House of Commons photo


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

The Environment February 14th, 2014

Mr. Speaker, my bill is at a crucial step.

We want to force departments to comply with the Sustainable Development Act, an act that received the unanimous support of the Conservatives but is still not being enforced. I would not have to introduce such a bill if the government abided by its own laws.

Can a member of the cabinet tell us whether instructions were given for the vote on my bill?

The Budget February 13th, 2014

Mr. Speaker, I thank my colleague for his excellent and very passionate speech.

A few words from his speech stood out for me. He said that the budget is an obsession with an accounting exercise that is void of emotion. Balancing the budget is indeed an obsession for our friends opposite.

We in the NDP propose to make life as affordable as possible for consumers and Canadians.

Can my colleague explain how the NDP will make life more affordable in 2015?

The Budget February 13th, 2014

Mr. Speaker, to begin, I would like to thank the hon. member opposite for her speech.

I would like to ask her why there is no mention of climate change in the budget. Climate change and sustainable development are a priority for the NDP. In that regard, I hope that tomorrow everyone will tune in to the second hour of debate on Bill C-481 at second reading, which will put sustainable development in the spotlight in the House of Commons.

On that note, I would like to quote the Conservative member for Kitchener—Waterloo. On January 6, on CBC, he said: “We are seeing the effects, the impacts of climate change. With climate change comes extreme weather events. We saw that through the floods in southern Alberta, we’re now seeing that with the ice storms in Kitchener-Waterloo and Toronto”.

Those are wise words. We need to take urgent action because, simply put, we have only one planet Earth. It is all well and good to balance the budget and have election strategies, as some are saying, but we need to protect our planet.

Petitions February 10th, 2014

Mr. Speaker, today I am presenting a petition on the cuts to Canada Post. For two years I have been hearing people around my riding talk about their growing concern over these cuts to services. The post offices are vitally important to the towns and villages, and home delivery is still an essential service to a number of people, particularly seniors and people with reduced mobility. This petition asks that the government work with the opposition on finding ways to make Canada Post profitable without eliminating jobs and services to the public.

Fair Elections Act February 6th, 2014

Mr. Speaker, in 2000, the Prime Minister referred to Elections Canada officials as imbeciles. Recently, the minister responsible for democratic reform suggested that Elections Canada officials were being partisan.

I would like my colleague opposite to explain this gratuitous accusation. Why would they say that?

Navigation Restrictions February 4th, 2014

Mr. Speaker, I am pleased to rise to support Motion No. 441, which calls on the federal government to give municipalities a tool that will facilitate and expedite the administration of the lakes in their area.

This motion is very important for rural communities throughout Canada, especially those that have many lakes. I counted about fifty lakes in the riding of Brome—Missisquoi alone. In my riding, municipalities face considerable challenges when they try to better manage their waterways. However, municipalities are closer to their citizens and in a better position to act on their behalf. That is why we believe that the process has to be streamlined.

In speaking to stakeholders from various areas, I learned that, in many cases, municipalities simply decided to withdraw from the administrative process. In some cases, the battle lasted for years.

I would like to talk about the situation in Brome—Missisquoi, for example. First of all, I would like to thank the Brome—Missisquoi watershed organizations for their great work over the years. I have learned a lot from them about the situation of the Brome—Missisquoi lakes.

For example, people regularly water-ski or use personal motorized watercraft on Lac Bran de Scie. When they do, the other recreational users have no choice but to leave in order not to be hit by a boat. The lake is small enough that a good swimmer can easily swim across it. However, it would be reckless to try it without being escorted by a boat and someone watching to protect the swimmer. There have even been boat collisions.

In 1987, on Brome Lake, a man drowned when his sailboat was hit by a motorboat. In 1990, on the same lake, a canoe was heavily damaged by a 225-horsepower motorboat whose driver was blinded by the sun. In the summer of 2005, a rowboat equipped with a motor just missed hitting two kayakers.

Motors are increasingly powerful and there are more and more boats on the water every year. On Brome Lake, there are more than 400 motorboats and half of them are equipped with motors of 50 horsepower or more. It is difficult for the authorities to monitor the situation.

The municipality of Orford township area is dotted with a multitude of lakes, and so are the surrounding municipalities. Since some of those lakes are quite large, in terms of surface area, officers obviously have trouble covering the smaller ones. That means that it is almost impossible to apply the current regulations on our lakes given the current legislative framework.

In addition to these safety issues, there are environmental problems. The noise pollution from some kinds of motors disturbs the people who live along the shores. The banks are also eroding because the wake from motor boats creates large waves. A large number of these boats are still driven by two-stroke engines. That particular kind of engine is known to discharge the oil it uses. However, many lakeside cottages get their drinking water from those same lakes. Clearly, using gasoline-powered engines on our lakes can have a negative effect on the health of the residents who use the water for their needs.

Because of this, a number of people are calling for restrictions on certain kinds of gasoline-powered engines or are asking that only electric motors be used in order to reduce the risk of pollution from the discharge of oil.

Banning motor boats on the Chaîne des Lacs in the Orford township has made news on a number of occasions. In June 2006, the municipality of Orford township held public consultations that led to submissions suggesting a ban on motor boats on the Chaîne des Lacs. Following those consultations, in November 2007, the municipal council passed, by majority, a proposal to ban motor boats, except those with battery powered electric motors.

They had to wait until the winter of 2009 before Transport Canada finally replied, turning them down. Instead, Transport Canada required compliance with the regulations in effect. This put an end to the initiative of the municipality and the local association, despite the general movement of support from the people.

The process in place under these current regulations may cost hundreds of thousands of dollars in the smallest municipalities, which simply do not have that kind of money. The process can be drawn out over several years, as it did in the example I gave. For a municipality of 1,500 people, starting a process that goes on for years needs legal counsel, which can be very expensive.

Under the current regulations, if the vast majority of people who live by a lake agree to impose a restriction, a single person can disobey the order and ride his 300-horsepower motorboat on a lake no bigger than Parliament Hill, for example.

Motion No. 441 presents us with the opportunity to work in a non-partisan way on this issue. As my colleague so aptly said, this motion is designed to reduce red tape, and it will cost nothing. If our friends opposite would like to vote in favour of the motion, I invite them to do so.

We believe that municipalities know the people and are well positioned to ensure social peace. In my many discussions with various stakeholders, three main aspects came up over and over again: social peace through better municipal control, greater environmental protection and less red tape.

Keep in mind that in 2008, the summary of the regulatory impact analysis stated that the increase in waterway activity led to an increase in disputes between waterway users. Many municipalities reacted by asking for restrictions on navigation.

It is our duty to respond to their request by supporting this motion. Already, more than 40 municipalities have each indicated their support for this motion. I invite the members of the House to do the same.

Business of Supply December 9th, 2013

Mr. Speaker, I would like to thank my colleague from Marc-Aurèle-Fortin for his very sincere speech, as always.

He said that the Conservative government was like a grasshopper. I would add that the government misled those people, because it repeated ad nauseam that it would not reduce pensions and then it did exactly that. In the next few years, seniors are going to make up a significant portion of the population. All they want is to live in dignity. I wonder if my colleague could explain what the NDP plans to propose for them.

Northwest Territories Devolution Act December 5th, 2013

Mr. Speaker, I would like to thank my colleague from Abitibi—Témiscamingue for her speech, which was very detailed and informative, as always.

I would like to quote Nicolas Boileau, as follows:

What is conceived well is expressed clearly,
and the words to say it arrive with ease.

Why are the Conservatives ignoring the concerns of the first nations and Métis people? Why are they turning a deaf ear to their concerns and why are they proposing the creation of a super board?

Northwest Territories Devolution Act December 5th, 2013

Mr. Speaker, I thank my colleague from Beauport—Limoilou for his brilliant and compelling speech.

I would like to quote Robert McLeod, the Premier of the Northwest Territories. He said, “This Assembly has a vision of a strong, prosperous and sustainable territory. Devolution is the path to that future. Responsibility for our lands and resources is the key to unlocking the economic potential that will provide opportunities to all our residents.”

Earlier, my Liberal Party colleague said that our position was a step in the right direction.

Why does my NDP colleague think that Liberal governments spent years ignoring the Canadian north and refusing to listen to the aspirations of northern residents?

An Act to amend the Federal Sustainable Development Act (duty to examine) November 25th, 2013

Mr. Speaker, I would like to thank the hon. member for Laurier—Sainte-Marie for her very good question.

A law on sustainable development has indeed been in place since 2008. I have read it. That legislation does not have any teeth. That is why omnibus bills and budget implementation bills have undermined environmental rights in many areas. Nothing can be done.

My bill will ensure accountability and make a first step toward transparency. The Commissioner of the Environment and Sustainable Development will have to take this legislation into account. The Minister of Justice, who plays a symbolic role, has to ensure that legislation is in line with the Canadian Charter of Rights and Freedoms. What is more, whether we are talking about a bill or proposed regulations, the commissioner will ensure that all departments concerned work in accordance with the Federal Sustainable Development Act. If not, he will quickly inform the House. The department in question will have to pay the political price.