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Crucial Fact

  • His favourite word was workers.

Last in Parliament October 2015, as Bloc MP for Jonquière—Alma (Québec)

Won his last election, in 2011, with 43% of the vote.

Statements in the House

Employment Insurance November 28th, 2014

Mr. Speaker, the beneficiaries to unemployed ratio is now less than 40%. It leaves not only unemployed workers but also their families and their regions out in the cold. That is an appalling record. Over six out of 10 unemployed workers are not entitled to benefits. That is unacceptable.

Why is the government deliberately leaving these workers out in the cold without jobs and why does it not help them by improving access to employment insurance?

Department of Public Works and Government Services Act November 26th, 2014

Mr. Speaker, I would like to thank all my colleagues of every political affiliation in the House of Commons for participating in the debate, whether or not they support Bill C-574. This bill was introduced in the House in 2010 and was defeated at second reading.

The forestry sector has been devastated by massive job losses across Canada and Quebec, caused mainly by the recession, the global economy, the stronger Canadian dollar and the structural decline in the demand for paper documents. These no longer exist today because newspapers are going online.

Why did we introduce this bill? It is because in my area, many sawmills and plants have closed and many paper machines have been shut down. In Chambord, a plant has been closed for years. That is why we brought back this bill.

Today, there are many things on the market that promote innovation, new products and new technologies. I realize that the Conservative government has helped the forestry industry, but it could do more.

If the government has given many millions of dollars to this sector, why have so many plants in Canada closed? I do not see how Bill C-574 would violate Canada's obligations under national and international trade agreements such as NAFTA, the WTO Agreement and the Agreement on Internal Trade.

Canadian wood was never specifically identified in the bill, because we did not want the bill to be prejudicial to anyone. Today, we want to use it to construct buildings that are less than seven storeys high and to repair federal buildings.

For example, if the House of Commons chamber were renovated, I would like wood to be used instead of steel. That is the goal of our bill: we want to use wood.

On the weekend I went to watch a hockey tournament in a building made of steel, concrete that had beautiful wood ceilings. All three materials can be used together to build nice buildings. Back home, such buildings are built for tourism and industry. People who come to La Baie on cruise ships can see these beautiful concrete and wood buildings. The materials can be used together.

We never asked that the government be required to choose wood during the bidding process. We simply want it to choose the least expensive option from among wood, steel and concrete. If steel is the least expensive, the decision will not be a hard one.

Back home, a lot of buildings have been built using all of the materials. This has created jobs for a number of employees of plants that were shut down. This contributes to sustainable development. The government should take into account costs and greenhouse gas emissions when Public Works and Government Services Canada solicits bids.

The Conservative government said that it would oppose the bill, but I would like to quote from a 2011 interview with my colleague from Roberval—Lac-Saint-Jean, who is also a minister. He said that he wanted to promote the use of wood in the construction of public buildings. I will quote the whole paragraph:

In the coming months, it will be important to introduce bills to encourage the use of wood in public buildings, while also ensuring that current federal and provincial codes can fully meet requirements. That way, our engineers and architects can take wood into account when doing their calculations and the professionals already in operation will have the means, tools, software and techniques to safely carry out these projects using wood.

The Conservatives are opposing the bill, but in 2011 the minister said that the government needed to encourage the use of wood.

We need to encourage the use of wood throughout Canada and Quebec. The plants that have closed could reopen, there could be renovations and the industry could get up and running again. Instead of investing millions that only translate into closures, the government should require that people use wood for their repairs. Anything is possible. The bill's wording may not be very broad, but that was our intention. The same bill was introduced in 2010. MPs rejected the bill at second reading, but in any case, I am pleased to have discussed this topic with my work colleagues.

International Trade November 7th, 2014

Mr. Speaker, the Minister of State for Small Business and Tourism, and Agriculture will meet with dairy and cheese producers next week in Quebec City.

Will the minister take this opportunity to announce that he will compensate cheese producers, as he promised to do when the free trade agreement was signed with the European Union?

Agriculture and Agri-Food October 31st, 2014

Mr. Speaker, U.S. Trade Representative Michael Froman is complaining about the supply management system, describing it as an obstacle to concluding the Trans-Pacific Partnership free trade agreement.

The United States is not shy about saying that it just needs Japan to make concessions to try to put pressure on Canada.

Will the Minister of Agriculture and Agri-Food promise not to give in to U.S. pressure, and protect the 7,200 family farms under supply management in Quebec?

Forestry Industry October 30th, 2014

Mr. Speaker, while scientists and the forestry industry are rightly concerned about the spread of the spruce budworm epidemic in Saguenay—Lac-Saint-Jean, the federal government is doing virtually nothing to address a problem that could become very serious.

Instead of waiting for the industry to be seriously affected, why does the government not invest more, as it did for the pine beetle epidemic in British Columbia?

Forestry Industry October 24th, 2014

Mr. Speaker, the FSC certification standards are apparently going to be revised by 2016, which could have a considerable impact on my region.

Quebec has some of the best forestry practices in the world. The Government of Quebec has been talking to industry clients, particularly in Europe and the United States, to show how exemplary the industry's practices are.

Does the federal government plan on joining the Government of Quebec in supporting Quebec's forestry industry?

Department of Public Works and Government Services Act October 3rd, 2014

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

I think it is really difficult to do anything back home. A sawmill has been up for sale for six months, and no one is buying. There are closures all over the place. For example, a few years ago, we lost machine No. 6 at the Kénogami mill. They are looking at starting the machine up again.

Furthermore, there is a conflict over stumpage fees and other details, but that is another complex issue. I think that we should do secondary and tertiary processing. With this new engineered wood, companies are making wood beams that are just as solid as steel beams. That is what we need to develop.

People back home are starting to do it, but it is not easy.

Department of Public Works and Government Services Act October 3rd, 2014

Mr. Speaker, indeed, Canada has lost a lot of jobs in this industry. I have a list here and it is frightening.

Between 2009 and 2012, nearly 8,600 jobs were lost in Quebec alone, and between 2003 and 2008, more than 11,329 jobs were lost. In British Columbia, more than 6,000 jobs were lost. I did not just make these figures up. They come from Natural Resources Canada.

These jobs were lost and nothing was done to create diversity, invest in these companies and help them through the crisis. We are not just talking about conflicts over stumpage fees. We need to invest in research into new processes, build and give people jobs.

Department of Public Works and Government Services Act October 3rd, 2014

Mr. Speaker, I do not need to have my vision checked. The government invested $6 billion in Ontario's automotive industry, while Quebec and the rest of Canada received just a few million dollars. That is not very much.

The Conservative government abandoned the forestry sector and we are paying for it now. The mills are barely hanging on. There is a mill in my Liberal colleague's area that is closing its doors. In the Saguenay, there is a mill that is still for sale because there are no takers for the sawmill.

If the government made investments, I am not sure where. It must be in Ontario.

Department of Public Works and Government Services Act October 3rd, 2014

Mr. Speaker, I would like to thank my colleague for his question.

This has been talked about since 2005 or 2006 and bills were introduced in 2010. However, nothing has been done. The government should invest more.

It is a good thing that they invested heavily in the automobile industry in Ontario, but they should also have invested heavily in the forestry industry. In fact, they invested very little in this area.

If they invested more and there was more development, we could have secondary and tertiary processing, which would allow the industry to get back on its feet and rest a little easier.