House of Commons photo

Crucial Fact

  • His favourite word was tax.

Last in Parliament October 2015, as Conservative MP for Mississauga East—Cooksville (Ontario)

Lost his last election, in 2019, with 34% of the vote.

Statements in the House

Business of Supply October 1st, 2012

Mr. Speaker, I will begin by indicating that the government will not be supporting this motion today. We believe Canadians are always better off working than not. This pilot project increases incentives for claimants to accept all available work while on employment insurance. I can assure hon. members that, under this new program, the majority of people who work while they are on claim will benefit and will be better off.

This is a pilot project to encourage EI claimants to pursue and accept all opportunities to work. We are always working to ensure our programs fulfill our goals.

However, I find it passing strange that the NDP brings forward a motion concerning the well-being of low-income Canadians. As we debated at length last Tuesday, poverty in Canada is at historic lows under our government. In 2010, three million Canadians, or only 9% of Canada's population, lived in poverty. While this number is still too high, we are continuing to act to reduce it. This number represents the lowest percentage in Canada's history. To put it in context, this is 1.3 million Canadians who, under our Conservative government, were lifted out of poverty. Whether it is adults, children or seniors poverty, Canadians have never been better off than under our strong, stable, national Conservative government.

However, I can assure this House that a $21 billion job-killing carbon tax would not help Canada's low income families. In fact, given the reliance on home heating oil as a source of warmth through the winter months, the NDP's proposed $21 billion tax grab would l disproportionately hurt Atlantic Canadians. I wonder what the NDP would say to employees of Irving or the many families who rely on the continued development of the Hibernia oil field when they hear their jobs are on the line because of the NDP's risky tax policy. The NDP talks about supporting working families but its policies threaten the good paying jobs that they rely on.

Our government is introducing changes to the employment insurance program to ensure that it is fair, flexible and responsive to local labour market conditions.

Canadians gave us a strong majority mandate in the last election because of the strong economic record of our Conservative government. They know that a healthy economy is the prerequisite for a high quality of life. Simply put, Canadians trust the Prime Minister's low tax plan for jobs and economic growth over the risky schemes of the opposition.

Thanks to the strong leadership of the Prime Minister and the Minister of Finance, Canada has created over 770,000 new jobs since the depth of the recession. Over 90% of these jobs are full-time positions. In fact, Canada has over 350,000 more jobs today than at any highest time pre-recession.

It is an inconvenient truth for the opposition parties that right now there are more Canadians working than at any previous point in our history. Unlike other G7 countries, we are actually facing labour and skills shortages in many regions and industries. This has been caused by both our aging population as well as continued economic growth.

The effects are already being felt in the labour market and will accentuate labour and skills shortages that are already serious in some sectors. In fact, Statistics Canada revealed that there were 250,000 jobs in our country that remained unfilled this spring. These are not even in top-of-mind locations such as Alberta. In Labrador City, there is such a shortage of workers to work in their new mining projects that restaurants cannot stay open and the municipality cannot find enough people to maintain the roads.

However, many Canadians are not aware of local opportunities to work within their region. We can do better at connecting Canadians with available jobs. This is why, as announced in economic action plan 2012, we are making improvements to the EI program to help Canadians connect, maintain and reconnect with the labour market, improvements that the NDP voted against.

This is what we proposed. Canadians receiving regular EI benefits would now be able to receive comprehensive job postings on a daily basis from multiple sources. This would ensure that they are made aware of jobs available in their local area. In addition, measures are being taken to enhance the connection between EI and the temporary foreign workers program. This link would ensure that Canadians always have the first chance to apply for local jobs before employers are approved to hire temporary foreign workers.

The new variable best weeks initiative will use the local unemployment rate to determine the number of best weeks used to set the average salary for calculating EI benefits. The higher the unemployment rate, the fewer weeks used to determine this average. This means that working more partial weeks or more jobs at a lower wage will have less of an impact on EI benefits for seasonal workers.

On the topic of today's motion, as of August 5, 2012, the new working while on claim pilot project came into effect. This new pilot project removes the cap on earnings from EI claimants so that Canadians who accept more work can now earn more while on employment insurance. I will explain this measure a little more.

Under the new pilot project, people receiving EI benefits will have their benefits reduced by 50% of their earnings from the first dollar earned. The new pilot project aims to encourage claimants to increase their work efforts while on claim since this has been proven to be one of the better ways to move toward permanent employment.

It has been found in study after study that people can find permanent jobs more rapidly if they continue to be active in the labour market by looking for work or by working even part time or casually. The working while on claim pilot project promotes workforce attachment by encouraging claimants to accept available work while receiving EI benefits and earning some additional income while on claim. This applies to those who receive regular, fishing, parental or compassionate care benefits.

I would remind members that this is a pilot project. This is not a permanent change but an opportunity to test whether we can encourage unemployed Canadians to work more while on claim.

The employment insurance program must evolve to the needs of Canadians. It must be efficient, flexible and fair for all. However, it must also ensure that it helps Canadians find work more quickly as the economy continues to recover. This is not only an objective we have set for ourselves but a commitment we have made to the Canadian people.

The changes to the working while on claim pilot project cannot be focused on in isolation as it does not take into consideration the many other changes that we made to the EI program this year. This package of EI measures is meant to connect Canadians with local jobs and to return them to work more quickly. Canadians are always better off working than not. Sadly, the NDP has voted against countless initiatives we have put in place to help get Canadians back to work. Unfortunately, the NDP continues to be interested in playing politics instead of supporting our economic action plan, a plan that has reduced poverty to a historic low while increasing the number of Canadians working to a historic high.

Instead of proposing a risky carbon tax that would raise the cost of everything for low-income families and threaten the jobs that so many middle-class families rely on, I ask the NDP to support measures that will actually help Canadian families and vote against this motion.

Petitions September 26th, 2012

Mr. Speaker, I am honoured to present a petition on behalf of the constituents of Mississauga East—Cooksville, the riding I represent.

The petitioners call upon the House of Commons to confirm that every human being is recognized by Canadian law as human beings and to amend the section 223 of the Criminal Code in a way to reflect 21st century medical evidence.

Flooding in the Philippines September 25th, 2012

Mr. Speaker, Canadians in my riding are very concerned about the flooding in the Philippines. Millions of people have been affected by tropical storms Saola and Haikui.

The Red Cross has even stated that more than 330,000 people are seeking temporary shelter in evacuation centres. In response to this desperate situation, our government is taking action.

I am proud that Canadian taxpayer investments through CIDA are making a difference for those in need. By working with the Red Cross, our government's work has helped 3.4 million people. This support will ensure that affected people are provided with safe drinking water, food and other much-needed items. As well, it will prevent disease and provide support to families.

Our government continues to monitor the situation closely to ensure that basic needs of affected people are met and to provide further assistance, if required.

Tribute to Liberty September 17th, 2012

Mr. Speaker, 73 years ago today and only 16 days after Nazi Germany declared war on Poland and invaded from the west, the Soviet Union invaded without warning from the east. We know well about the crimes the Nazis committed in the west. However, the brutality of the Soviet Union in the east was extensive, though this is less discussed in the history textbooks.

The Soviets did not recognize the Geneva conventions. They committed mass murder of military officers and civilians, deported hundreds of thousands to Siberia and imposed collectivization. In the end, the Soviets actively caused the death of millions in the area covering modern Poland, Ukraine, Lithuania and Belarus that is now known as the Bloodlands.

I would like to encourage all Canadians to learn more about the crimes of communism and to support the important initiative led by the Tribute to Liberty to build a national monument to the victims of communism here in Ottawa.

Multiculturalism June 18th, 2012

Mr. Speaker, as we approach Canada Day, I think it is important to reflect on some of the nationalities that have helped make Canada the great country it is.

Three weeks ago, Mississauga held its annual festival of cultures, Carassauga, and I was lucky enough to visit most of the pavilions and enjoy the people, food and music of many great cultures.

Over the past month, Italian Republic Day, Slovenian Statehood Day, Philippine Independence Day, Polish Constitution Day and the Croatian National and Armed Forces Day have been celebrated. These are just a handful of cultures I have had the good fortune to celebrate recently and just a handful of the many wonderful cultures in the great riding I am proud to represent, Mississauga East—Cooksville.

Waves of new Canadians have constantly reached our country over the 145 years since Confederation. As we get ready to celebrate the best country in the world, let us also think about the many cultures within our great country, Canada.

Adam Bardach June 15th, 2012

Mr. Speaker, Adam Bardach, a highly decorated veteran of the second world war, was unable to go back to his native Poland and immigrated to Canada. He recently passed away in Ottawa.

I would like to share with this House his testimony on his life in our country: “From the time perspective, my wife was the main motivator and proponent of moving to Canada. She had no problems convincing me. It was a great decision. Krystyna felt that Canadians were generous, friendly people. There is no prejudice against other nationals. We are all equal and welcome. Canada became our home and country. Family was always very important to us. Canada changed since our arrival in 1952. Canada prospered more and more, and so did we. We led a wonderful life and we had lots of friends who enjoyed successes in life. So did we. We can depend on them. They can depend on us. Canada is the country where we began our married life. Our children were born in Canada. We were happy here. This is our home.”

His words still ring true. May Adam Bardach rest in peace.

Public Safety June 13th, 2012

Mr. Speaker, Canadians can count on our government to ensure that our streets and communities are kept safe and that our correctional system actually corrects criminal behaviour. Since being elected in 2006, we have taken strong action to do just that, from the Truth in Sentencing Act. to ending the faint hope clause, to eliminating record suspensions for serious criminals.

Would the Minister of Public Safety please give the House an update on how our government is improving victims' rights and strengthening offender accountability?

Restoring Rail Service Legislation May 30th, 2012

Mr. Speaker, it is clear that the leader of the third party has not learned a thing since his time as premier of Ontario. As premier he had a proven record of failure when it came to the economy, with large deficits, high taxes and record unemployment. It seems that he wants to see Canada go down the same dark path.

Last night the House of Commons stayed late into the night to pass legislation to get CP Rail running again. A strike halting the trains at CP Rail could cost the Canadian economy over $500 million a week and put thousands of Canadian jobs at risk. We have pulled out all the stops to protect these jobs and Canada's economy, but the leader of the Liberal Party is threatening to delay the bill at the next stage.

We urge the leader of the third party to do the right thing for the Canadian economy and promise that the Liberals will not delay this critical bill.

Protecting Canada's Immigration System Act May 17th, 2012

Mr. Speaker, in cases like this the parents would make the decision whether the child would stay with them or be separated.

In reference to a tarnished opinion of Canada and its immigration system, there is nothing more incorrect than that. Canada does more than its fair share in protecting refugees from around the world, in giving them safe refuge in our country. Actually it is the opposite. The world will laugh at us if we do not make those changes to protect genuine refugees from the abuse that happens.

Protecting Canada's Immigration System Act May 17th, 2012

Mr. Speaker, that is not true, because a number of ministries will be involved in that decision.

There are countries that are safe. It is not true that refugee claimants arriving from those countries would be refused some rights that others would enjoy. The process would be faster and they would have the right to appeal.

There were many examples given of European countries. One of the members previously said that refugees should come to Canada rather than go somewhere else. There are many countries in the European Union where they would not have to fly 5,000 miles, as they would to get to Canada. They can get to other safe countries if they really are unsafe in the country in which they live.