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Liberal MP for Saint-Laurent—Cartierville (Québec)
Won his last election, in 2011, with 43.40% of the vote.
Statements in the House
Official Languages June 19th, 2014
Mr. Speaker, the so-called roadmap for official languages is a sham. No new money has been allocated to this plan. The government even cut $120 million from assistance to communities.
Nevertheless, the government could at least deliver the existing programs. Complaints are coming in from all over. Literacy, training and social partnerships are all stalled, and communities cannot wait any longer.
What is the Minister of Canadian Heritage and Official Languages doing? It is her responsibility to wake this government up and get it moving.
Canadian Heritage June 18th, 2014
Mr. Speaker, the minister commissioned a survey paid for by taxpayers to find out what Canadians already know: on the 150th anniversary of Confederation, they want to celebrate the charter of rights, health insurance, peacekeeping missions, multiculturalism, bilingualism, Tommy Douglas, Terry Fox, Pierre Elliott Trudeau and so on. Can she tell us how far preparations for the celebration have progressed, or is she desperately waiting for someone somewhere to add her boss's name to the list of people worth celebrating?
Justice June 17th, 2014
Mr. Speaker, why must the Conservative government spoil everything it touches, including the appointment of judges?
Although he is now denying it, yesterday, the minister suggested that he wanted Justice Mainville to be appointed to the Supreme Court. Does the minister realize that such an appointment—which comes just weeks after Justice Mainville transferred from the Federal Court to the Quebec Court of Appeal—would blatantly violate the Supreme Court's decision and result in another legal battle, once again depriving Canadians of a ninth judge for many months?
Public Safety June 12th, 2014
Mr. Speaker, if the minister is able to pick up her phone and call Canada Post to find out about the NDP's bad spending, why was this government not able to pick up the phone and give an answer to the Quebec minister who asked for no-fly zones on October 24 of last year and to address the issue that same day? Why did it take the government six months to decide? In the meantime, people have escaped. Six months of waiting and doing nothing, how does that make sense?
The Economy June 10th, 2014
Mr. Speaker, the government cannot deny that Canada has shed 26,000 full-time jobs since last month. Behind each of those jobs is a human tragedy.
Our economic growth is lagging behind that of 140 other countries, 13 of which are OECD countries. Our merchandise exports have not even rebounded to pre-recession levels, and Canadian families have an average of $1.64 in debt for every dollar they make. Our economy is struggling, and Canadians want jobs.
Why is the government dragging its feet on the building Canada fund? At this rate, the construction season will have come and gone.
Infrastructure June 9th, 2014
Mr. Speaker, we are talking about this year. The minister can talk about the next 10 years all he wants, but our economy is struggling now and we need to create jobs.
On June 1, 2013, when the minister announced the new building Canada fund, he said, and I quote, "We will not miss a construction season”.
Here we are one year later in the middle of construction season. How many contribution agreements has the minister signed? None, zero, aucun, nada, not a one. Municipalities and construction workers are still waiting. Can the minister explain to them why he broke his promise?
Justice June 5th, 2014
Mr. Speaker, when the minister talks about leaks that have tainted the recent Supreme Court appointment process, is he looking at himself in the mirror? Does he count among those leaks the disclosure by the Prime Minister's Office of a confidential phone call from the Chief Justice? Has he launched an investigation to expose those high-ranking Conservatives who have slandered the Chief Justice?
Does he not realize that no one has done more to undermine the process than he himself and the Prime Minister have?
Lincoln Alexander Day Act June 2nd, 2014
Mr. Speaker, I rise in support of Bill S-213, an act respecting Lincoln Alexander day, sponsored by Senator Don Meredith. I commend the hon. senator for this excellent initiative on behalf of the Liberal Party of Canada, the Liberal caucus in the House of Commons, and the Liberal leader, the MP for Papineau.
When the hon. Lincoln MacCauley Alexander was appointed as the 24th lieutenant governor of Ontario, he chose as his official heraldic motto the three words that he then felt—along with the huge number of Canadian men, women, and youth, of all creeds, ethnic backgrounds, and political persuasions, who had witnessed or benefited from his initiatives—to be the three pillars of his already accomplished life. Those words were “confidence, determination, and perseverance”.
With his humble background, it took confidence, determination and perseverance for him to successfully overcome racial barriers that were unjust, absurd and intolerable.
He was the first black man to become a partner in the first interracial law firm, Duncan and Alexander. He was the first black man to be elected to the House of Commons, the first to be appointed a minister of the Crown, the first to chair Ontario's Workmen's Compensation Board, and the first to be appointed as a vice-regal representative. He is an outstanding example of tremendous courage and success.
Little Linc, as he calls himself in his memoirs, would go a long way from his humble beginnings in Toronto. His mother was from Jamaica and worked as a maid; his father was from St. Vincent and the Grenadines, a carpenter by trade who worked as a railway porter.
Senator Meredith reminded us that young Linc's mother would say to him, “Go to school; you're a little black boy”. He would follow this advice, his mum's order, to the letter, through kindergarten, elementary school, and high school, where he excelled. He did not stop his quest for knowledge and personal achievement there. He went on to study law at Hamilton's McMaster University and Toronto's Osgoode Hall, graduating in the top 25 percent of his class.
Whether in his personal life or professional life, including as lieutenant governor of Ontario, education was always a need, a priority, and a passion, for Lincoln Alexander. No wonder so many educational facilities bear his name. The Lincoln Alexander public schools, in Ajax, Hamilton, and Markham; the Lincoln M. Alexander school, in Mississauga; and the University of Guelph's Alexander Hall, all bear testimony to this learned man's ardent lifelong promotion of education. No wonder so many institutions of higher learning have awarded him honorary degrees: the University of Toronto, McMaster University, University of Western Ontario, York University, the Royal Military College, Queen's University, and so on.
In so doing, those institutions quite rightly celebrated the hallmarks of Lincoln Alexander's life and career: the constant pursuit of knowledge, the quest for excellence and the love of education.
As a teacher myself, I wish to add my voice to the celebration of Lincoln Alexander's legacy.
Lincoln Alexander was a man of knowledge, but even more than that, he was a man of courage. He had the courage to stare down any racism, latent or overt, that he encountered over the years, and he always proudly affirmed, with modesty and dignity, his right to be different and equal.
He did so as the only black student in his kindergarten class and in the faculty of law at McMaster University. He was denied a sales job at a steel plant in Hamilton on the pretext that it would be bad for the company's image if a black man were to hold that position. He had to deal with racist comments from the dean of law, and despite his remarkable academic achievements, a number of well-established law firms refused to hire him.
Lincoln Alexander also had the courage to put justice, freedom and the common good above his own well-being. Thus, in 1942, at the age of 20, he joined the Royal Canadian Air Force, where he served until 1945, having achieved the rank of sergeant.
Lincoln Alexander's courage has been amply recognized by the Canadian Armed Forces, which awarded him the War Medal 1939-45, and the Canadian Forces Decoration, also giving his name to a Royal Canadian Air Cadet squadron, the Scarborough-based 876 Lincoln Alexander Squadron.
The Ontario Provincial Police also recognized his contributions to peace and order, naming the building that houses the OPP's headquarters in Orillia, Ontario after him.
Lincoln Alexander also used his courage and his pursuit of excellence to serve Canada, the country he loved, when he became the governor of the now-defunct Canadian Unity Council, an non-profit organization whose mission was to promote Canadian unity.
Before I close, I think it is important to mention the many honours Lincoln Alexander received for the significant contribution he made to youth, the legal profession and Ontario and Canadian society as a whole.
What an impressive list his distinctions make: member of the Queen's Privy Council for Canada; Companion of the Order of Canada; Member of the Order of Ontario; Knight of the Order of St. John; Canadian Volunteer Service Medal; Queen Elizabeth II Silver Jubilee Medal; 125th Anniversary of the Confederation of Canada Medal; Queen Elizabeth II Golden Jubilee Medal; Queen Elizabeth II Diamond Jubilee Medal, and so on.
In closing, I leave members with the very words of the Hon. Lincoln Alexander, as quoted by Senator Don Meredith in his January 2014 address to the other place at the second reading of Bill S-213, “It is not your duty to be average. It is your duty to set a higher example for others to follow. I did. You can. You will”.
It is the duty of the House to set a higher example for all Canadians to follow by giving them the opportunity to strengthen their belief in the benefits of lifelong learning, their commitment to a fair and progressive Canada and their acceptance of diversity.
Let us follow the example set by Ontario's legislators when, in December 2013, they voted for January 21 to become Lincoln Alexander Day.
Let us vote unanimously to make January 21, the birth date of the Hon. Lincoln MacCauley Alexander, our national Lincoln Alexander day.
Questions Passed as Orders for Returns May 30th, 2014
With regard to commemorations surrounding the 150th anniversary of Confederation, beginning with celebrations marking the 200th anniversary of the War of 1812 and ending with the 120th anniversary of the Battle of Leliefontein (in 2020): (a) with whom, including government departments, did the government consult regarding the organization and government spending for the events, (i) on what dates, (ii) what responses were received by the government; (b) how much was spent and authorized to date on each event and program, broken down by department and by program activity, during the fiscal years (i) 2006-2007, (ii) 2007-2008, (iii) 2008-2009, (iv) 2009-2010, (v) 2010-2011, (vi) 2011-2012, (vii) 2012-2013, (viii) 2013-2014, (ix) 2014-2015, (x) 2015-2016, (xi) 2016-2017, (xii) 2017-2018, (xiii) 2018-2019, (xiv) 2019-2020; and (c) how much has been spent and authorized to date for public affairs campaigns, public relations campaigns and information campaigns, as it relates to these commemoration activities for fiscal years (i) 2006-2007, (ii) 2007-2008, (iii) 2008-2009, (iv) 2009-2010, (v) 2010-2011, (vi) 2011-2012, (vii) 2012-2013, (viii) 2013-2014, (ix) 2014-2015, (x) 2015-2016, (xi) 2016-2017, (xii) 2017-2018, (xiii) 2018-2019, (xiv) 2019-2020?
Infrastructure May 30th, 2014
That is a shameful accusation that the member cannot sustain outside, Mr. Speaker.
When the Minister of Infrastructure, Communities and Intergovernmental Affairs launched the new building Canada fund on March 28, he said that the provinces and municipalities “may now apply”. Emphasis on the word “now”. However, the Federation of Canadian Municipalities website indicates that funding agreements with the provinces and territories have not been negotiated yet. Again, “not yet”.
How does the minister reconcile yesterday's “now” with today's “not yet”, which is jeopardizing the construction season? Last quarter, the construction sector posted its worst results in three years.