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NDP MP for Longueuil—Saint-Hubert (Québec)

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

Statements in the House

Adjournment Proceedings March 21st, 2017

Mr. Speaker, I would like to thank my colleague for his ad lib and frank answer. He says that we cannot rush them in this situation.

In the past four months, HMV and DEP declared bankruptcy, which affects the arts community. I would like to cite another striking example.

Experts on sales taxes, the people who collect taxes, for example the excise tax, were called to appear before the Standing Committee on Canadian Heritage. I use the iTunes app and so I asked them why some songs and apps were subject to the GST and QST in the Apple Store, while others were not. There is no tax on the monthly subscription. They told me that the app that was taxed was probably a Canadian app.

Adjournment Proceedings March 21st, 2017

Mr. Speaker, today we have an adjournment debate on a question posed about four months ago, on November 21, 2016. The question was the following:

Mr. Speaker, although the Minister of Canadian Heritage is free to make major changes to the rules governing our distinct culture, she has the responsibility to be open and transparent about what she is calling her “public consultations”. In the interest of transparency, when will the minister make public the briefs submitted as part of these consultations? One thing is certain; they contain important information. Can our ecosystem count on the minister to do what everyone thinks is the right thing and ask foreign companies such as Google, Facebook, and Netflix to pay their fair share?

This is the answer I received four months ago:

Mr. Speaker, I would like to thank my colleague for his important question. I would like to remind him that we are indeed holding an open and transparent consultation process and that we are going to make public the briefs submitted by the various stakeholders.

That was done. Thank you and congratulations.

I thank the member. I know that he specifically asked me to make this information public. Of course, I agree with him. This is a good example of co-operation.

I agree that there was a lot of consultation, but the question was about the consensus emerging from every sector in the minister's portfolio that the playing field is not level. Foreign providers do not collect sales tax. Their revenues may not be taxed either.

Yesterday, four months later, I asked her the following question:

Mr. Speaker, last week, the closure of the HMV stores led to the bankruptcy of the distributor DEP, which has put an abrupt stop to the marketing of Quebec artists. From Vincent Vallières to the Montreal Symphony Orchestra and Florence K, DEP's bankruptcy seems to be the latest sign of the collapse of Quebec's recording industry and a new source of worry about Canadian content. Canada must move swiftly to regulate all the new online providers, whether they are based in Montreal, Los Angeles, or some other tax haven. Can the minister tell us what she has done to ensure that these new players contribute to our ecosystem and to the same tax system as everyone else?

I will read her response:

Mr. Speaker, I thank my colleague for his important question and his interest in this file. Of course, we launched public consultations last year to consider all the repercussions that digital services have on the entire Canadian cultural ecosystem. In 2017, I will have the opportunity to introduce some major changes in order to address some of the issues that were raised by my colleague.

I have been asking this question for four months. Some might say I sound like a broken record. Well, yes, that is because it is obvious to everyone. Everyone knows full well that we must ensure that our merchants, our retailers, and our service providers have access to a tax system that is consistent and equal, or at least equal to that of foreign providers.

Of course, when we are in this situation we scratch our head and say it cannot be so. This is a serious problem. Retailers think that online competition makes no sense because they can sell the same product tax free, no GST and no HST. They are right. The same is true for all our cultural providers.

The only thing that is tax exempt is culture from abroad. It is rather pathetic. The question is simple:

Has the Minister of Canadian Heritage asked the Minister of Finance to resolve this situation and ensure that transactional taxes are applied to foreign suppliers?

Business of Supply March 21st, 2017

Mr. Speaker, I thank my colleague for her passionate and very interesting speech.

The Conservatives know that we agree with many points in their motion today, specifically their point on airports because that is absolute heresy. However, when it comes to freezing certain tax rates, we are not on the same page.

In a recent speech, I quoted the British finance minister, Mr. Osborne, who said that their corporate tax rate was among the lowest in the world, but England expects those taxes to be paid. I would like to know my colleague's thoughts on that.

What does she think about the government's inaction when it comes to online suppliers and their unfair competition with our retailers who operate a storefront, have employees, and pay their taxes here in Canada?

Business of Supply March 21st, 2017

Mr. Speaker, I am pleased to rise today.

My colleague's partisan fervour is totally inappropriate.

Quite honestly, as the member for Longueuil—Saint-Hubert, I can safely say that very few people have benefited from these so-called middle-class tax cuts.

As for heritage and culture, we have been asking the Minister of Canadian Heritage to talk to the Minister of Finance for months now to get international players to pay the same taxes as everyone else and stop them from spiriting their profits away to tax havens in foreign countries. The Liberals should be ashamed of themselves for doing nothing about major issues like that. I am tired of hearing about their middle class.

I have a very simple question that relates directly to today's topic. The government says it plans to borrow money for major infrastructure projects because interest rates are so low, but it is approaching lenders that want returns on the order of 7%, 8%, or 9%. How does that make sense?

Business of Supply March 21st, 2017

Mr. Speaker, I would like to congratulate my colleague for his very lively speech. However, I would urge my colleague from Louis-Saint-Laurent, in the Quebec City region, to be cautious when he talks about Beau Dommage, which is very much a Montreal group. The words of the song 23 décembre definitely talk about Mr. Côté, not Mr. Tanguay.

That said, my colleague also talked about Robin Hood and Liberal mismanagement. During the election campaign, the Liberal Party promised the moon and a small deficit. The campaign was led by people who did not think they would one day form the government. They wondered what they could do to stand out and they would say anything. Now, Canadians are left with nothing much.

Indeed, many Canadians travel, but I would not go so far as to say, as my colleague did, that all Canadians travel by air, because many of them are not well-off, and I see that in my riding. However, what is true is that Canadians are still the ones who will pay for the lies the Liberal government told during the election campaign.

I would like to hear what my colleague thinks about that.

Canadian Heritage March 20th, 2017

Mr. Speaker, last week, the closure of the HMV stores led to the bankruptcy of the distributor DEP, which has put an abrupt stop to the marketing of Quebec artists.

From Vincent Vallières to the Montreal Symphony Orchestra and Florence K, DEP's bankruptcy seems to be the latest sign of the collapse of Quebec's recording industry and a new source of worry about Canadian content.

Canada must move swiftly to regulate all the new online providers, whether they are based in Montreal, Los Angeles, or some other tax haven.

Can the minister tell us what she has done to ensure that these new players contribute to our ecosystem and to the same tax system as everyone else?

National Security and Intelligence Committee of Parliamentarians Act March 10th, 2017

Mr. Speaker, this is an extremely sensitive topic. Bill C-51 came up a lot during the election campaign. People talked about a great darkness, as my colleague opposite said. However, the Liberals supported Bill C-51, saying they would figure it all out later on, and that member was part of the team in charge in another capacity then.

Canadians have not forgotten. They remember. They remember that Bill C-51 was outrageous, regardless of what my colleagues over here think, and that the Liberals said they would figure it all out. The PMO has some nerve thinking it can appoint the committee chair.

Would my colleague care to comment on that? It makes no sense.

National Security and Intelligence Committee of Parliamentarians Act March 10th, 2017

Mr. Speaker, I thank my colleague for his speech. However, I have to admit that I do not know what is happening here, because the people elected us to represent them in the House of Commons and to talk about federal issues.

The very principle of having committees that deal with specific subjects is based on the fact that this allows us to take a closer look at the details of certain bills. The Liberals made a commitment to create this oversight committee. The parliamentary committee that studied the issue made a series of recommendations and heard a great deal of testimony, which the government is completely ignoring. Why?

The Environment March 10th, 2017

How about pro-environment, Mr. Speaker?

Our Prime Minister keeps making promises and saying just about anything while courting American oil companies so they might award him some fairly dubious prizes.

How can this government even dare to claim that it wants to meet its objectives, which it committed to by signing the Paris agreement, when clearly the Minister of the Environment is being told to keep quiet?

When will this government finally be true to its word and join the G8 countries that have a strategy for the electrification of transportation?

We are not going to meet our COP21 targets with four charging stations.

Business of Supply March 9th, 2017

Mr. Speaker, I thank my colleague for his speech, especially considering that the member for Saint-Jean is very familiar with the reality facing our soldiers, at least with respect to military bases and their families.

We will recall that a while ago there were disagreements about the interpretation of the mission. It was often called an advise and assist mission, when clearly our troops deployed there are put in harm’s way. I would therefore like to know the reasoning behind the decision to not grant this danger pay.

Is it because, deep down, they want to deny that our troops there are being put in harm’s way?