House of Commons photo


Crucial Fact

  • His favourite word was correct.

Last in Parliament October 2015, as Conservative MP for Kitchener Centre (Ontario)

Lost his last election, in 2019, with 24% of the vote.

Statements in the House

Economic Action Plan 2013 Act No. 2 October 24th, 2013

Mr. Speaker, I find the member's preamble really quite surprising. I have known and watched the President of the Treasury Board for many years and I find him to be not only very articulate but, as with all of the ministers on this side of the House, very hard working and very dedicated to the best interests of all Canadians. I look forward to working with him for many more years to come.

The reality is that everything a government does is subject to law, to judicial interpretation and to the Canadian Charter of Rights and Freedoms. Although I have some experience in law, I do not pretend to be an expert, not nearly as much of an expert as my colleague opposite is on labour unions and their rights. I suspect she is an expert.

The courts pretty well jealously look after charter guarantees, freedom of association and that labour rights are protected accordingly. I expect that any decision made by the government to designate an essential public service will be based on real need and quite justifiable to the courts or anyone else.

Economic Action Plan 2013 Act No. 2 October 24th, 2013

Mr. Speaker, I am proud to rise today in support of budget implementation act No. 2. This act would ensure that important provisions in budget 2013 would be implemented.

Before discussing the highlights of the bill, I want to mention the government's plan for balancing the budget and I also want to mention Canada's economic success. This government has an effective plan to balance the budget by 2015. It is a challenging task, but achievable. As with budget 2013, the bill would help the government to achieve financial sustainability.

World leaders, of course, are very interested in Canada as a result of our government's example and our economic success. Canada leads the G7 in job creation, in income growth and in keeping debt levels low. Canada is among the few countries in the world with an AAA credit rating.

The government's continued sound fiscal management will generate continued respect, but despite our strong financial performance, there are still challenges that we must face. The United States is experiencing ongoing difficulties. The European Union is continuing its long upward climb.

Last week's historic trade deal between Canada and the European Union shows our government's determination to seize international opportunities for Canada. The government must reduce its deficit so Canadians will be encouraged to do the same. We must practise what we preach.

The deficit was a justified response to the 2008-09 economic recession, but it must be temporary. By 2015, the government will balance the budget and will introduce legislation to encourage balanced budgets in the future. This will ensure that in normal economic times there will be concrete guidelines for returning to balance after any economic crisis.

With an aggressive debt to GDP target of 25% by the year 2021 and a plan in place, this government is on the right track. I am proud that the government, during and after the world's worst economic recession in almost 80 years, remains recognized around the world as an example for others to follow. I am very proud of the leadership of our Prime Minister and our Minister of Finance.

The bill will deliver real solutions for Canadians and it reflects the goals of reducing the country's deficit and returning to balanced budgets. I want to highlight three aspects of the bill that I am particularly pleased with. I will elaborate on how the bill would support job creators, close tax loopholes and also respect taxpayer dollars.

Job creation is especially important to me as the representative for Kitchener Centre. BlackBerry, based in Kitchener—Waterloo, has suffered losses over the past couple of years and some of my constituents are on the hunt for jobs that match their highly talented skills. We enjoy some business incubators which support start-up companies and these include the renowned Communitech and also programs at the University of Waterloo and Wilfrid Laurier University, world-class leading centres of education.

As Canada's small business week wraps up tomorrow, I am grateful to say that this bill would extend the hiring credit for small business. This would benefit 560,000 job creators across Canada, and hundreds of those job creators are in my region of Kitchener—Waterloo. With over one million jobs created since the depth of the global recession, this hiring credit would create even more places for the bright minds of Canada's future.

The bill would also freeze employment insurance rates for three years, leaving $660 million in the pockets of job creators and workers in 2014 alone. EI costs employees and employers hard-earned money. When I look at small businesses employing just two, three or four individuals, I see that this freeze will help owners to balance their books just as the government is balancing its books.

The government will also help the environment through the expansion of the accelerated capital cost allowance to include investments in clean energy generation. I was very pleased to see this. It adds to the government's existing investment for small business which is given through a small business financing program offered by Industry Canada and by loans offered by the Business Development Bank and by grants from the Canadian Youth Business Foundation.

Achieving clean energy solutions is a priority. The challenge business owners face is to secure initial capital to develop those long-term solutions. Finding cost-efficient clean energy solutions is critically important for our future and developing those solutions takes extensive research.

As a long-time member of the environment committee, I am always looking for ways to ensure a sustainable future. Job creators will be encouraged to continue looking for clean energy generation through the accelerated capital cost allowance measure in this bill.

I am confident that Bill C-4 will benefit small businesses, start-ups and job creators in Kitchener Centre over the next number of years based on these new initiatives.

A second focus within this bill is closing tax loopholes and combatting tax evasion. I want to highlight the importance of these measures.

Hard-working taxpayers can be confident that the bill would ensure that everyone would pay their fair share of taxes. When everyone is paying their fair share, it keeps taxes low for Canadian families and creates incentives to invest in Canada.

The government will introduce new administrative monetary penalties and offences to deter the use, possession, sale and development of software designed to falsify records for the purpose of tax evasion.

Although this government will always keep taxes low, we insist that all citizens pay all of their required taxes. Heavier penalties will force wrongdoers to use proper software and pay what they owe.

The government will also close more tax loopholes related to money transfers to ensure that everyone pays their fair share. It has already introduced rules to prevent foreign affiliates from converting otherwise taxable surplus income into the form of loans. There is also an information reporting regime for tax avoidance transactions.

Finally, the government will extend in certain circumstances the time for the Canada Revenue Agency to reassess taxpayers who fail to report income from foreign property.

The third point that I will highlight are measures to respect taxpayer dollars through initiatives introduced in March, scheduled to be rolled out upon budget approval. For example, by modernizing the Canada student loans program with digital communication, the government will deliver efficient ways for students to pay down their debt quickly and to apply for loan approvals or extensions sooner.

Another timely measure in economic action plan 2013 are steps to prevent abuse of the temporary foreign worker program, abuses which concern my constituents. The program was created to fill acute labour needs when Canadians were not available. It was never intended to bring in temporary foreign workers to replace Canadian workers. The reforms brought forward in the spring budget stem from the government's ongoing review of this program.

The budget would increase the government's ability to revoke work permits, enabling immediate action against employers who did not comply with the rules. These changes would also require that employers using the temporary foreign workers program pay temporary foreign workers the prevailing wage for a job. These are common sense changes made to the program to remove unintended incentives to hire foreign workers. These reforms would ensure that Canadians would always be at the front of the hiring line.

Other measures will deliver important savings for Canadians. The fact is that many products needed to support families are consistently priced higher in Canada than in the United States. By removing tariffs on imported baby clothing and sports equipment, budget 2013 will ensure that difference is reduced.

We can all be pleased that budget implementation bill No. 2 delivers a solid plan for creating jobs and economic growth, all while keeping taxes low and still balancing the budget by 2015.

This bill is great news for my constituents in Kitchener Centre. I invite all members of the House to join me in supporting jobs, growth and long-term economic prosperity. I ask that members vote yes to this bill.

Economic Action Plan 2013 Act No. 2 October 24th, 2013

The great member for Kitchener Centre.

Canadian Union of Postal Workers October 23rd, 2013

Mr. Speaker, on October 15, CRTC fined the Canadian Union of Postal Workers $50,000 for breaking the law.

Kitchener Centre residents were disturbed throughout May and June by robocalls announcing the closure of a Canada Post location. The robocalls did not provide a name, address, or phone number where they could be tracked. I was personally misrepresented when constituents were informed that I had approved the closure of the downtown location. This decision was actually made by Canada Post after a month-long consultation. In fact, no decision had even been made to close the post office when this false information was given out. My constituents were upset by the calls and had no way of tracking the originator.

Even if union bosses take their partisan cues from the NDP, their union members and the public deserve better from CUPW. I ask CUPW to apologized to their Kitchener members and to Kitchener residents for their undemocratic way of proceeding.

Oktoberfest October 18th, 2013

Mr. Speaker, each October Kitchener residents and visitors from near and far dust off their lederhosen and iron their dirndls for KW Oktoberfest. This Bavarian celebration began in 1969 when the founders at the Concordia Club decided to make it a week-long community event every year. There are more than 40 cultural and family events, 16 fest halls are open all week, the local economy benefits and 70 charities raise money for worthy causes.

This festival celebrated Monday with one of the largest Thanksgiving parades in North America, but there is still time to enjoy German culture and life this weekend. Visit Willkommen Platz in downtown Kitchener for information.

Our thanks to the Government of Canada for delivering $138,000 in support this year. Thanks also to the thousands of volunteers who make Oktoberfest a success. Grab Onkel Hans everyone and zigge zagge zigge zagge hoi hoi hoi. Prosit.

Petitions June 17th, 2013

Mr. Speaker, I have a petition signed by about 175 people from southern Ontario who are concerned about the convention on cluster munitions.

The petitioners believe that Bill S-10 contains exceptions which run counter to the object and purpose of that treaty. They ask Parliament to amend Bill S-10 to remove those exceptions, to include an explicit prohibition on investment in cluster munition production and to add mention of the positive obligations Canada assumes by signing the convention.

Petitions June 12th, 2013

Mr. Speaker, I have two petitions to present today from the residents of Kitchener and Waterloo, totalling about 100 signatures, over 85% of whom are women. The petitioners request that sex selection be condemned by Parliament, pointing out that 92% of Canadians, an overwhelming majority, believe that sex-selective pregnancy termination should be illegal.

Expansion and Conservation of Canada’s National Parks Act June 6th, 2013

Mr. Speaker, let me say that I always find it regrettable when an opposition member stands in the House and maligns ordinary Canadians who have been given a job to do in the interests of all of us and public service. It is all too easy for members, like the one who just spoke, to stand up and insult people publicly in the chamber, where they have immunity. I find it regrettable and, if I may say in a final nod to the member, I find it somewhat out of character for her to so malign individuals who are really putting themselves in a position of public trust.

Expansion and Conservation of Canada’s National Parks Act June 6th, 2013

Mr. Speaker, I appreciate my colleague's kind comments. The respect I have for him is such that I take it as very high praise, indeed, when he says such kind things about me because he himself is well accomplished in this place, particularly in areas of environmental management.

Indeed, that is where I will pick up. As a national park, the area in question, Sable Island, as well as any national park, is subject to management and careful husbandry and protection of habitat and species and controlled access by the public. It would defeat the point of national parks if there were no access by the public, but the usage of a park is regulated and managed in a way that will in fact maximize the natural biodiversity. That is the kind of approach that I expect will be taken with this park.

In addition, may I say that our national parks are a way of connecting Canadians to nature and getting people to care about our natural environment. It is often said that is the mark of a true Canadian, the love for the outdoor natural environment, and our national parks very much contribute to that.

Expansion and Conservation of Canada’s National Parks Act June 6th, 2013

Mr. Speaker, I appreciate my friend's question, which is important and to the point. My colleague from across the way is well familiar with the variety of mechanisms that are in place whenever an undertaking of the nature she describes is begun in Canada and, among other things, whether it is the offshore petroleum board or any other agency that is engaged in approving of such projects, there is an assessment that is done, which is quite strenuous, generally speaking, and would be performed in such a case.

I do not have any reason to doubt that the assessments performed by the offshore petroleum board would be any less stringent than any of the others we conduct on an almost daily basis right across this country. Of course, those would also be subject to the limitations in this amendment to the act, which require no drilling within one nautical mile of the island and also very strict conditions for necessary limited activities on the island.