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  • His favourite word is conservatives.

NDP MP for Gaspésie—Îles-de-la-Madeleine (Québec)

Won his last election, in 2011, with 33.80% of the vote.

Statements in the House

Petitions October 21st, 2014

Mr. Speaker, today I would like to present a petition that has been signed by hundreds of people in my riding. It is about the Cap-des-Rosiers lighthouse, the tallest in Canada, which was designated as a historic site in 1971. Unfortunately, three years ago the government decided it was no longer needed. Now the government wants to sell it off to the private sector. People are calling on the federal government to preserve this lighthouse.

The Environment October 20th, 2014

Mr. Speaker, I thank the Parliamentary Secretary to the Minister of Employment and Social Development.

We are obviously very happy to hear that the government will ensure that the laws are being obeyed. Unfortunately, the laws are far from adequate in light of all the amendments made to Bill C-38.

We are very concerned that the government does not seem interested in the project, in light of the criteria and facts we are learning today. We know that there will be dredging, and we do know that it will be postponed.

The project has already been submitted by Chaleur Terminals Inc., and this company already has the facts in hand. I do not understand why the government cannot make a decision today on the feasibility of the dredging and on what will be done with the spoils. The facts are there. The dredging will happen, and the government will have to make a decision.

The Environment October 20th, 2014

Mr. Speaker, every day people are expressing concern about the Chaleur Terminals project to export oil from Alberta's oil sands through the port of Belledune in New Brunswick. Two weeks ago, I asked the Minister of Transport to reassure the people and the fishers in Chaleur Bay, a waterway between Quebec and New Brunswick that falls under federal jurisdiction, about the dredging of the port that will have to be done to accommodate the tankers.

The Chaleur Terminals report sent to the Department of the Environment is silent on the issue of the toxic sediments that will be dredged up during the process. Will those sediments be thrown into the sea, right in the middle of the fishing grounds?

Studies show that immersing dredged materials is a way of transferring contaminants into the marine environment. Since October 7, the company has announced that dredging will not be necessary in the initial phases of the project, since only smaller tankers will be received in the port. The process is being pushed back, which will only allow other toxic sediment to build up on the seabed. Among the chemical contaminants that can be found in this sediment are heavy metals such as arsenic, chrome, mercury, lead, tributyltin, known for its harmful effects on shellfish, as well as PCBs.

Of course, dredging is vital to the operation of a port economy, and every port experiences siltation, but dredging should not be done without taking into consideration the protection of coastal and marine ecosystems. Dredging to deepen the harbour, which would be the case in Belledune, requires moving large quantities of sediment, and the disposal of the dredge spoils causes many technical and environmental problems. Special attention must therefore be paid to dredging operations carried out near sensitive areas, such as Chaleur Bay.

In addition to chemical pollution, there are also bacteriological and viral risks associated with dredging the port of Belledune since many municipalities dump their waste water, which is more or less treated, directly into the bay. This water contains many bacteria and viruses, some of which are fecal in origin and pathogenic and can be transmitted to people who go swimming in the bay or eat shellfish caught there. Some of these micro-organisms are diluted in the water of the bay while others attach themselves to particles and are deposited in muddy areas.

The sediment floating in the water as a result of dredging can contain the following flora: salmonella, E. coli, fecal streptococci, type E botulism, the cholera bacillus, and many other bacteria that are potentially harmful to human health. With regard to viruses, I would like to mention the virus responsible for gastroenteritis and the one responsible for hepatitis A. What is more, long-term exposure to high concentrations of heavy metals can cause these bacteria to develop a resistance to these metals and other substances such as antibiotics.

The bay is known for its beaches and temperate waters, which are enjoyed by local swimmers and tourists and serve as an important reservoir for the reproduction of pelagic species. Finally, over the past 20 years or so, the bay has also allowed for the development of the mariculture industry, which has the potential to become a gold mine for the region.

Does the Conservative government intend to take into account people's concerns and the risks associated with setting up an oil terminal in Belledune? Does it intend to conduct the assessments required and hold the necessary consultations before this project is implemented? Will it listen to the people in the community?

Committees of the House October 20th, 2014

Mr. Speaker, I would like to thank my colleagues for allowing me to ask a question.

Our colleague began his speech by saying that the government was taking its responsibility seriously, and that this is a matter of provincial jurisdiction. That much is true, as least in terms of administering justice.

However, it falls to the federal government, not the provinces, to ensure that Canada's official languages are being respected. While it may be up to the provinces to administer justice, it is up to this government to uphold the Charter and fundamental rights.

How will my colleague ensure that there will be a follow-up on the points repeated over and over by the Commissioner of Official Languages, especially given that there are doubts that this government is taking the rights of francophones in this country seriously?

Committees of the House October 20th, 2014

Mr. Speaker, I would like to thank the member for Acadie—Bathurst. He is clearly the best defender of official languages in Canada. He worked very hard on this file and he should be commended for that.

The current Government of Canada seems less concerned about official languages. It demonstrated that lack of concern by appointing a unilingual auditor general and by closing the Maurice Lamontagne Institute library today. This goes against many of the reports issued by the Commissioner of Official Languages. I am very concerned about the fact that this government does not seem to pay any attention to those reports.

We are talking about the report of the Standing Committee on Justice and Human Rights today because this government does not seem to care about the fundamental rights of Canadians, including the right to a trial in their language of choice.

The government has an obligation to stand up for the fundamental rights of Canadians, but today's debate proves that this government has had to be reminded of that obligation time and time again.

Does my colleague believe that we need to continue to put pressure on this government or will the government finally ensure that Canadians' basic rights are respected once and for all?

The Environment October 20th, 2014

Mr. Speaker, the thousands who demonstrated against the Cacouna oil terminal project just add to the many resolutions passed by the municipalities and the consensus of scientists studying the ecosystem of the belugas. The promoter has not been able to demonstrate the social acceptability of his project because it will only be used to export unprocessed oil.

Why does the minister insist on defending a bill that will result in job losses, does not have the requisite social acceptability, and constitutes an unacceptable environmental threat?

Assaults Against Public Transit Operators October 10th, 2014

Mr. Speaker, I would like to thank the member for Pickering—Scarborough East. Bringing this bill forward in the House is laudable.

The statistics he quoted are certainly sobering, such as that there are five attacks a day in this country against our transit officials. That is very worrisome, and it may very well be why the unions in 2010 asked the government to pass this sort of legislation. At the time, the minister of Justice refused, saying that this type of thing is already covered in the Criminal Code. I am glad to see that the government has finally come to its senses and has brought forward this legislation.

One thing I did not understand in his presentation was that the member said this bill would act to protect our transit authorities. That may be true directly, if we are talking about sending people for longer sentences. The bill would give the courts the possibility of imposing greater penalties. If we are talking about recidivists, those who continually attack transit authorities, I would feel safe because they would be behind bars. However, I did not hear anything in the member's speech that suggested that there was a high rate of recidivism.

I would like to know exactly who would be protected here. How would they be protected? Would it not make more sense to also have provisions that would reduce violence on our streets? Would that not also be a helpful thing to do?

Protecting Canadians from Online Crime Act October 10th, 2014

Mr. Speaker, I would like to thank the parliamentary secretary. Her presentation was thoughtful and there were interesting elements to consider. I do worry about her analogy of the small fishing boat and the fisherman. I would suggest to her that there is a possibility that there is a fishing trawler behind that, sucking up all the information as it goes along.

One of the witnesses we heard in the committee represented the Canadian Bar Association. That witness certainly thought that the bill went far beyond what is being discussed here, but also made major modifications to general provisions regarding search and seizure. I would like to hear the member's comments on that.

Protecting Canadians from Online Crime Act October 10th, 2014

Mr. Speaker, the bill has been a long time coming. I just do not understand why the Conservative government was so slow in moving it forward. We proposed amendments during the process, but they were rejected. That could have moved the bill forward much more quickly.

In the past as well, our member for Dartmouth—Cole Harbour presented Bill C-540. A number of the elements that are in the beginning of Bill C-13 were in fact in his private member's bill, but the government side rejected it.

Why did the member vote against Bill C-540?

The Environment October 10th, 2014

Mr. Speaker, I would invite the parliamentary secretary to read the judgment, where it clearly states that Fisheries and Oceans did not do its job.

The Minister of Fisheries and Oceans and the government are responsible for the current mess in Cacouna. The Conservatives failed to be transparent when they muzzled scientists. They gutted the environmental assessment process so badly that it has lost all credibility. What is more, they are not fulfilling their responsibilities when they let proponents drill right in the middle of a threatened species' habitat.

Will the minister finally admit that the oil port project in Cacouna is a huge mess and that it must be stopped?