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  • His favourite word is language.

NDP MP for Jeanne-Le Ber (Québec)

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

Statements in the House

Post-Traumatic Stress October 24th, 2014

Mr. Speaker, we went through a very upsetting experience this week. It serves as a reminder of the importance of taking care of the individuals who serve our country, including veterans and RCMP officers.

Unfortunately, there is not enough funding available to help them cope with post-traumatic stress. Every day, our forces deal with serious threats and put their lives at risk. They deserve our full support.

It is time to help those who live with the debilitating effects of PTSD. They have protected us. We need to protect them. We need to bear in mind the toll that being a serviceperson takes. We need to stand with our brave women and men in uniform. Do they not deserve our fullest support?

Justice for Animals in Service Act (Quanto's Law) October 23rd, 2014

Mr. Speaker, as I mentioned in my speech, the separation of the executive, the judicial and the legislative is something that is fundamental to our system of governance. The introduction of mandatory minimum sentences is dangerous to those divisions because it takes away the flexibility and wisdom of the judiciary, and places the balance in the hands of both the executive and legislative branches wherein the total governance of our nation could become imbalanced.

Justice for Animals in Service Act (Quanto's Law) October 23rd, 2014

Mr. Speaker, I thank my colleague for her question.

Our relationship with animals is truly special and unique. It takes time for service animals to be trained and for a relationship to develop. It is truly special. That is why we need to treat these animals as partners and friends.

They deserve the protections this bill would offer. What I am putting out there is that mandatory minimums is not the way to go. We should give judges the opportunity and range to respond in kind to whatever threat is posed to our animal friends.

Justice for Animals in Service Act (Quanto's Law) October 23rd, 2014

Mr. Speaker, after yesterday's events, I would first like to say how proud I am to be able to rise in the House and speak freely in this Parliament and in this democracy. I would like to thank all of the security teams that watched over us and protected us.

There are no words that can truly express the gratitude that I think everyone in the House has for the gentlemen who work to protect the House and all Canadians who come to visit it each day. To stand in the House on this day to speak to this bill is of particular pride.

Bill C-35 is a bill that, in its essence, I am very proud to support. I come from a riding that has a large number of animal lovers. I am a cat person. I recently lost my companion animal. When I open my iPad, it is her little face that I see each time. The desire to protect our animal companions and partners is something of import.

Before I forget, Mr. Speaker, I will let you know that I will be splitting my time with the member for Ottawa Centre.

We are only beginning to make the connection between the four-legged companions by our sides in the domestic and leisure sense. We spend a lot of time, energy and money on the care of these companions. Animals and handlers have that very unique relationship where they are working partners, where these animals willingly put their lives on the line to protect their human handlers. Without question, they put themselves between their partners and bullets or knives. It is only right that we pay them the respect they are due for their unwavering sacrifice and dedication. This is where we come together on Bill C-35.

To be able to say that to harm this animal is to harm myself is extremely important. Unfortunately, where we begin to diverge is in how this is going to be expressed. How are we going to quantify the lives of these animals? Unfortunately, this very noble bill is tainted somewhat by the efforts to yet again introduce mandatory minimum sentences. As I understand our government, we are divided into three spheres: the executive, the legislative, and the judiciary. There are codes in place that create checks and balances so that no one of these sectors, so to speak, can overpower the other.

With the introduction of minimum mandatory sentences, we run into a situation where we invade the jurisdiction of the judiciary. We take away the ability for our judges, who we entrust with their wisdom and knowledge of law, and the intricacies of human nature and human actions, to justly administer the law.

We call it the justice system for a reason. It is not the vengeance system. It is not the vindictive system. It is the justice system. To mete out justice, one must have the ability to take all things into consideration. Justice may be blind, but it is not deaf and dumb. The ability for a judge to take all the evidence into consideration is something that we protect. It is our job to ensure it is done in a way that speaks to our society.

Unfortunately, yet again, the government introduces minimum mandatory sentences, basically using a sledgehammer to kill a gnat. The importance of being able to create a full picture of what a person has done, what crime a person has committed, is the hallmark of our justice system. The sledgehammer analogy that I used is referring to the fact that for some reason the government seems to shy away from the details, the minutia, of the creation of legislation. They say, “Let us put a bill together. Let us make it wrong to do this thing and let us throw them in prison forever”.

That is not our job. Our job as legislators, and the reason we have debates, is to take a concept, an idea, a bill and go through that bill with a fine tooth comb to ensure that when we come to conclusion, each and every detail results in a bill that serves the people of Canada; that it protects the interests of those we are trying to protect and the rights of those who might be falsely accused; and allows for the judgment, from our judges, to take extenuating circumstances, to take all the information that is presented to them, into consideration in handing out a just sentence. The details of Bill C-35 are virtually absent.

We definitely empathize with the origin of the bill. It is nicknamed Quanto's Law. We understand where it comes from and we agree wholeheartedly that our companion animals, those who serve the people who protect us, help find contraband materials at our borders, help find mines in war zones, and help find lost souls in avalanches, should be protected. However, are they really going to be protected with mandatory minimum sentences?

My colleague spoke to the effect of mandatory minimum sentences. She mentioned that we have no real proof that mandatory minimum sentences work.

In this spirit of camaraderie that was expressed today, I hope we can take this noble bill to committee, to look at how we can give judges the latitude to impose the proper punishments on individuals who harm our friends without making it something which is basically killing a gnat with a sledgehammer.

Justice for Animals in Service Act (Quanto's Law) October 23rd, 2014

Mr. Speaker, I am just going to dig into the issue of mandatory sentences a little further.

Even though we are talking about a very good concept in terms of what the bill is meant to tackle, in terms of the disastrous effects and the fact that previous mandatory sentences in this country have been ruled unconstitutional by our courts, I wonder if my colleague would care to comment on the repeated attempts by the government to introduce mandatory sentencing.

Military Contribution Against ISIL October 7th, 2014

Mr. Speaker, this closure motion is particularly disturbing. As my hon. colleague said, there was an agreement in terms of the debate continuing and then voting tonight. Now we are in a situation where we are basically wasting an hour on this debate and vote on closure, rather than spending it on the important work of trying to figure out how to come to consensus on this military action.

Combatting Counterfeit Products Act October 2nd, 2014

Mr. Speaker, I thank my colleague from Timmins—James Bay for his very eloquent understanding of the situation. We did work together on the committee for Bill C-11 to reform copyright.

I would ask the member if he could comment further on these issues. He was speaking about the issues regarding artists and the limitations now placed on the remuneration for artists because of the changes to the mechanical rights regime, the copyright regime and the private copying regime. He spoke about how that differs, for example, from the more tangible counterfeiting of DVDs, Prada bags, or things that can be seized at the border.

Could the member comment a little bit about how he sees it being more difficult, if he does, in finding remuneration for artists under this copyright regime, as opposed to simply seizing goods at the border?

Combatting Counterfeit Products Act October 2nd, 2014

Mr. Speaker, I thank my colleague for her very in-depth speech. It seems to me that we are flying blind on this. My colleague mentioned the fact that there have been a certain number of seizures. However, is there any evidence as to what percentage of the total counterfeiting issue these seizures represent? Is it 10%, 50%, or 30%? I would like to ask my hon. colleague that question.

Petitions October 2nd, 2014

Mr. Speaker, I am presenting two petitions on behalf of my constituents. Both of them are protesting the changes to Canada Post that will put an end to home mail delivery. The people of my riding are very concerned about this because there are many seniors and people with disabilities. As well, there are not many places to install community mailboxes. That is why I am presenting these two petitions.

Ebola Outbreak September 15th, 2014

Mr. Speaker, containment of any sort is a must. The issue of containment is a very tricky and troubling one, especially when we inject human nature, culture and practice. Today we had a meeting with representatives from the Ivory Coast, the foreign affairs minister, and we did touch on that question. They have taken very strict measures in terms of border control to stop the influx or the potential for disease coming in, but there is only so much they can do.

A disease is not something that people knowingly get. The culture of embracing one's loved one, a lost member who has died of this disease. This disease lives after a person is dead. The embrace, saliva, tears, anything, this is how we contract the disease. As I said earlier, a person can contract the disease in the morning, get on a plane in the afternoon in whatever country, and we will not know until such time as that person is showing systems that he has the disease.