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  • His favourite word is colleague.

NDP MP for Louis-Hébert (Québec)

Won his last election, in 2011, with 38.70% of the vote.

Statements in the House

Military Contribution Against ISIL October 7th, 2014

Mr. Speaker, I thank my colleague for her very relevant question. It connects to the idea behind my speech, which is that humanitarian aid is not an end in itself, but the beginning of something else.

What happens when groups like Daesh, for example, take control of a territory? They organize services. What we do is relieve hunger. There is something we can learn from that, not only to help relieve hunger, but also to help these people have a better life one day.

Military Contribution Against ISIL October 7th, 2014

Mr. Speaker, I thank my colleague for his question. Clearly, once again, this question is strictly based on the rationale for a military intervention. Throughout my speech, I have said that we must go beyond armed intervention.

One of the questions I had no time to address in my speech is the following: how is this tiny group—because that is what it is—so wealthy, and why has no real effort been made to starve it financially?

Just last week, Secretary of State John Kerry said how important it was to eliminate the group's source of funding. What I am saying once again is that, if we want to root out this evil, we need to look at the big picture, not just at a small specific part of the problem that would call for a targeted intervention, which is already expected to fail.

Military Contribution Against ISIL October 7th, 2014

Mr. Speaker, I thank my colleague for his question. He will obviously understand that hard work is part of life. I think we will both agree on that and he will truly see it. However, when we say that this will not solve the problem, it means that we need to find other solutions and be more innovative. If we already know that our strategy is doomed to failure, that does not mean sitting on our hands, doing nothing and giving up. On the contrary, it is a call for action, for being innovative and finding other solutions that are much more effective.

Military Contribution Against ISIL October 7th, 2014

Mr. Speaker, I would like to provide some context for my comments by saying that neither the UN nor NATO approved this military contribution.

Iraq has the fifth-largest proven oil reserve in the world, which may explain a lot things about this conflict. Moreover, oil production has almost doubled since Saddam Hussein left power. Lastly, as for the barbaric group we are talking about today, I will not use the word “state”. I will do as the French and use the Arabic acronym Daesh.

The Prime Minister has a very limited point of view and sees the problems only from an economic standpoint. The government is only seeking revenge for actions that are, obviously, extremely reprehensible. Let us be clear: we do not like the murders and the way this organization treats dead bodies any more than the members opposite. It is unacceptable.

However, I was truly surprised by one thing in the Prime Minister's speech. He admitted that the motion he moved will not solve anything. In other words, we are doing something for the sake of doing something because we feel obliged. However, in the same breath, he admitted that this will not solve anything. We therefore need to ask ourselves whether we should be doing something that will not solve anything.

This kind of magical thinking is unacceptable. We cannot hope to solve things this time by repeating past mistakes. I doubt that this will work because the situation has not been deteriorating for two years, but rather for decades. We are going to take the same approach and hope that things will go a little better this time, but that does not reflect the reality on the ground.

Some members went so far as to say that providing support for humanitarian aid was the same as doing nothing and that it was not very honourable. How many people depend on that humanitarian aid? Do those members think that it is easy to provide humanitarian aid in a conflict situation? The most important thing is to have a long-term vision for this assistance. We are not just talking about meeting the needs of today, tomorrow or next week. The humanitarian aid provided must be seen as the first step toward a sustainable solution in this geopolitical space.

This problem has existed for years. All sorts of solutions, particularly military ones, have been tried, and now they are being tried again. If this was the first time this had happened, we could plead ignorance. However, that is not the case, and the situation gets worse every time. The only thing that has changed is the opponent's acronym.

On this side of the House, we are not advocating sitting back and watching the train go by. However, we need to take the right train, not one that will lead us into another similar debate five or 10 years from now, when other people will do the same things we did and will certainly fail to resolve the problem. At no other time in the history of humanity have we had so much knowledge. Unfortunately, we are not using it. We need to understand what is happening, not just react to it.

We know that military action alone cannot resolve the problem. Nevertheless that is the approach the House is adopting. We know that long-term social, economic and political change is needed. If we simply repeat the past, we are bound to fail.

For example, this very day, the Americans are bombing ISIS fighters in the town of Kobani, which is located on the border of Syria and Turkey. This has been only partially successful. They are bombing during the day, but that is not working because the troops are light and mobile. This intervention has already practically failed. That is what is happening at the Turkish border. Approximately 140,000 people have already left Kobani for Turkey.

Who is helping them? Are we giving them enough assistance? Are we allowing the Kurds to properly defend themselves? No. We are ignoring the geopolitical problems of the region because it is located near the border of Turkey and Syria. The Turks do not want to intervene because the situation involves the Kurds and the al-Assad government would consider any intervention an act of war.

Perhaps diplomacy is needed to resolve the situation. That would help everyone on the planet. However, the government does not seem to want to take that approach. It is truly unbelievable.

We have to look at the problem as a whole. We cannot look at humanitarian aid as a one-off. We have to look at the bigger picture and draw on all of our knowledge.

That is why I am saying to the Prime Minister that it is time for him to consider sociology, social sciences and political sciences, indeed all our world knowledge, both in Canada and elsewhere in the West, and think about effective ways of intervening so that we never have to go through this experience again and deal with groups of madmen going around beheading people.

What is more, it is important to support the local people. They are the ones who will manage to solve the problem and if we do not support them in finding a solution, I can assure the House that we will never resolve this crisis.

The thing is, we are falling into a trap. All the horrors are being broadcast to the world when usually they are hidden. They are being made public precisely because ISIS wants us to do what we are in the process of doing right now, which is to conduct the bombings. This will help them recruit people. It is obvious. It is not rocket science.

The Daesh, or Islamic state terror group, is not very strong. It is definitely wealthy, structured and well equipped. However, it draws its strength from the weakness around it. The systematic destruction of all the social structures in this region allowed it to grow. It is important to recognize that. However, in the current situation, nothing is being strengthened. Every political and social organization in this region continues to be undermined.

Imagine that. An Iraqi army of 200,000 soldiers trained for seven years by the Americans at a cost of $26 billion fled from a small group of 20,000 people who are not even soldiers. A few are, but most are militants. This Iraqi army bolted. Their training was a failure. It is a serious failure.

That is why it is so important to intervene with a UN mandate. We must also find our place within this coalition.

A number of countries including Norway, Sweden, Spain and Austria are focused on humanitarian aid. I think Canada should get involved as well. We would not be alone. We could talk about forming a coalition to provide aid. We have to think about the future. We have to do more than just trying to solve today's problems.

Shipbuilding October 2nd, 2014

Mr. Speaker, the day before yesterday, the Quebec National Assembly unanimously adopted a motion calling on the federal government to give work to the Davie shipyard.

As we know, this Quebec shipyard, which is located in the Minister of Public Safety's riding, was abandoned by the Conservatives. It has not received any contracts or any of the $33 billion in federal funding.

As far back as 2011, we said that no one needed to be the loser. If this government claims to listen to Quebeckers, it cannot disregard a unanimous resolution—I repeat, unanimous—of the Quebec National Assembly, as it so often does.

Therefore, I ask the government, specifically the hon. member for Lévis—Bellechasse and Minister of Public Safety, to consider the motion by the Quebec National Assembly and tell us what they plan to do, because the Davie shipyard is ready now to work on contracts that will help Canada.

Shipbuilding October 2nd, 2014

Mr. Speaker, the day before yesterday, the Quebec National Assembly unanimously adopted a motion calling on the federal government to give work—

Canada-Korea Economic Growth and Prosperity Act September 30th, 2014

Mr. Speaker, I would like to thank the hon. member for his speech.

The NDP will support this agreement, not because it is a free trade agreement, but because we think that it is reasonably worth supporting.

Obviously, some aspects of the agreement bother us. No agreement is perfect. For example, there is a mechanism for settling disputes between private companies and the government.

Could my colleague tell me whether he is comfortable with the idea that a state or a government could be partially limited in what it can do because of a dispute settlement mechanism? Can a private company have the upper hand on its own government and prevent it from doing what it wants to?

Canada-Korea Economic Growth and Prosperity Act September 30th, 2014

Mr. Speaker, I would like to thank my colleague for his speech. While listening to him earlier, I was thinking a lot about Descartes's Discourse on Method, and I think we should reread the classics.

My colleague has clearly shown the reasoned approach taken by the NDP to free trade agreements, which is quite the opposite of the ideological approach of saying yes to everything, regardless of the consequences, as long as there is business to be done.

I am convinced that my colleague is a person of reason. Could he tell me a little more about the problem caused by extrajudicial tribunals in the conduct of government business? That is one of the NDP's concerns.

Canada-Korea Economic Growth and Prosperity Act September 30th, 2014

Mr. Speaker, I thank my colleague for his speech. Naturally, we like to talk about the NDP's position on free trade agreements. Unlike the Conservatives and the Liberals, we prefer to look at the agreement itself to see if it has any benefits. In our speeches, we have said that we have three principles and that we rationally analyze the merits of each agreement. I would like my colleague to tell me what he thinks of this approach, of analyzing agreements before supporting them. Does he think that is a good way to do things?

Privilege September 25th, 2014

Mr. Speaker, it is clear that this has happened before. Apparently, nothing we have tried so far has worked.

I would humbly suggest to the members of the committee studying this issue that they simply talk to the Sergeant-at-Arms about the possibility of holding a round table with the RCMP and municipal police. That way, when something like this going on just off of Parliament Hill affects the Hill, these organizations can coordinate. Clearly, there was no coordination on this. Everyone tried to do their jobs as well as possible, but it was not coordinated at all. Maybe the solution is to get the Sergeant-at-Arms to oversee coordination.