House of Commons photo


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

Anti-Terrorism Act, 2015 April 24th, 2015

Mr. Speaker, I have some very sad news. Police forces in Quebec intercepted and imprisoned members of the Hells Angels. Unfortunately, this government managed to let them go because it was unable to try their cases within two years. They were let go by the justice system.

Now, with this wonderful bill, we have to wonder what is the use of a law that takes away our rights and freedoms if criminals and terrorists can slip through because police officers, judges and prosecutors are in short supply?

Can my distinguished colleague explain the Conservative logic that takes away our rights but offers no guarantee whatsoever that terrorists will be sentenced by the justice system?

Questions Passed as Orders for Returns April 2nd, 2015

With regard to the investment plan and restructuring plan for Canada Post, and its $1 billion pension deficit: (a) what are the implications of this deficit for the government; (b) what are the risks associated with implementing the turnaround plan; and (c) what is the government’s pension liability forecast?

Safe and Accountable Rail Act March 31st, 2015

Mr. Speaker, I thank my colleague for his speech.

However, he referred to documents from the Auditor General that we studied together and that were very critical of Transport Canada's inability to fulfill its mandates.

Furthermore, the TSB report, which deals with transportation accidents and did a very detailed analysis of the Lac-Mégantic incident, came down very hard on Transport Canada. Basically all of the stakeholders that studied and analyzed the problem have said that Transport Canada's philosophy of allowing companies to self-regulate is bad. It is not working. The companies are not doing what they should be doing.

Instead of simply amending the act, would it not be better to change the philosophy entirely and reconsider the sacrosanct but flawed principle of self-regulation?

Safe and Accountable Rail Act March 31st, 2015

Mr. Speaker, you know how generous I am. I had the chance to ask the member a question as though she were a Liberal or as though she were a Conservative. Being a generous person, I will ask her as though she were both at the same time.

I find it a little surprising that, as a Liberal, she has forgotten that it was the Liberal Party that reformed the rail transportation system, particularly with the privatization of CN. When CN was privatized, no regulatory obligations were imposed on it, and this has left us with a system that has massively deteriorated. CN says that it is not responsible. It is not contractually obligated to paint the Quebec Bridge or maintain tracks.

For their part, the Conservatives, who have increased deregulation, are not helping matters. There are more and more accidents. Thirty-five people died in Lac-Mégantic, and we must not wait for more deaths to occur. Unfortunately, from what all of the stakeholders—including the Transportation Safety Board, or TSB, and the Auditor General—have said, there will be more accidents.

We need to have another look at all of the policies, not only the Conservatives' policies, but also the Liberal policies before that.

Safe and Accountable Rail Act March 31st, 2015

Mr. Speaker, I must point out that there is a seniors' residence on Turgeon Street in my riding that is located less than 100 feet from the rail line. In Rosemère, there are residences that back directly onto the rail line, which runs about 20 or 25 feet above ground. If a rail car were to ever go off the track, it would fall directly on those homes.

This problem can unfortunately be seen all over Canada. Too often, people built homes much too close to the rail lines. Unfortunately, I too have often seen with my own eyes DOT-111 cars travelling along the rail lines in my riding.

I would love to believe that there is no risk, but is it wise to agree to systematically hand over safety responsibilities to private, for-profit companies, as the current government is doing?

Military Contribution Against ISIL March 30th, 2015

Mr. Speaker, I listened closely to my colleague's learned remarks.

The problem is not with what he is saying, but with what he is not saying. The best way for a coalition to defeat an enemy is to starve it of munitions and money. Turkey is currently providing sanctuary to ISIL. Combatants who want to enter Syria can go through Turkey. Unfortunately, many Canadian citizens are doing just that. Some countries are providing this group with weapons and others are buying its oil.

What is the point in creating a coalition to bomb enemies, when so-called friends are giving them food, weapons and volunteers?

Citizen Consultation Preceding Natural Resource Development March 27th, 2015

Mr. Speaker, I want to set the record straight right off the bat.

The mining industry provides good jobs, as does the oil industry. We are not talking about $15 or $12 an hour, but $30, $35 or even $40 an hour. There are people who like having good jobs.

Obviously setting up a mine or a refinery has its advantages. However, believe it or not, Canadians are a strange bunch: they know that there are two sides to every story. Although one side might be quite attractive, they still want to get a full picture of the other side. That is the problem here.

Right now, there are 350,000 jobs in Canada connected to natural resource development. These jobs come with a whole lot of benefits that we do not want to give up. However, since we are responsible, we would like to ensure that the proposed new operations do not pose problems. That is the issue here.

Rather than solving the problem, the government made it worse by trying to force things down people's throats. It is unbelievable. Today, every time anyone wants to build a mine or refinery, legal action is immediately taken. In the past, during a time that was less Conservative and more favourable to informed development, projects were discussed and changes were made, a process that took several years.

However, the Conservative government wants to get things done in a year, a year and a half or two years at most. Here are the results: the Ring of Fire in northern Ontario has been rejected; the pipelines in northern British Columbia have been rejected; the pipelines that cross Quebec have been rejected; and the uranium mines have been rejected—and I hope they always will be.

This does not take two or three years. Before, it took four or five. Now it takes 10 years because of the legal proceedings. The whole notion of the Ring of Fire in northern Ontario is at a standstill because of this great government. This shows that when you do not do things right, you do not necessarily get the results that you want.

Whenever something as big and invasive as a mine, a refinery or a major industrial facility is proposed, people should be consulted and should be able to participate throughout the decision-making process. My colleague who spoke earlier said that the government had done everything in its power to make these projects safe. I would like to hear her say that to the people of Lac-Mégantic.

In northern Ontario, there have been three derailments in less than two months. Is that what they call safety? They say they will make companies liable. Sure they will. An oil tanker, the Exxon Valdez, sank in Alaska. That was when Ronald Reagan was president. People paid a terrible price for that oil spill, so they asked for compensation. They are still waiting. The companies that made terrible messes in the Gulf of Guinea, the Gulf of Mexico and the Gulf of Alaska are the same companies operating here in Canada.

Now the government is telling us that these companies that have behaved badly elsewhere will have to respect the environment and Canada's peoples. I am skeptical, because we sometimes have little problems, like the one in Lac-Mégantic.

It is extraordinary that the first person who appears after a disaster is not a someone from the company itself who arrives with a cheque in hand and says that the company will pay for everything. No, no. Instead, the company's lawyer appears and says that before the company will pay for anything, we must prove beyond a shadow of a doubt that the company is indeed guilty. They ask for help, they ask people to be understanding and, above all, they want to get out of paying anything and they want to shirk their responsibilities. This practice must stop.

Some projects must have a social licence. When a project does not havea social licence, it can get lost in the legal weeds and absolutely nothing happens. Sometimes, even great projects that create jobs might prompt people to say that progress is being made, but without a social licence, they do not work. One example I can think of is a uranium mine.

People are afraid, and they will continue to be afraid even if we give them the best arguments in the world. At some point we may just have to accept the fact that the people do not want a project.

The Conservatives have introduced their pipeline bill, and that has people worried. I can guarantee to the House that no one in Quebec is interested in seeing four inches of oil floating all over the St. Lawrence River.

Nonetheless, we can build refineries and secure the energy supply because certain aspects make this attractive. People are prepared to listen to what the Conservatives have to say, especially when they say that this type of project will bring in billions of dollars for the province and create an awful lot of jobs. People will listen closely, but they will also look at the other side of the coin and will have a say.

As for the people who have to live with a major industrial, mining or oil development project in their region, they are entitled to not only have a say, but also to be listened to and take part in the decision-making. If we dismiss them out of hand, then the whole process will go nowhere, and that is what is happening right now.

Many projects are not approved, from shale gas development in many municipalities to oil development in certain national parks. It is too bad, because some of these projects deserved to be better defended.

It is not true that people are short-sighted. It is not true that the NDP, and everyone for that matter, is automatically opposed to every mining project and that the first nations are starting a civil war. No, no. They are interested in having discussions and listening, especially if they get an attractive offer.

However, if the offer is not an attractive one and profits only one side, while the people assume all the risks, only the Conservatives are surprised that the people are not going to like this type of deal where they will always be the losers and the friends of those in power will be the winners.

It is vital that at some point the government finally decide to be Canadian for a day. Is it so horrible to ask that the government be Canadian from time to time? Unfortunately, the government does not often listen to us. However, we should not take it to heart.

The election is fast approaching and the good Canadian people may decide one day to give the boot to those who systematically defend interests that are not those of Canadians.

Tougher Penalties for Child Predators Act March 27th, 2015

Mr. Speaker, it is the whole administration of justice problem that is at issue here. In theory, punishment is a good thing, but in practice, the theory must translate into effective action.

Unfortunately, there was a terrible situation in Quebec recently. The police were able to bring down a criminal organization known as the Hells Angels. Everything was going well. All the members were arrested. Unfortunately, they forgot about the Conservative Party. Serious mistake. There were not enough judges to preside over the trials because of the Conservatives' systematic cuts. The time limits were exceeded. It took too long and the accused were released. Good going. That is marvellous. That is being tough on crime.

My question is quite simple: what is the use of having laws that sentence an individual to 150 years in prison if the government's actions prevent that person from ever going to court because there are not enough judges?

Canada Post March 27th, 2015

Mr. Speaker, it is not just mail that the Conservatives cannot deliver; it seems they also have a hard time with accounting.

The people in my riding of Marc-Aurèle-Fortin reject the Conservatives' decision to end home delivery at a time when Canada Post is posting record profits.

In fact, we have learned that Canada Post made a $194 million profit this year, but it is still halting door-to-door mail delivery. That is unbelievable.

Will the Conservatives finally listen to Canadians and deliver the mail?

Military Contribution Against ISIL March 26th, 2015

Mr. Speaker, that is a real problem.

When I said that this feels like another Vietnam, that is a fact. Earlier the Minister of State for Western Economic Diversification said that her objective was to destabilize the government, in order to weaken its position. That will not mean victory.

The real victory will come when people no longer want to support a terrorist movement. That will be the real victory. The only thing the Conservatives are proposing right now is limiting the influence of these terrorist organizations.

As with the Vietnam War and the war in Afghanistan, this strategy does not have a clearly defined objective, and more importantly, we do not know how we will get out of this mess once we are in it.