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

Saint-Jean April 27th, 2018

Madam Speaker, I want to thank the the Haut-Richelieu Chamber of Commerce and Industry, Stéphane Legrand, and the organizers of the Gala de l'excellence for organizing an event that showcased the excellence of the stakeholders in our community.

The Coup de coeur award, which is chosen by the public, put the love in the Festival de la Saint-Valentin. Luc Bazinet was recognized for his vision and community involvement. Marina St-Tropez was given a special mention for the enthusiasm of three generations of women entrepreneurs. It is with emotion and pride that I also congratulate a former student, Steve Trinque, for being named business person of the year.

The riding of Saint-Jean can count on the talents of young entrepreneurs like Tommy Duval, organizations like Centre de partage communautaire Johannais, and businesses such as le Domaine Pourki. Congratulations to all.

National Defence March 27th, 2018

Mr. Speaker, it was with great pride that we pledged to provide a contribution that would maximize Canada's impact and bring the most value to the United Nations' stabilization force. General Dallaire supports our mission. He says it was a first-class decision to go back to peacekeeping in Africa in a role that will give us an opportunity to come in with a high-technology requirement that is a force multiplier for the UN troops on the ground.

I want to reiterate that the safety of our men and women in uniform is our number one priority. Stabilizing Mali is a key focus for us. By contributing to the UN's efforts to maintain peace and stability in Mali, we are helping to combat emerging threats and ensure the safety of Canadians both here and abroad.

I will close by quoting what Colonel Drapeau said following our smart pledge: this is a substantial contribution that Canada can be proud of.

National Defence March 27th, 2018

Mr. Speaker, Canada is committed to building a safer, more prosperous world. Our government is proud of what it accomplished at the 2017 UN ministerial conference on peacekeeping held in Vancouver.

At that conference, we committed to increasing the effectiveness of UN peacekeeping operations in a number of ways. At the event, we announced the Vancouver principles on peacekeeping. The principles include taking a firmer approach to prevent the recruitment of child soldiers in peacekeeping operations. Those principles came together in large part thanks to the hard work of General Roméo Dallaire.

Another initiative supported at the Vancouver conference was the Elsie initiative. As part of that initiative, Canada will work with its partners to provide assistance and offer incentives in order to increase the proportion of women deployed in UN peacekeeping operations and expand the essential role women play. It has been proven that conflict resolution happens faster and peace lasts longer when women are involved.

The Prime Minister has been clear about his commitment to gender equality and the participation of women in missions.

We will ensure that Canada contributes to achieving the UN Security Council's objectives by increasing the number of women deployed in peace operations.

Building on the achievements of the Vancouver conference, last week our government announced Canada's second joint commitment, namely to deploy an air task force for the UN mission in Mali for a 12-month period.

I want to point out that this is a deployment to a francophone country where the bilingualism of our forces members will be an asset. We promised Canadians that we would renew our commitment to peacekeeping and that is exactly what we are doing.

Last week, at the request of the UN, we announced that Canada will provide an air task force comprising two Chinook helicopters and four Griffon helicopters that will provide much-needed transportation and logistical capabilities, as well as escort and armed protection capabilities. The deployment will also include a certain number of Canadian Armed Forces members. This is another example of our government's commitment to engage in the world.

Of course, safety and security during these operations and the well-being of the women and men of our armed forces are of the utmost importance. Although we cannot eliminate all risk, we will always work to mitigate risks facing members of the Canadian Armed Forces during their operations. Our forces will have the appropriate equipment and will receive the necessary training for their missions. We promised Canadians that we would renew our commitment to peacekeeping, and this is exactly what we are doing.

This is another example of our government's commitment to getting involved around the world, and I am proud to say that we are continuing on this path. Tomorrow, the Minister of National Defence will address the United Nations Security Council regarding combined efforts to improve the UN's peacekeeping operations.

Canada is once again showing leadership in global security, whether it is by leading the NATO enhanced Forward Presence battlegroup in Latvia, providing military training in Ukraine, or contributing essential assets to the UN's peacekeeping operations.

Parliamentary Poet Laureate March 27th, 2018

Mr. Speaker, on January 18, 2018, Georgette LeBlanc became the new parliamentary poet laureate. Today, March 27, we celebrate her arrival on Parliament Hill. Although she grew up in Baie Sainte-Marie, Nova Scotia, she was born in Saint-Jean-sur-Richelieu. I am particularly proud of that, so I just had to point it out.

Ms. Leblanc's rich artistic journey will help her to set the quality standard for Canadian poetry, which will help this literary form to thrive. She is the eighth parliamentary poet laureate and she will be responsible for writing poems for Parliament to use at official ceremonies. On behalf of the people of the riding of Saint-Jean, I am honoured to congratulate our new parliamentary poet laureate.

National Defence March 26th, 2018

Mr. Speaker, with respect to the adjournment debate on the pay and benefits of our military members, I would like to reiterate that out government is not making any cuts to the pay and benefits of our military personnel. Last summer, we announced that pay and monthly allowances would increase significantly. We know that our men and women in uniform and their families make tremendous sacrfices for our country.

In return, our government's budgets provide for appropriate compensation for members of the Canadian Armed Forces and make their well-being a priority, as set out in our defence policy, “Strong, Secure, Engaged”.

The question is why did the Conservatives decide to vote against the well-being of our troops last Thursday. The truth is that this is an issue of fairness and that we need to focus on what is important.

That is why our government is also working to help our ill and injured soldiers recover.

National Defence March 26th, 2018

Mr. Speaker, I want to thank my colleague for raising the issue of military pay and benefits during the adjournment debate, because this gives me an opportunity to set the record straight.

I want to make it very clear that there have been no cuts to our military personnel's pay or benefits. The member opposite is referring to changes made to the administration of monthly allowances. These allowances are paid to men and women in the Canadian Armed Forces who are exposed to dangers and harsh conditions that other members usually do not experience. They apply to unique specialized roles played by members participating in special operations, paratroopers, rescue specialists, and those on land or sea duty for extended periods.

These allowances, which our soldiers receive on top of their pay, are incentives intended to keep them motivated. Last summer, most of these allowances were increased by 5.1%. In addition to this increase, the policy was revised to ensure that those who are no longer on such duty due to injury or illness stop receiving the allowance. The changes were made as a result of an in-depth audit of allowances that was conducted to resolve ambiguities, complaints, and other concerns.

We realize that this change may have an impact on some members of our military. This is why they will have a six-month grace period to transition to the normal pay rate. We are not making any budget cuts. This is a matter of fairness for those who are regularly exposed to more risks and dangers as a result of the unique, specialized aspects of their jobs.

Our priority is to help those who are ill or injured recover. This is why we committed to offering them the best care and support there is, through our new defence policy entitled, “Strong, Secure, Engaged”. I must point out that this policy makes our men and women in uniform a priority, but the Conservatives voted against funding this policy last week.

Our government is investing $198 million, through our defence policy, to implement the total health and wellness strategy. This strategy will also offer an expanded range of health and wellness services and programs. We will also add at least 200 new health care personnel. We are firmly committed to improving the care and treatments offered to members of our military who experience health issues during their careers.

To help our ill or injured members recover, our government is actively working to create a new transition group. This new group will provide flexible support adapted to members who are recovering from illness or injury, as well as to those who are permanently leaving the forces.

We are also committed to showing more flexibility in meeting the needs of our members, so that those who want to serve their country can continue to do so, regardless of their illness, since our military personnel is our most precious resource.

Business of Supply February 15th, 2018

Mr. Speaker, I agree with my colleague that we can always do better. However, I am very proud of the action that our government has taken. Since we took office, an additional $10 billion has been allocated to help veterans. We have reopened offices and reinstated lifetime pensions for an amount of up to $360,000, which could also take the form of a monthly payment of up to $2,650. That is huge. There is also the caregiver recognition benefit and the education benefit that helps veterans go back to school. I think that we have done a lot, but we can always do even better. That is why our party is in power, to try to make life better for all Canadians.

Business of Supply February 15th, 2018

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

It is a very good question and we did indeed consult veterans, especially those in my riding where there are three branches of the Legion. We met with them and they told us what they wanted. The needs of veterans were addressed in recent budgets.

In particular, as my colleague mentioned, we announced $10 billion in assistance for veterans over the next few years. Not $10 million, but $10 billion. We are also offering more services. We re-opened the nine veterans affairs offices closed by the previous government. We also opened a new one in Surrey. This is an important service. We are also looking after families by enhancing veterans' pensions. In addition, we are providing a non-taxable amount of $1,000 per month to those who need a caregiver.

These are all measures taken by the government to honour the service of the members of our military who are retiring after offering what is most precious to their community and their country: their life.

Business of Supply February 15th, 2018

Mr. Speaker, I will be sharing my time with the member for Davenport.

Thousands of dedicated women and men in the military leave the comfort of civilian life every day to put their skills and talents to good use across Canada and around the world.

These courageous individuals willingly put their lives on the line and are always prepared to go into harm's way. They have dedicated their lives to defending Canada's sovereignty, protecting our values, and promoting international peace and security around the globe.

No one is in a better position to understand the sacrifices and to appreciate the valuable work of our armed forces than the members of the defence staff and those who support them.

The Canadian Armed Forces personnel and Department of National Defence civilian employees work side by side as an integrated team. They know better than anyone how important it is to support the women and men of the armed forces when they are nearing the end of their service.

They saw for themselves how their colleagues transition from military life to civilian life. That is why they resolved to take care of the health and well-being of all military personnel and their families. That is why Canada’s defence policy, entitled “Strong, Secure, Engaged”, is making tremendous strides when it comes to helping people leaving the military, either on retirement or because of an illness or injury.

The way we take care of the women and men of our armed forces is at the heart of our defence policy and everything it seeks to accomplish.

The Canadian Armed Forces has reworked its transition approach in order to ensure that members receive the professional and personalized support they need as they prepare to return to civilian life after military service.

The defence policy includes four new initiatives to improve transitions both within and outside the forces.

The first initiative consists in re-establishing the personnel administration branch of experts in military human resources. Every CF member will be able to use the services of that group. Among other things, this group will ensure that members preparing for retirement are aware of career transition services such as career counselling or job finding assistance, and that they have access to these services if they so desire.

Furthermore, 200 employees will be added to the the Canadian Armed Forces health services. These employees will provide care to ill or injured members. The new staff will include transitional care specialists. Ill or injured members who return to civilian life will receive personalized health care and services until they are able to officially access services from Veterans Affairs Canada.

Under the policy, a Canadian Armed Forces transition group will be established, which will be the third new initiative.

The group will be made up of Canadian Armed Forces members who are experts in military human resources. They will ensure that every member of the Canadian Armed Forces receives personalized support as they transition to civilian life. The Canadian Armed Forces transition group will be commanded by a general officer and will be approximately 1,200 strong.

All military personnel will have access to the group's services. The staff will ensure that all pre-release and pension administration is completed, and that the veterans' benefits are in place before the members transition to care under Veterans Affairs Canada.

Just as importantly, the Canadian Armed Forces transition group will make sure that retired members are aware of the career transition programs offered by the Defence team and Veterans Affairs Canada and that they are enrolled in these programs if they so choose.

Services, such as vocational rehabilitation, financial literacy, individual career counselling, and job searching, are also offered by third-party service providers.

The National Defence team looks after the interests of both Canadian Armed Forces members and their families, who are the source of much of their strength. The Government of Canada has made it clear that the Department of National Defence, the Canadian Armed Forces, and Veterans Affairs Canada are going to streamline the transition for Canadian Armed Forces members, veterans, and their families.

The fourth initiative in the “Strong, Secure, Engaged” policy is there to make that happen. Veterans Affairs Canada and the Canadian Armed Forces have established a Seamless Transition Task Force that will implement an improved transition model for retiring Canadian Armed Forces members, veterans, and their families.

All Canadians who care about Canadian Armed Forces members can be confident that the many progressive measures the government is taking will give those members access to the care and support they need. Our approach to our members and veterans is one that involves the entire government. In budget 2016, we put more money in the pockets of veterans and their families to increase their financial security. In budget 2017, we supported the health and well-being of veterans and their families by investing in mental health support, educational opportunities, and career transition services, and these new and improved services will be available soon.

All of these programs complement each other: physical and mental health services for veterans and their families to promote well-being; educational support services to help build a new career after service; career transition services to find a rewarding job; family support, including financial assistance if necessary; caregiver recognition; and advice and support services to help veterans integrate into their new community. All of the programs can also be tailored to each veteran's unique needs.

The government listened to the concerns raised by the families of military members and veterans, advocates, and communities about the benefits and programs. We listened to them and created a detailed plan to restore and enhance benefits through plans and services designed to improve the life of veterans and their families. I am very proud of the government's efforts to finally make this a reality.

The Christmas Season December 13th, 2017

Mr. Speaker, the Christmas season is a special time for many people, but a difficult one for some.

As citizens, we should join the ranks of volunteers who provide many families with well-deserved comfort. This time of year awakens in us a sense of selflessness and compassion towards our fellow citizens. Canadians know what it means to give of themselves.

What would celebrations be without Operation Red Nose, an organization that ensures that people return home safely? Its mission is to promote responsible behaviour through non-judgmental service provided by the community for the community. I encourage my colleagues to join all the volunteers who exemplify generosity, compassion, and goodness. These are fundamental values that unite us as Canadians.

Merry Christmas to everyone and especially to the members of the Canadian Armed Forces, who serve our country with great dedication.