House of Commons photo

Crucial Fact

  • His favourite word was aboriginal.

Last in Parliament October 2015, as Conservative MP for Winnipeg South (Manitoba)

Won his last election, in 2011, with 52% of the vote.

Statements in the House

Economic Action Plan 2014 Act, No. 2 December 2nd, 2014

Mr. Speaker, as a government, we have taken a philosophy of reducing the tax burden right from the first day that we entered office, and I would like to think that the record speaks for itself. The outcomes of the record are quite demonstrative of the philosophy itself. I think it has benefited our great country to reduce the tax burden as we have over the years. In comparison to a number of world economies that rate against our own, we are seeing that we have risen through the ranks.

This specific budget now takes that philosophy to the taxpayer. It will have a similar effect on the households of taxpayers, who will now be able to reduce their own tax burden by, for instance, splitting income and having more capital within their own home unit to pay for the important things they need to succeed. I think we will see the same outcomes flow from that.

Economic Action Plan 2014 Act, No. 2 December 2nd, 2014

Mr. Speaker, I appreciate the question from the member opposite. Having been elected in the class of 2006, I spent my first day as a member in the House with Jim, as he spent his first day back in 2006 when we formed government. I enjoyed working with him through the years on, I believe, nine budgets.

Mr. Flaherty's work had gotten to a point where he had achieved much in our great country. Unfortunately, he was not able to continue serving with us, as I know he wanted to.

I think there is more to come in the future on this matter. We will have to see.

Economic Action Plan 2014 Act, No. 2 December 2nd, 2014

Mr. Speaker, I think this practice has evolved over the years, but our government has introduced quite important measures through its budgets.

Budgets, of course, are effectively the key piece of legislation that our government or any government requires to implement its agenda. I would not be standing here today speaking to this budget if I did not believe in the initiatives that our government is proceeding with. I cannot apologize for our endeavours, because I support them wholeheartedly.

Economic Action Plan 2014 Act, No. 2 December 2nd, 2014

Mr. Speaker, I am pleased to have the opportunity to speak to this very important legislation. Before I begin, I would like to indicate that a few members of the House were part of the cohort of 2009 that was elected. Not too long before today was the fourth anniversary. I believe a few of them are here, so I wish to congratulate the member for Winnipeg North and the member for Dauphin—Swan River—Marquette.

Bill C-43 is at an important stage where we will soon see it come into law. The legislation builds on the very strong foundation that has been laid this year and over the past almost nine years. We are continuing on a portfolio of initiatives that have been introduced, such as affordable measures to create jobs, promote growth and support long-term prosperity. This key strategy is working. It is creating jobs, it is keeping the economy growing and, perhaps most important now that our economy is going in the right direction, we are returning to a balanced budget in 2015.

Since we introduced the economic action plan to respond to the global recession of 2008, we have created nearly 1.2 million net new jobs since the depth of that recession. When I say “we”, I mean the private sector. The government can only help the economy, but it is the businesses that are the employers. Thankfully, due to all those hard-working entrepreneurs, we have one of the strongest job creation records in the entire G7 during that period.

I would like to highlight some of the outcomes of our economic action plan. According to KPMG, total business tax costs in Canada are in fact the lowest in the G7, at 46% lower than those in the United States of America. Let us not forget that we are starting to see some large American corporations choose to do business in Canada and, quite frankly, I support that. Even if it is not necessarily a burger of choice of mine, I will still buy that product.

What is more, Canada leapt from sixth place to second place in Bloomberg's rankings of the most attractive destination for business. Both the IMF and the OECD still expect Canada to be among the strongest-growing economies in the G7 over this year and the next. For the seventh year in a row, the World Economic Forum has rated Canada's banking system the world's soundest. It is true that it is very conservative, and during the boom times of the late 1990s and the early 2000s, perhaps it did not lend out as much money as some other countries, but that policy sure kept it in good stead when 2008 hit.

All the major credit rating agencies accord Canada a top AAA rating with a stable outlook, a rating shared by very few countries. A recent New York Times study found that after-tax middle-class incomes in Canada, substantially behind in the year 2000, now appear to be higher than in the United States. In fact is that the Canadian middle class is among the wealthiest in the developed world.

The federal tax burden is at its lowest in over 50 years. Remember that we have removed more than one million low-income Canadians from the tax rolls. The average family of four saves nearly $3,400 this year. A small business earning $500,000 now saves over $28,000 in corporate taxes thanks to our low tax philosophy. It is clear that Canada has become an international success story.

However, Canada is still not immune to the global economic challenges beyond our border. Our government has been adamant that as long as Canadians are still looking for jobs, our work is not done.

With that, let me highlight three measures that are helping small businesses as well as ensuring Canadians are first in line for new jobs.

Bill C-43 would implement our recently announced small business job credit, which would save small employers more than $550 million over 2015 and 2016. It would also lower EI payroll taxes by 15%. This is real money that a small business can use to help defray the cost of hiring new workers and to take advantage of emerging economic opportunities, supporting growth and job creation.

That is not all. The legislation builds on our support for small businesses and entrepreneurs by reducing barriers to the international and domestic flow of goods and services. This measure will promote job creation and improve the conditions for business investment.

I am very proud of our government's achievements as it works to prepare the workforce of tomorrow.

Economic action plan 2014 includes training for students and focuses federal investments in youth employment in high demand fields. It also supports young entrepreneurs through mentoring. Students participating in Canada's education system are the largest source of new workers. Providing them with the right skills is essential to furthering the country's economic prospects.

In 2011-12, more than half a million Canadians received direct financial support from the Canada student loans program to help them pursue their post-secondary education. Over $2.4 billion in loans were provided and over 336,000 students obtained a total of $640 million in Canada student grants.

In my role as chair of the post-secondary caucus for our government, I have met with many student groups and all of them have universally said that this program is far superior to the millennium scholarship fund.

Canada places at the top of the OECD rankings in terms of post-secondary educational payment, thanks in part to these federal supports for students. However, more can be done to ensure young Canadians receive the training they need to realize their full potential.

That is why we have not only reached out to students in a broad, general way, but we have also helped other organizations that are focused on first nations and aboriginal learners. I would like to highlight Indspire, a wonderful program that is led by Roberta Jamieson, and you know her quite well, Mr. Speaker. This program has succeeded where government has not in the past. By helping this organization fund more students, we are seeing more first nation learners than ever before. I would like to again congratulate her for all the work she has done over the years and I look forward to seeing this program continue to receive funding.

The government invests over $330 million annually in programming for youth through the youth employment strategy, which provides skills development and work experience for youth at risk, summer students and recent post-secondary graduates.

Economic action plan 2014 announced that our government would improve the youth employment strategy to align it with the evolving realities of the job market. This process would also ensure federal investments in youth employment, providing young Canadians with real life work experience in high demand fields such as science, technology, energy, engineering, mathematics and the skilled trades.

Although Canada boasts high levels of post-secondary achievement, the transition to a first job can be very challenging. Youth graduates often lack opportunities to gain the workplace experience and skills necessary to find and retain jobs. In addition, too many Canadian graduates find themselves unemployed or underemployed, while employers are searching for workers.

Recognizing these challenges, our government proposes to strengthen youth programming by dedicating $40 million toward supporting up to 3,000 full-time internships for post-secondary graduates in high demand fields in 2014 and 2015-16.

This has also in part been inspired by some of the work that has been done over the years by the Mitacs organization, which has helped deliver internships for science post-grads and post-grad engineers into the technology sector, and that has been very successful.

We have been supportive of not only the private sector in helping it employ more individuals, but bringing students into the private sector so they can gain that world experience they need to further their career, and also essentially become an important contributor to our economy and help pay the taxes that support all the programs that benefit Canadians from coast to coast to coast.

I look forward to any questions my colleagues might have.

Petitions November 19th, 2014

Mr. Speaker, I am pleased to present a petition from my riding and citizens across Canada asking that the House of Commons condemn discrimination against females through gendercide.

This is an important petition. We have witnessed this reported in Canada by the CBC, and last year, Environics released a poll that indicated 92% of Canadians felt this practice of discriminating against girls should cease.

Respect For Communities Act June 17th, 2014

Mr. Speaker, the member opposite has a lot of knowledge of this area as it is located in her riding. Obviously, I agree that we need to be very concerned with the plight of heroin addicts. I think all of us in this House are seeking the best path forward to find the solution.

She asked that maybe we should tamp down the rhetoric so I will attempt to remove any rhetoric from my question. The first question I would ask would be in relation to a comment she made on the criminal rate. She indicated that there was a 35% reduction in the occurrence of crime. Might that be in relation to the new legal status or treatment that is being put on to these acts, relative to Supreme Court rulings? Maybe it is not, so I would love to hear her thoughts on that.

My second question would be: As a member of Her Majesty's Official Opposition, in theory there may be a future government that this member is part of. What is her view on having these facilities in Canada? Should every major city in Canada have something similar to what she sees in her home city, and in how many cities does she think her government would bring in centres like this?

National Aboriginal Parliamentary Prayer Breakfast June 18th, 2013

Mr. Speaker, this Friday, June 21, we celebrate National Aboriginal Day. We celebrate the heritage, culture and achievements of Canada's aboriginal peoples, both past and present, and look forward to the future.

There are many events taking place from coast to coast to coast, but there is one in particular that I would like to mention that will take place right here in the nation's capital.

The national aboriginal parliamentary prayer breakfast is hosted by honorary chief Kenny Blacksmith, founder of Gathering Nations International. He will gather leaders from across communities in the spirit of renewal and unity. This year's theme is entitled “Beyond Forgiven”.

Kenny is a strong aboriginal leader and a friend to many. I wish him great success with this year's national aboriginal prayer breakfast and thank him for his hard work and dedication to the first nation communities.

I would like to invite all parliamentarians to join in attending this great event at the Chateau Laurier this Friday morning.

First Nations Elections Act June 11th, 2013

We have a great economy.

Mr. Speaker, I think first nations also would love to focus on their economies versus these biannual electoral events, which have been very challenging.

Therefore, that would be a natural progression; hopefully, the communities would embrace this. However, much like the parliamentary secretary said, it would be purely on an opt-in basis.

First Nations Elections Act June 11th, 2013

Mr. Speaker, there is no doubt that when they have a stable governance system, the benefits from the economy naturally follow suit. When there is stability, then the economy can grow. We have seen that in Canada with the most stable governance system in the world.

First Nations Elections Act June 11th, 2013

Mr. Speaker, I believe that what the member is suggesting is an actual legislated power that the Minister of Aboriginal Affairs and Northern Development has currently under the existing Indian Act. It has been used very rarely in Canadian history, just a few times as far as I know. It is my opinion that this would simply reflect an existing power that the minister currently has. Therefore, I personally do not see it as the issue that others see. However, in this place we are allowed to disagree and it is valid for her to disagree with that point.

Personally, I think that if there were a first nations community, after many years of going through a rancorous process of elections that were quagmired and everyone was literally at their wits' end, where nothing was progressing, and this clause in a very rare case had to be used, I am quite certain there would be the opportunity for that first nation to likely challenge that if its members chose to. I am sure that could be the case. Our courts offer lots of powers to anyone who has a grievance.