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Liberal MP for Westmount—Ville-Marie (Québec)
Won his last election, in 2011, with 37.20% of the vote.
Statements in the House
Infrastructure April 8th, 2014
Mr. Speaker, we all congratulate the new Premier of Quebec, Mr. Couillard, who has promised to restore infrastructure funding in his province. Autoroute Henri-IV, for example, will qualify for the new building Canada program. Unfortunately, the federal government just cut the program by 87% this year, with no increase over 2013 funding levels until 2019.
Why is the government jeopardizing our country's infrastructure?
Privilege March 25th, 2014
In essence, the member for Notre-Dame-de-Grâce—Lachine argued that I have infringed upon her privileges as an MP by placing an ad in a weekly newspaper that announced that I would be holding a meeting in a coffee house and that I was welcoming citizens from both my riding and her riding to join me for coffee. This would have been on January 25.
More specifically, the member for Notre-Dame-de-Grâce—Lachine argued that the ad I prepared for publication was trying to make it sound as though I was actually the MP for her riding.
I should point out a number of things that are relevant here.
First, the ad in question was placed in the NDG Free Press weekly newspaper. This weekly newspaper's distribution straddles both my riding of Westmount—Ville-Marie and the neighbouring riding of Notre-Dame-de-Grâce—Lachine.
Second, while my riding is called Westmount—Ville-Marie, it actually includes approximately 45% of the population of Notre-Dame-de-Grâce. When the member for Notre-Dame-de-Grâce—Lachine stated yesterday that she represented the vast majority of NDG, she was wrong. Approximately 30,000 of my constituents live in Notre-Dame-de-Grâce. I am perfectly entitled to notify them of an upcoming meeting by placing an ad in a newspaper inviting them to join me.
Third, the MP for Notre-Dame-de-Grâce—Lachine accuses me of trying to present myself to her constituents as their MP. The ad very clearly identifies me as the member of Parliament for Westmount—Ville-Marie and nothing more. I believe it is a reasonable assumption, on my part, to say that her constituents know very well what riding they live in and that my ad did not confuse them in any way.
Finally, given that our ridings are adjacent, it is also reasonable to assume that we share some common preoccupations. One example is the plan to build a third rail line for the Montreal AMT train service, a public transportation service that crosses both my riding and a good part of the riding of Notre-Dame-de-Grâce—Lachine. I have been very active on this file and have organized meetings with citizens impacted by this major infrastructure addition to public transportation. As the MP for Westmount—Ville-Marie, I consider it acceptable to invite all those who might be potentially impacted by such a project to join me for a coffee, and I always make it very clear that I am the MP for Westmount—Ville-Marie.
This is no different from my colleague from Notre-Dame-de-Grâce—Lachine getting up in the House of Commons a little while ago for a member's statement and telling everyone that the NDG Food Depot, which we both support because it is a good cause, was in her riding, when in fact it is in my riding.
Both of us care deeply about the work done by the NDG Food Depot, which serves both our ridings, but the fact remains that she was wrong when she said that it was in her riding.
Am I upset? Are my privileges undermined? No. I made nothing of it at the time, because it was not, in my opinion, worth doing that.
My colleague from Notre-Dame-de-Grâce—Lachine and I both work with a number of organizations that serve both our ridings. Some of these organizations are based in my riding while some are based in her riding. I do not consider this a cause for partisanship, since in the end, the interests of our constituents should be our common priority.
It did not occur to me for one minute that when she was meeting with organizations based in my riding that serve her riding she might be passing herself off as the member for Westmount—Ville-Marie. That would be very petty on my part.
I do not want to say much more about my colleague's question of privilege other than to state that it is a frivolous question of privilege. It is a frivolous question that has been clearly raised because the NDP is trying to distract from its abuse of mailing privileges in the ridings of Bourassa, Toronto Centre, Brandon—Souris, and Provencher during the recent byelections, ridings where it used taxpayers' money to mail literally hundreds of thousands of NDP documents designed to identify votes and partisan fundraising in ridings, possibly during the writ period. It is no wonder that the Board of Internal Economy has taken the unusual step of referring the matter to the Commissioner of Canada Elections.
Mr. Speaker, I urge you to rule quickly on this frivolous question of privilege and put this matter to rest.
Questions Passed as Orders for Returns March 24th, 2014
With regard to government funding, providing the dollar amount and the specific purpose, broken down by year from 2000 to the present: (a) how much government funding has been directed to the United Nations Relief and Works Agency; and (b) how much government funding has been directed to the Palestinian Authority?
Infrastructure March 24th, 2014
Mr. Speaker, there is just one week left before the beginning of the new fiscal year, and the Conservatives are celebrating by cutting the building Canada fund by nearly 90%.
The Conservatives are misleading Canadians by failing to tell them that they are reserving most of the infrastructure money for well after the next election. Yes, I congratulate the new Minister of Finance on his appointment, and I invite him to tell us whether he intends to fix the huge infrastructure gap that the government has created.
International Arms Trade Treaty March 24th, 2014
Mr. Speaker, in April 2013, Canada and 153 other countries voted in favour of the principle of a UN resolution regarding an international arms trade treaty.
Since then, 116 countries have signed the treaty, including our allies Australia, the United Kingdom, France, Germany, Poland and even the United States. What is Canada doing? It continues to analyze the issue, one year after the vote. We are now part of a group that involves Russia, North Korea and Syria—countries that have yet to sign.
We are supposedly studying the repercussions for our domestic market. That sort of excuse did not hinder our allies, a number of whom are at the ratification stage. Our government is still pandering to its base. This is no time to procrastinate. It is time for Canada to sign the treaty.
Petitions March 7th, 2014
Mr. Speaker, I am pleased to present a second petition signed by many Quebeckers who are calling on the Government of Canada to act swiftly and effectively in response to the humanitarian crisis in Syria and to increase the number of government sponsored refugees, as well as providing the necessary resources to support these actions.
Petitions March 7th, 2014
Mr. Speaker, I am pleased to present two petitions.
The first is signed by 1,133 residents of the Montreal area who are calling on the federal government and Aéroports de Montréal to take measures to reduce the noise from planes taking off from and landing at Montreal-Pierre Elliott Trudeau International Airport.
An MP does more than just present petitions. My colleague from Saint-Laurent—Cartierville took steps to strengthen dialogue between Aéroports de Montréal and the citizens' group Les pollués de Montréal-Trudeau. He found both parties showed goodwill toward serving the common interest.
Infrastructure March 7th, 2014
Mr. Speaker, we are three weeks from the new fiscal year and the report on plans and priorities tabled by the infrastructure minister just yesterday does not even include money for the new building Canada fund. We are told that negotiations are under way with the Federation of Canadian Municipalities about getting the program up and running by April 1.
The fund was announced 12 months ago, so why are municipalities not able to apply for funding right now?
Infrastructure March 7th, 2014
Mr. Speaker, Canada's labour market suffered another net loss in February. There are still 250,000 more Canadians without a job than before the recession. If the government increased its investments in infrastructure, that would create jobs in the construction, transportation and manufacturing sectors. Why is the government cutting the building Canada fund and making practically no effort to implement it in time for the spring construction season?