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Crucial Fact

  • His favourite word was colleague.

Last in Parliament October 2015, as NDP MP for Brome—Missisquoi (Québec)

Won his last election, in 2011, with 43% of the vote.

Statements in the House

Criminal Code October 25th, 2011

Mr. Speaker, how could the crime of sexual exploitation be dealt with better in this bill in order to fight against the exploitation of Canadian women?

Natural Resources October 25th, 2011

Mr. Speaker, for months now, people in my riding have been seeing leaks in the pipeline that crosses Brome—Missisquoi. This pipeline is close to a waterway, the Missisquoi River. In an inspection report dated May 20, engineers from the National Energy Board raised doubts about the company's ability to detect and stop the leaks, even though the company is responsible for them.

What does the government intend to do to reassure the residents about the safety of the pipeline?

International Seniors Day October 3rd, 2011

Mr. Speaker, on Saturday, October 1, I had the opportunity to celebrate International Seniors Day in my riding of Brome—Missisquoi with the Memphrémagog branch of the Association québécoise de défense des droits des personnes retraitées et préretraitées.

International Seniors Day coincides with the UN's International Day of Older Persons, an initiative designed to recognize the great contribution seniors make to society. This initiative encourages governments to implement policies that meet the needs of seniors.

International Seniors Day was an opportunity to recognize how important seniors are to Quebec and Canada and to acknowledge their contribution, whether it be in the home, the community or the business world.

It is essential that seniors be able to fully participate in Quebec and Canadian society under optimal conditions.

Preventing Human Smugglers from Abusing Canada's Immigration System Act September 23rd, 2011

Mr. Speaker, I want to thank my hon. colleague for his question.

Canada has always been perceived by other countries as a welcoming nation, as a very democratic country that gives new arrivals a chance to make their way. If we fail to respect all the laws, charters and advice from the agencies mentioned earlier, I think our reputation as a welcoming nation will be seriously and profoundly tarnished.

Preventing Human Smugglers from Abusing Canada's Immigration System Act September 23rd, 2011

Mr. Speaker, I thank my colleague for the question.

In response to what I have heard from the other side of the House, all scenarios are on the table. It is important that the government listen to the opposition and especially to organizations such as the Canadian Council for Refugees, Amnesty International, the Canadian Bar Association, the Centre for Refugee Studies, and the Canadian Civil Liberties Association, which give advice on how to improve laws and regulations. It is very important that the proposed bill be improved.

Preventing Human Smugglers from Abusing Canada's Immigration System Act September 23rd, 2011

Mr. Speaker, I would like to thank the hon. member for his question. Canada has the right to be protected from smugglers, from the real criminals. Canada has the right to invest in the RCMP to give police the means to conduct investigations and arrest smugglers. However, Canadians also have the right to hear from the Canadian Council for Refugees, Amnesty International, the Canadian Civil Liberties Association, the Centre for Refugee Studies and the Canadian Bar Association, so that the laws and regulations respect the rights of Canadians.

Preventing Human Smugglers from Abusing Canada's Immigration System Act September 23rd, 2011

Mr. Speaker, Bill C-4, An Act to amend the Immigration and Refugee Protection Act, gives new latitude to the Minister of Citizenship, Immigration and Multiculturalism when it comes to refugees and newcomers. The bill gives the minister new discretionary powers over the legal system as it applies to refugees and it limits the rights of newcomers.

According to the bill, the minister has the power to designate as an “irregular arrival” the arrival in Canada of a group of persons, and then to identify some members of that group as “designated foreign nationals”. The bill restricts the rights of these foreign nationals who want to receive permanent resident status in Canada by means of the following measures: first, the right of an officer or the minister to reject an application for permanent residence from a designated foreign national; second, the power to detain a permanent resident or a foreign national because there are reasonable grounds to suspect that the person concerned is inadmissible on grounds of serious criminality or organized criminality; third, detention rules and a review procedure that are specific to the detention of certain designated foreign nationals; fourth, the provision stating that a person cannot become a permanent resident as long as an application by the minister for cessation of that person's refugee protection is pending; fifth, for the purposes of determining the penalty for certain offences, the addition to the list of aggravating factors of the fact that, as a result of the offence committed, the life or safety of any person was endangered; and, lastly, the extension of the time for instituting proceedings by way of summary conviction from six months to five years.

In addition to arbitrarily and inadequately amending the Immigration and Refugee Protection Act, this bill also amends the Marine Transportation Security Act by imposing more severe sentences on people who fail to provide the required information before a vessel enters Canadian waters, people who fail to comply with ministerial orders, and people who provide erroneous or misleading information. The bill also creates a new offence related to vessels that fail to comply with ministerial orders. It also amends the existing act by authorizing the enforcement of rules governing the disclosure of certain information in order to ensure the safety or security of Canada and Canadians.

I would like to express my concern about the concepts of “regular arrival” and “designated foreign nationals”. The minister can deem the arrival of a group of refugees to be an “irregular arrival” if he believes that examinations cannot be done in a timely manner, if he suspects that the people were smuggled in exchange for money, or if he suspects that a criminal organization or terrorist group is involved in the smuggling. The people in the group that the minster deems to be “designated foreign nationals” will be subject to a legally questionable system of justice. First, we must consider whether this concept violates section 15 of the Canadian Charter of Rights and Freedoms, which pertains to equal rights, or article 31 of the UN convention relating to the status of refugees, which prohibits states from imposing penalties on refugees for their illegal entry or presence in the country.

Article 31(1) states: “The Contracting States shall not impose penalties, on account of their illegal entry or presence, on refugees who, coming directly from a territory where their life or freedom was threatened in the sense of article 1, enter or are present in their territory without authorization, provided they present themselves without delay to the authorities and show good cause for their illegal entry or presence.”

Bill C-4 may also be contrary to section 9 of the Canadian Charter of Rights and Freedoms, which pertains to arbitrary detention.

This section states, “Everyone has the right not to be arbitrarily detained or imprisoned.” In contrast, the bill allows for the arbitrary detention of designated foreign nationals for a period of 12 months. Furthermore, in terms of procedure, decisions related to claims made by designated foreign nationals cannot be appealed to the refugee appeal division. This provision is discriminatory and may even contravene the UN convention relating to the status of refugees.

Lastly, it is worth noting that the minister can retroactively confer the legal status of designated foreign national on anyone who has arrived in Canada since March 31, 2009, which means that the Ocean Lady and Sun Sea passengers could be subject to this precarious legal status.

This bill, which is supposed to punish individuals who engage in human trafficking, is completely inappropriate in that we already have legislation that imposes a life sentence for people convicted of such activities. This bill creates a second class of refugees who are denied permanent residence, temporary residence permits, the right to apply for permanent residence based on humanitarian and compassionate grounds, and, finally, refugee travel documents. It creates inequality before the law, simply because the minister has identified these people as designated foreign nationals based solely on the mode of transportation they used to enter Canada.

Bill C-4 to amend the Immigration and Refugee Protection Act, which was introduced not by the Minister of Citizenship, Immigration and Multiculturalism but by the Minister of Public Safety, shows the government's willingness to pursue an ideological security policy that is detrimental to refugees and newcomers.

Under the guise of working to combat human smuggling, this bill penalizes refugees who are already in difficult situations and who have chosen to come to Canada simply to improve their living conditions. NDP members rejected this bill when it was introduced in the previous Parliament as Bill C-49 and they will do so again in this Parliament because the bill is inadequate, it violates international law and the Canadian Charter of Rights and Freedoms, and it tarnishes Canada's international image as a welcoming country.

Restoring Mail Delivery for Canadians Act June 24th, 2011

Mr. Speaker, when we put a gun to the head of one party, the chances of finding a win-win solution are slim. I support the negotiation process, and it should be the preferred option. However, we should have a negotiating context where both sides act in good faith and are prepared to make compromises.

Restoring Mail Delivery for Canadians Act June 24th, 2011

Mr. Speaker, I want to thank my colleague for his question.

He knows that, when two parties engage in honest and open negotiations, they move toward a solution that benefits everyone. I think that is the type of solution needed in the Canada Post situation.

We should remove the unjustified wage reduction clause and remove the locks from the doors. The employees want to work. They want to serve the public. We should let them do their work and create the conditions required for the two parties to negotiate in good faith.

Restoring Mail Delivery for Canadians Act June 24th, 2011

Mr. Speaker, I can tell the hon. member across the way that the locks were put on by the government across the way. Let the parties involved work together and negotiate, and they will find a solution. That would be a tangible step towards protecting all workers, both postal workers and those in the hon. member's riding.