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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

Canadian Heritage June 5th, 2019

You only have a month left before it's over!

Canadian Heritage June 5th, 2019

Mr. Speaker, Google spent $47 million on lobbying to roll back copyright in Europe. Here in Canada, the Liberal government is leaving the door wide open to giants such as Facebook, Google and Netflix. The government says nobody gets a free ride. Give me a break. It has been singing the same tune for four years now.

The consequences are very real. Today, TVA announced it is cutting 68 jobs because of Liberal favouritism and the government's refusal to ensure a level playing field for everyone.

I am ashamed of Parliament for handing our culture, our democracy and our jobs over to Big Brother in the states on a silver platter. The Liberals have not done a thing for four years.

Why not? God dammit!

Business of Supply June 3rd, 2019

Mr. Speaker, I am happy to hear that. I will ask the member to slow down a bit and to find an answer to my question. Why is the government not closing the section 19 loophole?

Allow me to explain. Under section 19, a Canadian advertiser can advertise in an American magazine, but this expense will not count as an operating expense for advertising come tax time. This expense is not allowed because the advertiser is not advertising in Canadian media. However, section 19 does not currently specify that these ads must be bought on Canadian online media in order to be considered an eligible expense.

Why is the government not doing this?

Everyone knows that this is a big problem. Everyone also knows that if the government closed this loophole, Canadian advertisers would probably spend less on American platforms and more on Canadian ones. It is not complicated. This would obviously bring in more money for the government.

Business of Supply June 3rd, 2019

Mr. Speaker, I thank my colleague, who serves with me on the Standing Committee on Canadian Heritage. Clearly, we cannot oppose a good thing, even if it being proposed late in the game. When a union that represents thousands of workers is disparaged, there may be some comments that people would like to take back.

However, as everyone has said today, it is obvious that this is a temporary measure while we wait for something better. That is the issue. Why did we wait all this time to solve the fundamental problem afflicting our media, namely the loss of advertising revenue? What is the cause of these losses? I wonder if my colleague can answer that. Section 19 is overused with respect to online advertising, as though the ads were being placed in Canadian media.

Why has this loophole not been closed? Why is GST not charged on ads purchased on these platforms? If the reason is that these are U.S. platforms, it is not a good reason.

Business of Supply June 3rd, 2019

Mr. Speaker, I thank my colleague for his speech.

I agree with him. There is a lot wrong with this situation. A few days from the end of this Parliament, it is very awkward and negligent of this government to be making so many proposals and appointments that could cause confusion, when we do not have the means to do an analysis. Our news industry and our media are not doing well.

I would like to hear what my colleague has to say about the information I found indicating that Canada subsidizes the media to the tune of $2 per capita. In Quebec, with its current formula, it is about $3 per capita. Compare that to $5.83 in the United States, $18.17 in the United Kingdom and $30 in France. Of course, Sweden, Norway and Finland, which are fantastic countries, provide significantly more help to the media, with support ranging from $57 to $90 per capita. That is a huge amount compared to Canada's $2 per capita.

Does my colleague agree with the idea that the state must provide better support for newspapers, in a non-partisan manner of course?

Business of Supply June 3rd, 2019

Mr. Speaker, my colleague works with me on the Standing Committee on Canadian Heritage, where we talked about this issue many times.

Does he not find it shameful that the Liberals once again waited until the last minute, when they could have been much more effective in helping our media outlets make more money? For example, the government could have amended the exemption in section 19 of the Income Tax Act so that Internet ads are considered expenses for income tax purposes just as magazine ads are.

Business of Supply June 3rd, 2019

Mr. Speaker, I would like to thank my colleague for her speech and excellent work at committee, where we discussed these issues at length.

I will not ask her why we had to wait until the last minute because I have already asked that question many times today. A lot of people are wondering if they are going to pack up next weekend because the parliamentary session is almost over. It cannot believe that we are tackling this issue today, but the Conservatives wanted to raise it.

Is my colleague surprised by the Conservative belief that choosing a union such as Unifor to represent the views of workers and others is some kind of a game?

I find it appalling that they waited until the last minute, just before the election, to introduce such a highly debatable motion.

Is she surprised by the Conservative belief that unions do not look favourably on the Conservatives and do not believe them to be on their side?

Business of Supply June 3rd, 2019

Mr. Speaker, I thank my colleague for his important speech, particularly since, in his riding, the Franco-Ontarian fact is, of course, very vulnerable and must always be promoted and protected.

I would like to know where small newspapers and local weeklies stand. Did the people who run them feel reassured by the government's announcements? If the member has any time left, I would like him to tell me why the Liberals took so long to present solutions that were looked into two years ago in a number of reports submitted to the government.

Business of Supply June 3rd, 2019

That will not be easy, Madam Speaker.

I thank my colleague. I know he means well, and I appreciate his province taking the lead.

He is absolutely right. This definitely demonstrates how pathetic it is that this government does not to have the guts to do the obvious and just apply the GST to a service like this. He is right that we all need to work together. As a result of the government's inability to show federal leadership and persuade the telecom giants to join the comprehensive review, the stakeholders are left to watch as the system falls to pieces. They are petrified of being swallowed up by Big Brother, Google, GAFA and others.

Business of Supply June 3rd, 2019

Madam Speaker, I will focus on the second part of the member's comment, so that my answer is as constructive as possible.

In the second part of his comment, the member asked me what we would recommend. First, we would recommend that the government take things seriously and acknowledge that information promotes a better democracy. Such a fundamental issue should have been tackled much earlier. It would have been preferable not to wait until the last minute, as the government did with a number of very important bills. It also should have done some research and not thought it was so superior that it was above criticism.

Obviously, it is going to be a bit controversial when the government chooses a union that has very much taken a side in the debate and when it makes the announcement at the last second, right before the election. Nevertheless, the Conservatives should not be surprised. They are hated by almost everyone in the news and communications sector. The Conservatives hung us out to dry for 10, or even 14, years, because they were threatening the government.

As for the first part of your comment, you claim to have done things. The Canada Council for the Arts budget was doubled four years ago. Stop saying that; you have not done a thing since.