House of Commons photo

Crucial Fact

  • His favourite word was colleague.

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

Canada-Korea Economic Growth and Prosperity Act September 30th, 2014

Mr. Speaker, all sorts of protection measures are necessary when we are dealing with dictatorships, narco-states or countries with questionable practices and flawed legal systems.

It is completely unnecessary with Korea. Its justice system is every bit as good as ours. There is no reason to think that this is a corrupt country with a justice system that is biased or manipulated by the government.

Clearly, we would not have taken the same approach to negotiating this agreement, out of respect for our economic partners.

Canada-Korea Economic Growth and Prosperity Act September 30th, 2014

Mr. Speaker, it is very important to take a serious and coherent approach and examine the facts.

I am a bit more familiar with Japanese culture. Although the two countries have not always been the best of friends, many parallels can be drawn. They have conducted trade for hundreds of years. They are obsessed with detail and ensuring that nothing is left to chance. Human contact is paramount for these countries. It often comes before other considerations.

We cannot go there unprepared and recite political slogans or read talking points from the House. They will not take us seriously.

Canada-Korea Economic Growth and Prosperity Act September 30th, 2014

Mr. Speaker, one thing is certain: Korea is becoming one of the most modern economies in the world and is a niche market for renewable energy. It is in our interest to learn from Korea. I am sure that Koreans are not creationists and global warming deniers, for instance.

Canada-Korea Economic Growth and Prosperity Act September 30th, 2014

Mr. Speaker, I am honoured to talk about Bill C-41, a bill that is important to all Canadians. People everywhere, including in the riding of Laurentides—Labelle, have concerns every time there is a new free trade agreement. They automatically worry about it because they have seen the government sign agreements with dictatorships and drug lords, and they have seen all kinds of agreements that do not work. Of course they are wondering why, this time around, we are supporting a trade agreement. However, it should not be that surprising because we always use objective criteria to assess the treaties Canada will be signing.

I know that members across the way see our support of a free trade agreement as a historic event. That is not the historic event, though; what is historic is the fact that they have come up with something that we can support, something that makes at least some sense.

To take a hard look at the situation, we use an analytical grid and ask whether the country with which we are signing an agreement respects democracy. Is it a modern country with appropriate labour standards? Are its environmental standards acceptable? Then, we look at the country's strategic importance. In Korea's case, obviously, the economy is very advanced, much more than our own, because Korea has an industrial strategy and an international trade strategy, unlike us. It does not make things up as it goes along.

Then, we look at the terms of the agreement. We have reservations, of course. We would not have done things the same way, but the terms are reasonable overall and provide sufficient assurance that we know there will be no big surprises.

One of the reasons we support this agreement is because it has been in the works for so long already. It is clear that Korea's agreements with the United States and the European Union hurt markets for our pork and beef producers and our aerospace industry. These sectors suffered considerable losses, and signing the agreement may allow them to catch up somewhat and give them some compensation.

The Conservatives seem to look at international trade with rose-coloured glasses. There is a reason Korea is in the situation it is in today, with modern infrastructure and a very competitive industry. They adopted a consistent industrial strategy decades ago, while we winged it every step of the way. Korea had an economy based on subcontracting. It manufactured low-end automobile models for the American and Japanese industries. The Koreans decided to develop these niches.

They made investments in research and development, and produced high-quality products, which makes them probably one of most competitive in the world. If we had done the same, our manufacturing sector might not be floundering.

A number of my colleagues alluded to the threat this agreement could pose to the manufacturing sector, in particular the automotive sector. However, this is only a threat because of the government's inconsistency, lack of industrial strategy, lack of investment in research and development, and improvisation, with respect to the free entry of Korean vehicles into our market through the United States and Mexico.

I have to wonder why it has taken so long to sign this agreement. What caused this disaster for our exporters and caused them to lose a considerable share of the market? Do we simply have the government's diplomatic skills to thank for that?

The government shut down consular services in our embassies in Tokyo and Osaka, Japan, without even warning the Japanese government. That is not how you deal with parties who are serious and who care a great deal about details. These people run their country responsibly. If we surprise them and mess up, negotiations will drag on forever, and our manufacturing companies and farmers will be left to pick up the pieces.

The NDP is not supporting the agreement because of magic formulas, mantras or messages from the Prime Minister's Office. We take the time to analyze things. Rhetoric and magic formulas do not work. We need to carefully negotiate each detail and know what we are getting into. Once this process is complete, we can support an agreement without worrying about surprises. We need to show respect for serious players and be serious ourselves.

Canada-Korea Economic Growth and Prosperity Act September 30th, 2014

Mr. Speaker, the smears by my colleague across the way do not really bother me because I know that the entire Conservative Party has gotten into the habit of reciting and reading House briefing notes.

The Conservatives say that the NDP does not understand certain things, but I will provide an example of things that they do not understand. Korea used to manufacture Toyota Corolla replicas on old assembly lines bought from the Japanese. The quality was questionable. Today, the Koreans are at the forefront of the automotive industry because they developed serious industrial strategies and invested in research and development.

Would it not be nice if our government learned a thing or two from the Koreans?

Canada-Korea Economic Growth and Prosperity Act September 30th, 2014

Mr. Speaker, I would like to ask my colleague if he agrees with me on that. I get the sense that the potential problems the auto industry could face have more to do with the Canadian government's lack of a strategy for the industry than with possible competition.

Korea has overcome absolutely extreme difficulties. Its economy was based on subcontracting: it manufactured low-end vehicles for competitors. However, it invested heavily in research and development and achieved a level of excellence that makes it competitive. Why do we not do the same thing here?

Protection of Communities and Exploited Persons Act September 25th, 2014

Mr. Speaker, first of all, wanting to judicialize a social problem is pretty weak. I have to wonder if the Conservatives thought about what it will cost society if this has to go before the Supreme Court again.

I would like to ask the minister if impact studies were done on how the justice system will be affected if this bill passes and becomes law, because if it works, we presume that hundreds, if not thousands of sex workers and their clients will wind up before the courts.

Does the minister have any idea what the social cost will be and how clogged up the legal system could become if all these people have a criminal record? Did he study that issue?

Situation in Iraq September 16th, 2014

Mr. Speaker, I thank my colleague opposite for his testimony. I do not doubt for a split second his conviction and sensitivity, but what I find terrible about this conflict is that everything happening now was predictable years ago. The country has been destroyed and completely ravaged by war. Control of the situation has been taken by the group that is most fanatic, most hateful and most heavily armed. They are completely mad. For them, life has no meaning. Death is a release, a fulfillment. Their idea of complete success is to give their lives for the cause.

As the defence against people like that, we need people with a real interest in defending their territory. The Peshmerga, for example. Peshmerga, by the way, means “those who face death”. They have been fighting for years.

If the Americans had taken the Kurds seriously from the outset, the situation in Iraq would never have degenerated to the point we have reached now. We have to start asking ourselves questions. Are we going to become the team that always does the cleaning up after the Americans have made a mess of things? Or are we going to end up admitting that we have to let people solve their own problems in their own countries? That does not prevent us from providing them with assistance, or even weapons.

Business of Supply September 16th, 2014

Mr. Speaker, I find it funny when the Conservatives use the argument that we need to respect provincial jurisdictions.

If we have learned anything in recent years, it is that the current Prime Minister will go down in history as the prime minister who never met with his provincial counterparts on any occasion.

The Conservatives are telling us that the provinces and territories are in the best position to set the minimum wage. However, when the time comes to build a pipeline across the country, we are all one country.

People in Newfoundland, British Columbia and back home in Laurentides—Labelle all use the same dollar. Oddly enough, the cost of living is the same when it comes to the basics. The disparity will not disappear on its own. That is wishful thinking, and it is almost as bad as the Liberal leader talking about a budget that balances itself.

Business of Supply September 16th, 2014

Mr. Speaker, I would not want to dampen the enthusiasm of the hon. member for Winnipeg North. I agree with him about the government's incompetence. However, I find his solution somewhat laughable.

As party leader, he belongs to the most privileged class in Canada you can imagine, and he is bragging because he hit a home run, but he did not mention that he was born on third base.

Furthermore, the collective impoverishment that Canadians have been experiencing for decades happened mainly under the Liberals.

Can my colleague explain what advantage his leader may have over an Irishman from a large family who became a lawyer working as a roofer?