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Crucial Fact

  • His favourite word was tax.

Last in Parliament October 2019, as Independent MP for Brampton East (Ontario)

Won his last election, in 2015, with 52% of the vote.

Statements in the House

Business of Supply October 23rd, 2017

Mr. Speaker, I thank my hon. colleague for his very spirited question.

The question that I asked of the hon. Minister of National Revenue on September 28 was about tax evasion and tax avoidance and what our government has done to ensure that all Canadians pay their fair share of taxes. Our government is investing money back into the Canada Revenue Agency after 10 years of substantial cuts to that agency, thereby allowing it to go after tax cheats in this country and ensuring that people are not putting their assets offshore so they do not have to pay taxes in Canada.

It is always difficult for me to hear the NDP talk about the middle class and small businesses, because when those members had the opportunity to help the middle class and to help Canadian children, they voted against a middle-income tax cut and the Canada child benefit. The latter has been deemed the number one social services program in the last decade, and has lifted 300,000 children out of poverty. The NDP gets up in the House time and time again and yet when that party has an opportunity, it votes no.

Business of Supply October 23rd, 2017

Mr. Speaker, I thank the member for bringing that up as well. He is a good friend of mine. I would like to thank you, Mr. Speaker, for your firm but fair decision.

The next step in our plan was to lower the small business tax rate from 11% when we came into office in 2015 to 10% in 2018, and then to 9% in 2019, while moving forward on proposals to fix a tax system that is inherently unfair to the middle class. The Prime Minister along with the Finance Minister made this intention clear last week during an announcement in Markham, and I certainly support it. To support this change, our government is also taking additional steps to ensure that Canadian-controlled private corporation status is not used by high-income earners to reduce their personal income tax obligations rather than supporting small businesses and job creation.

After announcing our intention to move forward with these proposed changes in budget 2017, the Minister of Finance launched a consultation to hear from Canadians on how to fix the system so that it works for the middle class. As a result of the feedback that we have heard from small business owners, we will not be moving forward with measures relating to the conversion of income into capital gains.

During the consultation period, we heard from business owners, including farmers and fishermen, that the measures could result in several unintended consequences, such as in respect to taxation upon death and potential challenges with intergenerational transfers of businesses. Our government will work with family businesses, including farming and fishing businesses, to make it more efficient and less difficult for them to hand down their businesses to the next generation.

In the short term, our government intends to simplify the proposal to limit the ability of owners of private corporations to lower their personal income taxes by sprinkling income to family members. The vast majority of private corporations will not be impacted by the proposed income-sprinkling measures. Only an estimated 50,000 family owned private corporations sprinkle income, which represents only a fraction, 3%, of Canadian-controlled private corporations. In all cases, our changes will support small businesses, the middle class, and their contributions to the economy. We know that small businesses are the backbone of our economy and will do everything to help them grow.

Colleagues, in this day and age in which there is so much misinformation, it is crucial that we set the record straight and stick to the facts, which is what we are trying to do here today. From the very beginning, we have been perfectly clear about our intentions and our commitment to make sure that as our economy grows, the benefits go to the middle class and those working hard to join it, and not just to those who have already been successful.

Business of Supply October 23rd, 2017

Mr. Speaker, even the opposition members agree that our plan is working, with their enthusiasm in hearing me speak in this House.

We are now the fastest-growing economy in the G7 by a wide margin. In the second quarter of this year, the economy grew by an impressive, strong 4.5%. Over the last four quarters, our economy has had the fastest growth rate since early 2006. In the two years since we came to office, 400,000 jobs have been created. In fact, in the last 12 months, nearly 90% of the jobs created were full-time jobs.

These pieces of great news are no accident, and the hon. members know that well. We laid the foundation for this economic growth the moment we took office. The first thing we did when we were elected in 2015 was raise taxes on the wealthiest 1% of Canadians while reducing them for the middle class. We are very proud of that decision. Single individuals who benefit from this tax cut are saving an average of $330 each year, and couples who benefit are saving an average of $540 each year. Our government has made child benefits more generous and better targeted to those who need them the most, with the new Canada child benefit lifting hundreds of thousands of children out of poverty. Since July 2016, nine out of 10 Canadian families with children have been receiving more in child benefits, tax-free, than they did under the previous government.

We also expanded the Canada pension plan to ensure that Canadians are better off financially in retirement. The strengthened CPP will provide more money to Canadians when they retire so they can worry less about their savings and focus on enjoying time with their families. Strengthening the CPP will increase the maximum benefit by about 50% over time, giving retired Canadians a more dignified retirement.

The next step in our plan was to lower the small business tax rate from 11%—

Business of Supply October 23rd, 2017

Mr. Speaker, it is always an honour and a privilege to rise in this House. I will be splitting my time with the hon. member for Pickering—Uxbridge.

I would like to thank the government for creating the conditions for all Canadians to succeed in a changing and exciting economy. When we came into office a couple of years ago, we made a commitment to invest in our people, our communities, and our economy. We made a commitment to help grow the middle class and those working hard to join it. The truth of the matter is that our plan is working.

Taxation September 28th, 2017

Mr. Speaker, earlier this year, my colleagues and I on the finance committee took a comprehensive review of tax evasion and tax avoidance to ensure that all Canadians are paying their fair share.

In our report, the committee recommended that the Government of Canada establish a reporting program for the CRA that would ensure that Canadians have access to information about the agency's efforts when it comes to tax avoidance and tax evasion.

Can the Minister of National Revenue please update this House on the progress of those recommendations?

Hockey Night in Canada, Punjabi Edition June 7th, 2017

Mr. Speaker, no matter where we are from or what we believe in, Canadians are all united by our love for the sport of hockey. We have all enjoyed the sport, whether it is street hockey, ball hockey, ice hockey, field hockey, or table hockey.

That is why Hockey Night in Canada, Punjabi Edition has been a great success. Punjabi is Canada's third most spoken language after English and French, and the show has garnered thousands of fans. Perhaps the most memorable moment was when host Harnarayan Singh had the call of the year—“Bonino, Bonino, Bonino”—which went viral.

However, it is unfortunate that during this year's Stanley Cup playoffs, the show has been the target of racism and insensitive comments online. This is not who we are as Canadians.

I am proud to proclaim that we stand in solidarity with the show, for it is the epitome of our diversity and an example of what makes our country so great. I ask my hon. colleagues to help by watching and spreading the word of Hockey Night in Canada, Punjabi Edition.

Attack on Amritsar Temple June 1st, 2017

Mr. Speaker, 33 years ago, the Sikh community changed forever. In a deliberate attack by the Indian government of the day, the Indian army stormed the Darbar Sahib complex. On June 1, 1984, the targeted attack on Sikhism's holiest shrine left a scar in the hearts of Sikhs everywhere. Innocent lives were lost and the Sikh reference library was burned down and the Darbar Sahib complex was destroyed.

This attack is important to me, as a proud Canadian and as a proud Sikh. This political discussion has always been a sensitive one, but what we cannot lose track of is that where so many people met a tragic death is a temple where people from all around the world come to peacefully pray. We have an obligation to continue the fight for justice, for the innocent lives lost in June 1984, and to advocate for truth and reconciliation as the way forward.

Criminal Code May 31st, 2017

Madam Speaker, I think we can all agree that we want to protect Canadians and at the same time protect their charter rights. The bill achieves that delicate balance.

First and foremost, it requires an officer to have reasonable grounds before conducting a test, which is still the current law when it comes to impaired driving. I think we can all agree that the definition of reasonable grounds has been studied quite extensively by the Supreme Court of Canada.

Before an officer conducts a test, there must be reasonable grounds before an individual is asked to circumvent their freedom, their liberty, by giving a sample of saliva. That is a balance the bill achieves. We think that going forward, it is a common-sense approach to protecting Canadians.

Criminal Code May 31st, 2017

Madam Speaker, I think we can all agree that more needs to be done to protect Canadians from the ill effects of impaired driving and drug-related offences. I think we have a consensus in this House on that. Last year alone, 72,000 incidents of impaired driving occurred across this country.

When it comes to mandatory breath testing, we are going to look at international examples of jurisdictions that have implemented mandatory drug testing. When Ireland implemented mandatory drug testing, the next year there was a 26% reduction in drug-impaired and drinking impaired driving offences. I think the evidence is there. We will find a common-sense solution to get there. At the end of the day, we are here to protect Canadians, and that is what we should work toward.

Criminal Code May 31st, 2017

Madam Speaker, as I rise today to debate Bill C-46 at second reading, I am thinking of the people in my riding who have lost loved ones to impaired driving, as well as those who have been injured and whose lives will never be the same.

Sometimes when debating legislation in the House, we can lose sight of the real human impacts of our decisions. Impaired driving has done a lot of damage in a lot of communities. We are lucky if we do not know someone who has lost a loved one as a result of impaired driving. By making our laws in this area more effective, we can do a lot of good.

Let us talk about the bill. Bill C-46 would provide a new way forward to address impaired driving and would get drivers impaired by alcohol or drugs off our roads. That is something, fundamentally, we can all agree on in this House.

Impaired driving has been an issue for a long time. We know that drug-impaired driving has become a growing problem over the past decade. It is not any specific age group causing the problem. Indeed, this is one of those issues that transcends age, gender, and socio-economic status. What we need are wholesale behavioural changes backed by comprehensive, evidence-based policy and regulation and further public education.

I am proud to stand with a government that is taking action to tackle this issue in an informed and forceful way, as reflected in this bill. I am very proud to know that Bill C-46 is a product of a great deal of legwork by many departments, including the departments of justice, health, and public safety. The Task force on Cannabis Legalization and Regulation has been central to these latest efforts through their engagement with law enforcement and many other partners across the country.

Indeed, I extend my heartfelt thanks to the dedicated women and men on the front lines dealing with the tragedy of impaired driving every day, including the roughly 4,000 officers trained to perform the standardized field sobriety test.

However, we know that more needs to be done. There is a vacuum to be filled, especially in terms of creating drug-impaired driving limits, the tools to detect these violations, and the legal teeth to clamp down on offenders. That is why the Government of Canada began by requesting that the Drugs and Driving Committee of the Canadian Society of Forensic Science assess the validity of oral fluid drug screening technology.

They agreed that the technology reliably detects THC, cocaine, and methamphetamines, these being the drugs most frequently abused by Canadians. However, this is only one piece of the puzzle. The technological tools needed to detect impairing substances must be accompanied by a legal framework that provides for their effective use. That is one important way this bill would create a stronger impaired driving regime. It would authorize law enforcement, at legal roadside stops, to require that a driver provide an oral fluid sample if the officer had a reasonable suspicion that a driver had drugs in his or her body. That could mean redness in the eyes or an odour in the vehicle, for example. The screener, which has a disposable oral fluid collection kit and a reader that analyzes the saliva, would then help the officer check for the presence of particular drugs in the oral fluid.

A positive reading on one of these devices would be information an officer could use to develop reasonable grounds to believe that an offence had been committed. At that point, the driver could be required to either provide a blood sample or to submit to a drug recognition evaluation by an officer to determine whether a criminal offence had been committed.

The bill would create three new criminal offences. It would allow law enforcement to charge those who had a prohibited level of drugs in their blood within two hours of driving. This would be proven by the blood sample. Drivers could also be charged if they had a prohibited level of drugs and alcohol in combination. Importantly, this bill would allow for mandatory alcohol screening. That means officers would be able to require a preliminary breath sample from any driver they stopped in accordance with the law.

Evidence tells us that this is an important tool for detecting impaired drivers and for reducing the rate of impaired driving. This has been demonstrated by studies in other jurisdictions where the system is in place, such as Australia, New Zealand, and several countries in Europe.

Most of the proposed new offences would be punishable by penalties that mirror the existing penalties for alcohol-impaired driving: $1,000 for the first offence; 30 days in prison for the second offence; and 120 days for a third or subsequent offence.

Much will be made in comparing this tough new legislation with our international counterparts. The United Kingdom, for example, introduced legislation last year that created legal limits for drugs and authorized screeners that detect THC and other drugs, which has resulted in more effective enforcement. Other countries, including Australia, France, Germany, and many more, have similar legislation in place and have also found it effective in preventing drug-impaired driving.

For Canada, the other piece of the puzzle will be making sure that misinformation and misperceptions are addressed. We absolutely must educate the public in a comprehensive way. Public Safety Canada has already launched an effective social media campaign to encourage sober driving and to amplify messages from partners, such as Mothers Against Drunk Driving, which does phenomenal work.

To complement this new legislation, a comprehensive public awareness campaign is under development to inform Canadian youth and parents of youth about the risks associated with drug-impaired driving. I am confident that the government will use this opportunity to address misconceptions, correct misinformation, and promote prevention.

This is about safer roads for our communities from coast to coast to coast. Getting impaired drivers off our roads is the number one priority of all parliamentarians. It is encouraging to see the positive response to this legislation thus far and the willingness of so many partners to act together on this crucial issue.

As I said at the outset, real lives have been turned upside down by impaired driving, and of course, real lives have been tragically ended by it. We need to make it stop.

I thank my hon. colleagues for their attention. I look forward to seeing the common-sense provisions in this bill applied on our roads for the benefit of all Canadians.