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Track Philip

Your Say


Crucial Fact

  • 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

Victims Bill of Rights Act June 13th, 2014

Mr. Speaker, I want to thank my colleague. He worked very hard, as we can see by the quality of his speech. He works extremely hard in his riding and that shows in the good things his constituents have to say about him. I commend him on that.

In his speech he mentioned that there is a lack of resources, money and means to help people exercise the rights proposed in this bill. I would go even further. The Conservatives have been campaigning on this famous bill of rights for eight years. It was a ghost, a mirage, a cloud, but nothing tangible. Finally, things are in black and white.

Unfortunately, the Conservatives have repeatedly proposed measures in public without putting anything down on paper. That is something we see far too often.

I would like my colleague to explain why it took so long for the bill to be introduced. Again, it contains some serious flaws. What seems to be missing from the Conservatives' consultation process?

Victims Bill of Rights Act June 13th, 2014

Mr. Speaker, that may be so, but you had already given the floor to the member for Vaudreuil-Soulanges. I would ask you to look at the record to see whether he already had the floor. I do not see anywhere in the bylaws that there is any reason to take the floor away from him.

Victims Bill of Rights Act June 13th, 2014

Mr. Speaker, if you look at the record, you will see that you already gave the floor to the hon. member for Vaudreuil-Soulanges.

Victims Bill of Rights Act June 13th, 2014

Mr. Speaker, I thank my colleague for her excellent speech. Clearly, she knows what she is talking about. This goes to show how knowledgeable she is about issues that affect her community. She is doing extraordinary work in her riding.

Our party will definitely support this bill at second reading because it deserves to go to committee for further discussion. The bill does have some flaws that we need to talk about.

The Conservatives have been promising us this bill for years, but have not introduced it until now. They keep campaigning on empty promises and never come through with something we can read. They try to convince Canadians to support bills without telling them exactly what is in those bills. We are glad that they have finally put things down in black and white in this case.

Even though we have it in black and white now, it is still a mirage. The government introduced a bill that is supposed to help victims, but it is not giving them the means to use the tools that will be available to them. Moreover, as my colleague pointed out, because none of this will be advertised, victims will not even know what tools are available to them.

The tools will be in place, but unfortunately no one will know it. Furthermore, the victims will have a hard time using those tools.

What does my colleague think of the lack of funding in this bill?

Victims Bill of Rights Act June 13th, 2014

Mr. Speaker, I would like to thank my colleague for her excellent speech. The amount of work she put into it reflects really well on the amount of work she puts in her own riding. She is probably the best MP that riding has ever had.

As for the bill, she mentioned toward the end that there is a problem with financing. Once again, we are in a situation where the government is downloading onto the provinces the costs of these programs. There seems to be a real misunderstanding with the government when it comes to affording individuals rights without any ability to exercise them. It would seem it only cares for rich people, the bourgeois, who can afford rights. If one is less well off, how can one possibly be able to afford the rights that are being presented? Is this not just another example of the government ignoring the average Canadian and just making bills for people who are wealthy and probably already have sufficient access to the courts?

I am wondering how we can address the problem of the lack of funding.

Petitions June 13th, 2014

Mr. Speaker, I have today a series of petitions, petition after petition, from people in my riding and neighbouring ridings in northern New Brunswick demanding improved service from VIA Rail. My riding, members will remember, has absolutely no VIA Rail service whatsoever as of a few months ago. Northern New Brunswick almost lost VIA Rail service, but it still has only half the service it used to have. The petitioners absolutely insist that this service be re-established.

Rail Transportation June 13th, 2014

Mr. Speaker, I do want to point out that the rail line in the Gaspé was owned by CN. The government allowed CN to sell the railway to the municipalities. The municipalities in the Gaspé are the owners, not a private corporation per se, but a conglomeration of all the municipalities.

The government allowed the track to deteriorate to the state that it was in. It now says it washes its hands of it, that it is no longer responsible because it allowed the sale to provincial municipalities. That is abdication of responsibility. It should have ensured that the track was in a good state in the first place before it allowed the sale. It did not. It did not order an engineer's report. It simply evaluated the value of the track based on CN's own numbers. That is just not the proper due diligence. The government failed in its obligations.

What it should do now is make up for that and ensure the track is safe. It is in fact safe, according to the corporation that owns it. As of June, VIA Rail no longer has reason not to start service again in the Gaspé. The government should not hide behind this arm's-length argument. As the parliamentary secretary pointed out, the government invests heavily in VIA Rail. VIA Rail will come to the Gaspé if it has proper support from the government. I would argue at this point that it does not have adequate support.

Rail Transportation June 13th, 2014

Mr. Speaker, there is a crisis at VIA Rail. The number of passengers has dropped as has the frequency of trips. Equipment is in terrible shape and is often out of service. Trains are increasingly late. The train no longer even goes to my region, Gaspésie—Îles-de-la-Madeleine. We have not had service for two years. Rail service in eastern Canada has been cut by 50%. There is no service on Vancouver Island as well. They have not had service there for four years. This is a crisis.

The government's support for passenger rail service in Canada is woefully inadequate. VIA Rail has reduced service in all of eastern Canada. The Ocean only runs three times a week. Many stations in eastern Canada have closed. VIA Rail stopped running through the Gaspé almost two years ago. Although the Gaspé railway is now safe, VIA Rail still has not resumed service to the Gaspé, in spite of its commitment. It is unacceptable.

It is about time the government addressed this issue, which is very important to all Canadians. VIA Rail must be able to provide proper passenger rail service for Canadians. That is why I introduced a bill today to provide a better framework for VIA Rail. During the summer, I will present my bill to Canadians, and I will have the privilege of hearing the comments and suggestions of my constituents.

VIA Rail is a very popular service, not only in my riding but in all of eastern Canada. VIA Rail reduced the service in my riding to zero passages per week. We do not have any VIA service whatsoever. VIA promised to come back when the rail line was in a secure state. It has now been confirmed to be secure, and VIA Rail still has not started service. It reduced service to the Maritimes by 50%.

I remember when VIA Rail issued a press release soon afterward, claiming that it was a great success because it only lost 40% of its clientele. I hardly think that losing 40% of the clientele of VIA Rail is in any way, shape, or form a victory. VIA Rail should be ashamed of itself.

The Canadian government must give VIA Rail what it needs to provide proper service. VIA Rail is a vital service for the Gaspé region. We need it to ensure that the tourism industry is well supported.

A remote area such as ours must have transportation that properly serves the region so that its inhabitants can have access to major centres like everyone else. We need a network that will provide these services. Unfortunately, VIA Rail is not fulfilling its obligations towards the people of the Gaspé, and more and more it is not fulfilling its obligations towards Canadians.

The Government of Canada must give more support to VIA Rail. It has missed the boat. It is about time the government put more emphasis on rail transportation.

Privilege June 12th, 2014

Mr. Speaker, I move:

That the House do now adjourn.

Strengthening Canadian Citizenship Act June 12th, 2014

Mr. Speaker, I thank my colleague from Charlesbourg—Haute-Saint-Charles for yet another excellent speech that is representative of the extraordinary work she does in her riding.

In her speech, she suggested that the Conservatives are trying to get the Supreme Court to put them in their place. During their speeches today, the Conservatives repeatedly claimed to be making science-based decisions and listening to the people, yet they accepted not one single amendment.

I get the impression that they are trying to make work for lawyers because they know that so many of their bills end up before the Supreme Court only to be torn to pieces.

None of this is based on science. It is all about partisanship and opportunism. That is why I do not think they are listening to anyone. I therefore seek the unanimous consent of the House to move the following motion:

That the House do now adjourn.