Crucial Fact

  • His favourite word was budget.

Last in Parliament November 2005, as Liberal MP for Ottawa—Orléans (Ontario)

Lost his last election, in 2008, with 39% of the vote.

Statements in the House

Orleans Rebels September 26th, 2005

Madam Speaker, I would like to congratulate today Sarah Thompson, Jenn Labelle, Erin Durant, Jenny Allen, Sarah Renaud, Lindsey Hutton, Ashley Vautour, Jillian Taylor, Carolyn Chmiel, Sarah Collins and Sam Pantalone, all members of the Orleans Rebels, a girls fastball team.

These young ladies won both the provincial Tier II Grand Championship and the prestigious Adirondack Avalanche Summer Invitational Tournament in Glen Falls, New York. They also finished third in the 22-team Canada-U.S. pool at the Montreal International Summer Classic, and they brought home the eastern Canadian championship from Saint John, New Brunswick.

I wish to offer my congratulations to these young ladies and their coaches. All residents of Ottawa-Orleans are very proud of them.

Criminal Code September 26th, 2005

Madam Speaker, I would certainly like to congratulate the member for Welland on his brilliant presentation in connection with this important bill.

The bill gives a definition of exploitation and refers to a number of types of exploitation.

Could the hon. member clarify this? What is included in the term “exploitation”?

Criminal Code September 26th, 2005

Mr. Speaker, I surely would like to applaud the introduction of this important legislation. It has been long awaited by people throughout Canada. As was explained to me about the protocol with the United Nations on child trafficking, this must be negotiated and we have to come to an agreement with the provinces.

In his initial consultations with the provinces could the parliamentary secretary tell us what the provinces' reactions were to the introduction of such legislation? I am sure they all agreed with it but how would it be implemented once it is approved by the House?

An Act to Authorize the Minister of Finance to Make Certain Payments June 22nd, 2005

Mr. Speaker, as I said, I am trying hard to understand. I have done a number of analyses and I do not understand their reluctance to approve this budget. It is beyond the scope of my imagination. As we say in English, it flies in the face of logic.

This NDP budget, Bill C-48, I would say to my eminent NDP colleague is still quite Liberal. All of these priorities had been identified in the throne speech. Canadians had asked us—asked all the parties—to make this government work.

There is no doubt that we listened to what the NDP told us, but we had no objection to investing in the four areas Bill C-48 identified as additional investments. Of these four categories, I give Canadians' priorities special attention.

However, what surprises me—as I told you as well—is that their own premier, Mr. Charest, is asking them to pass the budget. Now I do not understand. I am wracking my brain trying to figure out why they are not celebrating all over Quebec. Well, they are pessimists. Their role is to separate Quebec from Canada. It is not to see the good things Canada does, such as support Quebeckers.

I cannot therefore tell my colleague exactly what is going on in the heads of my Bloc colleagues. First, I am not a Quebecker, then I am certainly not a representative of that political party. They will have to be asked themselves. From what they say, no doubt, they are having a hard time admitting that this Liberal government is addressing the needs of Canadians and Quebeckers.

An Act to Authorize the Minister of Finance to Make Certain Payments June 22nd, 2005

Mr. Speaker, I must say that I agree 100% with the response by my NDP colleague. The Bloc Québécois should be applauding Bill C-48. It should be rejoicing. Their own premier is asking them to support the budget. The Bloc says it represents Quebec but perhaps it should listen to its constituents.

The fiscal imbalance is being discussed to death. A transfer of $1.3 billion from federal gas taxes was just announced. The Bloc should be applauding this. I do not understand why it is not happy. Does it simply prefer to hear bad news?

We are talking about the fiscal imbalance, but they voted against the Canada Economic Development Agency for the Regions of Quebec. I have trouble understanding their pessimism and negativity. At some point, the Bloc members should start representing the interests of Quebeckers as they say they do. Quebec needs to be un-Blocked and, to some extent, given the representation it deserves.

Based on their comments, it is my opinion that they do not knowingly represent the interests of Quebeckers and certainly not the interests of Canadians.

An Act to Authorize the Minister of Finance to Make Certain Payments June 22nd, 2005

Mr. Speaker, I am somewhat surprised to hear the hon. member put in doubt our fiscal management. As a matter of fact, just today, in the Edmonton Journal , I read an article about that. The headline reads “Canada dazzles G-8 with its economic performance”. The article states that among the G-8, which includes the United States, Japan, Britain, Germany, France, Italy and Russia:

The federal government regularly boasts at the annual summits that it has done more than any other G-8 government in cleaning up its finances, posting eight consecutive budget surpluses.

But Canada's economic performance also stacks up well, according to the comparative analysis released Tuesday by Statistics Canada.

Canada is a leader among the G-8 members in terms of the pace of economic growth and employment this decade and the educational attainment of its workers, it added.

Just to look at job creation, since January 2003 the Canadian economy has created 500,000 new jobs, almost all of them full time.

I was asked about how much new housing there will be. It is very clear and it has been indicated that we have to sit down with municipalities. I know the official opposition does not agree that we should talk to the municipalities, but we have to sit down with them, assess what their needs are and develop whatever the provinces and the municipalities feel we have to. But that is not the way the opposition wants us to work: directly with municipalities.

An Act to Authorize the Minister of Finance to Make Certain Payments June 22nd, 2005

Mr. Speaker, as the member and representative for the riding of Ottawa—Orléans, it is a privilege and an honour for me to address Bill C-48 this evening, on behalf of my fellow citizens.

This bill will allow us to make new investments that will add even more to a budget which, in everyone's opinion, is a strong, balanced and responsible budget. It has been called visionary. Indeed, this is a budget that provides a direction to Canadians for the next 10 years.

A large number of us, and a majority of Canadians, firmly believe in this budget. Given the initiatives included in the original budget to promote, among other things, more affordable child care services, a stronger economy, the protection of our environment, thriving cities and communities, there is no doubt in my mind that this is definitely a budget prepared with the priorities of Canadians in mind.

We are in the process of accomplishing great things which, in turn, will make Canada a stronger nation.

However, no one ever said that this was a perfect budget. Of course, we in this House are always striving for perfection. There is an old saying in French which says that what is good always strives for the better. So, there was room for improvement. I myself was the first one to deplore, here in this House, that the original budget did not give the pressing needs of official language communities and post-secondary education, for example, the attention that these issues deserve.

I was more than pleased when we recently announced a further investment which included $1.6 billion for affordable housing and $1.5 billion to enhance access to post-secondary education and support training. As a former assistant deputy minister of education in Ontario, I applaud that investment in knowledge economy.

There is an extra $900 million for the environment, including assisting public transit and a low income housing energy retrofit program, and $500 million in foreign aid.

These new measures flow from our throne speech and budget 2005, and as the Minister of Finance previously said, they build on our government's effort to increase federal financial support for the priorities of Canadians in key areas but in a fiscally responsible manner.

The opposition members have been critical of these spending announcements, and especially of our deal with the NDP saying that it is fiscally irresponsible. I do not understand that because the funding for those initiatives stems directly from the budget which the opposition indicated it supported the day it was introduced. These initiatives have been announced because of sound fiscal management of the Liberal government. This is why we are able to invest further dollars in the priorities of Canadians without going into deficit.

The government has never strayed from its stance of fiscal prudence. In fact, new spending in recent announcements totals $9 billion spread over five years. The fact is that most of the past week's announcements have already been announced or accounted for in budget 2005 and are obviously not new spending. They are also contingent upon maintaining budgetary surpluses over that period.

The Prime Minister has been clear on this. The budget deal with the NDP represents an overall increase in spending of about 1% and it has been explicitly declared that we will not return to a deficit.

I want, instead, to come back to the investments set out in Bill C-48: $1.6 billion for affordable housing. More specifically, this agreement provides $602 million over the next four years to increase affordable housing units in Ontario alone.

This is clearly a giant step, because it will enable us to provide more affordable housing in communities throughout Ontario. Thousands of people, particularly those with mental health problems, victims of domestic violence and low-income families, will have a real place to call home as a result. It is very hard for me to understand why the opposition would oppose investments for such vulnerable individuals.

In more concrete terms, some 20,000 Ontario households will benefit from this agreement, including 5,000 low-income households that will benefit from subsidized housing.

The Liberal government currently spends approximately $2 billion per year, through CMHC, to fund 636,000 affordable housing units. By 2006-07, we will have invested an additional $2 billion to fight homelessness and increase the number of affordable housing units.

And what about the $1.5 billion to improve access to post-secondary education and training? As I mentioned, as a former educator, I was admittedly delighted to hear this news. As I said earlier, I have been fighting for a long time for this level of government to play a greater role. I have always believed that success starts with learning and innovation. Access to quality education is therefore vital to Canada's future, prosperity, competitiveness and productivity.

Furthermore, I applaud the fact that Bill C-48 will allocate another $900 million for the environment, including assistance for public transit and a low income housing energy retrofit program, making this budget an even greener budget.

The preservation of our environment is an important issue for all of us. I can say without a doubt that public transportation is an issue that especially concerns the people of Ottawa--Orléans and the National Capital Region. Indeed, we are avidly awaiting the completion of the north-south O-Train transit system corridor, and finally, we hope, the beginning of the next phase that would interest me as the representative for Ottawa--Orléans, the east-west corridor, hopefully in a few years from now, stemming from these investments.

The Government of Canada will provide public transit investment of up to $800 million over the next two years. These funds are in addition to the $5 billion over five years in gas tax money announced last February.

As we know, the Liberal government is strongly committed to supporting public transit infrastructure. This investment will thus further help cities and communities to meet the growing demand for better public transit while also enhancing the new deals for the ability of cities and communities to address national environmental objectives.

Indeed, these funds will enable cities and communities to immediately increase their infrastructure and public transit capacities, reduce congestion and limit air pollution and greenhouse gases.

In closing, I also want to mention that our government is committed, with Bill C-48, to injecting $500 million into foreign aid. Of that amount, several million dollars, roughly $198 million, will be used to fund peace initiatives and international humanitarian relief efforts in the Sudan.

Last week, I had the opportunity to welcome Senator Roméo Dallaire to my riding. He was supporting an initiative by the Jeanne Sauvé school to sponsor a school in the Sudan in order to support that community during this difficult time.

For the people of Ottawa—Orléans, this additional aid to developing countries is certainly a positive measure.

To conclude, I want to reiterate that we have here a very important bill that, in my opinion, has to be passed in its entirety. It would be too bad, if not shameful, to obstruct measures for further completing and improving a budget whose importance and fiscal discipline was something all Canadians could agree on.

The behaviour of the official opposition and, in some ways, of the Bloc, especially in committee, is deplorable. Their tactics and hard line attitude have done nothing to improve the lot of Canadians. It is clear that in their quest for power they are prepared to go as far as putting their own interests before the interests of the people they claim to represent.

Bill C-48 reflects not only the Liberal government's determination to keep its promises and maintain a balanced budget, but also its openness and willingness to adopt new measures that will contribute to the well-being of Canadian and international communities.

As the member of Parliament for Ottawa—Orléans, I can never say enough about how proud I am and how privileged I feel to represent and serve my constituents. Under the leadership of our Prime Minister, we are more dedicated than ever to the improvement of the well-being of all Canadians. I strongly believe that this bill represents a further step in the right direction. Therefore, it has my full support. I sincerely hope that reason will prevail and that this budget will be unanimously approved by all parties.

Ontario's Francophone Community June 22nd, 2005

Mr. Speaker, as part of the City of Ottawa's 150th anniversary celebrations, the Société franco-ontarienne d'histoire et de généalogie and its partners will be unveiling a plaque to commemorate the contribution of francophones to the growth and development of Ottawa.

The plaque will be permanently displayed at the Institut canadien-français, which is located at York and Dalhousie streets in the Byward Market. The unveiling ceremony will be held on Friday, June 24, Saint-Jean-Baptiste Day, celebrated by all French Canadians. Representatives of all sectors of activity in the francophone community will be in attendance.

On behalf of all the Franco-Ontarians of Ottawa-Orléans, I wish to commend this initiative to immortalize more than 150 years of francophone presence in Ottawa. We are immensely proud.

Candu Reactor June 13th, 2005

Mr. Speaker, given Atomic Energy of Canada's envious record of performance in the past for its Candu technology, can the Minister of Natural Resources assure the House that the technology will remain competitive in the global market and remain the best reactor available in the world?

The Economy June 10th, 2005

Mr. Speaker, 35,000 new jobs were created in Canada in the month of May according to Statistics Canada's monthly labour market survey. This is more than double the monthly average of the four previous months and more than double the number projected by most economists.

Job creation has always been a priority of this and previous Liberal governments. Since 1993 over three million jobs have been created in the country.

Unemployment is currently at 6.8%, its lowest level in four and a half years. Let us contrast that to when the Conservatives left office in 1993. The unemployment rate was a staggering 11.2%.

Canada has the best job creation record of the G-7, the fastest growth in living standards of the G-7, the only balanced budget of the G-7, and the best fiscal performance since 1867.