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Crucial Fact

  • His favourite word was riding.

Last in Parliament October 2019, as Liberal MP for Laurentides—Labelle (Québec)

Lost his last election, in 2019, with 33% of the vote.

Statements in the House

Federal Public Sector Labour Relations Act March 22nd, 2016

Mr. Speaker, I have been privileged in my life not to have been a police officer, but just take advantage of their protection and help, so I do not know the specific processes they have. I cannot give any details, but I would be more than happy to consult with the very good chair of the procedure and House affairs committee any time on this topic.

Federal Public Sector Labour Relations Act March 22nd, 2016

Mr. Speaker, it is important to do a consultation with the stakeholders to make the best possible decisions. We are a government that believes in evidence-based decision-making and consulting with the people who matter, rather than saying, “This is how we are going to do things and who cares what you think.” This is a very good process and I am proud of it.

Federal Public Sector Labour Relations Act March 22nd, 2016

Mr. Speaker, I cannot address the specifics of the online participation because I was not involved with it. However, I can say that this was done in consultation with members and relevant stakeholders in response to a specific Supreme Court ruling. This is not something where we said, “Let's just do it”, but something we were required to do and did a very good job at. I am very proud of the work that was done in this bill.

Federal Public Sector Labour Relations Act March 22nd, 2016

Mr. Speaker, I am pleased to have the opportunity to rise today to support Bill C-7.

It is an honour to participate in this debate and take a stand on behalf of the members and reservists of the Royal Canadian Mounted Police, the RCMP.

Today's bill seeks to uphold the constitutionally guaranteed freedom of RCMP members and reservists to engage in meaningful collective bargaining. Collective bargaining is a right that other police officers in Canada have enjoyed for many years.

However, RCMP members and reservists have been denied that right, despite the significant contribution they have made to our proud, strong, and free nation over the past 143 years. My personal connection to this file dates back to almost the very beginning. My great-great-grandfather, Dr. Louis Paré, was the assistant chief surgeon for the Royal Northwest Mounted Police.

This bill will remedy that situation. It is a clear and reasoned response to the decision rendered by the Supreme Court on January 16, 2015, which indicated that section 2(d) of the Canadian Charter of Rights and Freedoms “protects a meaningful process of collective bargaining that provides employees with a degree of choice and independence sufficient to enable them to determine and pursue their collective interests”.

The court stated, “The current RCMP labour relations regime denies RCMP members that choice, and imposes on them a scheme that does not permit them to identify and advance their workplace concerns free from management’s influence.”

I thank the Supreme Court for this ruling, and I am pleased to support this bill today, which would give RCMP members and reservists freedom of choice and independence from management, while recognizing their unique operational reality.

This bill was carefully developed from the results of consultations held with key stakeholders. The initial consultations were held with regular members of the RCMP. The next round of consultations were held with the provinces, territories, and municipalities that have police service agreements with the RCMP.

There are some important features in Bill C-7. First and foremost, it gives access to independent, binding arbitration when the bargaining dispute resolution process reaches an impasse.

Members of the RCMP bargaining unit will not have the right to strike, which is in line with the practices of other police forces across the country. Those who participated in the online consultation expressed a strong preference for this provision.

The bill will also create a single, nation-wide bargaining unit composed of RCMP members appointed to a rank as well as reservists. In order to be certified, an RCMP bargaining agent must have as its primary mandate the representation of RCMP members.

Once again, regular members have shown strong support for these provisions. The bill also provides for the exclusion of officers at the inspector level and above from representation.

Lastly, the Public Service Labour Relations and Employment Board will act as the administrative tribunal for matters related to the RCMP bargaining unit, as well as grievances related to the provisions of the collective agreement.

This bill is in line with the government's efforts to restore fair and balanced labour rights in this country. Consider, for example, Bill C-5, which repeals division 20 of Bill C-59, the bill to implement budget 2015, introduced in April of last year by the previous government. That bill gave the government the power to unilaterally override the collective bargaining process and impose a new sick leave system on the public service.

The Public Service Staff Relations Act was first introduced in 1977 in order to give public servants the right to organize and to bargain collectively. Guaranteeing collaborative efforts between the parties is crucial, as is increasing the capacity of the public service to serve and protect the public interest.

Our government has made it abundantly clear that it will not adopt an approach that does not take into account the bargaining process between an employer and a group of employees who want to reach agreements on employment conditions.

By repealing these provisions of Bill C-59, we are demonstrating our respect for the collective bargaining process. We believe in collective bargaining. Today's bill is a testament to our belief in that right. We also believe in fair and balanced labour relations. Unfortunately, over the past few years, many basic labour rights have been undermined.

Consider Bill C-377 and Bill C-525, which will change how unions can be certified or decertified and impose new financial reporting requirements on them.

Those bills were passed absent any of the usual consultation involving employers, unions, and the government, which took place during the Public Service Staff Relations Act reform.

As a result, it is now harder for unions and employers to bargain effectively in good faith. We must ensure that workers are free to organize, bargain collectively in good faith, and ensure safe workplaces for themselves.

To make that happen, the Minister of Employment, Workforce Development and Labour introduced a bill to repeal Bill C-377 and Bill C-525. Bill C-4 restores the bargaining agent certification and decertification processes that were in place before June 16, 2015.

Bill C-4 also amends the Income Tax Act, in order to get rid of unnecessary requirements imposed on labour organizations and labour trusts with regard to filing certain financial information.

As hon. members know, legislative measures are already in place to ensure that unions make that financial information available. Under section 110 of the Canada Labour Code, unions are required to provide financial statements to their members on request and free of charge, which makes these requirements to produce extra reports unnecessary.

The bill being introduced today is consistent with our belief in fair and balanced labour relations. Every other police force in Canada has had the right to engage in collective bargaining for quite some time.

This bill respects that right, while recognizing the particular circumstances of the RCMP as a national police force. It is time for us to give RCMP members and reservists the respect they deserve.

To that end, I am calling on all hon. members to show their support for RCMP members and reservists by voting in favour of this bill.

Business of Supply March 21st, 2016

Madam Speaker, I congratulate the member for Haliburton—Kawartha Lakes—Brock on his excellent speech. The freedom to have this debate is a freedom that is dear to us all.

Do human rights begin and end with religious freedom? Not to me. I agree that the Office of Religious Freedom is inadequate on its own and that the motion therefore does not deserve our support.

Freedom is a puzzle with many pieces in addition to religion. Many kinds of freedoms make up the basic rights that, together, create a truly free society. The Conservatives' motion is not worded in a way that promotes religious freedom, so this is yet another missed opportunity for the opposition.

In my Conservative colleague's opinion, what leadership role might Canada play in the world to ensure equal protection for all freedoms? Are there any freedoms that my colleague would choose not to protect on the international stage?

Business of Supply March 21st, 2016

Mr. Speaker, one of the wonders of freedom is that the member for Calgary Midnapore can challenge our logic with his own logic, and we can have a completely civilized conversation based on fundamental and sometimes irreconcilable philosophical disagreements.

One wonders, then, why that same member has not spent his political capital on the promotion of an office of political freedom. Freedom of the press, of scientific research, and otherwise of personal choices has never been a particular forte for the hon. member or his recent government.

Religious freedom is an important freedom, indeed, a very important freedom, but it is only one freedom in a suite of freedoms that allow a society to define itself as free.

My wife is from the province of Sultan Kudarat on the Island of Mindanao, a place the member referred to. When I was there a few years ago, there was a major bombing only a few cities from where I was staying. The civil war that has existed there for more than a generation is not something that would be addressed by the Office of Religious Freedom either way. It is a red herring in this debate.

Freedom of association and assembly are necessary for the freedom of religion, as well as the freedom of thought, of being political, of reading, of writing, and of communicating on topics of our own interest, of having freedom of debate.

The Office of Religious Freedom is only one piece of the puzzle in defending basic human rights and liberties, but it is a large puzzle with many pieces. Does restricting our protection of human rights internationally to only—

Business of Supply March 21st, 2016

Mr. Speaker, I want to congratulate my colleague on her excellent speech on freedom of religion, its relationship to poverty, and our global commitment as a nation regarding these issues.

The Conservatives want us to continue with their program exactly as it is, without considering the question of freedom of religion as part of a broader human rights issue.

Can the member elaborate a little on why we need to look at freedom of religion through the broader lens of global human rights?

Business of Supply March 21st, 2016

Madam Speaker, Canada's Office of Religious Freedom was just one way of protecting human rights and freedoms around the world.

In my opinion, freedom of religion also includes the freedom to be religious or not. We all have a right to freedom of thought and belief, and we also have the right not to have beliefs. This freedom is a personal choice, as it should be everywhere in the world. I do not think anyone should tell another person what they can or cannot believe when it comes to their own religious thoughts.

Canada sets a good example for other countries on freedoms, and I do not want to disparage Canada's Office of Religious Freedom. However, I would like my colleague to tell us in what other ways we, as a country, can promote human rights and freedoms.

Questions on the Order Paper March 11th, 2016

With regard to the Vessel Operation Restriction Regulations (VORR) and where applicable its Local Authorities’ Guide: (a) what are the details of all applications ever received under Section 4, broken down by (i) date of first contact or initiation of the application, (ii) date of receipt of a completed application, (iii) name and jurisdiction of the local authority making the request, (iv) current status of the application, (v) the file, tracking, or reference numbers of all files, correspondence, and other information relating to the application, including title or subject, authors, and recipients, where applicable; (b) what options do local authorities have to simplify or expedite the handling of applications to implement specific limitations to vessel type or speed, on waters within their territories; and (c) what are the details of all regulations and local modifications currently in force under the VORR broken down by (i) date of change or implementation, (ii) requesting authority, (iii) reason for change, (iv) the file, tracking, or reference numbers of all relevant files, correspondence, and other information, including title or subject, authors, and recipients?

Citizenship Act March 9th, 2016

Mr. Speaker, the member has gone to great lengths to tell us why Bill C-24 was a terrible bill, and I appreciate her support on this issue. The Conservative government went to great lengths to devalue Canadian citizenship, to make Canadians unequal, and to separate Canadians by the age of their stock. The minister warned that revocation of citizenship on the basis of a particular crime is a slippery slope, a sentiment with which I could not agree more.

I have citizenship in two countries and eligibility for citizenship in two more. I have never been to any of those other three countries where I either have or am eligible to have citizenship. My two-year-old daughter has multiple citizenships as well. Among my wife, me, and my daughter, we are either citizens of or are eligible to be citizens of Canada, Ireland, the Philippines, Spain, and Israel. This is the result from being from families of immigrants from all over the world. It does not even list the numerous countries like France, Turkey, Poland, and Australia where I have ancestry but not citizenship.

I am the result of that very Canadian story of immigrants coming from everywhere, getting together, and creating new generations of Canadians. Why should my daughter be subject to a slippery slope whereby she could be stripped of her Canadian citizenship and sent to another country in which she has theoretical eligibility for citizenship, but has never been and may not even have the intention to explore because of breaking that law the particular government has passed? I will ask her in a few years.

What value has Canadian citizenship if we give the government the right to revoke it at will? What is a Canadian if not a Canadian? The member's comments on Bill C-24 are essentially correct, and I want to thank her for helping us on the road to fixing a decade of mistakes by the last government on this file. It is not the only error it made and is not the only one on which we will be seeking help to rectify.