House of Commons photo

Crucial Fact

  • His favourite word was conservative.

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

Former Public Sector Integrity Commissioner March 9th, 2011

Mr. Speaker, voluntarily quitting your job should not mean winning the lottery. Yet the Prime Minister paid the former public sector integrity commissioner half a million dollars so that she would quit her job and keep quiet. That is completely unacceptable. People in my riding, where the average personal income is $26,288, would need to work more than 20 years to earn that kind of money.

How can Canadians trust a Prime Minister who meddles in the work of an independent officer of Parliament and then gives her half a million dollars to keep her mouth shut?

Former Public Sector Integrity Commissioner March 8th, 2011

Mr. Speaker, we are starting to understand why the Prime Minister was prepared to pay half a million dollars to buy Ms. Ouimet's silence.

Emails show that Ms. Ouimet contacted the office of the President of the Treasury Board to organize a meeting to discuss certain files. The President of the Treasury Board continues to hide the truth regarding the commissioner's independence from the House even though we have evidence to the contrary.

When will the Prime Minister admit that his accountability agenda is a farce?

Former Public Sertor Integrity Commissioner March 3rd, 2011

Mr. Speaker, then why did the House not approve her departure? It was our prerogative. The former integrity commissioner, Christiane Ouimet, left her job after completing only the first three years of her seven-year contract. There was no order from the House of Commons or the Senate to authorize her dismissal. This situation leaves us with many unanswered questions.

Did Ms. Ouimet leave her position voluntarily? Was she forced to leave? What were the conditions surrounding her departure? Parliamentarians and especially Canadians have the right to know!

Former Public Sertor Integrity Commissioner March 3rd, 2011

Mr. Speaker, Christiane Ouimet, the supposed independent officer of Parliament who was there to protect public servants, left her position suddenly only three years into a seven-year term. The appointment of Mrs. Ouimet was approved by a resolution of the Senate and the House of Commons. She could only be removed by a similar resolution or for cause. No resolution was passed in either the House of Commons or the Senate.

Was Mrs. Ouimet fired or forced to resign and what incentive did the government provide to force her departure?

École Versant-Nord in Atholville March 1st, 2011

Mr. Speaker, on February 22, I had the opportunity to meet with a group of students from the École Versant-Nord in Atholville to talk about my role here and the role of the government within our country. These encounters are always a great joy for me because they allow me to discuss issues that are of interest to youth and share my parliamentary experience.

These grade six students asked extremely relevant questions, and I have no doubt that these types of exchanges should happen more often in order to make our youth more interested in politics. These students are the leaders of tomorrow. That is why I feel it is crucial to take the time to meet with them and discuss our great country's governance structure.

Here in this House, I would like to thank teachers Jody Esligar and Debby Duguay, as well as their 32 students, for inviting me to their class. I hope the experience was as rewarding for them as it was for me.

I am pleased to represent you as the member for Madawaska—Restigouche.

Canada-U.S. Relations February 18th, 2011

Mr. Speaker, they are the ones who want this agreement.

The United States is in the midst of a debt crisis and that is only the tip of the iceberg. Despite this, a Conservative senator is proposing a sort of integration that would include a joint assembly, like the European Union.

Do Canadians want their policies to be dictated by the Tea Party and the Republicans? Will the Conservatives be able to tell the difference between co-operation and assimilation?

Canada-U.S. Relations February 18th, 2011

Mr. Speaker, less than two weeks after the Prime Minister claimed border integration between Canada and the United States, he has already failed Canadians twice.

First, President Obama introduced a $5.50 border tax for Canadian travellers, and now in the U.S. Congress a proposed freight fee that would cost importers and exporters over $100 million a day. That is over $40 billion a year. We Canadians are being asked to fix the American deficit.

How did the Conservatives screw this up so fast?

Adjournment Proceedings February 17th, 2011

Mr. Speaker, the parliamentary secretary should not forget that it was his party, his government, his Prime Minister, who decided on Ms. Ouimet's appointment. It was no one else. It came from that side of the House. They were the ones who decided who would apply for the position of integrity commissioner and how she fulfill that mandate.

When I hear the parliamentary secretary say they wanted a more accountable public service, I wonder what will happen to the minister responsible for CIDA? Her officials had recommended going ahead with funding KAIROS. They said it was a good project and that we should continue to help that agency. What did the minister do? She added the word “not”, to not approve the financial contribution.

They want to make people more accountable. Those are fine words. That is what they are saying on the government side: the officials are accountable. Who is not? The government and its ministers are not. That is the reality. If they want to talk about accountability, they should look in the mirror first.

Adjournment Proceedings February 17th, 2011

Mr. Speaker, I am pleased to discuss a question that I asked a few weeks ago about the Office of the Public Sector Integrity Commissioner.

The commissioner's office has been in a state of upheaval for several months now, since the Auditor General presented a very damning report on its operations and its previous commissioner, who has since resigned.

The mission of the commissioner's office is very clear: to ensure that public servants are able to speak out about any abuse, fraud or wrongdoing that is harmful to the government and the people of Canada.

This was still a fiasco. The commissioner's office was in operation for three years before the Auditor General presented her report. Over those three years, 228 complaints were received but only five of them were lightly investigated. In the end, no charges were laid in any case nor was any follow-up conducted. From 228 to zero—it is not very impressive. The government claims to be open, transparent and accountable. Where is that accountability? How is it that the Conservative government has done absolutely nothing since the Office of the Public Sector Integrity Commissioner was established?

In its place, after a year, I would have wondered why no complaint ever progressed. After two years, I would have asked myself some serious questions about the work done by the Office of the Public Sector Integrity Commissioner. Three years without a complaint progressing means that something is not right. Maybe that is what the Conservative government wanted. The government was expecting the commissioner to ensure that there were no complaints, as though everything were fine with the federal government, as though everything were fine with the Conservatives. Now we see that that is not the case.

The Conservatives dropped the ball. They let three years ago by without a single complaint making it to the next step. What kind of deal did the commissioner's office and the government have? What did the Conservative government want? They wanted to ensure that none of the complaints went anywhere, which is rather incredible. As if by chance, cases of fraud went nowhere. One has to wonder.

That is one of the reasons why it is important that the former commissioner appear before the Standing Committee on Public Accounts. I believe that the parliamentary secretary will say that they did great things and that the commissioner will certainly come meet with members of Parliament. The reality is that no fraud or wrongdoing was reported. In the end, none of the complaints went anywhere. How can government officials and the public trust in a system that cost over $11 million and did not produce any results? It is unbelievable. That is money that the Conservatives wasted, money that many individuals and families could have used.

Border Crossings February 16th, 2011

Mr. Speaker, while our American neighbours have been inviting the Prime Minister to discuss a secret perimeter security agreement that is causing Canadians concern, what are the Conservatives doing? They are preparing to close three other border crossings by April.

Can the minister clearly tell us whether or not he intends to close the border crossings at Morses Line, East Pinnacle and Glen Sutton in the Brome—Missisquoi region? The question is simple: yes or no?