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Crucial Fact

  • His favourite word was years.

Last in Parliament October 2015, as NDP MP for Montmagny—L'Islet—Kamouraska—Rivière-du-Loup (Québec)

Lost his last election, in 2015, with 24% of the vote.

Statements in the House

Regional Economic Development March 9th, 2015

Mr. Speaker, from 2010 to 2014, the Economic Development Agency for the Regions of Quebec failed to use $131 million.

While employment is in decline and the retail and manufacturing sectors need help in modernizing, the government has been sitting on money voted by Parliament.

Why is the minister trying to save money at the expense of the economic development of Quebec's regions? Will he at least commit to using all the money voted by Parliament for that purpose this year?

2015 Telus Cup March 9th, 2015

Mr. Speaker, Rivière-du-Loup is hosting the 2015 Telus Cup, the National Midget Championship of Canada. From April 20 to 26, the best AAA midget team players from Quebec, the Atlantic and Pacific regions and central and western Canada will be welcomed by one of the proudest and best organized communities in the country.

Whether during the first Quebec Games in 1971, or during the Canadian speed skating championship in 1982, Rivière-du-Loup has shown that successfully hosting elite athletes is part of its DNA. Numerous NHL players have participated in the National Midget Championship since it was created in 1974. Among them, there were 55 first-round draft picks, which speaks to the national interest in this event.

What is more, the Collège Notre-Dame de Rivière-du-Loup team, the Albatros, will take part in the tournament. The intensity of the team's players and team captain Raphaël Bastille, who finished first among the top goal scorers of Quebec's AAA midget league, promise great hope.

Congratulations to all the members of the event's organizing committee. Thank you to the players' families and the countless volunteers who will make the tournament a success. In closing, good luck to the Albatros.

Employment February 27th, 2015

Mr. Speaker, enough with the completely lame answers. That makes no sense.

Not only has the Quebec economic development program lost 27% of its funding, but the business development program of the Federal Economic Development Agency for Southern Ontario has lost 15% of its funding.

The government must understand that it has a very poor economic track record. Last year the Lower St. Lawrence lost 14,000 jobs in the retail sector alone. It seems that the government wants to make things worse with these cuts.

Does the minister realize that our regions need help and that these cuts will result in job losses for families and the middle class?

Social Development February 26th, 2015

Mr. Speaker, at least we are taking a small step in the right direction.

Clearly, someone in the government did some research into the findings of the Delâge report. This is a small step in the right direction, but it is not enough. Hiding behind the absolutely essential principles of the national building code contributes nothing to this issue.

I explained previously that a seniors residence owners group proposed a very simple solution. The solution is to allow residences with fewer than 50 housing units to have access to a CMHC loan guarantee. That way, those with a dozen or so housing units would have access to loan guarantees. This is a tangible measure that will not drain the public purse.

Could my colleague tell me whether the government might consider the request by the residence owners group? They will be making major investments in the short term, in the coming years, to improve safety for some of our most vulnerable seniors in Canada.

Social Development February 26th, 2015

Mr. Speaker, this evening I am following up on a question I asked on February 17. I will remind anyone who is kindly watching CPAC at this late hour of my question:

Since the CMHC was involved in building and renovating assisted-living housing for frail senior citizens, could the Minister of Employment and Social Development tell us whether he has read the report and what measures will be taken to help the owners of seniors' residences cover the costs related to sprinkler installation?

When I asked that question on February 17, the reaction from the ministers was shocking. It was clear that no one was prepared to answer the question. It was rather disarming. The Minister of State for Science and Technology essentially told me that the provinces had access to programs. It would be hard to come up with a lazier and more meaningless answer.

This question is a relevant one. As we know, L'Isle-Verte has seen a lot of human pain. Since I represent this town, I have unfortunately witnessed this first-hand. L'Isle-Verte was devastated by a fire that killed a number of seniors. It was a profound tragedy.

Nearly a year later, the Delâge report has revealed some important findings. They are relevant not only at the provincial level, but at the federal level too. The report states, for instance, that seniors residences with more than 10 housing units need to be given financial support so they can install sprinklers, and that should become a standard.

Following the release of the Delâge report, the spokesperson for the Regroupement québécois des résidences pour aînés, Yves Desjardins, had this to say:

Soon after the release of the Delâge report, we made it clear that we did not want this report to be shelved and that immediate action must be taken in order to prevent another tragedy like the one that occurred in L'Isle-Verte.

I could not have said it better myself. We have a collective duty to do something in the wake of such a tragedy. In Quebec alone, over 700 seniors residences need to invest in the installation of sprinkler systems in order to keep our seniors safe.

This ties in directly with CMHC and calls by the Regroupement québécois des résidences pour aînés. For example, residences with 50 housing units or more can apply to a CMHC program for a loan guarantee. However, residences that have between 10 and 50 units, which is in line with the recommendations of the Delâge report, cannot apply to that program.

Instead of just making sure the Prime Minister attended the ceremony after the tragedy, the federal government should have heeded the Delâge report recommendations and done the necessary follow-up, which would have been the compassionate thing to do. It should have been ready to talk to Canadians about the possible changes CMHC might make in order to provide better support for the owners of seniors residences, in accordance with the findings of the Delâge report.

Again, we are talking about seniors with reduced mobility, some of the most fragile Canadians. This evening, I hope to get the beginnings of a constructive response that is useful to this debate.

Social Development February 17th, 2015

Mr. Speaker, following the Delâge report on the tragic fire in L'Isle-Verte, the Quebec government announced that the installation of sprinklers would be mandatory in almost all seniors' residences.

Since the CMHC was involved in building and renovating assisted-living housing for frail senior citizens, could the Minister of Employment and Social Development tell us whether he has read the report and what measures will be taken to help the owners of seniors' residences cover the costs related to sprinkler installation?

These are seniors we are talking about, the most vulnerable members of our society. I would greatly appreciate a relevant answer to my question.

Parliamentary Precinct Security February 16th, 2015

Mr. Speaker, I wonder what my colleague who just addressed the House thinks about an extremely troubling, weak comment made by his Conservative colleague.

When one of my colleagues suggested that perhaps the RCMP should not be responsible for managing the security of Parliament, the Conservative member described that as a terrible affront to the RCMP, as though we were denigrating it and that was terrible.

That is so far out of line that this kind of behaviour could even cause diplomatic incidents, considering that American parliamentarians decided to have independent security in their buildings, even though the Americans have a state police, the FBI, and all kinds of extremely effective national structures.

Is my colleague trying to say that the Americans are showing contempt for their national forces with that decision? Is that what the Conservatives are saying? Do they realize how absurd their argument is?

Parliamentary Precinct Security February 16th, 2015

Mr. Speaker, I heard a comment from the other side that was both shocking and disappointing. The member compared us in the House to sitting ducks, waiting to be killed by hunters.

This is related to my colleague's comments about how we need to stop seeing the House as a dangerous, unprotected place and how we need to stop exploiting this false panic.

Could my colleague talk more about the importance of not playing the game being played by this government? I would appreciate it.

Petitions February 16th, 2015

Mr. Speaker, in the fall 2014 session, the NDP moved a motion in the House calling for parliamentarians to reject the Port of Cacouna oil terminal project. A petition was circulated in that regard, stating that the project is not at all in keeping with the principles of sustainable development.

Therefore, I have a few hundred signatures to add to the tens of thousands of names already on the petition, which have been made public by a great many organizations across Quebec. This project is not socially acceptable.

I am pleased to present the views of many Quebeckers.

Privilege February 5th, 2015

Mr. Speaker, today I am rising on the question of privilege that I raised yesterday about access to the Centre Block. Today I received a fully satisfactory explanation and apology from the security services. They confirmed that parliamentarians' right of access is the top priority for parliamentary security officers carrying out their duties. They apologized for what happened.

I would like to let you know that as far as I am concerned, this matter is resolved because I am completely satisfied with the explanation I received from the security services about the incident that took place yesterday.