House of Commons photo

Crucial Fact

  • His favourite word was industry.

Last in Parliament December 2017, as Liberal MP for Chicoutimi—Le Fjord (Québec)

Won his last election, in 2015, with 31% of the vote.

Statements in the House

Business of Supply October 19th, 2017

Madam Speaker, I thank my colleague. In addition to the investments we are making and the enthusiasm we are creating, there is one man in my region, mayor Gilles Potvin, who encourages economic development and supports my positive message. He launched the “We Are the Forest” campaign throughout Lac-Saint-Jean to show that, contrary to what we keep hearing from the parties opposite, Quebec's forestry industry has a very bright future.

Business of Supply October 19th, 2017

Madam Speaker, I thank my colleague for giving me an opportunity to explain what I do on the ground to help my region, Saguenay—Lac-Saint-Jean.

This week, I met with Unifor representatives to discuss the imminent reopening of the waferboard plant in Chambord. Members know that I always speak positively about the forestry sector because I have 25 years of experience in that area, as opposed to some of my colleagues opposite who are always talking it down whenever they speak in public.

This kind of attitude is making it increasingly difficult to encourage our young people to become involved in forestry and receive training in that field. My daughter and her spouse, who are both civil engineers with forestry training, wonder if they will have to leave the region and find work abroad because they are afraid of not being able to hold on to their jobs.

Eventually, my colleagues will have to realize that their negativity has an impact on the future of the forestry sector in Quebec and Canada.

Business of Supply October 19th, 2017

Madam Speaker, I thank my colleague for his question. Obviously, the forestry sector is important for my riding. It is written in my DNA.

I remind my colleague that I am a mechanical engineer who dedicated 25 years of his life to the development of the forestry sector. About 7 or 8 years ago, I submitted an investment proposal of around $20 million in solid biofuels to the minister responsible for my region at the time.

What feedback did I get? No one returned my calls. I will not take any advice from the party opposite on this matter.

Business of Supply October 19th, 2017

Mr. Speaker, I want to let you know that I will be sharing my time with the member for Surrey Centre.

I would also like to thank the member for Richmond—Arthabaska for moving today's motion, which is timely and important, especially for my province's forestry industry in light of the impact that the softwood lumber dispute with the United States continues to have and the many ways in which our government is helping the industry transform at the dawn of the clean growth century.

Quebec's forests have helped define our province and its people for quite some time now, and with good reason. Two-thirds of our province's territory is forested, and thanks to prudent management and the natural diversity of our forests, the Quebec forestry sector has carved out an important place in our social, economic, and cultural traditions. Surprisingly, despite these deep roots, it was not until the 1820s that a provincial forestry management regime was created with the collection of royalties on softwood lumber harvested on crown lands. At the beginning of the 20th century, our forestry sector changed course somewhat with the development of pulp and paper.

Its spinoffs extend to every corner of the province today. This industry employs approximately 65,000 Quebeckers and exports nearly $10 billion in forestry products every year. From softwood lumber to cardboard and veneer, as well as pulp and paper, the forestry sector is the main employer in many Quebec municipalities. Softwood lumber is essential to this sector. In Quebec, about one in six forestry workers is employed by the softwood lumber industry, which generates nearly a quarter of all Canadian softwood lumber exports, which nearly all go the American market.

That is why the imposition of anti-dumping and countervailing duties, which total an average of 26.75%, is a serious threat to our province's softwood lumber industry. That is why our government is doing everything in its power to resolve this issue and negotiate a deal that is fair for all.

We will vigorously defend Canada's softwood lumber industry against these unfair duties, including through litigation, and we expect to prevail as we have in the past. At the same time, we continue to support Canada's softwood lumber sector by introducing an $867-million action plan to strengthen the industry, support its workers, and diversify the uses and markets for Canadian wood and wood products.

This action plan includes loans, loan guarantees, and other financial services for the industry under the Business Development Bank of Canada and Export Development Canada; access to the work-sharing program to help employers and employees protect existing jobs; funding to provinces to help affected workers; new funding for the indigenous forestry initiative to support indigenous participation in economic development activities; extending the investments in forestry industry transformation program and the forest innovation program to support the development of next-generation Canadian wood products; and access to the expanding market opportunities program, which increases market opportunities for Canadian wood and expands wood use in construction.

We firmly believe in the Canadian forestry industry's abilities. We are determined to help the industry and its workers meet the challenges they are facing and come out stronger than ever. Our confidence in the industry comes from its ability to innovate and adapt to the clean growth economy. As the Minister of Natural Resources mentioned, there can be no global solution to climate change without the forestry sector. Why? The reason is that it is the only resource sector that takes carbon out of the air. Canadian forests are the lungs of the planet. That is why we are making strategic investments in this industry, including in several initiatives in Quebec that are the first of their kind in North America and the world.

For example, through the investments in forest industry transformation program, we have already made significant investments three Quebec projects that help support a side of the forestry industry that is perhaps less well known and that achieves some rather unexpected results. In Thurso, we invested $9 million in the Fortress Speciality Cellulose mill to support the creation of the first mill in North America that uses birch to manufacture dissolving pulp, a substance that is used in a wide variety of applications, such as automotive components, clothing, and even medical equipment.

This investment will save over 300 jobs, reduce energy and production costs, and is just one more example of how economic prosperity and environmental protection go hand in hand.

Similarly, in the Masson-Angers sector, we invested $10 million to help S.E.C Papier Masson WB implement a new technology for producing a wood fibre for the production of wood-plastic composites, the first project of its kind in North America.

These wood-plastic composites will replace non-renewable polymers and will have a wide range of applications, such as the inside panels of car doors.

With these investments, the plant will be able to maintain over 110 local jobs and create new ones, while reducing its energy consumption by 15%.

The third investment is in a company called Bioénergie AE Côte-Nord Canada in Port-Cartier, where our $44.5-million contribution will help with the construction of a commercial facility, the first of its kind in the world, that uses a technology specifically designed to convert forestry waste into a sort of renewable fuel.

This fuel will be a greener alternative to fossil fuels, and could reduce greenhouse gas emissions by up to 90% compared to conventional fuel sources. It will have many different applications, including heating and transport.

With our government's support, forestry companies like the three I just mentioned invest in research, develop new products, and find new marketing opportunities. The Origine project in the Pointe-aux-Lièvres eco-district in Quebec City opened just last month thanks to a $1.2 million investment from our government. It is the highest residential condominium tower made of solid wood in North America. This 12-storey structure built on a one-storey high concrete footing is mostly made of cross-laminated timber panels, a technology that pushes the technical limits of wood construction and takes wood to new heights. By the way, all the wood used in this project stores 2,065 tonnes of carbon.

That is our vision for the forestry sector of tomorrow, a vision in which forestry is a high value-added, high-tech sector, a leader in innovation, and a key player in the fight against climate change.

Unfortunately, the motion before us makes no mention of these kinds of initiatives. Instead, it is all about finger pointing and, in my view, all comes down to petty politics.

I will vote against the motion because we have much more important things to do. We want to support an industry that, through innovation and clean technology, and given the worldwide trend and the urgent need around the globe for everything having to do with wood, will help Canada pave the way for the low-carbon economy of tomorrow.

I am proud to say that Quebec is front and centre in these efforts.

Naturallia 2017 October 19th, 2017

Mr. Speaker, you cannot imagine how proud I am of my friend Guy Larouche, the mayor of Roberval, for taking up the challenge of hosting the 2017 edition of the prestigious Naturallia business forum in his wonderful city of Roberval. It is the largest forum for businesses in the natural resources field and major projects in Canada. I am proud to have fully supported him in this extraordinary adventure, which is coming to an end today.

I have admired the success of this event from afar, as well as the quality of the 650 participants that showcased Lac-Saint-Jean and all our leaders in the natural resources sector.

Our forestry industry, our aluminium industry, our mining sector, and our technologies of the future were all very well represented at the forum.

Congratulations to all the organizers on this extraordinary success.

Telecommunications October 18th, 2017

Mr. Speaker, access to reliable, broadband Internet service is very important in today's economy. It is important for every aspect of daily life.

However, many regions in our country, especially our rural and remote regions, are still lacking good Internet connections. Even my riding, Chicoutimi—Le Fjord, does not have the necessary infrastructure to support broadband Internet service. That is why I was pleased with our government's announcement regarding the connect to innovate program, which will help resolve this problem.

Can our Prime Minister provide the House with an update on this important matter for Canadians?

Health October 2nd, 2017

Mr. Speaker, Sunday was National Seniors Day. Seniors face unique challenges in our society, including health-related challenges.

Can the Parliamentary Secretary to the Minister of Health tell the House how his department is helping seniors live healthier lives?

National Forest Week September 25th, 2017

Mr. Speaker, today I am pleased to draw attention to National Forest Week, an opportunity to celebrate the natural beauty of our forests and the environmental, social, and economic benefits they bestow upon us.

I encourage all members to read the 27th annual report entitled “The State of Canada's Forests”, which will be out this week. The report highlights our commitment to economic growth and environmental protection against the backdrop of Canada's 150th anniversary as a forest nation.

Thanks to its investment in world-class science and innovation, the Government of Canada is working to boost the forestry sector's competitive edge and grow and diversify markets for Canadian forest products.

National Defence May 5th, 2017

Madam Speaker, as the Minister of National Defence has often said in the House, we want to ensure that the military has the tools, resources, and support to carry out the missions they are tasked with.

Can the Parliamentary Secretary to the Minister of National Defence give us an example of how the government plans to achieve its objective of establishing a modern, more flexible, and better-equipped military to meet the challenges of today and tomorrow?

International Trade April 6th, 2017

Mr. Speaker, while the Conservative Party is debating the merits of Canada's supply management system, our party fully understands that this system is a model of stability that provides fair prices for farmers, stability for processors, and safe, high-quality products at reasonable prices for consumers. We know that this system supports farm families and rural communities across the country.

Could the Minister of Agriculture tell us what the Conservative plan to eliminate supply management would mean for Canadian farmers and farm families?