House of Commons photo

Crucial Fact

  • His favourite word was heritage.

Last in Parliament October 2019, as Independent MP for Longueuil—Saint-Hubert (Québec)

Won his last election, in 2015, with 31% of the vote.

Statements in the House

Oil Tanker Moratorium Act June 18th, 2019

That has nothing to do with it. I come here in an electric car.

Oil Tanker Moratorium Act June 18th, 2019

Madam Speaker, as part of this exchange, I would like to hear the Liberal government explain why it believes that tripling oil sands production will not triple pollution. It could have decided to support Alberta's economy, which I understand, by requiring the increased production to be offset by a decrease in emissions per barrel. However, there is no mention of that. This is an election ploy designed to obfuscate. The government is talking out of both sides of its mouth. I will ask a very straightforward question.

How can the Liberal government believe that tripling production will not triple pollution?

The Environment June 17th, 2019

Mr. Speaker, about six months ago, on December 6, on behalf of the NDP, I joined forces with a group of about 50 MPs from the Green Party, the Bloc Québécois and the NDP to call on this government to work with all parties and hold a kind of summit where everyone could agree on the importance of meeting these targets.

Sadly, six months on, I have yet to receive an answer from either the Conservatives or the Liberals.

How can that be, when my colleague just said we all need to work together?

He was perfectly right in saying that, but the government has a responsibility to bring people together to tackle a crisis that is like a major war.

The Environment June 17th, 2019

Mr. Speaker, I wish I could believe that the government will eventually rise above partisanship.

A month ago, the NDP tabled a motion in Parliament declaring a climate emergency, but the Conservatives and the Liberals voted against it. The government chose to adopt its own emergency declaration by moving a motion that will not stop pipelines from being built or stop the flow of subsidies to oil companies. They chose to play political games rather than work with all the parties to tackle the emergency head-on.

Can the government stop making this existential crisis political and work with the rest of us to revise the greenhouse gas reduction targets? Can it stop subsidizing oil companies and embark on the climate transition an entire generation is calling for, yes or no?

Presence in Gallery June 13th, 2019

Mr. Speaker, as members know, frustration associated with the end of the parliamentary session can sometimes lead even the wisest amongst us to behave inappropriately.

I want to apologize for making offensive comments toward the Minister of Transport, for whom I have immense respect, particularly with regard to his previous career.

I do apologize.

The Environment June 6th, 2019

Mr. Speaker, what a circus we have around here. Exactly six months ago, the NDP invited all parties of the House of Commons to work together on the climate crisis because the failure to meet our targets is the failure of this entire Parliament. The Liberals and the Conservatives continue refuse this offer.

I have a message for the young people marching in the streets: get involved in the upcoming election and kick out all those who do not want to save the planet or find solutions. It is appalling.

I want to ask the Minister of Environment and Climate Change a question, but, honestly, I feel like there is no point. I do not even want to hear what you have to say. Keep thinking that you are the best and figure it out yourselves. Goodbye.

Budget Implementation Act, 2019, No. 1 June 6th, 2019

Mr. Speaker, my heartfelt thanks to my colleague. I know she is doing a fantastic job in her riding. If anyone can talk about local media, it is her. I know that she writes for a local newspaper, for instance. These newspapers are often free, like the Pamplemousse in the riding of my colleague from Rosemont—La Petite-Patrie. I will not make a joke about his riding's name.

Local media need support. Unfortunately, the program that was created specified that they needed to have at least two employees, which is often impossible for local media outlets. They did not get any support at all.

Many reports on this issue have recommended supporting local media in the transition to digital platforms. However, that requires Internet access, which is another thing the regions may not get.

The survival of our information and our culture is vital to our democracy.

Budget Implementation Act, 2019, No. 1 June 6th, 2019

Mr. Speaker, in my response, I will consider the fact that my colleague is a former journalist and has the utmost respect for that profession, which is very important in our country.

The distribution of government support to the media, electronic or print, must be carried out in the most impartial way. We made several recommendations, such as supporting journalists independently of the platform they use. Naturally, the report was shelved because the Liberals are in the majority and are in charge at committees. I have been an MP for eight years and, unfortunately, most of the time, reports are shelved. That is disgraceful. The report had not even been tabled yet and the Prime Minister dismissed it, as did the Minister of Canadian Heritage.

Several suggestions were made, in particular in Mr. Greenspon's report, which was not acted upon. What did the Liberals do? Just before the election, they realized that they needed to do something. They asked themselves who might be involved. They made a choice knowing that that would work to defeat the Conservatives, and told themselves it was not a problem, it would do the trick.

Budget Implementation Act, 2019, No. 1 June 6th, 2019

Mr. Speaker, I will share my time with the member for Courtenay—Alberni.

This is probably my last chance to express my opinion about this government.

I listened to my colleague from Malpeque, and I know his heart is in the right place. He talked about the new horizons for seniors program, which is a very good program in many of our ridings. It is indeed a success.

However, I listened to my other colleague who spoke before him about the government's social housing initiatives, and I had to work hard to keep from shouting. The truth is that places like Longueuil—Saint-Hubert need social housing. We do not spend enough time talking about that. Sadly, the poverty rate in the City of Longueuil and its two suburbs is incredibly high. Over a third of the children belong to families living below the poverty line. I know for a fact that we need social housing. The Longueuil housing office's waiting list now has over 2,000 names on it. We need this kind of initiative, but the Liberal government has never done more than talk about it.

Once again, we are seeing their obsession with always calculating the very best time to announce some big carrot they want to dangle in front of people right before the election. That is what they did. Even though that was two years ago, they told us they were investing $10 billion in social housing. What they have put on the table so far is really just peanuts. What will we get later? It will be a nice gift. We will see if Canadians are smart, if they have realized that they have to trust the blue bloods in the Liberal Party of Canada. Now we will get small carrots here and there; we will get what is to be expected. It is appalling.

The media industry is now in crisis. How are the Liberals going to support the media? They are offering more carrots. No changes were made to the legislation.

Getting back to the people of Longueuil, what did the government do right away? It eliminated the tax credit for public transit passes. That is fantastic. It is almost as good as pipelines. Let us encourage people to take the bus. Congratulations, that is fantastic. I will not even mention the subway, since we obviously still do not have our subway extension.

Quebec has a lot of needs and a lot of ambition, and we can be proud of that. People in Montreal and the rest of Quebec really want to use public transit. Are we going to get some support from higher up? I sure hope so. I would love to see some big announcements before the election. They had better be good, and the Liberals would do well to keep their word and not lose the election. I hope members on that side can really understand how things are for the people of Longueuil.

Longueuil has had the same metro station since 1967. It is 52 years old. Nothing has been built since. God knows we need more. The bridges in my riding, especially the Jacques Cartier Bridge, are constantly congested. When people need to get to Montreal, they do not even consider taking public transit because it takes two tickets to cross the river and the return trip costs $13, so they drive their cars.

In fact, that is why I am so passionate about electric cars and the electrification of transportation. The people in my community were early adopters because it seemed like we were always stuck in traffic. Many drivers ended up going electric. Again, we got peanuts for the electrification of transportation. The Department of Innovation, Science and Economic Development at least had the vision to support a few good projects, but the Department of Transport has not offered up a penny, for Pete's sake. How pathetic. Electric cars are nothing new. Tesla reinvented the car years ago, but Ottawa is asleep at the wheel.

Being here among the 338 MPs who represent the people of Canada is an incredible opportunity. It is time to wake up. We see a lot of apathy, especially on the other side of the aisle. I have said over and over how ashamed I am that this Parliament cannot stand up and make sure e-commerce is properly taxed, at least at the same rate as our own businesses. Peter Simons has opened a store here on Rideau Street, and what a store it is. It was not that guy from Amazon who did it, it was Peter Simons. He got people involved by investing his own money and hiring employees.

Taxes are to be expected, since they fund our services. Paying a tax is not a shame. Roads and hospitals do not pay for themselves, nor do the boats that keep us safe on the water.

The government is letting web giants into the country. Does Amazon, a competitor to Simons, for example, pay taxes? I am not so sure. People are always surprised to hear that someone who ordered a product on Amazon did not pay tax. This cannot work. We are not in a little village in 1812. This is 2019 in a G7 country. I am trying to refrain from swearing.

This is shameful. Why is the media in a crisis right now? The government thinks it is complicated and that it is a new paradigm. I remember I had an eBay account about 20 years ago. This is not a new paradigm, and that is not an excuse.

It is a fact that the Conservatives ignored this for 10 years. The Liberals are even worse. They have been calling this situation appalling for four years, but they are not doing anything. The truth is that the media sector is in one hell of a mess right now and has lost 16,800 jobs since 2008, and the Liberals are partly at fault, since they had four years to do something.

We do indeed need to amend legislation, but the government should have done it sooner. When the Liberals were elected in 2015, they said that they were going to change this because it is important. They said that they would consult, but they did not manage to get everyone together. A government is meant to be able to unite people. Did this government do so? Absolutely not. I do not want to sound alarmist, but that is the truth. Anyone in the culture industry would tell you that.

Currently, we are talking a lot about the 75th anniversary of the brave heroes who defended our democracy in the Second World War. That is what we call patriotism, correct? The person who made a documentary on the Second World War—I forget the name of the production company, but no matter—sold one million copies of his DVD. Three years later, or around four years ago, they made another documentary, this time on the First World War. I can see how people could have found it a little dated and would not have been as interested, but that is not the point. They sold 100,000 copies of this documentary.

The band Alfa Rococo received $16,000 in public performance royalties for one of their radio hits, which makes sense, given that the radio was playing their song. During the same period, they only got $11 from Spotify. Clearly, this is the kind of thing that influences the decision of whether to go into music or not. That said, we are all happy to have music.

The government is well aware of all the problems. This morning I was asked in an interview whether the Minister of Canadian Heritage is incompetent. I said that I believe he is not incompetent so much as powerless. He is powerless before the will of the Prime Minister and he is powerless before the intellectual dishonesty of the Minister of Finance, who, when asked why the GST is not applied to Netflix subscriptions or ads on Google and Facebook, always says that this is very complicated and it should be taken up with the G7 and the G20.

Most of the U.S. states apply a sales tax on accounts like that. Everyone is asked to pay sales tax. For example, when we go to a small-time garage to buy some washer fluid and the employee says it will cost $4 in cash but he will have to add the tax if we pay by credit card, we raise a disapproving eyebrow, but that is what we are allowing to happen.

I did the math. GST would cost Netflix roughly 75 cents a month per subscription. That is roughly $10 a year per subscription. Ten dollars times roughly ten million subscriptions is $100 million.

Do the Liberals not want that money? Canadians do. We need it. The Liberals have to wake up.

Points of Order June 5th, 2019

Mr. Speaker, I wish my colleague would tell me what I did that she found so disrespectful. I did indeed say the word “dammit”, but I could just as easily have said “thorn” or “lemon”. I do not see how that is disrespectful towards the Minister of Canadian Heritage and Multiculturalism, who, truth be told, has not done anything these past four years.