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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

Impact Assessment Act February 27th, 2018

Madam Speaker, the member pointed out that the process of having pipelines approved is lengthy and challenging. There is no question about that. It has also been challenged that the government has been misspeaking when it says that the previous government was not able to get one pipeline built to tidewater. That has been challenged and it has been said it is incorrect.

Could the member give us the name of that pipeline that was built to tidewater? If not the name, could the member provide maybe where it was built, from where to where?

The Economy February 15th, 2018

Mr. Speaker, countries are increasingly relying on unique comparative advantages and on their specialities to foster economic development.

Canada has several talent-rich sectors, which means that our country is well positioned to be a future leader.

Can the Parliamentary Secretary to the Minister of Innovation, Science and Economic Development explain what the government is doing to capitalize on our talents?

Department of Veterans Affairs Act February 12th, 2018

Mr. Speaker, I am pleased to speak in the House today to Bill C-378, a bill to amend the Department of Veterans Affairs Act.

The welfare of veterans and their families is an important issue to me and to our government. It takes more than recognizing sacrifice on Remembrance Day. It is our duty to take care of those who have served and protected our great nation.

The government launched consultations on issues affecting veterans, which has helped us gain a better understanding of their needs and those of their families.

The Minister of Veterans Affairs also created advisory groups made up of veterans, veterans groups, and experts, including the Royal Canadian Legion; Brian Forbes, who has advocated for veterans as the chairman of the National Council of Veterans Associations of Canada; retired General Joe Sharpe; and veterans who served in Afghanistan, such as Aaron Bedard, Mark Campbell, and Willy MacDonald. The six ministerial advisory groups focus on the following government priorities: policy, service excellence, mental health, families, care and support, and commemoration.

As part of the electoral platform in 2015, the government has been hard at work to uphold its promises made to veterans and their families.

To provide better support, the government has introduced the program pension for life. This monthly tax-free payment will allow more financial liberty to ill and injured veterans and their families. This benefit could be the difference between being able to pay rent and homelessness, and a financial safety net for a veteran who is transitioning to life after service.

The pension for life includes three different component programs. The pain and suffering compensation will be available to veterans who suffer because of an illness or an injury resulting from their service. The additional pain and suffering compensation is another benefit for veterans who experience obstacles in their reintegration due to a severe and permanent service-related disability. The income replacement benefit streamlines existing benefits, such as earnings loss benefits, supplementary retirement benefits, and retirement income security. It offers income to veterans who face hardship on their road to re-establishment due to health-related issues.

The government has also introduced the new education and training benefit, which comes into effect this April. I am proud to say that this program allows veterans who have served in the Canadian Armed Forces for six years or more to pursue post-secondary education. The government will spend a total of $133 million over a period of six years to support the continuing education of our Canadian veterans.

Furthermore, the government has made considerable investments to enhance the following services addressing veterans and their families, including the disability award, the career impact allowance, the career transition services, the veteran emergency fund, and, lastly, removing limits for eligible spouses and survivors so they can access the rehabilitation and vocational assistance program when and if they need it.

Our government also recognizes that helping veterans and their families goes beyond monetary assistance. It is equally important to provide mental health and caregiver support. As such, we have increased funding for the veterans family programs in all 32 military family resource centres, and the veteran community now has access to free mental health first aid training.

Moreover, the 2017 budget included services and benefits such as a monthly tax-free payment of $1,000 to family caregivers who assist veterans. The government has also formed a partnership with organizations like VETS Canada to address the issue of affordable housing and homelessness.

Additionally, our government has reopened nine veterans affairs offices, a new office in British Colombia, and has extended outreach efforts to veterans in the territories.

All of the initiatives undertaken by our government are based on respect and our recognition of the sacrifices made by our veterans and their families.

Amidst the conflicting priorities and limited resources of any government, we have made it a top priority to work hard for veterans and their families. We also recognize that this file is an ongoing process and that the well-being of veterans must and will remain a top priority for this government.

I had the honour this summer of attending the Invictus Games, which are the games put on by Prince Harry for veterans who were injured. The Invictus Games are based on a poem called, Invictus, and there is a line in there which I truly think is wonderful. It says:

I thank whatever gods may be
For my unconquerable soul.

My grandfather, Frank Baylis, who I am named after, fought in the First World War and was buried alive. He fought in the trenches and when the trenches collapsed, he just had his hand out. Luckily for him, his comrades in arms saw his hand and dug him up. He was obviously hospitalized, but he had an unconquerable soul. I thank my grandfather for his unconquerable soul. I stand here today because of it.

I also stand here today because of the unconquerable soul of many men and women who have fought in the armed forces. Our freedom of speech, our values, our very way of life has been defended and protected by our veterans and people actively serving in the armed forces today. I thank all of them for their unconquerable soul. We owe them a debt of respect, which goes without saying, and we owe them our deepest gratitude.

I thank all our veterans and all the men and women who have served in the Canadian Armed Forces.

Business of Supply February 12th, 2018

Mr. Speaker, as our government has often pointed out, the economy has to run with the environment.

There are valid concerns people always have when we talk about pipelines and the environment. I wonder if the minister could speak a little about the work that was done to ensure that this pipeline would be environmentally safe. It is a valid concern, but I think the work has been done. Maybe we need to make sure that this is out there.

West Island Black Community Association February 12th, 2018

Mr. Speaker, I would like to pay homage to Ms. Elizabeth-Ann Williams, who, for over 25 years, has been volunteering with the West Island Black Community Association. WIBCA, as it is known, is a wonderful organization that provides programs, workshops, and social activities for all in the region. She cemented her place in the organization in May of 2014 by becoming its president.

In recognition of her contribution to the city's development, Ms. Williams was named Bâtisseuse de la cité 2017 by the City of Montreal.

I am happy to say that WIBCA is now under the leadership of another lady, the young and dynamic Kemba Mitchell, and I am certain that the organization will continue to prosper and flourish under her leadership.

To all black women who have worked tirelessly to make a difference in our communities, I say that we see them, we hear their voices, and we thank them.

Parliamentary Poet Laureate December 13th, 2017

Mr. Speaker, I call on the House to applaud Mr. George Elliott Clarke, our current Parliamentary Poet Laureate. While his tenure is coming to an end this year, his work as a poet, a playwright, and an activist will continue to live on. Indeed, he has written over 50 poems during his time, including one about my dear mother.

Mr. Clarke, who comes from the black community of Nova Scotia, has dedicated his life to combatting racism, to raising awareness of the plight of African Canadians. He has done so through his literary works. He has decried injustice and has championed equality.

I thank Mr. Clarke for promoting the importance of literature and for combatting racism in Canada. To quote one of his poems, being “Canadian means bundling up With loved ones, and not letting go.” I say to him, “Never let go George, keep up the good fight.”

Salaries Act December 12th, 2017

Mr. Speaker, I enjoyed what the member for Kitchener—Conestoga had to say because it really reflects the strong difference between our respective governments. I would like to alight on the idea of the Minister of Science and her ministry not being viewed as a strong one, or that the work of the Minister of Science has not changed. We just appointed a new chief science advisor. This person will be working with the Minister of Science. Could the member expand on how he sees the lack of value they place on science compared to how the Liberal government sees the promotion and valuing of science as a bigger source of strength?

Or Shalom Synagogue November 7th, 2017

Mr. Speaker, on November 17, I will have the pleasure of attending the 40th anniversary celebrations for the Or Shalom Synagogue in Dollard-des-Ormeaux. Or Shalom is the first and only Sephardic synagogue in west end Montreal, and its mission has expanded considerably in order to meet the needs of its growing community. Or Shalom is not just a synagogue. It also has a community centre and provides many related services. This synagogue has been the pillar of its community for 40 years and will no doubt continue to fulfill that role for the next 40 years. I would like to thank Rabbi Avraham Maruani and the entire congregation of Or Shalom for their contribution to the cultural enrichment of Pierrefonds—Dollard and Canada.

Happy 40th anniversary and all the best.

Michael Pitfield October 20th, 2017

Mr. Speaker, yesterday we were saddened to learn of the death of former senator Michael Pitfield. He was an exceptional individual who, among other things, helped modernize the public service and had a role in the patriation of our Constitution.

Mr. Pitfield had a long and brilliant career. After studying law at McGill University, he began his public service career at the Department of Justice in 1959.

Mr. Pitfield eventually became the clerk of the Privy Council of Canada and secretary to the cabinet under Prime Minister Pierre Trudeau. In 1982, he was appointed an independent senator.

Senator Pitfield was never one to rest on his laurels and remained vigorously engaged in Canadian society, even after being diagnosed with Parkinson's disease. He then worked tirelessly to raise awareness of medical research in the field.

We offer our condolences to his children, Caroline, Thomas and Kate, as well as to the many other Canadians whose lives he touched.

Business of Supply October 17th, 2017

Mr. Speaker, the member touched on a number of issues. I was trying to keep track of them as he was going along, but there were so many. He was all over the place, and I had a hard time catching it.

What I can say is that the finance minister has been doing his job, collaborating in depth with the Ethics Commissioner. The Ethics Commissioner is happy with what she has seen. She has not raised an issue. She is doing her job. She is moving forward with it. It has been disclosed, perhaps not in the exact manner it was supposed to be disclosed, but that can be fixed, and it will be.