- His favourite word was chair.
Last in Parliament October 2015, as Conservative MP for South Surrey—White Rock—Cloverdale (B.C.)
Won his last election, in 2011, with 55% of the vote.
Statements in the House
Labour Organizations June 17th, 2015
Mr. Speaker, my bill, Bill C-377, has been working its way through the legislative process for the past four years. Along the way it has been improved by amendments passed in the House. It is at third reading in the other place and could soon come to a final vote. Canadians are hoping it does.
Polls tell us that well over 80% of Canadians, including union members, want public disclosure of labour organization finances. They have seen the corruption exposed at the Charbonneau commission and the Ontario Provincial Police Association, and they know that sunlight is the best disinfectant. They also know that some labour organizations spend the money of members against their wishes on elections. Whether it is for million dollar advertising campaigns or hiring campaign workers, they spend on partisan politics.
The public and union members should have the right to know how their money is being spent. Bill C-377 would give them that right.
Public Safety June 11th, 2015
Mr. Speaker, Canadians want to know that they are safe within their communities. They want to know that their loved ones are protected.
The people of my community want to be able to enjoy life without fear of gang-related violence in their neighbourhoods, and they know that only our Conservative government can deliver on a solid, tough on crime agenda.
Can the Minister of Public Safety and Emergency Preparedness update the House on the situation on the ground in Surrey?
Members not seeking re-election to the 42nd Parliament June 9th, 2015
Mr. Chair, I appreciate this opportunity to say a few words after the tremendous privilege of representing the good people of South Surrey—White Rock—Cloverdale in this place for the past 11 years, and through four Parliaments.
First, I would like to thank the voters, my friends and neighbours who saw fit to send me here to this place, and then send me here again three more times. I am humbled by their trust in me and in our government, and have been proud of the many ways I and my team of office staff have been able to serve our community in this position.
I have always worked hard on their behalf, and since forming government in 2006, I have also been able to deliver on many of the priorities of our community. I have seen many millions of federal dollars spent in our district on projects large and small that have met important needs. I have also taken on some very specific projects and initiatives in Parliament that have benefited my community.
One in particular was the all-party border caucus, which I founded with former Liberal MP Roger Gallaway, and the current NDP MP for Windsor West shortly after arriving here. Those were challenging years for the Canada-U.S. relations. In the shadow of 9/11, security at the border was taking precedence over trade and efficiency, and sometimes even over common sense. Together, with border MPs from all parties, we met with our counterparts in the U.S. Congress and worked with them over the years to find solutions to the challenges of creating a secure and efficient border.
Another highlight for me was in 2006, when I had the honour to be elected by my colleagues to lead the Canadian branch of the Commonwealth Parliamentary Association and was subsequently re-elected to serve six more terms. As one of the oldest democracies in the world, Canada offers real leadership to the more recently established nations, particularly in the developing world. The CPA makes a real contribution to developing democratic institutions in its 54-member nations, and I cherished playing a significant role in these efforts.
Serving as the parliamentary secretary first in national defence, then in intergovernmental affairs and western economic diversification was a unique opportunity to contribute to the work of our government. One of the highlights of my term was travelling to Kandahar to see the efforts of our Canadian troops selflessly working to make that struggling nation a better place. While I was there I was also able to deliver the first of a number of wheelchairs to disabled Afghan citizens. The wheelchairs were donated by the Canadian Wheelchair Foundation, a charity located in my district. What an honour it was for me to see the bravery and generosity of Canadians affecting the lives of those in need in a weary, wartorn land.
I have also greatly valued the opportunity I have had to serve on several valuable committees in the House. Among them are finance, national defence, international trade, natural resources, ethics and international human rights. It was my time on the international human rights committee that opened my eyes wider to the very real suffering and persecution that continues in many parts of the world. As such, I am thankful for a Prime Minister and a cabinet that have been bold and uncompromising in facing down evil where it exists around the world. Also, I am thankful for colleagues across party lines who are passionate about these same issues with whom I have been privileged to work.
I also come away from this experience with a greater appreciation of the legislative process. Throughout the beginning of this Parliament, I had the unusual privilege of being drawn number one in private members' business. My bill, Bill C-377, on financial disclosure for labour organizations, was passed through all three readings by my colleagues in this place, and is now at third reading in the other chamber, where I hope it will receive a final vote soon. I want to express my appreciation to so many colleagues, both here and in the Senate, for their tremendous support and encouragement, as Bill C-377 has slowly wound its way through the process.
Our success here is never achieved alone. When I look back, many names and faces come to mind of people who share in the good work that has been accomplished here in the past decade. Therefore, I want to conclude my remarks by offering thanks to just some of the many important people who have helped me along the way.
First of all, I thank my mother, Erna Hiebert, who raised me well and taught me the principles by which I should live my life. Her advice is still very valuable to me, and I have benefited from her support and pride in all that I do.
I also thank my wonderful wife, Andrea, my closest friend, biggest fan, and strongest supporter. We are a team. She softens my rougher edges. She sometimes makes my speeches more lively, and she holds down the fort at home capably and devotedly. We decided to embark on this adventure together. We have shared the ups and downs, and now we are choosing to take on new challenges together. I thank her for walking with me.
Departing politicians frequently cite the need to spend more time with family as one of the reasons that they are leaving public life, and this is certainly true in my case. When we started this political journey, it was just Andrea and me, but soon we were blessed with the birth of a little girl, Kate, who was born on, of all days, Canada Day. She was joined three years later by another special girl, Marie. Finally, remarkable twin brothers Ryan and Kyle joined their older sisters after the 2011 election. I want to thank them for their patience for all of the time that I was away, but I look forward to us spending more time together.
I have been fortunate to have a remarkable team in my offices both here in Ottawa and in British Columbia, helping me serve our community and making me look good. They have been invaluable to me. Thanks to each one of them for their service, friendship, and persistence.
Special thanks to Peter Stock, my political brother, strategic adviser and friend, who has worked with me for all of the past 11 years.
There are also many people who generously gave their time and resources to help me get elected and to maintain me in office. I cannot possibly name them all, but there are some key friends who have given tirelessly for years. Ed and Marlene Penner, Brian and Norma Bowen, and Don and Muriel Hanberg have been stalwart supporters. Mike Martens and Kathy Jary were instrumental not only in starting this journey, but also in surviving when the elections seemed never ending.
I also want to express my appreciation and deep respect for our leader, the Prime Minister, who remains the hardest working of all MPs. I want to thank him for his leadership and for the trust he has placed in me as a member of his team. I also want to thank each of my colleagues for their support, encouragement, and advice.
Politics is a team sport and at the national level it has been a great privilege playing on the Conservative team. I thank my friends.
While I look forward to a new and exciting chapter in my life, it has been an honour to serve in this chamber for the past 11 years. This unique place, the unparalleled experiences, the dear friends we have made along the way, the hard work, the objectives achieved, the remarkable people I have met and worked with from around the world, the opportunities to give back to my community and to my country; for all of this, I am thankful and feel tremendously blessed.
May God continue to keep our land strong, glorious, and free.
Taiwan Chamber of Commerce in B.C. May 26th, 2015
Mr. Speaker, it is my pleasure today to welcome to Ottawa 10 members of the Taiwan Chamber of Commerce in British Columbia. They are in Ottawa to meet with ministers, MPs, and government officials.
The chamber has a membership of over 650 Taiwanese-Canadian business people in B.C.'s Lower Mainland who share an interest in international trade.
These chamber members are exporting Canadian goods and services across the Pacific region and around the world. They represent great companies, including Advance Lighting Technologies, GS Travel, Canada Group, Cosmos Immigration and Education Corporation, Vance Financial Group, Hanyin Group, Lulu Island Winery, NTS International Group, and banks and accounting firms.
Members of the organization are also key leaders in the Taiwanese community, which numbers over 42,000 in British Columbia.
This cultural community has significant populations in the ridings of Burnaby South, Richmond Centre, Steveston—Richmond East, Vancouver—Granville, and of course my own beautiful riding of South Surrey—White Rock—Cloverdale.
I welcome them to Ottawa.
North Korea January 28th, 2015
Mr. Speaker, as we know, North Korea has one of the most brutal regimes on the planet, denying its own people the most basic rights and freedoms. Indeed, those who would dare question the totalitarian regime of Kim Jong-un, or even try to escape from it, are sent to concentration camps, many to die of torture or starvation. Amnesty International estimates there are 200,000 political prisoners in these camps.
This week, the Parliament of Canada will hear testimony from a high profile defector, Jang Jin-sung, who has documented many of the evils of the North Korean regime in his recent book Dear Leader.
However, Kim Jong-un is not content to oppress just his own people. His regime also threatens us with nuclear weapons and attacks our right to free speech as the recent Sony hack demonstrated.
Canada will not be intimidated. We will continue to criticize the cruelty of Kim Jong-un and call for an end to his regime.
Petitions June 19th, 2014
Mr. Speaker, I am here to present two petitions on behalf of constituents who are concerned about the lack of tough laws when it comes to drinking and driving.
The petitioners would like to see tougher laws and the implementation of a new mandatory minimum sentence for those persons convicted of impaired driving causing death. In particular, they would like an offence of impaired driving causing death classified as vehicular manslaughter.
Economic Action Plan 2014 Act, No. 1 June 5th, 2014
Mr. Speaker, again, I know my colleague was not here when the previous Liberal government had to deal with difficult spending choices. However, the choices it made were devastating for my province of British Columbia. The cuts it made to health care and social transfers were crippling at the time.
Under our government, we have invested substantially in infrastructure that benefits everyone in the community and certainly improves the efficiency within our economy. The historic 10-year agreement that we have put in place for infrastructure is approximately $70 billion, the largest in Canadian history.
Despite the fact that it goes beyond the next election, the government should be credited for thinking in the longer term. Too often governments in this place look for the short-term hits, the short-term wins that will benefit them politically. However, our government has the foresight to look well beyond the following election to do what is best for Canadians in the long term.
Economic Action Plan 2014 Act, No. 1 June 5th, 2014
Mr. Speaker, when we look at what we have done for veterans, any objective observer would realize that we have invested an enormous amount of money to support them.
In my speech I talked about the $2 billion that is being added to the new veterans charter program for seriously injured veterans. However, overall, our government has increased spending on veterans' services by $4.6 billion.
In addition to that, I would draw to the member's attention that the all-party committee that addresses veterans' care has also made additional recommendations to the government, which are also being considered.
There is no doubt that the care of veterans is a priority for Canadians. Certainly those veterans within my community are well aware of that.
Economic Action Plan 2014 Act, No. 1 June 5th, 2014
Mr. Speaker, it gives me great pleasure to speak to the budget implementation act, the centrepiece of our Conservative government's economic agenda for Canada. There are three strong themes running through this budget: one, supporting jobs and growth; two, supporting families and communities; and, three, balancing the budget.
Jobs and opportunities for Canadians remain our government's top priorities. We have seen over a million net new jobs created since the global economic slowdown. This has reduced the unemployment rate to 6.9% and we will do even more to support job creation with this budget.
Measures we are taking include providing $100 million in interest-free loans to apprentices in the trades, $55 million for paid internships for recent graduates, and $75 million for the targeted initiative for older workers program to support older workers who want to participate in the job market. We are also cutting red tape for businesses by eliminating the requirement for 800,000 payroll remittances by 50,000 small and medium-sized businesses. As well, we are launching the new Canada job grant program. Canadians will now be able to qualify for up to $15,000 per person to get the skills and training they need for in-demand jobs.
British Columbia will also benefit directly in this budget as our government will be providing $222 million for world-class physics research in the TRIUMF laboratory at the University of British Columbia.
We have also announced the biggest infrastructure investment in Canadian history, an amazing $70 billion for new highways, bridges, ports and municipal utilities. Approximately $9 billion of those funds will be spent in British Columbia. This investment will keep a lot of trades employed in my community and across the nation, as well as help modernize and improve the efficiency of our economy to help Canada compete globally.
Indeed, our outlook extends past our borders. As a member of the international trade committee, I am an enthusiastic supporter of our drive to diversify and expand our export markets. Our focus on developing our exports has been characterized by the successful conclusion of negotiations for a free trade agreement with the European Union. The benefits Canada will realize from this agreement alone are an impressive $12 billion increase in the Canadian economy. That is equivalent to creating 80,000 new jobs or boosting the average Canadian family's income by $1,000 annually.
As the House knows, we have also reached a free trade deal with South Korea. I know this deal will be a great boost to our agricultural sector initially, but it will also benefit many other sectors in years to come.
However, there are other free trade agreements we are working toward that will continue to grow our economy, expand our exports and create wealth and high-paying jobs for Canadians.
The Trans-Pacific Partnership negotiations could lead to another huge trade deal for Canada and guaranteed access to many of the most populous nations of the world. Indeed, we are already trading with the TPP nations, but a free trade agreement would allow unhindered, duty-free access for Canadian exports. This deal would give a huge boost to industry in my home province.
For instance, in 2012, British Columbia exported almost $4.9 billion in wood and related products to TPP member countries. However, currently, Canada's exports of wood and related products face tariffs of up to 10% in Japan, 31% in Vietnam and 40% in Malaysia. Australia has tariffs of up to 5% on Canadian lumber. Paper and paperboard products face tariffs of up to 27% in Vietnam and 25% in Malaysia.
Eliminating these tariff barriers would significantly support sales of British Columbia's world-class wood and related products in the lucrative TPP market of 792 million consumers, meaning more jobs for British Columbians. Our economic action plan creates jobs directly through spending on infrastructure and it will support the creation of many more through expanded trade opportunities for our exporters.
The second major theme in our budget is supporting families and communities. We are accomplishing this goal through a number of key measures. One, which does not always receive much notice but greatly impacts our quality of life, is the annual federal transfer to the provinces for health care and welfare.
The previous Liberal government devastated our health care system by slashing transfers to the provinces. Despite the very real fiscal challenges we have faced over the past number of years, we have not cut a penny of health care funding.
On the contrary, we have increased funding for hospitals, doctors, nurses and equipment every year since we formed government. This year, my province of British Columbia will receive a record $5.8 billion to fund hospitals, housing and other social programs. Some of those funds will be used to support health care providers in my constituency such as the Peace Arch Hospital in White Rock.
We are also taking action in the budget to protect consumers. One action we are taking is addressing the unjustified Canada-U.S. retail price gap through new legislation. This issue is of particular concern to retailers in my border community as they lose critical business to American retailers which are just a short drive away.
We also committed to recognizing and supporting those who have risked all to defend our freedoms. Budget 2014 provides $2 billion to enhance the new veterans charter in support of serious injured veterans.
The third theme in our budget is balancing the books. Everyone knows that the global economic downturn hit government revenues hard. Before the global recession hit, our Conservative government paid down $37 billion in debt, bringing Canada's debt to its lowest level in 25 years.
Our fiscal responsibility and aggressive debt reduction placed Canada in the best possible position to weather the global recession. When the global recession hit, we made a deliberate decision to run a temporary deficit to protect our economy and jobs.
Many governments around the world are still struggling to tame their national finances. However, through prudent financial management, including trimming the size of our federal government departments and agencies, we are on track to be the first G7 nation to balance our budget.
Overall, since 2010, actions we have taken to make government more effective and efficient are saving taxpayers roughly $19 billion a year.
Canada's net debt to GDP ratio is 36.5%. This is the lowest level among G7 countries, with Germany being the second lowest at 56.3% and the G7 average at 90.2%.
Economic action plan 2014 would bring the projected deficit down to $2.9 billion by 2014-15, and forecasts a surplus of $6.4 billion in 2015-16. That is extremely good news for Canadian taxpayers.
Despite the fact that we have already cut personal and business taxes substantially, a balanced budget will allow more room for tax cuts and debt reduction in the years to come. Already, the average family of four has seen their taxes cut close to $3,400 annually, giving them greater flexibility to make choices that are right for them.
Likewise, seniors have also seen substantial tax relief. Pension income splitting, a $2,000 increase in the age credit, doubling of the pension income credit, reducing the GST from 7% to 5% and other measures have reduced the taxes seniors pay by $2.8 billion annually.
These measures are particularly important to my community, as retirees choose to relocate to South Surrey—White Rock—Cloverdale from all over Canada to take advantage of our temperate climate and scenic coastal beauty.
Corporate taxes have also been cut from 21% to 15%, making Canada an attractive place for international businesses to locate and invest, creating more high paying jobs for Canadians. In fact, since 2006, we have cut taxes nearly 160 times, reducing the overall tax burden to its lowest level in 50 years.
Economic action plan 2014 delivers additional tax relief by introducing the search and rescue volunteers tax credit and acknowledging the valuable contributions ground, air and marine search and rescue volunteers provide to Canadians from coast to coast to coast.
A future budget surplus would allow our government to move forward with promised tax cuts, making the tax burden we carry even lighter and allowing Canadians greater freedom to make their own financial choices to save, invest and spend.
I call on all members to support this budget implementation bill.
Petitions June 5th, 2014
Mr. Speaker, on behalf of constituents in my community, I would like to present this petition in which they call on mandatory minimum sentences for those convicted of impaired driving causing death and the redefinition in the Criminal Code of an offence of impaired driving causing death to vehicular manslaughter.