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Liberal MP for Don Valley East (Ontario)

Won her last election, in 2015, with 58% of the vote.

Statements in the House

Business of Supply October 3rd, 2017

Mr. Speaker, the hon. member has a legitimate question. Yes, the Carter commission took seven years. The issue at the moment, as I see it, is that the more we extend the consultation, the more confusion will come up, because everyone is giving his or her spin on it. Let us not give the spin. Let parliamentarians look at the bill in-depth, debate it, and say, “Here is the right thing.” A small and medium-sized enterprise makes $73,000, not what the opposition members are saying would be impacted.

Business of Supply October 3rd, 2017

Mr. Speaker, the tax system has not changed in 45 years. It is high time we changed it. It is high time we recognized the different ways people utilize private Canadian corporations. At the moment, there are 1.8 million of them, and the number is rising. Why is it rising? Is it for people to park their income? If that is the case, then we should look at it, because it really benefits those corporations and those individuals in reducing their tax rate. We have to be mindful that we do not have the haves and the have-nots and we do not have such a large diversification that people are not benefiting from economic growth.

Business of Supply October 3rd, 2017

Mr. Speaker, the hon. member's question shows that there is a lot of confusion. I have had lots of conversations with managing partners. I am an FCPA, and I belong to some accounting firms, the partners of which came to me.

This is a proposal. This will go through the legislative process. It will change. Let us not create hyperbole or speculate. We have to trust that we as MPs will vote to ensure that there are no unintended consequences.

Business of Supply October 3rd, 2017

Mr. Speaker, I am pleased to rise in this chamber to speak to the recently concluded consultations of our government on the proposal on tax planning used by private corporations.

The Liberals' plan is to make our tax system fair. It has been part of our commitment. We are also trying to do that by growing the economy and putting more money into the pockets of ordinary Canadians.

Since we formed government, we have been focused on the priorities of strengthening and growing the middle class. How have we done that? We have done it by reducing taxes for middle-income earners, which has benefited nine million Canadians. The Canada child benefit is helping lift hundreds of thousands of children out of poverty. We have also expanded the Canada pension plan to ensure that Canadians will be better off financially in their later years. We continue to invest in our communities and people, which has resulted in a positive change to the economy.

The Canadian economy is in a resurgence. Economic indicators tell us that since the fall of 2015, the Canadian economy has created over 400,000 jobs. The results of the second quarter indicate that there is growth of 4.5% in the GDP. Our economy is now growing faster than any of the other G7 countries. It is through strategic planning and a forward-looking agenda that we have been able to achieve these results.

As our economy grows, we are committed to ensuring that the benefits of economic growth are shared by every Canadian. How do we that? Investing in people and the economy should result in a benefit for all Canadians, but all Canadians are not sharing in this wealth. This is where tax fairness comes in.

Individuals who take advantage of the tax system are able to pay less tax than those who earn the same amount and do not, for example, create a private Canadian corporation. Hence, we need to review the system and see how we can make it fairer.

Consultations have taken place, and we have heard from many individuals by mail and email. From the correspondence I have received, I have realized that there is much misunderstanding as to who would be impacted by the proposal. As such, I held a town hall in my riding to listen to concerns and clarify misperceptions and took that input back to the minister.

What is the proposal really trying to do? Contrary to the Conservatives' spin, this proposal would not impact the carpenter, the plumber, the local shopkeeper, or the restaurant. The premise of the Conservatives' argument is disingenuous, because they are misrepresenting who the tax system is really going to go after.

For example, someone earning $500,000 could take advantage of the maximum RRSP and TFSA and be left with an income of $250,000. If that individual wished to reduce his or her tax, he or she could create a PCC, float the money to his or her spouse, and sprinkle the income. Through this strategy, which is legal, the individual would be able to reduce the amount of tax paid. On the other hand, an individual who did not incorporate and who earned the same amount of money would pay a higher tax rate.

Canadians have told us that they want a fair system in which everyone pays their fair share of taxes. The tax system has not been overhauled since the 1960s. It is time to review the system and ensure that it is fair.

As an accountant, when I posed the question to the Leader of the Opposition asking him which specific section he was talking about that would impact the carpenter or the plumber, I realized that he had not really read the legislation. The proposed legislation would only target the 1% who take advantage to reduce their personal taxes, and the contractor, the plumber, and others would not be impacted by these changes.

I can say from experience, having done many corporate tax returns, that the majority of small and medium-sized enterprises, before they even submit their tax returns, have taken advantage of things that are legally available to them. They have taken advantage of expense deductions, like mortgages, hydro, and car. They have taken advantage of capital gains, which is capped at $800,000.

We understand that small and medium-sized enterprises take risks and work hard. We continue to work with them. That is why our government has invested, and continues to invest, in innovation and technology. Small and medium-sized enterprises have taken advantage of these investment programs.

In my riding, I have many SMEs that have taken advantage of innovation funds. We have recognized creative businesses through our career focus by giving them funds to hire university graduates. This is a win-win for both the employees and the employers. We have increased funding for the Canada summer jobs program so that SMEs can hire students at no, or minimum, cost. These are the benefits that small and medium-sized enterprises can take advantage of.

We have the lowest corporate tax rate for small and medium-sized enterprises in the G7. These are advantages that all of them can take. Small and medium-sized enterprises can also take advantage of deferred taxes. We are not going after those.

If anyone reads the legislation, they will know that only the 1% that probably make $250,000-plus will be impacted once they start sprinkling income. That is what the government is trying to do: make the system fairer. This is about individuals who take out the money.

It is important that we have a robust and respectful discussion and that our conversations are not based on misinformation, speculation, or hyperbole, because it does not benefit anyone. The proposal is not going to affect legitimate corporations or restrict an individual's ability to incorporate.

The Government of Canada continues to work to create a healthy and growing economy in which businesses can generate well-paying jobs and where people can have confidence that they can succeed. We are committed to supporting hard-working entrepreneurs as they invest in their businesses, create good, well-paying jobs, buy new equipment, and re-invest in the economy.

We want to ensure that Canada's tax system continues to help businesses, small and large, expand and create jobs. Our actions are to improve the tax rules to ensure that they benefit individuals as well as a competitive corporate tax system.

We do not want any unintended consequences. That is why all this debate and all these conversations are taking place.

Business of Supply October 3rd, 2017

Madam Speaker, we are all here to solve a problem. We all know that small and medium-sized enterprises create jobs. However, the member has suggested that the proposal will affect contractors, plumbers, and small and medium-sized enterprises. I have the proposed changes in front of me. Could he tell me which section applies to that? I would really like to know.

Situation in Myanmar September 26th, 2017

Madam Speaker, I know the member for Scarborough Centre has been seized with this issue. She has had a lot of community consultation and has done a very good job in meeting with communities to ensure that their voices are heard. I understand that she has some short-term and long-term solutions that were given to her by the community.

Has the member shared this with the minister, and what are some of her thoughts on the short-term goals and on what the government is doing to meet those goals?

Situation in Myanmar September 26th, 2017

Madam Speaker, it is interesting that the member brings in the juxtaposition between Nelson Mandela and Aung San Suu Kyi. In an article, Don Marmur, said that it was possible that the euphoria that we got from Nelson Mandela we transmitted onto Aung San Suu Kyi and thought she was the human rights champion. However, were we really hoodwinked, is the question I have in my mind. If she was the last hope for the Rohingya, when she was asked a question as to what she was doing against the atrocities of the military, she stated that these were “terrorists”. As a Muslim, I take offence that terrorism is the first opt-out label.

I would like the member's thoughts on that. Also, with an attitude like that, should we remove her honorary citizenship?

Situation in Myanmar September 26th, 2017

Madam Speaker, I thank my hon. colleague for her passion. I was wondering whether any thought has been given to the surrounding countries, especially countries like India. We are far away from the situation, but countries like India that are there on the ground, that are democracies, can influence neighbouring countries. What sort of pressure should we put on those countries so that they can bring pressure to bear on Burma?

Situation in Myanmar September 26th, 2017

Madam Speaker, I thank my colleague from York Centre for his very passionate presentation and showing us the brutality of regime against the Rohingya Muslims. We have been talking to a lot of communities and these concerned communities have said that the words “ethnic cleansing” do not get it. There is no legal repercussion for that terminology.

As my hon. colleague across the aisle suggested, we should call it a genocide, but they have also suggested a few other solutions. These include setting up an international task force that would be allowed to go inside Myanmar and see the situation for themselves. Second, there are refugees that are in the centre of Myanmar and cannot leave. Those who are near the Bangladeshi border can leave and cross over the border. The others are left to be murdered.

What are your thoughts on Canada airlifting them or supplying some assistance to Bangladesh, which can ill afford these 800,000 refugees and the 70,000 women who have been raped and are pregnant?

Islamic History Month September 20th, 2017

Mr. Speaker, in 2007, this House unanimously adopted a motion presented by the late Honourable Mauril Bélanger to declare October as Islamic History Month. Islamic History Month recognizes the important contributions of Muslims to Canadian society, their cultural diversity, and the importance of fostering great social cohesion.

On September 25, the Toronto District School Board is launching Islamic History Month at the Aga Khan Museum, located in my riding of Don Valley East. The Aga Khan Museum presents insights on the history of Muslim civilizations through various activities, events, and exhibitions that act as a catalyst for mutual understanding.

As we celebrate the 10th anniversary of Islamic History Month, I encourage people from all backgrounds to take the opportunity to learn about the history and diversity of the Muslim people.