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Crucial Fact

  • His favourite word was tax.

Last in Parliament October 2015, as Conservative MP for York Centre (Ontario)

Lost his last election, in 2015, with 44% of the vote.

Statements in the House

Opposition Motion—Job Creation February 5th, 2015

Mr. Speaker, it is a great opportunity and pleasure to respond today to the hon. member's motion, but before I do, I would like to indicate that I will be sharing my time with the member for Don Valley West.

I would encourage all Canadians to pay very close attention to today's debate, because Canadians know when they are being sold a bill of goods, like today's NDP motion. I am reminded of the snake-oil salesman who used to walk into town and set up shop, telling people to drink it and it would cure them of whatever ailed them.

They can put wings on a horse, but it is not going to be an eagle. While the New Democrats are scrambling to show Canadians that they are moving toward our policies in a kind of deathbed conversion, it is very clear that our proposals for small business are much better thought out.

First, I would like to elaborate on our government's strong record of standing up for small business. Following that, I will highlight the NDP's tax and spend plan that would increase our debt and force every Canadian to pay more tax.

Canadians are well aware that this Conservative government successfully navigated Canada through the great recession. Our success is not a matter of chance, but a matter of choice.

Hon. members want to talk about job creation. We on this side are very proud to talk about job creation. Perhaps they on the other side would be interested to learn that we have created nearly 1.2 million net new jobs since the end of the recession. Of those 1.2 million net new jobs, the overwhelming majority are full-time, high paying, private sector jobs. To be clear, since the depth of the recession, full-time jobs account for a whopping 90% of all jobs created in Canada. That is a record that hard-working Canadians and I have every reason to take pride in.

Canada is now enjoying the lowest unemployment rate in six years. In addition, since we were elected in 2006, this government has had the strongest job-creation record of the entire G7, with the creation of over 1.6 million new jobs. Our record speaks for itself, and we are continuing to take action.

Our small business job credit is just the latest in a range of measures that will cut costs and support small businesses. It will effectively lower small businesses' EI premiums from the current rate of $1.88 to $1.60 per $100 of insurable earnings in 2015 and 2016. Ninety per cent of EI premium-paying businesses, nearly 800,000 of them, will directly benefit from this credit. In keeping with our efforts to minimize the paper burden and cut red tape for small business, this credit will require no new paperwork. The Canada Revenue Agency will automatically calculate it on the businesses' returns. Overall, our small-business job credit will cut EI payroll taxes by nearly 15%. We expect it to save small businesses more than $550 million over the next two years. These are savings that will create jobs and growth.

The hon. members need not to take my word for it. They can hear it from the people who know it best, small business people themselves. Dan Kelly, president of the Canadian Federation of Independent Business, has concluded:

...the credit will make it a bit easier for small employers to hire that extra worker, increase employee wages or help pay for workplace training. Across Canada, we estimate the $550 million left in the hands of small businesses will lead to 25,000 person years of employment in the next few years.

Clearly, small business owners and their representatives know that our efforts to reduce their costs are making a real difference in creating jobs.

Small businesses employ half of the working men and women in Canada's private sector. They account for nearly one-third of our country's GDP. Small businesses drive our prosperity and give back to our community. Our government's actions are helping them succeed each and every day. We have cut their taxes.

We cut the small business tax rate to 11% and increased the amount of income eligible for this lower rate. Together, these changes are providing small businesses with an estimated $2.2 billion in tax relief in 2014 alone. Under our government, the amount of income tax paid by a small business with half a million dollars of taxable income has declined by over 34%, a tax savings of over $28,000 that can be reinvested in the business to create jobs. However, the NDP voted against every single one of our tax cuts for small business.

I would now like to take this opportunity to discuss the NDP plan. I will highlight most of its plan, except for one important part. I will not explain how the NDP plans to tell Canadians that it is okay to blow $2.7 million in taxpayer dollars on bogus satellite offices. I will leave that to the NDP members. However, I would like to respectfully remind the NDP that Dan Kelly from the CFIB called aspects of the NDP plan for small business “dumb” and “anti-small business”.

I cannot help but also notice that one of the elements in today's motion for debate bears more than a passing resemblance to our decision to extend the accelerated capital cost allowance. However, here is the real kicker: the NDP voted against the accelerated cost allowance in the first place. If that were not enough, the NDP has promised to increase taxes on small businesses and all other Canadians. That includes a $20 billion carbon tax that would raise the price of everything, from gas to groceries. It includes doubling CPP payroll taxes, forcing Canadian workers and employers to pay more.

It was Shaun Fantauzzo from the Atlantic Institute for Market Studies who said that higher mandatory CPP payroll taxes would “...prevent...[small] businesses from hiring new workers, as well as force them to economize by either reducing hours or laying off existing employees”.

NDP members even pledged to reverse our family tax cuts and benefits. They would take that money from families and give it to Ottawa bureaucrats, because the bureaucrats know how best to spend it. Well, our plan helps 100% of the families with kids. The NDP plan would only help 10% of families.

Our Conservative government knows that moms and dads are best suited to make the crucial decisions affecting their children, but the NDP believes that Ottawa bureaucrats should be making parental decisions instead of mom and dad.

The NDP's spendthrift ways would also increase the deficit and increase the debt. It would burden our children and grandchildren with higher debt to pay for the NDP's expenditures today.

In conclusion, we will take no lessons from the NDP, who really have none to share.

In 2011, Canadians elected our government with clear instructions: navigate the global economy, create jobs and economic growth, and keep taxes low. I am pleased to tell the House that this is exactly what our government has delivered. Promise made, promise kept. We created a low-tax environment on the understanding that lower taxes and payroll costs support jobs and growth. We have proven with our actions that this empowers Canadian entrepreneurs, leaving more of their hard-earned money in their own hands for them to invest in their own businesses to support jobs, growth, and long-term prosperity.

I would encourage hon. members to take this record into account in considering today's motion for debate and reject its empty rhetoric in favour of the real results of our government. Our Conservative government will continue to deliver on what matters most to Canadians, and that is jobs, growth, and long-term prosperity, and support for small businesses.

Victims Bill of Rights Act February 4th, 2015

Mr. Speaker, the measure of any society is how it treats its most vulnerable. Canadians can count on this Conservative government to look after all citizens of Canada, including the most vulnerable.

The member brings up some interesting perspectives. We have funded many programs to enhance the security functions of our police, to give them more tools and more law enforcement abilities, and that party has voted against it time and time again.

The other day my wife was making a soup. This anecdote will elucidate exactly what the NDP and Liberals say here in the House, that they support this bill. My wife was making a vegetable soup and it was very thick. My eight year old boy came into the room and said, “Mom, is that a stew?” She said, “No, it is soup”. He said that he was going to call it stew because it looks like stew. My wife said that he could call it whatever he wanted, but it was still soup.

The victims bill of rights is exactly that. It is what it says it is. There is no hidden agenda here. There is nothing untoward here. The opposition members say they support it. We have had 500 different consultations. It has been before committee. It has been debated in this House.

Let us think of the victims who need this bill, who need this enacted into law. This is a transformative piece of legislation. Opposition members should get with the program, get on board. Let us pass this legislation and get it through the House as quickly as possible. The victims of crime here in Canada are waiting for it.

Victims Bill of Rights Act February 4th, 2015

Mr. Speaker, let me enlighten the member on the Constitution Act, 1982 which delineates the separation of powers between the federal government and the provincial government.

The federal government is charged with constructing the Criminal Code of Canada and the provinces are charged with implementing the Criminal Code of Canada.

The federal Parliament, by way of jurisdiction according to the Constitution Act, 1982 and before that, the British North America Act, only has jurisdiction over federal institutions.

I would refer the member to read the British North America Act, to read her history, to refer back to the Constitution Act, 1982. That should give her the right information in terms of why we here in the Parliament of Canada only have jurisdiction over federal institutions and federal organizations.

Victims Bill of Rights Act February 4th, 2015

Mr. Speaker, I am pleased to participate in the report stage of debate on Bill C-32, the victims bill of rights Act, which will build upon the government's continuing efforts to protect Canadians and communities.

I would like to focus my remarks on two areas specifically. First, how the bill complements and builds upon current policies, legislation and practices for victims of crime; and second, how the bill assists victims of crime to deal with the financial impact of victimization.

The past 30 years have seen many important advances for victims of crime. Victim-serving organizations and various levels of government have contributed tremendously to making a substantive change for victims of crime in this country.

An important milestone in our country's work for victims of crime was the endorsement in 1988 and 2003, by federal-provincial-territorial ministers responsible for justice, of the Canadian statement of basic principles of justice for victims of crime, which recognizes victims' interests and promotes, at a national level, fair treatment of victims in our criminal justice system.

The Canadian victims bill of rights will complement the solid foundation set out in the Canadian statement and will go one step further by entrenching rights of victims into a single, federal law.

The Canadian statement has guided and informed the development of policies, legislation and practices for victims of crime across Canada. Each province and territory has developed victims services and legislation unique to their provincial and territorial reality. Provincial and territorial legislation for victims of crime in some cases includes provisions worded as rights, such as the right to information, to consideration of personal safety and to respectful treatment.

Bill C-32 will not impede existing provincial and territorial legislation but rather complement it. This is important. The bill reflects provincial and territorial input received from a variety of processes, including the public consultations and ongoing discussions with the provinces and territories. It is also informed by best practices from provincial and territorial victim legislation and programs. It has been carefully crafted to deliver on the government's objective of transformational change for victims of crime, while respecting constitutional divisions of power.

This respect for federal and provincial jurisdiction is reiterated in the preamble to Bill C-32, which explicitly recognizes that criminal justice is a shared responsibility between the federal, provincial and territorial governments.

In addition, Bill C-32 also balances the rights of victims of crime with other fundamental interests in the criminal justice system, such as the need not to interfere with prosecutorial independence or police discretion.

Section 20 of the bill specifies that rights must be applied in a manner that is reasonable in the circumstances and not likely to endanger life or safety, interfere with police or prosecutorial discretion or compromise an investigation or prosecution.

During the consultations held in 2013, the government heard clearly from stakeholders about the importance of these principles. Many stakeholders, including provinces and territories and criminal justice professionals, argued that these principles underpin the effectiveness and efficiency of the criminal justice system.

We all recognize this, so I am pleased to see that Bill C-32 provides rights granted to victims that must be interpreted and applied in a reasonable way and with regard to these principles.

I would now like to pay particular attention to the rights and amendments relating to restitution. Many victims expressed concerns over the financial burden of crime and these provisions have been designed to address these concerns.

A disproportionate percentage of all costs related to crime are borne by victims. Numerous submissions addressed the financial impact of crime on victims, including concerns about loss of income as a result of the crime and an inability to work out-of-pocket expenses related to criminal proceedings and additional costs that were borne by victims. In some cases, these expenses placed people in situations of serious financial hardship.

The Canadian victims bill of rights aims to address this imbalance and relieve some of the financial burden of crime from victims.

The bill clearly indicates that every victim has the right to have the court consider making a restitution order against the offender and, when not paid, the right to enforce the order as a civil judgment. These amendments acknowledge the harm done to victims and promote a sense of responsibility in offenders. The bill would make a number of amendments to the restitution regime in the Criminal Code to ensure that the existing legislative framework properly supports these rights.

Under the current restitution regime, victims have expressed frustration over collecting the amounts that have been ordered to them. Furthermore, the amount of moneys ordered consistently exceeds the amount of moneys collected. Victims' confidence in the criminal justice system is undermined when restitution orders are not paid.

The Canadian victims bill of rights would amend the Criminal Code to direct that judges must consider ordering restitution as a part of an appropriate sentence in all cases. Before a decision is made on restitution, the court would be required to inquire with the prosecutor if reasonable steps have been taken to provide the victim with an opportunity to indicate whether they are seeking restitution for losses or damages. If the court decides not to order restitution, it would be required to state the reasons for its decision into the record.

The proposed amendments would enable victims to use an optional form in the Criminal Code to assist them in calculating and describing the readily ascertainable losses and damages. A motion accepted by the Standing Committee on Justice and Human Rights would also amend the Criminal Code to allow a public authority responsible for enforcing a restitution order to be designated by a provincial or territorial order in council or a minister's order. This would allow for bodies to be designated more quickly and efficiently, and would help to avoid lengthy delays that may result from the proposed requirement for regulations.

At its core, this bill aims to give victims of crime a more effective voice in the criminal justice system. In the context of restitution, this would be achieved by permitting victims to speak to their ascertainable losses and damages in a victim impact statement. In determining the sentence to be imposed on an offender, the court must take this statement into account. Furthermore, the offender's financial means or inability to pay the restitution order cannot in and of itself prevent a court order from issuing the restitution order. This provision of the bill codifies decisions from various appellate courts across Canada.

The proposed reforms regarding the payment of the restitution order were built on the necessity for victims to receive reparation for their losses and damages. The bill would provide that the offender's failure to pay the restitution by the date or dates specified in the order would allow the victim to enter any amount that remains to be paid as a judgment in any civil court in Canada. This provision would provide clarity to victims and to the court about exactly when the restitution order can be deemed unpaid and properly entered as a civil judgment against the offender.

This carefully tailored restitution regime, when entrenched in criminal law, would have many benefits. It would provide victims with effective reparations and allow them to avoid lengthy civil proceedings. Equally important, these measures would ensure that offenders are accountable for the harm they have done.

This bill represents a balancing of the many interests at stake in the criminal justice process. It would also help to improve victims' experiences and assist them to deal with the financial costs of their victimization.

I would urge all members to join me in supporting the victims bill of rights act to provide victims of crime with a more effective voice in the criminal justice and corrections system.

Vietnamese Community February 4th, 2015

Mr. Speaker, for people of Vietnamese heritage living in Canada, Tet is a time of rebirth and renewal, a time to let go of the difficulties of the past year and look forward to the promise of a new beginning.

This year is particularly poignant for Canada's Vietnamese community, many of whom make York Centre their home. It marks the 40th anniversary of the fall of Saigon to the Communist forces from the north. To commemorate this anniversary, I along with Senator Thanh Hai Ngo, are co-sponsoring Bill S-219, the journey to freedom day act.

This bill will establish April 30 as the day to commemorate the exodus of Vietnamese refugees and recognize Canada's role in welcoming so many. This bill also pays homage to the boat people's perilous journey in search of freedom, many of whom lost their lives at sea.

Although a sad anniversary, the journey to freedom day act will serve as a reminder of both the boat people's hazardous journey but also a celebration of their arrival in Canada.

As we celebrate the year of the goat, which symbolizes co-operation, peace and harmony, I say to all Canadians of Vietnamese origin, “Chuc mung nam moi”.

Business of Supply January 27th, 2015

Mr. Speaker, I listened to that question with great interest. It is important that those who have experience with governing, which I know the member on that side does not, wait for all of the information to be in before making decisions.

Our Conservative government made a commitment to the Canadian people to balance the budget in 2015. We have had a plan since 2006. The first thing we did when we came into government in 2006 was to pay off billions of dollars in federal debt. That ended up being the smartest thing any government could have done, because it gave us the latitude and the fiscal flexibility to be able to respond in 2008 when hard times hit.

With the plan that we have in place, we have created 1.2 million net new jobs. We lead the G7 in terms of economic performance, and 2015 will be another chapter in the next plan.

Business of Supply January 27th, 2015

Mr. Speaker, it is absolutely appalling that the member opposite would consider low taxes, job creation, and leading the economic recovery in the G7 as dull. It just indicates where the NDP is coming from.

Let me just paint a picture of what an NDP government would look like. Unfortunately, we have had experience with it in Ontario.

In 1990, there was a small deficit forecasted, but in the first year the New Democrats decided that a small deficit was not good enough, so they decided to go for a $2.5 billion deficit. In their first budget and spending, they increased it up to a $9.16 billion deficit. In five years, the Ontario debt rose from $20 billion to $60 billion, the Ontario credit rating was downgraded twice, and taxes rose to the highest marginal rates in North America.

In 1991, there were 5.3 million people working in Ontario. By 1995, when the NDP left office, there were 122,000 fewer working in the province.

The New Democrats re-opened collective bargaining agreements. They made civil servants work unpaid days. Now they want to bring that plan to Canada.

Business of Supply January 27th, 2015

Mr. Speaker, before I begin my remarks, I would like to indicate that I will be splitting my time with my colleague, the member for Winnipeg South Centre.

I appreciate this opportunity to address the motion of my colleague, with whom I sit on the finance committee, on the state of the nation's finances. The Prime Minister and the Minister of Finance have continually said that the global economy remains fragile. Events beyond our borders, including the falling price of oil, can affect our economy. That is why it is more important than ever for our government to stay the course with a steady plan to balance the budget, create jobs, and secure Canada's long-term prosperity.

Let me be clear. Our government remains committed to balancing the budget in 2015. Despite the changing international situation, Canada's economy remains strong. Since coming to office in 2006, our government has had the best job creation record in the G7 and we are leading in economic growth.

Since the depth of the recession, more than 1.2 million net new jobs have been created, with 82% being full time, 84% of them in the private sector, and 66% in the high-wage industries. This record is the result of the resiliency of the Canadian people and the efforts of our government through Canada's economic action plan.

Our government has put tax relief at the core of all of our budgets, and we have a proven record of continuously lowering taxes and tariffs to the benefit of all Canadians, particularly hard-working Canadian families.

Our government remains focused on what matters most to Canadians. In fact, actions taken by our government since 2006, including the measures we announced in October for families with children, will provide tax relief and benefits of up to $6,600 for a typical two-earner family of four. We have lowered 150 different taxes since taking office in 2006, and the overall tax burden is now at its lowest level in more than 50 years. This is an achievement of which we can be proud.

Families will soon see the benefit of our proposals to increase and expand the universal child care benefit, which will provide an additional $720 per child to families with children under the age of 18. This is in addition to our family tax cut, which will establish fairness in the tax system for parents who earn different incomes. Taken together, our new measures will provide benefits to every single family with children under the age of 18 in the country.

In providing this support for hard-working Canadian families, our government has not deviated from our commitment to balance the budget. We will balance the budget in 2015, while delivering close to $27 billion in tax relief and increased benefits for hard-working families over this year and the next five years.

The opposition, on the other hand, would jeopardize this tax relief, taking away benefits from hard-working Canadians at a time when they need it most. Some of my esteemed colleagues across the floor would argue that there is no harm in running a deficit in 2015 to pay for new, costly, and unnecessary programs. We on this side, however, do not. Balancing the budget is a means to increase Canada's economic potential to improve employment opportunities for Canadians by creating more good-quality full-time jobs and to raise our citizens' standard of living.

The benefits of balancing the budget and reducing the debt are many. Some of these include ensuring that tax dollars are used to support important social services like elderly benefits and health care rather than paying interest costs, instilling confidence in consumers and investors whose dollars spur economic growth and job creation, and strengthening Canada's ability to respond to longer term challenges such as population aging, unexpected global economic shocks, and global security threats.

We need to stay firm to our commitment to the Canadian people to balance the budget, a commitment that we have reaffirmed to Canadians time and time again. While the global economy may be struggling, the fundamentals of our economy remain strong. We must address our challenges not by engaging in reckless fearmongering or spending, as the opposition would suggest, but by following through on our commitments and continuing to move forward with our low-tax plan to create jobs, promote growth, and secure our long-term prosperity.

Recently our government took actions to stay the course and build on our record. As previously mentioned, we invested in tax relief for Canadian families that will pay dividends for generations to come. We also created the small business job credit, a tax credit that will provide an estimated savings of approximately $550 million for job-creating small businesses. We invested $5.8 billion in additional infrastructure investments that are crucial to supporting our economic growth. I am confident that as a result of these actions Canada's economy will continue to grow and create jobs. Budget 2015 will build on this record.

In the lead-up to the budget, our government will survey private sector economists to ensure that we have the most up-to-date views, including their views, on the economic impact of lower oil prices. This is a practice that has been done for nearly two decades.

We will not change our plans to indulge in the opposition's hysteria. We will remain committed to our plan. Our economic action plan has seen Canada perform strongly through these uncertain times. With the help of our economic action plan, Canada was able to weather the storm when the global economic crisis arrived in 2008. We have emerged stronger, with more jobs and stronger growth.

By balancing the budget, our government is not only fulfilling our commitment but also protecting ourselves from future volatility.

In conclusion, our government will balance our budget in 2015 without raising taxes or reducing funding for health care and important social programs. We will stay the course and provide the steady fiscal management that Canadians have come to expect and demand. We will not engage in irresponsible spending, as the opposition suggests, and will remain committed to our core principles of job creation and low taxes.

Low taxes help Canadians succeed in the global economy through the creation of high-quality jobs and opportunities for success. Our success is not based on chance, but rather choice. Budget 2015 will be the next chapter in our government's long-term plan to strengthen the Canadian economy in an uncertain world. This next chapter of our plan will build on our strong record to date.

Taken together, the measures our government has introduced since 2006 and those to come in budget 2015 will continue to keep taxes low and help Canadians succeed in the global economy to create jobs, growth, and long-term prosperity for all Canadians.

Auschwitz January 27th, 2015

Mr. Speaker, today marks the 70th anniversary of the liberation of the Nazi death camp, Auschwitz-Birkenau.

Beginning in 1942, Jews would arrive from the ghettos of eastern Europe in cattle cars. Upon arrival, those strong enough to work would be sent to the right. Women and children would be sent to the left to die in the gas chambers. By 1944, some 20,000 people a day would be murdered in this fashion.

Some had another fate. Josef Mengele, the camp doctor, would pick children, particularly twins, for gruesome experiments.

Those sent for slave labour would be tattooed with a number of their arm, like my dad, 15 years old at the time. Many were worked to their death. Others, by time of liberation, would sit or lie on the ground, staring vacantly into space, no longer aware of who or where they were. By liberation, over one million Jews had died in Auschwitz, plus 100,000 others were in this factory of death.

Therefore, when we remember the dead souls and we say, “never again”, let this not be a mere phrase but a call to action, a call to resist anti-Semitism and ignorance in all it forms and to refuse to be bystanders to evil whenever it rears its ugly head.

Let that be the true legacy of Auschwitz.

Hanukkah December 11th, 2014

Mr. Speaker, when sundown arrives on December 16, in my home and homes across Canada, family and friends will gather together to light candles in celebration of the first night of Hanukkah.

This eight-day celebration commemorates the triumph of the Maccabees against the oppressive empire of Antiochus more than 2,000 years ago. Jerusalem was liberated and the Temple was rededicated, and only enough oil to last for one night instead lasted eight.

Born of the triumph of light over darkness, of freedom over oppression, and of tolerance over persecution, this celebration reminds us that miracles can occur, even in the darkest of moments, and that justice must always overcome tyranny. Hanukkah also reminds us that here in Canada, we are truly blessed to live in a country of freedom, democracy, human rights, and the rule of law.

Hanukkah is a joyous time of family gatherings, gift giving, latkes, and games for the children, most notably, hotly contested dreidel contests. At this time, I wish all Canadians celebrating Hanukkah

[Member spoke in foreign language as follows:]

Chag Chanukah Sameach,

Ah Freilichen Chanukah.