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Crucial Fact

  • His favourite word is rights.

NDP MP for Laval (Québec)

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

Statements in the House

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.

Business of Supply April 1st, 2014

Mr. Speaker, with all due respect for my colleague, I do not consider this a favour. The definition of favour is different than that. I do not think it has anything to do with what happened in a post office.

Honestly, a lot of Laval residents come to my office and ask me why we are allowing the current government to make cuts and make decisions about certain allowances, budgets and grants without slapping its wrist. The reason is simple, and in 2015, these people will have the chance to unseat the Conservatives, and they will see what a good government is.

Business of Supply April 1st, 2014

Mr. Speaker, on May 2, 2011, when I was elected, I had to come to Ottawa right away to attend the training and orientation sessions for new members of Parliament.

Those few weeks of intensive training were very useful. What really stood out was the role that all members of Parliament must fulfill in their respective constituencies and here in the House of Commons. It became clear to me that the magic word was “integrity”.

I realize that all of us here, as elected representatives, are faced with all sorts of constraints and personal ethical problems when authorizing expenses or making choices as MPs. Integrity seems to be the obvious answer.

I also realize that individuals appointed as ministers have the budget of a department available to them and sometimes must make choices and authorize expenses. There are more and more constraints. However, integrity must always guide our choices.

What is worse, when an individual becomes prime minister, that person must act with the utmost integrity. Otherwise, that individual could easily be criticized for misconduct. If the individual starts to make choices and approves certain expenditures because of a lack of judgment or a political agenda, and that results in poor decisions, he or she must answer for it.

All of that to say, I was surprised and disappointed to hear the news that motivated our party to look into this issue today in order to manage or direct the use of certain resources that are meant for use by elected officials.

I understand that the Department of National Defence manages the Challenger. The department likely receives specific instructions from the Prime Minister's Office about having a certain plane travel with certain resources—such as pilots, for example—or about fuel, time on the tarmac, aircraft maintenance and so on. All of that is paid for by taxpayers.

It is even more disturbing that this is coming specifically from the Prime Minister, who fiercely attacked the practices of previous governments, such as the Liberals during the sponsorship scandal.

That surprises me, and I am honestly disappointed to see how easily integrity can be tainted when an individual does a favour for a friend or someone close.

I had to laugh because I remember an expression my grandmother used to use when I was very young: “If you need something, always try to reciprocate. Never ask for a favour.” Why? It is because a favour is priceless and it is very difficult to refuse to reciprocate when someone has done you a favour. Personally, I did away with favours a long time ago. That is what everyone should do, from the Prime Minister right down to the last MP in the House.

In terms of the arguments I have heard today about the motion we brought forward, that National Defence should have a more suitable and legitimate procedure for the use of aircraft, the Challenger in this case, I have no idea. Reporters never paid attention to the use of those famous planes in the Liberal government's time. However, it seems to me to be very much the same thing, as the hon. member for Notre-Dame-de-Grâce—Lachine explained so well.

She mentioned that we should look at other important factors, not just travel costs, because they are not the crux of the issue. It is not about going through the expenses; it is about knowing why they approved the use of taxpayers' resources for partisan matters or for other things that have nothing to do with the functions of government.

I was surprised to hear the comments from my esteemed colleague from Oak Ridges—Markham. He was trying to muddy the debate with arguments that made no sense. In addition, the hon. member for Winnipeg North, for whom I have the greatest respect, also tried to muddy the debate by accusing our party of having incurred bizarre expenses for satellite offices, among other things.

I am proud to say that our caucus is a model of integrity. None of the claims they are making are true. They will see how things are. They cannot act without integrity and then claim to be calling for more transparency in members' expenses. I do not agree with that.

Why do we have to move a motion to manage the Prime Minister's travel in an aircraft that belongs to Canadians and is operated by a major department, the Department of National Defence?

We already know what once happened with the current Minister of Justice. He was also the target of a lot of attacks because he used a helicopter for personal reasons. That is unacceptable.

I believe the motion makes sense, because, if someone cannot do something, it should come from the House of Commons.

Air Passengers' Rights March 28th, 2014

Mr. Speaker, a year ago, Bill C-459 on air passengers' rights in Canada was defeated in this place by the members opposite. Unlike Canada, most developed countries in the world have adopted laws on the rights of air passengers. As a result of the Conservatives' inexplicable decision, thousands of Canadians across the country have already been affected and will continue to be affected by this legislative void.

Some of these passengers are seniors, people with disabilities, students and people with limited financial resources. These travellers have been penalized because airlines have humiliated them by not recognizing their right to legitimate compensation.

We wonder why this government refuses to defend consumers. The actions of this Conservative government and its usual and systematic negligence must be condemned and give us further incentive to restore Canadians' dignity and well-being in 2015.

Questions Passed as Orders for Returns March 24th, 2014

With regard to Canada Economic Development for Quebec Regions, specifically the Laval office: (a) what are the existing standards and procedures to be followed by employees and directors of the regional office to respond to funding requests; (b) what changes have been made to the standards and procedures to be followed by employees and directors of the regional office to respond to funding requests in the past 10 years; (c) in which months of which years were the changes to the standards and procedures to be followed by employees and directors of the regional office to respond to funding requests implemented; (d) what are the existing standards and procedures to be followed by employees and directors of the regional office to respond to meeting requests from MPs’ offices; (e) what changes have been made to the standards and procedures to be followed by employees and directors of the regional office to respond to meeting requests from MPs’ offices in the past 10 years; (f) in which months of which years were the changes to the standards and procedures to be followed by employees and directors of the regional office to respond to meeting requests from MPs’ offices implemented; (g) what is the complete list of meetings between MPs and employees and directors of the regional office in the past 10 years, broken down by year and political affiliation of MPs; (h) what is the complete list of meetings between representatives of MPs and employees and directors of the regional office in the past 10 years, broken down by year and political affiliation of MPs’ representatives; (i) what is the complete list of meetings between former MPs and employees and directors of the regional office on a subject other than a former MP’s business, in the past 10 years, broken down by year; (j) what are the existing standards and procedures to be followed by employees and directors of the regional office to respond to requests for information by phone from MPs’ offices; (k) what changes have been made to the standards and procedures to be followed by employees and directors of the regional office to respond to requests for information by phone from MPs’ offices in the past 10 years; (l) in which month of which years were the changes to the standards and procedures to be followed by employees and directors of the regional office to respond to requests for information by phone from MPs’ offices implemented; (m) what is the complete list of phone communications between MPs and employees and directors of the regional office in the past 10 years, broken down by year and political affiliation of MPs; (n) what is the complete list of phone communications between representatives of MPs and employees and directors of the regional office in the past 10 years, broken down by year and political affiliation of MPs’ representatives; (o) what is the complete list of phone communications between former MPs and employees and directors of the regional office on a subject other than a former MP’s business, in the past 10 years, broken down by year; (p) what are the existing standards and procedures to be followed by employees and directors of the regional office to respond to requests for information by email from MPs’ offices; (q) what changes have been made to the standards and procedures to be followed by employees and directors of the regional office to respond to requests for information by email from MPs’ offices in the past 10 years; (r) in which month of which years were the changes to the standards and procedures to be followed by employees and directors of the regional office to respond to requests for information by email from MPs’ offices implemented; (s) what is the complete list of email communications between MPs and employees and directors of the regional office in the past 10 years, broken down by year and political affiliation of MPs; (t) what is the complete list of email communications between representatives of MPs and employees and directors of the regional office in the past 10 years, broken down by year and political affiliation of MPs’ representatives; and (u) what is the complete list of email communications between former MPs and employees and directors of the regional office on a subject other than a former MP’s business, in the past 10 years, broken down by year?

Petitions March 7th, 2014

Mr. Speaker, I have the honour and privilege to present a petition signed by 100 people who are very concerned about Gatineau Park.

Much like my colleagues here, I think that this petition is very important. It calls on the House of Commons to adopt legislation to protect this massive park in the Gatineau area.

International Day for the Elimination of Racial Discrimination March 7th, 2014

Mr. Speaker, March 21 is the International Day for the Elimination of Racial Discrimination. The UN encouraged the international community to eliminate all forms of racial and ethnic discrimination by declaring this international day in 1966, to commemorate the day in 1960 when police in Sharpeville, South Africa, opened fire and killed 69 people at a peaceful protest against the pass laws imposed under apartheid. In a world in which people are increasingly interconnected, tolerance, intercultural dialogue and respect for diversity have become essential. This international day is an opportunity for us to rally around the fundamental principle of the United Nations charter and the Universal Declaration of Human Rights: the equality of all human beings. Let us give this day the recognition it deserves.

Petitions December 4th, 2013

Mr. Speaker, I have the privilege of presenting three petitions signed by many people in my riding and the surrounding areas in support of the creation of a legal ombudsman mechanism for responsible mining.