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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

Industry February 14th, 2014

Mr. Speaker, 60 workers were dismayed to learn that General Cable, an American company, plans to close its factory in La Malbaie on April 8.

This will be the third electrical cable factory in Quebec to close in the past five years even though, with all of the work on the Churchill Falls project, there is no shortage of work. In the budget, the Conservatives announced the creation of an emergency measures budget. That is exactly what La Malbaie needs.

What will the government do to help the workers?

Canadian Heritage February 12th, 2014

Mr. Speaker, our ancestors passed on countless cultural treasures and traditions, such as ice canoeing on the St. Lawrence. We must protect these traditions so that we too can pass them on to future generations.

In 2003, UNESCO created the Convention for the Safeguarding of Intangible Cultural Heritage. That was 10 years ago, but under the Liberals and the Conservatives, Canada has still not signed the convention.

Does the minister intend to sign the convention, and will she ensure that ice canoeing is included?

Business of Supply February 3rd, 2014

Mr. Speaker, it is astonishing to see how our speaking time can be used here in the House. Our Conservative colleague spoke to the motion for 30 seconds and then spent another 15 seconds touting his performance in recent years.

We are proposing that the 2014 budget include measures to protect consumers by limiting ATM transaction fees. There is no pressure. We simply want to take the time to think about what we can ask of our banks to save money for consumers and bank clients. I do not see what would be so onerous about that. The committee can conduct the necessary studies to determine the ceiling required to ensure that these people are well served.

Business of Supply February 3rd, 2014

Mr. Speaker, I thank my hon. colleague for her excellent speech.

I have noticed in the House today that Liberal and Conservative members have asked only two or three questions, which we have already answered and on which we all agree. I have to wonder why they keep asking the same questions. That raises certain doubts.

The motion is simple: all we are asking for is that it be regulated. We have proposed a cap of 50¢, which we have left open. I do not understand why the members opposite would not want to leave consumers a little financial wiggle room.

I would like to hear my colleague's thoughts on that.

Saguenay Fjord December 9th, 2013

Mr. Speaker, in my riding, we are very lucky to have a unique attraction, the Saguenay Fjord.

For many years now, the Comité Fjord du Saguenay-Patrimoine mondial has been working hard to get the fjord added to Canada's tentative list for world heritage sites, which will be updated in 2014. Even National Geographic Traveler recently placed it on its list of the most beautiful places to visit. There is no question that the Saguenay Fjord deserves a spot on UNESCO's prestigious list.

Dr. Jules Dufour, an expert in the field, conducted a feasibility study and concluded that the fjord has the unique characteristics and the necessary attributes to receive such recognition.

I invite MPs and the public to go to www.fjordpatrimoine.com to show their support for the Saguenay Fjord.

Ethics November 29th, 2013

Mr. Speaker, on Tuesday, the Prime Minister said that he was informed on May 15 of the initial plan concerning the Conservative Party payment to Mike Duffy.

Why did he not bother to tell the House before Mike Duffy spoke about it in the Senate five months later, on October 28?

Respect for Communities Act November 28th, 2013

Mr. Speaker, my colleague's speech on the positive impacts of centres like these was very eloquent.

There is another aspect, and it is extremely odd that the Conservatives never talk about it. I am referring to the economic benefits of facilities like these. Consider the people who would go to such sites. They are less likely to become infected or infect others. They would be in a healthier environment. If they need water to dilute their drugs, they will not get it from a puddle or somewhere dirty. They will have a healthy environment that provides them with resources nearby, whether human or physical, to help them overcome their problem one day, and also to ensure that there is less collateral damage in the surrounding population.

It is a straightforward matter of economics that would save money. Hospitals would have to take in fewer people from these areas and fewer people would be affected by collateral damage. The Conservatives do not talk about it, and yet they generally claim that they are better than the rest in matters of economics.

Respect for Communities Act November 21st, 2013

Mr. Speaker, basically, the Conservatives want public support for a project. However, InSite in Vancouver has that support. People want it. They see the benefits of a supervised site.

All the analyses, statistics and studies conducted by experts, not just by the government, clearly show that these sites improve public safety and health and promote the reintegration of the people who use them.

When such projects have the people's support and proven benefits, all the government needs to do is approve them and let them become a reality.

Respect for Communities Act November 21st, 2013

Mr. Speaker, the hon. member should realize that injection sites reduce economic and social costs.

Just think of a homeless person who wants to shoot up heroin. He must dissolve it in water, which he will find somewhere if he is lucky. It might be in a toilet or a puddle that might contain oil or animal urine. As a result, that individual might inject urine into his blood, which could lead to infections and diseases.

In addition, he might leave the needle anywhere and other individuals might come into contact with it and become infected, because there are no safe places for people in that situation. Those people end up in our social service centres and hospitals, which results in additional costs.

The hon. member should realize that safe injection sites reduce social costs and help those dealing with that reality. Experts can supervise them and help them find a way out. That is an important aspect the Conservatives seem to forget.

Respect for Communities Act November 21st, 2013

Mr. Speaker, we are here to talk about Bill C-2, formerly Bill C-65. After prorogation, the bill was reintroduced with a different number.

This bill is a direct attack on supervised injection sites. Once again, we are faced with a government that uses every possible means to impose its political ideology at the expense of the broad social consensus and the positive effects of supervised injection sites.

We must remember that the Conservative government's bill challenges the Supreme Court decision and is just another way for the government to get what it wants and to put its moral values ahead of the lives of the most vulnerable Canadians.

We feel that all new legislation on supervised injection sites must respect the spirit of the Supreme Court decision. The 2011 decision reminds us, among other things, that Vancouver's InSite—the only safe injection site in Canada—has saved lives and improved health without increasing the incidence of drug use and crime in the surrounding area. It is also important to note that the police, local businesses and the chamber of commerce support those types of projects.

Evidence has shown that supervised injection sites effectively reduce the risk of contracting and spreading blood-borne infections, such as HIV and hepatitis C, and reduce deaths from overdoses. Evidence has also shown that these sites do not negatively affect public safety and that, in certain cases, they promote it by reducing the injection of drugs in public, the violence associated with such behaviour, and drug-related waste.

Supervised injection sites make it possible to strike the appropriate balance between public health and public safety. They also connect people in urgent need of health care with the services they need, such as primary health care and drug treatment services. Those are quantitative and qualitative facts that describe a reality, not an ideology.

We believe that harm reduction programs, including supervised injection sites, must be granted exemptions based on the evidence that they will improve public health and save lives, not based on ideology. Pragmatism and humanitarianism must be the two principles underlying the reality of drug use, a reality that goes against our moral values. It is unfortunate that the Conservatives do not feel that this debate in the House is useful and that they prefer to have the conversation by themselves.

In order to clearly understand the purpose of supervised injection sites, one has to take an interest in the people who need the service and remember that they have rights and that we have responsibilities toward them. Drug consumption has significant effects on people's lives, including debt, a breakdown in communication with friends and family, isolation, crime, medical problems and stigmatization. We need to support these people, not send them to prison. We must support them, not exclude them. They need to be given an anchor so that they can regain control of their lives, not left adrift without a purpose while we turn a blind eye to their problems.

Supervised injection sites are an innovative response to the expectations of an advanced and enlightened society. The philosophy of harm reduction gives priority to the personal and social management of drugs and high-risk behaviours and their negative consequences.

It is therefore important to have a pragmatic dialogue and approach. In other words, we need to look at the situation with a critical eye and assess the social costs and benefits of our laws and practices for humanism, which places human development at the heart of economic, environmental, political and social decisions.

What is more, the Supreme Court's 2011 ruling warned the government against any law that would violate the Canadian Charter of Rights and Freedoms.

The discretion vested in the Minister of Health is not absolute: as with all exercises of discretion, the Minister’s decisions must conform to the Charter. If the Minister’s decision results in an application of the CDSA that limits the s. 7 rights of individuals in a manner that is not in accordance with the Charter, then the Minister’s discretion has been exercised unconstitutionally. In the special circumstances of this case, the Court should go on to consider whether the Minister’s decision violated the claimants’ Charter rights. The issue is properly before the Court and justice requires that it be considered.

What is more, in this decision, the Supreme Court ruled that the charter guarantees Canadians the right to access supervised injection sites and that such services should generally exist when the advantages outweigh the disadvantages.

A 2004 study by the European Monitoring Centre for Drugs and Drug Addiction indicated that supervised injection sites reach out to vulnerable groups and are accepted by communities. That is what social acceptance is. The study also showed that these sites improve the health of their users, reduce high-risk behaviour, and reduce fatal overdoses and the consumption of drugs in public places.

Canadians do not understand the Conservative government's lack of empathy towards citizens living with this difficult reality, and the dearth of recognition and support it shows towards organizations working day after day to improve the well-being of those citizens.

Canadians see a government that imposes a course opposite to that recommended by various qualified stakeholders working with safe injection sites.

Bill C-2 will establish a process that is so burdensome that it may well deter applicants from even trying to open a safe injection site.

What would happen if an applicant should accidentally forget to include something? Could the application be turned down automatically? Even if an applicant had all the required documents and the full support of the community, it would still be possible for the minister to deny the application.

It is important to remember that a number of projects are on hold in major Canadian cities and that Bill C-2 is an obstacle to their implementation.

Speaking about safe injection sites, on June 7, Dr. Richard Massé, the director of public health for Montreal, said in Le Devoir:

…These services save lives. It is too early to say what will happen, but… [this bill] appears to me to create significant barriers, even though the Supreme Court clearly said that not providing these services was a violation of human rights.

Also in Le Devoir, the Canadian Medical Association said it sees a bill that is built on ideology. As to the objection that establishing a place where drugs obtained from illegal sources are consumed could cause a lot of harm in the community, Quebec's health minister says that the studies that have been conducted on the subject do not bear that out. He said that the bill should be studied further, specifically with the justice minister of Quebec.

Many groups are concerned about this bill that challenges the Supreme Court decision. It is designed as a way to undermine the court's decision and to find another way to close safe injection sites because they go counter to this government's ideology.

Why do the Conservatives not simply admit what this bill is about? What are the real reasons behind the bill? How far are the Conservatives prepared to go to jeopardize health, safety and the dignity of human life and when are they going to admit that this bill really is based on ideology?