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Crucial Fact

  • Her favourite word was certainly.

Last in Parliament October 2015, as Conservative MP for Sarnia—Lambton (Ontario)

Won her last election, in 2011, with 53% of the vote.

Statements in the House

Committees of the House September 29th, 2014

Mr. Speaker, we heard over and over again that the Conflict of Interest Act is working well overall. Therefore, the committee's recommendations in the report generally propose targeted improvements to the act rather than wholesale restructuring. We did take into account very significantly the fact that it is working well now.

Committees of the House September 29th, 2014

Mr. Speaker, the hon. member and I do sit together on committee.

As a bit of history, we know that the Conflict of Interest Act was adopted as part of the Federal Accountability Act, in 2006. It came into force in 2007. It sets out statutory conflict of interest and post-employment rules for public office holders. These office holders include ministers, ministers of state, parliamentary secretaries, ministerial staff and advisers, and almost all positions appointed by the Governor in Council.

It also defines a category of reporting public office holders, and those reporting public office holders have additional and more stringent rules that apply to them. That category includes ministers, ministers of state, parliamentary secretaries, ministerial advisers, full-time ministerial staff, and full-time Governor in Council appointees.

We know that the Conflict of Interest Act is administered by the Conflict of Interest and Ethics Commissioner. The committee did make recommendations. It reflected on the assessment we heard many times that the Conflict of Interest Act is working well overall. The committee's recommendations generally proposed targeted improvements to the act rather than wholesale restructuring or repurposing. In particular, the recommendations sought to clarify ambiguous terms and concepts. Some of those are on preferential treatment, receipt of gifts, and so on.

Did the report include dissenting opinions? Yes, it did, as every report we have done at that committee basically does. There were dissenting opinions from the New Democratic Party and the Liberal Party of Canada. Those reports were attached to the initial report. In both of those cases, the dissenting opinions expressed the view that a wider set of amendments should have been recommended.

Committees of the House September 29th, 2014

Mr. Speaker, I will be sharing my time with the hon. member for Edmonton Centre.

I am pleased to congratulate the Standing Committee on Access to Information, Privacy and Ethics for its report on the statutory review of the Conflict of Interest Act. The Conflict of Interest Act was brought in as part of the Federal Accountability Act in 2007. With the tabling of this report, the standing committee has fulfilled the legal requirement that the act be reviewed within five years of its coming into effect.

This was a thorough examination and I think we have heard that from previous speakers. The review took place over several months, between January and June of 2013. In the process, the committee heard evidence from stakeholders, including public servants, subject matter experts, university professors, interest groups and the Commissioner of Lobbying. It also heard from the Conflict of Interest and Ethics Commissioner who spoke at the start and at the very end of the review.

The committee's work represents a diligent and comprehensive effort to fine-tune the Conflict of Interest Act in this country and the government thanks the committee for undertaking it. We are pleased with the result. We welcome and support the 16 recommendations outlined in the report. I would like to thank the committee for a job well done. In fact, I think all parliamentarians should be proud of both the actual work that went into the review and its broader significance for our democratic institutions.

The committee's review and the resulting report honour both Canadian values and Canadian democracy. Across our land, it is Canadians' cherished belief in fairness, merit and equality that has made us who we are today and what we stand for in the world.

This report's recommendations are squarely in line with one of the abiding principles of Canadian democracy: the idea that those in positions of power must be accountable to the people they serve. Ultimately, that is what the review of this act and the act itself are all about: increasing the accountability and transparency of those who hold public office. Accountability is the bedrock value of democratic and good government, and it has been a pillar of our democracy since Canada achieved responsible government over a century and a half ago.

The report is also in line with our government's approach to accountability and to protecting Canadians' hard-earned tax dollars. We came into office in 2006 on the promise of protecting taxpayers' money and Canadian democracy. We understood that Canada's public institutions need to be accountable and transparent because that is what would continue to make us a great nation in the future.

That is why we implemented the Federal Accountability Act and its companion action plan in 2006. When this legislation received royal assent on December 12, 2006, one of the first things we did was move to reduce the influence of money in elections. We introduced a law banning contributions to political parties by corporations, unions and organizations and lowering the limit on individuals' political contributions.

The Federal Accountability Act also designated deputy ministers as accounting officers who are accountable before Parliament for the management of their departments.

We also cleaned up the procurement of government contracts by enshrining in law a commitment to fairness, transparency and openness in the procurement process. We appointed an independent procurement ombudsman to provide additional oversight of the procurement process.

We also implemented measures to give Canadians broader and better access to more information from public organizations than ever before.

Specifically, we extended the Access to Information Act to cover the Canadian Wheat Board, five foundations and five agents of Parliament, and most crown corporations and their wholly owned subsidiaries.

We acted to strengthen ethical conduct in government. We conducted open and extensive consultations with lobbyists and Canadians about a new Lobbying Act to ensure lobbying and government advocacy was done fairly and openly.

The result, as we know, was stricter rules for lobbying activity and enhanced powers to investigate and enforce them, and there were serious penalities for breaking the rules. The penalties for lobbyists found guilty of breaching the requirements of the Lobbying Act were increased to a maximum of $200,000 or imprisonment for a term not exceeding two years, or both.

We also brought into force the Public Servants Disclosure Protection Act. This act created an environment in which public service employees, and all Canadians, could honestly and openly report government wrongdoing without fear of reprisal.

We also created an independent Public Servants Disclosure Protection Tribunal and the position of an independent Public Sector Integrity Commissioner. We brought in the Conflict of Interest Act and named a Conflict of Interest and Ethics Commissioner. By doing so, we have ensured that Canadians have the opportunity to voice their concerns about unethical behaviour in government and to hold violators accountable.

That is not all. To give these measures teeth, we introduced new criminal penalties and sanctions for anyone committing fraud against the crown. This offence carries a maximum penalty of five years' imprisonment for fraud of $5,000 or less, and a maximum penalty of 14 years for fraud over $5,000.

These are just a few of the steps we have taken to meet Canadians' needs for stronger and more accountable and transparent public institutions.

The measures we took at that time reflected the will of Canadians to do the right thing, and I see the same spirit in the work of the standing committee. The standing committee's report is consistent with our focus on accountability, transparency, and protecting taxpayer dollars. It reflects Canadians' sense of honesty and hard work. That is why we welcome and support its recommendations and will consider how best to implement these improvement, in a manner that would further the purposes of the Conflict of Interest Act. Doing so would help us build on the many achievements of the Federal Accountability Act, and it would help to ensure that our public institutions continue to reflect Canadian values and common sense.

Petitions September 29th, 2014

Mr. Speaker, I am pleased to present this petition, on behalf of my ratepayers, requesting that Parliament require Internet service providers to provide a mandatory opt-in Internet pornography filter as a tool parents can use to protect their children from Internet pornography.

International Trade September 23rd, 2014

Mr. Speaker, our Conservative government is committed to protecting and strengthening the long term financial security of hard-working Canadians. Yesterday, we witnessed the Minister of International Trade, along with his Korean counterpart, sign the Canada-Korea free trade agreement. This agreement, Canada's first in Asia, will create thousands of jobs for Canadians.

Could the Minister of International Trade please inform the House about the next steps to implement this agreement?

Business of Supply September 23rd, 2014

Mr. Speaker, we know there have been many supportive quotes that have been stated in regard to the small business job credit. The CFIB had a couple of very supportive quotes when it was introduced.

Mr. Kelly said, “It is a big, big deal for small business. It is good news for people looking for jobs”.

Monique Moreau, the director of National Affairs for CFIB, said, “Small businesses in Canada should be thrilled with this announcement because they told us time and time again that payroll taxes like EI are the biggest disincentive to hiring, so any relief the government can provide will encourage them to be hiring more Canadians”.

It is not only the CFIB that has been making comments in support of it.

Jay Myers, president of the Canadian Manufacturers & Exporters, said:

The cost of labour is one of the top five challenges hurting Canadian companies...The Small Business Job Credit will help a powerhouse — the thousands of small businesses — of the Canadian economy become more competitive.

I could not agree more. We know that small businesses are the powerhouse of our country. As a government, we will continue to do everything we can to make them successful.

Business of Supply September 23rd, 2014

Mr. Speaker, I certainly enjoy working with my colleague as well. I am pleased she was able to ask some questions. Perhaps she will participate in this debate later on.

That is an interesting question. We have heard a lot of comments regarding that very question this morning. We heard how the EI fund was raided and was used for pet projects. We heard how it was taken and not available when it was needed by the participants of that fund. We know that those are well-documented facts.

I cannot answer how the Liberals costed their motion before us today. I have heard some different responses this morning. Perhaps that part of the discussion will come out as we continue this debate in the House today. However, I know that on this side of the House we feel it takes a suite of programs to address some of the issues that Canadians feel today. That is why we have put in place what we have and why we will continue proudly with the small business job credit.

Business of Supply September 23rd, 2014

Mr. Speaker, first of all, I would like to thank the member for Newmarket—Aurora for sharing her time with me. Also, since this is my first time speaking this fall session, I would like to welcome back all of my colleagues and wish them the very best as we continue serving Canadians in this very august chamber.

As hon. members can see from the debate today, our government clearly recognizes the vital role that small businesses play in spurring economic growth and creating jobs for hard-working Canadians. That is why we have consistently cut taxes and reduced red tape for small businesses.

It is under this government that Canadian businesses have seen savings of more than $60 billion since 2008. In 2012, we lowered corporate taxes from 22% to 15%, leaving more money in the pockets of small businesses to help them grow and thrive. We also extended the temporary accelerated capital cost allowance for manufacturing and processing machinery and equipment through 2015, which has enabled companies in this industry to plan and invest for the future.

Both of these actions are part of our government's commitment to foster job creation, a commitment underpinned by a firm belief in keeping taxes low for Canadian businesses. Unfortunately for Canadians, both of these actions were also voted against by the same opposition that brought today's motion forward.

This government's commitment to tax relief has delivered real benefits to our country. Canada now has the lowest overall tax rate on new business investment in the G7. Moreover, Bloomberg recently ranked Canada as the second-best place in the world to grow and start a business. That is a record we can and should be proud of.

Unlike the reckless calls by the opposition to drastically hike taxes on businesses to pay for their risky spending plans, our government will remain committed to helping businesses in Canada succeed. That is why we are building on our success by introducing the new small business job credit. The credit is expected to significantly help over 780,000 small businesses in 2015, which is more than the number of businesses that benefited from the 2013 hiring credit.

In addition, while the amount of the EI hiring credit was capped at $1,000, there is no maximum capping for the small business job credit. In fact, small businesses could receive significantly more tax relief under the job credit than under the EI hiring credit. All in all, the small business job credit is expected to save small businesses more than $550 million and lead to the creation of several thousand jobs.

In contrast, the opposition have supported a 45-day work year that would drastically increase premiums by 35% at a cost of $4 billion directly out of the pockets of Canadian employees and employers. Instead of providing small businesses with the tax relief they need to spur job creation, this burden would cause needless harm to important job creators in Canada.

Our government is constantly looking for ways to help create jobs and better connect Canadians with those available jobs. Indeed, many employers continue to identify the shortage of skilled labour as an impediment to growth. Recently, the Canadian Chamber of Commerce listed skills shortages as the number one barrier to Canada's competitiveness. I know first-hand about challenges like this as many skilled labourers from my own riding of Sarnia—Lambton are looking outside of my community for work right now, which represents a drain of skilled labour from an area that drastically needs it.

Faced with this challenge, our government has taken concrete action to support the development of a skilled, mobile and productive workforce. Last year alone, our government transferred $2.7 billion to the provinces and territories to support labour market programming.

Moreover, we have also remained committed to fostering internship opportunities for Canada's youth. In economic action plan 2014, we invested $40 million towards supporting up to 3,000 internships across the country in high-demand fields. In addition, we are reallocating $15 million annually within the youth employment strategy to support up to 1,000 full-time internships for recent post-secondary graduates in small and medium-sized enterprises.

All the while, we are continually improving our strategy to better align it with the evolving realities of the job market and to ensure federal investments in youth employment provide young Canadians with real-life work experience in high-demand fields such as science, technology, engineering, mathematics and the skilled trades.

At the other end of the spectrum, our government also recognizes that many older Canadians want to remain active participants in the workforce. That is why we have taken many steps over the years to support the labour market participation of older Canadians, including the budget 2011 extension of the targeted initiative for older workers and the budget 2012 expansion of third-quarter project, an initiative that has helped more than 1,200 experienced workers who are over 50 find a job that matches their skills.

Going forward, our government will renew the targeted initiative for the older workers program for a three-year period, representing a federal investment of $75 million.

These are all important measures, measures which have helped to ensure that Canada has had the best record of job creation in the G7 since our government came to office.

The real game changer in our efforts to connect Canadians with available jobs has to be the introduction of the Canada job grant. By ensuring that federal funding responds to the hiring needs of employers and by giving them the opportunity to participate meaningfully as partners in skills training, this initiative is transforming skills training in Canada.

The Canada job grant could provide up to $15,000 to individuals for training costs, including tuition and training materials, helping them to gain the skills they need to succeed. Once implemented, this measure will offer real support to Canadians toward improved employment and earning prospects.

While our government remains focused on creating jobs, we hear the same tired strategies from the opposition, policies that form a high-tax, high-spending agenda that would seriously threaten job creation and set hard-working families back a decade to a time when the government thought surplus belonged in its pocket and not the families.

Our government is clear in its priorities. We will cut taxes to allow businesses to thrive and we will make targeted investments to help connect unemployed Canadians with available jobs.

These are just some of the central initiatives that continue to drive our government's jobs and growth agenda. I am proud of our record and would like to thank the hon. members for providing the opportunity to discuss it here today.

By helping Canadians acquire the skills that will get them hired or help them get better jobs, we are directly investing in our country's greatest asset, our people. The return on this investment is not just helping individuals, but it is also supporting their families, their communities and the country as a whole.

Given these measures and the ones listed by my colleagues, I would strongly encourage members to reject today's unilateral and ill-considered motion brought forward by the opposition. I would encourage all members to support our government's comprehensive plan to create jobs, spur economic growth and promote long-term prosperity for all Canadians.

Lambton County June 10th, 2014

Mr. Speaker, as the member of Parliament for Sarnia—Lambton, I would like to highlight the importance of the agriculture industry across Lambton County. With Lambton County's first ever Breakfast on the Farm event recently selling out, with over 500 tickets sold in a matter of days, we will see first-hand how important this sector is on June 14.

With almost 600,000 acres of prime farm land, farmers across my riding are pleased to see their crops planted and already growing, and they are eager to showcase their products. Their efforts will lead to huge yields of soybeans, wheat, sugar beets, corn, and other fruits and vegetables too numerous to name here today.

Our farmers do not just feed cities, either. They provide important source materials for a booming bio-based chemical industry that is rapidly growing in Canada.

The next time members enjoy food from Ontario, there is a good chance that the product on their plate came from Sarnia—Lambton. They should stop and think about that, and join me in wishing our farmers and their families the best for the current season and beyond.

Business of Supply June 10th, 2014

Mr. Speaker, my colleague did a wonderful job outlining the measures that this government has taken, and I commend him for that. I also commend him for the great work he does in the House to further the work of the government.

One of the things I would like him talk a little more about is the fact that Canada is universally known for creating competitiveness to encourage both foreign and domestic investment. Could the member tell me what a few examples are of the measurements that our government has implemented since we took office in 2006 and how our taxes stack up against other G7 nations?