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Crucial Fact

  • His favourite word was problem.

Last in Parliament October 2015, as NDP MP for Marc-Aurèle-Fortin (Québec)

Lost his last election, in 2015, with 25% of the vote.

Statements in the House

Canada-Korea Economic Growth and Prosperity Act September 30th, 2014

Mr. Speaker, I thank the hon. member for Saint-Léonard—Saint-Michel for his speech.

He was very silent on an issue that comes up in every free trade agreement. It is something the NDP has many concerns about. I am talking about the settlement of investor-state disputes. This requires the state to compensate a private company for what it would estimate to be a potential loss of profit, because the government is doing its regulatory duty to safeguard the public good.

Do the Liberals agree with this type of provision, which we routinely find in the free trade agreements negotiated by Conservative and Liberal governments?

Canada-Korea Economic Growth and Prosperity Act September 30th, 2014

Mr. Speaker, I would like to thank my esteemed colleague for his remarks. I did not realize that I was a radical activist and that the people who had the decency to vote for me did not have political judgment.

In the case of this agreement, we should not confuse South Korea, a developed and democratic country, with Honduras, where drug traffickers have the upper hand.

It is vitally important that we ask how this government will ensure that Canada exports not just fish, but high-value-added manufactured goods.

What mechanisms will again spur the industrialization of Canada so that we actually export high-value goods?

Protection of Communities and Exploited Persons Act September 25th, 2014

Mr. Speaker, I would like to use an analogy. During the Crimean War, there was a cavalry charge called the charge of the light brigade. It was a beautiful charge. Never had anyone seen such excellent horsemen charge so quickly. It was an exemplary deployment. Unfortunately, the Russians were ready for the English, who were slaughtered.

That is basically what we have here. The bill's intent—to protect people from crime, abuse and human trafficking—may be laudable, but unfortunately, as soon as it enters into force, it will be challenged, and probably successfully. That is the problem. I am afraid that if the government cuts off debate once again, objective criticism will not be heard and the legislation will be headed towards defeat once again. Unfortunately, this defeat means that the people we want to protect will not be protected. That is probably this bill's main weakness.

Canada Post September 22nd, 2014

Mr. Speaker, over the summer, Canada Post started installing the new community mailboxes in Rosemère, Bois-des-Filion and Lorraine.

These new mailboxes are part of Canada Post's installation plan and have been endorsed by this government in order to put an end to home delivery. In many cases, these new community mailboxes are being installed on a resident's land. Owners and the general public are outraged. Seniors who have a hard time getting around are outraged.

This government is cutting essential postal services to the public, and in the meantime, it has increased the cost of a stamp by 59%. This government is cutting essential postal services to the public, and in the meantime, 23 Canada Post executives are sharing $10 million.

The Liberal and Conservative governments have taken the middle class to the cleaners, and now their services are being washed away. Canadians deserve better. They deserve an NDP government, and that is what we will give them.

Ebola Outbreak September 15th, 2014

Mr. Speaker, since my colleague is a doctor by training, I want to ask her to tell us about the potential risk of this disease spreading exponentially.

She said today that there were 600 new cases a week. However, in a relatively short period of a few weeks, how easily could 600 cases become 6,000 cases or more? At what point is it essential to deal with this problem now when the number of cases is still relatively low? If it grew to 10,000 or 20,000 cases a week, we would lose all control.

Ebola Outbreak September 15th, 2014

Mr. Speaker, I thank my colleague for his thoughtful presentation. However, it is important to note that an epidemic that turns into a pandemic will affect the entire world.

If we cannot quickly control the spread of this disease in Africa, how much will this disaster cost, both economically and in terms of human lives, if it ever comes here, within our own borders?

Conservative Party of Canada June 20th, 2014

Mr. Speaker, the spring parliamentary session was a tough one for many ministers.

After weeks of denying that there was a problem, the Minister of Employment and Social Development and Minister for Multiculturalism had to admit that it was not okay for Canadians to be fired so that cheap labour could be brought in.

The Minister of Citizenship and Immigration put his bad faith and incompetence on public display by introducing an unconstitutional bill and showing that he is incapable of fulfilling his promises to Syrian refugees.

However, it is the Minister of Justice who wins the incompetency award, hands down. He presided over the boondoggle of appointing Justice Nadon and introduced an unconstitutional bill on cybercrime. He made sexist comments about women, saying that they prefer to focus on being domestic and motherly than on their careers.

Canadians deserve better, and with an NDP government in 2015, they will get it.

Combating Counterfeit Products Act June 19th, 2014

Mr. Speaker, this is a danger for Canadians and it is also a danger for those who buy Canadian products.

In the United States, they sell a drug made from a flu medication. One of the ingredients of that medication is basically freely available in Canada. Sometimes, it is also imported from foreign countries.

If that product is tainted, it will affect the entire production chain for Canada and the United States, where people take it legally. In addition, and this is the worst part, some of the production is misappropriated so that the illicit drug can be made.

Clearly, we are on thin ice. However, it is important to understand fully that not having absolute control over the quality of medications is harmful to people's health. Even worse, in this age of globalization, we import medicinal ingredients that are reassembled chemically to make another medication. If one of those ingredients is not good, we are selling medications that we think are of high quality when, in reality, they are not. That is the crux of the problem.

I would like to remind hon. members that counterfeit medications are rarely quality medications. They are produced by illicit activity and the people who engage in it have no scruples. Selling tainted medications does not bother them.

Combating Counterfeit Products Act June 19th, 2014

Mr. Speaker, we have a general idea.

The Organisation for Economic Cooperation and Development has indicated that it amounts to $250 billion per year, which is a huge amount. Here, we know only about the portion that we catch, but we know it is enormous and that it is important. The companies that are the victims tell us. They see their market shrinking even though their product is still just as popular. There are therefore commercial indicators, namely, the fact that the sales of the companies that sell the products are affected. There is economic harm. Does it have to be measured within Canada? No. That is the problem, and it relates to our credibility with our own market and our financial and economic partners. They tell us that things are not going well in our country and we are causing them to lose money. For example, Adidas says that it sees its products everywhere here, but it is not selling any, so something is not quite right. Obviously, an ambassador is going to be called in and is going to be told that his country is turning a blind eye to fraud. Canada must not get this reputation. In fact, that is the reason why Bill C-8 needs to be implemented quickly and effectively.

Combating Counterfeit Products Act June 19th, 2014

Mr. Speaker, the New Democratic Party will support Bill C-8 at third reading, because the fight against counterfeiting is so important to our economy.

First of all, it is a matter of respecting the economic rights of creators and copyright or trademark owners, who have invested their research into developing their product. This requires time and money. Very often, they invest in advertising and marketing for their product, to demonstrate its quality and the significance of buying it.

Some people pay the bills, while the counterfeiters run off with the profits. This is a great recipe for making a respectable company go under. In addition, when the counterfeit items are of poor quality, both the company’s market and the value of its trademark collapse. If we want to protect our businesses, we must ban this kind of practice.

We must make sure that consumers are really buying the product they are paying for. If you pay $3,000 for a beautiful Rolex watch, you expect it to contain a little bit of gold and silver. If you pay $15 for it in a back alley in New York, of course there will not be any gold or silver in it. It cannot be anything but a toy. Nonetheless, the brand of the watch is being undermined.

Let us imagine that a counterfeiter makes an almost exact copy of a watch but replaces the gold and silver with lower quality metals. First of all, he increases the amount of profit he makes from this inferior product. Then the legitimate company loses the sale and the brand value declines, because the owner believes the watch should last a lifetime but it stops working after six months. It is the value of the brand name that takes a hit. It is important to preserve it.

Very often, it is just a question of keeping the public safe. For instance, children’s toys cannot have lead paint in them. All the major brand companies know this, and the counterfeiters do as well. However, the counterfeiters sometimes like to make a little more money and do not comply with essential international public health standards. They use hazardous products.

If these people started making prescription drugs, there would be a problem. In Canada, we feel it is absolutely awful that prescription drugs we import may be of poor quality, depending on the plant where they were manufactured, even within a company. The plant manager lowers the quality of the brand-name product. This has happened in the United States, where some companies have been banned from selling prescription drugs. We hope of course that control will happen in Canada. It is a matter of public health.

If we expect a prescription drug to contain 70% of active ingredients, and there is a problem if it only contains 50% or if it contains 115%. Doctors write their prescriptions for medications whose properties they know. If someone starts playing around with them, it becomes a public health issue.

With regard to food, Canada bans a certain level of pesticides. If this level is exceeded, the food in question is not safe. The counterfeiters will use poor quality products in their cans and stick on a label from a company that has a good reputation to sell them. They do not meet the standards and this also poses risks.

This is why the NDP is in complete agreement with Bill C-8. We have to make sure this protection is provided in order for food, toys, drugs and even construction materials to have real value. This is the era of globalization, and very often we receive by-products that are incorporated into our own national production. That is what the problem of contamination is all about. If a contaminant enters our production chain at some point, then when the product comes out the end, our chain of production will have a lower value. The estimated value of our product will not be what we had hoped because we will have been duped. This is therefore important. It is a question of security, not just physical but also economic.

One major flaw must be noted, however. It is all very well to enact the finest laws in the world, but if there is no one to enforce them, then things are not going to work. Unfortunately, in recent years, a significant amount has been cut from the budget of the Canada Border Services Agency. That has led to 549 jobs being cut. That is a huge number. We can imagine how many containers inspectors can check and how many long-term investigations they can do into counterfeit products that appear on the market. Those investigations are important. Legislation is nothing if there is no structure to ensure that it will be enforced.

We recently discussed a free trade agreement with Honduras. The problem I raised at the time was that there is no point in having a law that prohibits murder in that country if the leaders of the country can go around killing people with complete impunity because the police will never bother them for it. This is somewhat the same problem.

Prohibiting counterfeiting in a piece of legislation is all very well, but it is not going to stop a fraudster from trying to do it. What is really going to stop them from doing it is telling them that all the lovely dishes from China with lead paint that we find in their container are going to be destroyed with a crusher and the container is going back to China. If we do that once or twice, I guarantee that the third time, they are not going to be interested in bringing in a container with dishes that have lead paint. That is the border. That border is important. It is called the law and the justice system. It is not just thinking that because we are pure of heart, everyone is going to have the same ethics as we do. Ethics have to be protected.

Obviously, it goes without saying that this is difficult to quantify. As I said, we do not have the number of inspectors we need. We know that counterfeiting exists and is here. We have a general idea because companies say their sales are down. How do we determine the value of an underground activity when it is hidden and there is no one to ferret it out? We have seen it grow. The RCMP says that in 2009 it seized $7.6 million worth of goods, and that in 2012 it seized $38 million worth. That is just the tip of the iceberg, because we cannot determine the extent of this underground activity. It is hidden and we do not have the personnel we need to shed light on it.

I will quickly conclude by saying that giving our customs officers the powers they need and instituting civil and criminal penalties for counterfeiting trademarks enables them to share information with the owners of the trademarks and the products. These are things that the NDP and the international community agree with entirely.

We are going to support the bill and we are even going to try to improve it in committee.