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Crucial Fact

  • His favourite word is rights.

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

Parliamentary Precinct Security February 16th, 2015

Mr. Speaker, I would like to thank the Chief Government Whip for his presentation. The problem I have with the motion in front of us is simply the House needs to debate it. It simply is not true that any committee that might have been sitting behind closed doors has had a fulsome opportunity to look at all the potential weaknesses and faults that the motion brings forward.

The House needs to have the opportunity to discuss this. The Chief Government Whip is not allowing that discussion to occur in the House.

We are talking about the House having precedence over government institutions. The purpose of this place is to have oversight over government institutions. We would now have a government institution imposed upon this place. We have turned this upside down.

The House needs to take its job seriously. I suggest the members from the other side take this job a lot more seriously than they are prepared to show today.

Rail Service Resumption Act, 2015 February 16th, 2015

Mr. Speaker, I would like to thank the parliamentary secretary and carry on with the discussion we just had.

I have heard from municipalities in my riding that while the recent regulations are an improvement, they are far from satisfactory. The government tends to look upon its proposals with a very positive attitude, but when it actually seeks consultation with the greater community, it finds there is an awful lot lacking.

I, for one, have not heard a single municipality in my riding say that being told six months after the fact that a dangerous good is passing through the community is in any way adequate. Certainly when it comes to the DOT-111 cars that will be retrofitted, it is really not happening anywhere near as fast as it could, according to Canadian manufacturing capacity. I would like to see improvements there.

Getting back to the motion at hand, the strike is of incredibly short duration and we have not seen any consequential effects on the Canadian economy. When the government says it is trying to avoid extreme effects on the Canadian economy, I challenge the minister to show me some numbers where the Canadian economy is actually in extreme peril due to the current strike.

It is laudable that we are looking to make sure that negotiations have been fluid and continuous, but to force workers back to work, taking away their greatest tool in negotiations, the right to strike, I think is a terrible mistake. I think it contravenes the recent ruling of the Supreme Court.

Would the parliamentary secretary please comment on the recent ruling of the Supreme Court regarding the right to strike?

Rail Service Resumption Act, 2015 February 16th, 2015

Mr. Speaker, while I disagree with most of the parliamentary secretary's points, I certainly agree with him that we need to be looking at the Canadian economy with great regard. We have to make sure that we defend it in the ways we can.

However, the Supreme Court has said very clearly that the right to strike is a fundamental right in this country and that curtailing it can only be done only in circumstances that are justifiable in a free and democratic society. With a strike that is not even 24-hours old, it seems a little precipitous to send people back to work in response.

If we are to talk about rail safety I certainly would like to see more attention placed on it by the government than it has until this point. If it were serious about rail safety, it would try to work in partnership with the workers of the rail industry to ensure they are partners in this endeavour. Legislating them back to work will not lead to better rail safety. If anything it would result in working conditions that led to the rail tragedies we saw recently in northern Ontario and western Canada, and in Lac-Mégantic.

The government seems precipitously inclined to attack workers, but it does not seem to take rail safety anywhere near as seriously as it should. I would like to hear from the minister exactly how the municipalities are supposed to work with the recent regulations that say that dangerous goods passing through their communities will only be divulged to them six months after the fact. How does that help rail safety?

Rail Service Resumption Act, 2015 February 16th, 2015

Mr. Speaker, I would like to thank my colleague from Ottawa South. His speech was very interesting.

The Conservatives are clearly causing a crisis when we should be negotiating an agreement.

We have a real problem with today's motion. I completely agree with my colleague that the Conservatives seem more interested in advertising than in solving the problems we are facing in the area of rail safety, for example. We are all too aware of this danger in Canada. Canadians, and especially Quebeckers, are very concerned about this issue given the accident that occurred in Lac-Mégantic.

We want workers to be proud of what they do, we want their working conditions to allow them to do their jobs effectively and we want them to be willing to report any problems with rail safety, as there were in Lac-Mégantic.

I would like my colleague to comment on the recent decision rendered by the Supreme Court, which found that collective bargaining is a fundamental right in Canada, and I would like him to explain how that relates to rail safety. Do agreements that are negotiated between employers and workers lead to a better workplace and can they improve the safety of Canadians?

Business of Supply February 5th, 2015

Mr. Speaker, we ask that the vote be deferred to Monday, February 16, at the end of the time provided for government business.

Business of Supply February 5th, 2015

Mr. Speaker, I would like to thank my colleague from Hull—Aylmer for her speech, which made a lot of sense. She raised some very important points.

The federal government has shown its lack of support for Quebec time and time again. It withdrew funding from a number of industries. It took away employment insurance funding. It cut well-paying jobs in employment insurance processing centres in a number of regions. It made cuts to Canada Post, and so on. The government has made so many cuts that we need to find ways to revitalize the economies of our regions. Today's motion responds to that need.

According to the chamber of commerce, 4,000 jobs have been lost in Hull—Aylmer, in the Outaouais, where my colleague is from. The Conservative government has cut many public service jobs, which has hurt the region's economy.

Does my colleague know whether the Public Service Alliance of Canada has anything to say about the investment that the federal government should make in Hull—Aylmer and the Outaouais region? Does it want to work in partnership with the federal government? Is the Conservative government missing in action?

Questions on the Order Paper January 26th, 2015

With regard to employment insurance benefits: (a) what are the amounts paid out for employment insurance benefits in Quebec from fiscal year 2010–2011 to the current fiscal year, broken down by (i) year, (ii) economic region, (iii) electoral district, (iv) regional county municipality (RCM) or the most detailed level available; (b) how many beneficiaries have there been in Quebec from fiscal year 2010–2011 to the current fiscal year, broken down by (i) year, (ii) economic region, (iii) electoral district, (iv) RCM or the most detailed level available; and (c) if the information requested in (a) and (b) is not available, why is that the case?

The Environment December 12th, 2014

Mr. Speaker, last week, the Secretary-General of the UN told the Conservative government that it needed to do more about climate change, but the Conservatives responded by announcing that they would not regulate emissions from oil companies. Other sectors will have to do more to make up for excesses in the oil and gas industries.

Why do the Conservatives refuse to demand that these industries do their part in combatting climate change?

Victims Bill of Rights December 11th, 2014

Mr. Speaker, I appreciate my colleague's question.

This charter contains some fine words and has good intentions. We have nothing against good intentions, but we also want to see some concrete measures.

Many witnesses appeared before the Standing Committee on Justice and Human Rights and said that the charter does not go far enough. No one said it better than the first nations representatives who appeared before the committee, which carefully examined Bill C-32.

We all know very well that victims need to feel reassured. If they reach out to the authorities to assert their rights, they have to feel comfortable and they have to know that we are going to support them and stand up for them, so they can feel safe doing so. Unfortunately, this bill does not seem to reflect what victims go through day to day. We want victims to know that if they call upon the police, they will get help. However, that is not what this bill does. It contains only ambiguous wording that appears to talk about rights, but frankly, what we are passing here is more like the hope that rights will follow.

The bill should have gone much further. I think we have failed as parliamentarians. This bill does not go far enough. It needs to be improved more, but I repeat, this is a start, and we have to start somewhere. It took the government eight years to introduce something of any interest. I congratulate it, but in eight years, I would have done a better job. I do not expect much from this government, so I have to be happy with what I get.

Victims Bill of Rights December 11th, 2014

Mr. Speaker, I would like to thank the hon. member for the interest he has shown during the debates on this bill. He asked a very relevant question.

I will talk some more about clause 21. Once again, the government is giving our provincial counterparts a mandate. They will have to implement a bill passed by the House, even though they do not know how much it will cost. The government is not giving them any additional help to implement the changes proposed in the bill.

During a trial, an accused who agrees to plead guilty often negotiates for something. It is often very worthwhile and efficient for the justice system. It happens regularly. Now, that plea bargaining process will be greatly hindered by wording that was clearly poorly chosen. The government is creating a very worthwhile right, but it is not giving any indication of how much it will cost. We need to work with our provincial partners. The government cannot simply continue to pass the burden on to the provinces without expecting them to rebel at some point.

I hope the government will try harder to work with the provinces and give them the financial means needed to carry out the mandates being forced on them. That will make our justice system efficient. This bill needs to contribute to that.