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Crucial Fact

  • His favourite word is conservatives.

NDP MP for Laval (Québec)

Won his last election, in 2011, with 43.30% of the vote.

Statements in the House

Canada-Honduras Economic Growth and Prosperity Act June 5th, 2014

Mr. Speaker, I would be pleased to answer my colleague. In fact, he was the one who spoke about the criteria. We need to be somewhat responsible about this. He himself reminded us that Canada, as a member of the United Nations and the World Trade Organization, has to follow certain rules. The government cannot carelessly impose a free trade agreement.

As I said, this is not about economic gain. There has always been a negative trade balance. We do not sell very much to the Hondurans. We buy many things from them. However, as I said, there is another goal here, and that is to somehow protect mining companies so that they cannot be held responsible when they make a mess in these third world countries by recklessly exploiting their natural resources.

Canada-Honduras Economic Growth and Prosperity Act June 5th, 2014

Mr. Speaker, please allow me to respond to the hon. member for York Centre. He has been asking pathetic questions like that all evening. Either he is way off topic or he is trying to get us to go off topic.

If he did not understand what I said in my speech, maybe it will be translated. However, what I said was that the NDP is trying to point out the repercussions of this free trade agreement. That has nothing to do with what he just said or a hypothetical carbon tax or whatever. What is more, he is talking about negotiation. My God. No, they will see what we are going to do in 2015.

Canada-Honduras Economic Growth and Prosperity Act June 5th, 2014

Mr. Speaker, first, I would like to thank my hon. colleague from Sudbury for sharing his time with me. I would also like to commend my hon. colleague from Beaches—East York for his wonderful speech. Anyone who listened to it understood right away what it was about.

I would like to delve right into the main theme of my speech on Bill C-20. I will start by taking a brief look back in history. I will not go back as far as the 19th century, but it is important to point out that Honduras has been an independent country since 1821.

Honduras has therefore been an independent nation for 193 years. It has made progress and has had highs and lows, but it has carried on. Recently, there have been a lot of problems in the country that have significantly lowered the quality of life for its residents. The biggest blow was the coup against democratically elected President Manuel Zelaya in 2009.

The military then conned the people and ruled for several years until another election was held. The existing government does not really represent any true segment of Honduran society. There is a lot of corruption and human rights are violated. In short, there is no real guarantee of living a decent life there.

When I see the Conservative government bragging and saying that it is going to sign a free trade agreement with Honduras, it is a disgrace to anything that might be considered good about international free trade.

Why? Despite all the advantages and disadvantages of international trade agreements between countries, I believe that the Conservatives look only at the economic aspect of it, the matter of profit and what they can get out of it, since traditionally trade with Honduras has always resulted in a negative balance. We know that. The figures have been mentioned before. It makes no sense. This agreement is of no real economic value to Canada, and the Conservatives are not abiding by the main criteria, as we have already discussed here.

One of those criteria stipulates that the proposed partner's economy must be of significant or strategic value to Canada. However, that does not seem to be the case here. Another criterion stipulates that the terms of the proposed agreement must be satisfactory. That too is not the case.

No good economist would enter into the negotiation of a trade agreement, whether it be between countries or strictly local, without analyzing far more criteria.

Among those criteria, aside from the economic aspect that I was just talking about, there is also the qualitative criterion. The NDP caucus wants the Conservatives to understand that this is the criterion they are failing to meet. They are not taking it into account. What will be the consequences of this free trade agreement that they are trying to sign with Honduras?

Across North America, 25 recognized organizations tried to warn the Conservatives about the risks of signing this agreement. They did not listen. These organizations fully explained and documented the tangible societal consequences this agreement would have. They warned the Conservatives that signing this contract would fuel the social conflict that currently exists. Everyone here knows that, and it has been said many times.

Honduras is having problems right now. Inequalities are getting bigger every year. I do not think it is good business to sign a free trade agreement with a country in that situation. A developed country such as ours, with one of the largest economies in the world, should not engage in this type of negotiation when we know that it will only benefit a small oligarchy in that country. It is because Canadian imports are huge and exports to Honduras amount to nothing.

Another thing that has been swept under this black rug—or perhaps blue if it is a Conservative rug—is an ulterior motive, and that is to allow the ruling oligarchy to become richer.

When the Canadian International Development Agency and the Department of Foreign Affairs and International Trade merged, they studied this agreement. In their report, they concluded that there was a worthwhile aspect to this agreement. Unless I am mistaken, basically, there was protection for Canadian mining interests in the region.

This free trade agreement will produce results similar to the trading outcomes Honduras has had with the United States, particularly with a company called Rosario Mining, which wreaked havoc wherever it went.

Seniors May 12th, 2014

Mr. Speaker, yesterday we celebrated Mother's Day. I marked the occasion with a number of mothers who live in one of the many seniors' homes in my riding.

Although we were all celebrating the day, a number of the mothers were worried about their future. They told me they were worried about what the government has in store for them. With regard to pensions, more than 30% of these retired mothers are in debt and 40% of them will soon go into debt. Their access to health care and medications is increasingly in jeopardy.

On top of that, as I just mentioned, there is the bill introduced by the Minister of State for Democratic Reform.

The mothers were happy, and I hope that they will be for a long time. Happy Mother's Day.

Fair Elections Act May 12th, 2014

Mr. Speaker, I want to thank the hon. member for Winnipeg North for his comment and question.

He is absolutely right. He reiterated what we have been seeing in most of the committees with a Conservative majority. What is more, the Conservatives are pushing through their bills and anything else they want.

The member is right about our caucus, and our representation on such a committee. If memory serves me correctly, a hundred or so amendments were proposed. I think that fewer than half were read, consulted, verified or anything. The Conservatives made it clear from the outset that they did not want to listen. They keep moving time allocation motions and limiting the speaking time of our representatives but never make any mention of that.

My colleague from Winnipeg North is absolutely right. That is their strategy. That is what they want to do.

Fair Elections Act May 12th, 2014

Mr. Speaker, I thank my distinguished colleague from Louis-Saint-Laurent.

What happened in committee is troubling. I am not sure if you watch the news on television very often, Mr. Speaker, but nearly all the political commentators have said they are shocked by the attitude of the committee's Conservative majority. The Conservatives did not listen to anyone. They practically muzzled everyone. They said we could bring forward some witnesses, who would each have their turn to speak, but the Conservatives did not listen to them and adjourned the meeting. We put a lot of work into this. We must thank our honourable colleague from Hamilton Centre for standing up to them. That is what happened.

The Conservatives showed a rather arrogant attitude by imposing this reform and making it appear as though they were giving people the opportunity to express themselves. That was not true.

Fair Elections Act May 12th, 2014

Mr. Speaker, yesterday, Mother's Day, was a very happy day in my riding. I had the opportunity to visit a seniors' residence, which hosted a number of wonderful activities. Everyone was happy and was having a good time. The weather was nice as well. People were happy and content.

I could not help but think that this was a break for those who had told me they were worried about the election reform introduced by the Minister of State for Democratic Reform. Just a few minutes ago, my hon. colleague from Mississauga South mentioned seniors. Yesterday, older mothers were celebrating, but they also told me that they were wondering where the government was going with this election reform.

They are very worried because they have been voting with their voter information cards for quite some time and there has never been a problem. Furthermore, most seniors' residences have a polling station in the lobby. Everyone knows each other and knows who lives there. These people do not need all kinds of other ID cards.

These people are very worried, and they shared their concerns with me. Furthermore, they are discouraged by this government's attitude, especially in committee, where it imposed time allocation to limit debate. They listened to the testimony from the witnesses who were called at third reading.

The amendments proposed by the Conservatives—we will see later today—do not reflect the amendments our caucus proposed. This leaves much to be desired, since our caucus's slogan is “Working together”.

Unfortunately, members on the other side of the House do not share this perspective. They are stubborn and, since they have a majority on all the committees and even here in the House of Commons, this arrogant attitude leaves much to be desired. My constituents tell me this on a regular basis when they respond to my mail-outs or call me directly. Voters took advantage of my presence in my riding two weeks ago to come and see me. They told me that changes need to be made in the House of Commons.

Because of the way these people shared their concerns, I do not believe that they intend to wait until October 2015 to see such changes. They are concerned because this electoral reform is going to cause major upheaval. The arrogant and negative attitude of our colleagues opposite bothers people. They think it shows a blatant lack of respect for Canadians.

The Conservatives have demonstrated that lack of respect on more than one occasion, when they have attacked the Chief Electoral Officer, the former auditor general and many politically savvy people with strong opinions. These individuals have told the Conservatives directly not to take this reform any further because it is unconstitutional and undemocratic. However, the Conservatives are not listening.

I would also like to talk about the terrible provisions set out in this bill. I am very concerned about the fact that the Chief Electoral Officer is having some of his authority taken away. Historically, the Chief Electoral Officer has had the mandate to coordinate any action required to elect a government in Canada. If that person has to deal with a lot of statutory or regulatory obstacles, democracy will be dealt a severe blow. Many people are concerned about this.

In previous years, Canada had a very good international reputation. Our country was an almost perfect example of democracy. Human rights were recognized here. Everyone was free. People could work and live comfortably.

In my opinion, this will definitely be the last Conservative government. As we have seen in the past, the Conservatives do not seem to want to let go. The government is being stubborn and wants to cling to power. Since they have a majority, the Conservatives are making all sorts of changes so that they might have the chance to stay in power longer.

A prime example is the Conservatives' current reform of the Elections Act. Their plans will give them every advantage. They are increasing the amount that an individual can donate from $1,200 to $1,500. Additionally, candidates can inject $5,000 of their own money into their own election campaign. This will obviously benefit the wealthy in our society. They will be able to run for office and will have a better chance of winning, no matter the riding.

There is something else bothering many people in Laval and across Canada. I frequently receive letters from people in Ontario, especially members of the Latin American community who know me. They tell me about their concerns, which I forward to their MP. They are concerned that the Commissioner of Canada Elections will lose some of his rights. That is unacceptable.

We are opposed to these election reforms.

Canada Post April 8th, 2014

Mr. Speaker, the residents of my riding are concerned about the future of their mail system. Small businesses are watching their operating costs skyrocket.

Seniors and those with reduced mobility will have to walk long distances on ice, in the snow and in the rain to get their mail. The price of stamps has increased between 35% and 59%.

Why are the Conservatives attacking small businesses and the people of Laval?

Debt April 3rd, 2014

Mr. Speaker, I took part in a few community events over the past two weekends. Many of my constituents told me that they are very concerned about the lack of available jobs and the increased cost of living.

What really got my attention is that some of them spoke about a drop in their credit rating. These people are deep in debt. They are unemployed students, people who cannot find a better paying job, part-time and low-wage workers, and victims of fraud. Canadians who are in debt are not necessarily potential thieves or fraudsters. On the contrary, most reported frauds are committed by people taking advantage of high credit ratings.

These people are caught up in the maze of bureaucracy and a business philosophy that advocates increased premiums and interest rates for the most vulnerable.

Business of Supply April 1st, 2014

Mr. Speaker, I will respond to the two points raised by my colleague from Winnipeg North. I want to point out that integrity begins with the member. When someone is minister, that person must show even more integrity, and when that person is prime minister, even more still. The member understands.

The second point is that we truly represent integrity. I remember that in late 2012, when we were still on budget 2011-12, the Ottawa Citizen listed the names of the 10 MPs who had spent the least out of their budget. I was on the list, and that proves everything.