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Crucial Fact

  • His favourite word was transportation.

Last in Parliament March 2023, as Liberal MP for Notre-Dame-de-Grâce—Westmount (Québec)

Won his last election, in 2021, with 54% of the vote.

Statements in the House

Business of Supply March 1st, 2022

Mr. Speaker, I will share my time with my colleague from Hochelaga.

It is with great pleasure that I rise to discuss an important issue, the readjustment of Canada's federal electoral boundaries.

My speech today will focus on a key aspect of the electoral boundaries readjustment process, which has now officially begun.

The Electoral Boundaries Readjustment Act sets out the process by which the seats of the House of Commons are redistributed every 10 years. Why every 10 years? It corresponds to the timing of the release of decennial census data, which is used by the Chief Electoral Officer to calculate seat allocation.

As all hon. members know, the Chief Electoral Officer used this data to do the necessary calculation in October 2021. Since then, 10 independent commissions have been created, one in each province. These three‑member commissions include a chair, who is appointed by the chief justice of the province, and two members, who are appointed by the Speaker of the House of Commons.

I would like to take a moment to thank these distinguished Canadians for agreeing to do this work. The commitment they have made cannot be overstated, and I know all my colleagues agree with that.

A cynical person might say that, as MPs, we have a disproportionate level of interest in this process, but I would like to remind members that this work has a direct impact on the way each of us serves Canadians. As a result, public consultations play an essential role in the redistribution process.

I am delighted to say that, when the independent electoral boundaries commissions publish their initial boundary proposals, there will be at least one public hearing held in every province. Thanks to these public consultations, Canadians in all 10 provinces will have the opportunity to have their say about the proposals. What is more, members of the House of Commons will have the opportunity to provide input at the public hearings and voice any objections they may have.

The electoral boundaries commissions have started to develop an initial series of revised electoral district maps, which will be published in the coming months.

Then, pursuant to section 19 of the act, the commissions will publish their respective proposals in the Canada Gazette and at least one newspaper of general circulation. It is important to note that the proposal must include the dates and times of the public hearings. Under the act, the commissions must organize at least one public hearing, and it must be held 30 days after the proposal is published.

It is important to note that the commissions can hold more than one public hearing. In fact, history confirms it. During the 2012 redistribution process, 132 public hearings were held in Canada's 10 provinces.

It will come as no surprise, but the larger provinces held more public hearings than the smaller ones. For example, there were 31 public hearings in Ontario, 23 in British Columbia, 21 in Quebec and 15 in Alberta. What is more, in order to encourage participation, many of the public hearings were held in the evening.

Beyond the Canadians and MPs who made presentations, either orally or in writing, during the public hearings, the commissions agreed to consider comments received by email, fax and other means. Saskatchewan's commission received nearly 3,000 presentations in various forms, including emails, letters and petitions.

It is highly likely that the commissions will do everything they can to reach as many people as possible in their province.

I think it is also fair to say that, given the rapid changes in the information and communications environment since 2012, the commissions can probably reach an even broader public this time around. In other words, this broad public consultation, which is set to begin between April and October 2022, will allow the commissions to gather valuable information when they are revising and finalizing their proposals.

Before getting into the opportunity that MPs have to participate, I must note that in 2012, community groups, municipalities and other organizations submitted many presentations. This contribution is essential, because these stakeholders represent communities' points of view in a way that is different, but equally important for MPs.

As I mentioned earlier, all members can present their views at these public hearings. I therefore encourage any member who feels compelled to do so, since we have unique local knowledge of our constituencies and the needs of our constituents.

Furthermore, once a commission has submitted a revised report, members may also file written objections with the Standing Committee on Procedure and House Affairs. Once the committee has considered these objections, a copy of the objections and the committee's minutes will be forwarded to the relevant commission. Under section 23 of the act, the commission shall then consider objections that may result in changes to its boundary proposal or to the names of the proposed electoral districts.

Before I close, I would once again like to emphasize a point I made at the beginning of my speech: The electoral boundaries commissions are fully independent and responsible for producing and finalizing the boundary proposals. Although the commissions are solely responsible for this important work, as I tried to explain during my speech, there are many opportunities for the public and every member of the House to participate.

I want to close by emphasizing that all Canadians deserve to have effective representation in the House of Commons. Does this mean that we have to perfectly match a province's population to the proportion of seats assigned to that province? The answer is no, of course not. Representation must reflect the unique character of Canada.

I believe that all members will agree that what is most important here is the notion of effective representation. The commissions will consider the most recent census data, as well as such factors as the importance of protecting communities of interest and historical boundaries.

What does effective representation mean to Canadians? It means knowing that their MP is sensitive to their concerns. I know that is something we all take to heart, and it is probably the reason each of us decided to run for public office. We want to serve the Canadians who voted for us.

Every day, voters turn to their MPs to obtain advice on a certain number of issues. These issues are quite varied. It could concern progress on an immigration or visa application by a family member. Others want information about federal assistance programs. I do not have to tell my colleagues just how important this point of contact and this representation were during the two years of the COVID-19 pandemic.

Now more than ever, we must show leadership and help all Canadians be heard. I hope that my colleagues will join me in encouraging that result.

Emergencies Act February 20th, 2022

Madam Speaker, with respect to the Emergencies Act, the interim chief of the Ottawa police said that it is because of the application of this legislation—which we hope will be temporary—that the police were able to take the various actions they did in the past few days.

What does my colleague think of this statement? Is what the interim chief of police is saying true?

Emergencies Act February 20th, 2022

Madam Speaker, I would be very interested in this colleague's personal view on whether he believes it is justifiable in what he calls civil disobedience, which is against the law, by the way, or occupation, whether it is acceptable to make the lives of other people very difficult, either because their jobs may be in jeopardy because their livelihoods depend on products crossing the border or the poor people who live in Ottawa Centre whose lives have been made very difficult over the past three weeks.

In the member's personal opinion, is that justifiable?

Emergencies Act February 20th, 2022

Mr. Speaker, my hon. colleague said that all the truckers at Coutts wanted was to be heard. I would like him to comment on the fact that an arms cache was found at Coutts.

Public Safety June 16th, 2021

Mr. Speaker, we support the call by President Biden to get to the bottom of this issue. It is so important, after the world has been turned upside down by the COVID pandemic and over three million people have died, that we try our very best to understand what caused this pandemic.

For that reason, using the best available science, we should do exactly that, try to figure out where this all started.

Government Policies June 11th, 2021

Mr. Speaker, the position of the Liberal government is extremely clear on the question of the apartheid label. We reject it categorically. It is not part of our approach with respect to Israel or the Jewish community. We, of course, are completely against any anti-Semitism that would be displayed by any Canadian citizen.

Foreign Affairs June 11th, 2021

Mr. Speaker, we have been clear in recent months that co-operation with other countries, including China, that may involve a risk with respect to intellectual property, are to be taken into consideration when funding partnerships are proposed in our universities and other institutions. That is something that we are very conscience of and the Minister of Innovation, Science and Industry has spoken about recently.

Foreign Affairs June 11th, 2021

Mr. Speaker, we have been very clear with respect to the treatment of the Uighurs in China and are gravely preoccupied with all of the very credible reports that have come out of China with respect to their treatment. That is why we have been calling for an open, unfettered, impartial investigation of the situation in Xinjiang and will continue to press for that with our international partners.

Foreign Affairs June 10th, 2021

Mr. Speaker, our government is deeply concerned by reports of egregious human rights violations against Uighurs and other minorities in the Xinjiang region. We have announced sanctions targeting individuals and entities implicated in the repression, in coordination with like-minded democracies. We will continue to call for unfettered access to the region so independent investigations can report first-hand.

That said, we must recognize the independence of the Canadian Olympic and Paralympic committees with regard to Canada's participation in the games. The Minister of Canadian Heritage spoke to both organizations and informed them of the House of Commons vote regarding the situation in China—

Public Safety June 7th, 2021

Mr. Speaker, as my colleague rightly pointed out, we support President Biden's call to fully investigate the origin of the COVID virus using the best science and information available. We in Canada will help in any way we can.