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Conservative MP for Montmagny—L'Islet—Kamouraska—Rivière-du-Loup (Québec)

Won his last election, in 2015, with 29% of the vote.

Statements in the House

2016 Leucan Shaved Head Challenge May 11th, 2016

Mr. Speaker, have you noticed my new haircut? As you can see, I am as bald as can be.

Today, I participated in the 2016 Leucan Shaved Head Challenge. I did so of my own free will, but Canadian children with cancer do not have a choice. They do not ask to lose their hair to cancer treatment.

I would like to thank my leader, my colleagues, and all members of the House who will open their wallets to help me achieve my goal in the shaved head challenge. I invite all of my fellow members, everyone else in the House, and you, Mr. Speaker, to meet me after question period in the foyer of the House to support my efforts with a donation. Every little bit counts.

Tomorrow, in my hometown of La Pocatière, more people will do the same to show support for families coping with childhood cancer. Children are our most precious treasure. This year, I got involved as a father, grandfather, and parliamentarian, and I thank the entire community for supporting me.

Criminal Code May 3rd, 2016

Mr. Speaker, with respect to time, let us go back to the moment when Quebec legislators decided to introduce a bill. If they had decided to work faster because people could not have access to end-of-life care, I do not think that would have been the right approach.

The right approach is to take the time to get this bill as close to perfect as possible. That is not the case right now. In answer to my colleague's question, I think we should take as much time as we need. Time is a space. We need the opportunity to discuss this with each other and with Canadians because we know that people's opinions about this bill vary widely across Canada.

Quebec was very innovative in its approach to this kind of legislation, and it is important for us to enable openness around this law and understanding across Canada.

Criminal Code May 3rd, 2016

Mr. Speaker, I totally agree with my colleague.

The Quebec law was thought out over a period of six years. During those six years, there were studies and discussions between the parliamentarians and with the public, and working groups were set up. We have roughly six months to do as much here in Canada.

The legislation as presented has some extremely dangerous grey areas. We must review this legislation properly to ensure that we have it right. Our responsibility as legislators is to take every precaution to ensure that the legislation is the best it can be.

Criminal Code May 3rd, 2016

Mr. Speaker, if I may, before beginning, I would like to join my colleagues in sending my thoughts and prayers out to the people of Fort McMurray, Alberta, and all Albertans. We know that a number of Quebeckers are working in Alberta. The media are reporting an incredible tragedy that is taking place as we sit here in the House. I want everyone there to know that we are thinking of them.

I thought long and hard before speaking to this important issue tonight, not because I did not want to talk about it or because the subject was not important to me, but because this is a hugely complicated issue. It took Quebec more than six years of work, thought, and study to reach a consensus, and even after all that work, it was not unanimous.

The proof is that most of the palliative care facilities in Quebec have not begun offering this option to their clients within their facility. I am going to focus on that in my remarks.

The joint committee recommended making more resources available for palliative care to improve access across Canada. I agree with that recommendation.

I had the opportunity to tour a palliative care centre last year when I visited my brother-in-law, who was dying. This evening, before speaking to the House, I also called an acquaintance who sits on the board of directors of a foundation that helps fund these types of homes in my riding. This person confirmed what I had noted last year. The mission of these homes is to take care of the dying and not to take their life. These homes support patients in their final weeks, days, and hours of life. The services and support that the individuals themselves and their families receive at these homes are essential so that they can live their final moments in dignity.

I believe it is important, as we prepare to pass such a law, to have the time to study it and put it in place. I do not believe that it is appropriate to move so quickly on such important issues as life and death.

My acquaintance also told me that she had lost a colleague a few weeks earlier. Her colleague knew that he was sick and that she was connected to the administration of the home. He told her that he wanted the opportunity to make use of the new Quebec law on end-of-life care and that he very much wanted to have access to such care. The weeks passed, and it came time for him to enter the home, where he could end his days in peace, with the idea of making use of the new Quebec law.

My acquaintance had the opportunity to visit him before he passed, and this man told her that he no longer wanted that option because he appreciated the care and attention he received from the staff and volunteers in the home so much that he wanted to live until his last breath. He probably talked about that option because he was afraid of suffering, of losing control, of making his family suffer. All of his fears were legitimate.

This example shows that it is possible for someone to live with dignity, surrounded by family members, in settings tailored to their needs, with attentive and, above all, competent people around for this extremely important stage in any human being's life.

I am giving these examples, not because they are something I experienced, but because they illustrate some of all the different possibilities and situations that could arise.

My colleagues who sat on the joint committee worked very hard to ensure that certain provisions would be included in the bill, and I would like to talk about those provisions now. They are all equally important and they represent an essential minimum in the bill before us today.

We identified five important points and we insisted that they be included in the bill. The first is that medical assistance in dying should be available only to adults. It should not be made available to minors. Medically assisted dying should not be made available to people who are mentally ill. The conscience rights of doctors must be protected and consent to the termination of life may be given only at the end of a person's life. Finally, palliative care needs to be improved.

In my opinion, that last point is an important aspect of the bill. Services like those offered by Maison Desjardins in Rivière-du-Loup, which is in my riding, should be available all across Canada, given how important these facilities are to those who work there and those who use them. The government should therefore invest in these types of services and facilities across the country. In the absence of any evidence to the contrary, the government has no plans to do that at the moment.

Another person I know in Montmagny has been receiving cancer treatment for many years. She decided to start up a palliative care facility in the Montmagny and L’Islet region, where she has been working tirelessly for many years. An army of volunteers are helping her and supporting her in her illness and in setting up the facility. My hope is that when her time comes she will be able to benefit from all of the effort she put into that facility. In order to ensure that these types of facilities are available, the government needs to create the proper conditions to help communities take matters into their own hands and offer places across Canada where people can live out their final days with dignity.

What we are really talking about in the House tonight is human dignity. It is crucial that all future decisions be made in a way that ensures that end-of-life care is available all across Canada. That is crucial.

In closing, in my riding next Friday, my colleague from Louis-Saint-Laurent and I are organizing an evening of discussion to promote a better understanding of this very serious issue. Knowing that we were elected on October 19 and given how quickly everything is happening right now, I feel as though we are caught in a trap and working against the clock, which means we cannot make informed decisions. In spite of everything, I will be voting in favour of this bill at second reading, so that the bill can go to committee and we can examine the committee's recommendations.

This does not mean that I will vote in favour of the final bill. I am committing to making a decision after listening to my constituents. I think this is a fundamental decision. There is absolutely no doubt in my mind: as the representatives of our constituents, we must listen to them and allow them to share their views. We do not have much time to respond to this bill. I was listening to my colleagues earlier and it occurred to me that June 6 is an arbitrary date. There will be a June 6 in 2017, a June 6 in 2018, and so on. I think we should be taking the time to really think about this legislation and make it as complete as possible.

Criminal Code May 3rd, 2016

Mr. Speaker, I would like my colleague to talk about palliative care. I will have a chance to address the House in a few moments, and I will really be emphasizing that option.

How does my colleague think that government investments or support might be provided to improve palliative care facilities and put more of these facilities in place all over Canada?

Criminal Code May 2nd, 2016

Mr. Speaker, my colleague gave an excellent speech. He described his riding, which is very big like mine. Actually, I think his riding is even bigger than mine.

Rural regions often have difficulty obtaining services. In my opinion, offering palliative care would be one way to make up for the lack of services available to people who need help at the end of their lives. I would like my colleague to talk about how increasing services and care at centres designed for that purpose fits in with this bill.

Foreign Affairs March 22nd, 2016

Mr. Speaker, the advisor to the Minister of Foreign Affairs not only accused NATO of amplifying threats, which are already serious in Ukraine, but he also invited Israel to reach out to Iran, the same country that wants to destroy the only democratic state in the Middle East.

Can the minister tell us if he advises his Israeli counterparts to unconditionally embrace a country that is threatening to destroy their nation?

Income Tax Act March 11th, 2016

Mr. Speaker, I would like to thank my colleague from Rimouski-Neigette—Témiscouata—Les Basques for his question. I must admit that I rarely agree with the NDP, but I now have to sincerely agree with my colleague. What is more, we are riding neighbours. It is obvious that the definition of middle class is not people who earn $200,000 or more a year. That does not make any sense. The middle class is families who earn $35,000 to $40,000 a year, somewhere in that range. People who earn $50,000 a year or more are not part of the middle class. The middle class is people who earn small amounts of money for their family in order to survive.

I would like to come back to the question asked by the member for Hochelaga, which is an urban riding. The same problem exists in rural ridings such as ours. People do not make much money and families are having trouble making ends meet each month. That type of reality exists in our ridings.

When we develop policies, we need to do so with those people in mind. That is why the Conservatives lowered the GST twice rather than just once. We lowered it from 7% to 6% and then from 6% to 5%. That put money back into taxpayers' pockets.

Income Tax Act March 11th, 2016

Mr. Speaker, I hope my hon. colleague is ready to put his money where his mouth is, because if not, he will have a serious problem.

That being said, based on what he keeps repeating and what he just said, once again, he does not seem to understand what the middle class is. People with household incomes under $45,000 will not benefit from this measure at all. They will get nothing. How can he say that we on this side of the House like to help the rich, and that they are not helping them? It makes no sense. An income of $45,000 is still an income.

I would like the member for Rimouski-Neigette—Témiscouata—Les Basques to ask me the question. Our ridings are in regions that are not wealthy. These are the people whom we really need to help through meaningful action when new measures are brought in.

Income Tax Act March 11th, 2016

Mr. Speaker, I am pleased to rise to speak to Bill C-2. I am interested in finding out why the Liberals think that someone earning $200,000 a year deserves more tax credits. That is completely irrational and makes no sense.

My riding encompasses Montmagny, L'Islet, Kamouraska, and Rivière-du-Loup, as the name suggests. My riding borders the riding of my colleague from Rimouski-Neigette—Témiscouata—Les Basques and it includes Rivière-du-Loup and La Pocatière. La Pocatière is the gateway to the Lower St. Lawrence region, which is considered to be the poorest region in Canada. In some municipalities, the people are very far from rich.

Under this bill, Canadians who earn less than $45,000 a year, which represents the vast majority of my constituents, will not get any money at all.

The Liberals are implementing policies to supposedly help the middle class. This party boasts about being the middle-class party, but in reality, it is not helping 99% of middle-class Canadians, who do not earn more than $45,000 a year.

In my riding, family income does not exceed an average of $50,000 a year, which is very low.

As members of Parliament, we earn $167,500 a year, and we will soon earn nearly $170,000. Parliamentary secretaries earn a little more than $200,000. I will not even get into how much ministers earn. The fact remains that people in our tax bracket do not need this. We earn enough money and we do not need this money to justify tax cuts. We are the ones who will benefit the most. That makes absolutely no sense.

I repeat: in my riding, the middle class does not earn $170,000 a year. It earns less than $45,000 a year. I am a business owner, and I can tell you that I do not pay average wages of $45,000 a year if I want to keep my business afloat and continue to invest.

According to the government, this measure should be revenue neutral, in other words, it should not cause a deficit. The parliamentary budget officer said that the deficit will not be $1 billion, as announced, but rather $1.7 billion. It is completely irrational and makes no sense. What is more, that amount is permanent. It will be a permanent item in the budget in the years to come. By all accounts, this measure is ill-conceived and flawed. It needs to be changed. In any case, more than two-thirds of the population will not get one cent from this measure. It is not fair to anyone.

On average, a family might get an extra $6.50 a week. That is totally ridiculous. That is not even enough for two cups of coffee. The government needs to realize that it cannot use borrowed money to put the country in debt for policies like these, just to give a small group of people some extra money that is significant for that particular group. The majority of the Canadian middle class earns $45,000 or less a year. There is no doubt that changes need to be made to this legislation.

The other item is the TFSA. I am a business owner and I invest a great deal in my business. Over the past 10 or 15 years, I did not have the opportunity to take advantage of an RRSP or the TFSA because I invested my money in my business. Not everyone can count on owning a business to save for the future.

This measure allowed people to save $5,000. Then the ceiling was raised to $5,500, and then finally to $10,000. The Liberals just took away the $5,000 we added in our budget.

That is no way to help people save for the future. People have to understand that just because there is a ceiling does not mean that everyone is going to reach it one day.

That is not what that means at all. It means that people are being given tax room so that they can save.

I think it was the member for Hochelaga who said earlier that, in her riding, there are poor people who cannot invest a single penny because the cost of staying in their house or apartment is so high.

That is the reality. It is not just true in her riding. It is the same everywhere. When we develop a policy, we need to do so for all Canadians. Some people are successful and can save money. I forget the exact name, but there are organizations, I think they are called ACEF, that provide education, information, and training on how to save for adults and youth with good incomes. Tax room in the form of TFSAs or RRSPs is needed so that people can save money.

These are programs or mechanisms that allow people to save money. If these mechanisms, this room to save, were not available, people would not save money. People need to save. They need to start thinking about the future when they are young. When they get close to retirement and they have more money to invest, they need to be able to make tax-sheltered investments so that they can live comfortably for as long as possible.

The bill is badly flawed. I repeat: the middle class does not earn $170,000 a year. Everyone agrees that Canada's real middle class, people who earn less than $45,000, will not benefit at all from this bill. It is therefore a bad bill.