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  • His favourite word is chair.

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

Privilege April 13th, 2017

Mr. Speaker, I am pleased to resume debate on the question of privilege raised by my colleagues, in whose favour you ruled, concerning the privileges that the House gives to MPs and that are sometimes put to the test. When we raise a breach of privilege, that gives us a chance to review the facts.

Raising this question of privilege put an end to an extremely important debate on the fundamental changes that the government wants to make. It sneakily proposed the changes at a Standing Committee on Procedure and House Affairs meeting by tabling a paper about reforms to the way Parliament and the House of Commons work.

Although some of the changes are objectionable, I believe that we would be receptive to some of the other proposed changes. The reason we are getting in the way of the government's plans a bit is that we want to protect our privileges in the House.

It is important to recognize that society is changing. We are not against the notion of possibly changing the rules of the House of Commons. The problem has nothing to do with the points we might study or how the House might evolve, but rather how this was presented to us.

The vast majority, if not all, of the changes that the House has undergone since its creation, that is, over the past 150 years of the Constitution, have been adopted unanimously by all parliamentarians. This time, the Liberal government wants to unilaterally impose new procedures, supposedly in order to move things forward and make the House more efficient.

These lofty theories play well in the media, but the reality is that all parliamentarians deserve to be treated with a minimum of respect. It is completely unacceptable for a majority government to want to impose on all parliamentarians a new way of doing things in the House, without giving them the opportunity to vote for or against those changes. It is crucial that parliamentarians be unanimous regarding the discussion that the Liberals want to have, and Canadians need to understand that.

The reason is quite simple. There is one party in the House that has just one representative and another party, the Bloc Québécois, that has 10 members and is not a recognized party. However, every one of us was elected by Canadians and we should all be able to represent Canadians in a system where every parliamentarian has a say. We are our constituents' representatives and, as such, should have a say in these changes.

When we look at the paper as a whole we see some very interesting things. I repeat that we are not against potential changes. What we want is to have the discussion that the Liberals claim to be offering us. The problem is that they are not offering a discussion.

As I mentioned on Tuesday, I am an entrepreneur. If I had the type of discussion that the Liberals want to have with parliamentarians with my clients, my partners, my associates, or my suppliers I would have gone out of business a long time ago. That would be inevitable.

To earn respect, you must show respect. As they say, you scratch my back and I'll scratch yours. This is not happening at present. It seems that we are going to fight to the end. We cannot accept that. The beauty of it is that all opposition MPs feel the same way. We unanimously agree that we cannot accept the current arrogant and undisciplined way of doing things. In the past, the House of Commons has always been disciplined and, above all, respectful of all these elements.

I am going to end on that note even though my time has not elapsed. I will give my peers the opportunity to speak. I believe that we are extremely lucky to be who we are. There are 338 people in the House and we represent 35 million Canadians. We are very fortunate. We certainly have privileges, but we also have responsibilities, and one of them is to ensure that we properly represent our constituents. To that end, we must have the respect of all parliamentarians in the House, and especially the government's respect.

Justice April 12th, 2017

Mr. Speaker, when it comes to judicial delays, the minister is trying to buy time by meeting with her provincial counterparts. In reality, all she has to do is read the newspaper, listen to the radio, and watch television. Everyone is laying the blame squarely on her shoulders, because the reality is this is in her wheelhouse.

The judicial appointments advisory committee for eastern Quebec has yet to be created. The seven seats have been empty for a year and a half now.

Can the Prime Minister explain how his minister is supposed to appoint judges when the committee has yet to be struck ?

Privilege April 11th, 2017

Mr. Speaker, it is kind of you to clarify that debate will be interrupted at 6:30 this evening and not tomorrow morning. I would be filibustering if I were to speak for 12 hours. My colleague opposite would not like that.

I would like to give an introductory course to the people of my riding; those in the galleries; and the Canadians who watch us every day on CPAC, the television station that broadcasts the proceedings of the House of Commons.

Heaven knows that the House of Commons is an esteemed place in Canada. It is a very important place for our democracy. This democracy is guided by a book entitled House of Commons Procedure and Practice, which is our bible. The book is updated any time changes are made by Parliament and its parliamentarians, not by a political party. There is a fundamental difference between the two because, historically, any changes to the way the House of Commons operates were made unanimously by all of the parties.

Earlier, I was pleased to hear my colleagues say that the Conservatives never went as far as the Liberals. I do not know if it is because the Liberals were the third party in the last Parliament and they were insulted or frustrated to have been left out in the cold for four years. It seems that their frustration is causing them to treat all members in an extremely disrespectful manner.

Once again, the NDP criticized the Harper government a great deal. I will not speak to all their criticism, but I can say that, clearly, most of it was not founded. I will say that their criticism of the government today is even more severe. We have the right to say that the Liberals are much more disrespectful than the Conservatives were in the last Parliament.

It is important to understand that the question of privilege that we are discussing today is very important. We need to tell Canadians that the privileges we have as parliamentarians are important.

It is almost as though we are in a bubble here on Parliament Hill. Canadians do not necessarily see everything that happens every day here, but we are the ones, as parliamentarians, who look after the Canadian Constitution and the business of Parliament so that the country can be properly administered, despite the fact that we have some serious reservations at this time. We can come back to that.

We are in this situation today because the Standing Committee on Procedure and House Affairs should examine an issue. Indeed, the government moved a motion to implement some fundamental changes regarding how the House of Commons operates. Obviously, some elements of the changes are debatable, but at the same time, some elements require discussion and openness on the part of all parliamentarians.

The reason the Liberals say they want to change all this is to bring Parliament into the 21st century. We take no issue with that, but it has to be done in a way that is respectful to all members of the House, by giving them the chance to vote and make a decision together. We have to be able reach a consensus. That is not happening.

The Liberal Party is literally trying to shove down our throats new ways of running Parliament, including having the Prime Minister come here only one day a week. We would no longer sit on Friday. There is a whole slew of fundamental changes on the horizon. It is important for all parliamentarians to be able to express their opinion. We need to have an open and frank discussion. We have not had that, and are not seeing that in committee.

Several people have mentioned that even during the Liberal years of the Chrétien government, all the changes made in the House of Commons were made unanimously. It is fundamentally important.

This is a fundamental issue. As the Leader of the Government in the House of Commons has not tired of repeating for the past several weeks, she wants to have a discussion, a conversation. Those are important words.

I am in business. If I had the kind of discussions and conversations that the member wants to have with us or says she wants to have with us, then I am sorry, but I would be in business alone. No doubt about it. I would not be able to have a conversation with someone who does not want to listen to what I have to say and does not want me to participate in making decisions. It is like a company with a number of shareholders. People have to talk to each other and understand each other. They have to make a decision and vote on it. The same general principle applies here.

It is of vital and fundamental importance that all parliamentarians have a chance to speak. This is not the kind of thing I say often, but once again, I would like to thank my NDP colleagues for recognizing that the Conservatives never tried to go as far as the Liberals are going now. This is utterly indefensible. Those of us on this side of the House, along with the Green Party member, are unanimous in saying that consensus in the House of Commons is the only way to change the Standing Orders.

Privilege April 11th, 2017

Mr. Speaker, obviously we are all now in the opposition, on this side of the House. However, in recent years, my colleague criticized the Conservatives many times for all sorts of reasons. Most of the time he was wrong.

Nevertheless, I would like to give him the opportunity to say today that we are all in the same boat, on this side of the House, and that the Liberal Party's arrogance is bad for Canada and for all parliamentarians.

Judicial Appointments April 10th, 2017

Mr. Speaker, a Quebec network of women's shelters condemned the fact that a Montreal man accused of killing his wife was released because of unacceptable court delays.

Premier Couillard and Minister Vallée are appealing to the federal Liberals to take urgent action to address their failure to appoint judges to fix this problem.

How many other individuals who have committed crimes against women will walk free before the self-styled feminist Prime Minister decides to take action and overhaul his worthless selection and appointment process?

Judicial Appointments April 7th, 2017

Mr. Speaker, this week, Clément Massé, president of the Barreau du Bas-Saint-Laurent-Gaspésie-Îles-de-la-Madeleine expressed his concern about the lack of Quebec Superior Court judges. This situation will likely only get worse in the coming weeks because Justice Landry from Gaspé is retiring.

Given the already unacceptable delays in the court system, will the Minister of Justice get out of her bubble in Ottawa and Vancouver and quickly review the selection process to fill the empty positions in our regions, or would she rather see dangerous criminals released because of her failure to act, as we saw yesterday in Quebec?

The Budget April 4th, 2017

Mr. Speaker, I understand that the Liberals decided to invest a lot of money or rather increase the investment in innovation and research and development. My colleague really emphasized the word “increase”.

In my riding, there is a company that is preparing to launch a multimillion dollar agricultural project. I look forward to seeing whether the money that will be invested in innovation will also be spent outside the major centres. I hope it will. We know that it is always a little more difficult for those in the regions to obtain funding, particularly large amounts of funding.

I would therefore like to ask my colleague whether he can confirm today that this money will be spent not only in the major centres but also in the regions.

The Budget April 4th, 2017

Madam Speaker, I thank my colleague for his speech.

He raised an obvious and very important issue, namely the deficit. When the Liberals tell us they are handing out money left and right, to the rich and the poor, they fail to mention that they are doing so at the expense of future generations. They are putting us into an incredible amount of debt. They have lost complete control of spending. That is the Liberal reality.

During the election campaign, the Liberals clearly stated that they would run two small deficits of $10 billion each. The deficit has already reached $60 billion and will reach between $100 billion and $125 billion by the next election. As my colleague said, it is a complete sham.

I would like my colleague to take this opportunity and continue talking about this issue, because it is important.

Business of Supply March 21st, 2017

Mr. Speaker, I would simply like to ask my colleague, whom I very much appreciate by the way, if she agrees with the fact that in the years including last year and the next four years her government will have created a deficit of about $100 billion.

How can she be okay with that? I would like her to explain why she supports creating a $100-billion deficit in four years.

Business of Supply March 7th, 2017

Madam Speaker, I thank my colleague for his question and especially for giving me the opportunity to respond because this is really important.

The Conservative government made some very difficult decisions in the past. We had no choice to make them because we had to balance the budget after the worst economic crisis we had ever known. That is the reality. We made choices and we stood by them.

The reality is that all the policies we implemented made it possible to balance the budget, despite the fact that we cut jobs in all departments. Today, let me repeat that the minister boasts about having been able to recover $13 billion last year. That is certainly not because of the Liberals' policies. They just came to power a year and a half ago. They did not put those practices in place in six months.