House of Commons photo


Crucial Fact

  • His favourite word was colleague.

Last in Parliament October 2015, as NDP MP for Louis-Hébert (Québec)

Lost his last election, in 2015, with 21% of the vote.

Statements in the House

Quebec Bridge March 25th, 2015

Mr. Speaker, we learned this morning that CN commissioned a study on repainting the Quebec Bridge and that it would cost more than $400 million. That is double what the government thought when it promised $75 million, which, I remind members, is conditional on CN's participation.

Has the minister spoken with CN since the announcement? Did he know that CN was conducting a study? What does he plan on doing with this study? When will the minister finally find a solution and fix the problem once and for all?

Canada Post February 27th, 2015

Mr. Speaker, the Union des municipalités du Québec, which represents 300 municipalities, is considering going to court to contest the end of door-to-door mail delivery and the installation of community mailboxes. Mayors are sick and tired of the government cavalierly taking action without consulting them.

Will the government listen to reason and restore door-to-door mail delivery?

Quebec Bridge February 24th, 2015

Mr. Speaker, the former president of the Quebec City chamber of commerce has clearly stated that the federal government is responsible for the mess in the Quebec Bridge affair and that the federal government has to pay.

Who messed up the contract in 1995? The Liberals. Who went to court and lost? The Conservatives.

While the Conservatives are trying to throw the ball back into CN's court, the people of Quebec City are still waiting.

Will the Prime Minister finally keep his promise? I repeat, will he keep his promise and get the Quebec Bridge repainted?

Parliamentary Precinct Security February 16th, 2015

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

Once again, it is a question of the separation of powers, that is, the ability of each branch to act freely and independently in order to ensure the balance that is essential to our Parliament and our operations.

It is important to recognize that the people who ensure our safety play an important role not only because of what they do, but also because of what they represent. Those are your agents, Mr. Speaker. They work for you and they help ensure order and security within the precincts of Parliament. They do an extraordinary job.

Since I have been here, I have gotten to know them and like them. They deserve better than this government motion.

Parliamentary Precinct Security February 16th, 2015

Mr. Speaker, I would like to thank my colleague from Beauport—Limoilou for his question.

He is obviously alluding to the separation of powers. Our current system is quite appropriate in that Parliament's security service is independent. The RCMP is responsible for security outside the building. Therefore, we already have a record of co-ordination and recognition as part of this Parliament's history and tradition.

By adopting this motion, the government is breaking with Canadian parliamentary tradition. Did the members of decades past really go down the wrong path by maintaining this distinction? I do not think so, and I prefer to rely on their wisdom rather than follow the government's new path.

Parliamentary Precinct Security February 16th, 2015

Mr. Speaker, hockey season is in full swing. In June, one team will win the Stanley Cup. Imagine if come September, all those players end up in the American league. No, my comment is not out of order; I will speak to the motion and you will see what I am getting at.

I am wondering what the hurry is. This motion is not the result of a recommendation by the joint advisory working group on security. In fact, the group was not even ready to make its recommendations. We know where it is heading and that is fine. However, the Conservative motion has been expedited and we should know where we are going with it. The motion states that this new system will be enforced without delay, although we have no idea how things will actually work. It is sort of a blank cheque. The members on the front benches have not told us where we are heading with this motion. The Lord only knows, but I sure do not.

There have been many speeches concerning security-related incidents on Parliament Hill. Each time, the NDP mentioned how important it is to co-ordinate the work of everyone involved. This is nothing new and we continue to believe that. Ultimately, what we are doing on this side of the House, Mr. Speaker, is defending your powers. We want the existing security services to continue to maintain order on the Hill. Despite the good work done by the RCMP on the ground, we do not want control over this work to be taken away from Parliament Hill's security services. It is not very complicated.

Some members on the other side have said that the changes are insignificant. There is nothing insignificant about directly changing how orders are managed, reported and given. The government is interfering with this Parliament's freedom to work independently. Some will say that I am paranoid. However, one day, Mr. Speaker, you may no longer have the right to say “Order”, because that will be someone else's responsibility.

I said at the start that we support the integrated co-ordination of security. Evidently, our security services need better integration, better co-ordination, better communications, better equipment and better training. In short, they need resources, training and tools. We do not need to change everything. We have learned some lessons from the events that took place. We want to improve the processes and we want to do something worthwhile. Nevertheless, there is no need to change everything. We can do all of this without necessarily turning everything upside down, as the government wants to do with this motion.

Furthermore, this would be a lot to ask of the RCMP. On the one hand, we would be asking them to do their job on the ground, and on the other hand, we would be asking them to ensure the security of Parliament Hill. Who would the RCMP report to? To the Minister of Public Safety, of course. That is the hierarchy, and it is only natural for RCMP officers to think so. That is part of their training. Incidentally, our former sergeant-at-arms was a former RCMP officer, but he worked in the context of the House. There is no reason not to continue working in this fashion, only with better tools. The RCMP is not a security agency. It is much more than that. RCMP officers do an excellent job on the ground and they should continue to do the work they excel at. On this side of the House, we do not want officers to have to do things that they are not trained to do and that they do not necessarily want to do either. With the kind of training they are given, they can do other things besides act as security guards.

The government's motion was based on the Governor General's report, but the report talked only about integrating, without saying how. What is more, the government has never said what it is trying to accomplish. Will handing the whole thing over to the RCMP improve things? I have yet to hear anyone across the way tell us what we stand to gain from this.

They say that the government will ensure that the staff currently assigned to parliamentary security will keep their jobs, but no one seems to know how that will work or whether all the jobs will be kept. When a security guard retires, will he be replaced by an RCMP officer?

The security guards are worried about their futures, and the future of their group. Let us not forget that. We have to think about the impact our actions will have on other people. The government wants to improve Parliament's security, and everyone in the House agrees on that. However, we cannot go about this in any old way and forget what was done in the past.

During the sad events of October 22, these guards gave us their all, and we recognized that here when we gave them a lengthy ovation. Despite that, a few months later, the government is now moving this motion. Let us put ourselves in their shoes. They must think that their actions have already been forgotten and are not worth very much. It is extremely unfortunate that the Conservatives seem to want to move on with something else to solve a problem.

Mr. Speaker, this calls to mind the expression, “you do your job and I'll do mine”. It is very important for everyone to have a specific role in providing security to Parliament. We currently have different groups that provide security here and that provide security for all those who visit Parliament on a daily basis. We are talking about the security of not just parliamentarians, but also visitors. That is how Parliament can be open to visitors.

This motion represents an arbitrary decision. It is unfortunate that the government did not wait for the findings set out in the report of the joint security committee. The government ignored the separation of powers and used the tragic events of October 22 to advance its own agenda instead of trying to resolve the fundamental problems.

Our security officers are dedicated. They have proven their courage and bravery. They do not deserve what is happening to their profession. Their service won them the Stanley Cup. I do not think they should be sent down to an American league.

Quebec Bridge February 16th, 2015

Mr. Speaker, last week, the Prime Minister was on tour in Quebec City. He put in a brief appearance at Carnaval, but once again, he did not have anything tangible to offer: nothing for the tall ships and no progress on the Quebec Bridge file. Seeing the Prime Minister sign a Valentine's day card for the Quebec Bridge was just pathetic. Sooner or later, in politics as in love, sweet-talking will only get you so far, then you have to put your money where your mouth is.

The Prime Minister promised the people of Quebec City that he would repaint the bridge. Will he finally keep that promise?

Victims Bill of Rights Act February 4th, 2015

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

He said that, yes, we have a bill of rights, but it also needs the commensurate resources to accomplish anything. Knowing this government, we might see good intentions, but no real measures to achieve the desired goal.

I would like my colleague to talk to us about the need to add resources immediately to ensure that the spirit of the bill of rights is respected and that people can truly benefit from it.

Victims Bill of Rights Act February 4th, 2015

Mr. Speaker, this is the 86th time they are using measures to speed up legislation. That is not something to be proud of. The minister himself said that everything was going well. The process was going well, then all of a sudden, here we are with these urgency measures. Why is this so urgent? Why are they doing this?

Is this really a democracy if the government refuses to complete a process that, by the minister's own admission, is working well?

If everything is going so well, as he says, why the sudden urgency? Is this a new way of governing that has become the norm over the past few years under this government? Is the minister unable to see that things are going well and that we can continue to do the work properly, which is what people expect of us?

Protection of Canada from Terrorists Act January 30th, 2015

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

She mentioned something that I believe is critical to democracy. When a power is granted, there must be control over it. We need a balanced approach between security and the ability to make sure that there are no abuses once that power is granted.

I would like my colleague to comment further on the need for a balance between granting powers to ensure security and the ability to ensure that there are no abuses of those powers.