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Crucial Fact

NDP MP for Louis-Hébert (Québec)

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

Statements in the House

Tax Evasion April 9th, 2014

Mr. Speaker, we are always talking about tax havens as though they are illegal, but sometimes they are legal. What t is certain is that this is always amoral for a society that is a victim of tax havens.

When a business or individual uses tax havens, the public purse is shortchanged, taxpayers are cheated and businesses that pay their taxes honestly are duped. It is unacceptable. Indeed, taxation is at the core of the sovereignty of a state or a nation like Canada. We are seeing the globalization of economic activity, and yet our laws and regulations are still fragmented, which is problematic. Of course, people are starting to talk about this here and there, but we have yet to see any real harmonization or cohesive measures among nations to avoid these things.

I would remind the House of the OECD criteria for identifying a tax haven: very low or no taxes; lack of transparency regarding its tax system; no exchange of tax information with other nations; and no substantial activities of the taxpayer in the country in question. This creates all kinds of internal and external problems. Tax competition among nations is one example. Economic competition among businesses from various countries is another example. Money laundering is yet another illustration of the problems created by tax havens. Basically, they destabilize the entire international financial system.

My colleagues spoke at length about the various problems this can cause and how much money could be involved. There was a lot of talk about Barbados. Barbados has a population of 300,000. That is fewer people than Quebec City. However, there is $60 billion there. Does Barbados have $60 billion worth of economic activity from Canada alone? I do not think so.

Now and again we must vote on a bill that seeks to prevent double taxation. On the surface, that is noble, but some people take advantage through the back door. When individuals or businesses are taxed in one place and not another, I have no problem with that.

However, we cannot allow this to become a back-door opportunity for tax evasion. If one of the two countries has a tax system that is close to zero, this will lead to tax evasion and it means that we are not achieving our goal of fairly distributing a country's and a province's financial burden among all taxpayers, regardless of whether they are individuals or businesses.

Taxes are not meant to be fun. They are meant to help administer the common good and to fund important activities. We can think of all of the federal jurisdictions we are responsible for in Ottawa, such as the environment, the army, defence, international relations, and so on. This costs around $275 billion. We have a lot of things to do, in addition to supporting our provinces when it comes to health care, post-secondary education and social transfers. We need fairness. We need to ensure that everyone who benefits from this country also contributes their fair share of the costs of running this society. Companies are able to hire educated people because someone somewhere helped pay for their education. That is just one example.

That is why I think that the motion moved by my colleague from Rivière-du-Nord is a good start.

To manage and evaluate a problem, we need to start by assessing the scope of it. We have implemented measures internationally. However, how can we assess how much needs to be done if we do not have a good idea of the task at hand?

Quite simply, we need to be responsible. It is a matter of being fair to all taxpayers.

Economic Action Plan 2014 Act, No. 1 April 8th, 2014

Mr. Speaker, I thank my colleague for her speech. We need to remember that the government imposed a gag order on this bill after only 25 minutes of debate. It introduced yet another massive budget bill and has thrown all kinds of things into it. It contains poison pills, which means that there are things we agree with and things we do not agree with.

I really appreciate the direction my colleague took in her speech when she made some worthwhile suggestions. She spoke about the co-operative movement and about technology. I would like to know what she thinks about the shortcomings in this budget with respect to technology. Perhaps she could tell us whether she agrees with me that there are shortcomings.

Technology is not just about innovation. It also includes basic research. There is a university in my riding, and I am told that cuts are being made to basic research and the focus will be strictly on innovation. We are breaking the innovation chain. Are we not setting ourselves up for challenges in the future by not investing in research?

Petitions April 4th, 2014

Mr. Speaker, petitioners from across Quebec want violence against bus drivers to stop. They want an amendment to the Criminal Code that would add a separate offence for this type of assault.

Ovarian Cancer April 4th, 2014

Mr. Speaker, imagine a young mother being diagnosed with a type of cancer that usually affects older women.

Imagine that there is no reliable early detection screening and that the average survival time is less than five years in 75% of cases.

Imagine that this same woman is resistant to the most effective chemotherapy and that her survival depends on experimental research protocols.

Imagine that one of the drugs is not covered by her insurance company and costs her $4,000 every three weeks. Imagine the pressure on her family's budget.

Imagine that the benefits from treatment will not be permanent and that she will soon have to travel if she wants to live longer.

That is the true story of a young mother in Louis-Hébert with ovarian cancer. What she wants is quite simple: to watch her daughters grow up for as long as she can. We can help her if we improve our research capacity and allow physical and financial access to experimental treatments.

Economic Action Plan 2014 Act, No. 1 April 4th, 2014

Mr. Speaker, after only 25 minutes of debate, the government imposed a gag order on one of the most important bills of the year. There was only 25 minutes of debate.

I would like to thank the hon. member for pointing out a few things that I feel are important, including the fact that the budget does nothing to address poverty.

I would argue that nothing is being done for public transit either, and that includes rail transit. I would like to hear my colleague's comments on that.

Economic Action Plan 2014 Act, No. 1 April 3rd, 2014

Mr. Speaker, this budget is rather disappointing because it does not present a vision of society. Does my colleague agree with me?

For example, in the Quebec City region, we have Université Laval, and the lack of investment in research and development, especially in basic research, is causing us to lose ground within the OECD, particularly in the area of research practices.

What does my colleague from Charlesbourg—Haute-Saint-Charles think about investments in research and development?

Economic Action Plan 2014 Act, No. 1 April 3rd, 2014

Mr. Speaker, I thank my colleague for her speech.

She said that she had talked to her constituents. The Conservative government has gotten into the habit of introducing massive bills and throwing other measures in with the budget. Moreover, the government blatantly refuses to discuss these measures. We saw that earlier when my colleague from Rimouski-Neigette—Témiscouata—Les Basques suggested that we create a budget bill and that all the other measures be removed from the bill.

I would like to ask my colleague what her constituents have to say about the whole idea of massive bills. Do they like that the government chooses to proceed in this way? What do they think?

Protecting Canadians from Online Crime Act March 26th, 2014

Mr. Speaker, I am disappointed for a number of reasons.

A 58th gag order was clearly unnecessary. I am also disappointed with the minister's perception of the value of debate in the House. I am very disappointed to see that he does not feel that debates are at all important. It is very disappointing to know that a minister feels that way.

We are talking about cyberbullying and the Internet. We are therefore entering into somewhat new fields of law. I think that we should take the time to carefully examine this issue.

Earlier, the minister was saying that he wanted to work with experts. I can give him some names right now. The young members of our party use the Internet and can talk about cyberbullying better than anyone. I would like the House to listen to what they have to say even before this bill goes to committee.

Here is my question: does the minister want to pass a bill as quickly as possible or does he want to pass a good bill?

Canada-Honduras Economic Growth and Prosperity Act March 6th, 2014

Mr. Speaker, I thank my hon. colleague for his speech. He talked a lot about morality, particularly at the beginning of his speech.

I get a feeling that the fundamental disagreement we have with the government has to do with how we look at free trade agreements. Indeed, the government looks at them only from a market standpoint, which is completely amoral. I did not say “immoral”, but rather “amoral”. That is very important. We examine these agreements from a moral standpoint.

I would like to hear my colleague's thoughts on that.

Privilege March 4th, 2014

Mr. Speaker, I wish to thank my hon. colleague for her brilliant speech.

She talked about Parliament being a place of words. She talked about integrity and trust. If we want to have debates that are healthy and remain healthy, we need to be sure that our colleagues are always telling the truth and always saying things that are accurate.

What risk do we run if people assume that they can do terrible things and then simply apologize to make everything right? Would that not undermine our mutual trust?