House of Commons photo

Crucial Fact

  • His favourite word was respect.

Last in Parliament October 2015, as Conservative MP for Kitchener—Waterloo (Ontario)

Lost his last election, in 2015, with 32% of the vote.

Statements in the House

Environmental Enforcement Act March 23rd, 2009

Mr. Speaker, I want to thank the parliamentary secretary for his great work on this file. I certainly appreciate the opportunity to work with him on the Standing Committee on the Environment and Sustainable Development. Bill C-16 seems quite heavy with respect to fines, but fines do not achieve anything if there is no political will to enforce them. I want to ask the parliamentary secretary, how does the government plan to ensure that our environmental laws will be enforced?

Liberal Party of Canada March 4th, 2009

“The day is coming”, Mr. Speaker, “the day is coming”. Those are the words of Liberal Senator George Baker when he said the day is coming for the creation of a Bloc Newfoundland and Labrador that will eventually see that great province leave Confederation.

The Liberal leader's tolerance of these statements from the most senior Liberal parliamentarian is truly unfortunate. However, it is not surprising. The leader of the Liberal Party himself once said, and I quote, “I'm not in bed with the Bloc Québécois; okay, they're at the corner of the bed”.

At the rate the leader of the Liberal Party is going, when it comes to dealing with separatists, there is not going to be much bed left.

Research and Development February 9th, 2009

Mr. Speaker, Canada has a proud history when it comes to space robotics and exploration. Since 1989 the Canadian Space Agency has generated world-class scientific research and development that has benefited this country. Investing in this sector not only allows Canada to remain at the forefront of space research, it also creates valuable economic activity.

In these difficult global economic times, could the Minister of Industry inform this House how the government is supporting Canada's role in space exploration?

The Budget January 28th, 2009

Madam Speaker, I can assure this House that we had extensive consultations in my riding of Kitchener—Waterloo and the feedback from those stakeholders who participated in those economic round tables has been very favourable with respect to seeing the results of their input directly in this economic action plan.

The Budget January 28th, 2009

Madam Speaker, this government is very committed to ensuring tax relief for lower and middle income Canadians, as I mentioned, and working families specifically with respect to EI benefits. In fact, this government through the budget will enhance EI benefits by extending benefits for five weeks and also improving retraining and training benefits under the employment insurance program.

The Budget January 28th, 2009

Madam Speaker, in this budget the government has very clearly targeted tax relief for the most vulnerable in society. Our tax cuts are directed at lower and middle income Canadians to ensure that the tax burden is eased on those important segments of our society.

The Budget January 28th, 2009

Madam Speaker, I want to assure the House that the government remains extremely committed to achieving our greenhouse gas emission goals and a reduction of greenhouse gases by 20% by 2020. We have reaffirmed that commitment in this budget. We have also clearly indicated that there will be funding for the research of green technologies and further support for carbon capture storage to ensure that our greenhouse gas emissions are reduced.

The Budget January 28th, 2009

Madam Speaker, I would like to start by indicating that I will be splitting my time with the hon. member for Egmont.

It is indeed an honour for me to rise today to deliver my maiden speech in this distinguished chamber. I would like to take this opportunity to thank my wife Annette and our two daughters, Tamara and Alexandra, as well as my parents and our extended family for their love and support.

I also want to recognize and thank the Hon. Walter McLean, the member of Parliament for my riding from 1979 to 1993, for his advice, encouragement and mentorship.

I am especially grateful to the constituents of Kitchener—Waterloo who have given me their vote of confidence. It is an honour to be their representative and I will work hard to be a strong voice for them here in this chamber.

It is my privilege to speak today to budget 2009, Canada's economic action plan. I would like to begin by commending the Minister of Finance for his wide-ranging consultation process. This has been one of the most comprehensive and inclusive pre-budget consultations in Canadian history, with direct input from literally hundreds of organizations and thousands of Canadians.

For example, in my own riding of Kitchener—Waterloo I joined with the hon. members from both Kitchener—Conestoga and Kitchener Centre to hold round table discussions with community leaders. This provided an opportunity for direct local input. We produced a report that was submitted to the Minister of Finance and I am pleased to see that several of our recommendations are reflected in our action plan.

One thing that became clear to me during our consultations was that local businesses were worried about the availability of financing. A businessman who runs a small parts company in my riding told me that he was having trouble meeting his payroll and other expenses. His business was surviving but his receivables were up and getting through the week was a challenge.

Members of the House can never forget that when we talk about programs to improve financing it means help for working Canadians to get them through a difficult time. Our economic action plan addresses this issue by creating the new business credit availability program to improve access to financing for Canadian businesses during this period of economic uncertainty. Additional loans and other forms of credit support will be made available to help businesses with viable business models whose access to financing would otherwise be restricted.

The Waterloo area is the recognized centre of high tech business innovation in Canada and my riding has benefited greatly from visionary companies like Research in Motion. Many of us here in the House have our own BlackBerry devices and we know that they are from Waterloo. However, there are countless other innovations that never see the light of day because of a lack of focus on the commercialization of research. To create jobs and keep our research in Canada we must support small businesses that develop these new ideas and bring them to the marketplace.

That is why I am pleased to see that our action plan is allocating $200 million over two years to the National Research Council's industrial research assistance program to enable it to temporarily expand its initiatives for small and medium size businesses.

The entrepreneurial spirit is alive and well in Kitchener—Waterloo. By supporting small and medium size enterprises we will foster a community of innovative businesses that will sustain and grow the economy both locally and nationally.

The region of southern Ontario benefits from a number of economic advantages including high education levels, large and prosperous urban centres and a close proximity to the United States marketplace.

However, the weakening U.S. and global economies have resulted in plant closures and slower economic growth that are creating hardships for workers and families in southern Ontario. To revitalize the economy in southern Ontario, our economic action plan will provide more than $1 billion over five years for a new southern Ontario development agency. This new development agency will support community development, innovation and economic diversification with contributions to communities, businesses and non-profit organizations. It will help workers, communities and businesses in southern Ontario position themselves to take advantage of opportunities as economic growth recovers in Canada and around the world.

In addition to this, we are investing in federal public infrastructure. We will increase funding to VIA Rail Canada by $407 million to support improvements to passenger rail services. The addition of a third railway track at key locations between Montreal and Toronto will allow more express trains and cut travel times by 30 minutes.

Our action plan is designed to stimulate the economy and put people back to work. But at the same time, we must remember that the effects of the global recession are being felt by many Canadian workers and their families. Canada's economic action plan is taking action to help. We will extend EI benefits and provide new opportunities to enhance skills upgrading and training. We are also investing in social housing that provides many Canadians with quality housing at affordable rates.

The mayor of Waterloo, Brenda Halloran, spoke to our budget round table about the social housing needs in our city. Many existing units are aging and require significant repair and upgrading to meet modern energy efficiency and accessibility standards. Our economic action plan will address her concerns by providing $1 billion over the next two years to improve the quality and energy efficiency of up to 200,000 social housing units for Canadians who need it most.

These investments will also provide employment for construction workers who are concerned about the slowdown in the housing market. At the same time, Canadians are being encouraged to be more energy efficient. During the consultation process, one of my constituents sent me a detailed proposal that called for an expansion of our eco-energy retrofit program. I am certain that he will be pleased to see that our plan provides an additional $300 million over two years to the eco-energy retrofit program to support an estimated 200,000 additional home retrofits.

To further stimulate economic growth and encourage Canadians to invest in improvements in their homes, our plan also proposes to introduce a temporary home renovation tax credit. We will provide meaningful tax relief to help Canadian homeowners make improvements to their property while promoting broadbased economic activity and again help preserve jobs in the construction and materials sectors.

Canada's economic action plan will provide the stimulus our country needs to get the economy back on track and well positioned for future growth. We want to put people back to work and to create new jobs. By positioning ourselves as world leaders in innovation and technology, we are investing in long-term sustainable job growth.

One of the things that I heard repeatedly from businesses in Kitchener—Waterloo was that we must continue to invest in the knowledge sector. As Canada's premier high tech community, my riding depends on this sector to provide the good quality jobs that inject stimulus into the local economy. So I am pleased to see that the Minister of Finance responded by announcing that the Institute for Quantum Computing will be receiving $50 million to support the construction and establishment of a new world class research facility that will contribute to achieving the goals of the government's science and technology strategy.

Through the prudence and forward-thinking decisions made on our economic action plan, I am confident that we will emerge from this recession with a more modern and greener infrastructure, a more skilled labour force, lower taxes and a more competitive economy.

Laurier Outstanding Business Leader Award January 28th, 2009

Mr. Speaker, last week Wilfrid Laurier University presented its annual Outstanding Business Leader Award. This year's recipient is Mr. Jim Balsillie, a prominent community leader in my riding of Kitchener--Waterloo.

Mr. Balsillie is perhaps best known as the co-chief executive officer of Research in Motion, the company that produces the famous Blackberry.

In addition to his well-known business achievements, Mr. Balsillie has founded both the Centre for International Governance Innovation and the new Balsillie School of International Affairs.

His significant investment in these institutions establishes Waterloo as a centre of innovative thinking in the study of international relations, promotes our understanding of global issues and helps Canadians define our important role in the world.

I trust that all members of the House will join me in congratulating Mr. Balsillie on this prestigious award.

Justice November 25th, 2008

Mr. Speaker, on my first occasion to speak in the House, I would like to thank the people of Kitchener--Waterloo for electing me to represent them. It is an honour and a privilege.

It was recently reported that 1.7 million Canadians have been victims of identity theft. Canada's Privacy Commissioner estimates that the global cybercrime industry generates $105 billion annually, much of it through the theft and sale of personal information.

What is the government doing to address what police consider to be the fastest growing crime in North America?