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Crucial Fact

  • His favourite word was liberals.

Last in Parliament October 2019, as Conservative MP for Beauport—Limoilou (Québec)

Lost his last election, in 2019, with 26% of the vote.

Statements in the House

Federal Trades Strategy June 12th, 2019

Madam Speaker, it gives me great pleasure to rise in the House. As usual, I want to say hello to all the residents of Beauport—Limoilou who are watching right now. I had the honour of meeting thousands of them last weekend at the Grand bazar du Vieux-Limoilou, where I had a booth, as the local member of Parliament. It was a fantastic outdoor party, and the weather co-operated beautifully.

Before I discuss the motion, I just want the people of Beauport—Limoilou to know that we will have plenty of opportunities to meet this summer at all the events and festivals being held in Beauport and Limoilou. As usual, I will be holding my annual summer party in August, where thousands of people come to meet me. We often eat hot dogs, chips and popcorn from Île d'Orléans together. It is a chance for me to get to know my constituents, talk about the issues affecting the riding, and share information about the services that my office can provide to Canadians dealing with the federal government.

I also want to say that this may be the last speech I give in the House during the 42nd Parliament. It was a huge honour to be here, and I hope to again have that honour after election day, October 21.

I plan to run in the upcoming election and I hope to represent my constituents for a long time to come. I am extremely proud of the work I have done over the past four years, including the work I did in my riding, on my portfolio, Canada's official languages, and during debates.

I am asking my constituents to do me a favour and put their trust in me for another four years. I will be here every day to serve them.

Today we are debating Motion No. 227, a Liberal motion to conduct a study in committee. It is commendable to do a study at the Standing Committee on Human Resources, Skills and Social Development and the Status of Persons with Disabilities. This is a very important House of Commons committee. A Liberal Party MP is proposing to conduct a study on labour shortages in the skilled trades in Canada.

As soon as I saw that I wanted to say a few words about this motion. Whether it be in Quebec City, Regina, Nanaimo, or elsewhere in Canada, there is a crisis right now. The labour shortage will affect us quite quickly.

We have heard that, a few years from now, the greater Quebec City area will need an additional 150,000 workers. This remarkable shortage will be the result of baby boomers retiring. Baby boomers, including my parents, will enjoy a well-deserved retirement. This is a very important issue, and we must address it.

I would like to remind the House that, in January, February and March, I asked the Minister of Employment, Workforce Development and Labour about the serious labour shortage problem in Canada. Each time, she made a mockery of my question by saying that the Liberals had created 600,000 new jobs. Today, they say 1 million.

I am glad that this motion was moved, but it is more or less an exercise in virtue signalling. Actually, it is more of an exercise in public communications, although I am not questioning my colleague's sincere wish to look into the issue. In six or seven days, the 42nd Parliament will be dissolved. Well, the House will adjourn. Parliament will be dissolved in a few months, before the election.

My colleague's committee will not be able to study the motion. My colleagues and I on the Standing Committee on Official Languages are finishing our study of the modernization of the Official Languages Act. We decided that we would finalize our recommendations tomorrow at noon, to ensure that we are able to table the report from the Standing Committee on Official Languages in the House.

In essence, this is a public communications exercise, since the committee will not be able to study the issue. However, I think it would be good to talk about the labour shortages in the skilled trades with the Canadians who are watching us. What are skilled trades? We are talking about hairdressers, landscapers, cabinetmakers, electricians, machinists, mechanics, and crane or other equipment operators. Skilled trades also include painters, plumbers, welders and technicians.

I will explain why the labour shortage in the skilled trades is worrisome. When people take a good look around they soon realize that these trades are very important. Skilled tradespeople build everything around us, such as highways, overpasses, waterworks, subways, transportation systems like the future Quebec streetcar line that we have talked about a lot lately, the railroads that cross the country, skyscrapers in major cities like Montreal, Toronto and Vancouver, factories in rural areas, tractors, equipment and the canals of the St. Lawrence Seaway, which were built in the 1950s.

China, India and the United States are making huge investments in infrastructure. For example, in recent years, the U.S. government did not flinch at investing $5 billion to improve the infrastructure of the Port of New York and New Jersey, which was built by men and women in the trades. In Quebec, we are still waiting for the Liberals to approve a small $60-million envelope for the Beauport 2020 project, now called the Laurentia project, which will ensure the shipping competitiveness of the St. Lawrence for years to come.

There has been a lack of infrastructure investment in Canada. The Liberals like to say that their infrastructure Canada plan is historic, but only $14 billion of the $190 billion announced have actually been allocated. That is not all. Even if the Liberals were releasing the funds and making massive investments to surpass other G20 and G7 countries, the world's largest economies, they would not be able to deliver on their incredible projects without skilled labour. Consider this: even Nigeria, with a population of 200 million, is catching up with us when it comes to infrastructure investments.

It is about time that we, as legislators, dealt with this issue, but clearly that is not what the Liberals have been doing over the past few years, although I have heard some members talk about a few initiatives here and there in some provinces. The announcement of this study is late in coming.

I would also remind the House that this is a provincial jurisdiction, given that provincial regulations govern the training of skilled workers. That said, the federal government can still be helpful by implementing various measures through federal transfers, such as apprenticeship grants and loans, tax credits and job training programs. This all requires a smooth, harmonious relationship between the provinces and the federal government. Not only do the political players have to get along well, but so do the politicians themselves.

If, God forbid, the Liberals get another four-year term in office, taxes will increase dramatically, since they will want to make up for the huge deficits they racked up over the past four years. In 2016, they imposed conditions on health transfers. Then, they rushed ahead with the legalization of marijuana even though the provinces wanted more time. Then, they imposed the carbon tax on provinces like New Brunswick, which had already closed a number of coal-fired plants and significantly reduced its greenhouse gas emissions. The Liberals said that they still considered the province to be an offender and imposed the Liberal carbon tax. Finally, today, they are rushing through the study of Bill C-69, which seeks to implement regulations that are far too rigid and that will interfere with the development of natural resources in various provinces, even though six premiers have stated that this bill will stifle their local economies.

How can we hope that this government will collaborate to come to an agreement seeking to address skilled trades shortages when it has such a poor track record on intergovernmental relations?

Official Languages June 5th, 2019

Mr. Speaker, everyone remembers the huge mistake the Minister of Official Languages made two years ago when she concluded an agreement with Netflix that did not guarantee any French-language cultural production. Quebeckers and francophones across the country were so frustrated that the Prime Minister removed her from that position and she lost the heritage portfolio.

Here is what she is telling us today. She made a plan for tourism two weeks ago. It contains no guarantees, no investments for the francophone minority communities across Canada. She just made an announcement today and, once again, there is nothing for francophones.

Was this an oversight on the part of the minister or does this government just not take official languages seriously?

2019 General Election June 5th, 2019

Mr. Speaker, this Liberal government is more centralist, paternalistic and, quite simply, arrogant than any other Liberal government in the history of our federation.

For the past four years, the government has repeatedly shown that it is out of touch with the spirit of federalism. It refuses to honour the tradition of appointing a political lieutenant for Quebec and instead made a minister from Toronto responsible for the economic development of our province. It is imposing political conditions on federal transfers. It refuses to give Quebec greater powers in the area of immigration. It refuses to respond favourably to the National Assembly's request for a single tax return, something all Quebeckers want.

I could go on and on. Following in the footsteps of founding fathers Cartier and MacDonald, we the Conservatives will continue to properly honour federalism. In 2008, we recognized that Quebeckers form a nation within a united Canada.

In 2019, when we form the government, we will respond favourably to the demands of Quebeckers and Quebec.

Veterans Affairs May 30th, 2019

Mr. Speaker, in 2015, the Prime Minister, surrounded by Liberal candidates, including the member for Orléans and the Minister of National Defence, who are both veterans themselves, made a solemn promise that under his leadership, veterans would never, ever have to go to court to get their due. He broke that promise.

He also promised to restore the pension for life option in the proper way. That was another broken promise. We are not the ones saying so. It is veterans themselves, the ones who are the most affected by this affair, who are saying that the money is just not there for the pension for life option.

Why?

Veterans Affairs May 29th, 2019

Mr. Speaker, the Prime Minister is the head of the government. He has many roles and responsibilities, but his primary duty consists of two fundamental objectives. First of all, he must ensure our great federation is politically united. Second, he must ensure that the government is there for our military personnel, and that includes giving them the honours they deserve.

Did the Prime Minister share the profound disappointment felt by Canadians and by our troops when they learned that the families of fallen Afghanistan war soldiers were excluded from the war memorial event?

Extension of Sitting Hours May 28th, 2019

Mr. Speaker, it is always an honour to rise in the House. I would like to begin by saying that I will be sharing my time with my colleague from Mégantic—L'Érable.

I would also like to acknowledge the many residents of Beauport—Limoilou who are watching this afternoon's proceedings as usual. I would like to thank them for a wonderful riding week last week. I met with several hundred of my constituents, many of whom attended the 17th Beauport business network breakfast. The network is doing very well. We will soon be holding a local press conference to announce that the network is going to have its own independent board of directors. That will give Beauport's business people a strong voice for dialogue with their elected representatives. Back home, I often joke that I am getting my own opposition up and running.

All joking aside, following the three “Alupa à l'écoute” public consultations that I held, I want to tell those watching us today that I will hold a press conference in a few weeks to announce the public policy that I am going to introduce with my leader when we form the government in October. This policy will help seniors return to the labour market, if they so wish, and alleviate the labour shortage.

This evening we are debating the motion moved barely 24 hours ago by the government, which would have us sit until midnight every evening from Monday to Thursday, starting next Monday. The government feels compelled to make up for its complacency over the past few months. It was caught up in several scandals that made the headlines, such as the SNC-Lavalin scandal. It is waking up and realizing that time is passing and it only has 20 days to complete its legislative agenda. There is a sense of panic. Above all, when the session comes to an end, they do not want to be known as the government with the poor legislative track record.

I would like to quickly talk about the government's bills. My colleague from Rivière-des-Mille-Îles talked about the number of bills the government has passed so far. This time three and a half years ago, in the final weeks of the Conservative term under Mr. Harper, we had more than 82 bills that received royal assent, and five or six other bills on the Order Paper. So far, the Liberals have passed only 48 government bills that have received royal assent, and 17 are still on the agenda. They do not have very many bills on their legislative record.

For three and a half years we have heard their grand patriotic speeches and all the rhetoric that entails. During the election campaign, their slogan was “Real change”, but with so few bills on their legislative record, their slogan rings hollow. What is more, their bills are flawed. Every time their bills are referred to committee, the government has to propose dozens of amendments through its own members, something that is rarely done for government bills.

Next, let us talk about electoral partisanship. The Liberals made big promises to minority groups in Canada. Three and a half years ago, the Prime Minister boasted about wanting to advance reconciliation with indigenous peoples. However, the Liberals waited until just a month before the end of the 42nd Parliament to introduce Bill C-91, an act respecting indigenous languages, in the House. Even though the Liberals are always saying that the government's most important relationship is the one it has with first nations, they waited over three and a half years before introducing a government bill on the protection of indigenous languages. I would like to remind members that there are over 77 indigenous languages in Canada. Once again, we see that the Liberals are in a rush and stressed out. They want to placate all of the interest groups that believe in them before October.

What about the leadership of the Leader of the Government in the House of Commons? From the start, three and a half years ago, she said that her approach was the exact opposite of the previous government's, which she claimed was harmful. Nevertheless, she forced sixty-some time allocation motions on us. When it came to reforming the rules and procedures, she wanted to significantly reduce the opposition's power.

We want to stand before Canadians and ask questions and bring to light the reason why debates will go until midnight. The reason is that the Liberals were unable to properly complete their legislative agenda and move forward as they should have.

Veterans May 28th, 2019

Mr. Speaker, it is inconceivable that the Liberal government, the Canadian government, did not invite the families of fallen soldiers to a memorial here in Canada.

This is highly disrespectful, not only to our fallen soldiers, but also to their families and loved ones.

The minister was there and he was aware of the event details. When did he learn that the families would not be there? He is the minister. He is the boss. He is a veteran.

Why did did he approve this completely disrespectful decision?

Veterans Affairs May 27th, 2019

Mr. Speaker, the commemoration of the Second World War is tinged with sadness every year, and planning the event itself is stressful. Our cousins in Bernières-sur-Mer, France, where thousands of Canadians landed on June 6, 1944, including some of our very own ancestors, learned in the news that the 40 veterans would simply not be attending the event. This news came just days in advance.

Do we not believe that a more dignified and honourable approach would have been for the minister to call the mayor himself to inform him and then the veterans of the decision?

Finance May 16th, 2019

Mr. Speaker, real federalism is what we did. We recognized Quebec as a nation in 2008, something the Liberals never would have done.

Not only that, but we have seen since 2015 that they are anything but transparent. They hide tax hikes and bury objectionable provisions in huge omnibus bills. Surprise, surprise, what do we see? The Liberals refused to properly fund the Office of the Auditor General this year.

Why are they withholding that funding, which the Auditor General needs in order to perform audits to hold this government accountable to Canadians?

Officers of Parliament May 15th, 2019

Mr. Speaker, I would like to say hello to the many constituents of Beauport—Limoilou who are watching. Today, it is my pleasure to debate Motion No. 170, which reads as follows:

That, in the opinion of the House, a special committee, chaired by the Speaker of the House, should be established at the beginning of each new Parliament, in order to select all Officers of Parliament.

Before I begin, I would like to recognize with all due respect that the motion was moved by the member for Hamilton Centre, who is with the NDP and has been in Parliament for quite a while, but will not seek re-election. If he is listening right now, I would like to acknowledge him and thank him for his work and decades of public service. The member for Hamilton Centre was once an MPP in Ontario, as well, and worked hard on all sorts of causes that were important to his constituents. I would like to congratulate him on his service.

Moreover, he is more than just a good parliamentarian. I remember hearing one of his speeches at the Standing Committee on Government Operations and Estimates, if I remember correctly. I took note of his delivery, because he is a fine public speaker with good rhetorical skills. I have always had a great deal of respect for my colleagues with vast parliamentary experience. I try to learn from the best.

I am sure the member for Hamilton Centre wants to leave his mark on Canadian democracy. I too want to improve Canada's Westminster-style parliamentary democracy. Our role as MPs is the cornerstone of parliamentary democracy. It is fundamental. MPs must play a leading role in the workings of Canadian democracy, which includes the selection and appointment of officers of Parliament. That is what this motion is about.

Officers of Parliament are individuals jointly appointed by the House of Commons and the Senate to look into matters on our behalf and help us carry out our duties and responsibilities. For example, Canada has a Conflict of Interest and Ethics Commissioner, a position created by Mr. Harper and the Conservative Party.

There is also the Information Commissioner, who ensures that Canadians are able to have access to all government information so that they can get to the bottom of things. Then, there is the Commissioner of Lobbying. We heard a lot about her because of the Prime Minister's trip to the Aga Khan's island. Then there is the Commissioner of Official Languages. I am the official languages critic and I worked on the appointment of the new commissioner, Mr. Théberge. There is also the Auditor General. That position is currently vacant because the former auditor general passed away just a few months ago. God rest his soul. I send my best wishes to his family. Finally, there is the Chief Electoral Officer and the Public Sector Integrity Commissioner.

There are other officers of Parliament, but the ones I mentioned are the main commissioners who have been mandated by Parliament to conduct investigations in order to ensure proper accountability in the Canadian democratic process.

The member for Hamilton Centre wants to improve and strengthen parliamentary democracy with respect to the process for appointing commissioners and other officers of Parliament. Here is why.

During the last election campaign, the Prime Minister made some promises that he mostly did not keep. He promised to make the process for appointing commissioners more democratic. Under the Conservative government, from 2006 to 2015, the process for appointing commissioners was much more democratic from the perspective of a Westminster-style parliamentary system. It was also much more transparent than what we have seen over the past few years with the Prime Minister and the Liberal government.

When the Prime Minister chose the Official Languages Commissioner a year and a half ago, I am sure that the member for Hamilton Centre noticed, as we all did, that the process for appointing officers of Parliament was anything but open and transparent. Note that I am not in any way trying to target the individual who was selected and who currently holds that position.

This was done differently before 2015. For example, the Standing Committee on Official Languages used to send the Prime Minister of Canada a list of potential candidates for the position of Commissioner of Official Languages. The Prime Minister, with help from his advisors and cabinet, selected one of the candidates suggested. That is far more transparent and democratic than what the Prime Minister and member for Papineau is doing.

What has the Prime Minister done these past few years? Instead of having committees with oversight and the necessary skills for selecting commissioners, such as the Standing Committee on Access to Information, Privacy and Ethics or the Standing Committee on Official Languages, the Prime Minister is no longer relying on committees to send him a list of names of people or experts in the field. They are no longer able to send a list to the Prime Minister. He said to trust him, that he had set up a system involving people in his own office who send him lists of candidates with absolutely no partisan connections or any connections whatsoever to the Liberal list, candidates who were found by virtue of their expertise.

What actually happened? We saw one clearly terrible case with Ms. Meilleur. Far be it from me to badmouth her, but unfortunately, she was part of this undemocratic process. Ms. Meilleur had been a Liberal MPP in Ontario. She donated money to the Liberal Party of Canada, and less than a year later, she was nominated for the position of official languages commissioner. The Prime Minister did not send a list of candidates' names to the opposition parties. He did not start a discussion with the other party leaders to ask who they thought the best candidate was. He sent a single name to the leader of the official opposition and to the then NDP leader, saying that this was his pick and asking if they agreed.

Not only did the committees have no input under the current Liberal Prime Minister, but the Prime Minister actually only sent one name to the opposition leader.

What the member for Hamilton Centre wants to do is set up a process whereby candidates are selected by a committee, which would be chaired by you, Mr. Speaker, amazingly enough. First off, the idea suggested by my colleague, the member for Hamilton Centre, could not be implemented before the session ends. We have only a few weeks left, and I gather that an NDP member will be proposing an amendment to the motion in a few minutes. We will see what happens then.

Personally, I would say we need to go even further than the motion moved by the member for Hamilton Centre. I will speak to my colleagues about this once we are in government, as of October.

Why not be even bolder and give parliamentary committees not just the power to refer candidates to the Prime Minister for him to decide, but also the power to appoint officers of Parliament? I want to point out that I am speaking only for myself here. I began reflecting on this a year and a half ago, after what happened with Ms. Meilleur and the current commissioner.

I have been a member of the Standing Committee on Official Languages for two years now, and I humbly believe that I have learned a lot about official languages issues. I am familiar with the key players on the ground and I am beginning to understand who the real experts are, who the stakeholders are and who might make a good commissioner. I have to wonder why we would not go even further than what my colleague from Hamilton Centre is proposing, and perhaps even give the real power to the committees.

Imagine the legitimacy the process would have if parliamentary committees could one day choose officers of Parliament. These appointments should still be confirmed by both chambers, as is always the case.

Careful reflection is still needed. What is certain is that we are too close to the end of the current parliamentary session for the motion moved by the member for Hamilton Centre to become a reality. This is even less likely to happen under the current Liberal government, which made many promises to please the Canadian left, including a promise for democratic emancipation. All those promises have been broken.

I wish the hon. member for Hamilton Centre continued success.