House of Commons photo

Crucial Fact

  • His favourite word was chair.

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

Lost his last election, in 2021, with 33% of the vote.

Statements in the House

The Budget March 19th, 2018

Mr. Speaker, I am pleased to answer my colleague's question. I am actually the MP for the Eastern Townships, but that's okay as it is not that far from Montreal.

In 2015, Canadians and the constituents of Shefford decided to invest responsibly in Canada. They chose a government on that basis. As I mentioned in my speech, today we are in a positive position. Since November 2015, a total of 600,000 new jobs have been created. Our unemployment rate is the lowest it has been in 40 years, and we have the fastest economic growth in the G7. Our debt-to-GDP ratio is the lowest of all G7 countries and our deficit-to-GDP ratio is low. We are already in an enviable position with a rate of 0.8%, and we are headed to 0.5% or 0.4% in the next few years. Canada's economic position is the envy of the world.

The Budget March 19th, 2018

Mr. Speaker, I am honoured to address my House of Commons colleagues today. I will be sharing my time with the member for Don Valley East.

As we have said, the 2018 budget is the next step in our government's plan to stimulate the economy and benefit the middle class and those working hard to join it.

Thanks to our plan and Canadians' hard work, ingenuity, and creativity, Canada has created hundreds of thousands of jobs since November 2015. The national unemployment rate is about as low as it has ever been in the past 40 years. Since early 2016, Canada's growth has been the strongest in the G7.

Prebudget consultations with a record 1.5 million people shaped this budget, which gives our government the tools to build a fairer and more competitive, diversified, and inclusive nation where everyone truly has the same opportunity to succeed.

We are working hard to reward curiosity and foster the creativity we need to innovate and maintain our competitive advantage in an ever more rapidly evolving global economy.

With this budget, we are putting initiatives in place to ensure that the benefits of economic growth are experienced equally by men and women. It is important that Canadians' various experiences be taken into account. That is why we are starting to put gender at the centre of government decisions. For instance, we are going to make substantive efforts to reduce the gender wage gap by introducing fair wage practices in federally regulated sectors and adopting proactive pay equity regimes, the details of which will be revealed later this year.

With regard to EI parental benefits, we are creating a new incentive for the sharing of benefits to support the parental role, adding additional weeks of benefits when parents decide to share the leave.

We are also going to support female-owned businesses to help them expand, find new customers, and increase export opportunities.

Ensuring that every Canadian man and woman has a fair and equitable chance of achieving success is not only the right thing to do, it is also the smart thing to do, and Canada's prosperity depends on it.

As a government, we are determined to help the next generation of Canadians remove the obstacles that have been holding us back for far too long. We know that we cannot continue to grow the middle class if half of us, namely women, is always being held back.

This budget is also for researchers and innovation. Our great country has long been at the forefront of scientific discovery and innovation. Open heart surgery, the Canadarm, and the discovery of insulin are just a few examples that spring to mind.

This budget includes historic investments in the next generation of researchers, which will lead to even more significant breakthroughs that, hopefully, will benefit not only Canadians, but the entire world.

We know that the government has a role to play in helping Canadians develop the skills they need to benefit from current and future economic opportunities. We also know that research contributes to the emergence of a workforce that can seize these opportunities with creativity and confidence. We are investing in training the next generation of researchers, which includes a larger proportion of women, and to provide them support by allocating new funding for fundamental research through the granting councils.

To make sure they get the infrastructure and support they need, we are also going to invest more in the research support fund, the Canada research chairs program, the Canada Foundation for Innovation, colleges, and polytechnics.

This budget also lays the groundwork for the digital research infrastructure strategy that is going to be developed to stimulate progress in advanced computing and big data.

Canadians want to make sure economic growth goes hand in hand with environmental protection. They know that their quality of life and their future economic prosperity depend on our commitment to protecting our natural heritage and keeping the environment healthy for future generations.

Furthermore, the extraordinary beauty of our natural surroundings, parks, and wild spaces is central to the Canadian identity. Whether we are building a campfire with our kids, hiking with friends and family, or going for a swim in clean, refreshing water, we all have a stake in protecting the natural environment, which is one of the pillars of our identity.

To that end, we have already allocated billions to the development of the pan-Canadian framework on clean growth and climate change, but we are not stopping there. In budget 2018, we propose further investments to encourage the growth of a sound, sustainable economy. We are going to make historic investments in nature conservation by protecting Canada's ecosystems, landscapes, and biodiversity, as well as our species at risk. We are going to develop the federal carbon pricing system, extend tax support for clean energy, and bring in better rules for regulatory processes and environmental assessments.

We are on the right track. Thanks to our various budgets focused on strengthening and growing the middle class, as well as the hard work, ingenuity, and creativity of Canadians, Canada has created close to 600,000 jobs since November 2015, and the national unemployment rate is almost the lowest it has been in 40 years. Since early 2016, Canada has had the strongest economic growth in the G7. Thanks to this budget, which was designed by Canadians for Canadians, we are addressing the challenge of equality head-on by asking the hard questions and beginning to come up with solutions.

We will continue to redouble our efforts to deliver on our plan to invest in the middle class and those working hard to join it. This plan makes people a priority, builds on Canadians' hard work, and keeps us firmly focused on the future so that our children have a better chance of fulfilling their dream of getting good jobs and contributing to their community.

I listened to and heard what my constituents had to say during the prebudget consultations that we held in my riding of Shefford, and as a result, I strongly support the budget tabled by my colleague the Minister of Finance. This budget and our previous budgets have made it possible to implement many measures to strengthen the middle class, such as the Canada child benefit and tax cuts that put tens of millions of dollars back in the pockets of families in my riding.

Once again, I am very proud to represent the interests of the people of Shefford, and I will always strive to do more to address their concerns.

Status of Women February 28th, 2018

Mr. Speaker, achieving gender equality is the smart thing to do to grow the economy. Over the past 40 years, the rising number of women participating in the workforce has accounted for about a third of Canada’s economic growth. However, there are still barriers that prevent women from achieving their full potential. Our government has committed to making gender equality the focus of its decisions.

Can the Prime Minister tell the House how budget 2018 will meet that commitment and enable more women to take advantage of the opportunities they deserve?

50th Anniversary of Granby CEGEP February 6th, 2018

Mr. Speaker, the Granby CEGEP is celebrating its 50th anniversary this year. The CEGEP has grown from just 300 students in its first year to over 2,000 today. Over the years, some of them have gone on to be important Canadian public figures, including a former parliamentarian, the late Jean Lapierre.

The CEGEP's École nationale de la chanson has also trained many francophone songwriters from across the country, including Damien Robitaille from Ontario, Geneviève Toupin from Manitoba, Alex Nevsky from Quebec, and Lisa Leblanc from New Brunswick.

As a graduate of that distinguished institution myself, I can certainly attest to the quality of its teaching staff. I would like to take this opportunity to acknowledge the dedication of its chairman of the board, Serge Striganuk, and its executive director, Yvan O'Connor. Thanks to their strategic vision, the Granby CEGEP remains in sync with the needs of the scholastic community. Happy anniversary to the Granby CEGEP.

Canada Revenue Agency December 4th, 2017

Mr. Speaker, we know that starting a business takes dedication and hard work.

Business owners must be aware of their tax obligations when it comes to hiring employees, finding facilities, or keeping the books, so that they do not end up with surprise bills from the Canada Revenue Agency.

Can the Minister of National Revenue tell the House how the Canada Revenue Agency is supporting small business owners?

Budget Implementation Act, 2017, No. 2 November 6th, 2017

Mr. Speaker, I would like to thank my colleague, who represents a riding which borders mine. It is always a pleasure to talk with her.

The government is fully committed to protecting supply management, since it is a priority for us. As my colleague said, we are strongly in favour of supply management. That said, 350 million dollars were made available for the agrifood sector in Canada, including 250 million dollars for agricultural producers and 100 million dollars for processors. I think it is an excellent measure which helps them innovate and increase productivity on their farms.

Budget Implementation Act, 2017, No. 2 November 6th, 2017

Mr. Speaker, first of all, I would like to respond to the preamble of my colleague's question.

Here are the facts. We lowered taxes for middle-class Canadians as soon as we took office in 2015. That was an important measure that we wanted to put in place, and we kept our promise. We also created the Canada child benefit, a historic measure for Canadian families. It puts extra money in the pockets of Canadians. On average, families receive $540 per child. These measures are better targeted, more generous, and tax free.

I would like to remind my colleague that, just recently, we lowered taxes for small businesses. It was a first step. Next year, in 2018, we will lower them again. Finally, in 2019, the small business tax rate will be 9%.

Budget Implementation Act, 2017, No. 2 November 6th, 2017

Mr. Speaker, I was just saying that the unemployment rate has dropped steadily and is now at 4.1%. That is a 40-year low.

Massive job creation and the Canada child benefit are boosting consumer confidence. This key measure, which is more focused and more generous than previous benefits, has channelled $115 million into my riding since July 2016. That tax-free money was distributed to 22,000 children in my riding. It has put more money in the pockets of 15,000 families so they can invest in their children, enabling them to participate in sports, arts, ballet, and more.

At the same time, the middle-class tax cut and major infrastructure investments have helped support and grow my riding's economy. Our government is funding a new aquatic centre in Shefford. This major infrastructure project will enrich the daily lives of people in my community while creating economic growth and well-paid middle-class jobs. Other parts of my riding are benefiting too. There is going to be a bike path in Waterloo, cultural events in Valcourt, a community centre in Rougemont, water and waste water infrastructure in Ange-Gardien, and so much more.

I also want to convey to everyone in my riding and indeed to all Canadians that the two budgets tabled by our government are working and producing meaningful results in creating jobs, strengthening the middle class, and helping others to join it. For two years now, our government has worked tirelessly to boost the economy and improve the financial situation of Canadians who could use some support.

One measure that I am particularly proud of is how we improved income security for low-income seniors. Canadian seniors who live alone and are the most vulnerable could receive up to $947 more annually in the guaranteed income supplement top-up benefit. Thus, our government is improving the financial security of 900,000 seniors across the country, including 3,000 in my riding.

Another key measure was the increase in the student grant program, which will allow students to focus on their studies and continue working hard to realize their dreams without having to worry about student debt. We have increased Canada student grant amounts by 50%, thereby helping over 350,000 students in Canada. On the heels of budget 2016, budget 2017 offers immediate help to those who need it most and helps guarantee everyone a real and fair chance of success.

More specifically, budget 2017 is part of the government's ambitious plan to make smart investments that will create jobs, grow our economy, and provide more opportunities for the middle class and those working hard to join it. It puts the skilled, talented, and creative people of Canada right at the heart of a more innovative economy of the future, an economy that will create jobs for the middle class of today and tomorrow.

I want to stress the fact that the investments that our government has made in people, our communities, and our economy are working. Among the G7 countries, Canada's economy is growing the fastest, and we are reinvesting the profits from that growth into the people who are contributing the most to this success. Thanks to this solid economic growth, the government has enjoyed better results and has been able to do more to help people in the middle class. For example, we kept our promise to lower the small business tax rate. The rate that was 11% in 2015 will drop to 9% in 2019.

Small businesses are key to growing our economy. We are committed to giving them full support to grow, invest, and create stable, well-paying jobs for the middle class. We also enhanced the Canada pension plan.

In that vein, I applaud the Quebec government's initiative, which adapts the Canadian formula to Quebec society. The Canada pension plan will get a boost from coast to coast to coast thanks to the Government of Canada's efforts.

This means young workers and young families can rest assured that they will have a better and more secure retirement. What they save now will be returned to them at the end of their working lives.

Of course, there is also the working income tax benefit. Just like everywhere else, some people have trouble getting off social assistance. They find it difficult to choose between getting back into the job market and continuing to receive social assistance. The measures we just announced will enhance this tax credit, which will make it easier for people to choose to go back to work, get back into the job market, and contribute more to society because they know they will get a tax credit, they know the federal government supports them, and they know that, financially, going back to work makes sense.

The budget implementation act we are debating today has the same objectives as previously stated, namely to grow our economy and to support the middle class and those working hard to join it. For example, more flexible work arrangements are being provided to federally regulated employees in order to help them balance their work and personal responsibilities. In practical terms, this measure will ensure they have more flexibility to take vacation and other annual leaves, such as up to 10 days of bereavement leave to deal with the loss of a loved one. There would also be more flexibility in granting unpaid leave for employees to manage various family responsibilities. Through those measures, the government is showing compassion and taking concrete steps to make life easier for hard-working people.

Students are not being forgotten. In my riding of Shefford, 160 organizations received $1.2 million over the last two years, to create 380 jobs. That is a major achievement.

Budget implementation act, 2017, No. 2 will also enable us to pursue our innovation and skills plan through an investment of $600 million in clean technologies and businesses.

It is an honour for me to be part of a government that works very hard to strengthen the middle class, grow the economy, and help families in tangible ways. I am convinced that our budget is excellent for my constituents. They give me confirmation of that every day. On their behalf, I congratulate the government and acknowledge the thousands of constituents in my riding who put their trust in me.

Budget Implementation Act, 2017, No. 2 November 6th, 2017

Mr. Speaker, I am rising today to speak to the second act to implement certain provisions of the budget tabled in Parliament on March 22, 2017 and other measures.

First, I would like to recognize the citizens of Shelford who trust me and allow me to serve in the House. It has been a great privilege for me to represent them for the past two years.

Also, as the municipal elections were held yesterday in Quebec, I want to thank the 250 candidates who ran for the various public positions in my riding. Of the 250 candidates, 20 mayors and 124 councillors were elected last night, and it will be a pleasure for me to work with each one of them for the betterment of our community.

As a preamble, I would like to point out that the government's plan to invest in the economy and to strengthen the middle class has yielded good results for my constituents in Shefford. Since the government was elected, the unemployment rate in my region has steadily decreased, and it is now—

Canadian Heritage November 6th, 2017

Mr. Speaker, in Granby, in my riding of Shefford, we have the largest francophone singing competition in North America. Since 1969, this festival has been an important vehicle for showcasing and promoting Canadian francophone talent around the world. Recently, the Minister of Canadian Heritage made historic announcements for Canadian creators.

Could the minister tell the House what she is doing to support these artists and to showcase their work abroad?