It means Canadians, and in particular, individuals in my riding will be working and paying taxes and contributing to the local economy as well as nationally.

A new federal initiative, recreational infrastructure Canada, known as RInC, will provide up to $500 million over the next two years to build and renovate hockey arenas, swimming pools and recreational facilities. The city of Medicine Hat will be paying particular attention to this program as it plans to build a new hockey arena and event centre.

Our government has not forgotten those who are in need of affordable housing. This is a priority in our riding. The economic action plan also includes new funding for social housing over the next two years to build homes for low-income seniors and Canadians with disabilities.

We are helping Canadians who are out of work find new good jobs. We have increased our investment in skills development and will provide opportunities for short- and long-term skills upgrading, including targeted programs for apprentices and older workers. We will also provide support for workers who do not qualify for EI benefits. We are broadening programs to help workers get back into the market. There are plans for a new major summer youth job initiative. The details will be announced shortly.

I am very pleased our government is providing immediate tax relief that will help all Canadians weather this difficult economic time. In Alberta this reduction of taxes by $1.5 billion will increase the basic personal amount and upper limits of the two lowest personal income tax brackets and will also increase the amounts that families can earn and still receive the national child benefit supplement and the Canada child tax benefit, providing up to $436 for a family with two children.

To help seniors cope, the economic statement proposes a one-time change that would allow RRIF holders to reduce their required minimum withdrawal by 25% for the 2008 tax year.

There is a commitment to the environment to provide $1 billion for a green infrastructure fund to support projects such as sustainable energy.

Also of interest to Medicine Hat College in my riding is funding that is being provided for urgently needed repairs to Canada's universities and colleges.

I have only touched on a few of the items in our plan. This economic action plan is good for my constituency and for people across the country from coast to coast to coast. It helps Canadians who are out of work. It protects Canadian jobs and businesses and builds up our communities. It puts more money into the hands of Canadian families. It is truly a generous and comprehensive national plan and one that is in keeping with Canada's commitment to fulfill the G7 plan of action.

Remember, this economic action plan provides temporary and effective economic stimulus to help Canadian families and businesses deal with short-term challenges and to build long-term capacity so we can emerge from this economic challenge even stronger.

Political Party Funding November 28th, 2008

Mr. Speaker, I would first like to thank the people of the riding of Medicine Hat for electing me as their member of Parliament and giving me the honour of representing them in the House.

The opposition members should be ashamed of themselves. They have shown yet again that they are more interested in lining their own pockets than in taking real action on our economy.

Canadians elected a Conservative government to make difficult, prudent and responsible choices that are necessary to get through the global economic crisis. While Canadians are cutting out coupons and saving every penny, the opposition members are entitled to millions of taxpayers' dollars for their own partisan purposes.

This government believes in giving money back to Canadian families, workers and businesses. That is exactly what we have been doing since 2006. It is outrageous that opposition members expect Canadians to make sacrifices when they will not make any themselves.

We are leading by example and tightening our own belts. It is time opposition members do the same.