House of Commons photo

Crucial Fact

  • His favourite word was french.

Last in Parliament September 2021, as Liberal MP for Sudbury (Ontario)

Won his last election, in 2019, with 41% of the vote.

Statements in the House

Gaétan Gervais October 22nd, 2018

Madam Speaker, a year ago, I rose in the House to pay tribute to a great Sudburian, a great historian, a great professor. Today, I rise to once again give him a Franco-Ontarian tribute. Gaétan Gervais passed away over the weekend.

Professor Gervais was a proud Franco-Ontarian, a thinker and influencer, and a proponent of the social and economic development of francophones in Ontario. He had a knack for encouraging young students and the entire community to get involved and fully contribute to their community and country. He was made a member of the Order of Canada and the Ordre des francophones d'Amérique and dubbed a knight and officer of the Ordre de la Pléiade. He also received many other awards and honours.

There is a little of the man we knew as the father of the Franco-Ontarian flag in all of us. Our flag, with the green, the white, the trillium and the fleur-de-lys, represents where we come from, where we are and where we are going. It is one of our pillars.

Science October 5th, 2018

Mr. Speaker, it is with great pleasure that I am speaking in the House today about a young innovator from my riding of Sudbury. Brendon Matusch, a grade 11 student from Lo-Ellen Park Secondary School, won the top prize at the 2018 Canada-Wide Science Fair and the 2018 European science fair for young scientists where 135 young scientists from all over the world were competing. Brendon's project is entitled "Development of an Autonomous Vehicle Using Machine Learning". Not only did he win the best project award at the Canada science fair, Matusch won a gold medal, the platinum award for best intermediate project, the excellence award in the intermediate category, the challenge award – innovation in the intermediate category, and the youth can innovate award.

Brendon not only made Sudbury proud; he made the entire country proud. He is an inspiration to us all, to young innovators and all scientists. I hope he keeps up the great work.

Foreign Investments May 9th, 2018

Mr. Speaker, as a business owner, I am familiar with the challenges of attracting investments and funding to transform an idea into a profitable business.

We are in an international race for innovation, so we must ensure that our business owners have quick access to funding to transform their ideas into reality. This is why I was happy to hear recently that Salesforce would launch a new venture capital fund worth more than $100 million.

My question is for the Prime Minister. What are we doing to make it easier for our business owners to access funding?

National Day of Mourning May 1st, 2018

Mr. Speaker, every year on April 28 we pay our respects and remember the thousands of workers who have been killed or injured, or have suffered illness as a result of work-related incidents.

I had the privilege of attending the National Day of Mourning event in my riding of Sudbury. Many individuals have been injured or even killed in workplace accidents, especially in the mining sector.

The National Day of Mourning was started in my riding in Sudbury in 1984.

That is why I urge my colleagues to work not only with each other, but with employers, workers, and our health and safety partners, to prevent worker injuries and deaths before they happen.

It is crucial to be proactive on occupational health and safety because, while we mourn the dead on April 28 every year, we must remember to fight for the living.

Interparliamentary Delegations April 24th, 2018

Mr. Speaker, pursuant to Standing Order 34(1) I have the honour to present to the House, in both official languages, the report of the delegation of the Canadian branch of the Assemblée parlementaire de la Francophonie concerning its participation at the meeting of the Political Committee of the APF, held in Addis Ababa, Ethiopia, on April 10 and 11, 2017.

Budget Implementation Act, 2018, No. 1 April 19th, 2018

Mr. Speaker, certainly FedNor plays a critical role in the economic development of northern Ontario. In the past two years, we have reinvested in FedNor to the tune of around $10 million a year, after investment was reduced by almost 50% by the previous government. As well, in the last debate, the Conservatives actually voted against more investment in our regional development agencies. That is critical to expansion and helping businesses thrive and continue the great investments they make. These investments go a long way, and FedNor plays a critical role in reinvesting. I have heard from many constituents, and they are extremely happy with these new investments.

Budget Implementation Act, 2018, No. 1 April 19th, 2018

Mr. Speaker, at the end of the day, this is a budget. In a budget, there are many items that we need to go into to move things forward. Investments in Canada are not just on the tax side; we need to invest on a broad spectrum, and that is what we are doing here. At the same time, one of the tenets, which I briefly mentioned, is with respect to gender equity and equal pay for equal work. Unless the member wants to set other legislation aside, this is a budget item, and this budget invests in Canadians. There are many items, I agree, but that is how we move forward to have these debates and to ensure that we are investing. We have listened to Canadians. That is why there is a lot here. We have invested in Canadians. We have listened to them, and now we are seeing the fruits of this listening and work.

Budget Implementation Act, 2018, No. 1 April 19th, 2018

Mr. Speaker, as I said in my speech, in my area alone, private international businesses are investing over $3 billion in the mining sector, in the natural resources sector. They made a decision on where to invest around the world, and they decided to invest in Canada because the economic conditions in Canada make it the best place to invest. There are three mines: Vale, with an investment of around $800 million; Glencore Xstrata, investing $1.2 billion; and a gold mine just outside my riding, investing another billion dollars. Canada is a great place to invest, and in Sudbury we are seeing those investments take place.

Budget Implementation Act, 2018, No. 1 April 19th, 2018

Mr. Speaker, I rise to speak today on budget 2018. I am very proud to be in the House to speak about this budget, which provides a lot of investments to Canadians.

However, before I talk about the budget, I will talk about the overall economy. We have heard many times in the House a debate about where the economy is going, but the facts are unprecedented growth in Canada and almost the lowest unemployment rates in Canada in my lifetime. That is because of the investment we have made in Canadians and in Canadian institutions, and budget 2018 continues that investment.

Before I start on the specifics of the budget, I will say that, currently, when we compare ourselves to the G7 countries, we are in very good shape economically. When we compare ourselves to our neighbours to the south, certainly when we look at our deficit-to-GDP ratio, we are in a much better position. When we look at the deficit itself as a percentage of our GDP, we are at 0.5%. The U.S. is at 4%.

I have heard many times since November last year that the U.S. has cut taxes. At the same time, it is running record amounts of deficit. We cannot have it both ways. We have to be responsible with our investments, but at the same time responsible with our economy. That is exactly what budget 2018 does. By investing in Canadians and keeping the debt-to-GDP ratio on a downward slide, we are in one of the best fiscal positions across the world, while lifting families out of poverty and making sure that children get education.

At the same time, we are having a conversation about pharmacare, which is one of the elements of budget 2018. How do we move forward as a society and as Canadians on pharmacare? We also look at private pension security. How do we ensure that people who have invested in their pension have 100% of their pension when they get to retirement?

In my riding of Sudbury, there are unprecedented investments coming along by the private sector. Over $3 billion will be invested in the mining sector alone in the next few years. Three mining companies will start three new mines in the area. That is thousands of jobs in our area. The challenge we are actually facing in Sudbury is to find workers to fill those jobs. This is a great place to be, but at the same time it is very challenging.

That is why one of the pillars of budget 2018 is parity, ensuring that access to jobs for females is at the same level as for males. Ensuring that we are investing in education for females, certainly in trades, is a signature piece as well in our investments. We are looking at tens of millions of dollars to ensure that females have access to trade jobs and education with respect to the jobs that need to be filled.

Another investment that budget 2018 makes with respect to females is in women in sports, to ensure that the same number of women as men have access to spaces in sports. I have a daughter who plays hockey and aspires to play at the university level. The fact that we can create opportunities for girls at the same level as boys is very important.

Thirty-five years ago, in my hometown of Kapuskasing, my sister wanted to play hockey. Because she was a girl, my dad actually went to sign her up. They took her in and said okay. A week later, they came back with his cheque and said, “Sorry, she is a girl. She can't play.” She was devastated. Now, 35 years later, here we are, investing for girls to be at parity with boys in sports, and my daughter is aspiring to play university hockey.

In my riding of Sudbury, next year we will have the Esso Cup, which is the national championship for midget girls hockey. Again, when we look at where we were 35 years ago and where we are now, and the investment we are making to ensure parity so that girls have the same opportunities as boys, to me, this is a great way forward. That is how we build an inclusive society.

Two weeks ago, I was at the reserve of Wikwemikong, about a two-hour drive from the riding of Sudbury. Four thousand indigenous people live in that riding. I was with the member for Thunder Bay—Rainy River, to have a discussion with him about the needs and concerns they have. They expressed to us how happy they were that our government was moving forward. However, they had concerns about how they would be able to tap into the investments. One of the investments they were ecstatic about but, again, wanted to make sure we were moving forward with, was on languages.

Wikwemikong is an Ojibwa community where around 20% of the population still speaks fluent Ojibwa. Now, with this budget, we are able to continue investments in indigenous languages. Given the fact that this is such an important community and the language is so strong, it is one of the biggest exporters of indigenous languages, certainly of the Ojibwa language, across the country and across the area, because people who live there train other people to teach the language.

When we talk about reconciliation, about language and culture, those are very important investments that need to be made. This is our government making those investments, after 10 years of cuts and no investments by the previous government.

I would like to talk about the major investments we have made in official languages. Here in Canada, we have a choice: either we are bilingual or we are not. Do we have a truly bilingual country or do we have a country that is not bilingual? In the Harper era, the Conservatives slashed funding for official languages. They even padded the last Roadmap for Canada's Official Languages 2013-2018 with other expenditures, further reducing investments in official language communities across the country.

In budget 2018, we are setting a new record. Over the next five years, the government will be investing more than $400 million to ensure our country is bilingual and to support cultural institutions in French Canada and English Quebec. We want to make sure official languages continue to thrive.

Through the budget, the new roadmap, and the action plan, we are also investing in youth as a way to invest in our communities and ensure that our young people continue to blossom culturally. Language and culture are expressed through the arts. Other very significant investments in the arts will be made through this roadmap.

I have four uncles who have intellectual disabilities. Two of them have participated in the Special Olympics at the regional, provincial, and national level. This budget continues investments, after stagnant investments, to give them the opportunity to participate.

Again, these are small amounts. These are small investments that go a long way for Canadians. That is why, in this budget, we are reinvesting in Canadians.

We are going to hear, just as we did with the question posed to my colleague, “When are we going to balance the budget? When will we have zero deficit?” Conservatives want to treat Canadians like numbers. We want to treat Canadians like people, and invest in Canadians. When we compare ourselves and our fiscal situation right now, we are in a great position to continue investing in Canadians.

It is not time for austerity. It is time to continue investing: in our veterans, in our indigenous communities, and in training. To remain competitive on a world basis, we need to ensure that we have the best and the brightest in the country and around the world. That is what we are doing. We are continuing to invest.

Another big investment, a record amount of investment, is in scientific research. A few weeks ago, after the budget, the Laurentian University president wrote a column in our paper, an op-ed, saying how proud he was that finally there is investment in Canada and Canadian research, instead of ignoring Canadian research.

That gives opportunities on so many levels for Canadians to thrive in Canada and around the world. These investments also go a long way toward educating our population here. At the end of the day, when we compare ourselves to other countries, we have fairly accessible universities. It is comparatively cheap to go to university here in Canada, although it is still expensive. We have more opportunities for research at the master's level and the Ph.D. level in Canada. We are on the cusp of continuing the Canadian brand, investing and expanding around the world.

On that note, I will end my comments. There is a lot more in this budget that I would like to speak about. Maybe I will have another moment to continue that conversation.

Indigenous Affairs April 18th, 2018

Mr. Speaker, in Ontario, 25 remote first nations communities depend on diesel as their sole source of electricity. This source is neither viable nor reliable. It is also extremely expensive.

Recently, the hon. Minister of Indigenous Services announced a historic partnership that would not only allow for reliable and clean power generation but would also contribute to economic development and infrastructure opportunities in first nations communities.

Would the hon. minister please share with this House the benefits of this project?