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Crucial Fact

  • His favourite word is advertising.

NDP MP for Longueuil—Saint-Hubert (Québec)

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

Statements in the House

Canadian Heritage April 13th, 2017

Mr. Speaker, this morning's edition of Le Devoir stated that Donald Trump intends to renegotiate NAFTA and that he wants to abolish the cultural exemption that has protected our distinct culture for 30 years. This means that our films, our music, and all of Quebec culture will get no protection from the American steamroller.

Even Liza Frulla, president of ADISQ, is sounding the alarm. This morning, she had this to say about the minister: “Her intentions are still not clear. We want to know what the federal government's position is on this file.”

When it is at the negotiating table, the government will have to defend our distinct culture. One must be clear when negotiating.

Will the minister immediately declare that the cultural exemption in our free trade agreements is non-negotiable?

Canadian Heritage April 10th, 2017

Mr. Speaker, seldom has the history of our country been talked about so much than since the debut of the history series Canada: The Story of Us. From the very first episode, everyone has been angry.

English-speaking actors are portraying French settlers with no acknowledgement of the expulsion of Acadians; there is no mention of Port Royal; and above all, life for the first nations at that time has been overlooked. It is a bad start to the Canada 150 celebrations.

Does the Prime Minister's introduction to the series mean that he condones the omissions of this history series?

The Environment April 6th, 2017

Mr. Speaker, we already know that this government is not even going to meet Stephen Harper's weak climate change targets.

The Liberals promised the moon during the election campaign. However, the recent budget indicates that there will be nothing for electric cars and charging stations for at least another year despite the urgent need to address climate change.

In the United States, Volkswagen was required to pay for a network of charging stations as penitence for its diesel scandal.

Did the government at least consider that approach? Unlike charging stations, there is no shortage of Volkswagens on our roads.

Committees of the House April 3rd, 2017

Madam Speaker, I thank my colleague for his speech.

This is absolutely pathetic. Insufferable in the righteous belief that it is the natural governing party, the government would have us believe it can force us to accept something by giving us the impression that it is our choice. The Liberals must think we are children.

The two people who just spoke are new MPs. I happen know this gentleman has children. I would like to ask my colleague a question.

Does he see why we would feel like children who are being given the choice of going to Boston Pizza or Tim Hortons by someone who already knows we are going to Boston Pizza even though we would rather go for a doughnut at Tim Hortons?

They say that we can make choices and that they want to hear from us, but in truth, the Liberals know they are the ones calling the shots. They put it in their bill, and they are going to force things on us, but it cannot actually look like that is what is happening because they are so smooth.

The Budget April 3rd, 2017

Mr. Speaker, I thank my colleague for his speech. I must admit that I am scratching my head trying to figure out how this man, who is a member of the Standing Committee on Environment and Sustainable Development, can support such measures.

His government claims to want to build a new economy and move into the future. We have all heard those buzzwords before. However, in reality, it cut nearly $1.6 billion in funding for the fight against climate change, approved three pipelines, and did away with the public transit tax credit, which benefited ordinary Canadians in a very real way.

How can a member of the Standing Committee on Environment and Sustainable Development stand up and defend such a budget?

The Budget April 3rd, 2017

Mr. Speaker, I want to commend my colleague the hon. member for Salaberry—Suroît on her speech. We get the sense of her sincere commitment to her constituents, both young and old, who by all accounts are dealing with all sorts of challenges. Hers is a regional riding, but it is not very remote. It is near Montreal, but it does not have high-speed Internet service.

I would like to ask the hon. member whether, as the critic for youth, she finds it especially dangerous to see that the government said any old thing during the election campaign, has broken its promises, and then made cuts in the budget. Does this not fuel the cynicism of the people she encounters every day at work?

Canadian Heritage March 24th, 2017

Mr. Speaker, there is an emergency. Our cultural entrepreneurs, such as DEP, are going bankrupt. The industry and creators were hoping for a lot more in the budget, but they were not as lucky as cab drivers.

Every party that falls under the minister's portfolio has requested that foreign digital platforms for culture be subject to the same regulations as everyone else and that these companies no longer be given preferential treatment to the detriment of our entrepreneurs, who pay their fair share. Even the Government of Quebec has specifically requested this.

If I want to help save our cultural industries, do I need to ask my questions directly to the Minister of Finance since the Minister of Canadian Heritage does not seem to be making any progress?

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?