House of Commons photo

Crucial Fact

  • His favourite word was countries.

Last in Parliament October 2015, as NDP MP for Laurentides—Labelle (Québec)

Won his last election, in 2011, with 44% of the vote.

Statements in the House

Life Means Life Act June 19th, 2015

Mr. Speaker, this bill reminds me of pharmaceutical companies that are randomly searching for new molecules, and as soon as they make a discovery they try to match it with a disease. It is nothing but improvisation.

On the other side of the House, the Conservatives claim that hundreds of dangerous criminals will go out and murder people in their homes at night. This theory has absolutely no factual or scientific basis. Even if this theory had some kind of basis and if hundreds of criminals ended up in prison up to the age of 102, what does allowing these hypothetical hundreds of seniors to die in prison do for society? It makes no sense. It is designed solely to win votes, and that is its only merit.

Petitions June 17th, 2015

Mr. Speaker, I am pleased to present a petition from my constituents, who are calling on the government to demonstrate international responsibility by recommitting Canada to contributing 0.7% of GDP to overseas development assistance.

Zero Tolerance for Barbaric Cultural Practices Act June 16th, 2015

Mr. Speaker, my question is simple: what is the point of including verbal abuse in the title of the bill? The title suggests that someone saw a culture that they thought was barbaric. Is there any way of knowing what culture that was? Was there just one culture in particular? If there were several, could my colleague give us a list?

Let us imagine a scenario in which a little 13- or 14-year-old girl is forced to marry and she reports it. Her authoritarian father who forced her to marry in the first place will be placed under an order for two years and will no longer be able to travel. That little girl will have a rather miserable home life.

The bill seems to have some shortcomings, and all it does is break down doors that are wide open.

Zero Tolerance for Barbaric Cultural Practices Act June 12th, 2015

Mr. Speaker, one way to evaluate the quality of a bill is to look at how it could change things in very real situations, instead of listening to the wild speculation coming from across the aisle. For instance, in the case of the Shafia family, how would this legislation have changed things for the women in that family? They would have most likely been deported back to Afghanistan, where they could have been quietly killed, away from prying eyes. I would like to hear my colleague's thoughts on that.

Petitions June 12th, 2015

Mr. Speaker, the people who signed the second petition I am presenting today are calling on the government to guarantee stable, adequate, multi-year funding for our public broadcaster so that it can live up to its mandate from coast to coast to coast.

Petitions June 12th, 2015

Mr. Speaker, I have two petitions from people in my riding to present today.

In the first, the petitioners are asking the Government of Canada to stop the devastating cuts to postal services.

Members not seeking re-election to the 42nd Parliament June 10th, 2015

Mr. Chair, I thank all of my colleagues in the House for giving me this opportunity to share my experience and explain my motivations.

I do not want to talk too much about the friendships I have built and the admiration I have developed for my colleagues, because I am a little too emotional and I have a hard time with that. I have discovered that I have a second family in my caucus. I found myself admiring people who are young enough to be my children. I realized that they were surpassing me, in terms of capabilities. I will now return to my prepared text, which is a little more pragmatic.

First of all, I want to thank the people of Laurentides—Labelle for giving me this honour and choosing me to represent them for the past four years. I also thank my staff, who helped me accomplish this work and who were dedicated to me and the people of our riding. I want to thank my wife, my family and my friends, whose support allowed me to carry out my duties.

I also want to take this opportunity to express my admiration for the Parliament Hill staff, and particularly for our security staff, who make us feel safe and secure when we come to work.

The day after the 2011 election, everyone wondered what had happened. We need to go back a bit for the answer to that. For several decades, Quebec and Canada were at a constitutional and political dead end. Throughout that dark period of history, much of the political class exploited that divide, some to stay in power and others simply to prove that Canada was dysfunctional and that they were right. In the meantime, we longed for better days and the situation continued to get worse for everyone. Like most Quebeckers, I was fed up with that impasse. Listening to Jack Layton, we believed it was possible to unite the progressive forces across the country and make Canada a more just country where no one is left behind.

Locally, I tried to perform my duties with as much dignity and professionalism as possible to show people the usefulness and value of my role. My colleagues were faced with the same challenge: replace incumbents who, with the help of the old parties, wanted to prove that the institution they were part of was dysfunctional. We succeeded in proving our relevance, and people showed us a great deal of respect and offered us a great deal of encouragement

I really enjoyed my parliamentary experience. For all those who are passionate about politics, it is a privilege and an achievement to represent the people of a riding and others across the country with similar interests. No matter where they live in Canada, workers, retirees and families have more in common than the differences that separate them. To build a better world, that is what we should focus on.

The negative aspect of the experience—we cannot ignore it if we want to move forward as a nation—is the extreme partisanship. Partisanship leads us to make assumptions about our adversaries' opinions. It makes debate sterile, and the value of the individual is lost. We end up by looking at one another through the lens of prejudice. One side sees people wearing cowboy hats who enjoy shooting at coyotes on the prairies; the other side sees the granola crowd sitting on a patio in a big city, criticizing the oil industry.

My knowledge of Canada prevents me from seeing the world like that. I like the member for Prince Albert. I actually think that if we were sitting in a boat on Baker Lake with our fishing rods, we could even have an intelligent conversation.

The biggest challenge for Canada is to overcome its prejudices. I am very proud of my Algonquin ancestors who hunted on the other side of the river, not far from here. Having lived on a reserve for a few years, I am all too familiar with the meaning of the word “prejudice”. The aboriginal values of solidarity, sharing and the constant desire to come to a consensus before making a decision are part of who I am. If we do not manage to overcome these prejudices, we will never be able to correct past injustices, and that does not bode well for how we will handle mistakes that we may make in the future.

We all share a passion for history. We are here to try to humbly change the course of that history. The thing we need to remember is that we cannot change the past, only the future.

Thank you all for this unique experience.

Business of Supply June 8th, 2015

Mr. Speaker, it seems that everyone is trying to avoid the term “insurance”. All of us pay for car and home insurance.

Would anyone consider it acceptable for Desjardins Insurance, which insures my car, or National Bank Insurance, which insures my home, to decide that it will not cover my loss because they spent the money somewhere else?

I would like to hear what my colleague has to say about that.

Business of Supply June 4th, 2015

Mr. Speaker, I feel the same way as my colleague who just spoke. When I hear people arguing about numbers and statistics like that, I wonder how many people the government members would be prepared to allow to go hungry. I wonder if they have a number in mind.

Business of Supply June 4th, 2015

Mr. Speaker, it is quite rich to hear the members opposite claim that we know nothing about our territory and about the reality in the north.

I have lived that reality. I lived on a reserve. I hunted to bring meat back to the village, and I know how important this is to nutrition and the traditional way of life of aboriginal people. They are pretty quick to paint us all with the same brush.

I want to make some clarifications about road access. In the winter, some places are accessible by road, but when the river thaws in the spring and the ice is not strong enough in the fall, there is no access at all.

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