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Crucial Fact

  • 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

Digital Privacy Act October 20th, 2014

Mr. Speaker, the Conservatives have repeatedly shown how little respect they have for the Supreme Court of Canada. We have seen various examples of their contempt for our justice system.

Why do they not remove the parts of Bill S-4 that are likely to be considered unconstitutional in light of the Spencer decision?

Business of Supply October 9th, 2014

Mr. Speaker, I thank my colleague from Alfred-Pellan for her question.

We are talking here about an economy that accounts for $160 million annually for the area around the St. Lawrence estuary and the gulf. This injection of new money from abroad is linked solely to this fishery resource, to marine mammals. There are a lot of industries that offer whale watching on the St. Lawrence in inflatable boats, but there are also a lot of piers and locations where people can take advantage of the St. Lawrence estuary. Therefore, it goes without saying that all these operators are very worried about this project, which could endanger their businesses and livelihoods.

Business of Supply October 9th, 2014

Yes, Mr. Speaker, rightly so.

Recently, much ink has been spilled over the contentious and worrisome drilling activities in Cacouna that have nonetheless been authorized by the federal and provincial governments. I would like to go back a bit, to shed some light on the government’s inaction when it comes to the environment.

I recall, last fall, the closing of the key positions at the Maurice Lamontagne Institute, a research laboratory studying belugas. I also recall that the Minister of the Environment evaded questions, thus showing his intention of continuing his attacks on scientists, the very people who make it possible to monitor the situation of belugas and other marine mammals that are threatened.

We all understand that the government was laying the groundwork for going ahead with the Gros-Cacouna port project: less money for scientific research, less data about the marine mammal population and less data about the ecosystem, and so fewer obstacles along the way to carrying out the project.

We also asked the Minister of the Environment to stop playing hide and seek, and release the scientific opinions about offshore activities at Cacouna, which, I would recall, is not only the very centre of the beluga habitat, but also the breeding ground for that threatened species. That was refused. Although we did get an emergency meeting, the chair of the Standing Committee on Fisheries and Oceans insisted that the meeting be held in camera. There is every reason to believe that the government is trying to hide something.

Moreover, it is inconceivable that the Minister of Fisheries and Oceans would answer in the House that to obtain scientific data, we need only use Google. I am sincerely sorry for all Canadians that a minister would give this kind of answer in the House. Does that mean that the minister and her officials rely on Google to learn about this issue?

It is amusing to note that the scientific opinion we can find through a Google search is the same official scientific opinion as the one that was sent to the Quebec minister of the environment.

The title of an article in the Journal de Québec on October 1 speaks volumes: “A scientific opinion invented” by the department.

The article deals with the Quebec Superior Court decision about stopping the drilling until October 15.

It says that in the opinion of the Superior Court judge, the letter from the Department of Fisheries and Oceans—we are talking about a letter and not a scientific opinion—that was sent to the Government of Quebec on August 8 provides no scientific opinion.

If everything is on Google, as the Minister of Fisheries and Oceans claims, why hold all these meetings behind closed doors? Why hide something so important?

Unlike the Minister of Fisheries and Oceans, I strongly believe that it is our duty as elected members of Parliament to ensure that the government makes decisions in the best interests of the public. The response from the Minister of Fisheries and Oceans is further proof of the lack of transparency of this government. It is the government's responsibility to protect belugas, a threatened species in the St. Lawrence. As responsible elected officials, it is our duty to protect this species.

This summer, Richard Nadeau, the regional director general of Fisheries and Oceans Canada, assured us in an article in Le Devoir on July 26 that the federal government planned on protecting the St. Lawrence estuary and that the mandate of the Canada-Quebec working group, created more than 15 years ago, had not been changed. The purpose of creating a marine protected area is to protect the habitat of marine mammals present in that area. You might say that is reassuring. I am not reassured.

A press release issued devastating news last week. On September 26, we learned that the Quebec chapter of the Canadian Parks and Wilderness Society had submitted an access to information request for information on the work done by the Canada-Quebec working group I just mentioned, and was told that no documents existed.

The following is part of the minister's response to the society:

No document was provided regarding the working group...This is a federal-provincial group that was recently reactivated after several years of inactivity. It has not yet examined the issue of the St. Lawrence Estuary area of interest.

This surprising answer means not only that the group did not conduct a study of the area to be protected, but also that the group does not even really exist. It exists, but it is an empty shell, as Patrick Nadeau, the administrative director of CPAWS Quebec, said. All I can figure is that this working group is a kind of phantom group that comes to haunt us for a few days around Halloween.

Despite all of these facts proving how irresponsible the government is when it comes to the environment, we still dared to hope that the Prime Minister might intervene, but no, he signed off on it anyway. This week he refused to meet with a special envoy from France to talk about the fight against climate change in preparation for the next major international climate change summit, further proof that the environment is simply not a priority for this government.

Everyone knows this; there is nothing new here. We all know that anything that has to do with the environment is not a priority for this government, except when the environment hurts fossil fuels, of course.

As a final point, I would like to commend the efforts of the community groups in my riding that have joined with me in calling on the government to put an end to these drilling activities for the sake of future generations.

I would also like to commend the efforts of the men and women of Cacouna who are watching this closely. Bravo. I am on their side. I also want to thank the people in my riding who shared their concerns with me regarding the Port of Gros-Cacouna oil project. I share their concerns.

That is why we put together a team of volunteers to circulate some petitions to stop this project. On October 18, we will be in Charlevoix and on the upper north shore, going door to door to collect signatures. All work on this project must stop.

I will be very proud to come back to the House with those petitions calling on the government to stop all work in Cacouna. In the meantime, I wish to thank the hon. member for Drummond, who, through his motion, has given me the opportunity to share my constituents' concerns. I would also like to thank the hon. member for Montmagny—L'Islet—Kamouraska—Rivière-du-Loup, who has been trying from the beginning to get some answers and get some studies done on the Gros-Cacouna project.

There is no doubt that the Port of Gros-Cacouna, which will be used for the sole purpose of exporting unprocessed Canadian oil, will have a negative impact on the Canadian economy through the loss of well-paid jobs. It will constitute an environmental threat to the St. Lawrence ecosystem, including the beluga whale population, and therefore it is not consistent with the principle of sustainable development and must be rejected.

Business of Supply October 9th, 2014

Mr. Speaker, any development project must first meet the basic criteria of sustainable development. I find it very funny, very odd and pathetic, to hear the government and the Liberal Party members telling us that they do not understand the distinction between “being open to a project” and “being in favour of a project”. We are open to the project, provided that it meets the basic criteria of sustainable development. That is the question.

Today, I would like to speak to all Canadians, but mainly to the women and men in my riding who have approached me with concerns about the Cacouna oil port project. I am concerned to see that the federal government is refusing—yes, refusing—to face up to its responsibility to protect the complex ecosystem of the St. Lawrence River.

The riding of Montmorency—Charlevoix—Haute-Côte-Nord has the enormous privilege of being adjacent to some of the most magnificent and most biologically diverse areas of the river that is a symbol of our nation.

As I said earlier in the House, whether we are talking about the Charlevoix World Biosphere Reserve, the Saguenay-St. Lawrence Marine Park or the Group for Research and Education on Marine Mammals, our region can pride itself on having world-renowned organizations that are associated with the wonders of the river.

Those institutions are not only a formidable asset to the environment and to our region, they are also an essential engine for the development of our tourism industry. That is why protecting this ecosystem is particularly important to me. Everyone who has grown up or who lives near the river cannot help but want it to be protected and conserved for future generations. Unfortunately, the Conservative government seems to be abdicating its responsibilities when it comes to the environment, and this leaves many people in our region with serious concerns and a number of unanswered questions.

Business of Supply October 9th, 2014

Mr. Speaker, the member talked about an issue that is very important to me. I would like to know more about his thoughts on this issue. He talked about the beluga, a species found in several places in North America.

I would like to know if he is aware that, even though the beluga is present in other regions, over the years, the St. Lawrence beluga has become dependent on the habitat it currently occupies. Losing this species will mean a loss to the biodiversity and fisheries resources there. No other belugas will replace them. The St. Lawrence belugas do not have the same behaviours or appearance as other species of beluga elsewhere in North America.

Volunteer Firefighters October 6th, 2014

Mr. Speaker, since this is Fire Prevention Week, I would like to honour the volunteer firefighters in my riding.

I salute the altruism and selflessness of these women and men who help make their communities safer. When tragedy strikes, they are the first on the scene to risk their lives. They are heroes to people like us.

I would also like to mention the exceptional work of all the dedicated and courageous volunteer firefighters who help save lives.

I would also like to salute Claude Boulet of L'Hebdo Charlevoisien, who produced a surprising and moving documentary film about Charlevoix's firefighters called Volontaires 24/24.

Nááts’ihch’oh National Park Reserve Act October 2nd, 2014

Mr. Speaker, I congratulate my esteemed colleague on his speech. It is obvious that he loves his riding.

He spoke about several problems in his riding that are being ignored by the current government. That is also happening in my riding, where there are many parks and reserves. They have financial problems every year. Even Charlevoix, which is a UNESCO biosphere reserve, has seen its revenues decline dramatically.

Today, this region could lose its UNESCO status because it no longer fulfils one of the main criteria, namely co-operation with the community. The federal and provincial governments are important partners in that respect.

This bill is all well and good and quite appealing, but what good is it to create parks if we do not protect and take care of them? These parks do not have the means to promote and protect their land.

Canadian Heritage June 10th, 2014

Mr. Speaker, did I understand that the Government of Canada will not sign the Convention for the Safeguarding of Intangible Cultural Heritage?

Canadian Heritage June 10th, 2014

Mr. Speaker, we have been waiting for four months to hear whether the Minister of Canadian Heritage and Official Languages plans to sign the Convention for the Safeguarding of Intangible Cultural Heritage.

Twice I was told that the minister was definitely looking into the matter and would follow up. The convention has been around for 11 years. On October 17, 2003, in Paris, UNESCO adopted the Convention for the Safeguarding of Intangible Cultural Heritage. That was some 11 years ago.

Where did the Minister of Canadian Heritage and Official Languages stand on this issue at the time and where does she stand now? How much more time does she need to reflect on this?

I have here the convention that was tabled in 2003. I can provide it to the minister, if that would help. It is only 14 pages long. It should not take too long to read.

Signing the Convention for the Safeguarding of Intangible Cultural Heritage would not commit Canada to investing billions of dollars in a year. It would just show that our great, rich heritage is dear to us, and that we want to protect, promote and rediscover what our ancestors have handed down to us.

It is interesting to note that referencing intangible Canadian heritage is working just fine in Canada. A number of people, researchers, agencies and even governments, including the Government of Quebec, have already done excellent work that just needs to be protected. In 2014, the Registre du patrimoine culturel du Québec incorporated intangible heritage.

Nonetheless, the federal government must sign the convention. Ice canoeing and—I hope I am pronouncing this correctly—katajjaniq, Inuit throat singing, are the two first examples that were incorporated. Intangible heritage is often passed down orally. That is one of the reasons, combined with globalization, which is affecting culture, that protecting this heritage and this wealth is so important.

On a lighter note, I just want to say that ice canoeing is part of my heritage and my family's history. My grandfather, Thomas Tremblay, was one of the canoeists who would cross the river and the ice to pick up the mail in Saint-Joseph-de-la-Rive and bring it to Isle-aux-Coudres.

A Radio-Canada film called Le canot à Renald à Thomas follows my uncle and grandfather as they build a canoe from start to finish, including finding the right tree in the forest. The film is about 40 minutes long and is easy to find online.

That is just a little story, but similar ones can be found in all kinds of families across Canada. However, these stories are often not known or protected, which is why it is important for us to sign the convention.

My question is clear, and the answer can be given in a fraction of a second. Does the minister plan on signing the convention, yes or no?

Strengthening Canadian Citizenship Act June 9th, 2014

Mr. Speaker, that is what is difficult about all this. It takes two to tango. It is a partnership. Therefore, in order for the system to work, people have to engage in debate, ask questions and so forth. We currently have a stakeholder who refuses to use our parliamentary system and our Canadian Parliament. Therefore, the system is already lopsided.

That is unfortunate because, in the end, Canadians lose out. We have less debate and fewer studies. At the national level, in the media, Canadians see less happening on Parliament Hill, in Ottawa, because the government currently does not want to be part of our system that helps make our country a better place by introducing bills that advance our communities. That is unfortunate. The Conservatives must stand up. If they do not, one of the partners—the government—is missing from the parliamentary system.