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Crucial Fact

  • His favourite word was shall.

Last in Parliament October 2019, as Liberal MP for Pierrefonds—Dollard (Québec)

Won his last election, in 2015, with 59% of the vote.

Statements in the House

Freedom of Religion January 29th, 2019

Mr. Speaker, two years ago today, six men who were praying in a Quebec mosque lost their lives.

Ibrahima Barry, Mamadou Tanou Barry, Khaled Belkacemi, Aboubaker Thabti, Abdelkrim Hassane and Azzedine Soufiane were all killed. A father, a son, a brother, a husband, a friend, and a colleague were all victims of hate.

After the massacre, vigils were organized across Quebec and Canada. Many people gathered and were united.

Today we stand in solidarity with our Muslim brothers and sisters. We condemn this hateful act as an attack on all Canadians. Together we remember the victims, and we strive to see the humanity in our fellow citizens. No matter our race, the colour of our skin or our religion, we are all Canadians.

Étienne-Brûlé High School December 5th, 2018

Mr. Speaker, I was born in Montreal, and even though I come from an anglophone family my parents wanted me to learn French, so they sent me to a French school.

Then, when we moved to Toronto, my parents insisted that I continue my studies in French. I went to the only French-language public high school in the greater Toronto area, the École secondaire Étienne-Brûlé, which opened its doors after a long battle fought by the Franco-Ontarian community. Construction was completed in 1973, three years before I began going to school there.

In my day, students came from Oshawa, Burlington, Orangeville and other communities. We were a proud mix of ethnic groups, which was clearly reflected in our school's motto, “unity in diversity”. We were all proud to be Franco-Ontarians.

New Opportunities for Vanni Aid November 22nd, 2018

Mr. Speaker, I rise today to recognize the association called New Opportunities for Vanni Aid of Montreal. NOVA, as they are known, does incredible work supporting single mothers of the Vanni region in Sri Lanka. It's an area that was devastated in the civil war. The organization helps these single mothers, whether they be widows or rape victims, by affording them an education and then bringing them into the workforce. I congratulate NOVA on the excellent work they are doing.

The Tamil community thrives in my riding of Pierrefonds—Dollard, where they have built the beautiful Murugan Temple. I am not exaggerating or bragging. It really is a beautiful temple.

I congratulate Tamils and the greater Tamil community of Canada for their work in promoting our Canadian values of opportunity and equality overseas while at the same time contributing to the beautiful mosaic that is the culture of Canada

Status of Women November 21st, 2018

Mr. Speaker, many amazing Canadian women have helped shape this country's history. It is great that we are recognizing Viola Desmond's contributions by putting her on the new $10 bill.

Personally, I was delighted to see the children of the West Island Black Community Association put on a play that celebrated Viola Desmond's story.

Would the Prime Minister tell the House when Canadians can expect to see these new bills in circulation?

Canadian Multiculturalism Act November 6th, 2018

Madam Speaker, it is a great pleasure for me to rise today to give my excellent speech.

Canada is built on multiculturalism. When people think about our country, they think about French Canadians, English Canadians, and indigenous Canadians, who all have their own languages, religions, cultures, and nations. That shows that the country has always been the same. Canada has been a multicultural country for over 250 years.

The French fact in Canada starts in northern New Brunswick and Acadia and crosses into Quebec, the centre of the French Canadian nation. It continues to northern Ontario and down into southern Manitoba. In fact, in Manitoba, two nations, French Canadians and indigenous peoples, united, creating a new nation with a new culture, the Métis. Canada really has been a multicultural country for centuries.

Some people might ask me what this has to do with Quebec. The idea of multiculturalism was born in Quebec and it began with Quebec's first governor, James Murray. He implemented the first treaty of peace and friendship with the Algonquin people. Approximately 28 years ago, the Supreme Court of Canada found that that treaty was still valid. James Murray also did something unique in the British empire of his day. He made sure that the right of French Canadians to their language, religion and civil code was enshrined in the Quebec Act. He gave francophone culture a place in Quebec in the Quebec Act.

The idea of a multicultural country appeared 250 years ago with James Murray. This idea was born in Quebec. We have seen this idea of multiculturalism throughout Quebec's history. We saw it in 1847 when Irish orphans were welcomed by French-Canadian families in Quebec. These people told the orphans they could keep their family name. They were integrated, they were taught French, but they were able to keep their own culture. We recognize those names today. We recognize the names O'Neil and O'Hara. Those are names of francophones. There are also names like Johnson or Ryan. Those who are interested in politics will recognize these Irish names that are Québécois too.

Take for example the flag of Montreal, which goes back to 1939, 80 years ago. On that flag there is the fleur-de-lys, which represents the French fact of the founders of the city of Montreal.

The Rose of Lancaster is also depicted to represent the English who founded the city of Montreal. That is not all. The thistle is there to represent people of Scottish origin. Lastly, the flag also has a shamrock, because the Irish also took part in the founding of Montreal, which is indeed multicultural.

That is not all. A little over a year ago, the City of Montreal changed its flag. It changed the flag because, when it was first designed, one of the great nations that took part in the founding of the city of Montreal was left out. The city decided that it was time to demonstrate that first nations should also be be included as founders of the city of Montreal. The white pine, which represents peace for first nations, was therefore added to the flag.

When I look at the flag of Montreal, I see a flag that demonstrates the multiculturalism that exists between the French, English, Scottish, Irish and first nations. It is a fact that proves that multiculturalism is alive and well in Quebec. It began 250 years ago and is still alive today.

Perhaps my colleagues would like further proof that Quebec is multicultural?

I suggest they look around this chamber. There are francophones with French names among the members from Quebec. They undoubtedly represent the majority of Quebec's population. There is also a francophone member with an Irish name sitting opposite me. He is a francophone Irishman. There are also people like me, anglophones with English names. That is not all. In the House, there are members from Quebec with names of newcomers, names that originate in Asia. There is more. In the House, there is a member who is from the Cree nation, a branch of the Algonquins, who always speaks his own language and French.

We see that Quebec's multiculturalism is vibrant and that it is represented in the House. We cannot ignore that fact.

Canada's multiculturalism originated in Quebec. The fundamental idea was born in Quebec. The idea that the 1988 Canadian Multiculturalism Act affects Quebec is ridiculous. The terminology did not exist 250 years ago. The concept existed and still exists, and that is a fact.

Quebec was born with James Murray, who accepted the Hurons, and both the French and the English. This continued with the orphans who were welcomed and retained part of their culture and their names. It continued with the flag of Canada's great city, Montreal, and continues today in the House. It makes no sense to deny this fact. Quebec is multicultural.

Filipino Heritage Month October 25th, 2018

Madam Speaker, I am very proud to stand and speak to Motion No. 155 to make June Filipino heritage month.

Before I start, I would just like to give a great shout-out to the member for Scarborough Centre, who has done a fantastic job in doing all this work to bring this to fruition, to bring this motion to this point. I congratulate her. I would point out that she has done this under some duress as she has been battling some personal sickness, and she has come through with flying colours. I am very happy to see her here.

Filipinos have contributed to the social, cultural and economic fabric of Canada in phenomenal ways. I am so proud of all my friends and all the communities that I see coming together in the Filipino diaspora here in Canada. If we look at what they have done socially, culturally and economically, every aspect of Canadian culture has been contributed to.

I personally have the privilege of having three excellent associations in my riding. My riding encompasses Dollard-des-Ormeaux, Pierrefonds, Roxboro and Île Bizard. These are great societies. I will start with FCAWI, Filipino-Canadian Association of West Island, run by Mr. Ador Bolusan. They do all kinds of work in sports, social and cultural activities. I have gone and played basketball with them. They are much better than me, but I play with them anyway.

Then we have SWIS, Seniors of the West Island and Suburbs, under the leadership of Roger Ajero, who has just stepped down, and my friend Connie Fabro has taken over as president. I am sure she will do a great job. They have seniors' bingo, line dancing and excursions. I try to keep up, but I am not that good.

Finally, we have PAAWIS, Philippines Athletic Association of West Island and Suburbs. Their president, Jojo Tanoja, works with youth to make sure they all get to play basketball.

On a personal level, I have been involved with the Filipino community for the last 20 years, because when I first started playing tennis, they brought me into their group and let me play with them when I was no good, and I learned. I have my friends, Greg De Guzman, Luis Sarasola and particularly Benny Bote, who made it a point to always beat me at tennis. I have gotten better.

Finally, while I stand here, I would also like to point out that sitting beside me is my good friend and colleague from Mount Royal. His riding is really the heart of the Filipino community in Montreal. The umbrella group there is FAMAS and there are so many others. I cannot begin to name them all. He has asked me to name them all, but unfortunately I cannot do it. There are just too many of them.

There are sports associations, regional associations, cultural associations, and they all contribute so well to the community of Montreal. I can tell the community that there has been no greater advocate for them in the House of Commons than my good friend and colleague from the riding of Mount Royal.

Together, I would like to say to all the Filipino community of Canada, Mabuhay.

Filipino Heritage Month October 25th, 2018

Madam Speaker, I believe if you seek it, you will find unanimous consent for me to split my seven minutes with my colleague, the member for Nepean.

Corrections and Conditional Release Act October 18th, 2018

Madam Speaker, I was pleased to hear that my colleague was asked questions about the environment when he visited the prisons. The inmates are interested in what is happening in society, and that is good news.

My colleague pointed out parts of the bill that he feels are inadequate. For example, he said that the bill should establish the number of days of administrative segregation. The bill is now at second reading. My colleague knows very well that if we vote for the bill, it will be referred to a committee, and he will have the opportunity to propose these changes.

Will my colleague vote in favour of the bill as it stands, knowing that he will have the opportunity to propose changes in committee? If not, why?

Corrections and Conditional Release Act October 18th, 2018

Madam Speaker, I congratulate my former fellow member of the Standing Committee on Industry, Science and Technology on his wonderful speech.

The hon. member mentioned fetal alcohol syndrome. I have read and heard that upwards of 70% to 80% of people who are incarcerated have two common indicators: one that their mother drank while pregnant, and the other that they have not finished high school.

Has the member looked into those statistics to see how people with those two characteristics might be rehabilitated?

Scouts Canada October 15th, 2018

Mr. Speaker, today we welcome scouts from across Canada to Parliament.

For more than 100 years, Scouts have helped millions of Canadians go on adventures, make new friends and, most importantly, learn life lessons. As they progress, Scouts become more independent, capable and poised for success.

In the House, there are many members who are fantastic examples of what Scouts can accomplish.

Our young people are keeping the fire burning, and Scouts are positioned to be leaders of their generation.

I would like to thank Scouts Canada and l'Association des Scouts du Canada for their wonderful work with our youth. As we see a new generation of scouts embark on their journey, we are inspired to see these young people become the future leaders of Canada.