- His favourite word was conservatives.
Last in Parliament October 2015, as NDP MP for Montmorency—Charlevoix—Haute-Côte-Nord (Québec)
Lost his last election, in 2015, with 18% of the vote.
Statements in the House
Canada Post June 19th, 2015
Mr. Speaker, after four years, it is time that the government stopped taking Canadians for fools. On October 19, an NDP government will be there to show them some respect.
Despite opposition from Canadians and municipalities and despite the fact that Canada Post is clearly improvising, this government has done nothing to get the mail delivered. Canadians know that an NDP government will stop slashing our public services and restore home mail delivery.
Will the government finally recognize that the Canada Post plan is not working and direct the crown corporation to do its job, which is to deliver the mail?
Business of Supply June 8th, 2015
Mr. Speaker, personally, yes, I am afraid of that. That is why this motion needs to be passed. We have to prevent these misappropriations.
There are other examples. There is the pension fund, for one. The government is raising the retirement age from 65 to 67 and playing games with the premium rates, when all the actuaries say the fund is viable for the next 60 years. This is electioneering. When the Conservatives are unable to misappropriate the money, they lower the premium rate so they can say they are fine fellows and they are lowering the tax burden.
It would therefore be a good thing if people could keep their contributions to the pension plan in the pension plan and their employment insurance premiums in the employment insurance fund. In fact, that fund no longer exists. It is nothing but a line in the consolidated revenue fund.
Yes, it still concerns me. That is why, next October, Canadians will finally be able to choose a government that intends to manage public funds properly: a New Democratic government.
Business of Supply June 8th, 2015
Mr. Speaker, unfortunately, to date, there has been too much political interference in the rules governing the employment insurance fund, and past Liberal governments in fact proved that they interfered too much in them.
At the time, the Liberal strategy was to keep premiums paid into the employment insurance fund too high in order to collect more money and thus provide the government with a hidden tax. It would be a good thing if our previous governments, Liberal and Conservative, finally admitted the truth, which is that the money they took from the employment insurance fund was a hidden tax and not premiums, since they took that money to use for other purposes.
The gasoline tax is a tax on gasoline. Income tax is a tax on income. The goods and services tax is a tax on goods and services. Premiums are premiums. It is therefore time to admit their wrongdoing in the past and finally stop interfering in something that is not the government’s business.
Business of Supply June 8th, 2015
Mr. Speaker, after the speeches I have heard today on the motion before us, the least we can do for workers who work hard year-round would be to support this motion.
I am proud of the work done by the NDP on employment insurance and workers’ rights. It is important that we be able to speak about our concerns and the concerns of the constituents I represent when it comes to the looting of the employment insurance fund.
Unfortunately, the government would rather lower the premium rate for campaign purposes and divert money that belongs to workers, and thus deprive 130,000 jobless people of the benefits for which they have paid their premiums.
I would note that according to the last EI monitoring and assessment report, barely 39% of unemployed workers have access to their benefits. That is fewer than 40%. Recently, the Conservatives presented us with an eighth deficit budget, were it not for the $4.2 billion pilfered from the employment insurance fund. They have the nerve to claim that they are good managers, on top of that. That is too much for me. It is time for things to change. After diverting the money, the government then announced that it would reduce the premium rate, the effect of which will be to reduce access to the employment insurance program.
According to the Parliamentary Budget Officer, if the premium rate is reduced as the Conservatives propose, 130,000 workers will be denied access to employment insurance that they have paid for. One hundred thirty thousand workers is virtually the entire population of a riding. Montmorency—Charlevoix—Haute-Côte-Nord, the constituency I proudly represent, deserves better. More specifically, it represents the people from the Beauport area of Quebec City to Colombier in Haute-Côte-Nord, including the Île d'Orléans, Côte-de-Beaupré and the greater Charlevoix area. We would be mistaken to think that only the workers are affected. When we say 130,000 fewer workers, we have to read between the lines: that is 130,000 families, women and children.
The objective is to improve access to the employment insurance program, in order to offer Canadians a better quality of life. That is what the NDP is proposing to the House in this motion, and also in a number of other proposals to help middle-class families.
At present, in a region like Montmorency—Charlevoix—Haute-Côte-Nord, there is a black hole, a period without income that ranges from one month to four months. That is 15 weeks without income for families of workers in seasonal industries, when, in fact, the employment insurance fund has all the money needed to help those families; excuse me, it had all the money needed, before the government used it for other purposes.
An image just came to mind: The employment insurance fund has become the financial cushion of bad managers among the Conservatives, and the Liberals before them. They broke and raided the piggy bank with all the hard-earned money that workers and employers saved up. We must do something about this questionable approach to making extra money. The money needs to go back to whom it belongs.
I do not think I need to remind the House how important it is for a company to keep the same workers from one season to the next, in order to maintain a quality workforce.
Instead of using the money from the EI fund, which was put there by workers and employers, the current government would benefit from allowing workers to have an income during the hard times. We must support workers and stop stealing their insurance money.
Fortunately, the NDP is proposing concrete measures to help middle class families.
Again, our motion states:
That, in the opinion of the House, employment insurance premiums paid by employers and workers must be used exclusively to finance benefits, as defined by the Employment Insurance Act, for unemployed workers and their families and that, consequently, the government should: (a) protect workers' and employers' premiums from political interference; (b) improve program accessibility to ensure that unemployed workers and their families can access it; and (c) abandon its plan, as set out in Budget 2015, to set rates unilaterally, in order to maintain long-term balance in the fund while improving accessibility.
That is the least it could do.
The Conservatives will not be able to pat themselves on the back for much longer with a biased unemployment rate. The people of Montmorency—Charlevoix—Haute-Côte-Nord are not easily fooled, contrary to what the Conservative government seems to think. We know that access to the employment insurance program has been limited since it has been managed by the Conservative crew and that the present government has passed the buck to the provinces by forcing honest working people to apply for social assistance. They no longer qualify for employment insurance benefits, which have become inaccessible. When the time comes to find all the tricks for keeping the money to which Canadians are rightfully entitled, our government demonstrates considerable creativity. Unfortunately, it lacks the imagination to find effective solutions for creating jobs.
Seasonal work is a reality in a number of regions of Quebec, but this government is unfortunately not interested in protecting those regions, and instead it is abandoning them.
We have to find solutions, as my colleague did when he moved this motion, and as my other colleagues did when they introduced bills like Bill C-605 in the House. That bill offered genuine solutions to help honest Canadian businesses and their employees. The money that working people pay in premiums belongs to working people.
Conservative management means billions of dollars misappropriated from the employment insurance fund in hidden taxes and more than $100 billion added to the national debt in less than 10 years; it means a reduction in federal transfers to the provinces and tax cuts for the wealthiest, but nothing for the middle class; it means offering billions of dollars in tax relief, only to have that money lie dormant in the coffers of big corporations; and as the Minister of Finance says, it means shifting its responsibilities onto our grandchildren.
Yes, Canadians have had enough, and on October 19, we will finally have a responsible New Democratic government that will stimulate the economy and put an end to the Conservatives’ and Liberals’ misappropriation of these funds.
St. Lawrence River Week June 8th, 2015
Mr. Speaker, it is a pleasure to mark the third edition of St. Lawrence Week.
This event is important to me, especially because the majestic river's north shore runs for 350 kilometres along my entire riding, from Quebec City to Colombier.
I want all of my constituents to realize how important it is to get to know our river and thus realize that it is fragile and that we are mutually dependent. We should acknowledge the many benefits we derive from this great river by personally getting involved in protecting it and preserving it for future generations.
We can show our support by attending this event and participating in great numbers in the many activities offered during St. Lawrence Week.
Petitions May 7th, 2015
Mr. Speaker, like my colleagues, I am presenting a petition calling on the government to eliminate the GST from feminine hygiene products.
moved for leave to introduce Bill C-673, An Act to amend the Navigation Protection Act (Montmorency River and other rivers and lakes).
Mr. Speaker, water is one of the most important natural resources for future generations, and it is crucial that we conserve and protect it for everyone. I am introducing this bill because the government has failed to meet this objective.
I want to thank the watershed organizations that lent their expertise and contributed greatly to the drafting of this bill. These organizations, like watersheds themselves, are real watchdogs for our waterways. They do very important work and carry out substantial projects with few resources.
In collaboration with my colleagues from the Quebec City region, I conducted some extensive public consultations to hear from the people we proudly represent here in the House of Commons. The results speak for themselves. Our lakes, rivers and waterways must be protected for future generations and for the preservation of our ecosystem.
In a riding like Montmorency—Charlevoix—Haute-Côte-Nord, which stretches along the majestic St. Lawrence River and is full of salmon rivers and drinking water basins, it is especially true that water is central to our identity and our economy. That is why restoring federal environmental protection measures will play an important role in the long-term health of our watersheds, which are essential sources of drinking water in our regions, and will also play an important role in salmon enhancement and habitat restoration.
(Motions deemed adopted, bill read the first time and printed.)
The Budget April 28th, 2015
Mr. Speaker, the Conservative member is complaining about the price of oil and the faltering economy, but the Conservatives have only themselves to blame.
They put all their eggs in one basket. They ran seven deficit budgets. They increased the national debt by $100 billion. They subsidized big corporations and banks without requiring them to reinvest in our society. They dipped into the contingency fund and the employment insurance fund, they sold off shares and they would have us believe that they are good managers.
The only thing the Conservatives are currently doing for the future is accumulating debt for future generations.
What does the member think of the government's mismanagement?
Petitions February 18th, 2015
Mr. Speaker, I have the honour to present to the House of Commons a petition signed by hundreds of people who are calling on the government to respect the right of small family farmers to store, trade and use seed.
CBC/Radio-Canada February 18th, 2015
Mr. Speaker, earlier this week, we found out that the Prime Minister is not Charlie. It comes as no surprise to anyone that as far as this government is concerned, freedom of expression applies only to Conservative positions.
Until recently, we knew that the Conservatives were suspicious of researchers, intellectuals, journalists and political columnists. However, during an appearance on a Quebec City talk radio show last weekend, the Prime Minister let us in on the fact that he has Radio-Canada employees—who, according to him, do not embrace Conservative ideology—in his crosshairs.
The Prime Minister revealed his true intention to get rid of this Canadian institution, which he considers an obstacle to his political party.
I believe that thePrime Minister's statements about Radio-Canada employees were out of place, unfounded and unworthy of his position.