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Crucial Fact

  • His favourite word is colleague.

NDP MP for Brossard—La Prairie (Québec)

Won his last election, in 2011, with 41.00% of the vote.

Statements in the House

Transport June 19th, 2014

Mr. Speaker, yesterday, the United States Congress grilled GM over its lax approach to safety and recalls.

American legislators want to know what happened and what measures have been taken to prevent this from happening again. Canadians also want answers.

Why are the Conservatives refusing to examine this problem in parliamentary committee?

Transport June 19th, 2014

Mr. Speaker, the recall of vehicles with unsafe ignition switches continues to grow. Over 3 million cars were added this week. U.S. congressional hearings are seeking answers about why GM failed to act sooner and how the problem slipped past regulators.

However, in Canada, the minister is not getting to the bottom of things and the Conservatives have even blocked attempts to study the issue. Does the minister really think Canadians do not deserve more answers on a safety defect that cost at least 13 lives?

Committees of the House June 18th, 2014

Mr. Speaker, I thank my colleague from Chambly—Borduas for his speech and his work as sport critic. He clearly said that this issue affected him personally. He is truly passionate about anything related to sport.

I read the report and recommendations. I know it was a lengthy undertaking, and I congratulate the committee members, particularly my colleague, for their hard work. During question period, he questioned the government about the impact of cuts to the CBC. Point 3.6 of the report refers to the media and social media. It says that arranging media coverage is an important part of the preparations.

Since my colleague is very familiar with this file, I would like to know whether this issue was looked at in committee.

Was there any consideration given to the potential impacts of cuts to the CBC or elsewhere?

With respect to the media, how will these cuts affect athlete performance when it comes to amateur and Paralympic sport?

Committees of the House June 13th, 2014

Mr. Speaker, I would like to add some comments regarding the majority report of the Standing Committee on Transport, Infrastructure and Communities that was just tabled.

We studied rail transportation of dangerous goods and safety management systems. I would like to thank all the witnesses who took the time to come and share their views, as well as the Library of Parliament analysts who worked extremely hard so that we could produce a well-balanced report.

We will nevertheless be tabling a supplementary report to differentiate our way of doing things from that of the Liberals and Conservatives, who let things go and allow rail companies to self-regulate. We addressed such issues as inspections, audits, violations, exemptions, better planning, emergency preparedness and safety management systems. There is a full explanation in the supplementary report, and I invite all members to read it.

Air Transportation June 12th, 2014

Mr. Speaker, flight attendants are concerned about the Conservatives' decision to reduce the minimum number of flight attendants required on domestic flights. This decision could affect the safety of passengers since it reduces the number of people available to help them. We have seen the impact that relaxing the rules has had in the railway industry.

The main union for flight attendants has requested a meeting with the minister to discuss the situation. Will she agree to that request?

Petitions June 11th, 2014

Mr. Speaker, the second petition requests the Government of Canada to pass a resolution to establish measures to stop the Chinese Communist regime's crime of systematically murdering Falun Gong practitioners for their organs, to implement legislation to combat forced organ harvesting, and publicly call for an end to the persecution of Falun Gong in China.

Petitions June 11th, 2014

Mr. Speaker, I have two petitions to present today.

It is my privilege to present a petition on behalf of people in my riding, Brossard—La Prairie. They are asking the federal government not to impose a toll on the new Champlain Bridge. Over 1,500 people have signed this petition.

I would like to sincerely thank the 150 people who showed up for the day of action against the toll and all of those who continue to canvass their neighbourhoods gathering signatures for the petition. They should be congratulated on their remarkable commitment. Thank you.

Canada-Honduras Economic Growth and Prosperity Act June 10th, 2014

Mr. Speaker, I am pleased to rise in the House to speak to Bill C-20. I would like to thank my colleagues for being here and for allowing me to speak to this very important issue.

Incidentally, I would like to commend the member for Richmond Hill. He actually asked a few questions tonight. He took part in the debate, although I did not hear him speak. I would have liked to hear his take on things in order to ask him questions. It is all well and good to ask questions, but I would remind him that he is a government MP. As such, he could answer questions as well. Unfortunately, we have not heard his story. More accurately, his story seems to have evolved somewhat over the course of the evening.

I have here the Hansard from March 5, 2012. I was an MP. On page 892, we were talking about Bill C-23, An Act to implement the Free Trade Agreement between Canada and the Hashemite Kingdom of Jordan, the Agreement on the Environment between Canada and the Hashemite Kingdom of Jordan and the Agreement on Labour Cooperation between Canada and the Hashemite Kingdom of Jordan. I invite my colleague to read it. I cannot read all of the names that are included because we are not allowed to name members who are present, but the NDP was there and voted in favour of the bill. I would also invite the Leader of the Government in the House of Commons to read this and take note of it, because I hear time and time again that the NDP has never supported a free trade agreement. However, it is here, in black and white.

Even though we keep explaining it to the Conservatives, it seems they do not understand. We keep saying that when the government enters into its free trade agreements, it is not negotiating them well and it is not doing a good job choosing its partners. The objective is clear: move on to another scandal, talk about something other than the scandals and the corruption on that side. The government is signing all kinds of free trade agreements and is very proud of that fact. However, we must look at the facts. I remember talking about the free trade agreement with Panama. In that case, there were problems with tax evasion. In this case, with Honduras, there are human rights issues.

We are hearing rather peculiar questions from the other side. The Conservatives appear to be saying that human rights may not be that important after all, which means that they can be pushed aside. Of course, when the Conservatives go back to their ridings and talk with their constituents, they claim to support human rights, but when push comes to shove, during negotiations and discussions with a partner, they simply push these rights aside. I want to stress how important it is to consider human rights during negotiations. According to the Conservatives and the Liberals, once we sign a free trade agreement, the market will open up and everyone will be happy. They mean, of course, that everyone will be rich and happy.

This is not what happens in real life. I would like to remind my colleagues opposite of the agreement Canada signed with Colombia. Reports were produced afterwards. The Conservatives argue that by signing a free trade agreement, we are helping people in the other country. We have seen that the agreement with Colombia did not help at all, just the opposite, in fact.

What we are saying is that when the Conservatives go negotiating agreements left and right, they have to learn from their mistakes. They are poor administrators. They do not know how to negotiate agreements properly, and that is why those of us on this side of the House are opposed to those agreements. We have given them solutions and suggestions. We have made proposals and put forward amendments. Since they have a majority, they have always rejected our ideas.

It is important to me to be here tonight, to talk to them and tell them what they can do because more free trade agreements, such as the trans-Pacific partnership agreement, are on the way.

That is still under negotiation. Unfortunately, those of us on this side of the House do not have much information because the government is very secretive and lacks transparency, as usual. I suggest that my colleagues take a look at what happens in the United States. Their politicians have access to agreements and can read them. This is a time when they can negotiate something in return for the agreement.

One good example is Vietnam. I talked about this at second reading. Vietnam is part of the trans-Pacific partnership. The U.S. House of Representatives is putting pressure on its negotiators to ensure that they demand improvements in the realm of human rights and workers' rights in Vietnam before signing the agreement. That is meaningful action.

This should be a lesson to the Conservatives as well as the Liberals. We need to agree that a free trade agreement with Honduras is technically not that significant. It will not do a great deal for Canada as a trading partner. That is how they see it in the United States. They give a country a free trade agreement to help it improve its human rights record.

No one in this House can say that respect for human rights is not an issue in Honduras. Clearly, when a government rises to power after a coup and when journalists and opposition politicians are murdered, we know there are problems. Not once have I heard today, from either the Conservatives or the Liberals, that they disagree with what the NDP has said. They agree with us that there are problems in Honduras. However, the response of the Liberals and the Conservatives to these problems is to throw the dice and hope it all works out.

In contrast, the NDP says that we should take the lead. We are in a position to negotiate and demand change. It was for that reason that I entered politics. I wanted to change things. Quite frankly, I know that some of our Conservative colleagues also want to change things for the better. Unfortunately, I have not heard much from them to this point. I heard some questions, but I did not hear them defending their position.

I would like to have a debate with the Conservatives to know exactly how they think that signing this agreement will improve the plight of Hondurans and help improve respect for human rights.

Canada-Honduras Economic Growth and Prosperity Act June 10th, 2014

Mr. Speaker, I am a little disappointed because I thought the Conservatives would ask a question and get involved in the debate. Unfortunately, that is not the case.

I would like to begin by congratulating my colleague from Sherbrooke, Canada's youngest MP. That is a historical fact. Despite his youth, I am always impressed by his intelligence.

I would like to comment on the last point he raised about how both the Conservatives and the Liberals claim to support human rights. That is just lip service because the facts show just the opposite, as demonstrated by the free trade agreement with Honduras. The Liberals are supporting it despite that country's dismal human right record.

I would like my colleague to comment on the fact that this is not the first time that the Conservatives have introduced a badly negotiated bill that does not prioritize human rights or the environment, nor is this the first time the Liberals have supported them.

I would like to know what my colleague thinks of that.

Strengthening Canadian Citizenship Act June 9th, 2014

Mr. Speaker, that is a very good question that we can indeed debate. I am quite pleased, as the objective is to have another vision.

The question raised by my colleague from Saint-Lambert is very important. The bill creates two categories: citizens and citizens with dual citizenship. Citizenship can be removed and revoked for one category, but not for the other. Furthermore, this can undermine the significance of or the confidence that we might have in the system.

At present, we have a system in place that can arrive at solutions or penalties, when necessary, for people who contravene the rules and the law. With the current version of Bill C-24, the government wants to give the minister the power to actually grant or revoke citizenship in an almost haphazard way. That is very problematic. That is why lawyers have objected.

That is deplorable because the minister has simply dismissed the objections. This happens regularly with the Conservatives: they could not care less about the law or about anything coming from the Supreme Court. Then, we will have to deal with it. Who will end up paying? Taxpayers, and that is deplorable.