House of Commons photo

Crucial Fact

  • His favourite word was languages.

Last in Parliament March 2011, as Liberal MP for Madawaska—Restigouche (New Brunswick)

Lost his last election, in 2011, with 35% of the vote.

Statements in the House

Government Appointments March 24th, 2011

Mr. Speaker, it was scandalous enough that the Conservatives were giving jobs to their special friends in Atlantic Canada, but the appointment of incompetent people who are not even bilingual is the last straw. In an effort to do damage control, they plan to pay up to two years of salary, or a quarter of a million dollars, so that these individuals can learn French.

Do the Conservatives take the people of Atlantic Canada for fools?

Acadian and Francophone Women March 23rd, 2011

Mr. Speaker, on Sunday, March 6, 2011, I had the honour to attend a dinner at the Campbellton Civic Centre, organized by Femmes acadiennes et francophones de Campbellton in honour of International Women's Day 2011. The goal of the event was to highlight the volunteering done and contributions made by a number of women in their respective communities. I would like to take a moment to highlight the work of the nine women who were recognized: Sister Thérèse Daigle, Lucille Boudreau-Doucet, Nicole Légaré-Dumont, Julienne Perron-Haché, Gisèle Thibodeau-Laviolette, Lorraine Parisé-Léger, Lyne Raymond, Diane Béchard-Robichaud and Monique Arseneault-Savoie.

I sincerely thank them for the time and effort they have invested for the good of their communities. It is very much appreciated. I would like to give special thanks to the organizing committee, chaired by Lorraine Ahier, who helped make this event a huge success. I also thank Denis Poirier for the wonderful music he provided for the evening. It was a pleasure for me to attend this event. To the nine honourees, I say thank you and congratulations.

Official Languages March 22nd, 2011

Mr. Speaker, March 20 was the International Day of La Francophonie. However, the Conservatives have clearly abandoned the francophones of this country. When they appeared before the Standing Committee on Official Languages, Service Canada officials confirmed that the Atlantic region was now designated as a unilingual anglophone region.

Can the minister explain what she is doing with the 450,000 francophones living in the Atlantic region? What will they have to do to be respected?

Questions Passed as Orders for Returns March 21st, 2011

With respect to the Canada Revenue Agency's (CRA) Scientific Research and Experimental Development Tax Incentive Program for 2005, 2006, 2007, 2008, 2009 and 2010: (a) by province, what is the percentage of approved applications; (b) by province, what is the percentage of approved applications in response to an appeal of a decision; (c) what is the waiting period, broken down by province, for assessment of (i) claims for refundable credits, (ii) adjustment of refundable credits as required by the claimant, (iii) claims for non-refundable credits, (iv) adjustment of non-refundable credits as required by the claimant; and (d) what is the waiting period for assessment of an appeal following receipt by the CRA of a claim, broken down by province?

Questions on the Order Paper March 21st, 2011

With respect to the contract awarded for sending letters to employment insurance offices about the 20 additional weeks of benefits announced in the new employment insurance measures for long-tenured workers: (a) was a call for tenders held for this contract and, if so, where and on what date; (b) what companies bid on the contract; (c) what is the name of the company to which the contract was awarded and on what date was the contract awarded; and (d) what is the total value of the contract?

Citizen's Arrest and Self-defence Act March 21st, 2011

Mr. Speaker, I would once again like to thank my Liberal colleague. Quite clearly, had the Conservative government got its priorities straight, rather than negotiating a half-million dollars in severance pay for the Public Sector Integrity Commissioner, it could have focused on coming up with solutions regarding Mr. Chen and his specific situation.

My colleague is right. Mr. Chen was battling a criminal. He then had to battle a particular piece of legislation and ultimately—and this is the worst part—contend with a government that deliberately threw a monkey wrench into the works with the aim of making the process grind to a halt, only to ultimately devise pretexts to get the ball rolling again.

However, as I said, instead of hammering out a half-million-dollar deal with the former Public Sector Integrity Commissioner, why did the government not instead focus on coming up with solutions for individuals like Mr. Chen?

Why did the government not choose to back my colleague, the member for Eglinton—Lawrence, to advance his cause? That would have benefited all Canadians, even though it was perhaps not advantageous for the Conservatives at the time.

Citizen's Arrest and Self-defence Act March 21st, 2011

Mr. Speaker, I would like to thank my colleague from Newfoundland and Labrador for his comment and question.

Indeed, that is exactly the way things are. It has now become clear that the Conservatives are masters in the art of complicating the uncomplicated, when all Canadians want is results. And yet there are no results. As I mentioned, this could have been resolved in September. It probably could have been addressed in June, had there been the political will to do so, when my colleague from the Toronto region introduced his private member's bill. The matter could have been settled expeditiously on June 16. It was an important issue, but the Conservatives are masters in the art of complication. All the while, it is Canadians who pay the price and end up being not as well protected. It is not difficult to see where Liberal and Conservative Party members differ, and this is all the more evident when it comes to the Conservative government, which has a knack for making life complicated for itself and, ultimately, for Canadians.

Citizen's Arrest and Self-defence Act March 21st, 2011

Mr. Speaker, today I have the pleasure of speaking to Bill C-60, An Act to amend the Criminal Code (citizen's arrest and the defences of property and persons).

I would like to read a summary of this bill.

This bill seeks to amend the Criminal Code to enable a person who owns or has lawful possession of property to arrest within a reasonable time a person whom they find committing a criminal offence on or in relation to that property.

In general, advancing the cause central to Bill C-60 is a legitimate endeavour.

In many cases, the Conservative government puts up smoke screens and takes on the responsibility for finding a solution, whereas in many more cases they create the problem.

This was a real-life situation. However, it was members of the House who attempted to amend the law in order to ensure that citizens, such as Mr. Chen, would not have to go before the courts after legitimately protecting their property.

There was not enough security for his property. I am convinced that Mr. Chen legitimately wanted to protect his property and what he had earned through hard work. It was a huge economic loss for him. In some cases, depending on the situation, it could also be a sentimental loss.

I will get back to the smokescreen and the fact that the Conservatives like to take credit for solutions or let everyone think that they came up with them. However, once again, they have found ways to create additional problems rather than providing solutions.

I would like to acknowledge the extraordinary work done by the hon. member for Eglinton—Lawrence, who raised this point. I believe it is important to fully understand that member's efforts.

The hon. member introduced a private member's bill on June 16, 2010. He did so because he thought it was important to protect the people in his riding and throughout the country. He introduced the private member's bill to correct existing errors or, at the very least, improve the measures that were already in place.

Since early November 2010, the government and the Prime Minister have been repeatedly saying that this is one of their major priorities. This was not a major priority since a bill had already been introduced; a private member's bill was introduced by a Liberal member to move this issue forward. The member for Eglinton—Lawrence and his Liberal Party colleagues identified this priority long before the Conservatives did. The Prime Minister was likely asleep at the switch and someone woke him up to tell him that this was becoming a hot and important topic and that maybe he should pay special attention to it because he might gain some political advantage from it. As for my colleague from Eglinton—Lawrence, he introduced the bill in order to stand up for a cause and ensure that the people in his riding and elsewhere got the respect they deserved and were able to protect their property.

Despite the elaborate speeches given by the Prime Minister, ministers and Conservative members in November 2010, we still had to wait until February 2011 before they presented any amendments to the House, not only with regard to the specific point we are discussing today—the case of Mr. Chen for example—but also with regard to other situations.

Eight months went by between June 2010 and February 17, 2011, when the Conservative government made its big presentation.

This is surprising given the Conservatives' claim that they are champions of law and order—the reality is clearly different. When something happens in our country and someone tries to make things better for our constituents, the government takes eight months to react and present to the House, not a speech, but a concrete document on what it is offering to Canadian parliamentarians, those who make decisions for all Canadians.

Eight months earlier, my Liberal colleague for Eglinton—Lawrence had already found a way to improve the situation. The self-appointed champions of law and order said that it was not important, that the public was not really concerned with the issue and that they were not going to worry much about it. When things started to happen, when Mr. Chen's case came before the court in October 2010, the Conservatives saw that many people were paying attention to this issue and felt that it was important. It is normal for citizens to want to protect their property, whether we are talking about businesses or individuals, economic goods or property with sentimental value, or anything else.

My Liberal colleague had already identified the problem. This is where we see the Conservative government speaking double-talk. One day, it says it is here to protect the public, but when the time comes to do it, how much time does it take before it starts to do something? When it presented its bill in February, there was a panic because it could not prove to the public that it was the party that had identified the problem. Now this has to be dealt with overnight, when it could simply have given the credit to our colleague from Eglinton—Lawrence. He could then have had his private member’s bill passed easily and quickly. It was a very simple bill that contained what we expected to see. No one could have thought that they were going to get backdoored by the Conservative government’s bills.

The matter could have been dealt with very quickly in September, even before the court heard Mr. Chen's case in October. But no. The Conservatives always find a way to complicate things and give the impression that they are the great champions and saviours of the world. During that time, members working for the welfare of their constituents had already taken a position. That is the big difference between Liberal Party members and the Conservative government. The government wants to blow smoke and take the credit, while we are working for the welfare of our constituents.

I hope the government is going to learn a lesson from all this, and next time a member proposes an idea to meet the public’s needs, they will listen, regardless of political party. There is only one goal: to present or amend legislation so the public will have a better quality of life and a better structure to protect it.

We have seen smokescreens that did not produce much. A few years ago, in 2009, the Minister of Immigration said that the government would have to amend some of the regulations. It is fine for them to spend their time making speeches, but as long as there is nothing concrete, nothing is being done for the public. We have seen 2009, 2010 and part of 2011 go by, and the Conservatives still have not done anything. I would like to congratulate my colleague from Eglinton—Lawrence and thank him. His actions are the reason we have been able to understand the problem and find solutions.

I hope that the Conservative government will now open its eyes and ears, and come up with a solution.

Former Public Sector Integrity Commissioner March 10th, 2011

Mr. Speaker, it would take 20 years for the average worker in my riding to earn as much as the former integrity commissioner received in a single day, that $500,000 she received for quitting, not working.

The minister claims he is trying to recover the $500,000 in hush money he gave her to cover up this obvious Conservative sham. Why did he give her the $500,000 in the first place? What is the Prime Minister trying to hide?

Former Public Sector Integrity Commissioner March 10th, 2011

Mr. Speaker, the average worker in Madawaska—Restigouche earns just over $26,000 a year. The former so-called integrity commissioner received hundreds of complaints and resolved none. When she resigned, the Conservatives gave her just over half a million dollars. She resigned and stayed at home, yet she is getting more than the average worker will earn in 20 years.

How can the Conservatives show such disregard for Canadian workers and pensioners?