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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 2021, with 28% of the vote.

Statements in the House

Immigration, Refugees and Citizenship November 7th, 2017

Mr. Speaker, I would like to thank the member for her question.

First, I would like to assure the member that the Government of Canada is committed to ensuring that newcomers, including refugees, integrate and contribute fully to the Canadian economy and to their communities.

Immigration, Refugees and Citizenship Canada’s settlement program works to ensure that eligible newcomers receive the information they need about life in Canada and the community in which they intend to settle, including language training, help finding a job, and connections with established immigrants and Canadians.

While asylum claimants are not eligible for federal settlement services until they receive a positive refugee determination, they are eligible for some settlement services funded by the provinces.

Once an asylum claim is deemed eligible and referred to the Immigration and Refugee Board, the federal government covers the cost of eligible health care services under the interim federal health program.

Once an individual has made a refugee claim, he or she can also request social assistance, which falls under the jurisdiction of the provinces and territories.

Immigration, Refugees and Citizenship Canada provides funding to over 80 organizations and agencies in British Columbia to support the delivery of services so that newcomers, including refugees, can successfully integrate into Canadian society.

As I said earlier, the asylum claimants that the Inland Refugee Society of British Columbia works with are not yet eligible for federally funded settlement programming, as they have not yet received a positive refugee determination by the Immigration and Refugee Board. As a result, this organization does not qualify to receive federal funding under the settlement program.

It is important to clarify that, once an individual has been determined to be eligible to make a claim in Canada, they may have access to social assistance, education, health services, emergency housing, and legal aid while a decision is pending on their claim.

Except for health services, which are funded by the Government of Canada, provision of all these supports is the responsibility of provinces and territories. Municipalities and non-profit organizations also provide some support services. I should also note that individuals who are found to be eligible to make a refugee claim can apply for a work permit once they have undergone a medical examination.

It makes no difference whether the asylum claim was made at the border or at an inland office. The Government of Canada also provides funding through the Canada social transfer, the CST, which is a federal block transfer to provinces and territories in support of post-secondary education, programs for children, social assistance, and other social services. The CST is provided on an equal per capita basis to the provinces in accordance with Statistics Canada's annual population estimates. Those estimates include persons claiming refugee status and family members living with them. In 2017-18, the CST will provide $13.7 billion to the provinces and territories.

It is also important to note that the number of asylum seekers varies over time and can depend on a number of different factors.

We are carrying on in the noble tradition of providing protection to those who are seeking refuge and we are committed to doing so responsibly and effectively.

We are ensuring that our agencies are able to manage the growing volumes and we are also working to dispel the myths and set the record straight on Canada's asylum system.

Once again, I want to thank the hon. member for Vancouver East for the question.

National Defence November 6th, 2017

Mr. Speaker, as I said, we will undertake an open and transparent competition for the acquisition of a permanent fleet.

In the meantime, we want to ensure the safety of Canada and North America by working with the United States and NORAD and we want to meet our commitments. That is why we want to acquire an interim fleet that will allow the government to meet all its commitments around the world while taking into account the cost, the capability we need and the schedule. Most importantly, we want to do business with companies that are friends of Canada and are not hostile to our aerospace market, as some have been.

National Defence November 6th, 2017

Mr. Speaker, I thank my colleague for his speech. We both want to make sure that the men and women in our armed forces are properly equipped. What he and I do not agree on is how to reach that goal.

On November 22, 2016, our government announced its plan for replacing Canada's CF-18 fighters jets. Pursuant to the mandate our government has been given, we will undertake an open and transparent competition to permanently replace the CF-18. This competition will be launched during the current term and we will ensure that the Canadian Armed Forces have the equipment they need for many years to come.

However, in the meantime, Canada must remain a dependable ally. Through NORAD, we have established a strong and important defence relationship with our closest ally and number one commercial partner, the United States. Canada is also an important member of NATO and, as such, we need to always be ready to make a significant contribution to alliance missions. Our commitments to NORAD and NATO are cornerstones of Canada's defence policy. These are missions in which Canada must be successful.

To that end, we have decided to consider acquiring an interim fleet to complement the existing CF-18s until the permanent replacement fleet is fully in place. We are actively looking at the possibility of acquiring 18 Super Hornet fighters or surplus F-18 fighters and parts from Australia. No decision has been made yet. Once we have all the information, the various options will be reviewed to determine whether they meet our requirements and are acceptable for Canada in terms of capability, cost, schedule, and economic value.

Beyond allowing Canada to meet its NORAD and NATO commitments, the interim fleet will mitigate the risks associated with our dependence on our current CF-18 fleet and with any delay in the competition for the acquisition of the permanent replacement fleet. An open and transparent competition can take time.

What is more, we want to make sure that the industry can fully take part in the process. Our government will keep its word and undertake, as promised, an open and transparent competition to replace the CF-18. We are determined to get the best value for taxpayers, to create good jobs and to bring economic benefits for Canadians.

We also want to make sure that Canada remains a dependable ally and that our armed forces have all the equipment they need to accomplish the missions we ask of them.

Environment November 6th, 2017

Mr. Speaker, as I was saying earlier, we have been studying the issue since 2016 and want to make sure that we have the right answers to give waterway users.

Our government is committed to maintaining a safe and sustainable transportation system that preserves the public's right to navigate while promoting economic development. The review of the Navigation Protection Act is part of a larger strategy to review the legislation and processes that apply to development projects.

Canadians have shared their views with us regarding the aspects of navigation protection that are important to them. We are taking a transparent approach to implementing these propositions with a view to restoring lost protections, establishing partnerships with indigenous people and preserving the public's right to navigate our waterways, just as we had promised in our platform.

Environment November 6th, 2017

Mr. Speaker, I thank my colleague from Saint-Hyacinthe—Bagot for her interest in the Navigation Protection Act. Our government is determined to provide a safe and sustainable transport system that protects the public right of navigation on our waterways. As my colleague pointed out, in 2014, the previous government made changes to the Navigation Protection Act, which reduced the scope of navigation protections to the lakes, rivers, and oceans set out in the schedule.

In June 2016, our government launched a review of environmental and regulatory processes. The 2014 amendments to the Navigation Protection Act were studied as part of that comprehensive review. Consultation and engagement are at the heart of the review process. Since June 2016, many stakeholders have shared their views on the amendments and on how to reinstate the previous protections. We have had the opportunity to hear from many experts, including the independent panel on transport, and representatives of the public, indigenous communities, the provinces and territories, interest groups, and the industry.

Indigenous people told us that Canada's waters are sacred and that they want to be consulted about what is built on their traditional lands. That is why we are looking at new approaches so that we can work in partnership with indigenous peoples to monitor navigation in their traditional territories.

We heard from paddlers and other recreational users of our waterways. They want reassurances that they will be able to continue to use Canada's waterways safely. Our government commits to maintain protections for Canada's navigable waters.

We heard from industry and other levels of government that an effective regulatory system is needed for building the important infrastructure that recreational travellers need and that allows businesses and industries to get their products to their destination. Our government is determined to provide a clear, transparent, and public process that proponents can be proud of.

Finally, we heard from Canadians that they want to know more about how we develop our regulatory process. Our government will establish a new standard of inclusion and transparency in protecting navigation. We take environmental protection very seriously and that is one of the reasons why the Minister of the Environment is currently reviewing the assessment process to ensure that the environment is protected when projects move forward. We will keep working and the results of the review will help us ensure that navigation on all of Canada's navigable waters is protected.

Office of the Department of National Defence and Canadian Forces Ombudsman November 3rd, 2017

Mr. Speaker, pursuant to Standing Order 32(2), I have the honour to table, in both official languages, two copies of the 2016-17 annual report of the Office of the Department of National Defence and Canadian Forces Ombudsman.

Questions on the Order Paper November 1st, 2017

Mr. Speaker, the government acknowledges that several terms were used to refer to persons detained by the Canadian Armed Forces, CAF, during their operations in Afghanistan. Regardless of the term used, the CAF treated all persons in their care, custody, or control humanely in accordance with the established Government of Canada process for handling, release, transfer, or post-transfer monitoring, and in a manner consistent with the rights and protections of the Third Geneva Convention. As such, detainees were provided with food, shelter, and required medical attention. The terms used to characterize detainees did not in any way affect the CAF’s appreciation or exercise of their obligations toward these persons, nor did it affect Canada’s process for handling, release, transfer, or post-transfer monitoring of persons under CAF care, custody, or control.

National Defence October 31st, 2017

Mr. Speaker, the government has full confidence in the Canadian military justice system. We consider it to be sound and fair.

This system ensures that any charge of sexual misconduct is subject to a public inquiry in accordance with the charter, as the Judge Advocate General said yesterday before the Standing Committee on National Defence. As part of Operation Honour, concrete measures are being taken to support the victims and to ensure that any inappropriate behaviour is reported and that leadership is held responsible when they fail to adequately intervene.

What is more, offenders face administrative measures that can affect their career and are required to undergo extensive training on victim support, as well as the type of legal action a person exposes themself to when they commit a sexual offence.

Since Operation Honour, we have also noticed an increase in reporting and increased confidence in the chain of command, the military police, and the military justice system. There is still a lot of work to be done, but everything will be put in place to ensure that the victims receive the support that they need.

National Defence October 31st, 2017

Mr. Speaker, I would like to thank my colleague for raising this important issue.

I can assure the House that our government and the Canadian Armed Forces take the matter of sexual misconduct very seriously. Every member of the Canadian Armed Forces has the right to work in a harassment-free environment. Every member has the right to respect and dignity. The Minister of National Defence and the chief of defence staff have made this a priority.

As part of Operation Honour, the Canadian Armed Forces are working to ensure that all military members receive responsive, personalized support. We have urged commanders at all levels to be even more vigilant in identifying problems and working with victims of sexual misconduct or sexual assault.

In Canada's new defence policy, the government reiterated its commitment to instigate a positive and permanent change of culture. In all cases of alleged sexual misconduct involving soldiers, an investigation is launched to establish the facts, examine the evidence, and if necessary, lay the appropriate charges. The Canadian Forces National Investigation Service has created 18 new military police investigator positions to facilitate the process. That team is mandated to ensure that victims are aware of the support services available to them.

That said, any and all sexual misconduct charges are the subject of a public inquiry, and that inquiry is led in such a way that protects victims, while also ensuring that the rights of the accused are respected.

In her question, my colleague talked about the difference between civil court and military court. Members of the Canadian Armed Forces are subject to a stricter code of conduct than their civilian counterparts. For instance, a soldier can be charged with a sex offence that is not necessarily an offence under the Criminal Code, such as making inappropriate sexual comments.

My colleague also mentioned the conviction rate in military tribunals. From 2014 until March of this year, the Canadian Armed Forces prosecuted 18 cases of sexual misconduct. Ten of them resulted in guilty verdicts, which is a 56% conviction rate. Of those 10 cases, five involved sexual assault, and the other five involved other types of sexual misconduct. Those are the numbers the Judge Advocate General of the Canadian Armed Forces gave the Standing Committee on National Defence yesterday.

The efficiency of the military justice system cannot be measured solely by the number of convictions. Convictions under the Code of Service Discipline are not administrative consequences; they are guilty verdicts that can result in significant prison sentences and a criminal record.

In the military justice system, unlike in the civilian justice system, when there are allegations of sexual misconduct, an administrative review of the individual's career is carried out to determine whether the accused is still eligible to serve the country. Harmful and inappropriate sexual behaviour is not tolerated. Since Operation Honour was launched, the Canadian Armed Forces have released 24 individuals found guilty of sexual offences. These results are in line with the objectives of Operation Honour, and we continue to monitor the situation to ensure that the positive cultural shift we have in our sights is happening.

National Defence October 23rd, 2017

Mr. Speaker, I am pleased that our colleague shares our interest in this policy.

During our consultations, Canadians told us one thing, and that is that they want us to look after our men and women of the Canadian Armed Forces and their families. That concern is at the core of this policy. We are looking after them, we are ensuring their well-being, we are helping with the transition to civilian life, we are providing training, and we are ensuring that they have the equipment needed to guarantee the safety and security of Canada and North America and meet our international commitments. That is why we will give them the equipment they need.

We announced the procurement of fighter jets and frigates as part of that policy. All those procurement items were included in the budget and confirmed by five consulting firms, which told us that those commitments will be guaranteed. That is why the people of the Canadian Armed Forces and their chief of staff are so excited about this defence policy.