House of Commons photo

Crucial Fact

  • His favourite word was work.

Last in Parliament October 2019, as Liberal MP for Avignon—La Mitis—Matane—Matapédia (Québec)

Lost his last election, in 2019, with 34% of the vote.

Statements in the House

Science May 31st, 2018

Mr. Speaker, contrary to what the Conservatives would have people believe, all members on this side of the House are extremely proud of our Prime Minister, who is putting in place practical measures to defend the interests of Canadians and Canadian companies.

On another note, world-renowned researchers across the country are generating new knowledge and inspiring new generations of scientists. Recently, our government made historic investments in research and science.

Could the Minister of Science tell us more—

Mont-Joli Rotary Club May 31st, 2018

Mr. Speaker, I am delighted to rise in the House today to mark the 75th anniversary of the Mont-Joli Rotary Club. Since 1943, its members have been passionately committed to serving the interests of Mont-Joli and the surrounding area. They actively work to help those who get involved, in order to revitalize Mont-Joli and the surrounding area, and they also help people in need.

In 75 years, Mont-Joli Rotarians have helped inject more than $2.5 million into the community. They have made a significant impact on Mont-Joli's social, cultural, sport, and economic development.

I want to thank all of the current and former members of the club for everything they have done over the past seven decades. Their desire to improve the lives of the people of Mont-Joli is a true positive force in the community.

Business of Supply May 24th, 2018

Madam Chair, I come from a riding in eastern Quebec where there is a labour shortage, as is the case in many Quebec regions. It is vital that our approach attract the the most talented people to Canada.

Can our parliamentary secretary tell the House what the government is doing to ensure the competitiveness of our country in a global economy?

Business of Supply May 24th, 2018

Madam Chair, in another life, before I got into politics, I had the good fortune and honour to be the head of the CEGEP in Matane. We were especially proud because in order to develop our CEGEP, we had to attract new students from outside Quebec and Canada, and we managed to attract many from France, Mali, and Congo, among others. At a CEGEP of 700 students, we had more than 200 foreign students.

Attracting talent to Canada is important, but it is just as important to ensure that they integrate well and that they flourish in our communities.

Can the parliamentary secretary tell the House what we are doing to help immigrants succeed once they get here?

Business of Supply May 24th, 2018

Madam Chair, I want to start by thanking you for the opportunity to participate in this debate as we consider the votes under Immigration, Refugees and Citizenship Canada in the 2018-19 main estimates. I will be speaking for about ten minutes and then I will ask some questions.

A well-managed immigration system is vital if we are to ensure the future success of our country. I have to admit that I have a special attachment to this immigration system because my wife arrived in Canada from England 18 years ago. This relationship resulted in four young boys with blonde hair and blue eyes.

It is in this spirit that we established an unprecedented multi-year immigration levels plan last year in order to responsibly increase the number of permanent residents that Canada welcomes over a three-year period. Under this plan, Canada will welcome 310,000 permanent residents this year, 330,000 the following year, and 340,000 in 2020. These are the most ambitious immigration numbers in the recent history of Canada and they represent a major investment in the current and future prosperity of our country. In fact, according to the Conference Board of Canada, we must increase our immigration levels to 1% of the population over the next 20 years to support sound economic growth in Canada.

With this plan, immigration levels will reach 0.9% by 2020, which means that we will have almost met the Conference Board of Canada's recommendation in just three years. This increase in immigration levels will help strengthen our country and keep us globally competitive, while stimulating innovation and economic growth, and supporting the creation of diverse, inclusive communities. The increase will help us face major challenges in the coming years, such as slower growth of the labour force and a labour shortage as a result of the aging Canadian population.

I want to remind hon. members of some important figures. In 1971, there were 6.6 people of working age for every senior. In 2012, the ratio of workers to seniors dropped to 4.2 to 1, and this ratio is expected to drop to 2 to 1 by 2036, in less than 20 years. Five million Canadians will be retiring in that time, and in two decades, nearly all of Canada's annual net population growth will come from immigration, which already represents 65% of our growth. We need to address this obvious demographic challenge if we want to be able to fulfill our commitments with respect to health care, pensions, and other social services; continue to grow our economy; and continue to fill our labour needs in the coming decades.

The multi-year immigration levels plan will benefit all Canadians because immigrants contribute to our economic growth and keep Canada competitive in a global economy. Immigrants can drive innovation and help employers meet their labour force needs.

Higher immigration levels will also improve the operations of our immigration system by helping us to reduce application backlogs and improve processing times for our clients. This will help us to reunite families more quickly, allow employers to more effectively hire the talent they need, and provide more timely protection to the most vulnerable people around the world.

It is fair to say that Canada is able to leverage what some call its immigration advantage. While an increasing number of countries are closing their doors to newcomers with innovative perspectives, an entrepreneurial spirit, and unique skills, Canada is taking a different approach.

Immigration seems to be an economic differentiator for Canada in terms of both our current and long-term needs. That is why 60% of the growth in immigration levels for this year and the subsequent two years will come through our economic programs. Prominent among these, of course, is our provincial nominee program, which helps meet regional labour needs and distributes the benefits of immigration throughout Canada.

Another excellent strategy for meeting regional needs is the Atlantic immigration pilot program, through which the government works with the community as a whole and employers in particular to ensure that newcomers settle in Atlantic Canada and stay there long term. At the same time, the Government of Canada is launching new programs, trying out new ideas and introducing faster processing in order to enhance its appeal for the talent that the country needs to ensure its economic prosperity.

For example, the recent implementation of the global skills strategy helps attract top talent from around the world. The purpose of this strategy is to bring in high-skilled workers to Canada sooner by processing their work permit and visa application in just two weeks, among other innovative measures.

The start-up visa program is another example of an innovative economic immigration program that helps identify promising new businesses in partnership with business incubators, angel investor groups, and private sector venture capital funds. They commit to supporting foreign entrepreneurs who are starting up innovative businesses and the government gives those entrepreneurs permanent resident status so that they can come to Canada quickly to create more jobs and contribute to our country's economic growth.

All the programs I just listed are examples of how the government is using innovative, creative approaches to meet Canada's unique economic needs through immigration.

We will be increasing immigration levels in the coming years, but we will also be ensuring that our immigration system remains well managed and puts the safety of all Canadians first. That is so important it bears repeating: our system works and puts the safety of all Canadians first. Our multi-year planning approach is helping Canada come up with a better plan to handle the challenges and opportunities of higher immigration levels. Our approach is also helping provincial governments, municipalities, and newcomer settlement agencies make plans of their own.

Settlement agencies have actually been calling for a multi-year plan for years now. We also have to increase immigration levels in a way that Canadians support.

Our immigration system must remain well managed, its economic benefits must remain clear, and it must continue to put the safety of all Canadians first. Canada is unique among immigrant receiving countries because it places such tremendous importance on giving newcomers the help they need to integrate into our country.

Our settlement services, including language training, employment services, and newcomer orientation, are positive contributors to immigrants' success. Canada also sets itself apart with its emphasis on citizenship as ultimate outcome of a process that begins with immigration and integration.

In fact, most eligible immigrants, or about 85% of folks, decide to apply for Canadian citizenship. We believe that welcoming immigrants to Canada, helping them settle and integrate into our society, and eventually seeing them become Canadian citizens provides our country with great opportunities and a competitive advantage. That is why it is essential to maintain a well-run immigration system to ensure economic growth, support sustainable communities, and keep Canada globally competitive.

Madam Chair, I will now ask my colleague, the parliamentary secretary, a few questions.

We have seen an increase in the number of border crossings and irregular asylum claimants in recent months. What impact does this increase have on the multi-year immigration levels plan?

Before I let the parliamentary secretary answer, I think it is important to reiterate something that I mentioned in my speech, namely that border crossings by asylum seekers occur as part of a very well-run system. What I mean is that when asylum seekers cross the border, first, they are stopped by the RCMP. Then, they go through a whole security screening process, which includes fingerprinting and a series of biometric tests. The RCMP also runs their names through all of our databases to check if there are any special issues. This system is well run and ensures that our officials are there to keep all Canadians safe.

I will repeat my question for the parliamentary secretary: what impact does this increase have on the multi-year immigration levels plan?

Samuel Bolduc May 7th, 2018

Mr. Speaker, our region has some super-talented young people. I want to highlight the amazing achievement of a photography student at the Matane CEGEP.

Samuel Bolduc was awarded the title of student photographer of the year at the 2018 Sony World Photography Awards, one of the most prestigious international competitions in the world. The award was announced at a ceremony in London on April 19.

Samuel Bolduc is the first Canadian to win this award. He is the pride of Matane, of his CEGEP, and of his photography program. This exceptionally talented and amazingly creative young artist is eminently deserving of this international recognition.

I am extremely pleased to share Samuel's success with all my colleagues in the House of Commons. I have no doubt that this prestigious award will kick-start a very promising career for this talented young man. Congratulations, Samuel.

Conflict of Interest and Ethics Commissioner's Report April 17th, 2018

Mr. Speaker, it is rather surprising. The Conservatives moved a motion on a certain subject and now they no longer want to talk about it. We are here to talk about an important subject and we want to be able to debate it. We want to be able to discuss it. As we said, the Prime Minister has spoken about this many times. Now, the Conservatives no longer want to debate the issue in their motion. I find that rather unusual.

Conflict of Interest and Ethics Commissioner's Report April 17th, 2018

Mr. Speaker, I thank my colleague for his usual excellent question.

As I was saying earlier, rather than debating the types of subjects the Conservatives are bringing forward, we should be talking about subjects that are of interest to Canadians, such as the economy, jobs, investments in infrastructure, and support for families. That is what Canadians want to hear us talking about. That is what they talk to me about when I am in my riding and I have a chance to talk with my constituents. We have achieved real results. We have created 600,000 jobs in recent months and years and the unemployment rate in Canada is the lowest it has been since 1976. Those are real results and that is what Canadians want to hear about.

Conflict of Interest and Ethics Commissioner's Report April 17th, 2018

Mr. Speaker, as I was saying earlier, we, on this side of the House, want to debate the budget. We have been wanting to do so since 10 a.m. but unfortunately the members opposite moved a motion that we are debating again today. The motion is on a subject that has been raised multiple times and on issues that have already been submitted by the opposition parties and that the Prime Minister has already responded to. We want to debate the budget because that is important to Canadians. Unfortunately, we are unable to do so because the Conservatives decided to move a motion and we have to debate that instead.

Conflict of Interest and Ethics Commissioner's Report April 17th, 2018

Mr. Speaker, this is interesting. We must focus on what is important to Canadians. The Conservatives are the ones who want to continue to debate the subject of today's motion. Once again, this is a topic that we have debated and discussed at length. The Prime Minister has answered all of the questions. We also want to be able to discuss the budget, and I talked about this earlier for 10 minutes or so. It is important and we want to talk about it. Unfortunately, the Conservatives are playing politics yet again to prevent us from discussing the budget.