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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

Respect for Communities Act June 17th, 2014

Mr. Speaker, I congratulate my colleague for her wonderful speech.

People who do not want such a site in their neighbourhood think that way because they are misinformed. If people were better informed about the benefits of these sites, they would not be opposed to them. Does my colleague share my view?

Dairy Producers June 17th, 2014

Mr. Speaker, I am very pleased to rise in this House today and to support my esteemed colleague from Berthier—Maskinongé and the cheese producers in Quebec and throughout the country by supporting Motion No. 496.

This motion calls on the Conservative government to keep its promise to dairy and cheese producers of Quebec and Canada by revealing details without delay related to the compensation that will be paid under the Comprehensive Economic and Trade Agreement between Canada and the European Union. It also calls on the government to provide an implementation period for the agreement for these producers and to put an end to the circumvention of tariff quotas and the misclassification of products at the border, while imposing the same production and processing requirements on products to be imported and committing to provide support for commercialization.

On October 18, 2013, Canada and the European Union reached an agreement in principle on what is now known as the Comprehensive Economic and Trade Agreement. Seven months later, no final agreement has been announced. According to the terms of the agreement in principle, the European Union will have an additional tariff-free access for 16,000 tonnes of high-quality retail cheeses and another 1,700 tonnes of industrial cheeses.

This announcement has of course caused a certain level of concern among Canadian dairy and cheese producers, who are publicly expressing their concerns about the economic and commercial repercussions of this agreement on their industry.

The motion before us today seeks to mitigate the impact that CETA may have on the dairy and cheese industry and to support supply management in Canada, which helps us ensure fair and stable prices. It also calls on the government to keep its promise to provide financial compensation to the producers involved following the signature of the agreement in principle, and finally asks the government, seven months after the fact, to tell the House of Commons—formerly the most sacred place of Canadian democracy—the details of the agreement in principle.

As we know, the NDP supports the supply management system in the egg, dairy and poultry sectors and for the agricultural industry. Under the agreement in principle with the European Union, the EU will have greater access to the Canadian cheese market. This undermines one of the very pillars of supply management, that is, import controls, and at the same time jeopardizes the system’s effectiveness for Canadian producers. This potential agreement represents a loss for Canada’s dairy producers by taking away part of their income to the benefit of the European industry.

Canadians are aware that the economic development of many Canadian communities, as well as a number of jobs in this sector, would be jeopardized. The Conservatives promised to protect supply management, but the conclusion of the negotiations with the European Union has undermined the foundations of the supply management principle. This is one of the reasons why the government must tell Canadians, especially Canada's dairy and cheese producers, the details of this agreement, without delay.

In this regard, it is important to mention the reason why the motion put forward by my colleague from Berthier—Maskinongé is so important. The dairy and cheese industry is booming in Quebec and Canada. We have the right to be proud of the industry's growth in recent years and of the tremendous quality and diversity of its products.

It is of the utmost importance that we continue to support this industry, not only for the reasons mentioned earlier, but also because the producers reinvest in their farms and support local businesses and suppliers, thereby contributing to the development of Canada's local, regional and national economies.

It is also important to point out that the supply management principle that we are talking about here is not a subsidy. Dairy producers do not receive any government support, unlike what is seen in Europe, where 60% of the income of some producers is made up of government subsidies. As a result, our dairy producers begin with two strikes against them if they are placed on the same footing as their European competitors. This is why it is so important for our government to respect the principle of supply management to the letter.

Furthermore, the uncertainty and secrecy surrounding this agreement in principle also affects investments in the Canadian cheese industry, because the people who want to invest are waiting to find out what impact the agreement will have on the industry. It is therefore crucial that the government reveal the terms of the agreement in principle as soon as possible, not just for the sake of transparency, but for the well-being of dairy and cheese producers in Quebec and Canada, in particular.

That is what we are trying to make the government understand with Motion No. 496, which is being debated today in the House.

Trade rules need to acknowledge the special and strategic role of agriculture and provide policy measures to promote stability in the food supply, leaving countries with enough flexibility to manage their own unforeseen circumstances through the availability of mechanisms for appropriate market regulation.

In this case, the agreement jeopardizes the supply management principle currently in place, which allows Canadian producers to have growth in their industry. It is therefore vital, first of all, to reveal without delay the details of the compensation that will be paid to producers, because all of the stakeholders have asked for more details. The producers want assurances that the Conservative government will keep its promise so that they can then make business decisions.

We are also calling on the government to provide for an implementation period for the agreement. Canadian dairy and cheese producers have called for measures in the agreement affecting their industry to be phased in over at least seven years.

We are also calling for an end to the circumvention of tariff quotas and the misclassification of products at the border. The supply management system is built on three pillars; undermining one of them—circumvention of quotas—could potentially compromise the integrity of the system.

It is necessary to impose the same production and processing requirements on imported products. Canadian standards are sometimes higher than those in Europe, making reciprocity important so that Canadian producers are not penalized.

Lastly, the government must commit to provide support for commercialization. This agreement will penalize Canadian cheese producers. This is not news to anyone. It is therefore important that they receive government support so that they can promote their products in new markets.

With this motion, the NDP is showing its firm and clear commitment to our dairy and cheese industry and to the existing and effective supply management system.

Dairy Farmers of Canada agrees with our demands. I hope that the Conservative government cares just as much about the well-being of producers as we do. That is why I urge the government to support the motion moved by my colleague from Berthier—Maskinongé.

Shootings in Moncton June 10th, 2014

Mr. Speaker, it is with a heavy heart that I rise today in the House to honour the memory of James Larche, Georges Gevaudan and Dave Ross, who were killed by a gunman last Wednesday evening as they were working to keep the people of Moncton safe. Three families were robbed of their loved ones in a cowardly act of senseless violence that shook the whole nation.

On behalf of my colleagues, I would like to express my deepest sympathies to all members of the RCMP, the people of Moncton and especially the families and loved ones of the three victims. I cannot even begin to imagine the pain and distress these people must be feeling.

None of us here will ever forget the heroism of these three police officers, nor will Canadians across the country. Their dedication to protecting the community of Moncton will be an inspiration for years to come.

My deepest sympathies go out to their family members and friends.

Laval—Les Îles June 6th, 2014

Mr. Speaker, as this will be the last time I rise before the end of the session, I would like to take this opportunity to thank my constituents for their support and their significant involvement in political life.

In the past few months alone, thousands of people have shared their disgust with the decision to end home mail delivery. They also support the NDP position to reduce ATM transaction fees and the NDP's environmental policies.

I would like to thank all the people of Laval for their support, and I want to reassure them that I will continue to fight to protect their rights and defend their interests here in Ottawa.

In closing, I would like to invite my constituents to meet with me at my office or at one of the events that will take place this summer in our lovely city, especially our national holiday, Canada day, and some of the festivities in western Laval or the Greek and Armenian festivals.

I look forward to seeing you there.

Strengthening Canadian Citizenship Act May 28th, 2014

Mr. Speaker, I congratulate my colleague on a great speech.

Given the new powers that the minister would have if this bill were to pass, what are my colleague's thoughts on the following scenario? Two people come to the minister's office with identical cases, but one is a major Conservative Party backer and the other is a union boss, as they like to say. Would the two be treated the same way?

Infrastructure May 12th, 2014

Mr. Speaker, Laval city council has unanimously adopted a motion calling for sporting, cultural and recreational infrastructure projects to be eligible for funding under the building Canada fund. Infrastructure projects of this nature are important to youth sport development and the cultural growth of our municipalities.

The Minister of Infrastructure, Communities and Intergovernmental Affairs displayed some creativity when it came time to finance the ice oval in Quebec City. Will he also heed the request of the City of Laval and provide funding for these infrastructure projects under the building Canada fund?

Offshore Health and Safety Act May 8th, 2014

Mr. Speaker, I thank my esteemed colleague from Brome—Missisquoi for his excellent speech.

Does he think that there will be fewer offshore accidents or none at all as a result of this bill?

Workers' Memorial Day April 28th, 2014

Mr. Speaker, today in the House, we mark the day of mourning for the hundreds of Canadians killed in the workplace. This memorial day has been designated in their honour. In 2012 alone, 211 Quebec workers lost their lives.

Before the people of Laval—Les Îles did me the honour of electing me to represent them in Parliament, I was involved with the union representing City of Laval workers. At the time, a worker lost his life. Therefore, I have seen firsthand the grief of families that lose a loved one.

We must work together to develop measures and solutions so that no more Canadians lose their lives when they are just trying to provide their families a roof over their heads and three meals a day.

In a country like Canada, this situation is unacceptable, and we must take action on behalf of our workers, their families and all Canadians.

Canada Post April 2nd, 2014

Mr. Speaker, my constituents are worried about the cuts to Canada Post and I can understand why.

In addition to ending home delivery, which will make things tough for seniors and people with limited mobility, the Conservatives are imposing a 37% tax on stamps, while the 23 senior managers at Canada Post put more than $20 million in their pockets.

Can the minister tell us why she is cutting public services instead of the managers' pay?

Greek Independence Day March 26th, 2014

Mr. Speaker, yesterday, on March 25, we celebrated the independence of the Hellenic Republic, Greece.

As the member for Laval—Les Îles, I have the good fortune and honour of representing one of the largest Greek communities in Quebec and Canada.

This week, I am proud to fly the Greek flag next to the Canadian flag at my Laval offices.

It is with great honour that I represent them and I want to thank each and every one of them for the outstanding contributions they are making to our community, not only in Laval but all across Quebec and the whole country.

I take this opportunity to wish all Greeks a great Greek Independence Day.

[Member spoke in Greek and provided the following translation:]

Long live Greece. Long live Greeks in Canada.