House of Commons photo


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

Copyright Modernization Act November 14th, 2011

Mr. Speaker, I would like to thank the hon. member for his wonderful speech. We know that the Copyright Act has not aged well and clearly needs to be updated. What would the hon. member say is the main change that needs to be made, especially in terms of piracy? The member spoke about piracy in terms of going to a flea market and thinking that you are buying a real copy when it is not genuine.

Does the member feel that that is the most important thing to deal with, or should we be dealing with the overall issue of copying and Internet piracy?

Democracy November 14th, 2011

Mr. Speaker, I crisscrossed my riding over the past two weeks to attend the Remembrance Day ceremonies being held across my riding.

In Stanstead, Sawyerville, Weedon, Coaticook and North Hatley, to name just a few locations, I met men and women from the Royal Canadian Legion who, for decades, have carried on the memory of all fallen soldiers. Let us never forget that our troops came home with powerful memories and left behind the brothers and sisters who gave their lives to defend our rights and freedoms.

However, the democracy so dearly defended by our country in conflicts since the first world war no longer seems to concern the men and women of today. In fact, although 61% of Canadians did not vote for the current government, and despite its regressive social and economic policies, people seem to be quite stoic and passive about it all. The government refuses to debate the important issues that will have a profound effect on the future of our country.

Nevertheless, I will hold high the torch of freedom and democracy in tribute to all those—

Fair Representation Act November 3rd, 2011

Madam Speaker, once again, this is undemocratic, undemocratic, undemocratic.

How can this government stand before Canadians and dare to say that it was elected by a majority of Canadians, when only 39% of Canadians voted for it?

How can it say that this bill is fair, especially to Quebec, which will be under-represented, even though it was recognized as a founding nation of the country in a motion unanimously adopted by the House in 2006?

Quebec will now end up under-represented in this House. How can the government claim that this bill will be fair to everyone?

Ending the Long-gun Registry Act November 1st, 2011

Mr. Speaker, I would like to congratulate the hon. member on her presentation. In Quebec, particularly in rural communities—the hon. member for Alfred-Pellan spoke about this earlier—many of our ridings include both rural and urban areas. This is also true of ridings elsewhere in Canada.

Why is it important to listen to advocacy groups for women, aboriginal communities, police forces and the RCMP who all want to keep the firearms registry? Why is it important to listen to these groups?

Business of Supply October 25th, 2011

Mr. Speaker, I would like to thank the hon. member for this wonderful question.

Uniting people for a common cause has always been a strength in our communities and in Canadian society. We become bigger and stronger when we work together. We can have a bigger impact on everyone's future. Solidarity is always far better than division.

Business of Supply October 25th, 2011

Mr. Speaker, I completely agree.

There is strength in numbers. It is disappointing to hear the government say that opening the market will help farmers across the country. We need to join forces and give farmers the chance to have a clear say.

Business of Supply October 25th, 2011

Mr. Speaker, the Canadian Wheat Board has played an important role over the past 70 years, and it will continue to do so if the government is willing to pass the motion moved by the hon. member for Churchill. This motion calls for a free vote that would include everyone who is affected by this process.

This board works, is effective and gives everyone a fair price within an open market. We are simply saying that farmers should be given the opportunity to have a say on this issue.

Business of Supply October 25th, 2011

Mr. Speaker, I will be sharing my time with the hon. member for Windsor West.

The Canadian Wheat Board was created in the spirit of solidarity and to protect its members. It has existed for over 70 years and still has the unwavering support of its member farmers.

In a referendum conducted by the board, a majority of the 40,000 farmers who participated voted to maintain the single desk system, which has an effective monopoly on sales and prevents competition among farmers. In other words, the board unites western Canadian farmers, while the government's bill will only destroy these connections and divide the prairie farming community. This is just one more clear example of the regressive attitude that taints all of the policies put forward by this government.

The united front created by the board, which operates without public funding, gives prairie farmers peace of mind and financial stability that would be impossible without this institution.

Our farmers, who work tirelessly to provide Canadians with high-quality products, should not have to experience the additional financial stress that the Conservative government wants to impose on them. The Wheat Board protects farmers from the vagaries of the market, ensures that all of them receive a fair and equitable income regardless of their production volume, and prevents money from ending up in the pockets of the middlemen who seek to profit from our farmers' hard work. Chances are slim that the price of wheat will drop on the international market. However, if the Wheat Board is dismantled, farmers' income will certainly be significantly lower.

In economic circumstances such as those we are experiencing today, we cannot afford to weaken our economy's small financial stakeholders. In Manitoba alone, over 3,000 jobs are at risk. The province will be deprived of over $140 million in revenue. Is this a good strategy for boosting our economy or is it a way to line the pockets of large American corporations that are just waiting for the green light from their Conservative friends to invade the Canadian grain market?

The motion of the member for Churchill—the motion currently before the House—would ensure that farmers are able to exercise their democratic right to express their views on the future of their institutions. Democracy is a right that all countries have a responsibility to protect. Why is the Conservative government trying to threaten the democratic rights of our farmers? Do the Conservatives feel threatened by such a democratic process?

A number of studies have shown that a single desk model, like the Wheat Board, makes it possible to bring in hundreds of millions of dollars more per year than on the open market. Why then does the Conservative government want to deprive Canadian families of this income? Why do the Conservatives want to deprive farmers and their families of revenue that allows them to actively participate in the economy and be involved in their communities?

The Canadian Wheat Board is the largest and most successful grain marketing organization in the world. Why does the Conservative government want to dismantle this jewel of the Canadian farming community, which allows Canada to shine at the world level? This tactic is clearly part of the Conservative government's strategy to strip Canada of all its international credibility.

Not only do farmers rely on the board to ensure fair access for all, but they do not all have a local market to provide them access to the 70 countries worldwide that are buying our wheat. The board is also synonymous with quality for these 70 purchasing countries because our institution sets quality standards and speaks out against the unlimited use of GMOs. Clearly, our farmers are proud of the high-quality products they provide to consumers, and with a system like the Wheat Board, they benefit fully. They reap their grain and the rewards from their hard work.

All Canadians across the country should feel threatened by the government's bill. Some 80% of the wheat sold in Canada comes from this single desk, or the Prairies in Canada's west. The quality of the products on our shelves is being threatened. If the government goes ahead with its plans and ignores the voice of the majority, then pride in our products and the quality of those products will suffer.

Farming is the foundation of Canadian society, our larder, as they like to say. Canada needs a healthy farming industry in order for all of Canadian society to prosper. Contrary to what the Conservatives are saying, this issue affects more than the Prairies. Ending the Canadian Wheat Board's monopoly and dismantling the board jeopardizes the entire Canadian farming industry and threatens the survival of family farms, which are so dear to communities such as Kamloops, British Columbia, Stanstead in my riding, Prince Albert, Saskatchewan, and Sainte-Marie-de-Kent, New Brunswick; it is an insult to one of the founding professions of our society, our great country of Canada.

I did not think I needed to remind the Conservatives that democracy is also a founding principle of our society. The motion moved by the hon. member for Churchill seeks to preserve the democratic rights of farmers to allow them to decide for themselves on the future of the board that they have been running and financing themselves for decades. The Conservatives would do well to vote in favour of farmers and democracy by supporting a motion that stands up for our agricultural workers.

Since the Conservatives champion non-interference in the free market and refuse to intervene in the actual creation of stable jobs, how does they justify their interference where it was not asked for and where it is not warranted? The Canadian Wheat Board is managed and funded by farmers. The government and taxpayers do not fund the activities of this institution. With this bill, the Conservatives are not defending the interests of our farmers in any way. Once again, the Conservatives are completely out of touch with the reality of Canadians and are taking action that is contrary to the will and values of the Canadian public.

The Minister of Agriculture and Agri-Food invokes marketing freedom to justify his bill. The Canadian wheat market is currently not controlled by the big American corporations, which are close to the Conservatives. Currently, farmers are free of the financial stress that would be created by dismantling the Wheat Board. The Prairie grain market is free of the Conservatives' regressive attitude. The Prime Minister and the Minister of Agriculture and Agri-Food should allow farmers to express their opinions freely and should set aside this bill.

The Conservatives keep repeating that they were given the mandate to dismantle the Wheat Board in the last election. However, they refuse to prove this support by holding a plebiscite of the farmers who are members of the Wheat Board in order to allow them to have their say and give the government a clear and precise mandate. If the Conservatives are so convinced of the farmers' support for their bill, they will not hesitate to support the motion of the member for Churchill, who merely wishes to ensure that our farmers have the democratic right to have a say in the future of their management tools.

Along with my colleague from the riding of Churchill, I firmly believe that the government must organize a proper free vote for all current members of the Canadian Wheat Board, so they may again express their will to the government, with the hope that this time the Prime Minister and the Minister of Agriculture and Agri-Food will listen to what farmers want to tell them.

Democratic Representation Act October 3rd, 2011

moved for leave to introduce Bill C-312, An Act to amend the Constitution Act, 1867 (democratic representation).

Mr. Speaker, I am very proud to introduce my bill, which would amend the rules in the Constitution Act, 1867, for readjusting the number of members of the House of Commons and the representation of the provinces in that House. For decades, the provinces of British Columbia, Ontario and Alberta have been growing quickly, and therefore they are seriously under-represented in the House. This could be the case for a long time if nothing is done. However, despite repeated promises to restore democratic fairness in the country, the Conservatives are dragging their feet. During the last parliament, Bill C-12 was never called for debate by the government. When the government refuses to take action, the New Democrat official opposition rises to the occasion.

In doing so, the NDP is giving a real meaning to the formal recognition of the Quebec nation by the House on November 27, 2006, by proposing protection for Quebec's political weight, as unanimously called for by the Quebec National Assembly. My bill provides for a minimum representation with respect to the number of members for the province of Quebec.

(Motions deemed adopted, bill read the first time and printed)

G8 Summit September 28th, 2011

Mr. Speaker, the government is tolerating ministers who fail to understand their role or why they are entrusted with money. A $50 million fund was set up for projects that supposedly were related to the G8 summit. I want to remind the ministers and the government that this money was meant to be used to improve border infrastructure, including what is in my riding.

Will our government finally allow the truth to come out on this waste of public money?