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Track Michael

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Crucial Fact

  • His favourite word is chair.

Conservative MP for Wellington—Halton Hills (Ontario)

Won his last election, in 2015, with 51% of the vote.

Statements in the House

Business of Supply February 15th, 2018

Mr. Speaker, Standing Order 11 clearly mandates that members be relevant in debate and in questions and commentary.

Salaries Act December 7th, 2017

Mr. Speaker, while I acknowledge the government's efforts to increase gender equality in the cabinet, this bill illustrates the law of unintended consequences. It is increasing the remuneration and salaries of ministers of the executive branch of government. We have seen in this place, not just with the current government but with previous governments that have been in this place for the last number of decades, that time after time the House of Commons passes legislation, makes changes to the Standing Orders, makes changes to unwritten conventions that enhance the power and the budgets of the executive branch of government to the detriment of this elected legislature.

For that reason, I do not support the bill. We need to stop this scope creep of ever-increasing budgets and remuneration for the executive branch of government to the detriment of this place. It started with the formal recognition of recognized parties in the House of Commons, then extended to the recognition of registered political parties outside of Parliament, then the extension of the leader's power over registered electoral district associations, and now, once again, an enhancement of the budgets and power of the executive branch of government.

We have to stop this creep into the rights of members of Parliament, into the rights of this legislature, and see power re-balanced in this town. Most people do not realize that the overall budget for members of Parliament to hire staff is about $120 million, but the budget, just for one person in this place, the Prime Minister's office, ministerial staffers in ministers' offices is almost half of that, $60 million. By increasing the remuneration, salaries, and budgets of ministers of the executive branch of government is a step in the wrong direction to rebalancing power in this town and ensuring that the elected representatives who are not in those 25 or so seats in government have a stronger voice on the floor of the House.

Salaries Act December 7th, 2017

Madam Speaker, I will be opposing the bill.

Bill C-24 highlights a central problem in this town, which is the centralization of power in party leaders' offices, particularly the Prime Minister's Office. All ministers, including ministerial staff, ultimately report to the Prime Minister, and they serve at the pleasure of the Prime Minister.

Viewers and members of Parliament would be interested to hear that the Prime Minister's Office has a budget to hire 500 political exempt staffers who work for the Prime Minister in the Langevin Block and in other ministerial offices. This is a much bigger budget than what the U.K. prime minister has and a much bigger budget than many other heads of government in the G7 have.

The bill would exacerbate the problem of the concentration of power in Ottawa by enlarging the salaries for cabinet ministers and would continue the march to further centralization of power in this town, which is contrary to the interests of Canadians.

Infrastructure November 7th, 2017

Mr. Speaker, the latest Liberal budget, which joins Canada to the Asia Infrastructure Investment Bank, will send up to $500 million overseas for infrastructure, yet the Liberals are not delivering on infrastructure at home.

Just several weeks ago, Toronto said that Ottawa was making unreasonable demands and could pull $121 million in TTC funding from the federal government. Why are the Liberals so eager to send infrastructure money overseas, while neglecting to spend on desperately needed roads and transit right here at home?

150th Anniversary of the First Meeting of Parliament November 6th, 2017

Mr. Speaker, I rise on a point of order. Please indulge me for a few seconds. For the historical record, while it was the first meeting of the Parliament of Canada here some 150 years ago, it was not the first meeting that took place in this very chamber some 150 years ago. The very first meeting that took place was the last session of the Parliament of the United Province of Canada, which met here for its last time before Confederation. I would like that to be noted because this building has a very deep history indeed.

Infrastructure November 1st, 2017

Mr. Speaker, the Liberals just introduced their budget bill, which joins Canada to the Asian Infrastructure Investment Bank. The government is going to transfer up to half a billion dollars into this bank for infrastructure outside of Canada, while at the same time the PBO reports the government is behind on infrastructure spending within Canada.

Why is the government spending money on infrastructure projects halfway across the world when it is behind on fixing our worn out bridges, roads, and highways right here at home?

Transportation Modernization Act October 25th, 2017

Mr. Speaker, I am speaking to Bill C-49 today. I am opposed to this bill because of a number of issues with it, but in particular I want to speak to section 14 of the bill.

Section 14 concerns the review of arrangements involving two or more transportation undertakings providing air services. In other words, section 14 involves joint ventures between two airlines, joint ventures that allow airlines to co-operate in terms of sharing routes, frequent flier programs, and revenue-sharing and cost-sharing.

This is not an insignificant section of the bill. This is a major change to competition law. Section 14 of Bill C-49 makes major changes to the Competition Act.

I want to take a step back and explain why I think this is so concerning. The Competition Bureau is a very important organization. It ensures fair competition in Canada. It ensures that Canadian consumers and Canadian companies operate in a marketplace where they can prosper, a marketplace where there is sufficient competition, and a marketplace that delivers lower prices and more choices for consumers and companies.

Canada has long had a strong legal tradition and strong framework legislation in the area of competition law. We introduced competition law before the United States did in the 19th century, and throughout the last 150 years we have continually strengthened that competition law in order to ensure that we do not see anti-competitive behaviours in the marketplace.

I remember in 2004 when the then-minority government of prime minister Paul Martin was in place. It introduced a bill that would modernize competition law with the introduction of administrative monetary penalties that would work in place of, and alongside of, Criminal Code penalties that have a much higher threshold of proof.

While that legislation did not pass, the subsequent Harper government introduced similar legislation that was eventually adopted, and administrative monetary penalties are now part of our competition law. Canada has long had a strong tradition of ensuring competitive marketplaces. We are also seen around the world as leaders in competition law enforcement and ensuring that companies cannot abuse their marketplace position.

It is with great concern that I read section 14 of this bill that is in front of us, because it would weaken the bureau. The bureau is an independent law enforcement agency. This bill would actually take power away from the Competition Bureau and the commissioner of competition, and give it to the Minister of Transport. Not only that, it would allow the Minister of Transport to ignore competition concerns and to approve airline joint ventures.

The reason why this is so very concerning is that we know that more competition and a more competitive marketplace leads to lower prices and more choice for Canadian consumers. If we look at the history of airline policy in this country, we have come a long way over the last 30 years.

Privatization and increased competition have given Canadians more choice and lower prices in the airline industry. We started with deregulation in the 1980s, we privatized Air Canada in 1988, we spun out of Transport Canada the airports across this country in 1992, we established independent airport authorities in the 1990s, and because of that, there have been literally tens of billions of dollars of investment in airports and in airlines in this country.

For example, in the early 1990s, some $50 million a year was being spent on airport improvements. Since airports were spun out of the Department of Transport in 1992, over $14 billion has been invested in Canadian airports. The same is true of Air Canada. It is a much better airline today than it was in the 1980s when it was heavily regulated and not subject to competition, and owned by the Government of Canada. Today it is a much better airline, and it is a better airline because it has been subject to competition.

However, the job is not yet done. It is clear through numerous studies that the Canadian travelling public is still paying far too high a price to get from A to B in this country. That is why section 14 of the bill is so very concerning. It is going to lead to less competition, increased prices, and less choice for the travelling public, which runs counter to the effort that we made over the last number of decades to increase competition and lower prices for Canadians.

I want to give an example to illustrate this point. In 2011, Air Canada wanted to enter into a joint venture with United Continental that would allow them to share many transborder routes between Canada and the United States, and Canada and other destinations. That joint venture was fully reviewed by the Competition Bureau and the bureau demanded that certain conditions be put on that joint venture. The bureau in its review concluded that 10 cross-border routes between Canada and the United States would be less competitive for Canadian consumers because Air Canada and United Continental would be subject a monopoly and nine other routes would be subject to less competition than currently is the case.

The bureau refused to approve the joint venture unless certain routes were exempted, so the consent agreement that was entered into between the parties and the Competition Bureau exempted 14 cross-border routes from this joint venture, ensuring that on those 14 cross-border routes there was sufficient competition for Canadian consumers. The bill in front of us today would allow the minister to override the bureau and to approve these joint ventures without any conditions to ensure sufficient competition.

If we take a step back from this and we ask ourselves why the government is doing this, it seems to me that one of the reasons is that it has become a bit of a political “scratch my back and I will scratch yours” game. The government pressured Air Canada to buy 75 C Series jets from Bombardier in order to help the government politically with the problem it had with Bombardier. Fearing that the company was entering a dangerous period of insolvency, the government put a lot of pressure on a private sector company to purchase these 75 C Series jets.

I suspect that in return two bills were introduced in Parliament. I think the government needs to come clean on whether or not there was a quid pro quo in this arrangement. Air Canada buys these jets and in return the government introduces two bills, Bill C-10, which lifted the requirement for Air Canada to have maintenance facilities in certain cities in this country, and Bill C-49, which has section 14 that would allow the Minister of Transport to approve joint ventures without any conditions to ensure sufficient competition.

This would be a real step back for competition law. It would weaken competition particularly when it comes to future joint ventures that airlines in this country may enter into. It would lead to higher prices for Canadian consumers and less choice. It is for that reason that I strongly believe that this section of the bill should be deleted and why I am opposed to the bill. I look forward to members' questions and comments.

Petitions October 25th, 2017

Mr. Speaker, I am presenting a petition on behalf of constituents from my riding of Wellington—Halton Hills who are calling on the Government of Canada to include regenerative agriculture in its climate change plans.

150th Anniversary of Confederation October 25th, 2017

Mr. Speaker, this year marks the 150th anniversary of Confederation. In 1867, our founders built a Constitution and a democratic system that have endured to this day.

In my riding of Wellington—Halton Hills, the Halton Hills Chamber of Commerce tourism committee marked the occasion by challenging local residents to fly our national flag. The committee set a goal of 15,000 flags. Residents responded with unrivalled enthusiasm. By July 1, there were 57,073 flags flying across Halton Hills. In recognition of this accomplishment, the Canadian Forces Snowbirds did a flypast over Halton Hills, dazzling the thousands of spectators below.

I would like to congratulate local residents as well as the Halton Hills Chamber of Commerce tourism committee for marking this occasion. As we celebrate Confederation's sesquicentennial, let us give thanks for the democratic system we have inherited, and let us resolve to build an even stronger democracy.

Business of Supply October 3rd, 2017

Madam Speaker, I rise on a point of order. I appreciate that point, but I also want to point out to the House that the rights and privileges of members in the House to speak, to ask questions, and to provide comments do not accord to the parties of the House but to individual members.

In light of the fact that there are a lot of members in the House on both sides of the aisle that needs to be taken into account rather than giving recognized political parties in the House these kinds of rights.