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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

Petitions June 20th, 2018

Mr. Speaker, I am pleased to present a petition signed by over 1,000 people who support the reinstatement of the public transit tax credit, something that is really important to many people living in urban centres, such as Montreal. It is also important to people living on modest incomes, because it was often the only tax credit they were entitled to at the end of the year. It is very important to us and to the petitioners that it be reinstated.

Public Safety June 20th, 2018

Mr. Speaker, does anyone think it is normal for people to get killed for demonstrating?

Is it true that people expressing their right to peaceful protest run the risk of being shot at? Though upsetting, that is the opinion of the former Governor of the Bank of Canada, David Dodge.

Demonstrations are on the horizon. Thousands of people are furious at the Liberal government's decision on the Kinder Morgan pipeline. They will speak out and they have the right to do so.

Can the Prime Minister assure the House that he will not use infiltration and intimidation tactics or excessive force against our fellow citizens?

Aeronautics Act June 19th, 2018

Mr. Speaker, I am pleased to rise in the House to outline my position and the position of the NDP on the bill put forward by my colleague from Repentigny.

I think her bill has many interesting elements with regard to respecting the jurisdictions of Quebec and the other provinces, municipal officials, and certain acts and regulations Quebec or other provinces have passed to protect ecosystems, public health, or local residents. Legal and constitutional matters are being raised. There is also the matter of respecting the Quebec nation, as well as respecting the concept known as social licence. Today, no government of any kind can just barge in like in the old days and try to impose its projects in spite of misgivings or fierce opposition from local, regional, or indigenous communities.

I found it hilarious, but at the same time kind of tragic, to hear the Liberal member say earlier that this bill would undermine her party's efforts to promote co-operative federalism.

That takes some nerve. I do not know whether Kinder Morgan, health transfers, or marijuana mean anything to them in terms of co-operative federalism. That is the type of approach they promised to take during the election, but since they took office, the Liberals have been all about unilateralism, federal imperialism, bulldozing, and charging ahead. I think that is absolutely shameful.

In fact, I would like to point something out to the member for Winnipeg North, the parliamentary secretary. He asked a question earlier and I remembered it. I would simply like to tell him that Quebec is not a region. It is a nation. It was not the National Assembly that said that. That was recognized here in the House of Commons and by the Parliament of Canada. I think the member should do his homework and find out exactly what motions have already been adopted here.

The bill introduced by the member for Repentigny has to do with Quebec, of course, but it also has to do with all of the provinces. It seeks to establish a balanced approach that respects the different jurisdictions of the provinces, the federal government, the municipalities, and first nations.

I would like to remind members of the NPD's approach. A few years ago, we had a leader named Jack Layton. He believed that the recognition of the Quebec nation should have implications and consequences, and he took that very seriously. That resulted in a very interesting document entitled the Sherbrooke declaration, drawn up by Pierre Ducasse. The Sherbrooke declaration, which was historically adopted by the NDP, recognizes the Quebec nation and asymmetrical federalism. For years, we have been accused of being a centralist party, but all of the Canada-wide programs that the NDP has proposed have had a Quebec clause that would allow the province to opt out with financial compensation if it was not interested in the program or if it already had an equivalent program. That is what I mean by asymmetrical federalism.

In terms of co-operative federalism, the bill is a step in the right direction. That is why the NDP will proudly support this bill so that it may be studied in committee. We have questions about the mechanics of the bill and how the courts will interpret the fact that we are restoring balance between various jurisdictions and, if possible, those with the best environmental assessments and the strongest social licence. However, I think that this is worth studying. We agree in principle. Second reading is a vote on the principle. We want to refer the bill to committee to be studied. We have some questions, but we think that the spirit of the bill is consistent with our vision. It is also a step in the right direction toward better understanding, to better protect our communities and the people who want to protect their lakes, rivers, farmland, and simply their peace and quiet. They can protect their creek from one end to the other as well. I am sure that if we can sit down and talk about this we will come to an agreement at some point.

The member for Repentigny introduced a bill that will amend eight federal acts, forcing Ottawa to respect applicable provincial laws and municipal regulations governing land use and development.

That is very important because land development is key here and the government has to do a better job of respecting that. This bill will affect wharves, ports, airports, telecommunications infrastructure, federal properties, interprovincial pipelines, and more.

This bill does not explicitly state how it changes the status quo, and that is what we have questions about. The bill simply says that the exercise of the powers in question must comply with provincial laws.

I believe my colleague from Repentigny mentioned an example to do with the Canada National Parks Act, which already takes certain provincial jurisdictions and regulations into consideration. In many cases, the exercise of powers under federal law is already subordinate to provincial laws, including those that govern land development and environmental protection. We do not see this as an inapplicable precedent or something unprecedented. This is the natural extension of a principle we agree with. Remains to be seen how it will apply in real life.

The bill's purpose is to give the governments of Quebec and the other provinces more power over land development within their borders. The bill would require the federal government to recognize agricultural zoning regulations, for example, and to respect more exacting environmental assessments, such as those carried out by the BAPE, Quebec's environmental assessment agency. We can talk more about that.

As the Green Party leader said, the Liberal government's Bill C-69 does not inspire confidence in the seriousness of the government's new environmental assessment processes. In some ways, this bill is full of holes. We do not even know if it will be enforced or if the Minister of Environment and Climate Change will abide by these recommendations. After all, her discretionary power is absolute.

In accordance with the division of powers under the Constitution, the laws affected by this bill are a matter of federal jurisdiction. According to the Library of Parliament analysis that we requested, it is impossible to determine the legislation's exact scope from its current wording. It is possible that the courts will interpret the provisions of Bill C-392 as an incorporation by reference of provincial laws, meaning that it incorporates, for the purposes of the eight laws amended, the rules set out by the provinces. If it turns out that the courts consider that the provisions of Bill C-392 incorporate by reference the provincial laws related to the eight laws amended, these provincial laws, for the purposes of these eight laws, will be considered to be federal laws. This is a common legislative technique that has a great deal of precedent. However, the real effects remain unknown for the time being. It will be important to examine these points and questions when the bill is studied in committee.

We also consulted David Robitaille, tenured professor in the Faculty of Law at the University of Ottawa. He thinks this bill is interesting and could result in a better division of the responsibilities and decision-making powers between the federal government and provincial governments, or the Government of Quebec in this particular instance.

There are a number of examples in which this could have made a difference if the bill introduced by the member for Repentigny had already been applied. For example, there is the private developer operating near Shawinigan that had the right to operate a small airport on private land or to fly a float plane on a lake, even though it was prohibited by a municipal zoning bylaw or provincial law, such as the Act Respecting the Preservation of Agricultural Land and Agricultural Activities. This is the kind of situation we must stop from happening.

I think it is important to be open, show common sense, and send this bill to committee, so that we can respect Quebec laws, provincial laws, and municipalities.

The current Liberal government violated the rights of indigenous peoples and of British Columbia. It barged in and bought a 65-year-old pipeline for $4.5 billion. It completely disregarded all of the orders from the Government of British Columbia. As a Quebecker, I would be particularly concerned that it might manage to revive a pipeline project like energy east, which had massive opposition throughout Quebec, in Montreal, in the metropolitan area, in towns, and in the regions. Energy east would have crossed 800 rivers in Quebec, including the St. Lawrence. The government needs to understand that it must sit down with Quebec, the provinces, and municipalities to talk things over, like a respectful partner.

The Environment June 19th, 2018

Mr. Speaker, while the Liberals are wasting our money on a leaky old pipeline, it has emerged that the pipeline safety and monitoring system is not working anymore.

Last year was the worst year in a decade for spills and leaks. Of all the incidents that occurred in 2017, 23% were in British Columbia and 55% were in Quebec.

The system is so broken that it can take eight years for an incident to be reported. I repeat, eight years. How many inspectors have been sent out and how many fines have been issued since 2012? Zero.

When will the Liberals take this seriously and fix this broken system?

International Trade June 18th, 2018

Mr. Speaker, thousands of workers across the country are living in uncertainty, and things are not improving. After aluminum and steel, now the United States is threatening to impose up to 25% tariffs on the automotive sector.

A Bank of Nova Scotia analysis warns how harmful this would be to our overall economy. The government must act now. Those employees and businesses deserve to be supported through concrete action.

When will the government introduce its plan to protect our workers?

Natural Resources June 14th, 2018

Mr. Speaker, today, we learned in a study by Équiterre that pipeline management in this country is all over the map.

In 2017, there was a 41% increase in incidents, spills, leaks, and issues. The so-called automated detection systems do not detect even half of what happens. What happens when companies get caught? Nothing. The notices of violation and orders are systematically ignored, and no one loses their licence.

When will the government clean up its act and bring oil companies in line?

Natural Resources June 13th, 2018

Mr. Speaker, according to a study by Cambridge University, a foreseeable and inevitable drop in global demand for oil will burst the carbon bubble. This will happen between 2030 and 2050.

In one fell swoop, oil infrastructure will become worthless. So, what did the Prime Minister do? He bought an old pipeline with $4.5 billion of our money. What timing. What a vision for the future. It is like someone investing in VHS players in 1990.

Why not take the billions of dollars and invest them in sustainable energy and lasting jobs?

Impact Assessment Act June 12th, 2018

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

The bill we are currently rushing through at third reading has many flaws. The process for determining which projects will be reviewed, and the criteria upon which they will be reviewed, is arbitrary and unclear. There are also many arbitrary provisions at the end of the bill giving the minister discretionary powers to decide whether to follow the recommendations.

The Liberal government promised a new environmental assessment process to restore public trust, enhance credibility, and ensure openness and transparency.

Does my colleague think that the Liberals have achieved their goal?

Impact Assessment Act June 12th, 2018

Mr. Speaker, I thank my colleague for his very important question. There is a geothermal project in an alley in Rosemont—La Petite-Patrie. I support that excellent project.

I just want to say that $4.5 billion to buy an old pipeline is not a good investment. It is the public that is assuming the risk. What is more, it is going to cost $7.4 billion to expand the pipeline, which will triple pollution because production will increase to 900,000 barrels a day of raw bitumen, which does not float on water when there is a spill. It sinks to the bottom. We do not know how we are going to clean up a spill when it happens. Make no mistake, it will happen.

I will give my Liberal colleague the chance to consider what we might do with that $12 billion. We could invest in renewable energies that would create good jobs for today and tomorrow. That would be a vision for the future. That would be a vision of economic development and sustainable development.

Impact Assessment Act June 12th, 2018

Mr. Speaker, I thank my colleague from Essex for her very good question.

I find it interesting that she is raising the issue of the changes to navigable waters because, once again, the Liberals wanted to muddy the waters, if you will pardon the pun. The debate on the assessment process garnered all the attention, but it is indeed another broken promise that will continue to put our lakes and rivers at risk. The previous government removed 97% of Canada's many lakes and rivers from the Navigable Waters Protection Act. The protections that existed before the Conservative government gutted the bill have not been restored. We were promised that the former system, which helped our communities, would be restored. That is not the case.

Before the Conservatives' changes, the act protected both current and future use of waters, from both an environmental and a social perspective. That is no longer in the act, which is too technical and too narrow and ignores the overall social and environmental benefits of navigable waters. Once again, the Liberal government has not done its homework, has failed, and has broken another promise.