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Crucial Fact

  • His favourite word was conservatives.

Last in Parliament October 2015, as NDP MP for Compton—Stanstead (Québec)

Lost his last election, in 2015, with 27% of the vote.

Statements in the House

The Budget February 13th, 2014

Mr. Speaker, Parks Canada used to be a source of national pride from coast to coast. There are national parks in my riding. People were proud to work there. It was a flourishing industry for tourism and economic development in many regions of the country. Now the government is abandoning that sector, that source of national pride. Once again, that is unacceptable. It will take years to repair the damage that the Conservatives have done over the past nine years. In 2015, people will have to take action and elect an NDP government.

The Budget February 13th, 2014

Mr. Speaker, this shows the extent to which the government is thumbing its nose at research, innovation and science. It has cut geological departments even though we have a flourishing mining industry. It fired vast numbers of scientists working for Environment Canada and geological services. Now the government is trying to convince me that it cares about the environment.

Unfortunately, the budget does not even mention climate change. We already know that some crops can no longer be grown in some parts of Canada because of climate change, so the government will have a very hard time convincing me that it is taking meaningful action on the environment. It is just not true.

The Budget February 13th, 2014

Mr. Speaker, of course I saw those measures, but they were pretty insignificant and not at all proactive. Polluters are under no obligation to take responsibility for spills or environmentally destructive activities. Major polluters are not responsible at all.

The government is using tax credits to provide billions in subsidies to the mining and oil industries. When those industries leave Quebec's far north a few years later, they leave behind sites that need to be decontaminated. The companies that make the messes leave the country or go into hiding. The first nations are fed up with all these contaminated sites. Major polluters do not take any responsibility at all.

The Budget February 13th, 2014

Mr. Speaker, I would like to apologize to my colleagues. I misspoke and I apologize. What I said was inappropriate. Thank you for the reminder.

However, what is going on right now is a national catastrophe. The Conservatives show no regard for the environment. They ignore climate change and have absolutely no use for science. Now, they are targeting people and workers all across Canada. That is unacceptable. Perhaps that is why I got carried away and misspoke.

GDP growth has been going down after each budget, year after year. Why? Because the government is not thinking about stimulating the economy. It has not developed the framework and the environment needed to stimulate and diversify Canada's economy. That is evident everywhere, especially in the rural regions. Rural regions are doing especially poorly, since the government has abandoned the pioneering sectors that helped build our country, such as forestry and agriculture. Furthermore, it is cutting employment insurance, a program that is meant to be there during tough times, when people are transitioning between jobs. Once again, from coast to coast, rural economies are in jeopardy because the government is not supporting workers during these transitional periods.

We currently have $618 billion of national debt. We had a $20 billion surplus and now, over the past few years, we have had a $60 billion deficit. Debt has increased by nearly $130 billion in recent years. That is unacceptable. This has all happened at the expense of public services. The government has cut essential services for veterans, employment insurance and social housing, which is essential in our urban communities. Not necessarily in rural areas, but certainly in urban areas. The government has also completely ignored public transit. I think members can understand why some ministers are considered as sinister. I apologize, but it is what it is. That is what people are telling me. They are disappointed. They seriously think that this is a violation of their rights and freedoms. Why? Because 39% of people voted for this government, which means that 61% of the people who voted in the 2011 election did not vote for this government. When the time comes to draft a budget and create programs to stimulate the economy, the government abandons people.

We have talked more than once about the need to address the high costs that retailers pay banks to process credit card transactions, as my colleague who spoke before me mentioned. The only thing the government can come up with is to hold consultations to determine the best way to disclose these costs.

What we want are much stricter, more draconian measures to fight these practices that are costing consumers because the costs are passed down to them after all. Again, if the government wants to stimulate the retail economy then it will have to address these costs one of these days.

I was talking about workers' rights earlier. Cutting the public service, the services that Canadians are entitled to, by attacking the pay and benefits that have been negotiated over the past few decades is an affront.

It is no wonder that occupational illnesses are on the rise, especially in the public service. The workplace is no longer healthy. It has become unbearable, including for some employment insurance officers who are under pressure because of quotas that are forcing them to attack people who are entitled to benefits. These measures are hindering tourism, agriculture, culture and sports in the regions. It is unbelievable.

On the topic of transport, infrastructure and communities, need I mention the Lac-Mégantic tragedy to explain how important rail safety is to the people in my region? Again yesterday, a group stood up to Transport Canada to denounce its ineptitude at dealing with the infractions committed by private companies. It is inaction.

In the past three years, there was a tremendous number of infractions in my region, and no one ever did anything about it. There was a three-foot stretch of track that had not been repaired in two years. A month before the Lac-Mégantic tragedy, there was a spill that caused environmental damage. A month later, tragedy struck.

It is irresponsible and unacceptable for an industrialized country that is a member of the G7 and the G20 to table such a budget, given that the railway sector supports economic development across Canada. The government literally could not care less about rail safety. People living next to railway tracks are scratching their heads and wondering when the next tragedy will strike.

Well, there was already one in New Brunswick a few months ago, and we knew that would happen. All the players reviewing the Lac-Mégantic tragedy were certain that another tragedy would occur in that part of the country. People were abandoned.

It is the government's responsibility to make sure that private and public railways are safe. However, there is still nothing in this budget to protect my constituents. It is unacceptable.

I will quickly mention the government's interference in health and education. The only thing the provinces have always asked for is the money owed to them. It is up to them to decide where and how to invest it. They have this right under the Constitution. The NDP reaffirmed this right in the Sherbrooke declaration. We are the only ones to guarantee that right.

The government has abandoned agriculture, food safety and the environment, just to name a few areas. There is no mention of climate change or environmental concerns.

To conclude, Canadians deserve much better than this government, which is completely out of touch with the realities and needs of the people. If Canadians want to support the development of a just society and a prosperous economy, they must vote for the NDP in 2015.

The Budget February 13th, 2014

Mr. Speaker, today, I will focus on the reaction of my constituents to this non-budget tabled by the “sinister” Minister of Finance. Clearly, the government's intent was to go after the middle class and the working class—our country's workforce and the pillars of our economy—in order to actually destroy Canada's social fabric. This social fabric, woven by our predecessors, great prime ministers and people from across Canada, from coast to coast to coast, who have worked tirelessly for decades to uphold the fundamental rights—

The Budget February 13th, 2014

Mr. Speaker, I congratulate my colleague on his excellent demonstration that the announcements in the budget are attempts to fix glaring errors made over the past two or three years. He mentioned the cuts to the Canada Border Services Agency, the Canadian Food Inspection Agency and the RCMP, as well as the cuts to programs and the workforce. Over the last few years, we have been strongly opposed to those errors. The government is now making a modest attempt—let us face it— to fix them, thinking that everything will work out and making people believe that it will balance the budget next year. I am sorry, but the government is once again mistaken in thinking that Canadians are so forgiving.

Could my colleague elaborate on the government's attempts to fix its past mistakes?

Northwest Territories Devolution Act February 11th, 2014

Mr. Speaker, I congratulate my colleague, who is always so passionate and eloquent.

She spoke about collaborating with and listening to first nations people and residents of the Northwest Territories and the desire to expand resource development.

There are many fine examples across Canada. However, there is still a little bit of work to be done in the Northwest Territories. We would like the Conservative Party to be eloquent and collaborative with respect to what remains to be done.

It is important to work with a territory's people because that allows them to adequately feed and house themselves. First nations across Canada are demanding that these basic needs be met. In Bill C-15, there is just a little more work to be done as far as the Northwest Territories are concerned.

Northwest Territories Devolution Act February 11th, 2014

Mr. Speaker, I would like to congratulate my colleague for this excellent demonstration of the Conservative government's incompetence.

Every time there is a sensitive issue, the government tries to take away the decision-making authority of the first nations and local residents. Communication and relationships are vital to good co-operation between the first nations and the Canadian government. The Conservative government fails every time.

I would like my colleague to talk about the importance of these good relations between the government and these territories when it comes to social, economic and environmental issues.

Northwest Territories Devolution Act February 11th, 2014

Mr. Speaker, I congratulate my colleague on her excellent speech. She touched on one point, and our colleague from the Northwest Territories also made a good point earlier.

Why did the government not take into account the demands of the Northwest Territories that came from groups opposed to some aspects of this bill? Just like the NDP, those groups agreed with most of the bill.

It is unbelievable that, even today, a bill could be enacted that will affect the lives of the people living in the Northwest Territories and the government does not consider their views when the time comes to make improvements and updates and create a bill that is acceptable to everyone.

It is vital that we consider the people living there when we talk about economic development and responsible development of natural resources. The Conservatives do exactly the same thing every time: they ignore the demands of the people living in the areas concerned.

Questions on the Order Paper January 27th, 2014

With regard to the Canadian Initiative for the Economic Diversification of Communities Reliant on Chrysotile: (a) how many private businesses have applied for repayable loans to date and what are these businesses; (b) what are the amounts of the repayable loans extended to private businesses to date, broken down by business; (c) how many business support organizations have applied for grants to date and what are these organizations; (d) what are the amounts granted to business support organizations to date, broken down by business support organization; (e) how many non-profit organizations have applied for grants to date and what are these organizations; (f) what are the amounts granted to non-profit organizations to date, broken down by organization; (g) how many municipalities and RCMs have applied for grants to date and what are these municipalities and RCMs; and (h) what are the amounts granted to municipalities and RCMs to date, broken down by municipality and RCM?