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  • 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

Canadian Armed Forces November 6th, 2014

Mr. Speaker, on November 1, I had the honour of participating in the inauguration of a commemorative monument in honour of veterans of Portuguese origin at Pedro Da Silva park in Laval. This is a reminder that, as my colleague from Sackville—Eastern Shore said yesterday, Canadians of many different origins have fought side by side, a reflection of the diverse and inclusive Canadian society that we love and laud.

I would like to salute Lieutenant-Colonel Richard Jourdain, outgoing commander of the 4th Battalion Royal 22nd Regiment, for his 35 years of service.

I would also like to mention the involvement of members of Royal Canadian Legion Branch 251, Chomedey, which organized next Sunday's ceremony in Laval for Remembrance Day 2014.

Lest we forget.

Canada-Korea Economic Growth and Prosperity Act October 28th, 2014

Mr. Speaker, I thank my hon. colleague from Chicoutimi—Le Fjord for his question.

Those are the criteria that our caucus strongly believes will help us protect Canada's best interests when negotiating a free trade agreement. My colleague mentioned his meeting with the hon. South Korean consul.

Furthermore, The Biotech City is in my riding. Most companies and laboratories in The Biotech City have rather close ties to Korean pharmaceutical companies. However, what is most important is the interaction between unions and the quality of life of Korean workers. That is a good thing and we should do the same here.

Canada-Korea Economic Growth and Prosperity Act October 28th, 2014

Mr. Speaker, I thank my colleague from Winnipeg North for his very interesting question.

Yes, Canada is very technologically advanced, especially in the aerospace industry. I can attest to that, because the aerospace industry is very present in Laval. From what I hear, some companies have done business with South Korean partners in the past. Our main partners are usually in Brazil, but there have been some productive meetings with businesses from South Korea.

As my colleague just said when he was talking about his province, this trade can benefit Canada by helping us get into Asian markets, especially when it comes to the aerospace industry and aircraft construction. If our aerospace corporations and conglomerates set up shop there, the market will be closer and those companies will be able to do very well in that sector.

Canada-Korea Economic Growth and Prosperity Act October 28th, 2014

Mr. Speaker, it is my pleasure to rise this evening and speak to Bill C-41, An Act to implement the Free Trade Agreement between Canada and the Republic of Korea.

Like my colleagues, I am very pleased to say that our caucus is prepared to support this bill at third reading. At the same time, I would like to clarify certain points related to the amendments we suggested and proposed in committee meetings. Unfortunately, they were rejected by our Liberal and Conservative colleagues.

I particularly want to emphasize the criteria that the NDP caucus has always insisted on regarding the negotiation of free trade agreements. They can be summed up in three little points—small but also very important points—that have far-reaching significance. We know that a partner proposing a free trade treaty must respect democracy, human rights and proper environmental and labour standards. Naturally, these are Canadian values, and both countries must agree on these ideas.

The second point is that we should ask ourselves this question: is the potential partner's economy of significant or strategic value to Canada? That is obvious. We know that South Korea is a developing country, but one that is quite advanced. It is one of Canada's primary trading partners in Asia. Canada's clear need to diversify its international trade is a step in the right direction.

When I was studying economics and international marketing, I became aware that our country, Canada, was really very dependent on the economy of our neighbour to the south, the United States, to such an extent that some 80% to 85% of our exports were going south of the border.

Still, that need has always been great, since Canada has always emphasized the development of new markets for its technology and natural resources. That is why our international trade strategies came to focus on free trade agreements of all sorts. It all started with NAFTA in the 1980s. Later, there were more treaties with a number of developing countries. We supported some of these agreements and disagreed with others.

The third criterion concerns the terms of the agreement. This is an important point. One of the main problems we raised in committee relates to the resolution of trade disputes. We submitted amendments, corrections and modifications concerning certain aspects of this free trade treaty. From the perspective of the ethics of a democratic country, there is no problem. However, resolution of trade disputes should absolutely not be part of this agreement. This should not be dealt with by the government. We firmly believe that any trade dispute must be resolved through the appropriate legal processes.

The free trade agreement with Korea offers Canada a significant opportunity to diversify its economy. This is another step in the right direction, because we rely a great deal here on natural resources, and if I recall correctly, this was the main sticking point regarding one of the specific items in other free trade treaties. In those treaties, much criticism was levelled at the approach taken by Canada, which wanted only to export raw materials, without even putting them through some sort of processing that would have given them uniquely Canadian added value, highlighting our expertise and our technologies.

This free trade treaty with Korea is a step in the right direction, because that country enjoys support from a broad coalition of economic stakeholders in Canada. This partner shows that it has a firmly established democracy where human rights are respected. It also has adequate environmental and labour standards. The unions are firmly established and all have an affinity with Canadian values.

In all secondary or manufacturing sectors—to put it precisely, as we should—such as heavy industry, wood products, agriculture, food processing, seafood and high tech, we can genuinely share the expertise of each country and find a win-win formula somewhere, as should be the case for any trade with other countries.

We should note certain other important facts relating to these treaties. Korea is a member of the G20. It ranks fifteenth among those 20 countries, which puts it relatively high on the ladder. Korea is Canada’s seventh-largest trading partner. Obviously, this is something that must not be forgotten. In fact, Canadian imports have already lost about 30% of the ground. We have been backsliding and we need to catch up.

I would remind members that this free trade treaty has been in negotiation since 2005, or for nearly a decade; it has been at least nine years. We do not understand why the government did not move forward with this sooner. I suppose that, as usual, it was because of the Conservatives' laissez-faire attitude and mismanagement of our country's economy. It is all very well to announce that there will be job creation, but at the end of the day, we see that it never amounts to anything concrete.

Korea is a democracy and the fourth-largest economy in the entire Asian region.

To conclude briefly, we have certain affinities with some countries and South Korean opposition parties. They, like us, in our caucus, think that the investor state dispute settlement mechanism, as proposed in this agreement, must be eliminated.

I hope that at third reading stage, someone will think it would be worth reconsidering this situation, to make it acceptable to everyone.

We New Democrats know that international trade is essential to Canada's prosperity, and we have sought for a long time to diversify our trade with our trading partners in all regions of the world, including Latin America, Asia, Europe and Africa.

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.