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Crucial Fact

  • His favourite word was tax.

Last in Parliament October 2015, as NDP MP for Brossard—La Prairie (Québec)

Lost his last election, in 2015, with 25% of the vote.

Statements in the House

Petitions December 5th, 2014

Mr. Speaker, today I would like to present petitions signed by hundreds of people from my riding.

They are calling on the government and the House of Commons to commit to adopting international aid policies that support small farmers and women in particular, in order to acknowledge their vital role in the fight against hunger and poverty. They also want the government to ensure that policies and programs are developed in consultation with small farmers and that these policies protect the rights of small farmers in southern countries so that they can save, use and freely trade their seeds.

Champlain Bridge December 1st, 2014

Mr. Speaker, we have won again by forcing the Conservatives to back down: the new bridge will keep the name of Champlain Bridge.

Now that this fake debate is over, and while the government seems to be listening to reason, will the minister listen to all Quebeckers, who are unanimously asking that the toll be dropped?

March for Peace November 28th, 2014

Mr. Speaker, last Sunday I took part in the march for peace in Brossard—La Prairie.

I wish to congratulate the Brossard Islamic centre, Mohamed Yacoub and all the organizers on a very successful event. Hundreds of people from all walks of life came together in solidarity with our Muslim brothers and sisters. We were all shocked by the terrible events that took place in Saint-Jean and here in Parliament.

To quote the Leader of the Opposition:

...whether talking about protecting civilians in the Middle East, fighting racism and Islamophobia or ensuring rights are respected here at home, New Democrats can be counted on to stand up for human rights....

Moving forward, we will continue doing the hard of work of ensuring Canadians’ safety while guarding our shared values of freedom, tolerance and an inclusive democracy.

Justice for Animals in Service Act (Quanto's Law) November 28th, 2014

Mr. Speaker, I thank my colleague, who was quite humble about his legal knowledge. I very much appreciate his experience, and not just in terms of legal issues and negotiations. I am not here to list his resumé, but he is certainly an impressive colleague to have.

He spoke about why Supreme Court rulings are important and how they affect the way we must interpret laws and enforce them.

I would like to hear my colleague's thoughts on one point. Regarding bills like this one, or private members' bills, how has the government applied Supreme Court rulings, in particular with respect to minimum penalties?

Rail Transportation November 27th, 2014

Mr. Speaker, the Transportation Safety Board finds that the Conservatives are not doing enough to monitor railway companies.

It seems like the Lac-Mégantic tragedy does not register with the Conservatives. The president of the TSB has called for stronger rail tanker cars and is concerned about the lack of deadline.

When will the government listen to the TSB and protect the public?

Committees of the House November 20th, 2014

Mr. Speaker, I hope you will find unanimous consent for the following motion: That, in the opinion of the House, the Government of Canada should keep the “Champlain” name for the replacement bridge that will connect the island of Montreal to its south shore.

Red Tape Reduction Act November 6th, 2014

Mr. Speaker, I agree with the minister of state. The goal is not necessarily to bring all the regulations here. I think the minister of state knows how things are in terms of legislation, so that was not the intent of my comment. My comment was about the fact that we are giving a lot of powers to the President of the Treasury Board and we are giving a lot of powers in terms of putting forward how we are going to apply this rule, how we are going to apply the bill. That is the concern. It is not necessarily in terms of looking at all the regulations. The minister of state knows that is not what we do here in the House.

However, the bill is giving more power to a minister and that is the tendency we have seen from the start when I first came to the House in 2011. We are seeing more and more power given to individual ministers in order to do what they want to do. That is what we have been saying from the start when the government keeps coming out with omnibus bills. It is a way for the government to take more power and do as it pleases. That is the concern. Members of Parliament have to make sure that we hold the government accountable and when we give all the power to a single individual, that is a concern for us.

Red Tape Reduction Act November 6th, 2014

Mr. Speaker, I would like to thank the hon. member for Hochelaga for asking the question. In fact, it is a concern for us. Quite frankly, being in the opposition and seeing how the Conservative government acts day after day, I find it sometimes disconcerting to see how it is managing security and the regulations that affect Canadians.

Again, it is a question of putting more power in the hands of a single person. In this case, that person is the President of the Treasury Board. He can develop guidelines, single-handedly determine how the rule will be applied—I am referring to the one-for-one rule—and he can make regulations on his own. That takes us, here in the House, out of the equation. As legislators, it is up to us to determine which laws and regulations are the best ones to implement.

We know that the Conservative government has the tendency to want to do less. It wants to take the government out of the business of ensuring that people are safe. It wants to put everything in the hands of one person. The government wants to be able to self-regulate. That is a laissez-faire approach and it is worrisome.

Red Tape Reduction Act November 6th, 2014

Mr. Speaker, I am pleased to rise today to discuss Bill C-21, An Act to control the administrative burden that regulations impose on businesses. I will be sharing my time with the member for Sherbrooke.

To listen to the government, and at first glance, this bill seems interesting. The idea of reducing paperwork is important. Before I was elected, I owned a small business and was the only employee. Therefore, I understand that it is important to reduce the amount of paperwork, the forms and procedures for people in business so that they can concentrate on their work.

As an elected official, I spoke with representatives of the Board of Trade of Metropolitan Montreal and chambers of commerce on Montreal's south shore. I know that this issue especially affects the business world and small businesses. Business people would not have to waste their time filling out forms and doing the administrative tasks of their companies and instead could look after their business and improve their bottom line, as that is often their objective.

However, we must not forget our responsibilities as legislators. I do not want to generalize, but deregulation seems to be the goal of the Conservative government and the Liberals. They are always saying that the market will take care of itself.

For example, in terms of rail safety, the Liberals first privatized everything to do with railways without putting in place regulations to protect Canadians, and that practice continued under the Conservatives. Unfortunately, we saw what happened at Lac-Mégantic.

Let us return to the bill before us, as that is the reason why I am rising today. I will talk about the one-for-one rule. This means that the government will eliminate one regulation for every new regulation it introduces. This rule is rather arbitrary, but we understand its objective. This would stop the government from introducing more and more regulations.

I will once again use rail safety as an example. I often use that, because I am the NDP transport critic, and we are all well aware of the problems caused by deregulation. In committee, the Liberals are still saying that private companies should be allowed to set their own regulations. They believe that companies should use common sense, and then it would follow that everyone would be safe. Of course, the government says the same thing, and says so loud and clear through the measures it adopts.

The goal of the one-for-one rule seems positive. However, it is troubling that the government is granting itself the power to put a regulation in place—yet another one—that allows it to set certain rules aside and decide how it wants to proceed. This gives more powers to the ministers.

Basically, I am worried about how this government manages regulations, particularly when it comes to rail safety, but also regarding food inspection. The government has a strong tendency to allow companies to self-regulate, and this creates situations like the XL Foods crisis, which led to one of the biggest food recalls in Canada.

Another concern is that the bill seems to lump everything together, without taking important public safety regulations into consideration.

As my colleague said, when we talk about safety, we are also talking about the environment and health. Should we put everything in the same basket? The government would say that this bill does not affect health and safety, because it has to do with reducing red tape for small and medium-sized businesses. Unfortunately, that is not written in the bill, only in the preamble. As a lawyer who studied and practised in this area, I know that the preamble is supposed to give us an idea of the legislator's intention, but why is this idea not found in the bill itself?

The government simply wants to adopt a measure to remove a rule every time a new rule is introduced. In light of the study conducted by the Standing Committee on Transport following the Lac-Mégantic tragedy, we know that railway safety regulations are inadequate. Since those events, the government has been introducing measures to make up for its inaction and that of previous Liberal governments.

In that case, we are talking about new regulations. If it is not written in Bill C-21, does that mean that according to the government's one-for-one rule, for every new regulation, another regulation that protects public safety will be removed? For example, we could talk about the phase-out of the DOT-111 tank cars.

We will ask questions, since we do in fact support the idea behind this bill at second reading stage. I have worked in business and I know what a burden red tape and forms can be and how much time is spent on administration instead of work.

I absolutely support the principle, but we must find the right way to go about this. I am especially concerned about the powers being given to the minister. This will be part of the concerns we will raise. I will support the bill at second reading, but studies will have to be done.

The NDP is often criticized for opposing everything, but that is not the case. Having been a member of several House committees, I know that we often, if not always, put forward proposals. However, the government, which holds the majority in the House and in committees, constantly rejects the proposals, even though they improve the bill in order to help Canadians and small businesses. There is concern that the government will not lend its support.

Since we are talking about proposals, I want to step away from the bill for a moment. However, my comments will still be relevant. We have talked about credit card fees. I met with people from my riding so they could sign letters to the former finance minister. They wanted him to be aware of their concerns. They were business people who work hard to earn a living. Unfortunately, once again, since the government does not really like to regulate, it adopted a measure that allows credit card companies to act voluntarily.

In the interests of small businesses, some regulations need to be made. However, the government is not listening to us and does not agree.

When this is referred to committee and the NDP and Liberals make proposals, we hope that the government will listen to us.

Red Tape Reduction Act November 6th, 2014

Mr. Speaker, this bill deals with certain rules that are being applied. My colleague mentioned some of the concerns she has about leaving some of the powers in the hands of the government in terms of deciding which bills or regulations to set aside. She raised some concerns regarding the environment, safety, and security. I would ask my colleague to give us some examples of the concerns she has regarding this bill.