House of Commons photo

Crucial Fact

  • His favourite word was conservatives.

Last in Parliament October 2015, as NDP MP for Laval (Québec)

Won his last election, in 2011, with 43% of the vote.

Statements in the House

Citizenship and Immigration June 16th, 2015

Mr. Speaker, Louis-Roger Jean-Pierre is an eight-month-old Canadian child who is suffering from encephalopathy. According to the prognosis made by his doctors at Sainte-Justine Hospital, he does not have much time left.

Considering how ill her son is, Christina César, the boy's mother, who is Haitian, applied for a visitor's visa to come and see her son one last time. Ms. César submitted a letter of support from Sainte-Justine Hospital, but she was denied a visa. It is so sad that such a decision was made.

I hope the Minister of Citizenship and Immigration will show some compassion and intervene as soon as possible in favour of this grief-stricken mother, who cannot believe what is happening.

Canada Post June 12th, 2015

Mr. Speaker, Laval has had enough of Canada Post's intransigence. Together with Montreal, Longueuil and Westmount, Laval has decided to go to court to stop Canada Post from eliminating home delivery. This movement is growing across the country. More than 600 municipalities are opposed to the end of home mail delivery.

Will the Conservative government finally stop and consider the thousands of petitions against this plan that have been signed by the people of Laval?

Zero Tolerance for Barbaric Cultural Practices Act May 28th, 2015

Mr. Speaker, I would like to thank the member for Winnipeg North for his question. He is absolutely right. The minister was bragging about the success of his management approach, but in my riding, there is a fairly high number of immigrants from different ethnic backgrounds. They come to my office to get information on topics that are directly related to this minister's management of the department. Recently, I even approached the minister directly, in person, to ask him some questions. He has a very laissez-faire attitude. I do not see why he says that his management approach is such a success or how they are able to detect anything at all.

Although this bill comes from the Senate, it has the government's support. I do not believe that the government is really going to get members to support a bill if it imposes gag orders and forces the vote in its usual arrogant manner so that the bill passes in the form the government wants.

Zero Tolerance for Barbaric Cultural Practices Act May 28th, 2015

Mr. Speaker, I would like to thank the Parliamentary Secretary for his question. He began by asking if I had read the amendments. Obviously the answer is no. I have no knowledge of these amendments because I am not a member of the committee.

With respect to his last question about the bill, what we are saying and keep repeating is that our members' suggestions in committee should help improve the bill and make it more effective. In principle, that is what should happen. Our members try to improve the bill by moving amendments. However, the Conservatives reject the amendments. They only want to keep the original, no matter how badly worded. They do not care. They want to do things their way.

Zero Tolerance for Barbaric Cultural Practices Act May 28th, 2015

Mr. Speaker, I thank the House for giving me the opportunity to speak to this bill.

It is strange to see that our colleagues in the Conservative caucus, including the Minister of Citizenship and Immigration Canada and the Parliamentary Secretary to the Minister of Citizenship and Immigration, have taken up this Senate bill here in the House.

I want to start by reaffirming what my colleague from Algoma—Manitoulin—Kapuskasing said so well. For 10 years, the Conservative government repeatedly led Canada in the wrong direction, and this bill is just one of many others. My colleague was right to point out that there are already provisions in the Criminal Code and in the Civil Code to combat everything this bill claims to address.

To my knowledge, naturally, it is quite rare in Canada to hear about polygamy, forced marriage or early marriage, except in some very specific situations. I remember a part of the Civil Code that deals with the emancipation of minors through marriage. The provision allowed for minors who willingly entered into a marriage to be considered as adults.

I also want to explain why I am happy to be discussing this bill, despite its many problems. I am doing so to show my support for all the amendments that were proposed by the NDP caucus in committee, as well as by other opposition members.

At the beginning of today's debate, I heard that the opposition brought forward 17 motions, and the Conservatives rejected all of them in committee, right before second reading. The Conservatives did not propose any amendments. How is it that a bill can come to us from the Senate and it can be taken on by a minister and his parliamentary secretary, who both know very well that we have the Canadian Multiculturalism Act?

They say that we should pass the bill so we can protect these people, which does not make any sense, when they have no intention of taking it seriously or analyzing the contents of the 17 amendments that were brought forward.

In principle, the bill is commendable, for it is meant to combat polygamy, and early and forced marriage, which definitely should be stopped. However, the proposed approach is not the right one.

If the Conservatives had been able to support the motion and accept the amendments, we could have improved the bill and made it effective. It is our duty as legislators to introduce legislation that makes sense.

Once again, in the title alone, there is something unusual. As my colleague, the member for La Pointe-de-l'Île, did such a good job of explaining, the title, which is appalling, points a finger right at women from certain communities and stigmatizes certain cultures deemed “barbaric”. There is something missing somewhere.

That reminds me of something that still surprises me. Just yesterday, Motion No. 444 was rejected. That was a motion to end violence against women. The entire Conservative caucus rejected it. Once again, I was surprised to see that of the 159 members of the Conservative caucus, 28 are women, which represents about 17.5%. That is not a big number, relatively speaking, but it nevertheless seems to me that those women should have taken an interest in the intention of the motion.

Getting back to Bill S-7, regardless of its appalling title, which the Conservatives never wanted to change, what we need to do is come up with a bill that really tackles the source of the problem. Of course, as I said earlier, I do not believe that this problem is particularly widespread here in Canada, except among immigrants from other cultures who engage in these practices, which seems to be the case. However, it also seems to me, as my Liberal Party colleague explained, that there are safeguards. Our Citizenship and Immigration Canada officers in visa sections in embassies have the means to detect all kinds of irregularities, and they can really be strict about saying that such practices are not allowed in Canada. It therefore has to be something that really violates what has already been established in our Civil Code or in common law on the English side.

I discovered another rather interesting situation. At the Standing Committee on Citizenship and Immigration, the members of our party tried several times to amend the bill, especially the title and certain concepts in the clauses, in order to ensure that the victims would not be penalized. That did not happen. We end up with the same situation, as usual with the Conservatives. As our opposition colleagues mentioned, the mission of the Conservative caucus is to let things drag on. The Conservatives have been in power for 10 years, and they have not really found solutions. The expression “working together” means absolutely nothing to them. They insist, with a degree of arrogance, on imposing closure and putting an end to debate.

What everyone is objecting to is primarily the title. Many witnesses who came before the committee found the title offensive and unacceptable.

Petitions May 7th, 2015

Mr. Speaker, I join my colleagues in presenting a petition on eliminating the GST from feminine hygiene products.

Black History Month February 20th, 2015

Mr. Speaker, the entire month of February is Black History Month. It is a history that is marked by pain, but also by courage, hope and resilience.

Black people have helped build this continent and this country, which we share thanks to their blood and the sweat of their brows. They had to stand up and fight against discrimination and untold violations of their rights. Great strides have been made, but a lot of work remains to be done. Exclusion is unfortunately very much a reality in our society and indeed in many unexpected spheres.

I am proud to give a voice to the minorities in my riding, Laval, and to commend their economic, political and socio-cultural contributions.

I also want to pay tribute to the late Althea Joseph-Charles Seaman of the Black Community Association. She was an amazing woman who passed away in the fall of 2013. I also want to thank Dr. Alix Rey, who took over this important work.

Let us celebrate the 24th edition of Black History Month in Laval, and let us “stand for something”.

Holiday Season December 11th, 2014

Mr. Speaker, we are approaching the end of this parliamentary session, which was marked by a record number of time allocation motions imposed by the Conservative government in order to pass its contentious bills, cut essential public services and undermine the democratic process of voting through what I would call electoral “deform”.

More than 850,000 Canadians currently rely on food banks to feed themselves. That is an aberration in a country like ours and it illustrates the failure of this government's policies.

Before we all leave to spend the holidays with our families, I would like to express the hope—perhaps an overly optimistic one—that as they celebrate Christmas and the New Year in the warmth of their homes, the Conservatives will think a little more about Canadians and about all those who are dealing with budget cuts, unemployment, the lack of affordable housing, insecurity and injustice.

Merry Christmas to all my colleagues and all the residents of Laval.

Canada Post November 28th, 2014

Mr. Speaker, people in my riding are angry about the government's decision to get rid of home mail delivery, and so they should be. This will be hardest on the elderly and those with reduced mobility. I should point out that Canada Post has made a profit of $84 million already this year.

Why do the Conservatives want to eliminate a service that is essential to the people of Laval?

Business of Supply November 27th, 2014

In fact, Mr. Speaker, we know that the government is trying to cut $36 billion from the budget for the health system all over Canada.

I think the Conservatives should review and really take care of improving and controlling the research in a proper manner. That is what the government should be aware of and be taking care of for all the citizens of this magnificent country.

I do not have any particular comment on how the Conservatives are now working on it, but it is a matter of the budget, because we know that the research and funds for it have lately been in very bad standing in the government.

After 2015 we will repair all those malfeasances and problems that the Conservatives have been carrying out year after year.