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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
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?
The Economy March 18th, 2013
Mr. Speaker, the Conservatives claim to be champions of the economy and give their budgets the misnomer of “economic action plan”. This is nothing but smoke and mirrors. The budget allocations are clear: as of this year, the government intends to make $55 million in cuts to Canada Economic Development for Quebec Regions, which invests in companies in every region of the province, including Saguenay—Lac-Saint-Jean. The Conservatives are not going to strengthen the regions' economy by making cuts to their economic development.
Will the government use Thursday's budget as an opportunity to change course and cancel the drastic cuts planned for Canada Economic Development for Quebec Regions?
Intergovernmental Relations March 7th, 2013
Mr. Speaker, the government justifies its employment insurance reform, which harshly penalizes the economy in regions such as Saguenay—Lac-St-Jean, by claiming that it is trying to connect unemployed workers to available jobs. If that were true, it would not be tearing up its labour market agreement with Quebec, which helps unemployed workers find jobs.
Quebec's minister, Alexandre Cloutier, made it clear that Quebec will not give up this responsibility.
Will the government stop hiding behind the supposed secrecy of the budget and announce that this agreement will be fully maintained?
Petitions February 13th, 2013
Mr. Speaker, I rise today to table a petition signed by Canadians on Bill C-400, the Secure, Adequate, Accessible and Affordable Housing Act.
In Quebec, Loge m'entraide struggles every day to find housing for young people. That is why I am presenting this petition to the House today.
Employment Insurance February 11th, 2013
Mr. Speaker, the people of Saguenay—Lac-Saint-Jean were already having a lot of problems with the employment insurance program even before the reforms were implemented.
Instead of addressing the program's irritants, the current government is making an already very difficult situation even worse.
I would like to take the opportunity today to thank Sylvain Bergeron, of ASTUCE, and France Simard, of Mouvement action chômage, two regional organizations that have been standing up for the rights of the unemployed for years.
The services they provide to our communities, our workers, our families and the most vulnerable are vitally important, and their efforts are very much appreciated.
I would also like to encourage people to participate in the activities being organized to condemn the changes to employment insurance that hurt Saguenay—Lac-Saint-Jean. There will also be days of action, with activities taking place in front of the Service Canada offices at Racine Street tomorrow, February 12, and in downtown Kénogami on Saturday morning, February 16.
Mobilize against employment insurance.