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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

Air Transportation May 16th, 2017

Mr. Speaker, air travel is essential to Canada's economic growth and prosperity. Canadians, businesses, and tourists all benefit from a safe and efficient air industry. With recent media reports of denied boardings, lost luggage, and runway delays, the time for action is now.

Can the Minister of Transport please update this House and all Canadians on the steps being taken to protect air travellers in Canada?

Budget Implementation Act, 2017, No. 1 May 9th, 2017

Mr. Speaker, my colleague and I generally do not agree on anything, and that trend continues today. He is a very nice gentleman and I wish him nothing but the best under the future leadership that is about to occur.

When it comes to infrastructure, we will not take lessons from a party that had 10 years in government to help build roads, airports, and transportation hubs in our country. We will ensure we invest in a globalized economy so countries know Canada is ready for their investments, that Canada is willing to ensure Canadians and hard-working small businesses have access to world markets.

When it comes to infrastructure, it is so important for us to ensure that the small manufacturers in Brampton have an opportunity to get access to world markets. That happens with sound, fiscally responsible infrastructure investment.

Budget Implementation Act, 2017, No. 1 May 9th, 2017

Mr. Speaker, our government has made record investments in infrastructure. The Canada investment bank will make a further investment of $35 billion over 11 years.

The NDP's rhetoric has always been about helping Canadians to prosper, about helping middle-class families get jobs that provide food on the table and clothes on their backs. The member opposite talked about infrastructure funding for her airport. I would encourage the member and her party to support our budget, because it invests in infrastructure at a record pace. We will continue to do this. We know that investing in Canadians and in the Canadian economy allows all Canadians to succeed.

Budget Implementation Act, 2017, No. 1 May 9th, 2017

Mr. Speaker, my hon. colleague started off by saying that the previous Harper government decided not to join the Asia infrastructure bank. However, as she knows, on October 19, 2015, there was an election, and Canadians across the country overwhelmingly voted for change. What real change brought, as opposed to the last 10 years of the lowest growth in the country and lowest job growth in the country, was the highest increase in jobs. We have the lowest unemployment rate in the last eight years because of our investments in the economy.

The Canada child benefit that we implemented has been game-changing for families in Brampton East and all across the country, so we are going to continue to invest in middle-class Canadians and those working hard to join it. Our infrastructure investments are paying off by reducing the unemployment rate in our country, which is at 6.5%. We will continue to work hard to ensure that all Canadians looking for a job have a great one to go to.

Budget Implementation Act, 2017, No. 1 May 9th, 2017

Mr. Speaker, it is always a privilege and an honour to rise in this House, especially when we get an opportunity to speak to budget 2017, Building a Strong Middle Class.

Our government has been hard at work ensuring that Canadians in the middle class and those working hard to join it have the policies that put Canadians first, but today I want to speak about things that in a changing economy can have a real impact on the lives of Canadians and how our budget is going to help Canadians thrive over the long term. Our success as a country will be determined by our ability to prepare for and adapt to these changes to grow and strengthen the middle class and those working hard to join it.

As a large country that relies on trade for its economic success, Canada needs to ensure that people and products can move quickly and safely, whether from home to work or from harvest to warehouse. The success of many companies depends on high-quality transportation infrastructure to get goods to market.

Here are some names in the agrifood sector in Brampton that members may recognize: the Coca-Cola bottling group, Maple Lodge Farms, Loblaws Companies, Italpasta, Sun Rich Fresh Foods, Maple Leaf Canada, Bacardi Canada, and Frito-Lay Canada.

As announced in the 2016 fall economic update, this government will invest $10.1 billion over 11 years in trade and transportation products. This investment will build stronger and more efficient transportation corridors to international markets and help Canadian businesses to compete, grow, and create more jobs for Canada's middle class. As part of the $10.1-billion investment, we will launch a new national trade corridors fund to prioritize investments that address congestion and bottlenecks along vital corridors and around transportation hubs and ports that provide access to world markets. Building on Transport Canada's gateways model, this fund is expected to target congestion and inefficiencies at marine ports as well as along the busiest rail and highway corridors to ensure that small- and medium-sized businesses in Brampton can produce in Brampton but have access to markets all around the world.

An additional $5 billion or more would be provided through the Canada infrastructure bank to address trade and transportation priorities. In addition to identifying priority investments that would help streamline transportation along Canada's major trade corridors, the fund would look for ways to improve the flow of supplies to northern communities, which is important, and unlock economic development in Canada's three territories and create more well-paying middle-class jobs.

As elsewhere in this country, there are countless people in Brampton who drive trucks to and from our southern neighbour to support their families. Their livelihoods depend on a transportation sector, a booming economy, and a strong trade relationship with the U.S.

Expanding Canada's trade links requires an important discussion around our economic success. Strong trade relationships create more opportunities for middle-class Canadians to succeed and prosper. According to the Brampton Board of Trade, Brampton sees roughly $6.7 billion in goods sold to the U.S. Over 420 Brampton companies export to the U.S. and consider the U.S. to be their most important trading market, responsible for over 34% of their sales. That is why the government is engaging with the United States, with which we share one of the most successful economic relationships in the world, highlighting the fact that our strong interconnected trade relationship is balanced and beneficial to millions of middle-class families on both sides of the border.

We are also prioritizing trade and investment with key markets in fast-growing areas such as Asia, including with China, India, and Japan, to deepen Canada's ties with this continent and create jobs here at home. Succeeding in the global economy of tomorrow requires openness to the world and strategic partnerships. A key example is the March 22 announcement by the Asian Infrastructure Investment Bank that it has accepted Canada's application for membership.

Membership in the Asian Infrastructure Investment Bank will help enable high-quality infrastructure and other development projects that would have benefits for people in the region, as well as for Canadians, by supporting inclusive sustainable economic growth in Asia and beyond. Budget 2017 proposes to invest $256 million over five years to join the Asian Infrastructure Investment Bank.

When it comes to the engines that power our economy in Canada, Canada's agriculture and agrifood sector accounts for more than 6% of Canada's GDP and employs one out of every eight Canadian. The industry is strong, and in recent years farm revenues, annual exports, and farm incomes have reached record highs, but there is room for improvement, driven in part by the innovative potential of value-added products as the middle class grows in Asia and demand for food rises. Budget 2017 introduces a series of measures to help our agricultural producers and processors excel.

For over 15 years, federal, provincial, and territorial governments have relied on agricultural policy frameworks to promote a collaborative approach to agricultural programming that encourages investment, adaptation, and sustainable growth in the sector. These frameworks have provided the foundation for government agricultural programs and services.

The current agricultural policy framework is set to expire in March 2018. We are committed to working with provinces and territories to develop a new policy framework that supports sustainable growth, innovation, and competitiveness, and helps the sector to adapt to a technology-driven reality.

As part of the development of the next framework, which will be launched in 2018, we will consider the ways in which innovation in agriculture can help strengthen the sector as a whole and create more well-paying jobs for middle-class Canadians.

Brampton is part of the Ontario food cluster, the second-largest food processing cluster in North America. Ontario is home to more than half of Canada's food processing companies. Just a short drive from my neck of the woods, the Ontario food terminal is the largest wholesale fruit and produce distribution centre in Canada and the third-largest in North America, distributing an average of 5.4 million pounds per day.

As part of the innovation corridor, companies in Brampton, like Embassy Flavours, Zadi Foods, Hans Dairy, and KFI lncorporated would have the ability to rely on an innovative agrifood sector, a strong trade relationship, and dependable transit infrastructure. They rely on their governments for this.

That is why our government is taking a multi-faceted approach in budget 2017 to harness change for our benefit. When the middle class is strong and when people feel optimistic and confident about the future, Canadians can and will succeed. When middle-class Canadians believe their hard work can translate to a better life for themselves and their children and grandchildren, they become an unstoppable force.

We know that better is possible and we know the best way to deliver more prosperity to the greatest number of middle-class Canadians is by making smart investments in people and in the economy. The tools that are needed to help Canadians succeed and prosper over the long term are included in budget 2017.

Vaisakhi April 13th, 2017

Mr. Speaker,

[Member spoke in Punjabi ]

[English]

Today Sikhs all around the world are celebrating Vaisakhi. Guru Gobind Singh started a Khalsa Panth in 1699, with the simple philosophy of naam japna, meditation; kirt karni, hard work; seva, selfless service., and always remembering that we have a responsibility to make the world around us a better place. These are not just Sikh values; these are Canadian values.

This past Monday, we celebrated Vaisakhi on the Hill and we were proud to show how Sikhs have contributed to Canada for many years.

We prayed for the success of all Canadians and our great nation. Our daily prayer read:

[Member spoke in Punjabi ]

[English]

To all his devotees, he does not let them see difficult times. That is his innate nature.

Happy Vaisakhi to all Sikhs around the world and happy Vaisakhi to everyone in the House.

Housing April 11th, 2017

Mr. Speaker, for Canadians living in some of our largest cities, the dream of buying their first home is becoming more difficult, and our existing homeowners want to ensure that their home is protected. Over the past year alone, the average house price in Toronto has grown by more than one-third, with ripple effects across the greater Toronto area.

Could the Minister of Finance please give the House an update on his hopes of getting meetings with our provincial and municipal counterparts?

The Budget March 23rd, 2017

Mr. Speaker, what I never understood about the NDP is its ongoing rhetoric about the working class. Working-class families work in all different sectors, whether they be forestry, aerospace, taxi driving, or truck driving. Do members know what they are benefiting from? They are benefiting from the middle-class tax cut that we implemented last year. They are also benefiting from the Canada child benefit that we implemented last year. They would also benefit from the $7 billion that we would invest in 2017 in affordable child care spaces.

Every time the NDP had an opportunity to help the working class, what did it do? Surprise, surprise, it voted against it. Why do the New Democrats not change their own track record, follow their rhetoric about helping the middle class and helping the working class, and support this government's work of ensuring that all Canadians across the country, if they work hard, are able to achieve success?

The Budget March 23rd, 2017

Mr. Speaker, let us look at the facts. Our government is not going to take any lessons from the Conservative Party of Canada on the economy. The Conservative Party had 10 years in government, and what did it have? Let us look at the facts. It had the lowest job growth under any prime minister who served for 10 years. It had the lowest economic growth of any prime minister who served for 10 years.

Let us see what our government has done. We have created 220,000 jobs, mostly full-time jobs, in the last six months. We have decreased unemployment from 7.1% to 6.6%, and it has continued to decline. Our investments are working. We reduced taxes on the middle class. We increased taxes on the wealthiest one per cent of Canadians.

I encourage the member opposite and the entire party to look at the facts and to go and knock on doors, because our investments in the middle class are working and are making the lives of Canadians better.

The Budget March 23rd, 2017

Mr. Speaker, it is an honour to rise in this House to speak to the government's second budget, entitled “Building the Middle Class”.

My constituents elected me to serve as part of a government that will help the middle class and those working hard to join it. To be able to represent these priorities of the residents of Brampton East in this House is a privilege.

I am lucky to be a member of the Standing Committee on Finance, which has kept me quite busy thus far. Recently the finance committee concluded a study on tax fairness for all Canadians. It studied tax evasion and tax avoidance. The committee's report contains 14 recommendation for the government on topics such as conducting a review of the voluntary disclosures program and requiring all tax advisers to register their tax products with the CRA.

I am proud to share that in response to the finance committee's recommendations, the government affirmed its support for all 14 recommendations. Additionally, the government shared the work that has already been done or is currently being undertaken to ensure all Canadians pay their fair share of taxes to our great nation.

Paying our fair share of taxes is an essential part of financing measures that enhance all Canadians' quality of life. When certain individuals and companies find ways to cheat the system, it is the middle class that usually picks up the tab. That is totally unacceptable and counterproductive to our country's goals. That is why making the tax system more fair is an ongoing priority of our government.

In support of this objective, budget 2017 proposes to invest additional resources to combat tax evasion and aggressive tax avoidance. Budget 2017 also proposes legislative changes to the tax rules. These changes would close tax loopholes that result in unfair tax advantages for some at the expense of others, invest additional resources to crack down on tax evasion and combat tax avoidance, make existing tax relief for individuals and families more effective and acceptable, eliminate ineffective and inefficient tax measures, and provide greater consistency in the operation of tax rules.

Going forward, we will continue to eliminate poorly targeted and inefficient tax measures and make our tax system more fair and efficient. The government is committed to taking these steps because we know and understand that fairness is essential to ensuring Canadians have confidence in their tax system.

Last year in budget 2016, our government committed to undertake a wide-ranging review of increasingly complex tax expenditures that now exist. This review of federal tax expenditures has highlighted a number of issues regarding tax planning strategies using private corporations, which can result in high-income individuals getting unfair tax advantages. A variety of tax reduction strategies are available to these individuals that are not available to other Canadians. An example of such a strategy is the use of private corporations to reduce taxes through sprinkling income to family members.

Budget 2017 sends a strong signal that the government is taking action to ensure that high-income individuals cannot use strategies involving private corporations to gain unfair tax advantages. The government will release a paper in the coming months setting out the nature of these issues as well as proposed policy responses. In addressing these issues, the government will ensure that corporations that contribute to job creation and economic growth by actively investing in their businesses continue to benefit from a highly competitive tax regime.

A fair tax system requires constant attention. Ongoing legislative adjustments are needed to ensure that rules are functioning as intended, and they do not result in some taxpayers paying less than their fair share, for example, through complicated tax planning arrangements.

To ensure the tax system operates as fairly and effectively as possible moving forward, the government will continue to study, identify, and address tax loopholes and tax planning schemes. Tax evasion and avoidance is unfair to the vast majority of Canadian individuals and businesses that play by the rules.

The measures in budget 2017 will build on previous investments to support the Canada Revenue Agency in its continued efforts to crack down on tax evasion and tax avoidance. To do this, the CRA is increasing its verification activities, hiring additional auditors and specialists with a focus on the underground economy, developing robust business intelligence infrastructure and risk assessment systems, and improving the quality of investigative work that targets criminal tax evaders.

Budget 2017 will invest an additional $523 million over five years to support these efforts. As CRA has a proven track record of meeting expectations from targeted tax compliance, budget 2017 accounts for the expected additional revenue of $2.5 billion over five years from these measures that crack down on tax evasion and combat tax avoidance.

We know that in a globalized world it is not enough to simply concentrate our efforts here at home. We need to have an international focus as well. To this end, Canada is part of a coordinated international effort to address what is known as base erosion and profit sharing or BEPS. BEPS refers to tax planning arrangements used by multinational enterprises to unfairly minimize their taxes. Canada has implemented, or is in the process of implementing, agreed international standards under the BEPS project.

This includes recently enacted legislation which requires large multinational enterprises to provide information about the international distribution of their activities. This information will enable tax authorities to better assess tax avoidance risks. We will continue to work with our international partners to ensure a coherent and consistent response in fighting tax avoidance through BEPS.

Over the past year, we have worked to build a fairer tax system that benefits the middle class. Our review of tax measures identified opportunities that make existing tax measures more effective, equitable, and accessible to all Canadians. Specifically, budget 2017 proposes to simplify and improve existing tax measures for caregivers, persons with disabilities, and students.

Right now, Canadians who are caring for loved ones face a caregiver credit system that is complex and difficult for families to navigate, so we have simplified it by introducing the Canada caregiver credit. This new non-refundable credit will provide greater support to those who need it the most and will apply to caregivers whether or not they live with the family member who is receiving the care. This measure will provide $310 million in additional tax relief over the 2016-17 to 2021-22 period and will support families struggling to take care of loved ones.

Canada is a country founded on the belief that with hard work comes success and that with success comes a responsibility to help others. Canadians share the understanding that success as a nation is only as great as the success of our most vulnerable. They know that challenging the barriers that persist is a necessary part of moving our country forward.

Budget 2017 takes the next step in the government's long-term economic plan, understanding that in the face of unprecedented change, a confident Canadian middle class will always be the beating heart of our country and the engine of our economy.