House of Commons photo

Crucial Fact

  • His favourite word was liberal.

Last in Parliament October 2015, as Conservative MP for Calgary West (Alberta)

Won his last election, in 2011, with 62% of the vote.

Statements in the House

Income Tax Conventions Implementation Act, 1997 October 20th, 1997

Mr. Speaker, we are talking today about increasing the taxes to be paid by people who receive social security from the United States. The government is perfectly willing, as it pointed out today, to tax people who have worked outside the country at some point in their lives.

I just want to see if I can get a commitment from the government. Is it willing to commit that it will never increase taxes on those people who solely collect the CPP or other programs in Canada?

I would like to get that in Hansard today. In that way, if the government does it in the future, we can point to the record and say that it did not tell the whole truth on that one too.

Income Tax Conventions Implementation Act, 1997 October 20th, 1997

Mr. Speaker, it is interesting to hear the Liberals talk about fair taxation. They bellyache over the idea of people paying different levels of tax in order to justify raising taxes. By that same logic would the Liberals take people who pay 17% and 22% in federal taxes and raise it to 29% to match those who pay the highest level of progressive income tax because that is fair, because there are different levels of taxation?

If they bellyache about differing levels of taxation will they come clean and support a flat tax for income taxes like the Reform party has been advocating for everybody?

Income Tax Conventions Implementation Act, 1997 October 20th, 1997

Mr. Speaker, somehow I knew the Liberals would justify a tax increase because that is the Liberal way of doing business in this country. They bellyache about how they think this is fair. They think that charging people or having them declare 85% of this is fair.

Is it fair that these people are going to lose thousands of dollars of their income when they do not earn very much yet members across the way collect millions of dollars in their gold plated MP pension plans? Brian Tobin alone, the current premier of Newfoundland and a former minister of fisheries, is collecting $3.4 million as we speak. The premier of Newfoundland along with the actions of the highest pay for a premier in any province in this country is making over $200,000 a year in aggregate. How can they possibly justify this, all of them smug with their MP pensions? Why should these people be suffering the blows to the tune of thousands of dollars while they all collect their super rich pensions?

Income Tax Conventions Implementation Act, 1997 October 20th, 1997

Mr. Speaker, I noticed that there is a competition going on here in terms of the word fairness and the word equitable.

When we take a reporting of income from 50%, jack it up to 85% and somehow call that fair, I do not see the fairness in that. The Liberals are going after the elderly in this bill. They are taxing people who have the least ability to pay. These people cannot go back into the workforce. They have retired based on the understanding that they are only going to have to report 50% of what they bring in through their social security cheques. This government has gone ahead and jacked it up by 70% and Liberal members sit their with smug smiles on their faces trying to justify this. How can they justify it?

Income Tax Conventions Implementation Act, 1997 October 20th, 1997

Mr. Speaker, I am wondering what the Tory caucus thought in terms of supporting a tax increase to keep in line with the Mulroney government's long history of increasing taxes.

Is the Tory promotion of a tax increase keeping in line with Brian Mulroney's tax increases?

Canada Pension Plan Investment Board Act October 7th, 1997

Madam Speaker, I would like to tell you a story about some mad scientists. Many people know them as social engineers. They have this theory, this idea that the more centralized a project is, the better it is. They also believe the more people that are involved, the better it is. But these scientists have a problem. There are so many observations that refute this theory. These fallacies of theirs are obstacles that prevent this scientific theory from becoming a scientific law.

These social engineers have staked their reputations, even their views of the world, on this framework of centralizing more jobs, but the anomalies are overwhelming. Hence we have a real crisis. They created this crisis called the Canada pension plan.

I will talk about a number of these anomalies, these complications they had. First, other government run disasters do not work. Government members point to their own example when they talk about how it is a half trillion dollars underfunded. There is also the Quebec pension plan. Although it is better than the CPP it has repeatedly earned a rate of return substantially below the market average for investments.

I look to my own province with the Alberta Heritage Fund which squandered hundreds of millions of dollars on Gainers meat packing and Novatel. Those are two examples but there are more. Even Singapore's Central Providence Fund will not be able to meet even the modest levels of retirement benefits estimated by the Central Providence Fund itself. We have examples within Canada and without that point to government run disasters on investment funds like this.

When these Liberal social engineers set up the CPP in 1966 they made some promises. Paul Martin Senior and his Liberal cronies said that it would “never cost more than a few hundred dollars”. Those were their own words. Yet today Liberals are talking about something in the thousands of dollars which is 10 times what their initial promises were. But oh no, we should trust them.

The Liberals also promised the CPP would never climb above 5% contributions, but lo and behold they are talking about 9.9% as though it was nothing. They say that's it. Can we trust them now?

It was a con job all along. We know that now. And it is still a con job. Some people are convinced that they are entitled to this tax. I say that if it comes out of your pocket, if it is taken out of your wallet, it is called extortion; if it goes back into your pocket once the government has taken it, then it is blood money. It is paying you off. It is trying to buy back your support with the fruits of your own labour. The GST rebate worked the same way.

The Liberals said that Canadians asked for these changes. I do not remember being asked if I wanted the CPP tax doubled. I have friends on this side of the House who wanted to make application before the travelling board and they did not get an opportunity.

Even if were dense, I surely would have remembered the government selling this high priority Canada pension plan tax hike during the election campaign. It is a high priority bill that is being introduced right after the election. Surely the Liberals would have mentioned it there and I would not have missed it.

Where was the tax increase mentioned in the Liberal red book? I did not see it. I am not blind and I do not think I am all that deaf, but nonetheless these things were not talked about during the campaign. I am reminded of when the Liberals broke their promises on the GST.

I doubt whether doubling the CPP would have passed a referendum vote. They say it is something that is grassroots and democratic. If they put a vote to the citizens of this country in terms of whether or not they want to see a doubling of their CPP, they know that would fail.

The Liberals have more tricks in their bag. They bent the ears of the provincial governments. How did they do that? The Liberals bought off the provinces with promises of cheap loans that would be available due to the federal government's extra CPP tax revenue.

History has a funny way of repeating itself. The last time the government raised the CPP tax it squandered pension funds in provincial bonds at below market rates. We could well see that type of thing again. Canadians would once again be in the debt hole and the Liberals would once again come back to them and say “Trust us. This time it is only going to be 15% or 20%.”

This job killing tax hike is going to bring in nearly $11 billion over and above what it does now. That is $700 extra per year for every working Canadian. According to a Department of Finance study acquired through an access to information request, the increase in compulsory contributions from 3.6% to 5% that happened between 1986 and 1993 reduced employment by nearly 26,000 jobs. These are the same people who are saying this tax hike will not cost jobs. This Department of Finance study indicates that the Liberal tax hike this time could kill up to 75,000 jobs.

I would like to quote the finance minister. In 1994 in his blueprint for the economy entitled A New Framework for Economic Policy, he said “Higher payroll taxes increase the cost of labour and reduce the incentive to create new jobs.” It is 75,000 fewer jobs. That is what the finance minister is talking about. The Liberals do not like to call it a tax hike or a payroll tax, but that is what it is. It reminds me that the Liberals are short-sighted. They only see as far ahead as the next election because the finance minister can say one thing in 1994 and another thing in 1997.

Indeed, members opposite said during the beginning of this debate that they only realized there was a problem three years ago in 1994. They did not sense this baby boom population bubble. They did not feel it. They were oblivious to it. Marketers, demographic trend setters, everybody was talking about it but the government did not know.

This Liberal plan was created in 1966. Surely these people could not turn a blind eye to this. They were not daft, or were they? They should have known and anticipated this bubble in the demographic trends. For them to notice the plan even on their own admission only three years ago, it has taken them this long to finally catch wind that it has to be changed, that it has to be reformed. It sounds very fishy indeed.

What we have is a government that wants to bring in a tax hike right after an election. What they are hoping is that people are going to forget it, but I do not think that is going to be the case.

The Liberals claim that the screw-up they created could have been worse. If they had stuck their head in the sand a little bit longer, then the hike would actually have been 14%. This is so typical of Liberal promises. They promise to spend taxpayers' money and then when they do not spend it they say “We are heroes. We've saved you money because we didn't spend your 14%. We are only doubling it to 10%”.

I am going to make a prediction, and this will be very short. The Liberals are bringing in this tax hike early in their term and they are hoping the people are going to forget about it by the time of the next election. This increase only gets worse over time, and its coat tails will be long.

If they cut taxes, they might not slit their own throats but if foreign pressure on interest rates causes them to rise, especially with a separatist vote in Quebec, then they will dig their own debt grave.

Atlantic Groundfish Strategy October 7th, 1997

Mr. Speaker, floods are something that are natural disasters that one cannot predict. In 1994 there were too many fishers and there were too few fish and the Liberal government promised a program to end all programs. Today in 1997 there are too many fishers and too few fish and a Liberal government with egg on its face and an Atlantic wipe-out to prove it.

Will the prime minister commit to never again buying the votes of desperate fishers with programs that breed dependency?

Atlantic Groundfish Strategy October 7th, 1997

Mr. Speaker, today the auditor general devoted three chapters of his report to the Atlantic groundfish strategy. TAGS failed in its own stated goals of downsizing fisheries capacity and retraining fishers in response to the Atlantic fisheries crisis. Even the auditor general said that the government was at best naive about the failed results of TAGS.

How can the prime minister defend a program that the auditor general has pronounced to be such a failure?

Canada Pension Plan Investment Board Act October 6th, 1997

Mr. Speaker, this problem in terms of the baby boom generation coming up and creating a bulge in the Canada pension plan is something that has not been hidden from anyone. It is something which has been obvious for years. The whole idea of the baby boom population burst has been talked about for at least a decade, certainly within my frame of reference.

However, the party across the way and the government have both been responsible for the boondoggle that has happened with regard to the CPP. The way they set it up was intrinsically flawed. It was set up as a pay as you go system rather than somebody's individual earnings and payments going into the plan to look after them in their retirement. It is a pyramid scheme.

When they were in government did they not realize this was coming to fruition? Did they not see these things?

Canada Pension Plan Investment Board Act October 6th, 1997

Mr. Speaker, I hear a lot of talk in the House today about wanting an actuarially sound plan.

I know of a plan that is actuarially sound. I heard about one tier, two tier and three tier. The fourth tier they forgot to mention was the MP pension plan. There were members across the way, people who used to be members, who are collecting $3.4 million. There are people across the way who are eligible to collect $2.8 million. There are people in the Conservative Party who are eligible to collect $4.3 million.

If they are talking about something that is actuarially sound why do they not comment in terms of this pension, the one that we are going to be paying double into, 9.9 percent of our income? MPs pay only 9.5 percent of their income and yet they can collect millions. Canadians can only expect $8,800 a year for maximum contributions under the CPP. Why do they not comment on that?