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

Questions Passed as Orders for Returns December 8th, 2010

With regard to applications for Canada Pension Plan (CPP) disability benefits, for each calendar year from 2006 to 2009, broken down by province: (a) what is the average response time once an application has been submitted; (b) what is the average delay between receiving approval to request a reconsideration and receiving the response; (c) what is the average delay between being authorized to make an appeal before the Office of the Commissioner of Review Tribunals (OCRT) and receiving the decision; and (d) what is the average delay between receiving the right to appeal and receiving the final decision from the OCRT?

Questions Passed as Orders for Returns December 8th, 2010

With respect to the Canada Revenue Agency, for each calendar year from 2005 to 2009: (a) how much was owing in overdue accounts; (b) how much has been recovered from overdue accounts; and (c) how much has been written off from overdue accounts?

Public Accounts December 8th, 2010

Mr. Speaker, when I asked whether the rules for awarding the Chinook contract were followed, the Deputy Minister of National Defence told me that they were not followed to the letter but that they were not that serious anyway. Then he said that he did not understand what all the fuss was about because, and I quote, “nothing bad happened”. Each Canadian will pay $400 in taxes for this violation of the rules, and we have yet to see a helicopter here in the country.

Does the minister agree with the deputy minister, and will he come and defend this opinion before the committee?

Public Accounts December 8th, 2010

Mr. Speaker, yesterday at the Standing Committee on Public Accounts, the Auditor General said that the Department of National Defence's helicopter acquisition process was not fair, open and transparent.

Bureaucrats admitted that there had been mistakes, which were very costly for the public, but that lessons had been learned.

Meanwhile, senior defence officials passed the buck to the minister.

Given that this squares firmly with the agenda of the Standing Committee on Public Accounts, my question is for the committee chair.

Does the committee plan to call the minister to testify and explain this fiasco?

December 7th, 2010

Mr. Speaker, I think that the parliamentary secretary and his Conservative government do not grasp the reality: all these pilot projects were not set up to deal with the economic crisis. All these pilot projects were set up by the previous Liberal government and the vast majority were set up after I was elected in 2004. They were implemented to help the rural regions that needed them because seasonal work was predominant.

Therefore they were not created because of the economic crisis, but because the need was there in those regions. The parliamentary secretary, his government and his Prime Minister should stopping telling tales to the Canadian public and stop looking for excuses not to renew these pilot projects.

These projects were set up for one simple reason: the need was there. The need is still there. Whether there is a crisis or not, and even when the crisis subsides, these needs will still be there.

Accordingly, the parliamentary secretary should withdraw his comments immediately, this evening, and announce permanent support for these pilot projects. I am not just talking about the ones we are discussing today. I am also talking about those that have been extended for a few days or a few months, and those that have been cancelled.

December 7th, 2010

Mr. Speaker, I am pleased to speak during the late show this evening regarding a question I asked about employment insurance.

We know that in recent years, the Conservatives have never been very eager to help with employment insurance or the issue of pilot projects. It is clear that if we want to ensure that the regions, and particularly rural regions, have a chance to continue to prosper, we must appreciate them and give them the tools they need so that people can continue to live and raise their families.

This is what is going on with the Conservatives. Let us take the example of the best 14 weeks for employment insurance. We know what happened in September. The Prime Minister announced in the media that the pilot project for the best 14 weeks would come to an end. This was a reality and a shock to all those living in rural regions in this country. They realized that all of a sudden, a few weeks before the holiday season, employment insurance benefits would decrease for all those applying after September 17, 2010. Then, all of a sudden, the Conservative government changed its mind and decided to temporarily extend this measure because of the crisis this country is experiencing. That is just one example.

The second issue was the fact that people could earn more money while they were receiving employment insurance benefits. Those were two extremely important aspects in helping families and people in rural areas. But of course, those aspects could also affect many people across the country.

The reality today is that the Conservatives decided to extend it for only eight weeks. Their first mistake was not making it permanent. That would have put an end to the debate and would have made sure that workers in rural areas and in seasonal jobs could continue benefiting from it and continued receiving benefits without having to struggle month after month and year after year. Since the Conservatives came to power, the only thing we have seen are little handouts here and there, such as employment insurance pilot projects. Why do they do that? Because they are afraid. They are afraid of the crisis and how the public will react.

In the case of the two pilot projects I mentioned, the government announced that it would extend them for eight months. As of today, there are six months left. That is all fine, but I am convinced that the parliamentary secretary will tell us today that he has extended them for another eight months and that we should be pleased. The reality is that we are getting tired of always having to fight for extensions. Initially, programs were extended for a little more than one year. Then they were extended for one year and now we are talking about eight months. Today, there are only six months left.

When seasonal workers employed in the winter season will lose their jobs, due to seasonal constraints, I am sure it will happen at the very end of the six months remaining, at exactly the same time the 14 best weeks pilot project will expire. People who apply at that point will no longer enjoy the advantages of the 14 best weeks program.

I have always considered this program and pilot project to be an incentive to work. It provided incentives to people by stating that the government would stop penalizing workers—members will remember that it was the previous Liberal government that put it in place—and that instead of taking the most recent short weeks, the 14 best weeks of the entire preceding year would be taken. That really encouraged people to work. That also gave families and workers the tools to move forward and to ensure that they could support their families.

Therefore, I hope that the parliamentary secretary will not be spouting rhetoric today, but will give us something tangible. I hope he will tell us that the Conservatives will no longer set up pilot projects and that they will make these programs permanent.

Edmundston Fire Department December 2nd, 2010

Mr. Speaker, on November 26, I attended an appreciation night for the Edmundston fire department.

The Liberal Party of Canada and I recognize that firefighters and volunteer firefighters are very important to our communities. Thanks to their work, people can have the security and peace of mind that they would not have without the presence and dedication of firefighters.

That evening, several firefighters were recognized for their years of service with the Edmundston fire department: Marc Doiron, 20 years; Donald Lebel, 25 years; Mario Rossignol, 25 years; Réginal Pelletier, 25 years; and André Grandmaison, 25 years with the Municipality of Edmundston.

I would like to sincerely congratulate all of you for the work you have done for so many years. Your courage and determination are an inspiration to us all.

On behalf of all of the people of Madawaska—Restigouche, thank you for what you do for our community.

Once again, congratulations, and keep up the good work.

Sustaining Canada's Economic Recovery Act November 30th, 2010

Madam Speaker, I would like to remind the members of the House that it was not very long ago that a good Liberal government here in Ottawa was making sure that the Canadian deficit and debt—particularly the Canadian debt—were decreasing gradually. As we all know, as our debt decreases, we pay less interest, and the less interest we pay, the more services we are able to provide to the public. Then the Conservatives arrived, trying to play God and perform miracles. In less than two years, the amount we paid down on the Canadian debt was completely wiped out, bringing us back to where we started.

What does this mean? It means that we must now pay additional interest that we were no longer paying. Additional interest payments mean that the public is getting fewer services. So who is paying the price?

I am asking my colleague to tell the Canadian public who, in the end, must pay the price for the Conservatives' mismanagement of Canada's public debt and deficit.

Protecting Children from Online Sexual Exploitation Act November 24th, 2010

Mr. Speaker, thank you for allowing me the time to speak here today.

My question is quite simple. My Conservative colleague does not seem to want to give a clear answer. He says that people can report sites. That is one thing. But there is a difference between reporting and doing something about it.

My Liberal colleague asked a very simple question earlier. If sites are reported, which is one thing, will the government ensure that these sites are blocked? It is not enough to simply block servers. As someone very clearly pointed out, there is always a way to move the content onto another server. However, if we are talking about a specific site, that is another matter. Will the government ensure that the offending website is blocked directly? The Conservatives must stop beating about the bush and say that the entire Canadian public, some 30 million people, will become informants.

What good does it do to report a problem with certain sites if nothing is done to block them? My question is quite simple. Will the government ensure that the offending websites are blocked in order to protect Canadians of all ages?

Saint-Quentin Chamber of Commerce November 16th, 2010

Mr. Speaker, on November 13, 2010, I had the opportunity to attend the Saint-Quentin chamber of commerce's annual banquet.

Each year, the banquet is an opportunity to pay tribute to the region's entrepreneurial community. This year, the chamber added a young entrepreneur award to highlight the work of our young people and their role as the future of our community.

I would like to acknowledge the four recipients of the 2010 awards: business of the year—Denis Banville Excavation Inc.; female entrepreneur—Anne Mallais, Résidence AM; volunteer entrepreneur, Raoul Couturier, Motel chez RA-LY; and young entrepreneur—Frédéric Perron, Chapiteaux Fred.

I want to take a moment to recognize the time and effort that you have put into your personal and business success. Your leadership and drive make you remarkable people. I would like to congratulate you and thank you for what you bring to the community of Saint-Quentin and the surrounding area. On behalf of the people of Madawaska—Restigouche, be proud of your achievements. I am proud of you.