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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

Business of Supply June 22nd, 2011

Madam Speaker, earlier I pointed out that SMEs account for 30% of our exports. Quite often the exports are technologies that they have developed, an unparalleled know-how. In that regard, it does not really matter whether or not there is a good market or a free market. They can get into the market because of the excellence of their products. That is what distinguishes Canada's small businesses. They get good results. They are excellent.

Business of Supply June 22nd, 2011

Madam Speaker, the Conservative member has just put his finger on the problem. We must support measures that help Canada and avoid measures that harm Canada.

At present, tax reductions for big business, banks and oil companies have not yielded the expected results.

Where are the numerous jobs that these businesses have created? There are none. Where are the great social benefits they have created? There are none.

When taxes are cut for SMEs, they immediately reinvest in the economy. They do not wait years to go ahead with international purchases. The SMEs act immediately.

We will support measures that help Canada and stop cutting taxes for those that have benefited from these cuts and done nothing for Canada.

Business of Supply June 22nd, 2011

Madam Speaker, as a general rule, any business that is taxed will immediately reinvest its profits in the growth of the company.

SMEs do not accumulate capital. They do not resort to tax havens. They take their profit and immediately reinvest it in new equipment and manufacturing processes, in scientific research and innovative development.

They cannot waste their resources on tax havens or public private partnerships.

Business of Supply June 22nd, 2011

Madam Speaker, I would like to take this opportunity to congratulate you on your appointment. I would also like to inform you that I will share my time with the hon. member for Parkdale—High Park.

I would like to thank all of my constituents in Marc-Aurèle-Fortin for giving me the privilege and honour of representing them here in the House. I would also like to thank all those who helped me throughout the election campaign: my many friends and particularly my family, including my sister Marianne and my niece Stéphanie.

I rise today in support of this resolution in favour of small businesses. I support it because, historically, the CCF and the NDP have always been in favour of small business. We must remember that, historically, the founding members of the CCF were farmers, people who ran their small agricultural businesses, people who worked in transport, in construction, who had small businesses. These people got together in 1933 for their first big battle: creating the Canadian Wheat Board. They succeeded in 1935. Throughout the economic recession, they understood that uniting their small businesses could help create large Canadian institutions. These small businesses continued to prosper and now, these same small businesses create the majority of jobs. They also represent 30% of our exports.

Small businesses in Canada are firmly committed to innovation. Quite often, these small businesses are the creation of young university grads who, upon getting their university degree, set up small laboratories, innovative companies. They create companies that they hope will become successful. They hope that they will grow and will create jobs.

Clearly, we must support small businesses. That is why the NDP resolutely decided to show its complete trust in them, as demonstrated in our platform. The NDP would like the government to give a $4,500 tax credit for each job created. A $4,500 tax credit could be a lifeline for a small business. Not only would this allow it to create jobs, but it could even help the company survive. Indeed, we must not kid ourselves; the first few months for any SME can be excruciating and difficult. However, SMEs create jobs. They create real wealth, not speculation. That is not something that can disappear in just a few days, at the speed of an email. That is what happened in the U.S., a country that is big on deregulation, big on perfect and free enterprise, a country that systematically favours large institutions. At this time, the U.S. government has had to go heavily into debt in order to save institutions that may not have deserved to be saved. A $4,500 tax credit for each job created in an SME could go a long way.

We will also support scientific research and experimental development. The government had the opportunity to increase funding for small businesses. It did not do so. Yet we all know that innovation in biotechnology, electronics and all the areas that represent Canada's economic future takes research and development funding. The government missed a good opportunity to support this segment of the economy.

They are also lowering taxes. At present, small businesses are taxed at 11%. That rate could have been lowered to 9%. Lowering taxes in a sector that creates jobs is important.

We have to support job creation and lower taxes for industries that agree to create jobs. Unfortunately, after 12 years of programs from Paul Martin and the current finance minister, we have not seen the major beneficiaries of the tax cuts pass on the slightest benefit to the Canadian public by creating massive numbers of jobs. Twelve years is a relatively long time over which to evaluate a program. This program of systematic corporate tax cuts has clearly not worked, while, despite all the challenges they face, small businesses are creating jobs.

We also generally see in SMEs all the problems that come from the absence of a pension plan. They are too small to qualify for the major private pension plans. The NDP is in favour of revitalizing the Canada pension plan by increasing the pension benefit from 25% to 50% in order to guarantee Canadian workers 50% of their salary as a pension regardless of where they work.

The Canada pension plan was tailor-made for SME employees who do not have access to major pension plans. The NDP has continued working for small business. We believe that SMEs are the future. Entrepreneurs are focusing more and more on the social economy, the environmental economy, the knowledge economy, and they are increasingly running their businesses as co-operatives. They are following in the footsteps of those who created the CCF and the NDP.

This motion simply acknowledges the fact that Canada's economy and job creation are actively supported by SMEs. Without this economic activity, the recession would have hit much harder. We would have suffered a much higher unemployment rate. As in the United States, we would have suffered from the social exclusion of the poorest people. SMEs, firmly focused on the social economy, work to care for and support the poorest in our country who have reached an age where they need active support to stay in their homes. Yes, this social economy will continue to grow. It would be nice to see the government actively supporting it.

The knowledge economy will continue to grow at the speed with which students graduate from university, trained and ready to apply their knowledge to wealth creation and not speculation. This SME economy is firmly focused on job co-operatives, social housing co-operatives, and fishery development co-operatives. Co-operatives can be created in any sector. This economy is based on the idea that wealth creation should belong to those who create wealth, not those who invent it through speculation.

We are strongly opposed to all of the economic activities proposed by the Government of Canada, which aim only to support big businesses and which do nothing for Canada.

Business of Supply June 22nd, 2011

Madam Speaker, thank you for allowing me to ask a question.

It appears that the minister went to the wrong class in university. Instead of taking economics 101, he took wasteful spending 101. It is unbelievable to me that he would even try to tell us, although he really seems to believe, that his government is not an interventionist government. Give me a break. His government's budget just gave mortgage companies a $300 billion credit. Is that not interventionist? Not only did the minister go to the wrong class, he did not learn anything. This $300 billion credit did not go to small businesses. And $300 billion is a lot of money.

Now, regarding the 65 fighter jets, no one knows how much this is going to cost. We are told it will be between $15 billion and $30 billion. So the government is handing out a possible $30 billion without a contract. Not a single small business could hope for even a $5,000 payment from this government without a contract. But it has no problem giving $30 billion to big business, no problem at all.

Third, regarding postal services, is that not interventionism? The government is intervening in a labour dispute and the Conservatives are saying they had nothing to do with the lockout scheme that is forcing the employees back to work. They intervened after just three days. It was the same with Air Canada. They intervened, and as a final point, Madam Speaker, regarding the Canadian Wheat Board, which—

Pensions June 7th, 2011

Mr. Speaker, last month, the president and CEO of the Canada pension plan explained that public pension funds were ripe for expansion. They will be viable for the next 75 years, and by 2050, they will be worth over one thousand billion dollars. Meanwhile, private pension funds lost billions of dollars during the recession.

Why is this government still asking Canadians to put their savings in private banks and mutual funds, rather than improving public pensions?