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Crucial Fact

  • Her favourite word was certainly.

Last in Parliament October 2015, as Conservative MP for Miramichi (New Brunswick)

Lost her last election, in 2015, with 34% of the vote.

Statements in the House

Discover Your Canada Act March 27th, 2013

Mr. Speaker, thank you for the opportunity to speak about Bill C-463, which is sponsored by the MP for Saint-Léonard—Saint-Michel. Before I get into the details of the bill, I would like to begin today by taking a few moments to speak about the important contributions tourism makes to our economy in every region of our great country.

Each year, millions of visitors from around the world and from across Canada travel our great country to discover its many natural and man-made wonders. The industry that serves those people is an important part of our economy. Indeed, thousands of Canadians rely on tourism for their jobs and livelihoods.

While large hotel chains, airlines and tour operators are important, about 98% of Canada's tourism sector consists of small and medium-sized businesses, such as lodges, wineries and spas. As such, it is mostly made up of thousands of private sectors and not-for-profit organizations and associations, as well as departments and agencies at all three levels of government.

In 2011, tourism accounted for approximately 2%, or $31.1 billion, of Canada's gross domestic product, some $78.7 billion in revenues, over 600,000 direct jobs and 3.5% of total employment in Canada. Tourism-related businesses often work with destination marketing organizations, which exist at the municipal, regional, provincial and national levels. These organizations promote development and market Canada's various tourism destinations and experiences.

Through various agencies, the three levels of government directly run many of Canada's most important tourism attractions, including parks, museums, sports stadiums and convention centres. Governments also establish policy and legislative frameworks and administrative practices that support and affect how our tourism businesses operate.

The diversified nature of the tourism sector makes it critical that all partners find ways to collaborate to build world-class destinations that offer first-class services and uniquely Canadian experiences. In the fall of 2011, after consulting with the men and women who help to make Canada such a great place to visit, it became very clear that a new federal tourism strategy was needed to help position Canada's tourism sector for long-term growth and global competitiveness.

The strategy focused on four priorities. The first was to increase awareness of Canada as a premier tourist destination. Second was to facilitate the ease of access and movement for travellers. Third is encouraging product development and investments in Canadian tourism assets and products. Fourth is fostering an adequate supply of skills and labour to enhance visitor experiences through quality service and great hospitality.

Canada's tourism industry has expressed support for the four priority areas and recent federal actions to foster tourism, including investments in tourism, infrastructure and marketing, through Canada's economic action plan and the signing of an approved destination status agreement with China.

In 2008 to 2009, during the global economic crisis, we invested more than $530 million in direct support for the tourism sector. This included more than $360 million in product development and tourism infrastructure, such as convention centres, and $113 million in tourism marketing. An additional $782 million was spent, largely on artistic, cultural and sports-related activities that have an indirect impact on tourism. We also made significant infrastructure investments in roads and bridges in support of this industry.

In addition to this ongoing support, Canada's economic action plan provided economic stimulus to the visitor economy through direct funding from our key tourism events, national parks, cruise infrastructure and marketing. Under the plan, we also invested billions of dollars in transportation and community infrastructure and in economic development that will provide enduring benefits to the sector. These actions supported the tourism industry through the economic downturn, and the sector continues to be resilient in the face of today's frequently volatile environment.

Given these strengths, we do not believe the proposed amendments to the Income Tax Act would be necessary. Although Bill C-463 would be intended to encourage Canadians to discover Canada by recognizing the costs of travel involving the crossing of at least three provincial boundaries, it is unclear whether and to what extent the proposal would motivate individuals to travel more, or to change their travel plans to take advantage of the tax deduction. Moreover, the proposal would have a number of deficiencies and would raise a number of equity and fairness concerns. In particular, it would recognize only the costs of tickets for travelling by bus, train or air. Other travel expenses, such as lodging, which may be significant for travel outside an individual's home province, may well present a deterrent for people who might otherwise take advantage of the proposed deduction. This deficiency would likely create pressure to extend tax relief to travel expenses that are not eligible under this proposal. Such extended tax relief would come at a significant fiscal cost. The deduction would provide significant benefits to those who would have incurred eligible travel expenses in any case. As such, it would represent a windfall gain to these individuals without increasing tourism.

The proposed deduction would apply only for airplane, train or bus transportation. It would not apply to travel by other modes of transportation, such as motor vehicle or boat, which may favour certain urban centres or regions over others. The bill would also stipulate that the percentage that could be deducted from income would vary, depending on the mode of transportation: 100% for travel by bus; 75% for travel by train; and 40% for travel by airplane. There is no policy rationale for why particular modes of transportation should be provided different tax treatment. Those travelling by air or train would view the measure as unfair, and rightly so.

In addition, the proposed measure would likely provide more tax relief to higher-income individuals, for two reasons. First, the deduction would apply to discretionary travel expenses that are typically incurred by higher-income individuals. Second, the value of the proposed deduction would be greater for individuals who are in higher personal income tax brackets.

To conclude, the bill would be inconsistent with existing tax policy, which generally does not allow taxpayers to deduct personal expenses and could entail significant costs. Indeed, implementing this deduction could cost about $215 million annually in foregone federal revenue, starting in 2017. It would also entail a cost for the provinces that use the federal definition of “taxable income”, in other words, all provinces except Quebec. It is unclear to what degree the proposal would induce individuals to travel more or to change their travel plans. For all these reasons, and others, my colleagues will mention as this debate progresses that our government opposes Bill C-463.

The Budget March 21st, 2013

Mr. Speaker, on behalf of all Canadians, let me congratulate the minister for economic action plan 2013 and for now being the longest-serving Conservative finance minister of a post-war era. I, along with my constituents of Miramichi, thank him for his continued hard work to lower taxes, to keep Canada's economy strong and to help ensure that Canada has both the best job creation and fiscal record in the G7.

I am also proud of our government's strong support for the men and women who serve and have served in the Canadian armed forces. Could the minister please explain what economic action plan 2013 will do to help Canadian veterans and their families?

Outstanding CEO of the Year Program March 6th, 2013

Mr. Speaker, I rise in the House today to salute a young Miramichi man who has indeed become an accomplished student. Patrick Losier is one of 10 students nationwide to receive this year's future fund scholarship established by Canada's outstanding CEO of the year program. Patrick, a student at Mount Allison University, travelled to Toronto to receive this award, which is given to students who have demonstrated exemplary leadership in their academic and extracurricular activities.

Patrick has ambitions of working in finance and is a member of the Mount Allison Habitat for Humanity group and will be travelling to Alabama later this year to help build a house.

Needless to say, Patrick is very deserving of this honour and he is following along in the footsteps of his families. We in the Miramichi are very proud of this young man and wish him continued success.

Leader of the New Democratic Party of Canada February 8th, 2013

Mr. Speaker, as the cold winter drags into February, many Canadian families are looking into having a vacation, either to ski or to get away from the cold altogether.

Of course, one Canadian is scheming of a new way to make it harder for Canadians to take those vacations in the future. This person has a plan to impose a new $20 billion job-killing carbon tax on Canadian taxpayers. He wants to impose this job-killing carbon tax to generate billions of dollars in revenues. This $20 billion job-killing carbon tax will make it harder for Canadians to take these vacations in the future, because they will be paying more for everything, including gas, groceries and electricity.

The person pushing this $20 billion job-killing carbon tax is none other than the leader of the NDP.

Faster Removal of Foreign Criminals Act January 29th, 2013

Mr. Speaker, I want to say that this is the same kind of question that all Canadians, and Miramichiers especially, will be asking. The opposition members will have to answer that themselves.

In our platform, we promised to expedite the deportation of foreign criminals, and our government has followed up on that promise by introducing the bill. Our government continues to do what is best for all Canadians. We must remember that while our government is working to do this and we have opposition to this, it is costing our country taxpayers' dollars.

Faster Removal of Foreign Criminals Act January 29th, 2013

Mr. Speaker, I want to thank the member for his question even though he asked a similar question just a few minutes ago.

Mr. Speaker, you and I know that it is a great privilege to become a Canadian. Therefore it is definitely not too much to ask anyone who is living in this country to refrain from crime. Our government is committed to helping keep our streets and communities safe.

I want to say at this time that Miramichiers and all Canadians will be shocked to learn that the opposition parties actually oppose the bill. They oppose the safety of our streets and our communities. It is hard to believe.

Faster Removal of Foreign Criminals Act January 29th, 2013

Mr. Speaker, the bottom line is that people who are not Canadian and commit a serious crime on our soil should no longer have the privilege of living here. That is the law in Canada. Our government wants safe streets and safe communities for all Canadians. Is this too much to ask of those visiting Canada? These are our tax dollars being spent.

Faster Removal of Foreign Criminals Act January 29th, 2013

Mr. Speaker, I am grateful for the opportunity to speak in this House today in support of Bill C-43, the faster removal of foreign criminals act.

As its name implies, this legislation would make it easier to remove dangerous foreign criminals from Canada and enhance the safety and security of all Canadians. Currently, foreign criminals can appeal their deportation if they receive a sentence of less than two years. Bill C-43 would restrict access to the Immigration Appeal Division at the Immigration and Refugee Board to those who receive a sentence of less than six months. This change would reduce the amount of time serious criminals may remain in Canada by 14 months or more, reducing their ability to delay their removal and commit more crimes on Canadian soil.

Serious criminality under the Immigration and Refugee Protection Act is, in part, defined as a conviction for which a sentence of more than six months has been imposed. These changes are therefore more consistent with other provisions in our immigration legislation.

One high-profile case perfectly illustrates the glaring problem with our current system and why we need to further limit access to the IAD. Many Canadians are familiar with street racer, Sukhvir Singh Khosa, whose terrible crime and the infuriatingly slow removal process that happened afterwards were widely reported in the media. Hon. members will recall that in 2002, Mr. Khosa was convicted of criminal negligence causing death after he lost control of his vehicle and killed an innocent bystander while street racing in Vancouver. Obviously, this man was a danger to society having shown selfish and callous disregard for the safety of those around him. What was his sentence? It was a mere slap on the wrist in the form of a conditional sentence of two years less a day. With that one-day discount, he was able to delay his deportation for six years.

He was ordered deported from Canada in April 2003, but he was not deported until April 2009. It was the multiple levels of immigration appeals and the subsequent hearings before the Federal Court and the Federal Court of Appeal that enabled him to delay his deportation for so long. First the Immigration Appeal Division dismissed Mr. Khosa's appeal and the Federal Court upheld that decision. However, the Federal Court of Appeal then overturned the Federal Court's decision and ordered the Immigration Appeal Division to provide him with a new hearing. It was at this point that the government said that enough was enough and appealed this decision all the way to the Supreme Court, which, thankfully, allowed the appeal and restored the Immigration Appeal Division's original decision.

Under the current system, too many foreign criminals like Mr. Khosa have been sentenced to six months or more, but manage to game the system and delay their deportation for years on end, sometimes more than a decade, costing taxpayers money. Worst of all, many convicted foreign criminals have used the time they have bought appealing their deportation to reoffend, and sometimes commit even worse crimes. The fact these foreign criminals can freely walk our streets when they should have been sent home at the earliest opportunity should deeply disturb all Canadians.

Foreign criminals use appeals as a delaying mechanism and ordinary, law-abiding Canadians can only shake their heads in disbelief and disgust. Needless to say, when Canadians pick up a newspaper and read about dangerous foreign criminals who are still in Canada long after they have worn out their welcome, it erodes public confidence in both our justice and immigration systems. The bottom line is this: If someone is not a Canadian and commits a serious crime on our soil, that person should no longer have the privilege of living here. That is the law in Canada

The New Democrats and the Liberals think that deporting foreign criminals is somewhat unfair. They ask us to consider the hardships that the criminals and their families will face. Do these same critics ever stop to think about the hardships faced by the victims of these crimes? If they actually listened to the victims, they would be supporting the bill and not opposing it.

Victims' organizations across the country have voiced their support for Bill C-43. Sharon Rosenfeldt from the victim' rights organization, Victims of Violence, had this to say:

The government's action to date is that they have indeed listened to victims and to law-abiding Canadians who want our laws to differentiate between the majority of offenders for whom rehabilitation is a realistic option and the repeat offenders for whom the justice and correctional system is a revolving door, which does include foreign individuals who repeatedly break our laws....

We see Bill C-43 as a long-awaited piece of legislation which in part is designed to facilitate and make easier the entry into Canada for legitimate visitors and immigrants, while giving government stronger legal tools to not admit into Canada those who may pose a risk to our country. Most important to crime victims is the removal from Canada of those who have committed serious crimes and have been convicted of such crimes by our fair judicial system.

We agree with [the minister], who states that the vast majority of new Canadians will never commit a serious crime and they, therefore, have no tolerance for the small minority who do, who have lost the privilege to stay in Canada.

We also agree with [the minister] on due process and natural justice in the rule of law...that even serious convicted foreign criminals should get their day in court and that they should benefit from due process.

He agrees, as we do, that they should not be deported without consideration by the Immigration and Refugee Board. However, [that does not mean] they should get endless years in court and be able to abuse our fair process....

We strongly believe that if all the amendments in Bill C-43 are supported and implemented, the safety of Canadians will be further enhanced.

One of the few requirements for people to maintain permanent resident status in Canada is that they do not go out and commit a serious crime. We do not think that is too much to ask of people who are enjoying life in the greatest country in the world. With Bill C-43, we would streamline the process to deport convicted foreign criminals by limiting their access to the Immigration and Refugee Board's immigration appeal division. These measures would be tough but fair. We want an immigration system that would be open to genuine visitors, while at the same time preventing the entry of foreign criminals and those who would harm our country and denying them the ability to endlessly abuse our openness and our great generosity.

The bill would send a clear message to foreign criminals: If they commit a serious crime in Canada, we will send them packing as quickly as we possibly can.

The changes proposed in the faster removal of foreign criminals act would be reasonable, common sense measures that would ensure the safety and security of Canadians. I urge all hon. members of the House to join me in supporting Bill C-43 to help protect Canada's borders and Canadian society against those who pose a danger and take advantage of our great generosity.

International Students November 22nd, 2012

Mr. Speaker, I rise in the House today to welcome the nine international students who will study at the New Brunswick Community College campus in Miramichi, New Brunswick, this academic year.

Last week, I had the pleasure of hosting a luncheon for them, while delivering greetings and welcoming these bright young people on behalf of the Minister of Citizenship, Immigration and Multiculturalism.

With a group of students from Jamaica, Mexico, Brazil, Sri Lanka, Spain and Vietnam, it was very appropriate that we met during International Education Week. We are lucky to have the privilege to have these students among us so we can all learn about their unique cultures and experiences. Academic exchanges are vital to the development of our friendship with foreign neighbours and we in the Miramichi are proud to be part of this excellent program.

On behalf of Miramichiers, I welcome these students and I wish them all the best. At the same time, I congratulate the professors and staff at the college for ensuring that these students enjoy our hospitality and all that Canada has to offer.

International Cooperation November 20th, 2012

Mr. Speaker, today is Universal Children's Day.

The maternal, newborn and child health initiative is just one of the many ways that our government is supporting children in need. Could the Minister of International Cooperation please update the House on our results?