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  • His favourite word is colleague.

Liberal MP for Honoré-Mercier (Québec)

Won his last election, in 2015, with 57% of the vote.

Statements in the House

Infrastructure December 2nd, 2016

Mr. Speaker, that is a great question. There are many important hubs along British Columbia's highways, and that is why we approved projects worth $310 million for those highways, with 50% of the cost covered by federal funding. This is for upgrades and expansions along the Trans-Canada Highway, including $48.5 million for the Salmon Arm West project, for connecting communities and moving goods.

We are working with the provincial government to improve access to local roads and businesses. We will always be there for British Columbia.

Employment December 1st, 2016

Mr. Speaker, this gives me an opportunity to say that the Minister of Infrastructure and Communities is taking his responsibilities seriously and working hard for his province, Alberta, as is the Government of Canada.

I will repeat that a bilateral agreement will provide more than $1 billion to the province for public transit, water, and waste water systems. Furthermore we are working on expediting the funding through the building Canada fund. More than $1 billion will be used to renew the federal gas tax fund for pipeline project approvals.

We are not going to stop there. In fact, we will continue to work for Alberta. The minister knows better than anyone that these are difficult times for Alberta.

We stand with Alberta and Albertans today, and we will also be there for them in the future.

Employment December 1st, 2016

Mr. Speaker, I thank the member for the question.

The Government of Canada recognizes the challenges that Alberta is facing. Our hearts go out to Albertans. They have our full support. The government and Alberta are in this together.

We pledged to double infrastructure investments over the next decade. That is exactly what we are doing. These investments will help create good jobs and encourage sustained economic growth across the country, which is particularly important for Alberta.

On September 1, the governments of Canada and Alberta announced the signing of a bilateral agreement that will make more than $1 billion in combined funding available to the province under two new federal programs, the public transit infrastructure fund and the clean water and wastewater fund.

I would like to remind members that the federal government is providing up to 50% of the funding, or just over $543 million. To date, the government has approved an initial list of projects under these two funds. For example, we announced funding for 49 public transit projects in Edmonton and Calgary. We also announced funding for 17 water and wastewater projects throughout Alberta, which will give residents access to clean and reliable drinking water. Ten of these projects are already under way.

We have also been working to accelerate the funding available under the new building Canada fund. So far, 63 projects totalling close to $900 million in federal funding have been approved, from flood mitigation works in Bragg Creek and Cougar Creek to sanitary upgrades in the town of Peace River.

From 2014 to 2019, Alberta is expected to receive over $1 billion in funding under the renewed federal gas tax fund. In 2016-17 alone, over $219 million will be provided to Alberta municipalities through the federal gas tax fund to support local infrastructure projects, to fund their priorities.

We are working closely with Alberta to commit all the remaining funding as quickly as possible, helping to kick-start jobs in Alberta.

I would be remiss if I did not mention the government's announcement the day before yesterday about pipeline approvals. Those projects will protect the environment while stimulating the economy and creating jobs.

The Trans Mountain expansion project and Enbridge's Line 3 will create over 22,000 jobs. Other major investments will be made in many sectors of our economy. This will be good for the entire Canadian economy, especially Alberta's, and will improve access to markets that are very important to the province.

It is also important to note that these decisions were the result of an open and inclusive process that involved unprecedented consultations with indigenous peoples.

The projects announced on Tuesday will create jobs and economic opportunities for the middle class while protecting the environment.

The minister is working for Alberta, and the Government of Canada is too.

Poverty Reduction Act November 30th, 2016

Mr. Speaker, I am very pleased to speak to Bill C-245. It has a lot going for it, but it certainly deserves to be debated and discussed. Bill C-245 is about developing a national poverty reduction strategy in Canada. It was introduced by our colleague, the member for Saint-Hyacinthe—Bagot, and I congratulate her on this initiative.

The purpose of the bill is to encourage everyone to participate in poverty reduction. The bill talks about promoting inclusion as a way to fight poverty in Canada, which is certainly a worthy objective. Once again, I would like to congratulate my colleague on her tremendous work in preparing this bill. I would add that the excellent work she has done is in line with our government's agenda to reduce poverty in Canada. I have to add the fact that Bill C-245 is perfectly consistent with our government's direction on this issue.

We share the same vision, the vision of an inclusive society in which everyone can fully participate. However, the bill would provide for the appointment of an independent poverty reduction commissioner and also the establishment of a national council on poverty elimination and social inclusion. The bill would also amend the Canadian Human Rights Act to add social condition as a prohibited ground of discrimination.

Let us be clear, the government is determined to fight poverty and the Liberals agree with the intent of Bill C-245. However, as my colleague knows, we cannot support it at this time. This position is not adversarial, but rather based on logic and common sense.

The reality is that we are not supporting Bill C-245 because some of its initiatives have already been or are about to be implemented. In other words, the work has already started. We sincerely believe that the government's initiatives were specifically designed to achieve the same objectives as those of Bill C-245.

I do not have enough time to list all current and future initiatives, but I will talk about some of the most important ones. To begin with, there is the study of poverty reduction strategies undertaken by the Standing Committee on Human Resources, Skills and Social Development and the Status of Persons with Disabilities. The committee will criss-cross the country to hold in-depth consultations with key stakeholders and the general public.

It is absolutely vital that we wait for the committee's report and listen to what it has to say before making any important decisions, such as appointing an independent poverty reduction commissioner.

Our government made an absolutely fundamental promise to Canadians. We promised that our decisions about policies and programs would be based on facts and consultations. Today, we must keep our word, just as we have in the past and will in the future. It is as simple as that.

I mentioned the study of the Standing Committee on Human Resources, Skills and Social Development and the Status of Persons with Disabilities. In fact, that study was part of something much bigger. I am referring to the very broad mandate of my colleague, the Minister of Families, Children and Social Development. He was entrusted with this mandate by the Prime Minister of Canada, who asked him to lead the development of a Canadian poverty reduction strategy that includes very specific targets as well as performance indicators that will tell us whether we are achieving the stated goals.

The minister recently appeared before the Standing Committee on Human Resources, Skills and Social Development and the Status of Persons with Disabilities. He tabled a discussion paper on poverty in Canada entitled “Towards a Poverty Reduction Strategy”. That document was designed to open a dialogue on the subject of poverty reduction in Canada.

This is a valuable tool that will help the committee to carry out its work. It will also help us, as a government, to develop our strategy. As a result, it would be premature to make any decisions about a specific approach, such as the one proposed in Bill C-245, until the discussions and analyses are complete. That does not mean that Bill C-245 does not deserve our attention and respect, quite the contrary.

As I said earlier, the member did an excellent job on this bill, which contains many good suggestions, such as the consultations with provincial, territorial, and municipal governments, indigenous communities, and many other stakeholders and partners. What we are saying is that we should consult people and listen to what they have to say before making a decision. In other words, all in good time. There is a time for everything.

It is also important to point out that last spring the Minister of Families, Children and Social Development began discussions to develop a Canadian poverty reduction strategy. He initiated this important conversation with his provincial and territorial counterparts as well as with many stakeholders in various regions of the country.

In September, our government launched the tackling poverty together project. As part of this project, the government will conduct case studies in six communities in order to obtain a regional perspective and a better understanding of poverty in communities in Canada. It will also allow us to hear directly from Canadians living in poverty and receive recommendations from organizations that deliver poverty reduction programs. The tackling poverty together project will also be a valuable tool for developing our strategy.

My point is that our partners expect a real collaborative effort from us. They expect to be consulted. In fact, they demand it, and rightly so, and that is what we are doing. Therefore, supporting Bill C-245 and its initiatives would go against the approach we promised to adopt, namely to hold consultations.

As I said at the outset, our government made a solemn promise to Canadians. We promised to do things differently, to work together, and to consult Canadians, and we intend to keep our word. I would remind the House that we are already working on budget 2017, which will also include many commitments. We made commitments in 2016, and there will be more in 2017. We are also implementing our plan for a stronger middle class.

In closing, I would like to say that we can see right away that Bill C-245 is positive because it shows that the fight against poverty is something that every party and every member in this House cares about. It also shows that, despite our different political affiliations, we can share the same vision. When we share the same vision, we can join forces and work together to achieve that vision. In this particular case, it is the vision of an inclusive society in which everyone can fully participate. It is the vision of a country in which inclusion leads the fight against poverty, and this is already quite an accomplishment.

Community Organizations November 28th, 2016

Mr. Speaker, I want to recognize the work of social and community organizations across the country and in Anjou and Rivière-des-Prairies in particular.

Whether they are fighting poverty, promoting immigrant integration, supporting families or helping seniors feel less isolated, these organizations do phenomenal work every day.

From SAC Anjou and the volunteer action centre to Équipe RDP, le Phare, the kids from the YLC, Carrefour Solidarité Anjou, women's centres, SARA, Optimist clubs, and various seniors clubs, I know all of these groups do so much with so little.

What they lack in resources they more than make up for in what really counts: compassion, generosity, and a deeply rooted desire to change things. That is the soul of nobility and beauty.

All of the volunteers and employees of these organizations have my heartfelt support, respect, and admiration.

Infrastructure November 15th, 2016

Mr. Speaker, I do not think we hide anything. I would invite my colleague to read page 8 of the platform. If she is not satisfied, she can read page 15 of the platform. If that is not enough, maybe she could read page 40 of the platform. That is three times.

We are investing in the largest infrastructure program in the history of Canada. The infrastructure bank is an additional tool that will allow us to have more infrastructure: not less infrastructure, but more infrastructure.

Infrastructure November 15th, 2016

Mr. Speaker, the infrastructure bank is far too serious a matter to joke about. As I said, we are delivering the largest infrastructure program in the history of Canada. We are investing in green infrastructure, social infrastructure, and public transit. The infrastructure bank is a fundamental tool for even more investment.

The minister is currently holding consultations with cities, municipalities, the provinces, and the private sector. We will have the opportunity to announce the details later. This is a good thing for Canada.

Infrastructure November 15th, 2016

Mr. Speaker, allow me to say again that we are delivering the most ambitious infrastructure program in the history of Canada. I am talking about $81 billion in new funding. I talked about green and social infrastructure and public transit. Perhaps my colleague overlooked this part of the document, but there is also $2 billion going directly to small rural communities. We are investing not only in our cities, but also in all of our regions. It is time the hon. member understood that.

Infrastructure November 15th, 2016

Mr. Speaker, we were elected on the promise of creating the largest infrastructure program in Canada's history. That is exactly what we are doing with $180 billion in investments: $81 billion in new funding, $25 billion for public transit, $22 billion for green infrastructure, and $22 billion for social infrastructure.

The infrastructure bank is an additional tool that will allow us to build more infrastructure. We want more, not less.

Infrastructure November 14th, 2016

Mr. Speaker, we were elected on the promise of creating the largest infrastructure program in Canada's history, and that is what we are doing. We are working with the provinces, territories, municipalities, and the private sector in order to do even more. The infrastructure bank is one of the tools that our partners will use to build more infrastructure. There will not be fewer projects, there will be more.