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Crucial Fact

  • His favourite word is colleague.

NDP MP for Beauport—Limoilou (Québec)

Won his last election, in 2011, with 46.10% of the vote.

Statements in the House

The Environment October 20th, 2014

Mr. Speaker, I want to get back to the question, because it makes no sense that the Port of Québec is assessing the environmental impact of its own project.

The port has failed to deal with pollution problems. My bill would enable the Commissioner of the Environment to assess environmental plans submitted by Canadian port authorities. This would at least fill the gap when there is no credible process.

Why is the government refusing to have the Port of Québec expansion project undergo a credible assessment?

Protecting Canadians from Online Crime Act October 10th, 2014

Mr. Speaker, I thank the member for Malpeque for his speech, but his reluctant support of this bill, which is riddled with highly questionable—or even dangerous—provisions, required such an intellectual contortion that I must admit that I am a bit worried about his back and other parts of his body.

For example, the bill opens the door to arbitrary, extrajudicial decisions that would put personal information into all kinds of hands.

How can the member justify this reluctant support, in light of these excessive provisions?

Protecting Canadians from Online Crime Act October 10th, 2014

Mr. Speaker, I thank the parliamentary secretary for his speech, which I found very enlightening, especially with respect to the Conservatives' usual tactic: pretending to be the victims of the mean old media that focus heavily on their bill's shortcomings.

The parliamentary secretary's affirmation that every single government bill goes through rigid scrutiny before making its way to the House of Commons is not reassuring at all. Both the parliamentary secretary and I know very well that, over the past nine years, several of the bills that the Conservative government pushed through have had parts struck down by court rulings, even by the Supreme Court.

In Spencer, for example, the Supreme Court prohibited Internet service providers from disclosing their clients' names and contact information to law enforcement officials who simply ask for it.

Is the parliamentary secretary not worried about yet another fiasco resulting from his obstinacy?

Business of Supply October 9th, 2014

Mr. Speaker, I thank my colleague from Winnipeg North for his question. His comment is very interesting, actually. As the member of Parliament for Beauport—Limoilou, I have to deal with the consequences of the decisions made by Jean Chrétien's Liberal government, which decided to relieve Transport Canada of the management of port authorities and hand them over to agencies that are little different from private companies.

Currently, at the Port of Québec, there is virtually no accountability to local authorities and to the people directly. When it comes to facing up to the requirements of the social acceptability of environmental assessments, the Liberals already have a black mark against their name.

I am prepared to deal with those consequences. I have people telling me about their health problems because of the polluted air coming from the Port of Québec. But the case is before the courts and in the hands of the lawyers. It will go on for years. We need solutions immediately. That is what we are proposing.

Business of Supply October 9th, 2014

Mr. Speaker, I thank my colleague for his question, but he has clearly lost touch with reality. In no way am I claiming that jobs in the oil industry are poor quality jobs and that they should not be filled. Quite the contrary. It is an economic activity like any other. However, it is an activity whose issues must be clearly understood. We must also understand that exporting our raw resources brings about some benefits, but the benefits are so limited that the jobs that will not be created can be reckoned in the hundreds of thousands.

It is amusing to see my colleague continue along the same path and ignore the example of many countries that put a huge value on their natural resources and, moreover, import huge amounts of natural resources for processing. Meanwhile, Canada is content just to sell them off at rock-bottom prices. My colleague is going to have to be answer for that one day.

Business of Supply October 9th, 2014

Look at them laughing. Sure, they can go to cocktail parties with big business here in Ottawa, or in Toronto, Montreal or Calgary. The reality is that we have become nothing more than providers of natural resources, except for some high-tech sectors that are struggling to get by but have to face global competition. I have heard some talk about that from the aerospace industry and other high-tech businesses.

After listening to the speech by the hon. member for Halifax West, I have to admit that my charges of ingenuousness, naivety, or at worse, complicity, also apply to the Liberals. I can hardly believe that this member could claim that there was absolutely nothing to be done with respect to adding value to our natural resources, oil in this instance. I am going to give him some time to understand this as I give him a brief course on the subject.

In the petroleum marketplace, there has been massive consolidation at the refining stage. A number of Canadian refineries have closed, which has reduced the distribution of refined products and forced prices upward, as the refinery margins have increased. When a market is left to operate as it wishes, it tends to consolidate and become an oligopoly.

I cannot stop the hon. member for Halifax West, or any of my Conservative colleagues, from drinking the Kool-Aid they are offered at the cocktail parties they attend. However, I will not let them serve that Kool-Aid to the people of Canada, because I am convinced something can and must be done.

In fact, there are many countries on the international market that make Canada look like a Boy Scout in comparison, like a little boy in shorts getting bullied in the schoolyard. One day we will need to wake up because, while they savour their great success stories, when I go meet people in the field, as I did all summer long, and as I will continue doing this fall and winter, people talk to me about their concerns. They are afraid of losing their homes, they want to have a decent job, and they want their kids to have a future. That is the reality of the situation.

Let us talk now about the issue that concerns us, another part of the situation. The issue is truly important because the future of vast regions and populations that are very proud of their identity, their history, their achievements and, most of all, their way of life is at stake. We cannot place them in jeopardy just to address specific interests, or even one interest.

Let me tell you a bit about my childhood. I grew up in Saint-Rédempteur, which is now part of Lévis. That same city of Lévis, now unified, houses one of eastern Canada's very large refineries, the Ultramar refinery, which operates at full capacity. Over the past few years, it again invested hundreds of millions of dollars to improve production. My father, who was a carpenter, helped build the refinery in the 1960s and 1970s, so it is part of my heritage, in a way.

The reality is that the Ultramar refinery is fed, almost entirely, by imported oil. We can always discuss the merits and problems of importing oil, but beyond that, there is a very clear reality for eastern Canada, in that it is largely dependent on foreign markets for its supply of petroleum products.

This is the kind of debate the House should hold on other days. The problem must be taken seriously because it concerns our collective future and our quality of life. We must not ignore the fact that the world changes very quickly. Of course, Conservatives want, at all costs, to live like in the good old days, but life is change. Life is progress. Being progressive means meeting the challenges of everyday life head-on.

Regardless of what options are chosen following these debates about our energy future, we must realize that the oil industry is risky, in every aspect. I will use an analogy. Driving involves a risk. I regularly drive between Quebec City and Ottawa. That is a risk, but it is a risk that can be managed. Driving the wrong way on the highway, on the other hand, is a totally unacceptable, reckless and suicidal risk.

If we consider the goal that building the Gros-Cacouna oil terminal is intended to achieve, a goal tied strictly to export, that is like wanting to drive the wrong way on the highway. Why are the Liberals and Conservatives so intent on closing their eyes, letting things run their course and finding themselves with a fait accompli? Why let it get to the point of no return? We will be left with an unmanageable legacy.

We really have to think clearly on this. There will have to be a debate about the decisions to be made for bringing oil from the west to the east. We will have to examine options. In the case of the Gros-Cacouna port, the debate we are having today is precisely about putting quality of life in the balance, or even the possibility that we will have thousands of people living in a fragile environment. If I had more speaking time, I could have talked about the beautiful landscapes in Kamouraska and Cacouna, for example, with their lowlands that are bathed by the salt water of the river.

I recall a battle to protect the aboiteaus, several decades ago now. That shows just how interconnected the farmlands and the river are.

When we understand the river environment of the St. Lawrence, we know just how enormous the constraints of that environment are, with its currents and tides, and we know that a spill would be an immeasurable and virtually unmanageable disaster. It would affect virtually everyone from the Île d'Orléans to Matane or Sept-Îles.

We cannot disregard the fate of those communities to fulfill the wishes of a single very small group.

Business of Supply October 9th, 2014

Mr. Speaker, it gives me great pleasure to speak to this fundamental motion. I will be sharing my time with my esteemed colleague, the hon. member for Vaudreuil-Soulanges.

Before I begin my speech, I would like to say something else. I have had the great privilege of sitting as a member of Parliament for three years now, and I have often condemned the government for its ingenuousness and naivety, at best, or at worst, its complicity in dismantling our economy and transforming us into a nation of hewers of wood and drawers of water—

Business of Supply October 9th, 2014

Mr. Speaker, I thank my hon. colleague for his speech and his contribution to this debate. However, I cannot help but point out the contradictions that we have seen over and over again in his leader's position on the Gros-Cacouna oil terminal project.

Regarding the Cacouna oil port, the member for Papineau said that we need to move forward. What about the lack of scientific evidence?

I would like to know how my colleague's leader can justify proceeding so blindly.

Rouge National Urban Park Act October 8th, 2014

That is a shame.

Rouge National Urban Park Act October 8th, 2014

Mr. Speaker, I would like to thank my colleague for his speech.

I would like to remind the House that during the 1993 election campaign, the Liberals made wonderful promises about Canada's national park system in their red book.

Unfortunately, from 1993 until they were thrown out of office in 2006, they accomplished very little. They found all sorts of reasons for failing to expand the national park system.

How can my colleague expect to have any credibility in defending this particular issue?