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  • His favourite word is languages.

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

Hôpital Notre-Dame-de-Fatima May 10th, 2017

Mr. Speaker, on May 7, elected officials from all levels of government and more than 5,000 citizens came together in a call to preserve health services at Hôpital Notre-Dame-de-Fatima in my hometown of La Pocatière.

This demonstration could not have happened without its organizers Sylvain Lemieux and Luc Pelletier, as well as all the Town of La Pocatière support staff, firefighters, and stakeholders at the Kamouraska RCM, who kept the demonstration peaceful for the thousands of marchers.

The message is clear: preserving health care is a top priority in the region of Kamouraska-L'Islet. We want to not only preserve our health care services, but improve them as well.

To give my colleagues an idea of how much Hôpital Notre-Dame-de-Fatima means to me, I will say that I was born in room 121 on April 23, 55 years ago. Health care is paramount to me and my region.

Softwood Lumber May 4th, 2017

Mr. Speaker, the U.S. Department of Commerce levelled a direct attack on our forestry producers last month with new tariffs on softwood lumber. According to Michael Froman, the former U.S. trade representative, the Liberal government had an opportunity to sign an agreement last year with an offer from the Obama administration, but it chose to wait, thinking it would get a better deal with the Trump government.

What is up now?

Softwood Lumber May 1st, 2017

Mr. Speaker, the U.S. government just announced new tariffs to the tune of 20% on Canadian softwood lumber imports. The Prime Minister promised on March 10, 2016, that a new agreement would replace the one reached by the Harper government and that it would be concluded within 100 days. It has now been more than 400 days.

The Liberals still do not have an agreement, jeopardizing the 370,000 direct and indirect jobs in Canada's forestry sector.

Why is the government waiting and why did it wait to do something about this?

Privilege April 13th, 2017

Mr. Speaker, I thank my colleague for his excellent question.

His question offers a perfect example of the arrogance the Liberals are showing towards the House of Commons. It is pretty obvious that they really do not give a damn. They are just not interested. That is not how the House of Commons operates. I think it is important to understand that. Who would have thought that the NDP members here on this side of the House would become our friends? We are working together to ensure that those arrogant folks over there change their ways.

We recognize that we have different political visions, and we all agree on that. Beyond that, however, we do share a common vision regarding how the House should operate, and that vision must continue being a common vision. No one should question that, not the Liberals or anyone else in the House.

I was pleased to hear my NDP colleagues say that even the Conservatives never dared to go this far. That is quite a compliment, coming from the NDP. The Liberals have gone too far. No one party should ever undermine members' privileges or tell committees how they must operate. All parliamentarians must have their say on this.

Privilege April 13th, 2017

Mr. Speaker, every question of privilege raised in the House is important. These questions are important because as representatives of the constituents of our 338 ridings, we have responsibilities. One of those responsibilities is to ensure that we have access to the House of Commons and to a whole host of services. The privileges afforded to all parliamentarians are fundamental. Respect for those privileges is just as fundamental. When the hon. member said that two of our colleagues were unable to access the House, that affects our privileges. Hon. members have to have access to the House of Commons either by foot, minibus, or car. This is an integral part of our daily life on Parliament Hill. We have to be able to access the House.

We want to study this question and have this study take priority in committee. That is where the government does not want to co-operate.

Speaking of strained relations and an unwillingness to co-operate, we have another glaring example: the Liberals want to to impose their way of doing things because they have a majority and they take themselves for God knows who. However, that is not how things work in Parliament, and this should not happen this way either.

Privilege April 13th, 2017

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

What is interesting about my colleague's question is that he talked about the Liberals' behaviour lately, but this has been going on since well before the last week or two. The same thing happened last year with Motion No. 6, when they tried to literally stifle the opposition. In the end, thanks to the uprising we set off, the Liberals backed down. We will get them to back down on this one too, because it makes no sense. All they have to do is withdraw the motion so we can have a real conversation. That is not what we are having now. There is no conversation. The Liberals want to unilaterally impose a new way of doing business in the House of Commons without seeking agreement from all sides. That is completely at odds with how we have always done things in the House of Commons. We are confronting the Liberals' arrogance, and we will never let them force this on us.

Privilege April 13th, 2017

Mr. Speaker, if my colleague's main priority this morning is to find out where people can get off the bus on Parliament Hill, and that certainly seems to be the case from his question, it just shows his disrespect for the matter before the House today.

I honestly do not know what to say. People can get off the bus wherever they want. There are designated bus stops. That is a completely ridiculous question. I do not understand why he is asking me about buses because that is not what we are talking about this morning. We are talking about the fundamental changes that the Liberals want to impose on the House of Commons.

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.