House of Commons photo

Crucial Fact

  • His favourite word was rcmp.

Last in Parliament October 2019, as Liberal MP for Montarville (Québec)

Lost his last election, in 2019, with 36% of the vote.

Statements in the House

Federal Public Sector Labour Relations Act March 22nd, 2016

Madam Speaker, I applaud the tribute to the RCMP by my hon. colleague.

I regret that a number of things are getting mixed up in the discussion, when the point of the exercise was definitely to address a problem or correct a mistake and allow members to have full-fledged bargaining.

I defer to my colleague's legal knowledge and wisdom and would like to say that, in my opinion, the Supreme Court does not rule on the process that will get us there, but on the right of access to this type of representation.

I was delighted to hear my colleague congratulate the Standing Committee on Public Safety and National Security in his speech for examining the issue of post-traumatic stress.

Is the committee the best forum for studying these kinds of details, for example?

Federal Public Sector Labour Relations Act March 22nd, 2016

Madam Speaker, I would like to thank my colleague for his question and point of clarification.

I believe that his point is correct. We will address the issue of this vote in due course. I would like to reiterate my personal concern with respect to our duty to address the issue of the right to representation, in response to the Supreme Court ruling.

Federal Public Sector Labour Relations Act March 22nd, 2016

Madam Speaker, I thank my colleague for the question.

I understand why she is proud of the RCMP. I was a civilian member of the RCMP for a few years, and I am proud of the time I spent there. I will always be proud to have been part of that organization. We owe them our respect, and we must give them the means to choose how they will be represented, within the rules. The purpose of today's exercise is to respond to the Supreme Court's findings.

My colleague is right. She even answered my question because there is a process under way. We are doing this within the legislative measures in place. If there is a change, we will adapt to the new reality. For now we are addressing the Supreme Court ruling only.

Federal Public Sector Labour Relations Act March 22nd, 2016

Madam Speaker, I thank my colleague for the question and the important point he raised.

Indeed, it is important to point out that the purpose of this exercise is to respond exclusively to the Supreme Court's request. There was a constitutional shortcoming in the past, and we are now obliged to meet that need and resolve this very specific problem.

It is important to understand that this problem could have been resolved before the election. That was not done. We are now obliged to fix it. We were, however, given the privilege of having a four-month extension. Nonetheless, the deadline is tight. Time is limited and it is important to take that limitation into account in our debate, as we must respond to this specific problem of giving the RCMP the right to be represented.

The other issues, such as harassment and other behavioural issues, are already being examined. We have already asked the RCMP and the Office of the Privacy Commissioner for reports and investigations.

Federal Public Sector Labour Relations Act March 22nd, 2016

Madam Speaker, I am pleased to rise in this place to speak to the second reading of Bill C-7, an act to amend the Public Service Labour Relations Act, the Public Service Labour Relations and Employment Board Act, and other acts, and to provide for certain other measures affecting the Royal Canadian Mounted Police labour relations regime and its operation, tabled by the hon. President of the Treasury Board.

On January 16, 2015, the Supreme Court of Canada ruled, in the case of the Mounted Police Association of Ontario v. Canada (Attorney General), that section 2 of the Canadian Charter of Rights and Freedoms guarantees freedom of association and protects a meaningful process of collective bargaining. Such a process must provide the employees with both choice and independence sufficient to enable them to determine and advance their collective interests.

Because the current labour relations regime does not meet this requirement, the court found it to be unconstitutional. The court gave the federal government 12 months to comply with this ruling. Due to the federal elections in the intervening period, a four-month extension was granted for the government to table legislation. Indeed, this is a technical bill to comply with the government's legal obligations. It does not claim to offer additional remedies to some of the challenges confronting the RCMP as an organization, such as operational stress injuries or harassment.

Our government is committed to ensuring that we provide adequate support to members of the RCMP and other first responders affected by operational stress injuries, as well as the eradication of any and all forms of harassment within this important and iconic institution for our country.

This bill was drafted following extensive consultations with regular members of the RCMP and jurisdictions with RCMP police service agreements. Jurisdictions with RCMP police service agreements were consulted, they and provided input about their concerns in the development of a new RCMP labour relations regime. As this regime is being implemented, we will continue to keep our contracting parties informed.

In addition, in the summer of 2015, RCMP regular members were surveyed and a series of town hall meetings was carried out across the country to develop a solid understanding of their preferences. Results indicated that a strong majority of RCMP regular members supported the idea of a unionized RCMP. In addition, as I noted earlier, there was strong support for binding arbitration, with no right to strike, to resolve bargaining impasses. Finally, there was also support for a single national bargaining unit comprising RCMP members and reservists only. The proposed legislation was shaped by these consultations. Our government is grateful for all the feedback that was received.

Furthermore, we intend to work with all parliamentarians in an open and engaging manner throughout the legislative process, in order to achieve the desired objective in the very limited allotted time in which we have to comply with the Supreme Court decision.

I will take a few minutes to clarify some important parts of the bill.

First, the bill would allow for the creation of a single national employee association representing all RCMP members and reservists excluding those at the inspector rank or higher. To clarify, the RCMP has a pool of reservists who are qualified police officers able to provide short-term services when the need arises.

Second, the bill stipulates that the bargaining agent must exist to serve the police. The Public Service Labour Relations and Employment Board could certify only a union whose primary mandate is the representation of RCMP members. In other words, the union could not represent other police officers, other police forces, or groups of employees who are not members of the RCMP.

Third, the bill excludes officers at the inspector rank and above from the collective bargaining process, just as public service managers are excluded from representation.

Fourth, even though RCMP members and reservists will not have the right to strike, the bill establishes a binding arbitration process for conflict resolution.

Binding arbitration will give members and reservists an effective way to advance their interests in the workplace. It is worth noting that RCMP members have already indicated their support for binding arbitration.

Lastly, the Public Service Labour Relations and Employment Board will serve as an administrative tribunal for all matters related to the collective bargaining process for RCMP members and reservists.

It is also important to note that any disciplinary action that currently falls under the authority of the commissioner of the RCMP pursuant to the Royal Canadian Mounted Police Act will continue to be managed through the existing process.

I would like to conclude my speech by emphasizing the government's commitment to support the proud and dedicated men and women of the RCMP. If this legislation goes through, RCMP members and reservists will have the right to make choices regarding who represents them when it comes to labour relations. This will be done in a way that reflects the working environment that is unique to law enforcement.

Our government takes its responsibility to protect Canadians' security very seriously. The RCMP plays a key role in ensuring that we can fulfill this mission. Accordingly, our efforts will always focus on doing what is in the best interests of this vital Canadian institution.

Public Safety March 11th, 2016

Mr. Speaker, there was good news for Canada in Washington yesterday. We reached an agreement in principle that will expand preclearance to several sites, including Montreal's Central Station, Vancouver's Rocky Mountaineer Station, and Jean Lesage International Airport, which is in the riding represented by my colleague from Louis-Hébert

This agreement will facilitate the movement of goods and people and improve border security. That is what can be achieved in negotiations with a better partner in Washington.

Indigenous Affairs March 10th, 2016

Mr. Speaker, I thank my colleague for her question.

I will add to my colleague's concern and say that we are also aware of not only the growth of the indigenous inmate population, but also the growth of the population of older people in certain regions of Canada and the population of younger people in other regions of Canada. This is evidence to indicate that accepting the correctional investigator's recommendations is the first step in coming up with solutions.

Indigenous Affairs March 10th, 2016

Mr. Speaker, I thank my colleague for her question.

We welcome the recommendations in the correctional investigator's report. We are well aware of this issue and we are working together to develop best practices, which shows that we are collaborating and working hard to make improvements for first nations peoples.

Office of the Correctional Investigator March 10th, 2016

Mr. Speaker, I am pleased to table, in both official languages, the annual report of the Office of the Correctional Investigator for 2014-15 as required under section 192 of the Corrections and Conditional Release Act, as well as Correctional Service Canada's response.

Royal Canadian Mounted Police February 19th, 2016

Mr. Speaker, I reiterate that we are concerned about harassment and we are working with RCMP officials to ensure that the RCMP provides a workplace free from harassment and sexual violence.