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Crucial Fact

  • His favourite word was ndp.

Last in Parliament October 2015, as NDP MP for Chicoutimi—Le Fjord (Québec)

Lost his last election, in 2015, with 30% of the vote.

Statements in the House

Business of Supply June 22nd, 2011

Mr. Speaker, I would like to say to my Liberal colleague that the myth that the NDP is against free trade agreements is false. However, some measures in all of the free trade agreements that we have recently seen in Canada were unacceptable to the NDP in terms of protection for jobs in Canada and Quebec. There are grey areas in the countries we do business with. Are workers there treated properly? Are they paid well? What are their working conditions?

That is why, in the past, we have analyzed every free trade agreement. Based on these criteria, the NDP is in favour of equality for all citizens of Canada and the world, and it wants to respect these nations. Unfortunately, we did not agree with some measures in the free trade agreements, based on these criteria.

Business of Supply June 22nd, 2011

Mr. Speaker, I would like to say to the Conservative member that the NDP supports wealth creation. However, unlike our Conservative colleagues, we support the redistribution of this wealth in society.

Thus, we would provide more assistance to small businesses than to big businesses, because SMEs create more than half of all the new jobs in Canada. In addition, these same small businesses reinvest more in their local economy and hire local people, no matter where they are located in Canada.

For that reason, we do not necessarily want to tax big businesses more. We want to make small businesses the priority, because big businesses and the major oil companies receive enough tax cuts and subsidies these days.

Business of Supply June 22nd, 2011

Mr. Speaker, first, I would like to thank the people of Chicoutimi—Le Fjord for choosing me as their federal member of Parliament on May 2. It is a great honour. Since my constituents want change, both in the riding and in Ottawa, they will not regret voting for the NDP, the party of workers and families.

The motion we are proposing today is more than necessary. Not only are small businesses key to the Canadian economy, they are also a pillar of the local and regional economy; more specifically, they are the future of Saguenay—Lac-Saint-Jean's economy. Year after year, we have been losing more and more people from my region, particularly young people who leave the Saguenay—Lac-Saint-Jean region to go and make a life elsewhere, in large centres like Quebec City and Montreal. For example, our last regional migration report indicated that 396 people had left the area. All these people decided to move because they were unable to find work in their field in the region or because wages are higher in big cities.

I cannot blame them for wanting to improve their living conditions and earn more money. However, it is unacceptable that, in 2011, young people cannot establish a career in the Saguenay—Lac-Saint-Jean region, have a family and live there happily until they retire. That is why, from the first day of my election campaign, I chose the economic diversification of the region as one of my top three priorities. This is achieved through the creation and expansion of small and medium-sized businesses.

In my riding of Chicoutimi—Le Fjord, many SMEs are locally based and contribute to the economic development of the region. Take, for example, Cycles Devinci, a company that manufactures high-end bicycles using various aluminum products. Among other things, this company manufactures the famous BIXI bikes that allow city dwellers all over the world to benefit from an excellent self-service bicycle rental system.

There is also Coderr-02, a social economy enterprise in Alma that works in various sectors: waste material management, development and, soon, tourism. They also offer placements for people not participating in the workforce. There is also the Fromagerie Boivin, a family-run business in La Baie, which has been making Canadian cheddar since 1939 and recently won a contract with Kraft to produce Amooza cheese. According to Fromagerie Boivin, this new partnership will create 25 to 30 new jobs in the area. That is something to be proud of as a regional SME.

All of these businesses are invaluable and the government should provide them with the means to ensure their growth. Businesses must be created, and this is important because they not only create jobs but they also renew the national and regional industrial structure. Entrepreneurship also curbs poverty and provides social opportunities. According to the Quebec entrepreneurship strategy, funding is often a deciding factor when it comes to starting up and developing a new business. Without these resources, SMEs such as Trimoz, a business in Alma that is implementing a recruitment concept that is unique to Canada; Eckinox Média, which specializes in graphics and media solutions; and Coopérative de solidarité V.E.R.T.E., a new SME in Saguenay that runs two inns, and offers outdoor adventure packages and adventure tourism in Saguenay—Lac-Saint-Jean, would not be able to develop and become competitive.

There must be tax cuts for small businesses to encourage the creation of long-term jobs. To have strong SMEs creating wealth and jobs in our regions, it is of the utmost importance to support SMEs in the start-up and development phases. The first five years are the toughest for these small businesses and entrepreneurs who have the courage to start a business in order to improve the economic prosperity of their communities.

If the government is serious about wanting to encourage entrepreneurs to create wealth and jobs, it has to fully support the assistance measures offered to new businesses. That includes technical assistance, venture capital, micro-credit, etc. It is imperative to offer fertile ground, here, in the regions, to allow our SMEs to be born, to grow and to prosper. This implies collective sharing of the risk involved in innovation. We all know the expression “nothing ventured, nothing gained”. Let us not forget that, in a context of market globalization, Canadian small businesses are facing major challenges. They have to remain competitive in a market where they frequently have to compete with much larger players throughout the world.

Although small businesses are the biggest job creators in the Canadian market—we cannot say that enough—they are the victims of fiscal injustice and unfair competition. Small and medium sized enterprises support the so-called mass market. That is why we must support them in order to ensure stability within the Canadian economy.

Given that 72% of the exporting businesses in Canada have less than 50 employees and produce a third of all exports, it is more than necessary to take immediate action to support these businesses. For once, could we simply give them resources without trying to take them back with the other hand?

The Conservatives are prepared to cut corporate taxes yet again. The Conservatives feel sorry for the major oil companies and think they deserve to be subsidized to the tune of $2 billion a year. But when the NDP calls on the government to give small and medium-sized businesses room to manoeuvre by cutting their taxes by a measly 2%, the government says no. Again, SMEs create half the new jobs in Canada.

This same government that claims to want to stimulate economic growth and job creation is suddenly no longer able to provide tax support to these companies that could hire a new employee at the end of the year because of their lower tax rate.

Why is the government abandoning the SMEs that are fighting to save every dollar to make small businesses profitable, increase their sales and hire more people from their community?

SMEs in Saguenay—Lac-Saint-Jean need help. We know that, unlike large corporations, small businesses reinvest their profits in the local economy. Does the Conservative government not agree that this reinvestment in the local economy is what will enable us to strengthen Canada's fragile economic recovery?

Small- and medium-sized businesses are also known for creating lasting jobs because, during an economic slowdown, they are more likely to hold onto their employees. SME owners have humane values and principles. They are not obsessed by profit at any cost. They know that if they fire an employee, that family will go without an income and its financial situation will worsen. That family might even live in their neighbourhood. These entrepreneurs make sacrifices for the well-being of their community, and the least the government could do is support them.

When I look at the economic measures in the Conservative budget, I am disappointed. As a citizen, I am disappointed that the government does not have its priorities straight. I am disappointed because I can picture myself as a business owner who must be wondering why his own government refuses to give him the help he needs to support his business. As a parliamentarian, I am disappointed that the Conservative budget left out an excellent proposal put forth by the NDP to reduce taxes for SMEs by 2%.

From an environmental standpoint, the Conservatives are widely considered a complete disappointment, but never would I have expected them to be so out of touch with reality when it comes to economic diversification and support for SMEs. When is this government going to support small businesses? When will it really support the businesses that create jobs?

The problem we have now is with the redistribution of tax revenues. All too often, they are lining the pockets of the largest corporations, which, we can all agree, do not need them as much in order to prosper. That is why it is so crucial to lower taxes for small businesses in order to spur growth and job creation in the business sector. The government absolutely must recognize the role of small businesses in the Canadian economy, and it needs to act now.

Resumption and Continuation of Postal Services Legislation June 21st, 2011

Mr. Speaker, I would like to share something with all hon. members of the House of Commons and, in particular, my Conservative colleagues. Last night I received a Facebook message from one of my constituents, Mr. Roussel, who is a letter carrier in my riding. His message said:

Good evening, Mr. Morin,

I have been living in Chicoutimi since 2002. I moved to the area to go to university for an interdisciplinary bachelor of arts. In addition, I have been working for Canada Post since 1997, which has allowed me to pay for school, move here with my two children and pay for my house because, as you know, the cultural sector is not the most stable when you want to manage your budget. My salary as a letter carrier fills that shortfall perfectly. Unfortunately, the events of the past weeks, brought about by our employer, Canada Post, leaves me with a bad taste in my mouth. I do not understand. How can a crown corporation use extreme emergency measures to put an end to bargaining that never really got off the ground and impose new measures on us? I know that there is not much you can do to help me, but if you are in the area, I would like to meet with you.

First, I would like to tell Mr. Roussel that I can help him by making his voice heard here in the House of Commons.

What do my Conservative colleagues have to say to this constituent who is a letter carrier in my birthplace, Chicoutimi?

Supporting Vulnerable Seniors and Strengthening Canada's Economy Act June 15th, 2011

Mr. Speaker, a number of my Conservative colleagues mentioned that they did not want to use public moneys to fund political parties.

Can my colleague explain how tax credits for those who make a contribution to a political party—a minority of Canadians—are not funded by all Canadians? I know a number of people in my riding who are unhappy about their taxes funding the generous tax credit for wealthy contributors to the Conservative Party.

Justice June 15th, 2011

Mr. Speaker, the latest statistics show an increase of 18% in hate crimes against the gay and lesbian community. While most other hate crimes are committed mainly against property, over half of those committed against gays and lesbians involve violence. This is unacceptable.

What measures does the government intend to take to combat the increase in hate crimes against gays and lesbians?

The Budget June 9th, 2011

Mr. Speaker, I would like to take a look at a national challenge.

As the member for Chicoutimi—Le Fjord, I come from a rural region that relies on funding from economic development agencies. The government has made major cuts in this area, complicating the lives of those living in Canada's rural regions who rely on these funds to diversify their economy.

Why is the government abandoning the regions in their budget, particularly given that their campaign slogan was about our region in power?

National Defence June 8th, 2011

Mr. Speaker, a report by the Vice Chief of the Defence Staff reveals that the government is considering reducing the number of contractors and reservists by 5% annually. During the recent campaign, the NDP committed to maintaining the National Defence budget in all regions, including mine, Saguenay-Lac-Saint-Jean.

Can the Conservatives do this and still assure Canadian Forces members and civilian staff in Bagotville that they will not be affected by these cuts?