House of Commons photo

Crucial Fact

  • His favourite word was colleague.

Last in Parliament October 2015, as NDP MP for Beauport—Limoilou (Québec)

Lost his last election, in 2015, with 26% of the vote.

Statements in the House

Ending the Long-gun Registry Act October 28th, 2011

Mr. Speaker, I really enjoyed the hon. member's speech. When we talk about the firearms registry, I think back to the time when I worked at a furniture and appliance store, Ameublements Tanguay. A number of my colleagues were hunters. Some told me they felt as though they were being treated like criminals. I was aware of this type of argument.

We have to remember that at the time of the previous crisis, triggered by this government, with regard to this very registry, Mr. Layton had proposed, both within our caucus and to the government, that there be some sort of arrangement so that people who have to register their firearms could do so in a dignified manner without being labelled as potential criminals. I would like the hon. member to elaborate on this and to reach out to the government so that we can find a solution that suits everyone.

Tourism Industry October 28th, 2011

Mr. Speaker, the government could end up depriving the Canadian economy of millions of dollars in tourism spinoffs, because tourists from the countries for which Canada requires a visa must go through a completely arbitrary process. Every year, one out of every five visitors is denied entry to the country. There are no clear criteria, guidelines or standards for granting entry.

What is this government doing to make the tourist visa process fairer?

Ending the Long-gun Registry Act October 28th, 2011

Mr. Speaker, I must point out the contradiction in the conclusion made by my colleague in his speech.

Under the copyright bill, people who break the electronic lock protecting works could be sent to prison or a penitentiary for up to five years. In the meantime, the government wants to be kind and avoid treating gun owners like criminals. That is honourable. We have made proposals to smooth out the process and to avoid having gun owners who have not registered their firearms be systematically threatened with prison terms.

How can my colleague live with that contradiction?

Ending the Long-gun Registry Act October 28th, 2011

Mr. Speaker, I will discuss another aspect of police work and demonstrate how useful the registry can be. When there is a hit and run accident involving a pedestrian or cyclist, we know very well that the information contained in the motor vehicle registry is a tremendous help to police in their investigation. A parallel can be drawn with the firearms registry. I imagine that the police use the registry as an additional investigative tool, an unlimited source of information, to piece together what happened and prove that the weapon in question is the one used in the crime. Of course, I am not familiar with all aspects of police work, but I imagine that the registry is very useful in their investigation and that it also helps protect officers' lives.

Should we not be providing tools for our police and not taking them away?

Ending the Long-gun Registry Act October 28th, 2011

Mr. Speaker, in his famous dissertation on war, Sun Tzu said that the most important aspect of any military campaign is information. I believe he said that not to destroy the enemy, but rather to spare the enemy as much as possible and have a decisive victory. Clearly, the firearms registry is a crucial source of information for police officers, to protect not only their own lives, but also the lives of those close to any firearm owners who may be in crisis, and the lives of troubled firearm owners themselves.

After listening carefully to my esteemed colleague, I wonder if he could explain why the Conservative government wants to deprive our police officers of such an important information tool, one that could save many lives and prevent injuries?

Copyright Modernization Act October 21st, 2011

Madam Speaker, I want to thank the hon. member for her question.

Yesterday, I had the honour of receiving farmers from across the country. They told me all about the spinoffs of farming activities. The same thing applies to the arts. It is quite extraordinary to see the economic contribution made by creators through the many partnerships they bring to the table and the massive multiplier effect that results. I am talking about two, three and four times the level of government investment. Sometimes it is almost 10 times the investment when we talk about general economic activity.

Copyright Modernization Act October 21st, 2011

Madam Speaker, I want to thank the hon. member for praising my creative talents. I truly enjoyed using them.

So far there has been no representation from the creators in support of this bill. It is a shame that in this situation, and in others, it is the major conglomerates, the major power holders that have the upper hand. It is the property holders—Sony, Apple and other corporations—that have ample means to defend themselves. Obviously we have to provide a regulatory framework to protect their interests, but creators are also calling for this same right. We wonder why the government is denying them that right.

Copyright Modernization Act October 21st, 2011

Madam Speaker, I would like to thank the hon. member for asking this question.

This really is one of the regrettable aspects of this debate and others as well. Unfortunately, we argue too easily over details. All the New Democratic Party is asking for, in this debate as well as others, is to be able to discuss these questions openly and thoroughly.

Unfortunately, despite this government's openness to receiving proposals, all of ours were categorically rejected. I hope that the hon. member will listen to me and that we can speak openly.

Copyright Modernization Act October 21st, 2011

Madam Speaker, I will forgive the hon. member for the interruption since that is also a very important issue.

I would now like to continue. As I was saying, this story helps us to understand the major technological changes that the world is experiencing and what our creators stand to lose if Bill C-11 is passed as is.

Creators must not have their works expropriated, as the wheat farmers in my riding have had the fruits of their labour expropriated; this must be avoided at all costs. And we are not even talking about the impact such action would have on the entire creation-related production system, which involves a very large number of people. Today, I would like to set the record straight and put things into perspective.

First, it is important to understand that, contrary to popular belief, artists are not rolling in money. As some other hon. members have mentioned, according to the figures for 2009-10, the average income of an artist in Canada is less than $13,000 a year, which is below the poverty line.

According to a 2008 report by the Conference Board of Canada, the cultural sector generated approximately $25 billion in tax revenue in 2007 at all levels of government. That is three times higher than the $7.9 billion that was invested in culture by all levels of government in 2007. If an investment yields three times its cost, I do not see what is preventing the government from supporting this industry in every way possible. How can anyone claim that artists are dependent on government handouts when their creativity contributes to the country's economic and cultural prosperity?

I would be remiss if I did not mention the many economic benefits generated by creators. The Alliance of Canadian Cinema, Television and Radio Artists estimates that the arts and culture industries in Canada contribute $85 billion a year to our economy. I would like to remind the members of this House that this amount represents over 7% of Canada's gross national income. That is over a million jobs in the Canadian economy. These industries and the jobs that depend on them can survive only in an environment where intellectual property is protected.

It is worth taking a moment to talk about what the government calls the iPod tax. Several times now, the government has described extending the private copying exception to include digital audio recorders, which the NDP supports, as an iPod tax. The tax could cost Canadian consumers up to $75 per device, the Conservatives said. Does it not seem a little ridiculous to imagine artists and authors taxing consumers, who are their bread and butter? Quite the opposite, the Conservatives' copyright bill, Bill C-11, will ultimately increase the current levies on cassettes, CDs and DVDs. To use the language that the Conservatives themselves are using, this would be like a tax on those products.

Another important point deserves our attention for a moment. Bill C-11 creates an artificial distinction between copying for private use and reproducing for private use. It does not propose adding any new digital storage media to the existing private copying system, but it protects the system in its current state. Nothing could be further from the truth, since the scope of the levies would be determined by the Canadian Copyright Board, a government agency under the supervision of the industry minister. This kind of control would make authors take a back seat, and it would be somewhat worrisome to see the minister have that kind of arbitrary power.

The Conservatives ignored the opinion of the experts who appeared in committee and the conclusions of their own consultations on copyright held in 2009. It is absurd. As a result, they have introduced a bill that could do more harm than good. In addition to introducing a new control mechanism wielded by a single minister, this government did not take expert opinions on the matter into account.

In conclusion, I invite my colleagues to remain vigilant. The NDP believes that Canada's copyright laws can strike a balance between the rights of creators to obtain fair compensation for their work and the rights of consumers to have reasonable access to content.

We need to pay attention to creators. Wanting to tax consumers shows a complete lack of understanding of the reality facing authors.

Copyright Modernization Act October 21st, 2011

Mr. Speaker, as I was saying earlier, imagine the wonderful smell of buttered toast, smothered in honey, wafting through our offices. Obviously, that makes us think that the machine I described is a marvel. However, it is relatively expensive to purchase. A few hundred dollars, but we can pay a price per piece or buy a subscription to get toast at a fraction of the cost of the traditional way. That obviously makes this new machine more attractive, since any honest, hard-working individual will jump at the chance to improve his life for a low price.

That being said, not everyone agrees with this new approach to breakfast and some people refuse to buy the appliance and stick to their traditional methods. However, this innovation becomes quite successful and is sold across the country. This revolutionary device shakes up our morning habits and causes major changes that affect the stakeholders in the traditional bread industry. We have to tell it like it is: our wheat farmers are not compensated for the process to duplicate the real wheat in our fields. Initially, the appliance is not seen as a threat because no one could imagine anything replacing real bread, but the astounding success of the new machine results in lost markets for the wheat farmers. After a high-profile court case, the farmers' legitimate calls for a fair price for their wheat are dismissed. That same wheat remains absolutely necessary in the duplication process created by the innovative company that is now an industrial giant.

That is not the worst of it. The government takes the side of the company in question and, in a supreme act of bad faith, describes the legitimate royalties the farmers are seeking for their wheat as a consumer tax. Our wheat farmers do not have the means to stand up to this powerful and dishonest propaganda and are forced to continue fighting rearguard actions with limited means, hoping to find allies in the public or among other groups in order to reverse the trend.

There you have a story to illustrate the major technological changes we are experiencing—