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Crucial Fact

  • His favourite word was quebec.

Last in Parliament June 2013, as Liberal MP for Bourassa (Québec)

Won his last election, in 2011, with 41% of the vote.

Statements in the House

Faster Removal of Foreign Criminals Act January 30th, 2013

Mr. Speaker, I too was once the immigration minister. I do not need any lectures on how we are defending criminals to the detriment of victims.

We are all here to do a good job. We are all here to ensure that we live in a safe environment. However, the role of a member of Parliament, of a parliamentarian, is to ask all the relevant questions to make sure that this law does not end up the subject of court cases and to avoid additional problems. One thing we have to wonder about is whether a permanent resident is protected by the Charter of Rights and Freedoms. These are questions we should be asking ourselves.

What is important today is to avoid using demagoguery to say that it is good people against bad. As parliamentarians, we have a duty to all our communities to ask the right questions and to take the time needed to go all the way.

What is the minister afraid of? Why does he not want to debate the bill? The bill will be passed regardless since the government has a majority. So why not give parliamentarians the time to do their job right?

Faster Removal of Foreign Criminals Act January 30th, 2013

Mr. Speaker, I would like for us to talk about Bill C-43 but instead we are talking about a motion to limit debate. We therefore must talk about debate procedure. I think the Standing Orders are clear. It is a matter of relevance and the member should stick to the issue of the motion rather than the content of Bill C-43.

National Defence December 12th, 2012

Mr. Speaker, the only thing about the F-35 that is working is the ejector seat because, since the Minister of National Defence sat on it, he has been missing in action. The fighter jets are clearly not the only thing that can be stealthy around here.

It is not complicated. The F-35s were supposed to cost $9 billion. This amount increased to $29 billion and now they are going to cost $40 billion or $45 billion. We should have had $9 billion in economic spinoffs, but now we will not even break even.

When will the Prime Minister do the honourable thing by kicking his minister out of cabinet and replacing him?

National Defence December 7th, 2012

Mr. Speaker, I never thought that the Parliamentary Secretary to the Minister of Public Works would be overexposed here in the House.

The cynics would say that both sides of this record sound the same. I hardly know what he will do.

Once again, I will try to ask a question of the Minister of National Defence, who has a lovely, happy smile and cannot answer questions.

Is he going to apologize to Canadians for having fooled them? Are the Conservative Pinocchios on the other side going to apologize and tell us how much they have fooled the public?

National Defence December 7th, 2012

Mr. Speaker, it is sad that we no longer have a defence minister. We have only Lockheed Martin's salesperson of the month. If he has nothing to say, then this must be true.

It is appalling because this government has not only acted in a shameful manner but has also proven its incompetence. What is more, the government has shown its lack of integrity with regard to the management of public finances. There is only one thing left to do: if the minister has any honour left, he must stand up, apologize and resign as defence minister.

Old Port of Montreal Corporation November 30th, 2012

Mr. Speaker, we are going to ask him to take a break. He is reading too much.

I am going to ask the same question of the minister responsible for Montreal. Maybe he will give me an answer.

As the New Democratic Party reiterated earlier, we know full well that the Canada Lands Company's mandate is to sell properties, to sell assets, and to make money, while the Old Port of Montreal Corporation's mandate is to protect the waterfront and our heritage.

Is the minister responsible for Montreal prepared to negotiate an agreement with the City of Montreal so that, for its 375th anniversary, it can protect its crown jewel? The Canada Lands Company sells properties. We want to protect the waterfront. We do not want any condos built there.

Old Port of Montreal Corporation November 30th, 2012

Mr. Speaker, yesterday, the Minister of Public Works said that, for over a year now, she has been considering whether the Old Port Corporation should be placed under the stewardship of the Canada Lands Company. Yet, six months ago, on May 12, I asked the Conservatives' friend Gerry Weiner, the chair of the Old Port of Montreal Corporation, the same question and he said that this was a completely hypothetical question and that it was not possible.

And so, the question is simple. Who is telling the truth: the minister or the former minister? Why did they not wait for the Auditor General's results in the spring? Was the audit for nothing? Was it just to buy time?

Jobs and Growth Act, 2012 November 29th, 2012

They abandoned us, Mr. Speaker. Those members abandoned Canadians and that is bad because it has created a precedent they will have to live with. We have a saying in French, “Power is like booze; not everybody can handle it”.

We have an issue now because we have a majority government and the official opposition has clearly said that time can be limited. I do not care if I have to stay here on Christmas Eve, because my role is to protect Canadians. My role is to make sure that I am doing my job and I will do everything to make sure that I protect them. However, now the government is using this kind of procedure.

This is doing things in haste. When that is the case, mistakes are made. When mistakes are made, they get sent to the other chamber. The other chamber has to make amendments. And then, we have witnesses tell us we have enacted bad bills. After that, we can talk about questioning our country’s constitution. And then, we can say there will be legal proceedings.

Our role means that we should not be in a hurry. Someone once said that the way to get a flower to grow faster is not to pull on it. With this kind of bill, it is essential to take the time that is needed, particularly when we are talking about the environment, about regional development, about credits, about investment tax credits, about the very definition of navigation, and all that. We can agree.

There are parts of this bill with which we agree entirely, but as a whole, there are things that we do not like and must vote for or against while holding our noses. That is not how politics works. There have been omnibus bills in the past. I was a member of the government that produced bills like that, but they were not mammoth bills including everything but the kitchen sink.

There are some things that are incomprehensible. It is true that the Conservatives love to abuse power, but how can we be expected to vote quickly on a 414-page bill containing 516 clauses?

I thank the other chamber, which has done its job. One need only think of Bill C-10 on censorship, which contained approximately 600 pages, and a tiny clause was nevertheless located. Senators did their job and this created a situation where the role of our own culture and artists was being redefined.

Why has the NDP got into bed with the government? Why are the New Democrats being all holier than thou? Tartuffe said: “cover up that bosom which I cannot endure to look upon.” My colleagues are, unfortunately, being a little hypocritical. I have a lot of respect for my colleagues, but after a year, I imagine that they must be gaining some experience, and are starting to understand how things work around here. You cannot just say things like that.

I understand that there is a party line to be towed and that they are being told that they must not associate with the evil Liberals because they oppose them, but at some point, one must set partisanship aside. If they truly want to stand up for the interests of Canadians, procedure is also important.

The problem is that this bill does not just deal with financial matters. We also have a Prime Minister and a Minister of Finance who are at odds. The Minister of Finance claimed that it was important to balance the budget, and now, they are singing a different tune. Things are changing around the world. They are spinning their wheels and that is extremely worrisome.

When we operate like that, it casts doubt on our own identity as Canadians and the way we do things.What type of country do we want to live in? We cannot just pack up on December 14 because we are eager to get home for the holidays. We were elected for a reason, and it is called parliamentary responsibility. Every time we are unable to do our work, it leads to cynicism. It is all very well to get into heated arguments and to shout out "my father is stronger than your father". The members, including the official opposition, need to explain why they voted with the government. That is what worries me as a parliamentarian.

We can no longer get to the heart of the matter because there is a time limit, and it is impossible to solve the world's problems in 10 minutes. However, people need to understand that because the official opposition allowed a majority Conservative government to do whatever it wanted, that government will do so every year. Unfortunately, our government thinks that the best way to govern is to govern as little as possible. It says that more services and less red tape are needed. What this means is that in the minds of Conservatives, a government is not a catalyst.

I am a member of the Standing Committee on Transport, and they came to see us because we had some matters that had to be dealt with. According to them, we should let things go and see how they work, and whether they work, before investing. On the other hand, governments need to play a support role. Governments are there to create an environment that is conducive to investment and to protect those who are less well off. When things begin to move too quickly and compromise democracy, people turn less and less towards Parliament; that is what you get.

Yvon Deschamps said, “what is it good for?” And people will now ask, “what are members of Parliament good for?” We are not here simply to cut ribbons and get our pictures in the local newspaper. We are the keepers of this democracy. That is what the official opposition and the government have failed to do.

We have worked hard, and we will continue to do so to protect people's interests.

Jobs and Growth Act, 2012 November 29th, 2012

Mr. Speaker, let us take care of business. I have an advantage: I have been here nearly 16 years. I have seen things from both sides. I have got along pretty well. From here, I now have a better overall view. I have to admit that I find this sad, and even unacceptable. We have a bill with something like 516 clauses that deals with a number of bills. It is introduced in catch-all form, which ultimately means that the public, and we, their representatives, do not have a chance to really shed light on each bill. So there is something that is not working in our democracy. It is called an abuse of power.

I am certainly very sad to see the contribution by the NDP, who are jeering and trying to ditch the Conservatives. Some people have said 3,000 amendments was superficial. No, it is giving democracy a chance to express itself. We are the same people who recently spent the night together. We remember that. There were several hundred amendments that time. Why did we do it? To define this government. We call that consistency. If we want to give democracy a chance to express itself and if we want to show just how much this government is abusing power and just how antidemocratic it is, then we have to play the game to the very end. When we are at a finance committee meeting and we make all the motions and propose all the amendments possible, it is to define this government.

Unfortunately, the official opposition has painted itself into a corner. The New Democrats can call the government whatever they like, but they have created a dangerous precedent. Unfortunately, the New Democrats, working together with the Conservative Party, have created this precedent that a majority party will be able to do what it wants from now on. They could have stood up and spoken out for their fellow Canadians. This is not a matter of partisanship; it is a matter of how democracy works. Unfortunately, the NDP voted with the Conservative Party.

He is signalling to me there, my young colleague from Montmorency—Charlevoix—Haute-Côte-Nord, but those are the facts. They are going to have to explain that inconsistency, because in a democracy, procedure is essential. This bill is not just an omnibus bill, it is not just a mammoth bill, it is not just a catch-all bill; it is a way of defining parliamentary democracy.

That is what is important, and I have said it in both official languages because I am a proud Canadian and proud Quebecker and I can speak in both official languages.

Democracy is not about making it fast. Democracy is about giving us time as legislators to make sure that we can look through every article in every piece of legislation, because our role is to enhance the quality of life and protect those who are in need. It is also to make sure that we fight inequities, to make sure that people in rural Canada are also treated as first-class citizens. However, to do that we have to know procedure. Here, my colleague put forward 3,000 amendments, but did not do so for nothing. It was to define the current government. It was to make sure that we understand what Parliament and democracy are all about.

We have an official opposition that I do not understand. We spent nights together for God's sake and now that party has totally changed.

Jobs and Growth Act, 2012 November 29th, 2012

Mr. Speaker, I rise on a point of order as there is a case for relevance. I would urge the member to talk about the subject at hand, which is the budget.