- Get e-mail whenever he speaks in House debates
- Subscribe to feeds of recent activity (what you see to the right) or statements in the House
- His favourite word is museum.
NDP MP for Longueuil—Pierre-Boucher (Québec)
Won his last election, in 2011, with 51.90% of the vote.
Statements in the House
Canadian Heritage December 10th, 2013
Mr. Speaker, we are a little more than three years away from the 150th anniversary of Confederation and the Conservatives have barely started organizing.
Frankly, I have seen surprise parties that were better organized than this. All the Conservatives have done is waste $40,000 on embarrassingly amateur logos and sign the Canadian civilization and history museums up for a partnership with oil companies. Cities like Boucherville wanted to build a legacy, but they were told that there is no plan for that.
Can the government tell us when it will at least have a budget, a plan or a direction to celebrate this important anniversary?
Protecting Canadians from Online Crime Act November 29th, 2013
Mr. Speaker, I would like to start by applauding my many colleagues who have worked tirelessly to address cyberbullying. The hon. members for Chicoutimi—Le Fjord and Dartmouth—Cole Harbour both feel strongly about that issue and have shown admirable dedication. The member for Gatineau also spoke on this issue on Wednesday. In her eloquent, nuanced and compassionate speech, she explained that politicians have a duty to take action on this issue.
I would like to touch on two topics today. First of all, this cyberbullying bill does talk about cyberbullying, as one would expect. However, it also touches on a wide variety of issues that have nothing, or very little, to do with cyberbullying. As these issues are covered in the bill, they must be discussed, although we would have preferred to stay focused on the most pressing issue.
The most pressing issue, of course, is cyberbullying. The traditional bullying that used to happen face to face in schoolyards has now become an after-school, underhanded and often anonymous activity. By its very nature, this type of bullying can occur at any time rather than only during the school day. There is no refuge; victims know that the violence will keep on going even if they try to ignore or escape from it.
Everybody can be a victim and it can happen anywhere. We know, however, that the victims are most often our children. With the current technology, it is all too easy to conduct heinous and malevolent attacks, a behaviour that likely reflects a more generalized malaise, as well as a lack of goals and optimism in our society. This new and violent phenomenon has a long-term impact on the lives of thousands of young people, as well as other individuals and families.
As is the case for any phenomenon that affects the health, safety and well-being of Canadians, elected officials must recognize the problem and take action. It is no longer a question of this being a good initiative, it is a question of our responsibility as elected officials. It is our duty to work together to identify the most effective legislative response as quickly as possible to help those who are persecuted and are suffering even today. It is our duty to not create distractions that could delay the implementation of measures, or even worse, undermine this objective.
Therefore, I wish to salute the people in this chamber who have tackled this issue, recognized the importance of this problem and listened to parents and those working in the schools. I am referring to the member for Chicoutimi—Le Fjord in particular, who channelled his long-standing passion for this issue into Motion No. 385 to create a national bullying prevention strategy. Unfortunately, in spite of my colleague's motion, we still do not have a strategy. I continue to hope that the government will move forward on this issue.
My colleague, the member for Dartmouth—Cole Harbour, made a point of meeting with the families and stakeholders following the death of a young girl whose name we are unfortunately all familiar with. This is a human tragedy that has been given a great deal of media coverage in recent months. We must also recognize the good intentions of our colleague from Vancouver Centre, who has also worked on this issue. We should also note this government's good intentions, because it is consulting the provinces and territories in order to find solutions. Everyone here agrees that we have a responsibility towards those who are victims of cyberbullying.
Bill C-540 illustrated the urgent need for action and, to that end, sought a consensus among parliamentarians devoid of any partisanship. The Conservatives told us that we had to be patient because there was work to be done, with the provinces and territories in particular, before such a bill could be passed. In the case of such crucial issues, it is good to hear about co-operation rather than confrontation.
In the end, the government introduced a bill very similar to the one brought forward by my colleague from Dartmouth—Cole Harbour. Bill C-13 would make it an offence under the Criminal Code to publish, distribute, transmit, sell, make available or advertise an intimate image of a person, knowing that the person depicted in the image did not give their consent, or being reckless as to whether or not that person gave their consent. The bill also allows courts to make an order to seize and electronically destroy the images and mentions the recovery of expenses incurred to obtain the removal of such images.
It becomes apparent that these clauses, in large part taken from Bill C-540, actually make up a small portion of Bill C-13. They account for roughly six or seven of the bill's 47 clauses. According to this Tuesday's Le Devoir, only three of the bill's 65 pages actually deal with cyberbullying.
I get the urge to end my speech right there, to sit back down and to rise again on a completely different subject, so that I can address the 40 or so other clauses in the bill that deal with completely different issues.
It is not a single bill we have before us, but two, three or even four bills.
It is as if, in response to the SARS crisis of 2003, the government had insisted on abolishing VIA Rail before moving to establish the Public Health Agency of Canada. It makes no sense. It is like holding an urgent public issue hostage.
The second part of Bill C-13 amends not only the Criminal Code, but also the Competition Act and the Terrorist Financing Act. It deals with banks' financial data, the theft of telecommunication services and telemarketing.
Ethics November 29th, 2013
Mr. Speaker, talk about inconsistent
Senator Mike Duffy was thrown out of the Conservative caucus, yet there have been no consequences for his fellow senators who were complicit in this scheme to repay his illegal expense claims.
Why have Senators Gerstein and Stewart Olsen still not been disciplined? Why have they not accepted any responsibility whatsoever for their involvement in this scandal?
Ethics November 29th, 2013
Mr. Speaker, does the government believe that Senator Irving Gerstein was wrong to try and change the findings of the Deloitte report on Mike Duffy's illegal expense claims, with internal help from Michael Runia?
Maryse Drouin November 29th, 2013
Mr. Speaker, I would like to pay tribute to Maryse Drouin, the director general of the Corporation de développement communautaire de Longueuil, the CDC.
After more than 20 years of doing community-based work, including 12 years at the head of the CDC, Maryse is retiring today. In Longueuil, her hard work battling glaring problems associated with poverty, social exclusion and inequality will continue to serve as an example of dedication and conviction for the team at the CDC, everyone in the community, and me and my team.
Without a community network, our society would suffer. It is people like Maryse Drouin who have the vision and perseverance to campaign and fight for social justice in order to ensure that our community is stronger and the less fortunate have a decent life.
See you soon, Maryse. Now you can take some time for yourself. I wish you a happy retirement and, on behalf of everyone in Longueuil—Pierre-Boucher, thank you.
Protecting Canadians from Online Crime Act November 27th, 2013
Mr. Speaker, I would like to know whether my colleague has noticed the tone of today's speeches.
Earlier, the hon. member for Gatineau showed great sensitivity, which we should all have when dealing with such issues. She talked about how issues that give rise to political discussion in the House can be very emotional for people. This is an extremely delicate and important subject.
Does my colleague not see the parallel that can be drawn between our speeches, which are supposed to focus on the best interests of Canadians, and the frequent bullying that happens on the other side of the House?
Champlain Bridge November 26th, 2013
Mr. Speaker, the Prime Minister's closest cronies have cheated, deceived, schemed and lost the confidence of Canadians, and how does the other side respond?
The Prime Minister evades the issues and plays victim. One would think that his parliamentary secretary is applying for a job as a speech writer for Rob Ford. The rest of the caucus keeps applauding, like puppets controlled by the boys in short pants in the Prime Minister's Office.
The saddest part is that while the Prime Minister's inner circle schemes and plots, railway safety is deteriorating and the Champlain Bridge is collapsing under the weight of inaction and underinvestment in infrastructure. Of course, the Conservatives are far too busy covering up their scandals instead of governing.
Canadians deserve better than a government that has replaced the Liberal scandals, senators and corruption with Conservative scandals, senators and corruption.
The NDP is the only party that wants to change the status quo. Only the NDP can offer Canadians an honest government in 2015.
Questions Passed as Orders for Returns November 26th, 2013
With regard to the UNESCO Convention on the Protection and Promotion of the Diversity of Cultural Expressions, on an annual basis: (a) what human and financial resources have been allocated to the Convention’s implementation since its ratification, for fiscal years (i) 2013-2014, (ii) 2014-2015; (b) what projects, groups and associations have received funding since its ratification; (c) has the Department of Canadian Heritage reviewed its policies to ensure they comply with the Convention; (d) what action does the government intend to take in 2013-2014 and 2014-2015 to implement the Convention; (e) how many meetings on the Convention have the government and the provinces held since its ratification; (f) how many UNESCO meetings on the Convention have Canadian delegates attended; (g) with regard to the Canada-Europe free-trade agreement, how many meetings between the Department of Canadian Heritage and the Department of Foreign Affairs, Trade and Development have been held to date?
CBC and Public Service Disclosure and Transparency Act November 22nd, 2013
This is complete chaos; I did not name anyone. I quoted a person, whom I named. In any case, let us not waste time on this. Let us not make mountains out of molehills. We should be discussing more important things.
That individual was quite right in saying that no witnesses supported the proposal to increase the disclosure level.
On the contrary, those same witnesses, including the Information Commissioner, the Privacy Commissioner and the president of the Fédération professionnelle des journalistes du Québec, all had plenty to say about the bill and the amendments put forward by the Conservatives. However, none of what was said by the experts was retained by the Conservative majority in the committee.
For example, the Information Commissioner proposed replacing the term “independence” with “activity” after many witnesses insisted that the bill was a threat to journalism and investigative journalism in particular. Obviously, the Conservatives rejected that recommendation.
Then the commissioner issued a very clear plea to the committee, asking it not to add a new exclusion to the assortment of exceptions and exclusions already set out in the bill, because that exclusion would require clarification from the courts. The Conservatives added it anyway.
In this case as well, the Conservatives flatly refused the Information Commissioner and added a new exclusion to the bill for journalistic sources, an exclusion that we know will be completely ineffective, useless and very costly and will not really do anything to protect journalistic sources. On the contrary, it exposes sources and undermines many sources' confidence in CBC journalists.
The stated purpose of the bill was to clarify section 68.1 of the Access to Information Act, which has been the subject of litigation. The bill's sponsor reminded us that that section was not a model of clarity. It is important to remember that that section has already been clarified, not by Parliament, but by the courts. This matter was resolved two years ago, to the satisfaction of all parties involved.
The bill, as it is being presented today, completely reopens this closed file and makes a mockery of the Federal Court and Federal Court of Appeal decisions. This would be like taking a circular saw to a wound that is just starting to heal. What this means is that a bill that is supposed to be in the taxpayers' interest will in fact cost hundreds of thousands of dollars in new court cases. New definitions will be needed.
The Information Commissioner very clearly said not to add a new exclusion in the bill. She said:
...please consider this: you are going to create another difficult situation if we create another exclusion to an exemption. How that's going to work, I really don't know.
These comments did not come from just anyone. She knows that such a bill will lead to even more litigation and court challenges.
Today, this bill's sponsor recommended that we remove these clauses from the bill, and I commend him for stepping up. We now know that these provisions will cost taxpayers dearly. We know that this bill is very far from being a model of clarity and that it would replace a solution with a problem.
It is not easy for the Conservatives to justify this bill to ensure transparency, when the bill itself is not transparent at all and it will cost taxpayers a fortune.
Although the bill's short title is “CBC and Public Service Disclosure and Transparency Act”, its salary disclosure provisions do not even apply to the president of the CBC, whose salary falls below the disclosure threshold, which the Conservatives just raised by $250,000.
Behind the doors of a committee room in Ottawa, the Conservatives quietly increased the minimum salary disclosure threshold to $444,661. This is 11 times the salary of an average worker in Canada.
I wonder how the Conservatives will justify such a move. How will they explain such a decision to their constituents? What will they tell their party faithful, who have been fighting for years to have the government monitor the public purse and spend carefully, and to make it more transparent and accountable?
Those in this room who support greater transparency, accountability and respect for the public purse, and those who care about doing a good job on this bill as legislators, now know what they have to do.