House of Commons photo

Crucial Fact

  • His favourite word was ensure.

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

Lost his last election, in 2021, with 28% of the vote.

Statements in the House

Business of Supply April 21st, 2016

Madam Speaker, I am quite familiar with this file, since there are quite a few farmers in my riding, which has nine rural municipalities. This is clearly a complex problem. If it were easy to resolve, it would have been settled a long time ago.

However, we know that all the members of the Liberal caucus want to find a solution, as do all members of the House. We have two dairy producers here, the Minister of Agriculture and the parliamentary secretary, who are very familiar with this issue. We want to find a lasting solution, not a temporary fix.

Business of Supply April 21st, 2016

Madam Speaker, I am pleased to speak today in support of Canada's supply management system.

We are aware of the industry's concerns about diafiltered milk being used in the production of cheese. We are working hard to find a solution. We are in regular communication with dairy industry stakeholders on this matter. As we have said many times, the Government of Canada fully supports supply management.

Every day, thanks to Canadian poultry and dairy producers who are at the cutting edge of technology, Canadian families have access to healthy, nutritious food. These producers also create jobs and add value to Canada's rural and urban economies, to the tune of more than $32 billion in agricultural revenues and sales of processed products.

Canada's dairy industry is innovative and drives our economy, generating more than $23 billion in farm gate and processor sales. It employs thousands of Canadians and is a leader in safety, quality, and sustainability. The government is proud of our country's innovative dairy industry.

We enthusiastically support supply management, and we are determined to invest in innovation and food processing to keep the industry on the cutting edge of technology. Canadian dairy producers have made remarkable progress in terms of production and efficiency.

The riding of Saint-Jean comprises nine municipalities, all with rural areas. I am proud to acknowledge several producers from my riding. Before the election, I met with agriculture sector representatives regularly, and I have continued to do so since becoming an MP. Just last week, I met with a delegation of dairy producers in my riding office to update them on the diafiltered milk file. They get that the government is working on a long-term solution.

Over the years, supply management has proven itself to be an effective tool for Canadian producers, processors, and consumers, and that is why the government wants to keep it going.

By following our vigorous trade policy and our export action plan, we are safeguarding the future of producers. Canadian producers depend on international trade to maintain and create jobs, thereby building wealth for all Canadians.

The government and our farmers know that Canada's balanced position on trade works well. From poultry to pulses, the government will continue to support our strong agri-food sector. Our economy and our well-being depend on it. We work in the best interests of every Canadian family. We will continue to defend tirelessly the interests of our supply-managed industries.

We also do everything we can to grow this important sector of our economy by supporting the commercialization of innovative dairy products. With a budget of $3 billion over five years, the government's growing forward 2 program helps the dairy sector seize new market opportunities with a number of key initiatives, like a dairy research cluster with a $12-million budget, which is almost twice our initial investment, and allows the industry to focus on the use of milk in animal nutrition, sustainable milk production and genetic improvements.

The Minister of Agriculture and Agri-Food recently announced that the government of Canada will invest an additional $1.75 billion in the dairy research cluster in order to increase productivity and improve our knowledge of the health effects of dairy fat.

This new investment made under the growing forward 2 agricultural policy framework will enable Canadian dairy farmers to use the research done by the Department of Agriculture's scientists.

We have invested a total of $13.75 billion in the dairy research cluster. There are also investments of close to $1 million that will help Canadian dairy farmers meet consumers' demands regarding traceability, animal welfare, environmental sustainability, and food safety and quality.

Here is my message to the House today: the government is determined to keep Canada's supply management system strong and profitable. We all know that a strong agriculture industry means a strong economy.

I ask for unanimous consent for the following amendment. I move, seconded by the member for Argenteuil—La Petite-Nation, that the motion be amended by deleting all the words after the word “That” and substituting the following: “the House recognize the magnitude of the economic losses to Canadian dairy producers from the importation of diafiltered milk, which has increased considerably in recent years; recognize that the industry is calling for the problem to be resolved; and call upon the government to work with the industry to find a long-term, sustainable solution.”

Saint-Jean Cadet Corps April 13th, 2016

Mr. Speaker, the Corps de cadets 2595 Saint-Jean is celebrating its 60th anniversary this year. The corps was founded in 1956, and over 3,000 young people between the ages of 12 and 18 have been proud members.

Corps 2595 has become the largest army cadet corps in the Montérégie region. Thanks to the dedication of Major Latendresse and his team, every year over 110 cadets are able to learn more about Canada and develop the skills they need to face the job market with a positive outlook.

The commitment of all the stakeholders involved has helped many teens from all walks of life gain some independence in a fun, friendly, safe environment.

It is an institution that is governed by its values and encourages personal achievement and community engagement.

I want to congratulate the cadet corps—

The Budget April 12th, 2016

Mr. Speaker, I thank my colleague for his question.

We are very proud to be reinvesting in culture. The cultural industry is important. Someone mentioned investments in small business and large corporations. That is an important sector, but there is more to it than that. The cultural industry is our identity. It belongs to us and makes our country what it is. This gives hope to all Canadians that our culture will continue to thrive.

For Quebeckers in particular, it is important that we promote French all across Canada, which will also help ensure our survival. We need the two million francophones who live outside Quebec, because they help us promote our language and ensure our survival. That is the best means we have. I have always said that after Bill 101, CBC/Radio-Canada is the vehicle that ensures our survival.

The Budget April 12th, 2016

Mr. Speaker, I thank my friend and colleague for his question, which I was awaiting impatiently.

If I may, I would like to go back a bit and remind him that in 1997, when the Liberals came to power, we had had deficits. Finance minister Martin, whom I can name, since it is in the past, was able to pay off $81 billion. With the Liberals, when it comes to paying off deficits, we apply the Keynesian method. When things are going well, we pay it off. When things are not going so well, Keynes says we have to spend. It is important to keep in mind that during the last election campaign, we were in a recession, and Keynes, I repeat, says that we have to spend when that is the case.

We should also keep in mind perhaps that after the era of Liberal finance minister Martin, we had an average deficit of $20 billion under the Conservative government, as the Green Party member pointed out earlier. That is a great deal of money. After that, we had a so-called balanced budget. However, we see that we ended the year with a $16-billion deficit. It is important to remember that to achieve the so-called balanced budget, the government took $3 billion from the reserve fund and sold off the GM shares at the fire sale price of $2.5 billion.

There are no lessons to be learned. We have a plan to create long-term economic growth and pay off the deficit when the economy is back on its feet. We have given ourselves the tools to do so.

The Budget April 12th, 2016

Mr. Speaker, I thank my colleague for his question.

I think that my colleague missed part of my speech and part of the budget, because we are going to provide seniors with a guaranteed income supplement that will be increased by 10%. This will affect 900,000 seniors in Canada. This is an important step that will provide more disposable income for this whole group of people.

The Budget April 12th, 2016

Mr. Speaker, I will be sharing my time with the hon. member for Dartmouth—Cole Harbour.

Budget 2016 proposes a new approach. In recent years, fewer and fewer Canadians have reaped the benefits of economic growth.

Although household spending continues to grow, most families have seen virtually no increase in their income over the past 30 years. As a result, it is increasingly difficult for families to make ends meet.

With Canadians’ decreasing ability to pay for their children’s education, care needed for their aging parents, and their own retirement, they are wondering whether there is still any reality to the promise of progress in Canada.

In electing a new government, millions of Canadians expressed their desire for change. We have offered Canadians an ambitious new plan to create long-term economic growth by increasing people’s disposable income and stimulating infrastructure projects.

Canada’s financial situation is quite solid. We have the lowest debt-to-GDP ratio of any G7 country, and that gives us the necessary flexibility to make strategic investments today that will grow tomorrow’s economy. Now is the ideal time to invest: interest rates have never been so low.

This budget targets the middle class and Canadian families. It also offers immediate assistance to those most in need of it: seniors, youth, the unemployed, veterans, and indigenous peoples.

Overall, this budget increases the disposable income of the entire population by reducing taxes on the middle class, and the Canada child benefit will lift almost 300,000 children out of poverty.

We will be raising the guaranteed income supplement for 900,000 low-income seniors. In addition, to grow the economy and create jobs, the government will be investing $11.9 billion in infrastructure.

We believe that a healthy environment and a strong economy go hand in hand. The budget proposes strategic investments in clean technologies and concrete measures to mitigate the causes and effects of climate change.

This budget has three major impacts for Quebec. First, the major transfers will total $21.4 billion in 2016-17, an increase of $1 billion over the previous fiscal year; there is $10 billion through equalization payments, an increase of $509 million over the previous fiscal year; there is $8.3 billion through the Canada health transfer, an increase of $456 million over the previous fiscal year; there is $3.1 billion through the Canada social transfer, an increase of $84 million over the previous fiscal year; and all that is for Quebec.

Second, it promotes French culture. The government will support major national institutions to protect the two official languages, and it will promote industries that showcase Canadian culture. As part of this effort to fulfill CBC/Radio-Canada’s mandate, there is an additional $675 million over five years.

Third, the budget restores the labour-sponsored venture capital corporation tax credit to 15% for stock purchases.

It also contains opportunities that may apply to the riding of Saint-Jean. For cities and municipalities, the budget continues to provide about $3 billion a year in funding for municipal infrastructure projects through the gas tax fund and the incremental GST rebate for municipalities.

For the Saint-Jean CEGEP and the Royal Military College Saint-Jean, it helps universities and colleges to train highly skilled workers, serve as engines of discovery, and support the growth of innovative businesses.

Budget 2016 provides up to $2 billion over three years for strategic projects to improve research and innovation infrastructure. For the Horticulture Research and Development Centre, it includes an investment of $70 million to expand agricultural research and upgrade agricultural research laboratories.

For highway 35 and federal infrastructure, the budget provides $3.4 billion over five years to support the construction, repair, and reconditioning of federal infrastructure assets across the country, including investments in transportation and border infrastructure. This last point is directly related to highway 35.

For the Centre d’aide aux entreprises Haute-Montérégie, the budget enhances the mentoring services, networking opportunities, and business development advice provided by business accelerators and incubators. Budget 2016 states that the government will work with stakeholders to develop a performance measurement framework for business accelerators and incubators in Canada.

With regard to the Internet, the budget includes $500 million to extend high-speed Internet access to hundreds of rural and remote communities. This is what the Minister of Finance came to Saint-Valentin, the village of love, in the riding of Saint-Jean, to announce.

To manage flooding, the budget proposes to provide up to $19.5 million over five years to the International Joint Commission, to enable Canada to match U.S. funding to study the flooding and the variable water levels and water quality that affect Lake Champlain and the Richelieu River.

With regard to the International de montgolfières de Saint-Jean-sur-Richelieu, the budget allocates $50 million over two years to Destination Canada to strengthen marketing initiatives in important international markets, such as the United States and China.

For management of the canal promenade in Saint-Jean-sur-Richelieu and enhancement of Fort Lennox in Saint-Paul-de-l'Île-aux-Noix, the budget provides for new investment to support the expansion and enhancement of Canada’s protected areas, including national parks and national tourist waterways.

For the churches of Saint-Blaise-sur-Richelieu and L'Acadie, the budget enhances the national historic sites cost-sharing program by providing $20 million over two years to Parks Canada.

In conclusion, our plan is reasonable and affordable. Yes, we are going to close the fiscal year with a deficit. Part of that deficit, $16 billion, derives from the situation we inherited before making our decisions on this budget, and we have invested $13 billion in order to meet our election commitments.

By the end of our first mandate, Canada’s debt-to-GDP ratio will be lower than it is today. This budget gives priority to people and offers Canadians the support they need right now. However we are not talking about the present only, far from it. This is an essential stage that is part of a sustained, strategic effort to restore prosperity and optimism in Canada.

We are looking to the future with confidence, because we are putting in place today the policies that will enable the vast majority of Canadians to benefit from more opportunities in the future, better jobs, communities that are better connected and more environmentally friendly, and more money, which they will be free to use as they see fit.

The people of the riding of Saint-Jean have already begun to reap the benefits of our budget commitments. In the months ahead, we will continue to improve the daily lives of the people there.

We promised to do everything we can to help every Canadian succeed. Budget 2016 is a crucial part of fulfilling our commitments.

Business Networks February 26th, 2016

Mr. Speaker, our government recognizes that our country's economic success depends on industrial innovation. It is therefore essential to support emerging businesses by providing them with a leading-edge platform to properly prepare them.

I had the privilege of attending the 2015 edition of the Cuvée entrepreneuriale to honour new businesses in the Haut-Richelieu area, most of which benefited from incubator services offered by the Centre d'aide aux entreprises Haute-Montérégie.

Industrialized countries have already recognized incubator and accelerator organizations as the ideal transition between school and business. They provide a workplace, a credible image, technical support, research assistance, ongoing networking opportunities, and structured mentoring.

I believe that business networks are key to the success of the fourth industrial revolution in Canada and that we need to invest—

Canada's Contribution to the Effort to Combat ISIL February 22nd, 2016

Madam Speaker, I would like to commend my colleague on his speech.

We just talked about Canada's reputation. Our intervention in various situations earned us a reputation as a peacekeeper.

How are we going to help these people from a humanitarian perspective?

Canada's Contribution to the Effort to Combat ISIL February 22nd, 2016

Madam Speaker, I would like to thank the member for his question. It is a subject that is of great interest to me.

Saint-Jean-sur-Richelieu is known not only for its military base, but also for its college. Every officer gets his or her basic training there. Over 6,000 officers will be trained at the college this year.

A university bachelor's degree program was previously offered at the Royal Military College Saint-Jean. Obviously a lot more humanitarian work will be required, given the new role that Canada will be playing. The college could offer a bachelor's degree program in social sciences.