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Crucial Fact

  • His favourite word is liberal.

NDP MP for Rosemont—La Petite-Patrie (Québec)

Won his last election, in 2015, with 49% of the vote.

Statements in the House

Infrastructure May 17th, 2017

Mr. Speaker, we all know that with the Liberals' new infrastructure privatization bank, Canadians will be the ones who end up paying for bridges and roads through user fees.

That much is certain, there is no other option. How are the private investors supposed to make a profit unless tolls and user fees are levied all over the place? Since the private sector will decide which projects are selected, of course it will choose the ones that are most profitable, not the ones that meet the needs of Canadians.

Are the Liberals not ashamed of imposing new fees and an additional financial burden on families that are already struggling?

Infrastructure May 10th, 2017

Mr. Speaker, once, twice, three times, four times. It seems that the Prime Minister cannot count.

The Liberal government announced the creation of a private infrastructure bank sponsored by BlackRock.

I have three questions. Why are positions on the board of directors already being advertised when the bill has not been passed? Why is there no one from the public sector on the board of directors when we have contributed $35 billion of our money? Given that the bank is supposed to meet the needs of municipalities, why will private companies be able to access money for their own projects, based on their own needs? I want an answer.

Budget Implementation Act, 2017, No. 1 May 9th, 2017

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

However, I cannot understand why the Liberal government is imposing closure on an omnibus that is full of bad news for Canadians.

I would like someone to explain the Liberals' change in strategy. During the election, they said it was the right time to borrow money to invest in our public infrastructure now that interest rates are so low. However, they never said they were going to use so much private sector money. They are essentially privatizing our infrastructure.

Why are they giving private investors a 7% to 9% return on their investment when we were told they were going to borrow money at a 2% interest rate? It makes no sense.

Budget Implementation Act, 2017, No. 1 May 9th, 2017

Madam Speaker, someone who is wiser than I once said, “Justice without force is powerless; force without justice is tyrannical.”

Bill C-44 is not just any bill. It is a bill that clips the wings of the parliamentary budget officer, makes it easier for foreigners to acquire Canadian companies, and creates an infrastructure bank that will cost taxpayers a lot of money, while making a big profit for the finance minister's friends on Bay Street.

This bill also eliminates the public transit tax credits that helped ordinary Canadians. It raises taxes for wine producers and microbreweries.

I cannot understand how the Minister of Finance can say that a day and a half of debate is enough for parliamentarians to do their work on a bill that amends no less than 30 laws. The Liberal government has a lot of nerve saying that.

Why does the finance minister have such disdain and contempt for the rights of parliamentarians?

Government Accountability May 8th, 2017

I have a tale to tell, Mr. Speaker. Once upon a time there lived a fellow who was very intelligent and very curious. He was also very good at math. He listened to the prince, made sure he did not say foolish things, and above all, he checked the prince's math. The young prince did not like that one bit. All he wanted was to be left alone, and so, he restricted the curious fellow's freedom to act and prevented him from looking into things he wanted to know more about.

Today, we have a Prime Minister who is going after the parliamentary budget officer. What exactly does the Liberal government have to hide from taxpayers?

National Seal Products Day Act May 5th, 2017

Yes, I better double-check.

However, Madam Speaker, it is important to me to rise because I want to show my solidarity with the communities and workers of Newfoundland and Labrador, the Magdalen Islands, and northern Quebec and Canada, as well as the Inuit and first nation peoples, to whom it is important to have a flourishing, balanced, sustainable, and cruelty-free seal hunting industry.

I know full well that this has been a controversial issue for years. It is a contentious issue, and emotions run high. However, I think we need to take an approach that is rooted in science, sustainable development, and support from the communities where seal hunting is an essential, traditional, and important practice.

The NDP has always believed that seal hunting could be done in a responsible, respectful, and sustainable manner. That is why we are proud to rise in support of this bill to designate a national seal products day.

We believe in seal hunting because, since the dawn of time, all human communities have used the natural resources available to them for sustenance, survival, and development. First we were gatherers, then we learned to farm the land, to fish, and to hunt the animals around us. In those days, there were few human beings on this immense planet, and their impact on the environment as a whole was minimal.

We have since come to understand that our very numbers sometimes put animal and plant species at risk. Unfortunately, species become extinct every year, often due to human activity.

We also know that it is possible to hunt and fish responsibly with the help of credible scientific assessments to ensure that stocks remain healthy, reproduce, and are not put at risk. That is the case for all fishing in Canada, and also for hunting. We hunt deer and caribou because we can set quotas. We can scientifically calculate the number of animals that can be harvested in a year while ensuring the survival of the species or herd in a given region. The process applies to almost all our hunting and fishing activities, and I am personally convinced, as are my NDP colleagues, that we could very easily do the same thing for the seal hunt.

We have to keep in mind that seals, particularly harp seals, are not threatened at all. Here are the facts. In 30 years, the harp seal population tripled. There are now between eight million and nine million harp seals, which is the most commonly hunted species. According to forecasts for 2030, this population will reach between 10 million and 16 million individuals. We have to do away with misconceptions, with images that captured the public's attention over the past few years, and offended or distressed some people. I will come back to that. I understand how they feel, but let us look at the facts. This species is thriving, sometimes to the detriment of other animals, such as our cod stocks and other fish that seals prey on.

The grey seal population has increased from 10,000 to 500,000, that is half a million, in 50 years. No additional protection is needed for either the harp seal or the grey seal. We can continue to hunt them responsibly and use the healthy products derived from them. We know that we can use their fur for boots, coats, hats, and sometimes even ties, which are proudly worn in the House of Commons. Seals are also a source of food, fuel, and health products. When researching my speech, I learned that there is a growing market for seal oil, which is very rich in Omega-3 fatty acids. There are many interesting and beneficial uses for all the products derived from the seal hunt.

I have something important to say to all those who are concerned about the seal hunt. Only humane practices are used. Let us remember when certain European celebrities visited northern Canada to capitalize on this issue. Denis Longuépée, president of the Magdalen Islands Sealers Association, a man who is aptly named for a hunter, said that we would never be able to get rid of that image because, even though white coat seals have not been hunted for 25 years, people are still using that image. He added that we need to try to convince people to buy and try seal products.

It is important to remind anyone who is concerned about cruelty to animals that white coat seals are no longer hunted. The practice has stopped. Seal hunting is respectful, sustainable, and science-based, and it can be done without people always reminding us of that old image, which is no longer even relevant.

It is important to remind people of this because, unfortunately, that shocking and distressing image has managed to influence policy makers on the other side of the Atlantic. Indeed, the European Union has made decisions that we do not agree with. In August 2010, it decided to ban Canadian seal products. The structure of the European Union is very interesting. It is something I have studied, something that I follow very closely. The European Union generally makes good decisions; that one was not so good.

As parliamentarians, as the representatives of all those communities and the workers who make a living from the seal hunt, we need to take a stand. Creating a national seal products day would send a clear message to everyone, here in Canada and in the European Union. We need to continue to engage in dialogue with the European Union to reopen that market.

National Seal Products Day Act May 5th, 2017

Madam Speaker, I am pleased to rise in the House to speak to this private member's bill. I want to begin by acknowledging the excellent work of my NPD colleague, the hon. member for Abitibi—Baie-James—Nunavik—Eeyou, who is our critic on this file.

Bill S-208 seeks to designate May 20 as national seal products day. I will get into why that date was chosen a bit later. Beyond its symbolic nature, this bill seeks to provide significant support to certain communities, especially to people who earn their income from the seal hunt and for whom this might be a traditional practice.

People watching us on television might be wondering why on earth a member from east-central Montreal is rising to talk about the seal hunt. I must admit that there are not a lot of seals or seal hunting in my riding.

Infrastructure May 5th, 2017

Madam Speaker, it is funny to hear the parliamentary secretary say “only $15 billion”.

In their omnibus budget bill, the Liberals are creating the infrastructure bank and today we learn who is pulling the strings of this huge taxpayer trap.

BlackRock is the biggest investor in the world. BlackRock helped the Liberal government create the infrastructure bank. BlackRock assisted the Liberal government with its public relations. BlackRock will be a client of the infrastructure bank and will make huge profits from it.

Is the bank being established for the sake of our communities or for the people with club privilege? Who is running this government, BlackRock?

Finance May 5th, 2017

Madam Speaker, contrary to what it promised, the Liberal government crammed a whole bunch of other stuff into its budget bill, and that makes it an omnibus bill. Among other things, the government is attacking the parliamentary budget officer by limiting his independence and his ability to launch investigations while in office. The government is also preventing all MPs from calling for investigations and studies into issues that it finds inconvenient. Curiously, it is directing the PBO to submit a plan to the speakers of the House of Commons and the Senate.

I have one simple question: what happens if they say no?

Tax Evasion May 5th, 2017

Madam Speaker, societies work best when everyone contributes. When individuals and companies pay their fair share of taxes, we can pool our resources and pay for public services, including things like education, health care, roads, and support for seniors and persons with disabilities.

Unfortunately, tax evasion and the use of tax havens undermine the entire system. Some large corporations and millionaires like to hide their money in tax havens, and then laugh at the rest of us. Meanwhile, we, here, do not find that funny. We are losing out on at least $7 billion a year.

With all that lost revenue, we could be paying tuition for every university student in this country. We could hire 34,000 family physicians, or we could fill 50 million potholes. In Montreal, that would make a huge difference.

We in the NDP know which side we are on.

When are the Liberals going to take this scandal seriously and challenge the agreements we have with tax havens like Barbados and the Cayman Islands, which are costing us a fortune?