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Results: 1 - 15 of 332
View John Carmichael Profile
View John Carmichael Profile
2015-06-15 13:28 [p.15053]
Mr. Speaker, our government not only delivered a prudent, balanced budget, but one that also contains important measures to address the priorities of Canadians. I am pleased to take the opportunity to discuss a few highlights today, and I will be sharing my time with the member for Burlington.
Just as our government has worked hard to bring forward a balanced budget, every day Canadian families are also working hard to balance their budgets, and that is one of the reasons I am particularly happy about budget 2015: because it supports Canadian families in meaningful ways.
We have recognized that each family is unique. We are not attempting a one-size-fits-all solution, as some of the opposition members are proposing. One such example is the universal child care benefit, which would give families $1,920 per year for each child under six and $720 per year for children six through 17. This money could be used for the needs of children in whatever way parents choose.
As promised, our government implemented income splitting for families with minor children. This allows many families to be in a lower tax bracket, keeping more money in moms' and dads' pockets.
We have also increased the children's fitness tax credit to $1,000, helping to provide children with the opportunity to participate in the sports they love and build the habit of a healthy, active lifestyle. These tax measures and benefits provide relief for 100% of families, primarily hard-working middle-class families.
Our government's measures provide tax relief and benefits of up to $6,600 for an average family of four. That is almost $7,000 per family each year. I know from experience that raising a family is not inexpensive, and although my children are now grown, I can appreciate what these measures would mean to Canadian families with young children.
Statistics show that 11 million Canadians have eagerly made use of the tax-free savings account. Budget 2015 increased the annual contribution limit to $10,000 each year. I have had numerous constituents in my riding who are quite excited about this new saving opportunity.
I have just highlighted measures that benefit families raising the next generation of Canadians, but I would also like to talk about how budget 2015 benefits our seniors, those who have spent their lives building Canada into the proud nation that it is today.
The financial state of our seniors has seen great improvement. Canada's low-income rate for seniors has fallen from 21.4% in 1980 to 5.2% in 2011. That is one of the lowest rates in the industrial world.
Budget 2011 introduced the largest GIS increase in over 25 years, investing more than $300 million per year to further improve the financial security and well-being of more than 680,000 seniors across Canada.
Our government has also implemented pension income splitting for pensioners. In 2014, a single senior can earn at least $20,054 and a couple at least $40,108 before paying federal income tax. As a result of the actions our government has taken since 2006, approximately 380,000 seniors have been removed from federal tax rolls completely.
Over the last few years, many of the seniors in my riding have written to me about the need to adjust RRIF rules to bring them into alignment with the increased lifespan of seniors. In response to their letters and calls, I addressed this issue with the Minister of Finance. Budget 2015 significantly reduces the minimum withdrawal factors for RRIF, allowing seniors to preserve more of their retirement savings.
As well, budget 2015 introduces the home accessibility tax credit for seniors and persons with disabilities so that they can continue to live independently in their own homes.
Speaking of those who have contributed to building our nation, there are those who have put their very lives on the line to defend our nation's freedom and security: our veterans. In Don Valley West, we are proud to be the home of Sunnybrook, the largest veterans centre in Canada. I enjoy serving the veterans in my riding and I am thankful that our government continues to place their care as a priority.
The government has continually made important improvements to the new veterans charter to meet the needs of veterans.
Economic action plan 2015 further demonstrated this growing commitment. This includes implementing the new retirement income security benefit for moderately to severely injured veterans, expanding access to the permanent impairment allowance to help compensate disabled veterans for the loss of career opportunities, modifying the earning loss benefit to ensure that part-time reserve force veterans have access to the same level of income support as regular full-time reserve force veterans, and increasing the level of individualized care to veterans requiring regular support by improving the ratio of veterans to case managers.
In addition to the measures in the 2015 budget, we have also opened new front-line mental health clinics across the country. The new family caregiver relief benefit will provide veterans who have a service-related injury with an annual tax-free grant of over $7,000 to provide caregivers in the home with flexibility or relief while ensuring that the needs of the seriously injured veterans are met.
All these benefits build on our record of keeping our economy strong by defending Canada at home and abroad, enhancing national security, and standing up for our veterans.
I have spoken about various groups of people and what the budget means for them. Now I would like to take the opportunity to highlight what budget 2015 holds for an issue that I hear about from every age group and from many walks of life in my riding of Don Valley West: the issue of transit.
One of the most common complaints I hear from Toronto constituents has to do with congested traffic and gridlock. This year's budget held particularly good news for Toronto: the new innovative public transit fund will invest an additional $750 million over two years starting in 2017-18, and $1 billion per year ongoing thereafter.
Our mayor said of the new innovative public transit fund, “This is a major step forward for Toronto and for the country” and said, “The federal government committed to establishing a dedicated, national fund to invest in public transportation. This is good news for Toronto and for cities across Canada.”
This new transit fund is in addition to the ongoing funding already in place through the new Building Canada plan, which continues to provide $5.35 billion per year on average for infrastructure, and in addition to the gas tax fund.
I feel very few people know about the Building Canada plan and the gas tax fund, and even fewer understand how these programs have already impacted their cities and municipalities, and specifically, in my case, the city of Toronto. For example, since 2006, through the gas tax fund, the Government of Canada has invested more than $2.2 billion to support municipal infrastructure projects across the GTA. Our government doubled and extended the federal gas tax fund and made it permanent. This is a dedicated, predictable, and flexible source of infrastructure funding for municipalities.
Despite all contrary claims, since 2006 our investment in infrastructure has been at the highest level and length ever seen in Canadian history. Being a businessman, I like solid numbers without the spin. The facts cannot be clearer. I am proud of our government's record investment in infrastructure.
Another issue that I often hear addressed by all age groups is health care funding. The administration of health care is carried out by the province, but the federal government contributes to the funding. This year the Province of Ontario will receive record high transfer payments from our government to support health care, education, and social programs. Ontario will receive $20.4 billion in federal transfers this year alone. This is an increase of 88% from under the old federal Liberal government, which radically slashed transfer payments to the provinces. We will never do that, nor will we allow it.
Our government's balanced budget and our low-tax plan for jobs, growth, and security are just further demonstrations of our strong leadership for Canada, leadership that has been consistently demonstrated and carried out through action. This year's economic action plan 2015 is no exception.
I look forward to seeing the bright future of our growing, beautiful country, one that we are all proud to call home.
View John Carmichael Profile
View John Carmichael Profile
2015-06-15 13:40 [p.15055]
Mr. Speaker, I appreciate my colleague's question. Clearly, I totally disagree with the premise upon which he places it.
The Building Canada fund was a great initiative that was established a year ago. It set out a 10-year target of $53 billion, the largest infrastructure commitment in the history of this country. That is combined with the gas tax fund, which we made into law and which delivered infrastructure spending to municipalities from day one, including $2.2 billion to the area that I represent in Toronto.
I think the member opposite has to be fair in assessing the infrastructure programs that we have established, built, and developed. They are clearly designed to phase in as applications become available, but those applications are already under way today. I can look at a list of projects in my area alone. These programs provided $622 million for the Toronto-York Spadina subway extension and $133 million for the Toronto Union Station revitalization. I could go on, but I think I have made my point.
View John Carmichael Profile
View John Carmichael Profile
2015-06-11 14:11 [p.14961]
Mr. Speaker, I am proud of our Conservative government for standing up for Canada's middle class and not standing in its way.
We introduced the universal child care benefit and family tax cut to keep more money in the pockets of Canadians. I can tell members that our plan is working in Don Valley West and across Canada. We are making sure that 100% of families with children benefit with almost $2,000 back in their pockets.
The contrast is simple. The Liberals and the NDP believe that bureaucracy knows best when it comes to Canadian families. We believe in keeping money in the hands of the real experts on families: their names are Mom and Dad.
View John Carmichael Profile
View John Carmichael Profile
2015-06-10 14:14 [p.14867]
Mr. Speaker, under the leadership of our Prime Minister, we have consistently lowered taxes and created voluntary options for Canadians to save, which include: pension income splitting, pooled registered pension plans, and the landmark tax-free savings account.
By contrast, the Liberal leader would raise taxes and force a mandatory payroll tax increase on every employee and employer in Canada, whether they like it or not.
The Liberal leader's mandatory $1,000 tax hike would be forced onto middle-class workers, and his payroll tax increase would force small businesses to cut hours, jobs and wages.
Now is not the time for these risky schemes and untested leadership.
View John Carmichael Profile
View John Carmichael Profile
2015-06-03 14:23 [p.14526]
Mr. Speaker, yesterday the NDP lifted the veil on its anti-Israel agenda. The member for Ottawa Centre questioned why our government would stand against policies that would only serve to isolate Israel.
We remain committed to upholding and strengthening the nuclear non-proliferation treaty. However, like the U.S. and the U.K., we could not support consensus at the conference. We will never support any policy whose sole purpose is the isolation or the embarrassment of our greatest ally in the region.
The question yesterday from the member for Ottawa Centre is hardly surprising, given the long anti-Israel history of the NDP. Let us not forget that it was member for Vancouver East who said that Israel represents “the longest occupation in the world”.
Unlike the NDP, this Conservative government not only recognizes Israel's right to exist but its inherent right to defend itself by itself.
View John Carmichael Profile
View John Carmichael Profile
2015-06-01 13:22 [p.14386]
Mr. Speaker, my colleague talked about the fairness of new plans that he and his party are introducing. It was only a week ago that his leader talked about plans not having to be fair. Fairness is what we have delivered with the universal child care benefit program. Clearly, four million families qualify and some seven million adults. That is why our government has consistently introduced consumer-friendly measures, including consumer debit and credit card code of conduct, and increasing access to low- and no-cost banking options, programs that the opposition and the third party have voted against. I wonder if my colleague opposite would maybe comment on fairness and why he did not support these measures, which were geared to consumer fairness.
View John Carmichael Profile
View John Carmichael Profile
2015-06-01 14:47 [p.14400]
Mr. Speaker, our government has introduced multiple opportunities for Canadians to save more for their retirement. Could the Minister of State for Finance please update the House on our proposed idea for the Canada pension plan?
View John Carmichael Profile
View John Carmichael Profile
2015-05-15 11:12 [p.13998]
Mr. Speaker, earlier this week we learned that the Liberals do not believe that helping every single family in Canada is fair. We also heard that New Democrats think that only families that use licensed day care centres are real families. This is actually what they believe. They believe that only a few select families deserve support in Canada.
On this side of the house, we delivered the universal child care benefit to all families. We are committed to enhancing it and increasing it.
In my riding of Don Valley West, all families will keep more money in their own pockets. We will always give money back to Canadian families, because it is their money.
View John Carmichael Profile
View John Carmichael Profile
2015-05-12 14:15 [p.13788]
Mr. Speaker, it should come as no surprise that our Conservative government is the only one that stands up for middle-class Canadian families. We have doubled the children's fitness tax credit, enhanced the universal child care benefit, and now have implemented the family tax cut. All families with children, including single-parent families, would benefit from our family tax cut and enhanced universal child care benefit. That is more than four million families and more than seven million parents.
The Liberal leader has admitted that he would take away the universal child care benefit, he would take away income splitting, and he would take away the tax-free savings account. Only one thing is absolutely certain: our Conservative government is the only one that stands for and with hard-working Canadian families.
View John Carmichael Profile
View John Carmichael Profile
2015-05-12 16:11 [p.13806]
Mr. Speaker, I thank my colleague for his presentation today on this important legislation. I would like to ask him, with regard to Bill S-4, if he could elaborate on how our government is working to protect and help vulnerable Canadians, especially children.
View John Carmichael Profile
View John Carmichael Profile
2015-05-12 17:02 [p.13813]
Mr. Speaker, in committee, one of the issues that was discussed at length is elder financial abuse. I would like to ask the member how Bill S-4 would work to combat this serious problem in our society today.
View John Carmichael Profile
View John Carmichael Profile
2015-05-12 17:17 [p.13814]
Mr. Speaker, I am pleased to speak to Bill S-4, the digital privacy act, which was recently reviewed by the Standing Committee on Industry, Science and Technology.
Bill S-4 introduces a number of important improvements to the Personal Information Protection and Electronic Documents Act that will increase the level of privacy protection for Canadians.
PIPEDA is privacy legislation that has been in place for more than a decade now. Under the law, organizations are expected to apply stronger protection in situations that are privacy-sensitive. As an overriding rule, businesses must limit what they do when it comes to the collection, use, and disclosure of personal information to activities that one would consider reasonable and appropriate in the circumstances.
Not all individuals have the same capacity to understand what is reasonable and appropriate, nor can they necessarily appreciate the immediate or long-term consequences of providing information about themselves to a commercial enterprise. This is particularly true of minors. The range of online activities today's kids engage in is astounding. They take part in multi-player games with people from all over the world. They explore virtual worlds. They join chat rooms and post comments, photos, and videos about themselves and their friends.
Today's kids have grown up with the Internet and digital technologies. Social networks, gaming consoles, and smart phones have always been a part of their lives. When kids interact with their friends and when they play games, more often than not it is through technology.
According to a survey conducted in 2013, more than 30% of grades 4 to 6 students have Facebook accounts. By grade 11, 95% of students have such an account.
Digital technology offers tremendous benefits to children's education, development, and social lives. In today's digital economy, children must be able to safety and securely use network technologies and access the online world if they are to develop the skills they will later need to find jobs in the digital marketplace.
What children may not be aware of is that the information they share in the context of online play or learning can actually have unintended consequences. Online personal information has become an enormous source of revenue for companies. Kids are able to play online games, download and use apps, and talk to their friends at no cost because companies offering these services generate revenue by harvesting and using personal information for profiling and marketing purposes.
This government does not wish to prevent today's youth from fully realizing the benefits of the digital world. The skills they develop through these many online activities will provide them with significant advantages when they enter the job market as young adults. This government fundamentally believes that digital literacy and skills are at the core of what is needed for individuals to succeed in today's digital economy.
However, with an increased online presence comes added risk. Strong protections for children's online privacy are needed.
PIPEDA already contains defences that safeguard the personal information of minors. For example, the act prohibits organizations from using deceptive means to obtain consent. Most importantly, it requires companies to limit the purposes for which they collect, use, or disclose personal information to reasons that individuals would consider reasonable and appropriate in the circumstances.
Bill S-4 enhances these protections by clearly setting out requirements that organizations must meet when obtaining consent. These new provisions will have a positive impact, especially when it comes to the protection and the privacy of children.
The new measure will require organizations to clearly explain why they are collecting information, what they will do with it once they have it, and what the consequences of providing it will be.
What is more, they must provide this explanation in a way that can be understood by the audience they are targeting with their product or service. This means that any business targeting children must pay very close attention.
The amendments in Bill S-4 mean from a legal perspective that when a company is seeking permission to collect, use, or disclose personal information from a group of individuals such as children, it must take steps to ensure that these individuals are able to fully understand what would happen to that information.
In practice, this would mean that the organization's request for information can be easily understood by the target audience. This includes making sure that the wording and language used in the request are age-appropriate. For example, a video game designed and marketed to preteens would clearly need to take a different approach to obtaining the consent of players to collect personal information than a video game marketed to adults.
We heard from a number of witnesses during the committee's consideration of the bill, and the majority were supportive of our government's proposed amendments in Bill S-4 to enhance consent.
The Privacy Commissioner of Canada repeatedly expressed his support for the amendment. This is what the Privacy Commissioner told the committee:
Consent is a big part of PIPEDA, and I think it's useful to have this clarification of what actually is consent. We obviously know that it is a huge challenge for organizations to properly advise individuals of the reasons they collect information and they use it, so any tool that enhances, that provides an incentive for organizations to be clearer, and to take into account the context of the individual or consumer I think helps Canadians.
The commissioner further emphasized:
So, when the individual is a child, if your product is addressed to children, you should think about what is reasonable to expect of a child in understanding the consent being sought. Overall, I think, again, the definition of consent in Bill S-4 will assist generally and will assist particularly groups that are more vulnerable, like children.
Privacy information must be clear to the user. The privacy policy should be specific to whatever service the child is using and not be a one-fits-all privacy policy.
The standing committee also heard support for this amendment from a number of other witnesses, including from business. For example, the Marketing Research Intelligence Association, a national self-regulatory body that represents Canada's survey research industry, wrote in a submission to the committee that it fully supports the enhanced consent requirements of the bill.
The association noted in particular that the amendment provides “added clarity for organizations when they seek the valid consent of an individual” when collecting, sharing, and disclosing their personal information. It went on to say:
We believe that specifying the elements of valid consent will go a long way to protecting the most vulnerable Canadians, such as seniors and children.
Our government has already taken significant action when it comes to protecting children online. We have made important progress to shield our children from online intimidation, cyberbullying, and other similar threats and abuse through amendments to the Criminal Code of Canada that were passed under the Protecting Canadians from Online Crime Act.
The amendments put forward under the digital privacy act build on those actions taken to address cyberbullying and represent additional real and tangible measures to protect Canadians and their families from online threats.
PIPEDA has been in force since 2001. Concerns about the protection of children's online privacy were raised with Parliament in 2007 during the first statutory review of this act. There was general consensus among witnesses that children warrant extra privacy protection, given their particular vulnerability to deceptive and privacy-invasive practices. Indeed, at the conclusion of its review of the act, Parliament recommended that the government examine the issue of consent by minors to determine if PIPEDA should be amended.
Our government heard stakeholder concerns and is responding to the recommendations of committee by introducing enhanced protection for the privacy of minors that is now before the House. This is an important amendment, and along with all other measures in this bill, it should be passed quickly.
The digital privacy act takes real and tangible steps to protect society's most vulnerable individuals. I hope hon. members will join me in supporting this bill so that these new protections can come into force quickly.
View John Carmichael Profile
View John Carmichael Profile
2015-05-12 17:28 [p.13816]
Mr. Speaker, the committee heard many witnesses. They provided views and testimony from both sides of the spectrum.
It is important to note, as per my colleague's question, that the digital privacy act would require organizations to tell Canadians if their personal information has been lost or stolen. As well, heavy fines of up to $100,000 would be imposed on companies that deliberately break the rules. The legislation would place strict limits on the type of personal information companies can disclose; establish new rules to protect the privacy of vulnerable Canadians, particularly children, as I just discussed; provide provisions to protect seniors from financial abuse, something we have spoken about extensively this afternoon; include measures to allow the use of information to help find missing children; and give the Privacy Commissioner of Canada more power to enforce the law and help hold offenders to account.
Bill S-4 meets those objectives more than adequately.
View John Carmichael Profile
View John Carmichael Profile
2015-05-11 14:08 [p.13710]
Mr. Speaker, last week, Canadians celebrated the 22nd annual McHappy Day. Each year, more than 1,400 McDonald's restaurants across Canada celebrate this day, raising money for the good work of their charity.
Ronald McDonald House Charities helps give sick children the one thing they need most: their families. It provides families with a home away from home or a place of peace and calm within a hospital. Since its inception, 300,000 families have been served by the Ronald McDonald houses, family rooms, and care mobiles.
The McHappy Day 2015 and the happy meal program this year raised more than $9 million for Ronald McDonald House Charities and local children's charities across Canada.
My riding of Don Valley West is home to McDonald's Canada's head office. I want to congratulate and thank them for giving back to the communities in which they operate.
View John Carmichael Profile
View John Carmichael Profile
2015-05-06 15:10 [p.13539]
Mr. Speaker, Canadians know that our government is providing more choice, lower prices and better services for their cellphone plans. Unlike the opposition parties who want higher taxes and thus higher prices, we will continue to support policies that lead to more competition, lower prices and lower taxes.
Could the Minister of Industry please give the House an update on our government's reaction to yesterday's decision by the CRTC?
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