House of Commons photo

Crucial Fact

  • His favourite word was marijuana.

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

Lost his last election, in 2019, with 39% of the vote.

Statements in the House

Economic Action Plan 2015 Act, No. 1 May 14th, 2015

Mr. Speaker, I would like to share my time with the member for Burlington, if I that is agreeable.

Mr. Speaker, there is one initiative that stands above all others in this budget bill, because it would allow millions of Canadians, from all backgrounds and walks of life, to work hard and plan ahead to become more self-reliant, and even wealthy, over time. This is the bright future Conservatives want for all Canadians, especially our children and grandchildren. Ordinary people would have the independence that is available only to wealthy people now. That initiative is the tax-free savings account limit being increased to $10,000 a year.

Tax-free savings accounts are the most powerful savings vehicle in Canadian history. They will allow hundreds of thousands of ordinary working people to actually become millionaires.

Here are 10 reasons the Conservative government, in this bill, has the only plan for Canadians to conserve their earnings, build personal wealth, and be financially independent in their senior years: tax-free savings accounts.

Number one, they help our youth understand the importance of saving. What is the most important gift for financial success and security we could give our children and grandchildren? It is teaching them to be self-reliant and to work and save for their future using the power of compound interest. It is teaching them to not spend what they do not have, to not get buried in charge card debt and interest, to pay their bills on time, and to save for life's priorities, like education, a home, and their retirement.

The ratio of debt to net income is 1.6 for the average family in Canada right now. It is the highest ever. However, it gets worse. What happens when the interest rates go up, as they will? Hundreds of thousands of families will be trapped in monthly credit card payments at an 18% interest rate, or higher, that they will struggle to pay down.

By promoting saving as part of our culture, instead of credit card debt, we can help spare millions of young people from this interest rate trap that never ends.

Eleven million Canadians have opened their own tax-free savings accounts so far and agree with us. Every Canadian over 18 should try to save in a tax-free savings account. They should not be misled by the subterfuge of the Liberals, who are telling Canadians that tax-free savings accounts only help the rich. That is absolutely not true. It is never okay to mislead Canadians like this. It is shameful.

Here is the truth about tax-free savings accounts. Sixty per cent of those Canadians who have invested the maximum in tax-free savings accounts to date earn less than $60,000 a year. By whose standards are these people rich? No one's.

More than half of the Canadians who have opened tax-free savings accounts and have saved in them earn $40,000 a year or less. That is 5.5 million people. Are they rich? Certainly not.

The Liberals are setting us all up by saying that they will only increase taxes for the rich. What do they mean by that? Who is that? It is everyone who earns over $40,000, which is the vast majority of Canadians. They want to get their hands on that $6,600 our government has cut from the average Canadian family's tax bill.

The federal Liberal leader has already announced, on May 4, the Liberal plan to cancel our increase for tax-free savings accounts to $10,000 a year. That is a tax increase of the most foolish kind.

Number two, tax-free savings accounts are the great equalizer. Canadians who do not earn over $100,000 a year have only one way to become financially independent: save, invest, and watch their money grow. That is what tax-free savings accounts facilitate.

With tax-free savings accounts, ordinary Canadians who work and save can become wealthy. For example, a skilled tradeswoman electrician who took full advantage of her tax-free savings account limit from age 20, with a modest 4% return on stocks, could receive her first million dollars tax free by age 61. That is 13 years sooner than it would be without a tax-free savings account.

Tax-free savings accounts also grow our economy. When people open tax-free savings accounts with Canadian securities, their money goes to invest in Canadian enterprises that create jobs here in Canada. Businesses expand. Economic activity is boosted. That growth, over decades, could easily replace any lost government tax revenues from tax-free savings accounts.

Here is the problem. The Liberals and the NDP believe, and they want all Canadians to believe, that money not in government hands is not benefiting Canada. This is a Marxist hangover. It is nonsense.

Here is the truth. Money invested by Canadians is money that is loaned out to industry and job creators to help build Canada. Entrepreneurs are our most important creators.

This is reason number four: they support innovation and job creation. With tax-free savings accounts, entrepreneurs can tap into their accumulated tax-free savings to create new industry and replenish their accounts later as their businesses grow.

The fifth reason is that tax-free savings accounts are fair because the government should not tax all people's money twice. It saddens me to see our seniors, the people who built Canada, trying to live on interest on their savings that gets eaten up by inflation and then taxed. They are just falling further behind. With tax-free savings accounts, the federal government is forgoing the double taxation that prevents Canadians from growing their most important lifetime savings, leaving them one little pile of their own money to grow without interference. Canadians deserve that.

The sixth reason is that tax-free savings accounts shine a light on how ordinary Canadians have been robbed of their right to affluence and self-reliance. Big-spending governments, like both opposition parties would create, are addicted to spending and borrowing. Just look at Ontario right now. The Liberals and New Democrats believe that all money belongs to the government and Canadians just get to use it for awhile and governments can tax it back any time they want, any way they want, whenever they want. The Conservatives believe that money earned after tax belongs to the people who earn it. They should have at least one special account that the government has no right to touch, or even its growth, ever again.

The seventh reason is that tax-free savings accounts help ensure better health care for Canadians. Canadians who want to be able to afford choice in their own health care in their senior years should be saving as much as they need in tax-free savings accounts. The most hysterical socialists at the Broadbent Institute are playing the fear card, claiming that health care is threatened if the doubling of tax-free savings accounts is approved. They have no shame. The exact opposite is the truth.

The fact is that governments only cover 60% of our total health care costs. Canadians pay the rest, if they can afford to, such as dental care, chiropractic care, naturopathic care, homeopathic care, long-term care, blood tests, vitamins. We pay more for drugs than we do for doctors. We pay for long-term care. Let us face it, the nanny state is a failure.

People can save in the TFSA and be self-reliant so they are not left without the money they need to pay for these things. By saving $7,000 a year from age 25, at a modest 5% rate of growth, a 65 year old would have $887,000 to handle any such bills. No government could ever do that for them. If that same person saved $10,000 a year and got a 5% rate of return, he or she would have over $1.2 million. This drives the socialists crazy. They cannot stand that ordinary people could be that independent. Who would need the nanny state? That is why the socialists hate TFSAs and would get rid of them if elected.

The eighth reason is that TFSAs reduce the underground economy. TFSAs are registered savings plans. The government knows about them. They will help bring our considerable underground economy above ground by making it more attractive to invest in Canadian companies because the growth is tax free. The government will get more tax income from the companies that grow out of the investments and from their employees.

The ninth reason is that tax-free savings accounts support the flexibility of future governments to act. The Broadbent Institute claims that by 2080 the government will be short $15 billion that it otherwise would have had. That completely ignores the fact that some of those billions of dollars would have remained in the underground economy. It also ignores the multiplier effect of those dollars invested back in the economy and the fact that our economy, by that time, would be as large as $15 trillion. Therefore, $15 billion would be about .001% of such an economy. This is simple math. If governments are ever low on money, they can always raise taxes, reduce spending or borrow if need be. Tax-free savings accounts do not hinder any of that.

The tenth reason is that tax-free savings accounts at $10,000 a year are the absolute best deal Canadian taxpayers have ever been offered. They will motivate Canadians to work, to be entrepreneurs and employ others, to save and to be self-reliant. We can build a much greater nation with millions of citizens like that, and that is what we would do with this budget bill.

Economic Action Plan 2015 Act, No. 1 May 14th, 2015

Mr. Speaker, Canada's seniors, like those in my riding of Oakville, have helped build our country and make it great. That is why I am proud that no government in Canadian history has done more to stand up for seniors than this Conservative government. For example, we enhanced the new horizons for seniors program to combat elder abuse and to engage seniors in their communities. We put money back into the pockets of seniors by legislating pension income splitting and by introducing the largest GIS increase in over 25 years. We cut taxes, removed 380,000 low-income seniors from the tax roles completely, and created the landmark tax-free savings account.

My question for theMinister of Finance is this: what would the budget bill do to support Canadian seniors?

Taxation May 7th, 2015

Mr. Speaker, families in my riding of Oakville are very pleased with our government's plan to put more money back in their pockets to be spent on their priorities. This is why we introduced the enhanced universal child care benefit and the family tax cut.

Could the Minister of Employment and Social Development please give this House an update on how we can ensure all Canadian families with children will benefit from our plan?

National Strategy for Dementia Act May 5th, 2015

Mr. Speaker, I am honoured to rise today to participate in the debate on Bill C-356, an act respecting a national strategy for dementia.

I want to begin by commending my hon. colleague, the member for Nickel Belt, for bringing this important issue before the House. The member has spoken about his family's personal connection to Alzheimer's, and we can all acknowledge the good work he has done to bring attention to what is a very pressing health issue for many Canadians.

Dementia is not a normal part of aging. It knows no social, economic, ethnic, or geographical boundaries. The effects of dementia are wide-reaching, affecting those diagnosed with it, their families, friends, and all of our communities.

While evidence about the causes of dementia is limited, we are learning that risks may be reduced through early diagnosis and by promoting healthy living. Research has pointed to possible risk factors, such as physical inactivity, unhealthy diets, environmental, genetic and gender factors, as well as traumatic brain injury. Some of these possible risk factors are things we can change in our lifestyles, such as physical inactivity and unhealthy eating. This is one of the reasons that our government has been so focused on encouraging healthy, active lifestyles.

No family should have to lose a parent or another loved one to a terrible disease like Alzheimer's, so it is important we are working to raise awareness of these things as the research continues to evolve. That said, we know that we cannot be focused on prevention alone. We must also consider those who have already received the devastating diagnosis of dementia. We must prepare for the future while also providing support for those currently living with this disease.

Over the past year and a half, we have seen unprecedented international attention focused on dementia. Last fall, the Government of Canada co-hosted the Canada-France Global Dementia Legacy Event. This event was built upon the momentum that began with our Minister of Health's participation in the 2013 G8 dementia summit. The focus of the legacy event was on developing new approaches to research, working with both the public and private sectors to bring all efforts together.

It was at this event that the Minister of Health announced work under way with the Alzheimer Society of Canada to implement a program called dementia friends Canada across our country. I would like to provide some further details on this program as it is an international model that is proving to be very successful and is highly supported by key stakeholders.

This unique program was originally launched in Japan as Dementia Supporters and more recently in the United Kingdom as Dementia Friends.

The idea behind the program is a community-based awareness and training program that would help to build dementia-friendly communities.

For individuals living with dementia, simple routine tasks such as shopping for groceries or paying bills become increasingly challenging over time. These individuals need understanding and patience. People living with dementia want to carry on with their daily lives and feel included in their communities, but they may need a bit of help and sometimes may not know how to ask. They also need support so they can continue to be engaged in their communities comfortably and confidently.

We believe that dementia friends Canada would help individuals, communities, and businesses better understand the needs of those living with dementia in order to take action and make a difference in their quality of life. It would empower communities, large and small, to create a positive change.

Through this program, the government would support those living with dementia today by removing the stigma surrounding this devastating disease and creating a culture of understanding, tolerance, and patience.

I am sure we can all agree that supporting these attributes is essential in helping those living with dementia stay connected to their communities.

Members may be interested to know that when the United Kingdom launched its Dementia Friends program just one year ago, it set a goal of one million dementia friends. Becoming a dementia friend is not as simple as a Facebook click. These one million residents of the U.K. have taken training to better understand the needs of people living with dementia and have committed to supporting them in the community.

The U.K. program is working to go even beyond one million registered participants and has now set a new goal of three million dementia friends by 2020. I know that Canadians will be just as excited to make a real difference for those here at home when we are able to bring this program to Canada.

Through a partnership with the Alzheimer Society of Canada, our government is adapting the United Kingdom's successful initiative to the Canadian context, and we would implement our dementia friends Canada program nationally. As part of this program, we are developing a national website which would provide information on dementia, suggest simple ways people can help someone living with dementia, and encourage Canadians to sign up to become dementia friends.

Canadians of all ages would be able to turn their new understanding into action. By learning a bit more about what it would be like to live with dementia and what they can do to help, Canadians would be able to better support those living with the disease.

Dementia champions are another important component to this program. These volunteers would be trained and equipped with resources to answer people's questions about dementia, suggest sources for further information, and support and provide training to dementia friends.

We have heard today about the alarming rate at which dementia is affecting Canadians and we know that sadly over time that rate will increase. It can make a huge difference to the people living with this disease if the people around them know what dementia is and how it may be affecting them. While we remain committed to research on prevention and a cure so that fewer Canadians ever have to struggle with this disease in the long run, I am proud we are also taking real action to make a difference for those who need our help here and now. I believe that dementia friends Canada would complement the significant investments our government is making in research.

I hope that my remarks today demonstrate the commitment of our government in taking action to make a difference for Canadians and their families. As I am sure members are already well aware, our government is already committed to developing a national dementia plan. In fact, it was included in this year's economic action plan, and we will continue to work with the provinces and territories to do exactly that.

When it comes to research, we have been taking undeniable leadership through our participation in G8 and World Health Organization efforts. We have been supporting Canadian expertise focused ultimately on finding a cure, and would also be taking real action to better support those who are living with the disease.

Importantly, all of these activities have been done while respecting provincial and territorial jurisdiction over health care. As I said at the beginning of my remarks, I know that the member for Nickel Belt is well intentioned with this bill, but unfortunately, it does infringe on provincial jurisdiction in a number of areas. I think it would be unfortunate to have federal legislation interfere in an area where we already have such strong co-operation.

Members have also mentioned a motion which was brought forward by my colleague, the member for Huron—Bruce. I look forward to debate on that motion, as it calls on the government to take strong action while respecting the jurisdiction of the provinces over health care delivery.

It is clear that Canadians living with Alzheimer's or other forms of dementia need our support. Our government recognizes this and has taken a number of steps already. We are committed to doing even more through the dementia friends program and our co-operative work with the provinces on a national plan. We will get the job done, working within our federal role.

Legalization of Marijuana March 30th, 2015

Mr. Speaker, legalized marijuana in Colorado has not been just good clean fun. Illegal drug dealers are still thriving, as dope smokers avoid the 27.9% sales tax. In 2014, 45 children who were eight years old or under ingested marijuana-laced sweets and ended up in poison control centres, some needing intubation or spinal taps in hospital. One young man consumed a marijuana cookie and jumped to his death. Another allegedly shot and killed his wife after eating marijuana candy. In Canada, most dead drivers in car accidents are aged 16 to 24, and 40% of Canadian youth have ridden with a driver who has smoked marijuana.

So much for the Liberal leader's brave new world of legalized dope. Shamefully, the Pied Piper of pot announced his legalization plan to teenagers at a Charlottetown high school. While parents are looking for ways to keep their children and teens safe, the Liberal Leader would make that harder. He should take advice from one of his old Pink Floyd albums: “Hey! [...] leave [them] kids alone!”

Telecommunications February 23rd, 2015

Mr. Speaker, the world is waking up to the potential health risks of electromagnetic radiation from cellular phones, Wi-Fi, baby monitors, iPads, and other tablets.

France banned Wi-Fi in daycare centres and elementary schools and, for older children, teachers must turn off Wi-Fi when it is not being used for teaching. The Israeli Knesset has ordered radiation testing in all Israeli schools, banned Wi-Fi from preschools and kindergartens, and restricted its use to one hour a day for students up to Grade 3. Taiwanese lawmakers have banned the use of electronic devices for children under two altogether, and parents who allow older children to use iPads and smart phones face fines.

Oakville-based Canadians 4 Safe Technology is on the Hill today with cancer expert Dr. Anthony Miller to address the potential harms from wireless radiation.

Manufacturers' safety warnings are hidden in fine print in tiny booklets that most users never see. My private members' bill, Bill C-648, would make sure that Canadians can see the safety warnings they deserve to see so that they can use wireless devices safely.

Infrastructure February 19th, 2015

Mr. Speaker, we often hear the opposition complaining about the infrastructure investments from our government. It is quite puzzling, when we know that the Conservative government has made record investments and will continue to do so for the next decade with $75 billion.

Can the Minister of Infrastructure, Communities and Intergovernmental Affairs inform the House, and especially the opposition, about Canada's performance in infrastructure investment since 2006?

Eating Disorders February 5th, 2015

Mr. Speaker, in November of 2013, I made a successful motion at the status of women committee that we study the impact, treatment and the nature of eating disorders in Canada, with the focus on women and girls who compose 80% of the victims.

During Eating Disorder Awareness Week, some shocking details must be reported. Eating disorders—anorexia, bulimia and binge eating—are complex and misunderstood mental illnesses, influenced by genetic, psychological, social and cultural factors. They are not driven by body image or peer pressure, but are triggered by them.

Anorexia patients have the highest mortality rate of any mental illness, leading to 1,500 deaths per year. Only 50% of the victims fully recover and only a patchwork of specialized treatment exists across Canada, for example, 20 dedicated beds in British Columbia but zero in Alberta.

Patients require specialized and robust care from families, doctors, hospitals, treatment centres, researchers and governments. This study is the first step to making this dream a reality.

Nááts’ihch’oh National Park Reserve Act December 11th, 2014

Mr. Speaker, I want to share in the good wishes and wish everyone in the House a merry Christmas.

I want to point out that the member inadvertently misled the House by misquoting the comments of the Prime Minister on the oil and gas industry. It is important to note that there was one word missing in her comment, which totally changed the meaning of what she was misquoting. The Prime Minister said that he would not regulate the oil and gas industry now “unilaterally”, meaning without action by other nations. He was primarily referring to the United States. That is a meaning quite different from what she said, and I think it is important to correct that. We have heard it in the House over the last couple of days as well.

As well, it was evident from the member's remarks that she had missed a very important recent announcement by the Prime Minister. The Prime Minister just announced $2.8 billion for Parks Canada infrastructure, which is exactly what she was talking about. Would the member not agree that this is significant and, if so, does that increase the chances that the member will support our upcoming budget?

Nááts’ihch’oh National Park Reserve Act December 11th, 2014

Mr. Speaker, parks are a very important part of Canadians' lives. The Conservative government has an excellent record when it comes to the number of parks and protected areas it has created. It has already created three national wildlife areas, three marine protected areas, two national parks, two national marine conservation areas, and one historic site.

Why is it important to now establish the Nááts’ihch’oh national park reserve?