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  • His favourite word is work.

NDP MP for Jeanne-Le Ber (Québec)

Won his last election, in 2011, with 44.70% of the vote.

Statements in the House

Canada Post April 9th, 2014

Mr. Speaker, the people of Jeanne-Le Ber are worried about the future of postal services. The end of door-to-door delivery will primarily affect seniors and people with reduced mobility. Then there is the 60% increase in the price of a stamp while Canada Post executives pocket millions of dollars in salaries.

Why do the Conservatives want to stop Canadians from having access to postal services?

Government Decisions March 28th, 2014

Mr. Speaker, I would like to talk about what I have been hearing from the people of Jeanne-Le Ber.

People talk to me about how they are struggling to make ends meet and about the need to make life more affordable. They have pointed out the importance of social housing, and I received several hundred responses about maintaining door-to-door mail delivery.

The government talks about its mandate and having consulted with Canadians, but who are the Canadians that the government is consulting with? Is it Canadians who were asked to consult on bill C-23? I think not. Maybe it is the Canadians who demand rail safety, or maybe it is Canadians who will no longer be receiving home delivery. No, I think not.

From train derailments to the insipid attacks on the Canadian elections process, the citizens of Jeanne-Le Ber know that their representative and the NDP are there to listen and to hold the government to account when they cannot—until 2015.

Business of Supply February 24th, 2014

Mr. Speaker, there is a whole whack of things I would love to ask the hon. member, but time is limited. I want to explore the technological question and put this to the member. Is he aware of the limitations of technology? Technology is a wonderful thing. I love technology and I am a tech guy, but there are limitations to technology that a live appearance will always outdo.

In the last budget the government put in an awareness that the rural areas are greatly in need of enhancement as far as high-speed connectivity is concerned, which is the basis of a lot of this technology. However, being in a community and being able to hear from multiple people, as opposed to one person on camera, is hugely important for a bill of this nature, which changes the nature in which people vote.

Will the member speak to that limitation and agree that face-to-face meetings with communities would be more advantageous than a one-on-one face on a camera?

Rail Safety February 24th, 2014

Mr. Speaker, in 2011, there was a train derailment in Pointe-Saint-Charles, which heightened existing concerns about safety in that neighbourhood. The derailment was caused by excessive speed. Unfortunately, this past weekend, there was a derailment in Saint-Henri, which caused a diesel fuel spill.

Our community, which has 6,000 people per square kilometre, has worked with such organizations as Comité NTU and Action-Gardien and people like Yves Lavoie in order to have CN and the government improve railway safety practices or, at the very least, comply with existing regulations.

I have contacted CN, with little or no response. In the House, we have called upon the Minister of Transport to take action, with little or no response.

When will the government and the Canadian rail industry take Canadians' safety seriously? The good people of Jeanne-Le Ber—

Business of Supply February 4th, 2014

Mr. Speaker, throughout this whole debate, we have been hearing, basically, that it ain't broken, so what do we need to fix? We seem to be missing the overall question.

The event that spurred this motion and debate happened just this January. We are hearing constant references to the commissioner and what the commissioner ruled last year, in 2012, and 16 years ago, and so forth. What I would like to know is this. Based on the information that came out about activities this past January, what is the commissioner doing and what is the government doing in terms of verifying and regulating this situation with regard to spying on Canadians?

Black History Month February 3rd, 2014

Mr. Speaker, Black History Month is a time when we remember the contributions of the people of African descent not only to this country but to the world. We remember the great works of the men and women of the arts and letters, such as Joseph Boulogne and Alexandre Dumas. We remember Ira Aldridge, Josephine Baker, Lorraine Hansberry, and Oscar Peterson. We celebrate Djanet Sears, Dany Laferrière, Austin Clarke, and Oliver Jones.

The men and women of science include Booker T. Washington, Rebecca Cole, Dr. Charles Drew, and Dr. Anderson Ruffin Abbott. We salute the pioneers who helped to build this new world, including Mathieu Da Costa, Jean-Baptiste Point du Sable, the loyalist settlers of Nova Scotia, and the settlers of Amber Valley and Salt Spring Island.

This is a small fraction of a vast history, but why is it important? It is important because by exploring our history, we begin to know ourselves.

To those not of the hue, I offer this. Knowing our history is for others to know their own, because our histories bind us. Black History Month is not simply the history of a people; it is part of the collective history of the world.

Obesity December 4th, 2013

Mr. Speaker, I am very pleased to speak to the motion. I would like to thank the member for Burlington for bringing it forward. I do not think he will get much argument on the value or the intent of the motion.

I have listened to both of my colleagues speak to the issue and I would like to add my voice to this.

First, I would like to put my own thought process out there.

In my previous life as an actor, in building a character, one of the things that was very important in that process was justification for the things that were done. If I was moving from point A to point B, why would I do that? I bring this up because I think we need to look at why we are doing this. It is one thing to put a motion forward to say that we need to be aware of obesity, but it is another thing to say that we need to be aware of obesity and take certain steps to combat it.

I have been hearing much talk about activity, and yes, activity is hugely important in all health issues. For obesity, heart and stroke, whatever, activity is extremely important. However, there is one thing that was missed, which I will put on the table now and come back to. We have also talked about trans fats and salt, but nobody has mentioned the sugar content in food.

We have a situation where the prevalence of obesity has dramatically increased, especially in our young people. It has almost doubled in some cases and quadrupled in other cases. We have one in 10 children who are affected by obesity in one respect or another. Therefore, 10% of children will go on to be obese, not simply because of the fact that they are obese as children but because of the habits they adopt as children, which will follow them throughout their lives.

One child in 14 is getting one hour of physical activity a day. Once upon a time, we used to get up and go out to play, but now we get up and play on the Xbox and whatnot.

However, I will go back to the sugar factor. The risk factors for obesity include inadequate housing, social exclusion and various social influences. They create a situation where people, young and old, have to resort to fast food, microwavable foods, processed and prepared foods, as a means of putting food on the table.

I am type 2 diabetic. I was diagnosed in 1997. I have treated it on and off over the years. In the last few months I had some issues and I have effectively lost vision in my right eye due to diabetic retinopathy.

Sugar is in processed foods to the nth degree. Some people say it is addictive because one just cannot get enough. However, if there is one cause directly linked to diabetes, type 1 or type 2, it is the intake of sugar and the body's ability to process it. This is particularly a problem within certain socio-economic groups because of their reliance on prepared and processed foods.

In combatting obesity, activity is one of the things we need to encourage, but we also need to look at food intake. Government is not here to legislate what people should or should not eat, but what it can do is take a leadership role in ensuring that people are well informed as to what they are putting into their bodies. Yes, there are little squares on the sides of packets and so forth that inform us about caloric value, or what is in a bottle of juice or the food that we eat, but people do not always understand how to read those things. One thing we can do is create an environment where people can become informed about the value of the food being eaten.

It is said that four grams of sugar represents one sugar cube, which means a bottle of juice, which is said to be healthy, can have 42 grams of sugar in it. That is basically drinking 10 sugar cubes. People do not know this. They look at the calories, they look to see that there is no fat in it, they look to see that there might be a bit of protein in it, but they do not look for the sugar content. This is something that contributes to type 2 diabetes, in particular. This is something that hits the people living in the lower socio-economic world most directly, because in their world, where they have one or two jobs, both parents are working, kids are trying to get to school, parents want to get them in and out and they have to be fed, it is easier to give them $10 or $15 to go to McDonald's or keep a load of frozen dinners in the fridge.

First, we need to take a leadership role in informing people about the food they are eating. Second, we need to take a leadership role in mandating that companies that make processed food clearly identify what is in their food in such a way that it can help parents make the proper choices for their kids. Activity and food intake is important and understanding what we are putting into our bodies is important. Those are the first few steps in combatting obesity: better awareness of what we are doing; better awareness of the properties in food; and better awareness of what is available to people.

Intergovernmental Relations November 29th, 2013

Mr. Speaker, $2 million in federal subsidies go to Tourism Montreal.

This matter must be taken seriously. Mismanagement problems are increasing in organizations under federal responsibility. Today it is Tourism Montreal, but a few months ago, it was the Old Port.

Instead of simply reacting after each problem occurs, what measures will the Conservatives bring in to prevent such problems?

Intergovernmental Relations November 29th, 2013

Mr. Speaker, this week we learned about the lavish lifestyle led by the president of Tourism Montreal and a former Liberal minister, Charles Lapointe. Limousines, an outrageous severance package and inflated salaries: nothing was too good for Mr. Lapointe.

Ottawa provides funding to Tourism Montreal every year.

Will the federal government hold Tourism Montreal accountable for this mismanagement by a notable Liberal?

Respect for Communities Act November 28th, 2013

Mr. Speaker, in her speech, my colleague expressed disappointment that the government placed this bill in a justice context, rather than a health context. I want to give my colleague the opportunity to talk more about this, because it is truly a health issue, not just a crime issue.

All this bill seems to do is pass judgment on people who have an addiction, instead of realizing that such people have problems and need help.