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Crucial Fact

  • His favourite word was ensure.

Last in Parliament October 2019, as Liberal MP for Saint-Jean (Québec)

Lost his last election, in 2019, with 31% of the vote.

Statements in the House

Quebec Cerebral Palsy Association June 14th, 2019

Mr. Speaker, the Association de paralysie cérébrale du Québec is turning 70 this year. For the past 20 years, the association has been led by president Joseph Khoury, a remarkable, passionate leader. It is an honour for the riding of Saint-Jean to host the association's headquarters.

As members of Parliament, it is important for us to show solidarity with people who have cerebral palsy. We have a duty to educate the public and all levels of government on the urgent needs of the people who struggle with cerebral palsy every day and their loved ones, who are also affected, and the respect they are owed.

I want to thank the Association de paralysie cérébrale du Québec for its outstanding commitment and contribution. Operation Papillon Vert, a campaign that was launched this year, is a concrete example of the work the association does to help people with cerebral palsy.

Infrastructure June 12th, 2019

Mr. Speaker, the people of Saint-Jean know how vital trade is to economic development and to ensuring stability for our small and medium-sized businesses.

The government knows how important it is to reduce travel distances on our highways and to promote sustainable economic development.

Can the Prime Minister inform the House of our most recent investment to extend Highway 35, in order to directly link Montreal and Boston?

Liberal Party of Canada June 11th, 2019

Mr. Speaker, following its election, the government launched the largest infrastructure program in Canadian history.

Modern infrastructure forms the foundation for a strong economy and better communities. With this in mind, our government announced an $82-million investment yesterday to complete Highway 35, a critical piece of infrastructure that will improve the flow of people and goods between Montreal and Boston.

This government also brought university training back to the Royal Military College Saint-Jean, which was another strategic achievement.

Those are two commitments fulfilled by the Liberal government.

The Liberals' vision is about restoring hope for communities by delivering effective, necessary infrastructure. Our plan is working. Our targeted action is taking Canadian society to new heights. Since being elected, over one million new—

Official Languages May 28th, 2019

Mr. Speaker, the Minister of Official Languages criss-crossed the country meeting with minority francophone communities. She soon realized that the Conservatives' cuts threatened the survival of organizations that promote our linguistic rights.

After presenting the most ambitious official languages action plan ever, the minister recently began the process of modernizing the Official Languages Act.

Can she tell us about the latest developments?

Normand Gagnon April 12th, 2019

Mr. Speaker, agriculture and the women and men who ensure our food security are at the heart of what has defined Canada since its inception.

On April 8, Normand Gagnon, a farmer from the riding of Saint-Jean, won the “Coup de chapeau” award at the Agristars gala, an honour he richly deserves. The award is also a reflection of the commitment and support of Mr. Gagnon's family, especially his wife, Louise.

Normand and I go way back. We worked together on getting an ethanol plant built in Quebec. Normand has dedicated the past 40 years to defending and promoting the farming profession.

Congratulations on this achievement, Norman. Never stop passionately promoting your noble profession.

Paul-André Massé April 4th, 2019

Mr. Speaker, it is with emotion that I pay tribute to a committed politician who touched the lives of many people in the riding of Saint-Jean.

Paul-André Massé passed away on March 17. Born in Saint-Jean-sur-Richelieu, Mr. Massé became a member of Parliament for the Liberal Party of Canada in 1979 and was re-elected in 1980. As a former member of the military, he proudly promoted Royal Military College Saint-Jean and the Saint-Jean Garrison.

Paul-André was a public official who served others in the interest of bettering society. Generous and dedicated, he was a tireless volunteer for the Society of St. Vincent de Paul and the Centre des aînés johannais.

I wish to extend my sincere condolences to his family, relatives and friends. They will miss him, but they should know that his spirit and optimism will live on and continue to guide us.

Regional News Media February 28th, 2019

Mr. Speaker, keeping the public informed ensures the integrity of the democratic institutions that have made Canada what it is today.

As a government, we fully agree with the need to support the news media. Regional news has long been a tool for community development. That is why we should celebrate the regional news professionals who work every day to protect the freedom of speech and freedom of opinion of our fellow citizens.

Today, I would like to pay tribute to a Saint-Jean resident who has made an invaluable contribution to local news broadcasting in my riding. Éric Latour is a television host in Haut-Richelieu. He just presented his 2,000th show. Over his 30-year career in communications, Mr. Latour has always maintained the highest standards of openness and integrity.

I want to offer Éric my congratulations and thanks.

Holiday Celebrations in Saint-Jean December 6th, 2018

Mr. Speaker, Khaled Kalille helped mobilize a number of stakeholders, and thanks to his efforts, Saint-Jean-sur-Richelieu was treated to a wonderful, magical event. The first ever Christmas parade was without question a resounding success.

I want to thank the volunteers and the participants, without whom this amazing spectacle could not have happened. People of all ages marvelled at the magic, while the spirit of the season spread throughout downtown.

A time of sharing and caring, this time of year is synonymous with solidarity, as demonstrated by the success of our fundraising drives. December 5 was International Volunteer Day, so I would like to recognize the support provided by those who get involved in our community to make it a nicer place to live.

I especially want to thank the Operation Red Nose volunteers. In its 35th year, this driving service gets people home safe.

Happy holidays, everyone.

Official Languages November 29th, 2018

Mr. Speaker, now more than ever in Canada, we must stand up to defend and strengthen our two official languages. Canadians understand that it is important to protect our rights and they know that their government must protect our national identity.

Can the Minister of National Defence talk about the measures being taken to ensure that the men and women of the Canadian Armed Forces are able to operate in an environment where both official languages are equally valued?

National Local Food Day Act November 8th, 2018

Mr. Speaker, I thank the member for Kootenay—Columbia for introducing this bill to celebrate national local food day.

I think it is a great day in the House any time we have the chance to talk about agriculture and food. Our farmers and food processors work hard every single day to put food on our tables, and they contribute to Canada's sovereignty by ensuring a safe and healthful food supply.

I consider it a privilege to rise today to acknowledge their contribution to our great country. That is why I welcome Bill C-281, which our government is happy to support because the importance of food and farming to the health of our citizens cannot be overstated. Canada has a global reputation as a producer of healthful food.

From gate to plate, the agriculture and agrifood sector generates over $114 billion of our gross domestic product. Canada's agricultural sector is booming, and people are taking notice. The Advisory Council on Economic Growth, chaired by Dominic Barton, has recognized its huge potential. The advisory council pointed to agriculture as one of the key growth sectors of our economy, one that can help unlock a prosperous future for our economy, our middle class and our nation.

Global demand for food is growing at a record pace. It is estimated that farmers will have to produce as much food over the next 45 years as they did over the past 10,000 years. Not only is demand for food growing, it is growing for the kind of top-quality foods that Canada's industry can deliver. That is why our government has set an ambitious target to grow our agrifood exports to at least $75 million by 2025. We are well on our way to hitting that target.

While Canada can play an important role in helping feed the world, there are also new opportunities for producers and processors closer to home. The fuel that is going to power this economic engine is our local farmers and processors. That is why I am pleased to voice our government's support for this bill.

A national local food day would be an opportunity to recognize the contribution of agriculture and food to local economies. It would be an opportunity for Canadians to learn more about how the food they eat makes it to their dinner tables. Most importantly, it is an opportunity to recognize our hardworking farmers and food processors. There is no doubt that more and more Canadians are putting local food on their tables. According to last year's chef survey by Restaurants Canada, eating local is one of the top five trends on Canadian menus.

Many provinces have already introduced initiatives to buy local. These initiatives help showcase local ingredients and capitalize on the explosive growth of culinary tourism. They can help bring together all the players, from farmers to chefs, in order to promote local food and stimulate the economy. They also help boost sales of local products to tourists and local residents, who are better able to identify locally grown foods. These buy local initiatives also contribute to increasing export sales should a region become known as the supplier of choice for certain foods.

When consumers choose to eat local foods, they create specialized markets and local supply chains for small and medium sized farms and businesses. The local food systems can provide distinct food choices that incorporate local flavours. In the riding of Saint-Jean, we can find local products throughout the region. People take joy in buying fresh farm products at the Place du marché in downtown Saint-Jean-sur-Richelieu.

In Sainte-Brigitte, Jardins d'Odina produces excellent ciders. In Saint-Grégoire, known for its orchards, Denis Charbonneau and Léo Boutin produce ice ciders. There are dairy producers in Saint-Alexandre and Saint-Paul-de-l'Île-aux-Noix. Au gré des champs cheese factory has won prizes several times. Au Saucisson vaudois in Sainte-Brigitte, Dalisa in Saint-Jean and Stefan Frick in Lacolle make deli meats that are sought after by consumers.

Les Vignobles des Pins in Sabrevois, Mas des Patriotes in L'Acadie and Vignoble 1292 in Saint-Blaise are the pride of the region for the quality of their wines. In Saint-Valentin, the town of love, Les Fraises Louis Hébert has a u-pick strawberry operation and sells many strawberry-based products.

The government’s approach to local food is focused on national efforts to increase consumer awareness and knowledge of the Canadian agricultural sector as well as the needs of farmers’ markets across the country. Provincial governments have a role to play in determining what local food means to them, and the Government of Canada continues to work with interested provinces on this issue.

Indeed, many provinces and territories are actively implementing local food strategies. To make them effective, provincial support is needed, combined with a bottom-up structure that understands the local food scene. For a number of years, provinces and territories have been working with the federal government to fund diverse local food programs. Under the previous framework for agriculture, provinces and territories had the flexibility to target investments to meet local needs. That way, they could provide tools to help farmers remain innovative and competitive, and capture new and existing markets, which include, of course, markets for local food.

For instance, in Quebec, $5 million was targeted to developing local markets. The Proximité program encouraged farmers to take advantage of the business opportunities that local markets provide. The Yukon used funding to get a wider variety of farm products into farmers’ markets and restaurants and onto store shelves. New Brunswick’s market development, product enhancement and diversification program supported farmers’ efforts to capture new markets, be they local, national or global.

We are focusing on a new five-year Canadian agricultural partnership. The partnership is a $3-billion federal-provincial-territorial investment, a bold new plan to help keep Canadian agriculture booming. It includes $1 billion in federal funding for six programs and activities that will build an even stronger, more innovative and more sustainable sector, and $2 billion in cost-shared funding between the provinces and territories and the federal government. These funds have built-in flexibility to allow the provinces and territories to target their own programs to local needs. Working in partnership can provide a boost to the local food movement.

Just as farmers have the full support of Canadians, they also have the full support of this government. We are there to encourage and help people from all walks of life to choose farming as their profession. We are there to support them with programs and services under the Canadian agricultural partnership to help them grow their businesses. The government is there to fight for them on the global stage as they help feed a growing world population.

The Government is happy to support Bill C-281 because, when Canadians shop locally, they are keeping dollars in the community, creating jobs and contributing to sustainable development.

When we transport these agricultural products over shorter distances, we reduce the environmental impact. That is the most pleasant way I can think of to boost the economy.