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Crucial Fact

  • His favourite word was nations.

Last in Parliament October 2015, as Conservative MP for Madawaska—Restigouche (New Brunswick)

Lost his last election, in 2015, with 17% of the vote.

Statements in the House

Business of Supply May 31st, 2012

The member may laugh, but he should look in the mirror and maybe he would find something horrific.

The fact of the matter is P.E.I., among Atlantic provinces, is where the jobs lost during the recession have been recovered, and more. We have positive results for P.E.I., and that is surely not because of the mimicry of the member.

Business of Supply May 31st, 2012

Mr. Speaker, I have been called worse before by better than the hon. member.

He is talking about the employment situation. He should talk about the situation in P.E.I. where he is from. Let us just consider 2011. During 2011 farm cash receipts in P.E.I. increased by 17.5% to $474 million, along with nearly a 60% increase in non-residential building construction investment throughout the province. That was as a result of our economic action plan.

Business of Supply May 31st, 2012

Mr. Speaker, the answer is yes.

Just about 10 days ago, I was in my riding and, as I usually do when I am back home, I met some of my constituents while I was out and about in the riding.

That morning, I met a contractor who came up to me as I was leaving a Tim Hortons. He said, “Finally.” I asked him what he meant. He said that he was referring to the EI reforms. This contractor has five employees. He told me that, last fall, at the beginning of the winter, he won a contract to build a nice big house. He called his employees, who were on employment insurance, to have them come back to work and they refused. He is a small contractor and he had jobs available.

The member could consult small and medium-sized businesses. Unfortunately, we have to admit that this occurs everywhere in Quebec, in Atlantic Canada, out west and in central Canada.

It does not happen all the time, but it does happen. I met a young woman in my riding who simply told me that if she could receive information about available jobs from Service Canada, or the manpower centre as it was called back then, she would thank us because it would help her family.

Business of Supply May 31st, 2012

Mr. Speaker, I listened carefully to the comments made by the members of the opposition. I am happy that this motion was moved by the member for Hamilton Mountain. This motion gives members who will have to vote on this subject the opportunity to hear why I believe it should be defeated. This also gives us the opportunity to tell members more about the true nature of this proposed reform of the Employment Insurance Act. Our aim is simply to improve the program for workers who have unfortunately lost their jobs or who live in a part of the country where the economy is usually based on seasonal work.

Mr. Speaker, I would like to say that I will be sharing my time with the Minister of Transport, Infrastructure and Communities.

I cannot believe some of the comments I have heard from opposition members about this proposal. I am trying to figure out what they are doing and I tell myself that what we are seeing in the House with respect to this motion is irrefutable proof that demagogy is born from a thirst for power. They are using this proposal to engage in name-calling and make all sorts of allegations against the government to try to gain support from who knows who. At the end of the day, the employment insurance program is there to protect Canadians who lose their jobs through no fault of their own and to support them while they search for a new job.

The proposed reform does not change anything about the fundamental obligation that is already in the act. Someone who loses their job and has contributed to the plan is entitled to receive benefits throughout the period set out in the act and regulations. However, during this period, this person is required to search for a job.

What we are really trying to do here is take additional measures to help people who unfortunately have lost their jobs to return to work more quickly. I cannot imagine how someone could be opposed to a reform that will help people get back to work more quickly.

What does getting a job faster mean in real life? No one can deny the following fact. There is no necktied socialist opposite, no Liberal or Bloc member who can deny the fact that, at any given time, an individual will earn a higher income from work than through EI benefits. So finding measures that will match unemployed workers up with available jobs so that they can have a higher income is to their advantage and that of their families, the regional economy, their provinces and the country as a whole.

I cannot fathom why anyone would be opposed to the fact that we are trying to help people who lose their job through no fault of their own to improve their situation. I cannot possibly imagine why we would want to perpetuate a system that deprives those workers of knowledge that would allow them to find and get a new job.

We are talking about seasonal workers. In my riding of Madawaska—Restigouche, in northern New Brunswick, many of our workers—although not the majority—are employed in the forestry, construction and agri-food sectors. Because of our climate, they are seasonal workers by default. The government is not proposing to reduce the benefits they will receive. All we are saying is that if, in our region, in my community, there are jobs available and those people have the required skills, they can work in those jobs. Some people are upset and say that workers will be forced to accept jobs that pay only 70% of what they were paid in their previous jobs. The fact remains that 70% of their previous salary is still more than what they would receive in employment insurance benefits. Thus, the individuals, their families and the region will be better off.

Why are some people against that? I do not understand. They say that it is an attack on seasonal workers. That is absolutely not true. All we are doing is improving the information system that is in place to provide information about available jobs to recipients, including job offers that will be sent online. Some are saying that not everyone has a computer. Just because they do not have a computer does not mean that their EI will be cut off. This is just a way of helping EI recipients who are looking for work to find out where the jobs are.

We realized—and you have to talk to people in our communities to come to this conclusion— that many employment insurance claimants who were looking for work were going to Service Canada offices, but those offices did not have any information available about where to find these jobs. In some regions of the country—fortunately not in my region—whether it be in western, central or eastern Canada, there are employers who are looking for employees with a certain skill set and cannot find them because the system does not provide a way to match available jobs with qualified workers. The result is that employers have to call upon temporary foreign workers. Imagine a community where, in a given month, people are filing claims for benefits while employers in that same community are submitting applications to hire temporary foreign workers.

In summary, the EI reform will improve the situation of workers across the country. It will benefit our families and our economy. For these reasons, I intend to vote against the hon. member for Hamilton Mountain's motion.

International Day of La Francophonie March 16th, 2012

Mr. Speaker, as the minister responsible for La Francophonie and on behalf of the Government of Canada, it is with great enthusiasm that I wish to invite all Canadians and parliamentarians to celebrate the International Day of La Francophonie on March 20.

It was on March 20, 1970, in Nigeria that Canada participated as a founding member in the creation of the Agency for Technical and Cultural Cooperation.

Who would have guessed that, in the next four decades, this modest intergovernmental co-operation agency would evolve into an international body composed of 75 member states and governments representing over 890 million people worldwide, including 220 million French speakers?

Canada, Quebec and New Brunswick participate actively in the efforts of La Francophonie, which, more than just promoting the French language, also promotes human rights, democracy and the rule of law around the world, values upon which Canada’s foreign policy is based.

Spoken by more than 9.5 million Canadians, French is an integral part of our history, our identity and our daily lives. It links us, not only to our fellow Canadians, but also to French-speaking countries around the world and this in all fields, whether they be related to the economy, culture, arts or science, to only name a few.

As demonstrated by our roadmap for linguistic duality, our government remains committed to supporting the vitality of the French language everywhere in Canada. On March 20, we invite all citizens to celebrate the indisputable contribution of the French fact to our cultural diversity and our economic progress.

Best wishes to la Francophonie on its day, March 20.

Shipbuilding Industry February 13th, 2012

Mr. Speaker, this represents a historic occasion for our region.

This morning my colleagues and I were in Dartmouth to unveil the Atlantic shipbuilding action plan. With this plan, we will ensure that small- and medium-size enterprises throughout Atlantic Canada, all four provinces, rural and urban areas, are in the best position to seize all opportunities.

Our government will be helping Atlantic businesses understand the requirements to take part in shipbuilding as suppliers or subcontractors.

Goverment Appointments February 10th, 2012

Mr. Speaker, again, I do not know what he is getting excited about. The hiring by local development organizations is their responsibility.

As for the other hiring he is talking about, the member refers to a staffing decision that was made according to the Public Service Act. It was an open competition, open to all Canadians, and a person won the job. I am sorry but that is the Public Service Commission's doing.

Goverment Appointments February 10th, 2012

Mr. Speaker, the member refers to a staffing decision made, not by ACOA and not by this government, but by a local economic development organization. The Cape Breton County Economic Development Agency is responsible for its own hiring. I am not expected, I am sure, to answer for it.

Government Appointments February 7th, 2012

Mr. Speaker, if the member has relevant evidence about this matter being looked into by the Public Service Commission, I invite him to submit that evidence to the commission.

Government Appointments February 7th, 2012

Mr. Speaker, as the hon. member ought to know, the staffing of positions at ACOA is done by the public service, and the Public Service Commission is actually investigating this matter. Therefore, we will reserve comment until the commission has made its decision.