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NDP MP for Chambly—Borduas (Québec)
Won his last election, in 2011, with 42.70% of the vote.
Statements in the House
Not Criminally Responsible Reform Act June 18th, 2013
Mr. Speaker, in my opinion, if Canadians thought that the Mulroney government was so extraordinary, they would not have reduced it to a two-member caucus at the next election.
The fact remains that the minister is doing what his colleague, the Minister of Heritage, did with Bill C-49. He claims that he is mulling over the issue and that he has been working on the bill for some time. However, he should make the distinction between his work, the work he does behind the scenes, and the business of Parliament. I think that they are three separate things.
Members heard the same thing from the Minister of Canadian Heritage when he claimed that the matter has been a topic of discussion for the past eight months. Perhaps he has been discussing the issue for the past eight months, but members of the House, duly elected by Canadians, have not had the same opportunity. We support the bill being debated in the House. However, as members, we are nevertheless very pleased to be able to have an opportunity to speak.
I think that the minister should make the distinction. Moreover, he should stop saying that the simple act of debating the issue automatically means that victims’ rights are not being respected. In my opinion, that is a disrespectful case to be making, both to colleagues in the House and to me.
Questions Passed as Orders for Returns June 17th, 2013
With regard to the Children’s Fitness Tax Credit: (a) how much has this credit cost the government for each fiscal year since its introduction; and (b) how many Canadians have claimed this tax credit by household type, by income bracket and by province?
Questions Passed as Orders for Returns June 17th, 2013
With regard to the Community Infrastructure Improvement Fund, since its creation: (a) what is the total amount awarded by all regional development agencies; (b) for each agency, how many applications were received and, of that number, how many applications were refused; (c) what was the selection criteria; and (d) for each agency, how many projects were funded and, for each project funded or refused by the Fund, what was the type of community infrastructure (based on the definitions of eligible infrastructure), the amount awarded or refused and the name and place (city, province) of the applicant organization?
Employment June 17th, 2013
Mr. Speaker, under this government it is apparently easier to give someone a job in the Senate than to provide employment to young people.
Without a targeted plan to create quality jobs, the Conservatives are mortgaging the future of an entire generation, namely mine. This generation's wage gap and the difficulty young people are having in finding a job are in themselves extremely disturbing. The government should actually be helping young Canadians lead Canada into the 21st century.
When will the Conservatives come up with a real action plan and a real job plan for young Canadians?
Criminal Code June 14th, 2013
Mr. Speaker, I want to begin by saying that I am very pleased to be able to speak to this bill. I will explain why in my speech. I also want to thank the hon. member for Red Deer for introducing this bill. I worked with him on the Standing Committee on Public Accounts, and I know that he is a hard-working member of Parliament. I am very pleased to support his bill.
A very serious incident prompted this bill. The incident received a lot of media coverage and, obviously, led to legislative action. There could also be other situations in which incidents like this could occur. Sometimes, we do not hear about them, and that is why I want to support this bill.
In the end, this bill will improve an aspect of the Criminal Code. Under this bill, personating a peace officer or public officer for the purpose of facilitating another offence will be considered an aggravating circumstance.
The crime committed in the incident in Red Deer was sexual assault. The offender personated a police officer, which created circumstances that facilitated his crime.
I am very happy to support the bill introduced by my colleague from Red Deer because this could happen to anyone and we are hearing about it more and more.
I participated in two seniors' forums in Chambly. These forums are usually held every year in September and bring together various regional organizations to talk about issues that affect seniors. Many of the organizations talk about seniors' safety. Every year, hard-working and highly respected members of our local police force come and talk to us about how seniors are vulnerable to certain things, sometimes even to their own families.
As an MP and as a young person, a son and grandson, being aware of these issues enables me to understand all of the things that can happen.
The police officer talked about personation of public officers. This is getting to be a big problem because seniors are getting more and more calls from people pretending to be public officers. These people are asking for information and all kinds of things so they can commit fraud, theft and anything else they think they can get away with.
This is getting more dangerous in a day and age when information is more freely available than ever before. We are happy that information is so readily available, but we also have to be more careful and vigilant.
We are very happy to be updating the Criminal Code to deter criminals from engaging in personation. At least now, when a person—a senior, as in my example—answers the phone or physically sees someone pretending to be a police officer or a public officer, that person will know whether that is the case or not.
I would like to step back for a moment because this is an interesting topic. Yesterday, during debate on a time allocation motion, the Minister of Justice talked about how the NDP does not support victims or bills aimed at punishing criminals and protecting victims. This bill is a perfect example of how untrue that is. I will explain why.
I think we can say that we are very pleased that there is no minimum sentence set out in this bill. To date, the NDP has, as a matter of principle, opposed bills that propose minimum sentences because that is a drastic way of meting out justice. It shows a lack of respect for the justice system, as well as for the judges and the discretion to which they are entitled and should apply. We are very pleased that there is no minimum sentence proposed in this bill. We understand that we are talking about aggravating circumstances that facilitate the crime committed, in this case, personation.
Before speaking to this bill, I took the opportunity to look at the work done in committee by all its members, who agreed to this bill without amendment. The process was very quick.
However, in addition to the fact that the process was quick, it also went well. Witnesses were heard, and there were some good discussions. I even read testimony from the member for Red Deer, who seemed very pleased with how the process played out.
I want to use this bill as a positive example. Despite the rhetoric that comes from both sides of the House, I have hope that we can agree on issues such as victim protection, even though we may not always agree on the approach and the changes to be made to the law.
At the end of the day, despite disagreements between parliamentarians, we share the same objectives. Sometimes, the only difference is in how we achieve those objectives. In my opinion, this bill is a very good example that proves that we have Canadians' interests at heart. This time, we could agree, although that may not always be the case. This bill really is a positive example.
I would like to take this opportunity to ask the members and the government to look at what has been done. We need to realize that it is possible to work together in order to advance an agenda that will strengthen the justice system and advocate for victims. This is very doable. That is not often the case with this government's agenda and its tendency to ram legislation down our throats without considering other opinions or other ways of achieving the same objective. It is very important to have the same objective. I cannot stress that enough.
Coming back to the issue of personation, that is something that really scares me and that is hard to understand. It is important to build a relationship of trust with peace officers and public officials, who have very clear objectives and must deal with people on issues that are sometimes very sensitive. Needless to say, for peace officers, these are very sensitive issues indeed, since their safety is at risk any time they are called to intervene.
However, officials also have to deal with sensitive issues. They sometimes deal with financial matters, very personal issues or immigration cases. It is very worrisome that someone would claim to represent any of these authorities. If I put myself in the shoes of the young victim from Red Deer, I can understand how difficult it must be for her, her family and her friends. Furthermore, people who heard about this case now find it more difficult to trust police officers even though they work hard to protect people.
Trust is essential. In my opinion, no matter their political allegiance, parliamentarians have the responsibility to take action in order for their constituents to feel protected by these people and to feel comfortable dealing with them.
In light of my experience and what I have heard from the people in my riding of Chambly—Borduas who attended the seniors' forum, I have no qualms about supporting the bill. I would also like to congratulate my colleague from Red Deer.
I will conclude by repeating what I said in my speech. We have a perfect opportunity to show that all members of the House support victims, even though we may have differences of opinion about how to protect them. The bill can set an example by showing that we can agree from time to time. We must never forget this when debating very sensitive and important issues.
Ethics June 14th, 2013
Mr. Speaker, I am sure if the government's bill was so good the parliamentary secretary would not need to arrive with a stack of amendments. That is what the New Democrats are trying to improve at the immigration committee.
I have a very simple question. Did the Prime Minister consult a lawyer to find out how he should act in a criminal investigation of his office pertaining to the $90,000 that the former chief of staff of this country's Prime Minister—I remind hon. members—paid to Conservative Senator Mike Duffy?
Brain Injury Awareness Month June 14th, 2013
Mr. Speaker, June is Brain Injury Awareness Month in Canada. According to the Brain Injury Association of Canada, brain injuries are the number one killer and disabler of people under the age 44 in our country.
As the sports critic for the official opposition, I realize that too many traumatic brain injuries occur while practising physical activities. As summer approaches, I encourage all Canadians to practise their physical activity safely and always bear in mind the consequences of traumatic brain injuries.
I encourage parents to ensure their kids practise their favourite sports in a safe environment by wearing the appropriate protective gear and with adequate supervision.
Appropriate protective gear can reduce the risk of serious injury during sports.
The New Democratic Party proposed a national strategy to reduce the incidence of serious injury in amateur sport. It calls for guidelines related to concussions and a mechanism to enhance collaboration between medical professionals and people involved in sports.
The Conservative government should show some leadership on this file and support our initiatives.
Canadian Museum of History Act June 14th, 2013
Mr. Speaker, I was very pleased to second my colleague's amendment. Indeed, I worked on this bill with him as part of the Standing Committee on Canadian Heritage.
Clearly, what he says is very true. We heard several amendments to allow for changes, but with a much more responsible approach than the minister's current methods. We talked about consultation, and that is a fact. We also discussed research work, which, according to the changes proposed here, will be seriously compromised, in my view.
I would like to talk some more about consultation. It was one of the key points of the debate as well as a key element of our position on this bill. Indeed, there is a reason why we try to keep history separate from politics. I know, because I have studied history myself. There is an expression that says, “the victors always write the history”. Well, we do not want this to happen here. We do not want a majority government to decide to rewrite our history. We are certainly aware that we have to keep up with the times and that things cannot remain the same forever. However, we need to hold consultations and prevent political interference.
I would like to ask my colleague to comment on this very important issue.
Tax Conventions Implementation Act, 2013 June 10th, 2013
Mr. Speaker, that is precisely the problem. The situation gets worse every year. It is a downward spiral. There is no light at the end of the tunnel. Every year, the government seems to make more and more cuts and does nothing concrete.
I will now come back to what I was saying in my speech. Not only is the government not making the necessary investment and giving CRA the resources it needs to fight tax evasion, but it passes up the opportunity to take part in multilateral discussions at the international level. This has been going on for years. Everyone seems to have the answer, but no one seems to know the results.
Tax Conventions Implementation Act, 2013 June 10th, 2013
Mr. Speaker, I would like to thank the member for his question. I am happy to know that he thinks I am energetic, even at this hour. That is a good sign.
His question is very relevant, and I will repeat the response given by the leader of the official opposition, the NDP, this morning on the radio during the interview that I mentioned during my speech. He spoke about people who make millions of dollars, billions even, in Canada and who put that money in tax havens. What is interesting is that in the majority of cases, these people have made their money and earned a living by benefiting from existing systems in society. Those systems are there to serve them, thanks to the government and taxpayers.
When someone lives in a society, a community or a country and makes money or earns a living because of those systems, that person has a responsibility to invest in that same society, in that same community. However, the exact opposite happens with tax evasion. It is extremely alarming, and it poses a problem. I would go so far as to say that it shows a certain amount of contempt for the public.