House of Commons photo


Crucial Fact

  • His favourite word was conservatives.

Last in Parliament October 2015, as NDP MP for Rivière-du-Nord (Québec)

Lost his last election, in 2015, with 30% of the vote.

Statements in the House

Royal Canadian Mint June 17th, 2015

Mr. Speaker, senior executives from the Royal Canadian Mint, those who manufacture our money, have been using taxpayers' money to pay for wonderful personal vacations for themselves and their spouses: five star hotels in Mexico and trips to Thailand, Australia and Vienna. Nothing is too good for the royals at the Royal Canadian Mint. They spent over $160,000 in public funds to relax with their toes in the warm sand.

Can the Minister of Finance, who is responsible for the Royal Canadian Mint, explain how all this is possible?

Canada Revenue Agency June 11th, 2015

Mr. Speaker, what the minister just said is the opposite of the truth.

The Canadian Bar Association says that the section of the Criminal Code on terrorist financing is unclear. Charities that do legitimate work in affected areas could be targeted, and now the government wants to spend another $10 million to investigate these charities. That borders on McCarthyism.

Will the Conservatives clarify the Criminal Code to ensure that no charities are unfairly targeted?

Canada Revenue Agency June 10th, 2015

Mr. Speaker, the United States has just imposed hefty fines on two Swiss banks that were helping American taxpayers hide more than $660 million from the taxman. Here, people in the middle class are working harder and harder to make ends meet and are paying their taxes in Canada. However, Canadian corporations have sheltered almost $200 billion in tax havens.

When will the Conservatives take action to ensure that corporations pay their fair share here?

Points of Order June 3rd, 2015

Mr. Speaker, I rise on a point of order. I feel like my privileges as a parliamentarian have been breached.

During question period, we were introduced to Cardinal Raymond Burke, who is known for spreading homophobia and for his anti-gay campaigns. I deeply regret that the House was not informed of the situation and that we applauded such a person.

Taxation June 3rd, 2015

Mr. Speaker, while the middle class is struggling to make ends meet, the Conservatives are allowing Canadian companies to put billions of dollars in tax havens with total impunity.

This year Canadians companies will hide $200 billion from the taxman. Of the five most popular destinations for Canadian direct investment abroad, three are tax havens. That is not right.

Instead of cutting thousands of jobs at the Canada Revenue Agency, will the Conservatives do something to combat offshore tax evasion?

Digital Privacy Act June 2nd, 2015

Mr. Speaker, I thank the member for his question. I would like to commend him for the excellent work he is doing in his riding, as well as the member for Terrebonne—Blainville if I may, who also helped us understand this very complex, multi-faceted bill.

The Conservative government likes to provoke the opposition and the Supreme Court by always pushing the limits imposed by our institutions. The Conservatives always think they are right. They are blinded by their ideology, which also makes them immune to any arguments presented by experts in various domains.

It is no coincidence that the Conservatives have made huge cuts to the sciences since 2011. They do not like to hear the opinions of experts; they would rather hear an opinion that lines up with their ideology.

However, it does not always work that way in the real world, which is fortunate, because we have institutions that are stronger than the Conservative Party of Canada.

Digital Privacy Act June 2nd, 2015

Mr. Speaker, parliamentarians are concerned about how personal information is handled, and what I read in the testimony in no way reflects the opinion that the hon. member just expressed.

We demand that the government withdraw the provisions in the bill that allow companies to share information on subscribers without a warrant and without their knowledge or consent because the constitutional validity of those provisions is dubious and they are a threat to Canadians' rights and privacy protection. That is what we want.

Digital Privacy Act June 2nd, 2015

Mr. Speaker, I am pleased to rise in the House today to speak to a bill, perhaps for the last time in this 41st Parliament. I would like to thank the interpreters, who have helped us so much these past four years, as well as the team of clerks and pages and everyone who supports our work every day.

In the digital age, privacy is extremely important. It often feels as though I have a clone that is wandering around computer networks with information on my life, my past, my present, my sexual orientation, my purchases, my consumption and my travels. All of these data are like a twin over which I have no control. That is a problem.

Unbeknownst to me, my twin goes from company to company, government agency to government agency. No one will inform me that an agency is using the information my clone carries to determine how it will approach and deal with me.

A number of distinguished analysts who testified obviously told us that this bill could be challenged by the Supreme Court. The court recently ruled that a warrant was required to access the personal information and IP addresses of customers of Internet service providers. It is therefore highly likely that a number of provisions in this bill will be challenged by the Supreme Court.

The Conservative government has a strange relationship with the Supreme Court. This will not be the first time that a bill has ended up before the Supreme Court. Under the Conservative government, we have gotten used to seeing bills that, according to experts and parliamentarians, violate our charters and our laws. These bills risk being challenged by the Supreme Court and, in fact, they are being challenged. The government has suffered many defeats, and yet again it is risking being put in its place.

Introducing these constitutionally weak bills is a real waste of time. How insulting it is to the intelligence of the members of this Parliament and the members of civil society who give their input on these issues. What contempt it shows for our institutions and the Canadian Constitution.

The Conservatives have botched the drafting of dozens of bills. Take Senate reform as an example. Everyone knew that that measure would be declared unconstitutional, because 50% of the population would have had to agree, but the government went ahead with the measure anyway.

As for the appointment of Justice Nadon, everyone said that it would not work. The appointment was challenged, and Justice Nadon was ineligible under the Supreme Court Act. The matter still had to go to court, but everyone knew how it would end. Once again, it was an insult to the intelligence of parliamentarians and the experts who were advising us.

Another example is the repatriation of Omar Khadr. Two Federal Court rulings and a Federal Court of Appeal ruling ordered his repatriation, but the government still took the matter to the Supreme Court. What happened? The Supreme Court of Canada upheld that young man's rights and even said that they had been violated since he was captured in 2002. The government's attitude puts it at odds with civil society, the opposition members and the Supreme Court.

We told the House that mandatory minimum sentences were not constitutional. The government pushed ahead anyway. What happened? The Supreme Court said that the opposition was right and that these sentences were not constitutional. The Federal Court of Appeal had come to the same conclusion, but the government did not listen to that court.

The government tried to close safe injection sites by passing a law. What happened? The Supreme Court found that the site in Vancouver could continue to operate without the risk of criminal prosecution. The government's refusal to grant an exemption to InSite violated the right to life guaranteed in the Canadian Charter of Rights and Freedoms. This once again showed the Conservative government's contempt for our institutions, the Canadian Constitution and the Canadian Charter of Rights and Freedoms.

The Conservative government also lost its case before the Supreme Court regarding the retroactive application of the Corrections and Conditional Release Act. It was not constitutional to do away with accelerated parole review. Those who challenged it were granted parole. The NDP told the House that the measure would not work and that it violated the Canadian Constitution and the Canadian Charter of Rights and Freedoms. The government did not listen. It went to the Supreme Court and lost once again.

Another case that the government lost before the Supreme Court is the case regarding the Canadian securities commission. We told them that setting up a Canada-wide commission would not work since that is an area of provincial jurisdiction. The government did not listen to us and said that it was going to set up the commission anyway. The government went to court and the Supreme Court told the government exactly what the opposition had told the House. What is more, the Supreme Court suggested that the government take a co-operative approach. This government has failed to co-operate with the provinces, as we have seen with the TFSAs in the latest budget. By 2080, that measure will cost the provinces $34 billion. Did the government discuss that with the provinces? Did it seek to co-operate with them? Not at all.

I am getting to my last and main point: Internet users' privacy. The issue is whether searching through people's personal information is lawful or not. I am reiterating this because the government has to understand that it cannot use any pretext whatsoever to search through people's personal information: the police need a warrant to obtain the name, address and telephone numbers associated with a subscriber's IP address. The Supreme Court has told the government that.

We are debating Bill S-4, which could still go to the Supreme Court. How do we know? We listen to the experts. Not all members claim to be experts in law, computer issues and general issues that apply to data management. People appeared before the different committees, in the Senate and the House of Commons, to explain why the current version of this bill is weak. We spoke about Michael Geist earlier. In his testimony, he said that although the government claimed that Canadians should not worry about this provision, this exception will let companies share personal information with other companies or organizations without the court's authorization. That is one of this bill's flaws. He added that the failure to require transparency, disclosure and accountability with respect to the communication of information without a warrant was a glaring omission in this bill.

This is not the first time that we have told the Conservatives that their laws are flawed. They are unconstitutional. Here again, provisions will be struck down by the court. Why not fix this now? Why waste time, money and energy in the Supreme Court just to be slapped on the wrist again? The Conservatives have been slapped on the wrist 10 times by the Supreme Court. They may want to continue. Perhaps systematically going against Canada's Constitution and the Canadian Charter of Rights and Freedoms is part of their political agenda. That seems to be the case. The Conservatives do not like the Canadian Charter of Rights and Freedoms, because in the case of the 10 laws that I mentioned, the Conservatives went against the charter.

Is there someone who can read it and interpret it properly? Why not listen to the opposition once in a while?

Business of Supply May 25th, 2015

Minister, you do not seem to have an answer. Does the government not have the resources to combat tax evasion? How many full-time jobs will be eliminated by the Canada Revenue Agency in the next three years?

Business of Supply May 25th, 2015

Mr. Minister, there were no charges. However, 264 people used the voluntary disclosure program. How did they come to use this program if they got caught? That is not voluntary.