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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

The Budget April 12th, 2017

Mr. Speaker, the Liberal government wants to tie the hands of the parliamentary budget officer under the guise of making him more independent. That is what we are seeing with Bill C-44, and it is very troubling.

I would like to ask three very simple questions. Will the parliamentary budget officer still have the freedom to initiate investigations based on current events or will he be subject to an annual plan? Will parliamentarians be able to request investigations on subjects of their choice? Finally, will the ministers and departments be bound by law to co-operate with and give information to the parliamentary budget officer?

The quality of our democratic life depends on this. These are three very serious questions.

The Budget April 12th, 2017

Mr. Speaker, some time ago, a Liberal candidate said that he would not use omnibus bills, period.

Who said that? The current Prime Minister. The budget implementation bill amends no less than 30 laws, from immigration and navigation protection to justice. At the same time, it privatizes our infrastructure, creates tolls, cuts the public transit tax credit, and keeps tax breaks for CEOs.

Why do the Liberals always look after their rich friends?

Privilege April 11th, 2017

Mr. Speaker, I thank my colleague for his question, even though I disagree with how my criticisms of the Conservatives have been interpreted.

However, what interests me today is to see how we can all work together in the House to come up with the best laws, the best legislation, and the best budget to meet the needs of our constituents.

Regardless of our political colours, whether they be blue, orange, or green, we all have the duty to hold the government to account. However, it seems that the Liberal government is trying to take away our parliamentary tools, our freedom of speech, and our ability to delay the proceedings.

People need to understand that, when there is a majority government in office, time is basically the only currency the opposition has to put pressure on the government and send it a message. If the government takes that away, it is taking away the bulk of our capacity to do our job.

This Liberal government promised to hold consultations, to work with others in a spirit of harmony, and to show respect for everyone. However, now that it is in office, we are seeing its true colours.

Privilege April 11th, 2017

Mr. Speaker, what is going on here with our rules is what we would call inside baseball. Our rules are so important for our work and the quality of our democracy. I try to explain this to kids when I go to the schools. If the government is able to change the rules of the House and our Parliament by itself, it can lead to disrespect for authority.

The quality of our democracy depends on people's votes and the quality of the debates, and also on the ability of parliamentarians and opposition parties to do their job effectively in the House. Otherwise, power is concentrated in the hands of the party in power, and then in the cabinet and the prime minister.

If we accept that the government alone can establish House rules when it was elected with 39% of the votes in our rigged electoral system, we are all at risk, as is our democracy and the quality of our parliamentary life. That is why we are standing with all our other opposition colleagues.

Privilege April 11th, 2017

Mr. Speaker, I would first like to say that I will be sharing my time.

Earlier, my hon. colleague from Beloeil—Chambly reminded us that as elected members we are sometimes invited to elementary or secondary schools to answer questions and explain what we do. I must admit that I am having a hard time these days explaining what we do in the House and why it is important, but it is.

Our work is important because it shows the “true nature of Bernadette”. It shows what the Liberal government is made of. Just scratching the surface reveals that Liberal arrogance we know so well. Despite its fine speeches and rejuvenated and renewed image, the Liberal government just wants to impose its views, change the rules unilaterally, and grab as much power as possible by crushing the opposition and ensuring that it is the only skipper on board. The Liberals want to make sure that the democratically elected opposition shrivels up and is hamstrung from doing its work effectively.

Why are we having this debate right now? There was a breach of privileges, which is not nothing. There is nothing more important than the rights and privileges of the 338 people who sit in Parliament. Two official opposition members, for many reasons that are yet to be explored and verified, were prevented from entering the House to exercise their right to vote on government legislation. One hon. member rose on a point of order and the Speaker had to rule on whether or not there was a breach of privilege. The answer was yes and that we should debate the breach of privilege.

I do not want to describe the context in which that happened, but members can imagine what would happen if preventing members who are here in Ottawa from voting were to become a habit or even systematic.

The Speaker of the House of Commons initiated a debate on the breach of privilege, and he said that we should debate it to find out what happened.

That is where things got interesting. The Liberal government used its majority to try to put an end to the debate. It used a false parliamentary majority based on 39% of the votes to put an end to a discussion among parliamentarians about a breach of the privileges of two of our colleagues. Another point of order was raised. The Liberals no longer wanted to talk about this issue, and they used their majority to put an end to the debate. Another point of order was raised.

Fortunately, Mr. Speaker, in your wisdom, you said that this was indeed a second breach of privilege, that the government should not have done that, and that we should resume debate on the original breach of the privileges of the two members who were unable to get to the House to vote.

This shows the character of the Liberal government, which is trying to sweep the debates and discussions it does not want to have under the rug. To make matters worse for the Liberals, the debate did not stop. Instead, it started up again. Rather than looking foolish once, the Liberals have made themselves look foolish twice. Since it is their own fault, they will have to live with the consequences.

I want to make sure the people tuning in understand the context of this debate.

This is not the first time the Liberal government has tried to prevent parliamentarians from doing their job, from expressing themselves freely, and from debating issues that matter to them. Who could forget Motion No. 6, which was withdrawn at the last minute? That caused an uproar. Another important element is the debate the Standing Committee on Procedure and House Affairs is having right now. In committee, all of the opposition parties are united because we are all extremely concerned about the proposed changes the Liberal government wants to make in the name of modernization.

The Liberals want nothing less than to strip committee members of the opportunity to do their work, work that involves putting pressure on the committee and the government to ensure a relative balance of power, thereby making negotiation possible and enabling opposition parties to wrest compromise from the government. That is pretty much the issue here.

What is happening is the opposite of what the Liberals said during the election campaign. The Liberals said they wanted to put an end to a Parliament where the government makes all the decisions, where democracy is silenced, and where parliamentarians cannot work.

It is funny, because since the Liberals won the election and came to power, they have been doing exactly the opposite. That is why the opposition members and the opposition parties unanimously disagree with the government. Indeed, we think that if the Liberals want to change the ground rules in the House, regarding parliamentarians' ability to exert pressure on the government and to do their job properly, they cannot do so unilaterally. The Liberals must seek a consensus with the opposition parties.

I do not understand why the Liberal government insists on completely ignoring this and bullying us, why it is being so heavy-handed and using its majority to impose its viewpoint. That is what is most troubling right now.

I will soon hand the floor over to my colleague from Sherbrooke who will continue this important discussion and this debate much more eloquently and in a more scientific way.

Let me give another example of this Liberal arrogance, which could be characterized as “do as I say and not as I do” and “I'm the boss and I will do as I please”.

In the Liberal Party platform, it is written in black and white that the Liberals wanted to put an end to turning budget implementation bills into omnibus bills. The budget implementation bill was introduced today and guess what? It is an omnibus bill. Oops. We get the same old Liberal arrogance and another broken promise. There are financial aspects to the budget implementation bill, but there are also some rather fascinating things. The bill would amend labour laws, drug laws, and the Judges Act. This bill takes all the bills that were not passed and crams them in the middle of a budget implementation bill.

Again, the Liberals have this extraordinary ability to take people for a ride and have them believe that they are going to do politics differently and that they will govern differently. However, the Liberals systematically and successively do everything they can to crush the opposition, undermine Parliament, attack democracy, and ensure that they have more and more power that is more and more concentrated, with no regard for the rules of the House, no regard for democracy, and no regard for the people we have the honour of representing.

Public Services and Procurement April 6th, 2017

Mr. Speaker, for months now, the federal pay services has been a complete shambles. Some people are being paid twice as much, others are not being paid at all and must borrow money to buy groceries.

Normally, the managers responsible for such a mess should be rapped on the knuckles, but what do the Liberals do? They give out bonuses, yes sir, and we are not talking small peanuts: $5 million of our money to reward people who are incapable of paying employees.

Is this the Liberal way of managing: rewarding the foolish and incompetent?

Taxation April 4th, 2017

Mr. Speaker, I guess this island was an all exclusive.

People are tired of seeing the wealthy hide their money in Barbados or the Cayman Islands. If the Liberal government were serious about tax havens, we could get at least $8 billion. With that, we could offer university studies to our students or pharmacare to everyone.

Getting this money back is a priority for the NDP because it is our money. The Liberals voted in favour of our motion on this, but they have done absolutely nothing since then. Is this the old Liberal tactic of putting on a show while continuing to help their millionaire pals?

The Budget March 23rd, 2017

Mr. Speaker, quite frankly, the Liberal budget just sounds like a Seinfeld show. It is about nothing.

The Liberals had a choice. They could have eliminated the tax loophole that is costing us $800 million a year and benefits only the wealthiest 1%, but no, they decided not to keep that promise. Instead of going after and taking down their millionaire friends, who did they go after? They went after people who take the bus in the morning.

Why are the Liberals getting rid of this tax credit that helps families and promotes public transit while maintaining the gifts for their millionaire friends?

The Budget March 23rd, 2017

Mr. Speaker, some of the things that are found in the Liberals' election platform are missing from their budget. It is as though they were forgotten along the way.

I would like my colleague to answer the following three questions.

First, why did the government not lower the tax rate for small and medium-sized businesses, as promised? Second, why did the government not close the tax loophole for stock options for CEOs, as promised? Finally, why did the Liberals not abide by the decision of the Canadian Human Rights Tribunal and invest $155 million to help first nations children?

The Budget March 23rd, 2017

Mr. Speaker, I thank my colleague for the question.

I completely understand his indignation over how utterly unfair it is that individuals in our society carry most of the weight and bear most of the tax burden while corporations keep getting annual gifts from successive Liberal and Conservative governments.

In 2002, when corporations made profits they paid 28% in taxes. Today, they pay 15%. That is almost half. Did the middle class, workers, get their tax rate cut in half? No. We have seen an increase in precarious employment, an increase in poor quality jobs, a sort of “walmartization” of our labour market.

In the meantime, as hon. members know, year after year corporations have received roughly $600 billion in cash that is basically dead money. It has not been reinvested because the corporations were not required to report on the gifts they were given. They have not created jobs, have not stimulated our economy, and have not increased our productivity.

This Liberal plan is a failure and that is why we want to change course.