House of Commons photo

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

Pipeline Safety Act March 9th, 2015

Mr. Speaker, I would like to thank my colleague from Charlesbourg—Haute-Saint-Charles for her excellent speech.

I wonder whether she knows why the Conservatives have been telling us for some time now that the pipelines are 99.99% safe, and why they are so resistant to increasing the liability to more than $1 billion if they are so sure it would never be used.

Pipeline Safety Act March 9th, 2015

Mr. Speaker, we in Laval know that a pipeline will be going to the riding of Honoré-Mercier, where I lived for several happy years.

Everyone, including the mayors, is worried and wonders what will really happen. Are we adequately prepared in case of a spill? Neither this bill nor our current resources will be enough to respond to a spill.

Pipeline Safety Act March 9th, 2015

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

For more than a year we were both members of the Standing Committee on Environment and Sustainable Development. While I was on that committee, the government made cuts to environmental assessments. Now they have added time limits. When someone asks for approval of a pipeline or similar project, there is a time limit and even if the environmental assessments are not complete, the government can decide that the time is up, whenever it likes.

Of course, that worries me. Also, even though the members on the other side of the House tell us that pipelines are 99.99% safe, people will not be happy if the remaining 0.01% happens in their back yard.

Pipeline Safety Act March 9th, 2015

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

We know that oil reserves will run out one day. We must invest oil profits in new technologies. As we know, oil will not last forever.

I went to Dubai about two years ago. New technologies are being developed even there. When I asked the people in Dubai why, even there, they were developing other technologies, they told me that they know the oil will not last forever and that now is the time to start looking for alternative solutions.

Pipeline Safety Act March 9th, 2015

Mr. Speaker, I am pleased to rise and speak today to a bill that addresses the concerns of many of my constituents in Laval—Les Îles, Bill C-46, An Act to amend the National Energy Board Act and the Canada Oil and Gas Operations Act. Although this bill is a first step toward a true polluter pays regime for Canadian oil companies—which is what the NDP wants—this is something the government should have done a long time ago.

The bill also amends the statutory liability regime for federally regulated pipelines in Canada. Bill C-46 includes absolute liability for all pipelines regulated by the National Energy Board. That means that oil companies will be liable for costs and damage, irrespective of fault, up to $1 billion for major pipelines, that is, pipelines with the capacity to transport at least 250,000 barrels of oil per day. That is definitely an improvement over existing laws. However, there are significant improvements to be made to this bill and grey areas that we feel need to be clarified, as is always the case with this government.

First of all, the bill before us does not include absolute liability, which I mentioned earlier, for natural gas companies and other operators of non-oil pipelines or for small oil pipeline companies. Under this bill, that will be determined by future regulations or by cabinet.

I am honoured to be a member of the Standing Joint Committee for the Scrutiny of Regulations. My colleagues on the committee, including the members for Honoré-Mercier and Beauharnois—Salaberry, would be able to talk about how extremely slowly this government, like the Liberal governments before it, deals with certain regulations. The committee regularly scrutinizes regulations from 1980 and 1990. Believe it or not, we recently dealt with a regulation that has been pending since 1976. I am therefore very suspicious of this government's ability to manage a matter of such great importance and to act efficiently and quickly when it comes to regulations.

The Conservative government has a reputation for being slow to respond to urgent situations, unless they are politically advantageous and can be used to appease its political base, as we have seen many times, including with Bill C-2 and more recently with Bill C-51. Since the Conservative base does not consider defending the environment to be sexy, this government has taken years to act—and it has not done nearly enough, if you ask us—in order to solve the problem of liability in the event of an oil spill if a pipeline breaks.

Ian Miron, a lawyer with Ecojustice, sees the $1 billion liability limit as insufficient. According to him, no liability regime can truly be considered a polluter pays regime unless and until polluters are made absolutely liable for the full costs of environmental harm. While the $1 billion limit may be considered an important first step for some companies, just look at what happened in the case of the Kalamazoo River spill in Michigan. Cleanup costs can quickly add up to $1 billion in the case of a major spill, and that does not even include compensation for damage.

The bill for the Enbridge spill in the Kalamazoo river is $1.2 billion. That does not include any damages or losses. In that type of case, we realize that the liability limit set at $1 billion is hardly enough and that the taxpayer will likely have to cover the rest of the bill yet again.

It is therefore quite understandable why so many people from Laval in my riding and my colleagues in the region are so concerned about Enbridge wanting to go through the area. The consultation process is flawed and does not include any consultation or fulsome discussion with the public and various stakeholders. There is just as much concern over the idea that in the event of a spill, the companies' liability is limited.

I already hear my colleagues opposite saying that we are anti-oil and anti-pipeline. That is pure rhetoric. The NDP wants responsible and sustainable development. There is no doubt that the natural resources we have in Canada are a real boon.

The energy sector is an essential driver of our economy. However, our vision for enhancing these resources and creating wealth and prosperity must not come at the expense of the social and environmental sustainability of our economy. For far too long, the Liberals and the Conservatives have been telling Canadians that they must choose between the environment and the economy. That is not true. They do not have to choose.

A new vision is needed for the future of our energy resources. The NDP has such a vision, and it is based on three key principles. The first is sustainability. We must ensure that polluters pay for the pollution they create instead of leaving those financial and environmental costs to future generations.

The second is partnership. We must ensure that our communities, provinces and first nations all benefit from resource development and that we create value-added jobs for the middle class here in Canada.

The third is long-term prosperity. We need real long-term prosperity, not just meaningless words from the Conservatives. We need prosperity to leverage Canada’s natural wealth to invest in modern, clean energy technology that will keep Canada on the cutting edge of energy development and ensure affordable rates into the future.

Bill C-46 is a step in the right direction when it comes to companies' financial liability. It is important to note that the bill also has some serious shortcomings, which I mentioned earlier and which we truly hope that the government will consider and fix in committee, in the spirit of collegiality. One particular shortcoming is the exclusion of gas companies from the absolute liability process. These companies are absolved in the current version of the bill.

However, it is even more important that in the future—at third reading, we hope—the bill include provisions that are nowhere to be found in this version of the bill. This includes, for example, the need for oil and gas companies to hold extensive consultations with communities, like my own community of Laval. This would ensure that the public can have its say and that the company that wants to put a pipeline through a particular area is accountable to the public in the region with respect to the security of the facilities and environmental standards.

Unfortunately, under this government, the environmental assessment process has been literally gutted, as have so many other environmental regulations since 2011. We are still holding out hope that the Conservatives will finally listen to reason and that they will listen to the people who have concerns, as we are doing in the NDP.

In conclusion, the bill before us today is an extremely important one. It is crucial for all of us, no matter the party, to do things the right way. Over the past four years, this government has rushed vitally important bills through the House, without meaningful debate and without being open to amendments that would improve bills or even address potential flaws.

Unfortunately, Bill C-51 is very representative of this reality. Therefore, I hope that Bill C-46 will mark a new way of doing things for this government, because as parliamentarians we must work in the interest of those who elected us, not in the interest of those who contribute to the Conservatives' campaign fund.

Conservative Party of Canada December 12th, 2014

Mr. Speaker, first of all, on this last day of the 2014 session, I would like to wish all the people in my riding of Laval—Les Îles a merry Christmas and a wonderful 2015 filled with happiness, love, health and prosperity.

Second, I would also like to congratulate them for having put up with successive Liberal and Conservative governments in recent years that have not looked after them. We have seen the loss of quality jobs, record household debt, increased poverty, especially among children and seniors, cuts to public services and the complete abandonment of the middle class.

Those are just a few of the difficulties that my constituents, like people in many other countries, have had to face with courage and strength of character.

I hope that all my constituents will be able to hang on for another few months until fall 2015, when they will finally have a government that looks after them, their needs and their interests—an NDP government.

Canada Post December 4th, 2014

Mr. Speaker, by allowing Canada Post to eliminate home delivery, the Conservatives have been willing accomplices. While the city of Laval has been talking about adapting its services to the needs of an aging population, Canada Post and the Conservatives are making things harder on seniors.

Next year, the people of Chomedey, Îles-Laval, Laval-Ouest, Laval-sur-le-Lac, Sainte-Dorothée and Fabreville will lose their home delivery services. Why is the government cutting our public services?

Energy Safety and Security Act November 7th, 2014

Mr. Speaker, I would like to thank my colleague for his speech.

He said that the $75 million for compensation has been increased to $1 billion because the compensation levels dated back to the 1970s. In his speech, he also said that the amount should be updated every 25 years. That said, the amount was updated for the 1990s. Does he not think it would be appropriate to update it again, given that this is 2014?

Remembrance Day November 7th, 2014

Mr. Speaker, I would like to take this opportunity that has been given to me today in the House to acknowledge the courage and bravery of our veterans.

As Remembrance Day approaches this Tuesday, November 11, my thoughts go out to the members of the two legions in my riding of Laval—Les Îles: Branch 216 in Laval West and Branch 251 in Chomedey. Your service and the sacrifices made by you and your families will forever be etched in our collective memory. We are eternally grateful for what you did.

I also want to commend those who made the ultimate sacrifice to defend our country and our rights. I honour their memory today. I am thinking especially of Corporal Nathan Cirillo and Warrant Officer Patrice Vincent, who died tragically, as we all know.

To you, your families and your friends, I say: lest we forget.

Red Tape Reduction Act November 6th, 2014

Mr. Speaker, I commend my colleague on his speech. I learned a lot of things that we have not heard today.

After listening to his speech, I get the feeling that my colleague is quite close to the SMEs in his riding and that he is well aware of their needs.

I would like to know whether he thinks it is important to alleviate the administrative burden on SMEs. Will this bill achieve that goal?