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Crucial Fact

  • His favourite word was volunteers.

Last in Parliament October 2015, as Forces et Démocratie MP for Repentigny (Québec)

Lost his last election, in 2015, with 0% of the vote.

Statements in the House

Technical Tax Amendments Act, 2012 March 7th, 2013

Mr. Speaker, if I understand correctly, they are showing their arrogance once again.

When we form the government in 2015, once we have spent several years debating a number of issues, according to Conservative logic, we will gag the opposition, which will certainly be a small opposition.

Or will we live up to our convictions? I think we will. We have always shown that we live up to our convictions when the time comes to debate things, listen to new ideas and gather these ideas together. That is what we will do. I find it shameful that they are once again using time allocation. It is shameful. It is scandalous. It is arrogant. But it is okay, because it shows who they are.

Enhancing Royal Canadian Mounted Police Accountability Act February 28th, 2013

Mr. Speaker, I was not in committee, but I did read the blues and I did go through all the material. I would say the majority of them said two things. First, they said that Bill C-42 fell short. That was all there was to it. It did not address their issues. Second, the amendments that were brought forward were brought forward with the information of the witnesses.

I do not understand what the position of the government is. They bring in witnesses who contradict Bill C-42 and say that it is a good step but it is far from being sufficient and it needs to be modified. This is how they see it. Then we propose the amendments, both sides, the NDP and the Liberal Party, and the Conservatives systematically vote against them. I am a little confused. They can say they listened to the experts, but when they bring in their own experts, they do not even listen to them.

Enhancing Royal Canadian Mounted Police Accountability Act February 28th, 2013

Mr. Speaker, I thank the hon. member for his question and comments.

Having sat on four committees, I can indeed confirm that amendments are always dealt with in the same manner. I once pleaded with the Conservatives, in camera, saying I understood their position but disagreed with them, and I asked if we could at least meet halfway in order to move forward.

I know the members of the committee because I have had to replace one of them in the past. They are quite professional and thorough. I even heard someone say how good it was to have someone who once wore the uniform, because no one else had that experience. Unfortunately, however, no one there really listened.

All questions raised and solutions brought forward are brushed aside. I believe the people know better and will draw their own conclusions regarding the government's intentions.

Enhancing Royal Canadian Mounted Police Accountability Act February 28th, 2013

Mr. Speaker, I rise today to speak about Bill C-42. Frankly, it is a privilege for me to speak to this issue, because I wore the uniform for close to 18 years. Incidentally, I want to salute all the people I met, including my RCMP friends, my son's godfather and all those who have worn the uniform and who have worked extremely hard. During the 18 years before I became a member of Parliament, I was a manager, a first responder, and even a trade unionist. I worked in the public, parapublic and private sectors, both in open and secure custody.

This is a special environment. Today, I heard my colleagues make very pointed and appropriate statements. I am pleased to participate in this debate. So, I decided to talk about the environment, because I think it is important. People who become police officers, or who wear the uniform and play a regulatory role in society, all do so with the best intentions. My son, who is five years old, wants to do like his dad and wear the uniform. He has a beautiful and idealistic perception of that. Before I wore the uniform, I myself had this noble ideal, which always stayed with me. We must have the strength to protect those who need to be protected. Even now, as a member of Parliament, it is still the same.

Throughout my career, I met people who wore the uniform and who did extraordinary things, who went above and beyond the call of duty and who saved lives. One of my colleagues, who was retiring, took the time, after attending the party organized in his honour, to go out and meet all the people he had dealt with at one time or another during his career and who were out on the street. He simply wanted to say hello to them and to ask if they were all right. He did that on his last day at work. Another one of my friends jumped into the water to save a woman in distress. He was prepared to sacrifice himself for her. I remember the explosion at the Accueil Bonneau, in Montreal. There were many victims. I was one of the first responders. There were many people, but no one was paying attention to what the others were doing. Everyone was there for the right reasons.

Despite all this great energy, there is also a very negative and dark side. During my career, I met people who committed suicide. They felt the environment was excessively hard and, despite all the representations to managers and all the efforts in their private life, they would have wanted to be listened to more carefully, and they would have wanted support mechanisms to be put in place. Unfortunately, these support mechanisms were not available. They made a choice with which I do not necessarily agree, a choice I find extremely sad and which affected me and many of my colleagues. We hope that this no longer happens.

Today, we are talking about harassment, and that is a reality in every environment where people wear uniforms. There is a culture and an isolation, but that must no longer be tolerated. In 2013, we still see practices that existed 40 years ago. I can guarantee that these practices are not those of front-line and street workers who are there every day. They want to move forward and to evolve, but there is a political and an administrative culture that stifles them and prevents them from getting out of this rut.

When I was a manager, I was given the opportunity to test new approaches, and I did. I had 34 people wearing the uniform and working under my authority. They were being treated like kids. Problems were kept secret and we did not want the media to know that these problems existed. I proposed an organic, dynamic, proactive and inclusive system. We were trying to reconcile administrators, workers and the population. We sat around the table, we talked to each other respectfully, and we tried to understand the problems and frustrations that had been lingering for a long time. We had to realize that these people have problems with schedules, which are often very demanding, and also with extremely demanding legal pressures.

They do not need to get hit with a club. They simply need to be listened to and to be given the opportunity to put in place appropriate mechanisms. That is often what we see. That is the criticism we heard today in the House and also in committee. I sat on four committees, and it was the same thing in each one of them: the meeting was held in camera and people were never prepared to listen to what others had to say.

We say this is arrogance because witnesses tell us that what is being put in place is a half-measure, that improvements should be made but that the government is not making them. Why? What is the intention here? These witnesses are professionals, people who impress me; my colleagues impress me, but the government is not listening to them. How are the people on the front lines at the RCMP supposed to feel helped and supported if the government is not even prepared to listen to them when they come and testify? There is a problem here.

Bill C-42 is a half-measure at best, and once again we are talking about administrative oversight. When we move an amendment to provide employees with training on harassment to support and help them in their distress, it is brushed off. Why? This is a simple measure that could have been put in place, but it was rejected.

What message is being sent? Are we saying that harassment is all right? Are we being tolerant and agreeing to perpetuate a closed environment in which there is a gulf separating oversight, police officers and civilians? The government wants to put measures in place, but not to increase transparency or accessibility.

When I was a manager, I had the opportunity to put in place mechanisms that helped bring together schools, issue tables and street workers. However, the solution to the problem was also to include workers and people who were on the front line. We sat down and held open conversations about each party's frustrations so that there could be a reconciliation and we could grow.

We are talking about a constant culture of separating entities and increasing secrecy. When I was a manager, I never once saw any danger of a leak on operational matters. That had nothing to do with anything. However, the workers were highly motivated, and mutual respect made it possible to achieve progress and a unique dynamic. People felt increasingly supported.

It should not be forgotten that the primary mandate of law enforcement agencies is to be there for the public, not for the government. This is not an oversight mechanism based on dubious policies. They represent and defend the people, and the government represents the people. It must not use police services merely as it wishes, especially if it has made bad policy that is thrown back in its face. This is creating a cycle.

I have a great deal of respect for those who wore the uniform for many years before me, just as I have for all the MPs who were members for 20 or 30 years. It is a great pleasure for me to sit down with them and to understand the mechanisms that were previously in place. Those people said a number of times that there was a culture of isolation and that they were being completely excluded. That creates a gulf and mistrust, which is absolutely unacceptable.

We are seeking amendments that are more than reasonable. I do not understand why there cannot be a reconciliation so that we can move forward. This makes no sense. Let the Conservatives remain arrogant and maintain their position. That is up to them, but there is no way that will reconcile law enforcement agencies with the public service.

I recently read a quote by Nelson Mandela. He said that when he was imprisoned in South Africa, he spoke to the prison warden and told him that the relationship they had today would be important tomorrow because tomorrow their roles would not be the same. How will we eat tomorrow's meal? How many people have I seen become professional police officers as adults, and how many police officers have I seen become civilians? The same is true of MPs and the relationship we have in the House today.

In a recent speech, President Obama said we are not here to be perfect, but to do a job. Unfortunately, every day in every committee, there is a barrier that should not exist because we are trying to move forward, to listen and to put appropriate mechanisms in place. The amendments we proposed are more than reasonable. The Conservatives could have kept at least one of them, but they did not.

We are trying to come up with a policy of reconciliation. It is a positive and constructive step, one that would result in more transparency and accessibility and an improvement in services in the field. I am proud of our workers in uniform because they do an excellent job. I am proud to have worked with them and to have been one of them. However, there are some serious issues that need to be dealt with.

We must put a stop to the harassment in this work environment. Let us put an end to it once and for all.

Enhancing Royal Canadian Mounted Police Accountability Act February 28th, 2013

Mr. Speaker, many MPs have said that this arrogant government thought our amendments in committee were not good.

Has my honourable colleague, who has heard the same things I have, had the same experience in the committee on which he sits? Do the Conservatives listen to the experts who appear there with an open mind, or are they always closed-minded? Do they always ask to proceed in camera, and do they merely do as they please?

Enhancing Royal Canadian Mounted Police Accountability Act February 28th, 2013

Mr. Speaker, I would like to thank my hon. colleague for his presentation.

As someone who used to wear the uniform, I found his excellent remarks very interesting, critical and detailed. I would like to hear the rest of his presentation.

Business of Supply February 26th, 2013

Mr. Speaker, I want to thank my hon. colleague for her wonderful speech.

The government is displaying utter arrogance when it acknowledges the need for $100, when it maintains that in the past it gave $1 and now it gives $2, so it has done enough. It claims to have restored stability to municipalities, to be handing over 8¢ for every dollar and to have accomplished amazing things. How arrogant!

Meanwhile, the situation has deteriorated to the point where people no longer even have clean drinking water. The sewer system has collapsed completely. One need only visit any large municipality to observe firsthand crumbling buildings, roads and infrastructure everywhere. The situation is urgent. We need to invest in this area.

I really liked what my colleague had to say. She talked not only about traditional infrastructure, but also about new infrastructure like the Internet. We are not even talking about environmental considerations, which are essential, but about the economy and the future.

Would my honourable colleague care to comment further on this matter?

Safer Witnesses Act February 12th, 2013

Mr. Speaker, we are in a crisis situation. I was a correctional officer for eight and a half years. The people in our institutions, in our prisons, were street gang members.

According to a report released three weeks ago, street gangs, biker gangs and the Mafia have decided to work together more and more. Police forces are already stretched and cannot function effectively. In prisons, support services for informers are inadequate.

We now have an interesting measure that is going forward. But there is no logic in investing one dollar when we need 10 dollars, when we are in a crisis that police services have been unable to resolve. We need to help them as soon as possible.

Can my colleague comment on that?

Professional Development School January 31st, 2013

Mr. Speaker, I would like to talk about a major success story in my riding involving the Centre de formation professionnelle des Riverains.

Through the hard work of the school's director, Michel Goudreau, and his team, the school has achieved international recognition for the quality of instruction it provides.

According to the École de technologie supérieure, the school is North America's leading information technology training centre. It helps fight the dropout problem and gives students quick access to the job market in high-demand sectors.

Even though things are getting worse in my riding, Mr. Goudreau is helping to make them better. Soon, nearly 2,000 jobs will be lost when Electrolux and Mabe close up shop. The omnibus bill's employment insurance reform and the closure of the Service Canada office in Repentigny are also hurting my riding. This cunning government is creating a volatile situation because of its irresponsible management.

Strengthening Military Justice in the Defence of Canada Act December 7th, 2012

Mr. Speaker, I thank my hon. colleague for his speech. He is himself a lawyer, and we are very impressed by the depth of his knowledge.

I wonder if he has any comments to make about the amendments proposed in March 2011 in the context of Bill C-41, which was similar to this one. We want to increase the number of minor offences from five to 27. As a former member of the military myself, I am curious to know why it was decided that only five minor offences are important, and not 27, considering the impact the army can have on us.