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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

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?

The Environment October 10th, 2014

Mr. Speaker, the work that should have been done was at Fisheries and Oceans, and it was not done. It was supposed to come out with a scientific advisement, and it did not.

Obviously, there is no consensus on the oil port. The promoter has not been able to demonstrate the social acceptability of his project because it will only be used to export unprocessed Canadian oil. It will cause the loss of well-paid jobs and, above all, it will constitute an unacceptable environmental threat to the St. Lawrence ecosystem.

Why does the Minister of Fisheries and Oceans insist on defending a project that is not consistent with the principle of sustainable development?

Business of Supply October 9th, 2014

Mr. Speaker, certainly all of the projects we have in front of us are for transporting bitumen outside of this country in its pure form.

We are talking about a raw product that should be processed in Canada. Being able to send the oil to processing plants or refineries would already make the project more appealing. The project in Cacouna is not a processing project. Clearly, the idea is to just export the crude oil. It offers no benefits to Canadians and we are opposed to it.

Business of Supply October 9th, 2014

Mr. Speaker, I thank my colleague from Halifax West for his question. Of course, Canada's energy projects must benefit Canadians overall. Every project is unique. Projects must always be assessed on the basis of what they can offer. They must be assessed according to the applicable legislation.

The proposed Gros-Cacouna oil terminal does not meet the obligation of providing benefits to Canadians. That is why we are introducing a motion against this project today. We hope that the government will vote in favour of our motion.

Business of Supply October 9th, 2014

Mr. Speaker, once again the government tries to hide all of its dirty activities when in fact it should be presenting its real thoughts and real proposals to the Canadian public. We have to go to the courts to force the government to be transparent. This is absurd.

This House of Commons is supposed to be the place where the government brings its plans forward to the Canadian public for an airing out. The government does not want to do this. It likes to do everything in the back rooms, hidden from public view. That is why we have to go to court. That is why so many people in this country have to continuously go to the courts to fight the government.

What I would like to know from that member is why the Conservatives do not support the natural resources in my riding. Why do they keep cutting back fisheries and oceans investments in my riding? Why do they not support the wharves in my riding that are falling to pieces, because they do not want to invest?

It is about time to see the Conservatives start to invest in natural resources so that businesses in my region can actually grow and prosper.

Business of Supply October 9th, 2014

Mr. Speaker, I will share my time with the member for Portneuf—Jacques-Cartier.

I would like to begin by commenting on what our esteemed Conservative Party colleague, the member for Dauphin—Swan River—Marquette, said. Frankly, I do not think that he gets the NDP point of view at all.

He is trying to convince us that DFO is doing its job and being perfectly transparent about the situation. However, the recent ruling regarding the port of Cacouna gives us good reason to doubt that the Department of Fisheries and Oceans is stepping up.

This is an excerpt from paragraph 106 of that ruling:

They completely hid the fact that nobody from TransCanada or DFO's science branch answered their perfectly legitimate questions about whether carrying out the work on the dates proposed by the proponent could cause a significant disturbance or have a significant impact on marine mammals, and if so, what additional mitigation measures would help to reduce the disturbance or limit the impact to acceptable levels.

That is from the court's ruling, and I put a lot more faith in that than in the Conservative government.

Let us go on to paragraph 108:

On the contrary:

...the evidence shows that Mr. de Lafontaine's letter does not constitute scientific advice from DFO's science branch; even the Attorney General of Canada said so;

Their own lawyers are telling us that the Department of Fisheries and Oceans did not do its job.

I hope the Conservatives will begin to understand that transparency is needed, because we cannot live with a government as secretive as this one. They would have us believe that they will do everything, that everything will be fine and that there is nothing to worry about. They will hide the project and perhaps reveal it one day, much like they did with the text of the European free trade agreement. They want us to wait months and months, while they try to hide everything that could be done, and once they have their talking points ready, they present us with a project as a done deal.

I am sorry, but the laws of Canada require the right of oversight. According to Fisheries and Oceans Canada criteria, we must proceed based on the precautionary principle. That is not the case here. Once again, the government is going ahead at all costs, regardless of the consequences.

I would like to come back to something that is put very well in the motion, and that is that the Port of Gros-Cacouna project must be rejected. This is clear when we look at the court ruling and what the experts have said. Those experts unfortunately do not work for the Department of Fisheries and Oceans; the DFO experts were muzzled. Nevertheless, people find other ways to have their say.

I want to acknowledge the very fine work done by the member for Montmagny—L'Islet—Kamouraska—Rivière-du-Loup and his commitment. He worked tirelessly for months to highlight the bill's shortcomings and to find out what the people in his region were thinking. Consulting Canadians is absolutely crucial. We need to take the time to ensure that projects comply with the rules. That is not the case here.

Let us look at some figures to understand the scope of this project. At this time, in eastern Canada, approximately 585 million barrels of petroleum products are transported by sea on the Atlantic Ocean every year. For the Gulf of St. Lawrence and the St. Lawrence estuary, it is about 178 million barrels a year, and those numbers are from 2011. The Port of Gros-Cacouna project could easily add another one million barrels a day.

What is more, another project is being proposed for the Belledune region, not far from my riding. In that case, we are talking about another 400 million barrels a day. The amount of oil that will transit through the Gulf of St. Lawrence is expected to triple in the next three years, but no real studies have been done to determine whether this can be done without harming the environment and the existing natural resources.

In my region, the two major industries are fishing and tourism.

By all accounts, if ever there is a spill involving all these millions of barrels of oil in my region, we can forget about developing our natural resources.

I would like the Conservatives to understand that oil is not the only natural resource. Back home, we depend on the forestry industry and the fishery. I would also like to point out that even the belugas are a natural resource. Indeed, thanks to them, the tourism industry generates roughly $160 million a year.

There are so many industries in the region that we must proceed with caution. I do not understand why the Conservatives fail to see that we must take this one step at a time and respect all the regions and all the industries.

People back home are very worried. They are talking about the oil that will be shipped by the seaway, which will jeopardize the fishery and tourism, and they are talking about the vast quantities of oil that will be shipped by railway. Unfortunately, the Conservatives do not want to invest in that railway, but that is another story.

If we talk about railways and rail safety, we should start by examining all exports flowing through eastern Canada, because the Conservatives want oil to flow through the Keystone XL pipeline.

The Keystone XL pipeline is a very important project that the Americans have very little appetite for, to the point that the U.S. president seems to want to block it. However, the energy east pipeline is even more important than Keystone XL. We must therefore take the time to get the facts right about all aspects of these projects. We should not accept the first proposed port, such as Cacouna. Why is an oil project of this magnitude not subject to a real study and real due diligence? That was not the case for the project proposed by the Conservatives, the project that TransCanada proposed. The time has come for the Conservatives to be more transparent.

The Conservatives say that we cannot debate today a project that has not been submitted to the National Energy Board. Quite frankly, they should perhaps equip themselves with better tools. Members will recall that, two years ago, with Bill C-38, the Conservatives thought it was a good idea to ignore many of the precautionary principles that apply to the fishing industry and the oil industry. We should have left the triggers in the law. Today, the Conservatives are saying that there was no trigger and the study was not carried out. Had Bill C-38 not changed environmental laws, I suspect that today there would have to be a study done by the appropriate bodies. Today, that is the responsibility of the National Energy Board. This is rather illogical given that this board is responsible for the smooth transportation of energy. On the one hand, it will promote energy transportation and, on the other, it is supposed to be our watchdog in that regard.

The Canada-Newfoundland Offshore Petroleum Board is very uncomfortable with this mandate, which consists of being both watchdog and proponent. It is very difficult to wear both hats at the same time.

I hope the Conservatives will take the opportunity to examine Canada's energy industry as a whole to consider new ways of investing in other types of energy. It is about time they invested in green energy. I would like this government to study that option. In my region, we have invested a great deal in wind energy. It is very cost-effective and very green. It is a sustainable and renewable form of energy that contributes very little to greenhouse gas emissions.

I hope the Conservative government will take note of today's motion, take a step back and take the time to reflect on the kind of Canada we all want. Its proposal is not consistent with the Canada I want to live in.

The Environment October 7th, 2014

Mr. Speaker, the Chaleur Terminals project to export oil through the port of Belledune is a major concern for the people of Chaleur Bay. The port has to be dredged to accommodate tankers. Unfortunately, they are going to dredge up toxic sediments.

The Chaleur Terminals report sent to the Department of the Environment is silent on the issue of sediments.

Can the government reassure the fishers and residents of Chaleur Bay that those sediments will not simply be thrown into the sea, right in the middle of the fishing grounds?