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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

G8 and G20 Summits June 11th, 2010

Mr. Speaker, clearly, the Conservatives to not realize that Canadians do not agree with their decisions. The Atlantic innovation fund is essential to the development of knowledge in the Atlantic provinces. So why did they cut that program by nearly 46% this year compared to last year? Canadians understand that 120 minutes of the G8 and G20 summits cost the same as the $32 million cut from that program.

Will the Conservatives treat the people of Atlantic Canada with respect and return those 120 minutes of expenses to them?

G8 and G20 Summits June 11th, 2010

Mr. Speaker, Canadians across the country are frustrated by how the Conservatives are managing taxpayers' money and, above all, by the foolish spending for the G8 and G20.

Meanwhile, the Conservatives have cut funding to the Atlantic innovation fund. Funding to that program has been cut by nearly $32 million this year, which is equal to about 120 minutes of spending for the G8 and G20.

Why must the Atlantic provinces pay the price for a fake lake, washrooms and stuffed moose? This is really happening in this country; this is not fiction. But the Conservatives seem to be living in fantasyland.

Dr. Jacques Corbin June 11th, 2010

Mr. Speaker, I rise today to highlight the work of Dr. Jacques Corbin who, on May 28, was awarded the Dr. Garfield Moffatt Medal. This medal recognizes excellence of health care provided by a New Brunswick doctor.

It is awarded to an individual who demonstrates an interest in professional development in medicine, education of patients and health care team members, and leadership and service to his community, in addition to focusing on quality of family life.

We are proud that this medal has been awarded to one of our doctors. A native of Edmundston, Dr. Corbin has accomplished a great deal in the health field. He was awarded this medal—and has had a successful career—because of his belief that the patient always comes first.

Dr. Corbin, on behalf of the citizens of Madawaska—Restigouche, we congratulate him on this medal and, most of all, we thank him for everything he has done for our community. Once again, Dr. Corbin, congratulations on behalf of all the citizens of the riding of Madawaska—Restigouche.

Infrastructure June 10th, 2010

Mr. Speaker, the town of Saint-François has undertaken a project to renovate its arena. The Province of New Brunswick and the town are ready to start this project, but for months now they have been waiting for the federal government's share of $250,000.

The Conservatives are spending $1.1 billion on the G20. Why are they not capable of taking 58 seconds to fund this project?

Yes, 58 seconds from the G20 would renovate the Saint-François arena because that 58 seconds is equal to $250,000.

The question is simple: where do Conservative priorities lie?

June 2nd, 2010

Mr. Speaker, that is the concern. In fact, we are totally worried right now.

We are unable to get even a simple answer. I raised the matter on May 5. This is June 2, and we cannot even get a simple answer regarding the impact of this $1.7 billion cut on ACOA. What impact will this have on ACOA's operations? What will the impact be on business loans, and on community-based projects carried out by not-for-profit organizations or municipalities?

We are unable to get even that information. This clearly shows that the Conservative government is navigating in troubled waters. It is navigating with sunglasses on, or perhaps not sunglasses, but glasses that do not allow it to see where it is going, completely dark glasses. It is moving ahead, hoping not to make a mistake, when the mistakes have already been made.

As I said, just the amount that will be spent on less than eight hours at the G20 summit at the end of June is more than was invested over the past four years.

June 2nd, 2010

Mr. Speaker, I am rising in the House this evening to discuss a question that I asked the minister of ACOA, the Atlantic Canada Opportunities Agency, on May 5. We know that, with respect to economic development, agencies are very important to businesses for development and for community projects.

A few days before rising in the House on this issue, I was reading an article in which the minister responsible for ACOA boasted that there would not be cuts at the Atlantic Canada Opportunities Agency. He guaranteed that the money allocated in the budget would be there.

I was not surprised when, a few days after his comments, the President of the Treasury Board rose and stated that he would cut $1.7 billion from 13 departments and agencies. The Atlantic Canada Opportunities Agency is on the list of agencies subject to the $1.7 billion in cuts. What a surprise!

It seems that the minister responsible for ACOA knew that cuts were coming and was trying to make the people believe, through the media, that he would do everything possible and that ACOA would never be subject to cuts. But what happened? Surprise cuts of $1.7 billion were announced. We will certainly be able to see what the real impact of these cuts will be on the agency.

When I asked my question in the House on May 5, the minister, rather than speaking of the future impact of these cuts, spoke instead of the money and services provided by the agency in past years. He did not answer my question, which was a simple one: what will be the future impact of these cuts on the agency? What will be the direct impact on the agency of the $1.7 billion in cuts to these 13 agencies and departments? How much money will no longer be provided to businesses? How much money will no longer be provided to community-based projects? That was the question and it was not a difficult one to answer.

The minister said that in the four years since 2006, the government invested $105 million in Atlantic Canada. The minister needs to understand one thing. The government invested $105 million, some of that in New Brunswick, which is roughly equivalent to what it is spending on eight hours of the G20 summit—less than eight hours, in fact. And the Conservative government is increasing that amount day by day. First it was $193 million, which grew to $800 million, then $900 million, then $1 billion, and now $1.1 billion. Clearly, the sky is the limit. The government will spend the same amount of money in less than eight hours at the G20 as it invested in New Brunswick over four years.

Perhaps the government should have thought this over a little more, and instead of spending over $1 billion on the G20, it should not have cut $1.7 billion from the budget for economic development agencies that are working on economic recovery, helping our communities and our non-profit organizations, and helping businesses create jobs. Unfortunately, the opposite is happening.

I hope that the parliamentary secretary—I have no doubt that he is the one who will answer me—will be able to explain the negative effect that $1.7 billion cut will have on ACOA. Maybe the government will see that the amount of money it is spending on less than eight hours at the G20 will be the same as what it invested over four years.

Points of Order June 2nd, 2010

Mr. Speaker, I will be brief. In this country, we are entitled to our opinions. That means that the 308 members of this House can make comments and support positions.

Members may or may not agree with other members. I will never agree with the fact that the member for Saint Boniface wants the Liberal members to apologize because they do not think like the Conservatives. It is not acceptable that members of the House should not be entitled to their own opinions. We do not need to share the Conservative government's views all the time.

We represent four political parties, and we are entitled to be respected as individuals and as parliamentarians. I will never apologize for having opinions and standing up for the people I represent. I will never accept the Conservatives' position. Never!

Questions on the Order Paper June 1st, 2010

Regarding the 20-week extension of Employment Insurance (EI) benefits that was announced as part of new EI measures for long-tenured workers, how many letters were sent from each of the Edmundston, Saint-Quentin, Campbellton and Dalhousie regional offices informing Canadians they were eligible for these measures?

Fairness at the Pumps Act May 12th, 2010

Mr. Speaker, I would like to ask my NDP colleague a question. He referred to the comments by the member for Prince Edward—Hastings, that is, that verifying the accuracy of the measurements takes two minutes.

I think the Conservative member forgot to say that those checking the pumps will not be doing so on foot. They are definitely not going to walk with their little bucket and measuring tool from one gas station to the next. They have to travel fair distances, which results in transportation and equipment costs. In rural areas such as mine—a riding with an area of 10,000 km2—some gas stations can be 100 km apart.

I would like my NDP colleague to respond to the comments by the member for Prince Edward—Hastings, who said that it only takes two minutes to check the accuracy of measurements. Given the distances that must be travelled, it takes more than two minutes. What does he think?

Ethics May 12th, 2010

Mr. Speaker, over a month ago now, the Prime Minister informed Canadians that he had tossed the status of women minister out of cabinet and the Conservative caucus.

He also asked the RCMP and the Ethics Commissioner to investigate. One month later, Canadians still do not know why.

A lot has happened since then, but we still do not know the nature of these allegations, deemed so serious that the Prime Minister needed to call in the RCMP on a sitting cabinet minister for the first time since the days of Brian Mulroney.

It was not enough that the minister violated security regulations in an airport or that members of her staff passed themselves off as members of the public and wrote letters in support of her, or that her husband was making deals and conducting personal business in her office. All this time, the Prime Minister kept telling us that she was doing very good work.

Then overnight, he called in the RCMP. These are questions that have to do with the integrity of the government. It is time to end the culture of deceit. The question is simple: When will the government come clean with Canadians?