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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

Act respecting the Federal Ombudsman for Victims of Criminal Acts October 4th, 2017

Madam Speaker, I commend my colleague for her work on the extremely delicate subject of the importance of supporting victims of crime. I thank her for her attention to their cause.

However, I have an issue with this bill as drafted, and I would like to hear more from her about it. My concern is that saying the bill is intended to make this institution independent implies that it is not already, and seems to cast aspersions on the ombudsman's expertise and judgment and the department's ability to properly manage its affairs.

I know from experience that a number of departments have welcomed recommendations issued by various organizations and that the resulting collaboration, on matters of public safety or other issues, has always benefited Canadians.

Why, then, seek to make the ombudsman independent, when doing so casts a pall on the credibility of the system in its current form?

Taxation September 19th, 2017

Mr. Speaker, residents of my riding, Montarville, especially families with young children, clearly understand the tax benefits. It is obvious that they are very interested in the changes the government plans to make. In light of our strong economic growth and proof that our plan for the middle class is working, can the Minister of Finance tell us about the current economic situation?

Preclearance Act, 2016 June 21st, 2017

Madam Speaker, it is important to understand that the preclearance agreement is not limited to just airports and train stations.

I believe that the agreement is much broader and could even potentially be extended to include other types of transportation.

I invite my colleague to explain in greater detail the scope of the agreement covering all types of transportation for expanding trade with our neighbour to the south.

Syrian Refugees June 20th, 2017

Mr. Speaker, let me introduce George Barmaksez, a fine family man. He and his family arrived in Montarville, as the first refugees the parishioners welcomed. The integration with the congregation was impeccable. George now speaks French very well.

Where we live, family is important. In fact, I am also going to talk about Stelpro, a company on the south shore that specializes in heating systems, a company passed down from father to son. It is an example of family, too.

What is the link between the two? George works full-time at Stelpro, two families who care about integration and are a tangible example of success when we invite and welcome Syrians into our communities.

Petitions June 20th, 2017

Mr. Speaker, I am proud to represent the riding of Montarville, whose citizens signed this petition in both official languages in support of women and girls in the world's poorest countries who need education.

It is a combined effort of two non-profit, non-partisan organizations that want to campaign in one action. The first raises public awareness and educates policy-makers about the importance of smart and effective policies and programs that are saving the lives of millions of people living in the world's poorest countries. The second engages in grassroots and direct advocacy with policy-makers and key influencers in support of such policies and programs.

Access to good education for girls improves health and economic outcomes for women, their children, and their households and reduces the spread of violence. By presenting this petition, I hope to motivate all my colleagues to do likewise. Together, we are one.

Ski Saint-Bruno May 30th, 2017

Mr. Speaker, since this week is Tourism Week in Canada, I would like to talk about Ski Saint-Bruno, Canada's largest snow school.

With 565 instructors and 33,000 students each year, Ski Saint-Bruno is Canada's premier ski and snowboard school, boasting more than half a million graduates over the past 50 years. On June 17, 10,000 people are expected to participate in the fifth edition of Montreal Mud Hero. They will need agility, speed, and endurance to climb, crawl, and slide their way through more than 16 muddy obstacles on the six-kilometre course.

On June 17, I will be in Mont-Saint-Bruno. I invite all my colleagues to come to Montarville to breathe some fresh mountain air, play in the mud, and cheer on these intrepid participants.

Business of Supply May 11th, 2017

Mr. Speaker, I actually found the previous speaker's remarks to be more honest and principled because here we have a catalogue of completely unfounded allegations and speculation, which strikes me as a bad way to let people know how an infrastructure project is going to help them.

Public transit and Internet access are services that have an impact on people's day-to-day lives.

I am therefore wondering what budget she has in mind to not only invest in those kinds of projects, but also keep them up and running.

Marie Fragasso May 2nd, 2017

Mr. Speaker, I would like to read something that was written by 23 elementary school students in my riding.

In this world there are exceptional people who do not get the recognition they deserve, and Marie Fragasso, a grade 6 teacher at the Albert Schweitzer elementary school in St-Bruno, is one of them.

Ms. Fragasso has done a lot of charity and volunteer work, even while raising five children of her own and going back to university to get her teaching degree. She has been a scout leader for children, including her own, for 15 years, and she took attendance at children's figure skating for five years.

Much to the delight of grade 5 and 6 students, she has been holding lunchtime “Reach for the Top” sessions twice a week for years. She has also helped with the student government for 14 years.

Any time someone asks her to get involved in something, she does. She has been participating in La Marche Minta for 27 years and has helped out with the holiday fundraising drive for 30. She motivates her students to come to school every day. That is why we love her.

Interprovincial Trade April 10th, 2017

Mr. Speaker, numerous studies have shown that internal trade represents about a fifth of Canada's GDP and close to 40% of the provinces' and territories' exports.

The agreement on internal trade, which was recently scrapped, was a useless barrier to free trade between members of our federation.

On Friday, we learned that our government and the provinces and territories had struck a new deal to facilitate trade.

Can the minister tell us more about this new agreement?

Committees of the House April 5th, 2017

Madam Speaker, since I am the one who moved the motion before the Standing Committee on Public Safety and National Security recommending that the House not continue the study of Bill C-226, I would like to submit my arguments to the House out of respect for my colleague, the member for Bellechasse—Les Etchemins—Lévis, and to inform the House of the debate that took place in committee.

Driving while under the influence of either drugs or alcohol is a serious problem. Road crash victims and public safety officers need our support. The provisions on impaired driving are the most frequently challenged provisions of the Criminal Code. We therefore need a robust and comprehensive plan to strike a balance between public safety and the Canadian Charter of Rights and Freedoms.

The intent of Bill C-226 is very commendable. However, the bill's legal problems heavily outweigh its potential benefits. I want to talk about three problems with this bill.

First, there was the minimum sentences. The only group of witnesses who supports this measure in the bill is the group that helped the hon. member draft it. The other group that contributed to drafting the bill, Mothers Against Drunk Driving, testified against minimum sentences during review in committee. I would like to quote what some of the witnesses had to say about minimum sentences.

Andrew Murie, Chief Executive Officer at the National Office of Mothers Against Drunk Driving said:

We also base our whole organization on evidence and policy. We can't find any deterrent effect for minimum mandatory penalties. That's one. The other issue is that in our legal analysis we don't believe it would withstand a charter challenge.

Michael Spratt, from the Criminal Lawyers' Association, said, “there are sections of the bill that are unquestionably unconstitutional”.

Abby Deshman, from the Canadian Civil Liberties Association, said the following:

First, simply put, mandatory minimum sentences do not work. They are ineffective and unjust. Decades of research has clearly shown that stiffer penalties do not deter crime.

Lastly, Micheal Vonn, from the British Columbia Civil Liberties Association, who was quoted by members across the way, said the following:

While failing to provide a benefit in deterrence, mandatory minimums create significant risk of harm. These include excessively punitive and unfair sentences....

The second problem is random breath testing, the centrepiece of this bill. There are two problems with this measure. We have no clear sense of what good it would do, and it, too, presents a constitutional risk. In most places where random breath testing has been introduced, there were few or no legislative measures to combat drunk driving beforehand. That was the case in Australia and Ireland, two countries that are mentioned frequently in random breath testing studies.

Here in Canada, we already have a system in place to combat drunk driving. We have all been stopped at roadblocks, and there is a legal framework in place for the use of Breathalyzers. That is why studies of the benefits of random breath testing are not really valid in the Canadian context. We do not know if this bill will have the intended effect because there are no studies that look into implementing random testing in places that already have measures to combat drunk driving.

In addition, what we need to remember about the studies in Australia and Ireland and the success of random breath testing is that it must be paired with a major education and awareness campaign. Unfortunately, there is nothing in the bill to address education and awareness.

One of the constitutional problems related to random breath testing is that it is not truly random. It is being referred to as “random” only because the word appears in one of the bill's headings. That same mistake was made in the Australian legislation, and we need to avoid repeating it here in Canada.

In fact, under the proposed system, police officers would have the power to stop anyone on the road and subject them to testing. I have a great deal of respect for our law enforcement bodies, but near-absolute power such as this only invites abuse. We need to find a real solution, testing that really would be random. For instance, one out of every ten vehicles could be selected, or a binary light system could be used that would translate into a truly random, and also potentially more dissuasive, measure.

Lastly, I want to comment on support for victims. The third reason we recommend not sending this bill to committee is that it contains nothing for victims.

ôWe heard one truly heartbreaking testimony during the course of our study. I want to thank Sheri Arsenault and Markita Kaulius from Families for Justice and Patricia Hynes-Coates from Mothers Against Drunk Driving, who testified in committee. All three lost people near and dear to them to traffic accidents.

Ms. Arsenault, director of the Alberta chapter of Families for Justice, said:

Someone over there said that victims are given so little consideration, and that is very true. Offenders have every right in the world. They have a right to an expert defence. They have a right to appeal. The victim has one right. My one right is to prepare a victim impact statement and present it.

My colleague from Saint-Léonard—Saint-Michel has very personal experience with this. I would like to take this moment to commend his daughters who, on behalf of the Government of Quebec, chair public consultations on road safety. Unfortunately, there is nothing in the bill to help the victims. I think it would have been useful to include measures against the phenomena of victimization during court testimony, for example.

In closing, since it was introduced as a private member's bill, it was not subject to the Department of Justice's examination under the Department of Justice Act in order to determine if it is consistent with the charter. The members of the Standing Committee on Public Safety and National Security would have liked to have had the chance to read the opinion on the constitutionality of Bill C-73, the version of the bill introduced when the member for Bellechasse—Les Etchemins—Lévis was still the minister, but we were not able to access it.

Furthermore, with the exception of random breath testing, representatives of MADD told the committee that even if all these measures were found to be valid under the Canadian Charter of Rights and Freedoms, they would not have much of an impact on impaired driving and the resulting collisions, deaths, and injuries.

For all these reasons, I encourage the members to support the committee's report and not proceed further with the study of this bill.

Nevertheless, I would like to draw members' attention to one part of the report that we tabled. Even though we are proposing not to proceed with the study of Bill C-226, we recommend that the government introduce solid legislative measures in order to reduce the prevalence of impaired driving as quickly as possible.