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  • His favourite word is quebec.

Liberal MP for Saint-Laurent—Cartierville (Québec)

Won his last election, in 2011, with 43.40% of the vote.

Statements in the House

Natural Resources February 27th, 2015

Mr. Speaker, why is the government treating the regions in Quebec however it pleases instead of according to fair criteria?

It is funding a natural gas network in Thetford Mines, which is good, but it is refusing to do the same in Lévis-Bellechasse. The Coalition gaz naturel Bellechasse did a good job bringing together the municipalities, chambers of commerce, local development centres and RCMs around an exciting project.

Why are the Conservatives taking such an arbitrary approach to our regions?

Aboriginal Affairs February 27th, 2015

Mr. Speaker, in 1984, 8% of Canadian women who were murdered were aboriginal. Today, it is 23%, or nearly one-quarter. That is an alarming deterioration. The government is engaging in unfounded speculation on the causes of this tragedy. It refuses to open a public inquiry, which has been called for by the families of victims, aboriginal communities, the provincial premiers, experts and just about everyone.

Why is the government turning its back on history? Will the Prime Minister at least attend the round table today? I am asking my colleague. Will the Prime Minister attend the round table today, yes or no?

2015 Canada Winter Games February 26th, 2015

Mr. Speaker, March 1 will mark the closing ceremonies of the 2015 Canada Winter Games, which are being hosted by the City of Prince George, British Columbia. The games showcase Canada's sports excellence, sportsmanship, health, and active living. This year's 17-day national competition will have welcomed about 2,400 of our best athletes in 19 sports ranging from alpine skiing and hockey to table tennis.

I was not aware that tennis table was a winter sport.

The games, which were run by volunteers, were a great success, and these volunteers deserve the recognition of all Canadians for their remarkable efforts. There is no question that the games help the athletes make a name for themselves, boost local economies and provide high-quality entertainment for people all across the country.

On behalf of my colleague, the member for Etobicoke North and the Liberal spokesperson for sports, and the Liberal Party of Canada, I congratulate everyone.

Stratford Festival February 24th, 2015

Mr. Speaker, my speech today, in snowbound Ottawa, will be anything but a Winter's Tale. It will tell a story that began over 60 years ago, on July 13, 1953. On that day, what had until then been A Midsummer Night's Dream in journalist Tom Patterson's mind became reality.

The Shakespearean lovers among my hon. colleagues will already have guessed what my intervention is about. On behalf of the Liberal caucus, as the Liberals' spokesperson for Canadian heritage, I wish to express our support for the motion tabled by the member for Perth—Wellington, which reads as follows:

That the House recognize the Stratford Festival's distinct cultural and economic contributions to Stratford, southwestern Ontario and Canada since its inception in 1953.

The motion from the government side is all the more welcome in that, so far, most of the government's forays into cultural affairs have been a Comedy of Errors. Let us hope that the motion will not amount of Much Ado About Nothing so that Canadian artists and cultural creators can finally breathe a collective sigh of relief and declare, “Now is the winter of our discontent”.

What is the reason for this motion? The question must be asked, because a festival as well known and prestigious as the Stratford Festival certainly does not need such a motion. The festival's fame is much greater than any motions this House may devote to it.

The House has never felt a need for a motion recognizing the economic and cultural contribution of the Quebec winter carnival or the Calgary Stampede. It would not occur to the Austrian parliament to recognize the Salzburg Festival as a great festival. It goes without saying. Even just stating that the Stratford Festival is a brilliant festival is as inarguable as saying the sun shines in the day and not at night.

Why is this motion before us? Surely it is not meant to incite a debate. There is nothing to debate, because no reasonable person could oppose this motion or oppose the Stratford Festival. Is there even one member of this House who would say, in Molière's words, not Shakespeare's, “Hide this festival that I must not see”?

No one would say that, of course, and certainly not a Quebecker, considering all the Quebeckers who have performed at this festival, beginning with the illustrious Jean Gascon, who served as its artistic director from 1968 to 1974.

Still, if we must have a debate, I can find more to talk about. I have the wit for that. I could say, for example, that the motion before us does not do complete justice to the Stratford Festival.

In order to ensure that All's Well That Ends Well, I could suggest adding a few words to the member for Perth—Wellington's motion as follows: That the House recognizes the Stratford Festival's distinct cultural and economic contributions to Stratford, southwestern Ontario, Canada and the whole world since its inception in 1953.

It is my opinion that in moving this motion, the hon. member for Perth—Wellington simply wanted to give us a farewell gift before leaving politics. He wanted to make us happy, along with everyone who loves and supports the Stratford Festival. I will happily take this opportunity to declare my admiration for the Stratford Festival.

For my own pleasure, I will continue to dot my speech with little quotes from Shakespeare, although I ask the indulgence of my anglophone colleagues to my accent, which tends a little too much towards Molière or Tremblay to be truly Shakespearean.

Of the Stratford Festival, nobody can say Love's Labour's Lost. This is because the festival has done an outstanding job of fulfilling its mandate: to set the standard for classical theatre in North America, using Shakespeare as its underpinning.

While focusing on entertaining its audience with classical, contemporary and musical theatre productions, the festival has also brilliantly fulfilled at least three other missions.

First, the festival trains, develops and nurtures Canadian artistic talent. It taps into and helps cultivate the great talent our nation has to offer.

Second, festivals like the Stratford Festival are major catalysts in strengthening the social and collective bonds of a community. The collaborative effort that goes into the organization of such festivals, the shared joyful experience of participants and spectators on the opening day and at every performance really brings a community together.

Just last month, I had the pleasure of visiting the great city of Stratford, meeting with members of the Stratford arts and culture community, as well as local citizens there. What struck me most was how much this festival is rooted in the identity of individual community members and how much this festival has helped individuals heighten their sense of community.

Third, art festivals provide economic growth. As the city's largest employer, the Stratford Festival contributes significantly to the multifaceted nature of the city and surrounding region, drawing millions of tourists, as well as art organizations and businesses, which bring them substantial economic activity, investments and local job opportunities.

On behalf of the Liberal Party of Canada, I thank everybody involved in the Stratford Festival for the great success they have achieved in promoting Canadian culture on the international stage and for showcasing what Canada has to offer to the global arts and culture scene. With no end in sight, the Stratford Festival espouses the Bard's words in Twelfth Night:

Be not afraid of greatness. Some are born great, some achieve greatness, and others have greatness thrust upon them.

The Stratford Festival's greatness was not thrust upon it. That greatness is the result of vision, talent and hard work.

Let all Canadians and people abroad celebrate the festival's great success. Let them come to Stratford in great numbers to participate in this signature world-class experience.

Now, with sincere apologies to the author of the Scottish Play, I would remind all of my colleagues that: to vote or not vote in support of Motion No. 545, that is not the question. There is no question that we must vote for it.

Business of Supply February 24th, 2015

Mr. Speaker, I would ask my colleague to try to explain why our Conservative colleagues are so reluctant to vote for this motion. They said that there is no time, but the more we wait, the less time we will have. That is the reason to start now. They said that it is not enough to have a committee. That may be so, but they could just say that the committee is something else, whatever they have in mind. Is it not—

Business of Supply February 24th, 2015

Mr. Speaker, I would like to thank my colleague for the hard work he has done and the legislative work he did. I mentioned it in my speech, and it would have been a mistake not to do so. I want to tell the member that there is a lot of appreciation for what he is proposing.

I am sure that if this special committee is decided upon by the House, the member would see a lot of support from members wanting him to be on the committee. It would put his hard work and legislative proposal at the core of the discussion. However, if we do not start now, he is right that we will not have time.

I understand that, to the member, the special committee may not be enough in itself, but at least, as he said, it would be a step.

Will the member support this motion and convince his Conservative colleagues to do so?

Business of Supply February 24th, 2015

Mr. Speaker, my colleague is right that it cannot be the justice committee, for all of the reasons he mentioned. It cannot be any other committee, because they are all packed with other issues and we have very little time. We need to start now. That is why we need a special committee. The Prime Minister knows that. The Conservatives know they are trying to dodge the issue and avoid it because they are divided and do not have the leadership to do this difficult task and explain it to and discuss it with Canadians, in order to have a bill for February 6, 2016.

Business of Supply February 24th, 2015

Mr. Speaker, that is the risk. Indeed, my colleague is right. The court said that this will be legal on February 6, 2016. However, I would have a lot of concerns if no parameters are clarified by the law, and I am not alone. All of the disability associations and physician associations have said the same. We need to have the parameters identified by the court clarified by the law. That means that this Parliament has a job to do, and we should start right now.

Business of Supply February 24th, 2015

Mr. Speaker, my colleague gave the answer in the question. He gave all the reasons why we need a special committee.

However, I would add another point. If the government wanted to use an existing committee, it would have done that. In the agenda of committees, it would be clear that one of them would focus on this important task, and we know that is not the case. In fact, the government is trying to dodge the issue, to speak about it as little as possible, and we know why. It is because the government members are divided. We just have heard the S. O. 31 from our colleague from Vegreville—Wainwright, who called the Supreme Court lawless because of its decisions. They are awfully divided over there, and that is why they do not want to have this open and needed discussion with Canadians, and a non-partisan one.

Business of Supply February 24th, 2015

Mr. Speaker, the point of consultation is to get the broadest perspective possible.

The makeup of the committee is therefore something that the Liberals are prepared to take a very close look at with our hon. colleague. The Liberal Party leader, the member for Papineau, actually made that clear in his speech. There is no problem in that regard.

The problem might be our friends across the way, who seem unwilling to participate and unable to clarify what kind of consultation process they have in mind, and that sure seems like a cop-out.