House of Commons photo

Crucial Fact

  • His favourite word was mentioned.

Last in Parliament September 2021, as Liberal MP for Kitchener South—Hespeler (Ontario)

Won his last election, in 2019, with 40% of the vote.

Statements in the House

The Budget April 12th, 2016

Mr. Speaker, first I would like to tell the hon. member that my heart goes out to everyone who is suffering in Attawapiskat right now.

Our commitment was to invest in indigenous communities. That is why we have invested billions of dollars in indigenous communities. We are working with the provinces and territories to look at a better health care system, and hopefully we will come out with a great plan. We are working to discuss with provinces and territories on the best way forward with that.

The Budget April 12th, 2016

Mr. Speaker, I have done the math, but I do not think the member has checked our child benefit plan. It targets nine out of ten families, and it would lift over 300,000 children out of poverty. As an example, a single mother making $45,000 a year with one child under six, would get roughly $2,300 more under our plan. I think the member is missing the math on this one.

The Budget April 12th, 2016

Mr. Speaker, I am going to be splitting my time today with the member for Burlington.

I rise today to speak to the budget that was delivered by our hon. Minister of Finance, but before I begin, I would like to take a moment to sincerely thank my constituents of Kitchener South—Hespeler for the trust they have placed in me. I truly am blessed and honoured to represent them here in Ottawa.

Also I would like to thank all the volunteers and donors who played a vital and critical role in the election campaign. I cannot thank them enough for their hard work and commitment. From the bottom of my heart, I truly appreciate their efforts and thank them very much. I would not be here without them.

Because time is limited, I will focus on five key areas in budget 2016: the middle-class tax cut, the child benefit, the historic infrastructure plan, benefits to seniors, and help for young people. However, first I would like to establish some context by telling everyone about the people of Kitchener South—Hespeler, the electoral district I represent here in the House.

Kitchener South—Hespeler is a new electoral district created in Waterloo region. I know Kitchener South—Hespeler very well. It is where I grew up and have lived most of my life. I would be remiss if I didn't say how beautiful it is. There are two rivers that run through it, the Speed and the Grand, where people canoe and fish to their hearts' content in the summer and fall.

Historic Hespeler Village has been the setting for many movies and TV series. The natural settings are a photographer's delight. There are lots of hiking trails and green space, and plenty of soccer fields and baseball diamonds to play on.

Right in the centre of the riding, there is the 165-acre Chicopee Ski and Summer Resort, where families hike and bike in the summer and ski and snowboard in the winter. We are a blend of suburban settings with a lot of manufacturing and business parks, Canada's premier polytechnic, Conestoga College, some regional government and health institutions, and all the usual retail providers.

The most recent data from Statistics Canada tells us that the residents of Kitchener South—Hespeler number about 98,000 people, 23,000 of whom are children under age 18, and 10% of us are seniors, around 10,000. Our average age is 36.

This means that my riding has many young families that will be assisted by our child benefit plan, which I will get to in a moment.

In brief, Kitchener South—Hespeler is home to the middle class and those seeking to join the middle class.

The budget is one that will grow the middle class and help hard-working Canadians keep more money in their pockets.

For nearly a decade the middle class has seen stagnant growth, lack of job opportunities, and cuts to services. Real wages have not seen a significant increase for many years, and house prices keep increasing, making it harder for the average Canadian to enter the market.

Families are working longer hours, overtime shifts, night shifts, and even two jobs just to make ends meet. At what cost are Canadian families forced to work two jobs and long hours? This is robbing them of time better spent with family.

I will be addressing five key areas of budget 2016. The first commitment is the middle-class tax cut.

Our Liberal government knows that, when we have a strong, healthy, and vibrant middle class, we have a strong Canada. I am sure all in the House will agree that we live in the greatest country on earth. It is up to us as elected officials to keep Canada great and prosperous, but with the shrinking middle class, some of us have lost hope, lost hope that no matter how hard families are working, their efforts are not leading to greater wealth and prosperity. Great opportunities in a great country are slipping away from average Canadians.

However, during the election campaign we listened to Canadians. We heard their concerns and we made a promise to Canadians that we will help the middle class and we will stand next to them and ensure opportunity and prosperity can and will be achieved under our Prime Minister and our current government.

As of 2016, we have cut taxes for the middle class from 22% down to 20.5%. This is a much-needed 7% tax reduction, which will benefit nine million Canadians. This means the average individual will save up to $670 per year.

The second commitment is the child benefit plan.

With the new child benefit plan, nine out of ten families will benefit. Hundreds of thousands of children will be lifted out of poverty. This represents an essential core value, a value that ensures all children in this country have a fair chance at success in achieving their goals and aspirations.

This child benefit plan is dear to my heart. Coming from a single-parent household, I can appreciate how this plan will make a significant and positive impact upon many families.

This child benefit plan is tax free; it is better targeted for those families which need it the most, and it is more generous. Families will see an average increase in child benefits of almost $2,300 more per child.

This is a great plan, a plan that not only helps parents with the high cost of raising children, but it also helps long term. When we assist one individual like a single mother with a generous child benefit plan, we provide her and her children with the opportunity to succeed. This is a long-term plan that will build and grow our nation, with more generous assistance to those who need it the most. We are helping to change the trajectory of many families toward prosperity for a better future.

The third commitment is an historic infrastructure investment plan.

This is a promise that the Liberal government would strengthen the middle class, create jobs, and grow Canada's economy by making a historic new investment in the kind of infrastructure projects that our community needs, such as public transit, affordable housing, early learning and child care, cultural and recreational facilities, and green infrastructure that will adapt to climate change.

The fourth commitment is to seniors.

The Liberal government made a series of promises to protect income splitting for seniors, to restore the OAS and GIS eligibility back to the age of 65, and to increase the GIS payments to single seniors. I am happy to stand here today in support of the fulfillment of this promise to ensure that our government is helping those who have worked hard in building this great nation.

The fifth and final commitment is to young people.

It is important that we help young Canadians succeed in our country's prosperity. It depends upon the young generation. That is why it is vital that youth get the training they need to prepare for the jobs of today and tomorrow. That is why budget 2016 proposes to increase Canada student grants by 50%.

Furthermore, our government is committed to making student debt more manageable. No student will have to repay their loan if he or she is not earning at least $25,000 per year. I am happy to stand here today in support of that fulfillment of the commitment to helping young Canadians succeed in their studies.

We understand that the middle class is struggling. Middle-class Canadians have not been able to get ahead. They are not able to assist their children in post-secondary education. They are not able to save for their much-deserved retirement, and they are struggling to keep their homes. That is why we are focused on helping the middle class. We understand that the middle class plays a critical role as the engine of growth. The prosperity of our country lies in the hands of the middle-class Canadians. When middle-class Canadians are given the tools and opportunity to succeed, they go above and beyond. Their passion and drive leads them to great success, here at home and abroad.

That is why, with our tax cut to middle-class families, our child benefit plan, our infrastructure investment plan, our help to seniors, and our assistance for youth, we will build an even better Canada, a Canada that we can be proud of, a Canada where every child, senior, and individual has a fair and equal opportunity for a brighter future. We live in the greatest nation on earth, and with our 2016 budget, we will keep Canada great. That is our commitment, and that is what we will deliver to Canadians.

Income Tax Act March 11th, 2016

Mr. Speaker, I thank the hon. member for his quite amusing and want to point out a couple of things he said.

He said that Canadians thought it was a good idea to vote for the tax cut that lowered taxes for the middle class from 22% to 20.5%. It was a good idea, and that was what Canadians voted for. That is one.

Another thing is the member mentioned the word “fraud” in his statement. I think it is fraudulent when they give a child benefit plan and then during tax time, they claw it back in taxes.

The member mentioned a lot of examples of Time Hortons, saying that coffee is the only thing people could get from the tax cut. I will give an example of a single mother. If a single mother is earning $45,000 and raising two children on her own, she would receive, under our child benefit plan, almost $2,000 more than under the Conservatives' plan. If she is raising two children, she would get almost $4,000 more, and our plan would be tax free.

Does the hon. member not see that our child benefit plan would help the middle class and the single mother?

Science March 11th, 2016

Mr. Speaker, during the campaign, we committed to science-based policy decisions. To be able to do this, we also need to encourage scientific research ourselves and ensure that those important projects receive the funding they require.

Can the Minister of Science update the House on the government's recent announcement regarding space health research?

Automobile Industry in Kitchener South—Hespeler March 9th, 2016

Mr. Speaker, I rise to address the House for the first time. I want to thank my constituents in the new riding of Kitchener South—Hespeler for placing their trust in me. Service to my constituency will always be my first priority.

I also rise today to recognize the significant contributions of Toyota Motor Manufacturing Canada to my constituency and the region. This year Toyota will celebrate 30 years in my riding. Toyota employs 8,000 people in Cambridge and nearby Woodstock. Within the next couple of months, Toyota Canada will have produced 7 million vehicles.

The multiplier effect in the auto parts industry and local businesses is enormous. Toyota is a responsible corporate citizen, participates in the community, and supports worthy local causes.

For my riding of Kitchener South—Hespeler, I cannot stress enough the importance of the automobile industry and of Toyota in particular.