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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

Federal Sustainable Development Act May 29th, 2018

Mr. Speaker, I thank my colleague for his question. I am indeed very happy to talk about sustainable development because I believe it is a fundamental part of Canada's economy. We are a nation that develops and sells its resources, and doing so sustainably is, in my opinion, great news for all Canadians. I am very proud of this bill, and I support it 100%.

Federal Sustainable Development Act May 29th, 2018

Mr. Speaker, I am pleased to rise to support Bill C-57, which seeks to amend the Federal Sustainable Development Act.

Before I begin, I would like to thank the members of the Standing Committee on Environment and Sustainable Development for their excellent work, their positive approach, and their constructive suggestions. The committee's recommendations, which are set out in the report entitled “Federal Sustainability for Future Generations”, contributed to the development of Bill C-57, particularly with regard to the adoption of the sustainable development principles. Those principles were very well received.

The amendments to the Federal Sustainable Development Act reaffirm the government's ongoing commitment to strengthening Canada's relationship with indigenous people and enforcing their rights.

Bill C-57 includes a new set of sustainable development principles, one of which is the principle whereby indigenous people must be asked to contribute because of their traditional knowledge and their unique connection with and understanding of Canada's land and water. This principle reflects the important role traditional knowledge plays in supporting sustainable development, as well as the government's commitment to reconciliation based on recognition of rights, respect, co-operation, and partnership.

However, there are certain environmental problems that disproportionately affect indigenous peoples. For example, climate change and resource development alter wildlife migration patterns and ranges. These changes have an impact on indigenous peoples' access to traditional food sources, as well as on their food security and culture.

Furthermore, persistent organic pollutants and heavy metals can migrate long distances to northern Canada. Scientists have observed high levels of these contaminants in Arctic wildlife, so there is a health risk for indigenous peoples who use these animals as a food source.

Indigenous peoples' relationship to the land is particularly crucial to the mandate of the Minister of Environment and Climate Change, because her department is responsible for preserving, protecting, and improving the quality of the natural environment. At the same time, the government recognizes that indigenous peoples were the original stewards of the air, land, and water. Over many generations, they built up a vast store of knowledge about nature. That is why it is essential to continue to establish and maintain strong, positive relationships with indigenous communities and indigenous governing bodies. In the coming years, the government will continue to make use of all that knowledge, which is going to help shape our collective environmental future.

The Government of Canada committed to renewing the crown's relationship with indigenous people based on the recognition of their rights. We believe that adapting our work based on the recognition of rights is an important opportunity for us to build a relationship of trust with our indigenous partners; enhance the integrity of policies, research, and analysis; and obtain better environmental outcomes for all Canadians.

As part of our participation in the negotiation of various treaties and other conventions, we are working with indigenous partners to preserve and protect our wildlife and environmental resources. We are striving to implement transparent and rigorous consultation processes based on respect for the right of indigenous people to determine how land and resources will be used.

The government recognizes that there is still a lot of work to be done in this regard. We need to assess our contribution to the government's reconciliation agenda, including the implementation of the United Nations Declaration on the Rights of Indigenous Peoples, on an ongoing basis.

We must also strengthen our commitment to our indigenous partners and look at opportunities for aligning programs, policies, and departmental rules and regulations with indigenous rights and interests. Like every federal department and agency, Environment and Climate Change Canada operates on the Principles respecting the Government of Canada's relationship with Indigenous peoples, drafted by the Department of Justice to be used a guideline in shaping the work of the department in its relations with the indigenous peoples, including a rights-based approach.

At the heart of this change in culture and path to reconciliation is the recognition of the importance of our relationships with indigenous peoples. Consulting indigenous peoples is more than just a legal obligation, it is a way to make more informed decisions. Our government is determined to ensure that indigenous peoples have the opportunity to participate in, engage in, and contribute to this ongoing dialogue.

For the reasons I just mentioned, Environment and Climate Change Canada consults representative organizations and the governments of the first nations, the Inuit, and the Métis across the country. When the proposed changes were being drafted, indigenous peoples raised a few key themes. They told us that traditional indigenous knowledge is important for sustainable development and that indigenous peoples need to be heavily involved. They also mentioned that the government should implement measures that reflect respect for indigenous rights as a priority and recognize the role of governments in indigenous communities and societies.

The representative organizations and governments of the first nations, the Inuit, and the Métis also expressed the need to provide support to indigenous communities for activities such as implementing climate change adaptation plans and modernizing infrastructure. They also indicated that we need to set more ambitious objectives when it comes to the quality of drinking water for first nations.

The federal sustainable development strategy, which we introduced in October 2016, reflects what we heard. For example, we know that Canada's drinking water is among the safest in the world. In fact, 98% of Canadians have access to drinking water. However, access to drinking water remains a challenge in first nations communities living on reserve. The strategy contains a target to eliminate long-term drinking water advisories affecting public systems on reserve.

The Government of Canada is working with first nations communities to improve on-reserve water infrastructure, address drinking water advisories that are one or more years old, and prevent short-term advisories from becoming long-term ones.

All Canadians, including all levels of government, indigenous peoples, civil society, and the private sector have a role to play in advancing our sustainable development objectives and ensuring that no one is left behind. In 2016, our government undertook an extensive consultation process to review our international aid policy.

We also heard from indigenous peoples who want more say on environmental issues. Our bill proposes increasing the number of representatives of aboriginal peoples on the Sustainable Development Advisory Council from three to six, to ensure that the strategy reflects the rights and perspectives of indigenous peoples and the wide range of challenges they face across Canada.

Bill C-57 reflects what we heard from indigenous peoples. It also reflects the government's commitment to reconciliation based on the recognition of rights, respect, co-operation, and partnership.

Committees of the House May 25th, 2018

Mr. Speaker, I sit on the industry committee with the member opposite, and I have found his contribution to be very good to our committee. As we were developing the IP strategy, I thought his questions to the witnesses were excellent. The report was great too. The IP strategy that has came out of the report has been extremely well received. I own a number of patents, and I have spoken to a number of high-tech companies that make patents. They think our IP strategy will work excellently.

Could the member tell me which high-tech company, specifically, he has spoken to that says the strategy is not good? I am not interested in hearing a politician's view. I am interested in hearing about a specific high-tech company that says is not a good.

Disaster Mitigation and Adaptation Fund May 25th, 2018

Mr. Speaker, only a year ago, two towns in my riding were flooded. The homes of many people in L'Île-Bizard—Sainte-Geneviève and Pierrefonds-Roxboro were damaged or even completely lost. Despite the military and financial assistance we provided the province and the help of Quebec, the municipalities, and individuals, many people are still trying to get their lives back to normal.

Whenever these natural disasters happen, such as floods or forest fires, I am always proud to see how Canadians come together to help their neighbours. I am now proud to see the federal government introduce the disaster mitigation and adaptation fund. This fund will help our communities prepare for the future to hopefully avoid the worst of future natural disasters. This is good for all Canadians.

Social Development May 22nd, 2018

Mr. Speaker, last week, Montreal hosted the OECD social policy forum and ministerial meeting. The forum brought together ministers from the 35 OECD countries, as well as over 350 Canadian and international representatives from business, trade unions, academia and civil society.

Could the Minister of Social Development tell the House how this forum promoted policies that give everyone a real and fair chance to succeed?

Science May 10th, 2018

Mr. Speaker, we know that science, technology, engineering, and math are key to Canada's economy. We also know that children are innately curious. We must therefore encourage children to pursue careers in this field. We must find exciting ways to help our children discover science.

Can the Minister of Science and Minister of Sport and Persons with Disabilities tell the House what our government is doing to encourage young Canadians to get into science?

Oil Tanker Moratorium Act April 30th, 2018

Madam Speaker, a challenge with pipelines is to find a balance. As we have seen in the debate so far, some people are very upset that any pipeline could be built and some people want every single pipeline to be built. Our government is looking to find the right balance, as well as balancing that with the needs of the people, the economy, and the environment.

We have approved the Trans Mountain pipeline. We are also putting in a moratorium on tankers in ecologically sensitive areas.

Is there any area where the member would see a need for balance, not that this is right or wrong, but in a general sense, a balance of issues, where there could be good and bad, something we want to promote and something we do not want to promote? Does the member want us to promote every pipeline under every circumstance?

Petitions March 29th, 2018

Mr. Speaker, I have a petition from the Filipino Canadian Association of the West Island of Montreal. FCAWI, as it is commonly known, has a mission statement to create communities in its neighbourhoods. It does so under the Filipino custom of bayanihan. FCAWI does this through social, cultural, educational, and sports activities, and on that front, I can say that its members are excellent basketball players.

Under the leadership of its president, Mr. Ador Bolusan, it prepared this petition, which calls on the Government of Canada to recognize the month of June as Filipino heritage month. On their behalf, I am proud to present this petition to the House.

World Interfaith Harmony Week February 27th, 2018

Mr. Speaker, the first week of February is World Interfaith Harmony Week. This United Nations initiative recognizes the importance of respect between religions.

It is wonderful to see that interfaith groups across Canada observe this week by putting on activities bringing people together. They are groups such as Interfaith Harmony Halifax, Interfaith Grand River, the Edmonton Interfaith Centre, as well as the interfaith councils of Calgary, Surrey and Canada. Our initiative, the Canadian interfaith open house weekend, saw dozens of religious spaces open their doors to their neighbours.

I commend the religious groups that welcomed their fellow citizens, and the participants who took the time to get to know their neighbours.

In this world of seemingly never-ending conflicts, it is truly heartwarming to see Canadians promoting religious harmony.

Impact Assessment Act February 27th, 2018

Mr. Speaker, my colleague brought up an interesting point about relevance and a question about who has standing. I think he is trying to make the argument that people who have direct economic benefit have more standing than others. I disagree with that.

How would an environmentalist, someone who has spent their life studying the impacts on the environment of a project, have no standing? How would a landowner who has had land confiscated for a pipeline running through it have no standing? How would an aboriginal community that is impacted by a project have no standing?

My overall question to the member is, can he explain how one group who economically benefits should have more standing than someone who has suffered from the impact but has no economic benefit?