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Crucial Fact

  • His favourite word was going.

Last in Parliament October 2015, as Independent MP for Saint-Léonard—Saint-Michel (Québec)

Won his last election, in 2011, with 42% of the vote.

Statements in the House

Copyright Act May 1st, 2015

Mr. Speaker, last year's report from the Standing Committee on Canadian Heritage, which reviewed Canada's music industry, did not raise the duration of copyright protection as a concern. That was rightly so, because it is not a priority for Canadians.

Unfortunately this is a very important priority to music industry lobbyists who met with the Minister of Canadian Heritage several times last year, which is why I am not surprised to see that the government is extending the term of copyrights for sound recordings from 50 years to 70 years in this year's budget.

By extending the length of these copyright protections, does the Minister of Canadian Heritage not realize that more money will go to the multinational record companies, while Canadian consumers will pay more?

The Economy April 28th, 2015

Mr. Speaker, oil prices have done nothing but drop recently. Canada knows how important the oil industry is and how the price of oil can affect our finances, given that every dollar less costs the government $150 million.

In budget 2015, the Minister of Finance predicts that the price per barrel will rise from $54 in 2015 to $78 in 2019. However, in the 2014 budget, there was no mention of the fact that the price of oil would drop in 2015.

How can the minister predict this rise in oil prices when the world situation is so unstable? Is the minister balancing his budget by manipulating the forecasts?

Journey to Freedom Act April 22nd, 2015

, seconded by the member for Saanich—Gulf Islands, moved:

That Bill S-219 be amended by deleting Clause 2.

He said: Mr. Speaker, I understand that the bill is slightly controversial but I think everybody is in favour.

I am pleased to rise today to speak to my proposed amendment. I know I had proposed various amendments and they were all for the same reason.

We are speaking on Bill S-219, the journey to freedom day act. From the outset, I would like to say that I am not opposed to this bill. All of my proposed amendments, deleting lines 7 to 13 of the preamble on page 1, deleting lines 16 to 30 of the preamble on page 2, which you ruled out of order, and that which you have accepted, deleting clause 2, are due to the fact that these clauses all contain April 30 as the date to mark the journey to freedom day. As we heard in committee, there is no consensus within the Vietnamese community that the date is appropriate.

The purpose of these deletions is to allow the bill to pass while providing the government an opportunity to go back and consult with the Vietnamese Canadian community and select a date upon which a broad consensus exists. The reasons that a consensus does not exist are because: April 30 is the anniversary of the end of the Vietnam War, which would make journey to freedom day synonymous with a historical event that Canada did not play a significant role in; it would take away the focus from Canada's role in settling displaced Vietnamese people and place it on the many points of contention surrounding the Vietnam War; and, it risks making journey to freedom day political when it should not be.

It would be unfortunate if Parliament passed this bill only for it to sow division. We instead seek to create a uniquely Canadian day to commemorate the Vietnamese community's acceptance into Canada and its achievements thereafter.

I can propose a few dates, but they are dates that we got from reading the minutes at committee and through speaking to some constituents.

For example, July 27 is a possible alternative because it is the day that the Department of National Defence's Operation Magnet II began making its flights of displaced Vietnamese people, also known as boat people, to Canada.

May 1 is also a possible alternative because it is the day that the Canadian government declared it would sponsor refugees with relatives already in Canada.

June 20 is a possible alternative because every year the United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees marks World Refugee Day on June 20, which I think is important. On June 20, 1986, the Nansen Refugee Award was awarded to the people of Canada by the United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees due in large part to Canada's role in welcoming Vietnamese refugees into Canada.

I do not want to say that I have a preference for any of these dates because that would be contradictory to my first statement, that I would prefer to have the Vietnamese community, along with government, decide on a consensual date where everybody would be happy.

I have always believed that one of the greatest humanitarian contributions we can make in times of international crisis is to open our borders in order to welcome those who are forced to escape perilous circumstances abroad. Journey to freedom day has the potential to celebrate such noble actions quite admirably. It can also highlight the positive impact that Canada made during a time of crisis by virtue of being a welcoming and compassionate nation while celebrating the numerous achievements by Vietnamese Canadians who have enriched Canada ever since. Making these the exclusive focus of the journey to freedom day act would be the most beneficial. The day could then serve as a reminder to Canadians that our generosity in difficult times can make a lasting impact that betters our country and the world we live in. This is why I believe it is important to choose a date that does not obscure these goals in any way or divide Canadians, especially those of Vietnamese origin, and that we can move on constructively.

On a personal note, I have received correspondence from Vietnamese in my community who are in favour of the bill. However, the controversy is the date. That is one of the reasons that I propose that we go back and try to have my amendments passed in the House as well as have the bill approved at third reading in the next couple of weeks before the House rises.

Health April 2nd, 2015

Mr. Speaker, the period for consulting is now over. Action needs to be taken. End-of-life care is an essential health care need. If the health minister needs help, Quebec has already legislated in Bill 52 that palliative care should be a legislative right. Canadians should be guaranteed palliative care when they need it, and the consequences of failing to provide such care should give Canadians grounds for legal action. Several countries, like Germany, France, and Italy, have legally provided citizens this right. It is urgent that the current government offer more support for nursing homes, caregivers, and home palliative care as our hospitals are unable to meet demand. When will the Minister of Health take action?

Health April 2nd, 2015

Mr. Speaker, most Canadians do not have access to palliative care. Currently, only 15% of Canadians have access to a palliative care bed in a hospital. The budget 2011 initiative known as “The Way Forward: Moving Toward Community-Integrated Palliative Care in Canada", ended in March.

Now that the work and consultation have been going on for three years, can the Minister of Health tell us when she and her provincial counterparts will introduce their strategy for organizing palliative care?

Citizenship and Immigration March 26th, 2015

Mr. Speaker, recently, at the UN's request, the government promised to accept 10,000 more Syrian refugees by 2017.

However, Syria is still not on the list of moratoria countries. That is upsetting to asylum seekers already in Canada who are worried about being deported to a country in crisis.

When will the government put Syria on the list of moratoria countries to protect Syrian refugees already in Canada?

Committees of the House March 11th, 2015

Mr. Speaker, I have no problem proceeding in this fashion. I will be voting in favour.

Seniors March 10th, 2015

Mr. Speaker, according to a study by the Canadian Centre for Policy Alternatives, pension income splitting benefits the wealthiest seniors disproportionately.

Of the families that benefit from this tax break, only 10% of the wealthiest benefit fully, at a cost of $1.2 billion per year, while 70% of seniors enjoy no benefit at all from this measure. It is clear that the government has no plan whatsoever for seniors living below the poverty line in Canada.

When will the Minister of State for Seniors do something for seniors who really need help?

International Trade February 16th, 2015

Mr. Speaker, various free trade agreements are currently being discussed, and the opening of international markets could have a serious impact on small and medium-sized businesses in Canada if they are not prepared for it. The global markets action plan does not include any concrete measures specifically for SMEs.

With several agreements about to be implemented, we are still wondering if the government plans to develop a strategy to help SMEs manage the risks associated with international trade.

Can the Minister of State for Small Business and Tourism explain why he is leaving SMEs to fend for themselves?

Tourism February 5th, 2015

Mr. Speaker, in 2002, 40% of Canada's tourism revenue came from international tourism. Today that number has dropped by 20%.

The hotel association is asking the government to increase the tourism marketing budget to attract more international tourists. Funding for the Canadian Tourism Commission has been shrinking since 2010.

When will the minister make appropriate investments in marketing tourism internationally to raise Canada's profile as a tourism destination of choice?