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Crucial Fact

  • His favourite word was conservatives.

Last in Parliament October 2015, as NDP MP for Laval—Les Îles (Québec)

Lost his last election, in 2015, with 20% of the vote.

Statements in the House

Laval—Les Îles May 27th, 2015

Mr. Speaker, today I would like to take this opportunity to thank my fellow citizens and organizations in my riding, Laval—Les Îles, for their support and for placing their trust in me to represent them here over the past four years.

I would like to say to community organizations, their employees and their volunteers that their determination, compassion and involvement have truly inspired me and pushed me to work even harder to help my fellow citizens achieve a better life day after day.

I would like to thank my fellow citizens for their support. No matter who they are, I want them to know that I intend to keep fighting every day to build a better Canada for all of them. That is the promise I made four years ago, and I plan to keep it for the next four years.

However, this time, I will be keeping that promise as part of a New Democratic government that will work for Canadians and their interests. I will be part of a government that truly represents them, a government that will give them a voice.

We will be back here on October 20, together and ready to change the world.

Canada Post May 15th, 2015

Mr. Speaker, the government has a choice: it can tell Canada Post to go back to the drawing board.

Mayor Coderre is furious. He described this as a unilateral decision by Canada Post and said that the consultation that was promised is nothing but hot air. The mayor of Laval even tried to work together with Canada Post, but to no avail. Over 500 municipalities are denouncing Canada Post's decision.

Will the minister ever take responsibility and call for a moratorium?

Canada Post April 1st, 2015

Mr. Speaker, the City of Laval wants a moratorium on the installation of community mailboxes.

Residents are outraged by the lack of public consultation, and the mayor of Laval deplores the one-way communications from Canada Post. Over 200 municipalities have now spoken out against Canada Post's attitude.

Will the government honour the City of Laval's request or will it plough ahead with the installation of community boxes?

Petitions March 27th, 2015

Mr. Speaker, I am pleased to rise today to present a petition signed by hundreds of my constituents. They are calling on the government to adopt international aid policies that support small farmers, so that they can preserve and freely use their seeds.

50th Anniversary of Laval March 27th, 2015

Mr. Speaker, I am pleased to rise in the House today to mark the 50th anniversary of the city of Laval, the city where I was born and raised and worked, the city I currently have the good fortune of representing in the House of Commons. Laval is also the hometown of the next Prime Minister of Canada, the hon. member for Outremont and leader of the official opposition.

This summer, more than ever, Laval will be the place to be. Laval's residents, its artistic and cultural diversity, its artists and its local merchants have helped the city to make its mark from the past to the present and become an example to follow. The people of Laval are supportive, committed, determined and welcoming, and over the past 50 years they have made Laval a prosperous city and a great place to live.

I am extremely proud to represent my constituents in Canada's Parliament. It is with that same pride that I invite the members of the House to take part in the festivities that will be held in Laval all year long and to join me in saying, “Happy 50th. The future belongs to Laval”.

Tougher Penalties for Child Predators Act March 27th, 2015

Mr. Speaker, as usual, my colleague from Longueuil—Pierre-Boucher is absolutely right, and my colleague from Vaudreuil-Soulanges probably would have been as well.

I am from a Laval neighbourhood of 10,000 people. When I was young, there were 10 murders in 20 years in the area. It was frightening. The City decided to invest in a local police station and there were no murders at all over the next 20 years.

It it not just by putting people in prison that we make our streets safer. We need to invest in prevention, where it counts. Of course children who are abused will be glad if their abuser goes to prison for the rest of his life, but that does not change anything in the child's life. If something was really done to prevent the abuse from happening, these children would be able to lead much more normal lives.

Tougher Penalties for Child Predators Act March 27th, 2015

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

As I said in my speech, it would be good for the government to invest in prevention, and for police officers and social workers to go into schools to help prevent these types of situations or, at the very least, to meet with people and find out whether a child has a problem. As I said on Wednesday, my own sister provides emergency foster care, and there are still far too many children who are abused by their own parents. This bill does nothing to prevent that.

Tougher Penalties for Child Predators Act March 27th, 2015

Mr. Speaker, today I am pleased to rise to finish the speech that I started on Wednesday about Bill C-26, which is back before us today.

Previously, I was talking about how important it is to punish those who commit sexual abuse against children, and that is why we will vote in favour of Bill C-26.

It is imperative that we eradicate this scourge. As parliamentarians, it is our responsibility to prevent these crimes from happening. As I said on Wednesday, even a single case of child abuse is one too many. We must therefore take a preventive approach, which Bill C-26 does not do.

Since 2006, the Conservative government has taken steps to protect children, and we commend those measures. Among other things, they made it illegal to provide sexually explicit material to a child for the purpose of facilitating the commission of a sexual offence, strengthened the sex offender registry, increased the age at which a young person can legally consent to sexual activity from 14 to 16 years, put in place legislation to make the reporting of child pornography by Internet service providers mandatory, and made it illegal to use computers or other means of telecommunications to agree with or make arrangements with another person to commit a sexual offence against a child.

I was hoping that those measures could have been effective. However, when he appeared before the Standing Committee on Justice and Human Rights concerning the supplementary estimates, the Minister of Justice said that sexual offences against children have increased 6% over the past two years.

That statistic is extremely troubling. It also shows that the government is taking a rather minimalist approach. One thing is clear: paying lip service is not enough. The lack of financial resources, in terms of both enforcing existing laws as well as preventing these crimes, makes any new legislation pointless.

For instance, the NDP has always supported the circles of support and accountability program, or COSA. However, the government recently announced that it was cancelling funding provided by Correctional Service Canada. This is penny wise and pound foolish, since it will have a huge negative impact on this prevention plan and community services to victims, which are already operating on a very meagre budget of just $2.2 million.

We also learned recently that, over a period of five years, the RCMP did not spend over $10 million that was earmarked for the National Child Exploitation Coordination Centre and other essential government projects to fight child pornography.

The cuts, made in part as the RCMP's contribution to the deficit reduction action plan, were imposed even as the number of public reports of child abuse was increasing at an alarming rate.

Tougher prison sentences and stricter measures are certainly effective ways of preventing repeat offences, but they do nothing to eliminate the problem in the long term if the necessary human and financial resources are not assigned to prevention programs and efforts to raise awareness among the public and the authorities about this absolutely appalling type of crime.

As I said, we will support Bill C-26, since the NDP has always had a zero tolerance policy when it comes to any type of sex crime. That is another reason why we are disappointed that the bill did not go further and propose truly effective measures for protecting our children and tangible preventive measures to make our communities safer.

In that sense, we are disappointed that Bill C-26 does not include any new funding or financial resources. Tougher prison sentences are a good start, but they are not enough. Our communities need resources to deal with the sexual abuse of our children, and Bill C-26 offers nothing new to that effect.

The other thing we take issue with is this government's lack of co-operation and refusal to do non-partisan work on a bill that we all agree on. All of us, as parliamentarians, could have worked together on this bill and pulled together to eliminate this terrible problem of child sex abuse.

Victims and the general public would have benefited from the government being more open-minded on such an important, non-partisan issue. The Conservatives ignored the recommendations of the associations, experts and professionals who testified in committee. It is sad and shameful to see the government turn such a serious and important issue into a partisan issue.

Nevertheless, in closing, the NDP will support this government's Bill C-26 simply because we believe that the measures proposed in it are a good start.

However, the NDP would have liked to take this further, particularly when it comes to prevention and allocating financial resources to the authorities and stakeholders in the field.

We hope that in future, the government will take expert and stakeholder opinion into account in important legislation like this. This is not about winning an election. This is about the well-being of our children, and political partisanship should have no part in that.

Tougher Penalties for Child Predators Act March 25th, 2015

Mr. Speaker, I will start by saying that we will be voting in favour of Bill C-26. Based on the questions raised since this morning, the other side is still undecided.

As several of my colleagues mentioned this afternoon, the bill deals with the incarceration of sexual predators. We seem to be forgetting about the children. Children who have been abused are scarred for life. Clearly, incarcerating sexual predators is a good thing. However, the ideal solution would be to prevent sexual predation. As the member who spoke before me said, there is nothing in this bill to prevent sexual predators from committing the abuse. Of course they will not be able to do so once in prison, but there will be other sexual predators, because this type of abuse has always existed. We have to treat these people.

I am in a good position to talk about the damage done to abused children. My sister provides emergency foster care for youth protection services. She fosters children who must be taken away from their families on an emergency basis. Quite often the children she cares for have been taken away from their family because they were sexually abused by their own parents. These children believe that they were taken away from their families because they did something wrong.

This could all be avoided if, instead of introducing a bill to put sexual predators in jail, the government tried to prevent this type of abuse at the source.

Greek Independence Day March 25th, 2015

Mr. Speaker, I am so pleased to rise in the House today, March 25, to celebrate Greek Independence Day. As founders of democracy, philosophy and theatre, the Greek people have, on many occasions throughout history, demonstrated resiliency, courage and the will to exist and to be.

I am lucky to represent a riding, Laval—Les Îles, that is home to one of the largest Greek communities in Quebec. I am therefore pleased to invite not just the people of Laval, but all of my colleagues in the House, to participate in the celebrations that will be put on by the Hellenic Community of Greater Montreal this weekend. I am proud to say that I will be there.

I would especially like to invite everyone to the parade that will take place this Sunday on Jean-Talon in Montreal. Every year, the parade showcases Greek culture, which is so vibrant in my community.

Long live the Greeks in Laval, Quebec and Canada, and long live Greece.

[Member spoke in Greek as follows:]

Zito Y Ellada!