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Bloc MP for Jonquière—Alma (Québec)

Won his last election, in 2011, with 43.40% of the vote.

Statements in the House

International Trade November 29th, 2013

Mr. Speaker, Quebec's milk and cheese producers protested yesterday. They are demanding that the federal government deliver on its promise to compensate them for the huge losses they will incur as a result of the European free trade agreement.

Under this agreement, 17,770 additional tonnes of European cheese will be imported. As the president of the Fédération des producteurs de lait du Québec said, “The concession represents more than the total production in the Lac-Saint-Jean area, which is huge”.

When will Quebec's cheese producers be compensated?

Passport Canada November 8th, 2013

Mr. Speaker, the federal government has slated the Jonquière passport office for elimination even though the office runs well, is familiar to people, and is ideally located in the centre of the region. People are taking action. They are asking Ottawa to keep the service near them. They have every reason to fear that the closure will have a negative impact.

Why does the government want to take the passport office away from the people of Jonquière? Will it instead commit to keeping these offices open?

Veterans' Week November 6th, 2013

Mr. Speaker, Remembrance Day is an opportunity for each of us to realize that we owe a debt to veterans and their families.

We have a duty to teach future generations about those who put what was best for their country ahead of what was best for them. We all have to appreciate that, without the sacrifice of our veterans in the two great wars, our democratic way of life would not be what it is today.

In the same breath, we must recognize the extraordinary courage of today's troops, some of whom have sacrificed their physical or mental health to defend our values. On this Remembrance Day, we have a collective duty to honour the soldiers and their families. We must ensure that their legacy lives on.

We have been commemorating this day to preserve the memory of our veterans and demonstrate solidarity with them and their families for nearly 100 years. Canada's commemorative symbol is the red poppy and France's is the blue cornflower or bleuet de France. Red and blue were the colours of the trenches in those days.

Remembrance Day has a special meaning to the people in my region. Together we remember the heartbreak of watching soldiers departing and the emotional homecomings. Every day, I run into men and women who have a direct or indirect connection with the military base in my region, CFB Bagotville, who have ties with the soldiers who go overseas but remain close to their hearts.

Every day I see the joy on the faces of children and their family members. Sometimes I reflect on the sacrifice of soldiers and their families, their courage and bravery. I thank our Canadian soldiers.

Quebec's Cheese Makers October 17th, 2013

Mr. Speaker, Quebec's cheese makers had quite a shock today. They found out that they will be the big losers in the free trade agreement with the European Union.

Rather than defending supply management, as they had promised, the Conservatives have thrown Quebec's cheese makers under the bus. They ignored the Bloc motion that was adopted unanimously in 2005, calling for the full protection of supply management as the minimum starting point for any negotiations.

In short, the government abandoned the big industry players and small producers who have made tremendous efforts over the past two decades to make such outstanding fine cheeses.

It is time to bring the negotiations out from behind closed doors. It is time to submit the text of the agreement to the House of Commons for debate. It is time for the government to be transparent and stop playing with the fate of an entire industry behind the scenes.

Intergovernmental Relations June 13th, 2013

Mr. Speaker, this past January, the Minister of Industry told Quebeckers that his government was open to negotiating pragmatic agreements to optimize the management of public funds. This was nothing but lip service. His colleague, the Minister of Transport, Infrastructure and Communities, just refused to transfer infrastructure funding in full to Quebec. If the government transferred the money in full, it would help reduce bureaucracy and shorten the time it takes to complete projects.

What happened to the government's openness, and why will it not transfer Quebec's full share of the money?

175th Anniversary of Saguenay—Lac-Saint-Jean June 11th, 2013

Mr. Speaker, the first settlers arrived in Saguenay—Lac-Saint-Jean on June 11, 1838. Today, the region is celebrating its 175th anniversary. On this occasion, I want to tell the people living in that part of the country that it is a privilege to be one of their own. I have always felt a strong sense of belonging to my region.

I am very proud to tell everyone I meet that ours is the only region with a flag that truly represents us. The silvery cross in the centre of our region's flag symbolizes the strength and determination of our workers, who developed prosperous industries in such sectors as pulp and paper and aluminum smelting.

I am proud of where I come from because I am aware of our ancestors' efforts to settle the area and make our natural resources available to all Quebeckers. Happy 175th anniversary to everyone.

Resignation of Member May 29th, 2013

Mr. Speaker, I am pleased to rise today to mark the departure of the member for Bourassa, as he begins a new career.

For the past 16 years, he has made his mark on Parliament Hill. He has been a minister three times, and president of the Privy Council. As the former secretary of state for amateur sport, he contributed to the creation of the World Anti-Doping Agency in Montreal. I think that he must wonder sometimes, as we do, what an Olympic hockey team from Quebec would look like.

Although I may not always agree with his political views, I would like to describe the man, and not our differences. The member for Bourassa was the first member to congratulate me and offer some encouragement in facing the challenge of being a member of Parliament when I was first elected in May 2011. In doing so, the member for Bourassa showed me that, beyond the debates, the parties and our political differences, respect is still one of the most important qualities in our society. This was striking.

Over the years, the member for Bourassa has become a central player, central to government 2.0 and central to Canada’s political scene.

In conclusion, regardless of where his new career will take him, what can I do but wish him all the best in maintaining his sense of commitment and his passion in his future endeavours.

Good luck, Denis, my friend!

Homelessness May 2nd, 2013

Mr. Speaker, when it comes to homelessness, the federal government's actions are cause for concern. In addition to cutting funding, Ottawa wants to impose its “affordable housing” approach, which will force Quebec to give up its expertise and its own programs that meet its needs.

On Tuesday, the National Assembly unanimously condemned Ottawa's attitude and asked that the homelessness strategy be realigned with the current model that respects Quebec's policies.

Instead of leaving organizations and stakeholders scratching their heads, can the minister confirm that she will accommodate Quebec's model and the work of stakeholders in the community?

Employment Insurance April 25th, 2013

Mr. Speaker, on Tuesday, April 2, protestors heeded the call from Mouvement action chômage, ASTUCE, unions affiliated with the CSN and the FTQ, and the Quebec public service union for a funeral procession through the streets of Alma.

They came to my constituency office with flowers and a coffin to mark the death of the board of referees and umpires.

There is good reason for the unemployed in my region to be grieving. The social security tribunal, based in Ottawa, will be handling all claims now. Hearings in the regions, where complainants could attend in person, will disappear bit by bit.

The protestors' message was clear: if the government thinks it can quash opposition to its reform by doing away with the board of referees and umpires, it will soon realize that advocacy groups for the unemployed are alive and well and will do everything they can to defend the rights of the unemployed. They will always have my support.

Intergovernmental Relations March 26th, 2013

Mr. Speaker, with its budget, the federal government wants to impose its vision for worker training on Quebec. In so doing, it is prepared to gut proven programs.

Last year alone, Quebec's employment assistance services allowed the federal government to save $220 million in employment insurance benefits. The Government of Quebec has been clear: it is refusing to put up with Ottawa's interference and will not participate in the new program.

Is the minister aware of Quebec's refusal or is she going to continue to be adversarial by imposing her reform on Quebec?