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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

Keeping Canada's Economy and Jobs Growing Act October 6th, 2011

Madam Speaker, I want to thank the hon. member for his speech and his very interesting answer.

I have already condemned in the House our growing dependence on natural resource development, which traps us by putting us at the mercy of the fluctuations in international trade, as my colleague knows full well. In the meantime, we are seeing an incredible number of jobs disappearing in the processing sector. This was clear during the recent election campaign in Ontario when Mr. Hudak criticized this state of affairs and the loss of 300,000 jobs in Ontario.

I would like to invite my colleague to elaborate on the solutions we are proposing to truly diversify our economy and protect ourselves from the adverse effects of a possible recession.

Keeping Canada's Economy and Jobs Growing Act October 6th, 2011

Madam Speaker, I thank the hon. members across the floor for doing their smoke and mirrors tricks again regarding job creation and support for small businesses.

During the finance department presentation yesterday, we learned that after all is said and done, a business could qualify for the famous little tax credit, which might turn out to be very little, without creating a single job, through a simple shell game of increasing premiums from one year to the next, from 2010 to 2011. And that is to say nothing of the fact that a business going through a rough spell after having a certain level of employment in 2010 could very easily create jobs without being able to benefit from the tax credit.

How can my colleague continue to defend this measure, which is unlikely to create any jobs?

Keeping Canada's Economy and Jobs Growing Act October 6th, 2011

Madam Speaker, I cannot congratulate my colleague opposite on his shareholder approach to political funding. Could my colleague elaborate on her concerns about political funding?

Keeping Canada's Economy and Jobs Growing Act October 6th, 2011

Madam Speaker, I thank my colleague for telling us about the situation in his riding. He and his constituents have a front-row seat to the impact of climate change. I congratulate him for trying to help his constituents directly by proposing solutions instead of simply suffering through these changes. As he said, one way or another, these changes are happening.

Could my hon. colleague tell us how direct government support for strategic projects, which would directly help his constituents in their daily lives, could change things and solve these problems?

Organization for Single Parents October 6th, 2011

Mr. Speaker, last Sunday I had the pleasure of attending the 25th anniversary celebrations of Sources Vives, an organization serving Beauport, Côte-de-Beaupré, Île d'Orléans and Sainte-Brigitte-de-Laval. The organization was founded by single parents, both men and women, in order to bring people together and provide support for anyone in that situation or going through a separation.

The many services offered by this organization help to put an end to isolation, enhance families and cultivate positive attitudes. Thus, it has a special place in the community.

In closing, I wish to commend all the administrators and volunteers for their initiative and the success of the organization, and I wish them all the best in their future endeavours.

Preventing Human Smugglers from Abusing Canada's Immigration System Act October 3rd, 2011

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

I will take this opportunity to remind the House that one of the principles of our justice system is to protect an innocent person from an unfair conviction, even if the result is that an accused is unfortunately not convicted or is declared innocent. Which is better? Is it better that the rights of 100 innocent people are protected at the cost of a single guilty person going free?

Preventing Human Smugglers from Abusing Canada's Immigration System Act October 3rd, 2011

Mr. Speaker, I thank the hon. minister for his comments and his long speech.

I have an observation to make, both as a historian and as a Canadian citizen. I remind this House that since the beginning of the 20th century, and particularly since the second world war, Canada has been a leader in defending and advancing human rights, both in Canada and abroad. So I do not think it is a viable argument to compare our situation to that of other countries. I would ask the minister to explain to us how implementing these measures, according to the objectives of this bill, will allow for the arrest of a single person. I really do not see how that could happen.

Preventing Human Smugglers from Abusing Canada's Immigration System Act October 3rd, 2011

Mr. Speaker, it is important for me to speak today about the bill to prevent human smugglers from abusing Canada's immigration system.

Bill C-4 is not only an unacceptable affront to the human dignity of thousands of men, women and children, but it is also a threat to the Canadian values that we hold in trust, a heritage reaching back thousands of years that we cannot betray without serious consequences. Let me explain.

Section 7 of the Canadian Charter of Rights and Freedoms is the embodiment of this heritage. It reads:

Everyone has the right to life, liberty and security of the person and the right not to be deprived thereof except in accordance with the principles of fundamental justice.

In 1985, in Singh v. Minister of Employment and Immigration, the Supreme Court found that section 7 extends to every human being who is physically present in Canada. It protects all men, women and children against the arbitrary power of the state or a minister.

As a result, the long-term detention without charge or trial that would be imposed under Bill C-4 is a denial of this fundamental Canadian value embodied by section 7 of the charter.

Why does section 7 of the charter exist? As I said earlier, we are the custodians of a heritage reaching back thousands of years. Our institutions, inspired by Britain's, are the result of a long and difficult process. Many direct threats could have destroyed our institutions and put us all under an arbitrary regime, which is the opposite of Canada's current situation. The prohibition of arbitrary detention without trial is a part of this heritage, which is a basis for our common values. The principle of habeas corpus was established by English barons in the Magna Carta, which was forced on King John in 1215. The protection that it offered to some British subjects at that time has since been extended to all human beings both in international treaties and in the fundamental national laws of many countries.

We must not forget that since those ancient days, women, children, persons of colour, people of all backgrounds and faiths, and the aboriginal peoples of this country have been protected by this principle of justice adopted long ago as a Canadian value. So why is the minister proposing that we go back in time? How can he justify superseding the courts and acting as both judge and jury in deciding the fate of men, women and children, and thus violating both the letter and the spirit of the charter?

Have we forgotten so quickly the lessons learned from the detention camps where Canadian citizens of Japanese origin languished during World War II? Are we to conclude that it was wrong to generously welcome the Vietnamese boat people a few decades ago? We must remember that the principles in the Magna Carta were established at a time when fear was more pervasive than it is today. Despite the fear evoked by the sovereign's sword, the English barons had the courage to demand and obtain, for themselves as well a for a large number of His Majesty's subjects, principles of justice so fundamental that we cannot deny them without denying all that we are.

The dark days that followed the invocation of the War Measures Act in the October crisis of 1970 remind us of the fragility of these fundamental principles when we are governed by fear. Hundreds of people were arbitrarily detained by the authorities at that time. Yet it has never been proven that the use of these exceptional measures gave the police a definite advantage in countering the criminal actions of the FLQ.

On the contrary, it now seems as though the ordinary Criminal Code provisions that were in place at that time would have been enough to take action against that group. At that time, Tommy Douglas rose in the House to vehemently denounce the government's intention of using these extraordinary measures in our country. And history has proven him right. A young man by the name of Jack Layton found inspiration in this courageous act by our party's first leader, and it gave him the desire to defend these principles and values that are so deeply rooted in Canada.

And our charter also says that “Canada is founded upon principles that recognize the supremacy of God and the rule of law”. The Judeo-Christian principles that form the foundation of our country are the key to understanding our heritage and the resulting consequences on our collective life.

I would like to refer to the gospels. A woman was brought before Christ by her accusers. She was accused of adultery and was to be stoned. The accusers insisted on questioning Christ about the legitimacy of stoning her to death. He said, “If any one of you is without sin, let him be the first to throw a stone at her.” Obviously, no one dared. And when the accusers dispersed, Christ asked the woman, “Woman, where are they? Has no one condemned you?” She replied that no one was left, and Christ said to her, “Then neither do I condemn you. Go now and leave your life of sin.”

This teaching does not preclude the existence of a justice system and the enforcement of a legal code, but it reminds us that we need to be extremely careful about judging the actions of others.

Our justice system is set up with guarantees to protect our rights as individuals. As I said earlier, every man, woman and child who is on Canadian soil is entitled to the basic protection provided under the spirit of habeas corpus. How can the minister come before this House and challenge such a fundamental Canadian value?

Are we but minions so crushed by fear that we will, like cowards, betray the legacy left to us by the great political giants of Canadian history, the founding fathers of our country, the first venerable pioneers of this legacy, the courageous English barons of the 13th century?

Fear is a bad adviser and all too often it makes us lose sight of reality. The arrival of the MV Sun Sea with 492 Tamils on board, including 60 women and 55 children, was a convenient pretext for this government to introduce its initial bill. Bill C-4 is merely another attempt to exploit people's fear of massive arrivals of refugees by sea. This public relations stunt is not based on any real problem. One recent case even proves that the existing legislation is sufficient. The only thing missing is the means to enforce it.

The case of the MV Ocean Lady is an excellent example. The 76 Tamil refugees were detained for an investigation in October 2009. In January 2010, they were all released after the government admitted that there was no evidence that they belonged to a terrorist organization or had any criminal ties. Only four Sri Lankans have been arrested in 2011 for trying to enter Canada illegally. Would detaining them unnecessarily any longer have changed any of the conclusions? Nothing could be less certain.

Will we allow this government attempt to jeopardize our fundamental rights like this? Once these Canadian values are undermined, what will the government target next?

Business of Supply September 29th, 2011

Mr. Speaker, I thank my colleague for asking that question, because reducing the GST and corporate taxes at the same time was a serious problem. It is taking us down the same path as the Diefenbaker and Mulroney governments and, to borrow an American example, the government of President Ronald Reagan.

We must remember that taxes are a way to gather the means to achieve certain goals. Obviously, some people do not believe in that.

By reducing taxes, the government lost out on a huge amount of tax income. Now the government has an enormous amount of catching up to do and I believe that this is a questionable way to justify cuts that would not be justifiable under other circumstances. It will lead to the loss of services and it will hurt ordinary people, not to mention the other long-term consequences for our economy.

Business of Supply September 29th, 2011

Mr. Speaker, I want to thank my colleague for her question.

I do not have enough time to sum up all the consequences major disparities have on a society. To take the U.S. example, in comparison with other more egalitarian societies in the world, many problems of all kinds are related to the low standard of living and low incomes, including health problems and problems entering the workforce. The larger the gap gets, the more we see the middle class disappear. It is a problem that is only going to get worse. It is currently not being addressed, even though it should be a priority for the future.