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Crucial Fact

  • His favourite word was farmers.

Last in Parliament October 2015, as Conservative MP for Glengarry—Prescott—Russell (Ontario)

Lost his last election, in 2019, with 36% of the vote.

Statements in the House

Budget Implementation Act, 2006, No. 2 October 26th, 2006

Mr. Speaker, I rise on a point of order. As you know, earlier this morning I had the pleasure of addressing Bill C-28 in the House. I have reviewed the bleues and I noted that as I was speaking to Bill C-28 I mentioned that our tax initiatives regarding seniors would remove 85,000 pensioners from the tax rolls.

I was then asked a question by the hon. member for Yukon and inadvertently responded that it would remove 850,000 pensioners from the tax rolls. I would like to correct the record as it pertains to my response in that our tax measures for seniors and pensioners will remove 85,000 pensioners from the tax roll.

Budget Implementation Act, 2006, No. 2 October 26th, 2006

Mr. Speaker, there are many different ways to assist seniors and we have taken a very dramatic step in assisting our seniors by doubling the amount of pension income that is non-taxable, that is doubling it from $1,000 to $2,000. We have also taken other measures, for example, lowering the GST, so when they spend money they are actually saving on the GST.

We are helping seniors on other matters. such as health care. One of our priorities is ensuring that health care is more readily accessible to our seniors.

I would like to talk about the surplus. We put $13.2 billion down on the debt, thereby saving Canadians interest charges of $650 million per year. The $650 million per year will be reinvested for the benefit of Canadians. We have other strategies that we will be presenting in the future to further assist our seniors.

I would like to underline that Bill C-28 takes direct action to benefit seniors, especially those on fixed pension incomes.

Budget Implementation Act, 2006, No. 2 October 26th, 2006

Exactly so. It is history. It is on the record. I thank the member again for his support.

As I mentioned, many of our seniors are on pension incomes. Our pension income action will actually benefit 2.7 million pensioners and it will remove 850,000 people from the tax rolls. It is a very strong measure in favour of our seniors.

Budget Implementation Act, 2006, No. 2 October 26th, 2006

Mr. Speaker, in answer to the first comment the hon. member made, the records show that there was no opposition regarding our budget. I thank the hon. member for his party's support regarding it. This government pays attention--

Budget Implementation Act, 2006, No. 2 October 26th, 2006

Mr. Speaker, I would like to split my time with my colleague from Edmonton Centre.

I am very pleased to have this opportunity to rise and speak on behalf of Bill C-28, the budget implementation act, which, as the title indicates, is designed to implement certain measures outlined in our budget 2006.

On January 23, Canadians voted for change: a change in government, a change in fiscal accountability, and a change in fiscal management. These are changes to the benefit of all Canadians.

With that change came the direct support for our new government's five priorities. These priorities were outlined in the Speech from the Throne as well as in budget 2006, delivered by the finance minister on May 2.

On June 22, Bill C-13, the first budget implementation act, was given royal assent and many of our fiscal promises were fulfilled. These measures included reducing the GST from 7% to 6% and introducing a $1,200 per year universal child care benefit for parents of children under the age of six.

We introduced other tax cuts as well, tax cuts that Canadians have not seen before. Our first budget cut taxes by an incredible $20 billion over two years. Yes, $20 billion over two years. Our budget offered more in tax cuts than the four previous Liberal budgets combined.

Canadians are very happy with our budget, and I am happy to say that not one of the opposition parties opposed our budget when it came to a final vote, not one. They grumbled at first, but then they studied our budget and saw the great benefit of our government's budget to Canadians. In the end, they did not oppose it, so our budget has the support of Canadians and of the opposition.

I am pleased to be here today supporting the second budget implementation act, Bill C-28. We want to keep rolling out the tax cuts for Canadians and, in doing so, show Canadians that when we make a promise, we keep it.

The action taken with Bill C-28 will cut taxes for pensioners, families, students, users of public transit, and each and every worker in Canada. These measures will make a real difference to Canadians by focusing on their priorities, priorities like lowering taxes for working families, assisting small and medium sized businesses achieve real growth, and helping tradespeople, students, families and seniors.

In short, Bill C-28 delivers on our budget and delivers real tax relief for Canadians. This government recognizes that Canadians pay too much tax. As a colleague of mine previously reported, according to the Fraser Institute, while the average family's income has gone up 1,100% since 1961, its taxes have shot up a whopping 1,600%, outstripping the growth in income.

As I mentioned, this is a new government with a new respect for our fellow Canadians. We need only look at the measures in Bill C-28 to see exactly how we are putting more money back into the pockets of hard-working taxpayers.

Working Canadians are the foundation of Canada's economic growth. However, choosing to work also means additional costs, costs for everything from uniforms and safety gear to computers and various supplies. For some, particularly low income Canadians, these additional costs can impose a barrier to joining the workforce. For others, work related employment expenses are another factor that limits the rewards of their hard work.

In recognition of this, budget 2006 introduced the Canada employment credit, a new employment expense tax credit for employees' work expenses. A credit on employment income of up to $500 will be provided effective July 1, 2006. The amount of employment income eligible for credit will rise to $1,000 effective January 1, 2007.

Budget 2006 also recognizes that creating an environment for more and better jobs and for strong economic growth depends on having a competitive tax system. The engines of our economy, our wealth creators, are businesses, both small and large, and they should not have to face the heavy burden of overtaxation. The businesses that feel this burden most are small and medium sized businesses. They create jobs and are the backbone of our country's economy.

In my riding of Glengarry—Prescott—Russell, small and medium sized businesses are essential. They are the economic backbone of my riding: farms, farm equipment retailers, manufacturing, industry, pharmacies, grocers, et cetera. Without their success, ridings like mine would struggle. Many of us are employed by them. Small to medium sized business is responsible for the majority of all new jobs created in Canada. Whether we live in an urban riding or a rural riding, all of us turn to small businesses for services, and our future economic growth will depend a great deal on their success.

An important way that Canada's federal income tax system supports the growth of small businesses is through a lower tax rate on the first $300,000 of qualifying income earned by a Canadian-controlled corporation. This helps these small businesses retain more of their earnings for reinvestment and expansion, thereby helping to create jobs and promote economic growth in Canada.

With the passing of Bill C-28, and effective January 1, 2007, the threshold for small businesses will be increased from $300,000 to $400,000. In concert, the 12% rate for eligible small business income will be reduced to 11.5% in 2008 and then down to 11% in 2009. It is estimated that these changes will reduce government taxation on these businesses by $10 million in 2006-07 and $80 million in 2007-08.

There is more.

Hon. members from all ridings know that Canada is facing a serious shortage of tradespeople: carpenters, plumbers, electricians, cooks and others. Our government is taking action to encourage apprenticeships and to support apprentices in their training.

Specifically, we will help companies hire apprentices with a new apprenticeship job creation tax of up to $2,000 per apprentice. We will create a new apprenticeship incentive grant of $1,000 per year for the first two years of a red seal apprenticeship program and other programs.

Through these actions, our Conservative government will be investing more than $500 million over the next two years, which will help approximately 100,000 apprentices.

We will also help apprentices and tradespeople with the heavy burden of buying the tools they need to do their jobs. Our government will invest $155 million over the next two years for a cost of tools deduction, which will help approximately 700,000 tradespeople in Canada.

In regard to our seniors, members will no doubt agree that some seniors struggle to live on a small fixed income. As I travel throughout my riding, I often hear seniors ask, “Why does the government not do something to help seniors, those of us on a fixed income?” I am always pleased to state that this is exactly what we are doing. We are providing real tax relief to seniors.

The most important measure involves a doubling to $2,000 from $1,000 of the amount on which the pension income credit is calculated. A deduction for the first $1,000 was introduced in 1975, but since its introduction the amount has remained unchanged. That is unbelievable.

It took our new Conservative government to do something for our seniors to rectify this problem. We recognize and understand the difficulty faced by seniors on fixed pension incomes. To provide greater tax assistance to those who have saved for their retirement, budget 2006 increased to $2,000 the maximum amount of eligible pension income that can be claimed under the pension income credit, effective for 2006 and subsequent taxation years.

The measure will benefit nearly 2.7 million taxpayers receiving eligible pension income, providing up to $155 per pensioner, but not only that, it will remove approximately 85,000 pensioners from the tax rolls. This is real action to the benefit of our seniors.

In regard to Canadian families, they are the very foundation of our society and they play a vital role in the development of our communities. This is why it is important that we reduce their tax burden as much as possible.

One of the ways we are doing this is with the children's fitness tax credit. The health and fitness of our children is very important. As the government, we want to promote physical fitness among children and we want to do it by supporting families directly.

We take families seriously and we take physical fitness seriously. Budget 2006 provides a children's fitness tax credit effective January 1, 2007. The credit will be provided on up to $500 of eligible fees for programs of physical activity for each child under the age of 16.

I am the father of five children. They are involved in fitness activities such as soccer, basketball and highland and Celtic dance. I am pleased to state that finally we have a government that listens to families, that works together with families and that helps families with their real expenses. This is a great tax credit for families. It encourages and supports physical fitness and it is my sincere hope that the opposition parties will support it.

Lastly, I would like to highlight what we are doing for students. We believe that our post-secondary students need to be supported in their hard work in pursuit of academic excellence. Currently, the first $3,000 in scholarship, fellowship and bursary income received by a post-secondary student is not taxed, but any amounts above $3,000 are taxed. Students do not need this. They do not need to be paying tax on scholarships, fellowships and bursaries. They need to use that money toward their education.

I am very pleased to highlight that our new government understands the financial challenges that post-secondary students face and that we are on their side. We want them to succeed in their studies by alleviating financial pressures, which is why Bill C-28 proposes a complete exemption for scholarship income received by students.

Budget 2006--

Budget Implementation Act, 2006, No. 2 October 25th, 2006

How does he comment?

Budget Implementation Act, 2006, No. 2 October 25th, 2006

Mr. Speaker, I listened with great interest to my colleague's comments and I would like to address his comment on the GST visitors' rebate. I would remind the member that our new government has promised to be fiscally prudent with Canadian taxpayer money and Canadians elected this government to be good fiscal managers, which is exactly what we are doing.

The fact is that on the GST visitors' rebate, more than 97% of the 35 million foreign visitors to Canada do not collect the rebate. That is almost 34 million out of 35 million tourists who come to Canada every year do not use this rebate.

This was said by the Premier of Nova Scotia, Rodney MacDonald:

I don’t think that visitors make their decision based on that rebate. They come to Nova Scotia for the scenery, the people, the experience of what Nova Scotia’s all about.

This was said by the Nova Scotia tourism minister:

Somebody coming from New York, are they coming to Halifax or are they going to stop their plan because they are not going to be getting a rebate on their GST? I don’t think so.

Don Drummond, chief economist at the TD Bank Financial Group, said:

--evidence mounts that certain programs aren't very effective....A good example is the rebate program for tourists who pay the GST. Despite considerable expenditures to make tourists aware they can claim the rebate, fewer than 3 per cent do so. The government's decision to scrap the program will save $78-million.

This last comment was said by a small businessman:

I don't think anyone won't come here because of it. It's just a pleasant surprise and they usually spend the money here.

We have a premier, a tourism minister, a chief economist at the TD Bank Financial Group and a business owner all saying that scrapping the GST visitors' rebate will not harm tourism and it is a fiscally responsible move. How do you comment on that?

Health October 25th, 2006

Mr. Speaker, cardiovascular disease is the leading cause of death in our country, resulting in the loss of over 75,000 lives per year. With the previous government, there was never a pan-Canadian strategy to study and address this extremely important issue. Can the Minister of Health update the House on our government's plan on cardiovascular disease?

Commissioner of Official Languages October 19th, 2006

Mr. Speaker, I am pleased to draw attention to the appointment of the new Commissioner of Official Languages, Mr. Graham Fraser. In his career in the journalistic field over the past 40 years, Mr. Fraser has shown great sensitivity to and interest in this country's linguistic duality.

His new duties will entail, among other things, protecting the linguistic rights of all Canadians and promoting equality of status and use of English and French.

The Minister of International Cooperation and Minister for la Francophonie and Official Languages is really looking forward to working with Mr. Fraser, together with all our colleagues, on implementing the Official Languages Act and enhancing the vitality of official language minority communities.

There is no doubt that Mr. Fraser is the right person for this important and meaningful position, and that Canada will benefit from his contributions.

My best wishes to Mr. Fraser for his term of office.

Criminal Code October 2nd, 2006

Mr. Speaker, Bill C-19 in no way precludes the positive steps of education and advertising. In fact, they are key supplements to what we are trying to accomplish here in the House. We are trying to put in place a law that will make street racing illegal and that will carry fairly serious penalties for those who engage in it, not just once but several times, because if they are repeat offenders then there is definitely a problem.

In my mind, there is no sense having the law if we are not going to allow Canadians to know there is such a law. That ties into advertising, into messaging and into communicating with the Canadian public, especially with our youth, about what it is we are trying to accomplish and why we are trying to accomplish it.

This is a legal type of approach but it is not the only approach and I do not think we have ever said that it is. We want to tie it in to what the hon. member is suggesting. We want to tie it into a communications strategy. We want to explain the bill, explain why we have the bill in place, explain the consequences for street racing, not just legally but to the individual should he or she happen to seriously injure or kill someone, and explain the impact on the victims.