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Crucial Fact

  • His favourite word was farmers.

Last in Parliament September 2021, as Liberal MP for Malpeque (P.E.I.)

Won his last election, in 2019, with 41% of the vote.

Statements in the House

Canada-United States-Mexico Agreement Implementation Act June 18th, 2019

Mr. Speaker, I hope this is parliamentary, because I would like to quote the hon. member for Fredericton, who said that the member for Durham talks all kinds of crap.

Canada-United States-Mexico Agreement Implementation Act June 18th, 2019

Madam Speaker, I could not resist standing, because there was so much boom and bust and bluster from the member for Durham that it provoked me to ask a question.

There was a lot of fiction and very few facts in his remarks this evening. The fact of the matter is that we should be thanking the Prime Minister, the Minister of Foreign Affairs and the negotiating team for getting a pretty darn decent agreement at the end of the day. The Conservatives, on the other hand, in the initial stages of the negotiations, were taking the position that we should just cave in and give the Americans what they wanted.

The member for Durham talked about supply management, but what did President Trump put on the table when he was speaking with the dairy farmers from Wisconsin? He said he wanted the supply management system gone in its entirety. That is not where we ended up. We saved supply management. Yes, we gave a little bit of access, but we saved the system and negotiated a good agreement for Canada.

Committees of the House June 14th, 2019

Mr. Speaker, I have the honour to present, in both official languages, the 31st report of the Standing Committee on Finance in relation to Bill C-101, an act to amend the Customs Tariff and the Canadian International Trade Tribunal Act. The committee has studied the bill and has agreed to report it back to the House without amendment.

I expect this will be my last report in the 42nd Parliament as committee chair. Therefore, I want to take this opportunity to thank the several clerks and the many analysts from the Library of Parliament who worked with us during this 42nd Parliament for all their hard work during sometimes inhumane hours, four pre-budget consultations, four budgets, four budget implementation acts and much more.

I also want to offer a sincere thanks to members of all parties and their staff as well as to my staff for their hard work and sincere efforts in working on the finance committee.

Fisheries Act June 14th, 2019

Mr. Speaker, I enjoyed the member's remarks.

There has been a lot of discussion by a number of people from the west coast not so much on the Senate amendments but on the Fisheries Act itself and where it is going. I am from the east coast and I agree with the member that more always can be done.

What was not mentioned in a lot of the comments that have been made trying to get over the damage done by the previous government in terms of fisheries habitat and so on, is the fact that saving fisheries habitat at my end of the country is different from that at the member's end of the country. We have small brooks, small streams, even smaller fish.

I wonder if the member could talk about how important habitat restoration is beyond economic issues. There is the recreational fishery. Families enjoy going fishing. We need a healthy fish habitat in order to have that. I wonder if he might comment on that area, that it goes beyond just the economics of fishermen that one would think would be related to the Fisheries Act but to the community itself and the individuals that live in them.

P.E.I. Business Hall of Fame Laureates June 11th, 2019

Mr. Speaker, today I recognize this year's laureates for the P.E.I. Business Hall of Fame.

Jack and Carlotta Kelly founded Bulk Carriers (P.E.I.) Limited in 1970 from the basement of their house. Today, the company has over 150 employees, 100 tractor-trailers and a reputation for trust and excellence across the country.

Kevin and Kathy Murphy are hospitality all-stars. After opening their first restaurant in 1980, the Murphys quickly expanded their operation to include hotels, restaurants and breweries across Atlantic Canada.

Sadly, inductee Kathleen “Kay” MacPhee died last month. Kay used her expertise and passion as a teacher to create literacy software for children, helping her hearing-impaired son Lowell and countless others develop reading and language skills.

Each of these laureates reflects the best the island has to offer. They have made enduring contributions to Canada. Congratulations to all.

Budget Implementation Act, 2019, No. 1 June 6th, 2019

Mr. Speaker, that question relates to a critical issue, but we have obligations. When people cross the border, they are immediately arrested and checked to ensure they are asylum seekers, and that is important to do. We meet our international human rights obligations as a government, and we enhance that in this particular budget by making clear what the rules are. We have also increased the funding to enable border agents and the RCMP to take the measures they need to in order to ensure that our country is secure and that the human rights of those entering the country are protected.

Budget Implementation Act, 2019, No. 1 June 6th, 2019

Mr. Speaker, it was indeed a great pleasure to be on the finance committee and travel the country with the member. We were in his hometown in Alberta at one point, where people talked about many of the issues that the member raised.

The fall economic statement is where the measures were put forth in terms of the accelerated capital cost allowance and being able to expense investments in new equipment for manufacturing and processing. That is where we see the measures in place that will keep the business community competitive even given the kinds of tax reforms that have taken place in the United States.

In terms of the other measures that the member mentioned, employment insurance payroll deductions have in fact declined. That is one thing this government has done on a consistent basis. The CPP is an investment in retirement. It should ensure that employees will have some security. They know they will have more security in their retirement years.

All the measures we put together are good for the business community, and I am proud of that. On productivity, yes, we need to do more.

Budget Implementation Act, 2019, No. 1 June 6th, 2019

Mr. Speaker, it is really appropriate to be splitting my time with the member for Surrey—Newton, because he is on one coast of Canada and I am on the other, and just like this budget, we cover the country from coast to coast.

It gives me great pleasure to speak to Bill C-97. This bill does what we set out to do in 2015, building on our series of budgets to grow the economy, so needed after the disastrous decade of the Harper years. The measures in Bill C-97, to be implemented by the budget implementation act, would do what Liberals do best: investing wisely and working with the private sector, the provinces and communities to strengthen the social and economic fabric of this country.

The prudent investments in this bill build on the fall economic statement, which I think could have been called a business budget. Part 1 of the budget implementation act relates to that fall economic statement.

The fall economic statement strengthened the very core of the business community's ability to compete by challenging head-on the U.S. tax reforms. It did many things, but I will name three: one, allowing businesses to immediately write off for tax purposes the full cost of machinery and equipment used in the manufacturing and processing of goods; two, implementing a new accelerated investment incentive, an accelerated capital cost allowance across all sectors of the economy; three, launching an export diversification strategy. That really assists our businesses in terms of being able to retain capital, attract investment, invest in new equipment, machinery and technology and be competitive in export markets. That just touches on three of the points in the fall economic statement.

From strengthening business opportunities in the fall economic statement, this bill seeks to give greater opportunity to Canadians and communities. In fact, I think this section of the bill could be called “the people's budget”. For my province, Prince Edward Island, over a four-year term in government, major federal transfers of equalization, the Canada health transfer and the Canada social transfer, have increased by $93.4 million to $647 million.

Of course, colleagues know from the smiles they see on people's faces in their communities and their ridings that the legacy program of the Canada child benefit has made a huge difference for families all across the country. Nine out of 10 families are better off. On Prince Edward Island, for families with children, the Canada child benefit has meant $100 million over the last year tax-free to those families. That is investing where the money needs to be invested. The money that goes into those families' pockets is spent in the local economy. It assists their children in child care and education, and it makes a much more progressive economy. Money is actually then spent in the community.

However, this Liberal government did not stop there. We know that early learning and child care are critical to give children the best start in life. Therefore, the Government of Canada and the Province of Prince Edward Island have signed an agreement that allows for the transfer of $10.6 million over three years for regulated early learning and child care, to give children their best start in life.

Let me turn to the other end of the age spectrum, to seniors, who have been so instrumental in building this country we are so fortunate to call home.

The budget provides additional funding, increasing the funding for the new horizons for seniors program by $20 million per year. It is an excellent program. It works in every riding. I encourage seniors groups and others to apply for that funding, because not only is it an expenditure spent in the local economy, but also it assists seniors with the programs they need. This program has a solid record of improving the quality of life of seniors and promoting their participation in communities and the workforce.

The budget implementation act goes further and proposes a series of measures to help Canadian seniors keep more money in their pockets by ensuring they receive the Canada pension plan benefits they are entitled to and stay active and be a valuable asset in their community. This builds on the concrete steps we have taken to improve the retirement security of Canadians.

I will turn to the budget. I know there are members on the other side who love to read this almost daily.

With respect to retirement security, page 62 lists measures that will really help seniors.

The government is enhancing the Canada Pension Plan, which will raise the maximum CPP retirement benefit by up to 50 per cent over time. It is restoring the eligibility age for OAS and GIS benefits to 65. It is increasing guaranteed income supplement top-up payments by up to $947 per year for single seniors, and introducing legislative changes so that couples who receive GIS and allowance benefits and have to live apart for reasons beyond their control can receive higher benefits based on their individual incomes.

Investing in the lives of seniors has been the focus of this government's emphasis, with the Prime Minister appointing a minister of seniors to ensure that programs and services are designed to respond to the needs of seniors.

I will quote from page 70 of the budget document itself, for those who wish to refer to the page.

These further investments amount to $40 billion for the 10-year national housing strategy, which will help ensure that vulnerable Canadians, including low-income seniors, have access to housing that meets their needs and that they can afford; $6 billion over 10 years for home care, to allow provinces and territories to improve access to home, community and palliative care services; $77 million in additional funding for the enabling accessibility fund, to improve the safety and accessibility of community spaces; making it easier to apply for employment insurance caregiving benefits, and introducing a new employment insurance caregiving benefit of up to 15 weeks to support individuals who are providing care to adult family members. That is important to do.

For communities directly, this budget tops up the federal gas tax refund by $2.2 billion. It doubles the amount for most communities, large and small, and is money they can invest in infrastructure, business and to make their communities more economically sustainable. In P.E.I., that amounts to $16.5 million in added investments for communities.

Basically, Bill C-97 touches all segments of the economy, as well as people and tax measures that allow our businesses to be more competitive. It challenges, head on, the tax reform in the United States.

This is a budget implementation act that is building on the foundation we have already put in place as a government and putting our country in a place where it can be prosperous and successful in the years to come.

Interparliamentary Delegations May 30th, 2019

Mr. Speaker, pursuant to Standing Order 34(1) I have the honour to present to the House, in both official languages, two reports of the Canada-United States Inter-Parliamentary Group.

The first report concerns the U.S. congressional meetings held in Washington, D.C., U.S.A, from November 26 to 28, 2018.

The second report concerns the U.S. congressional meetings held in Washington, D.C., U.S.A, from February 26 to 27.

Committees of the House May 29th, 2019

Mr. Speaker, I have the honour to present, in both official languages, the 30th report of the Standing Committee on Finance in relation to Bill C-97, an act to implement certain provisions of the budget tabled in Parliament on March 19, 2019, and other measures. The committee has studied the bill and has agreed to report it with amendments.

I want to thank all committee members who put great effort into researching and debating the substantial budget implementation act. I have to admit that sometimes the debate at committee was boisterous.

I also want to thank witnesses who brought forward their concerns and suggestions. Certainly, I must thank the legislative clerk and the Library of Parliament analysts for all the work they did on this matter.