House of Commons photo

Crucial Fact

  • His favourite word was however.

Last in Parliament October 2019, as NDP MP for Trois-Rivières (Québec)

Lost his last election, in 2019, with 17% of the vote.

Statements in the House

Transport October 15th, 2018

Mr. Speaker, eight years of secrecy puts both Liberals and Conservatives on the same side of the fence. A 2010 report shows that school buses fail safety tests and that, as a result, our children are not adequately protected when they go to school. Worse still, for eight years, Transport Canada has kept this report secret. This is the height of recklessness and non-transparency.

Will the Minister of Transport, who keeps saying that safety is his top priority, fix the problem, or will he call for another study to see if we need to better protect our children?

Standing Committee on Transport, Infrastructure and Communities October 15th, 2018

Mr. Speaker, I must admit, it is with some wariness that I rise today to speak to the motion moved by my Liberal colleague from Kelowna—Lake Country.

I would never want to give the impression of downplaying the importance of the subject of Motion No. 177 in any way. However, it seems to me that given the urgency of the needs in this area, it would have made more sense for the government to include a bill in its legislative agenda to address the concerns raised in Motion No. 177. Furthermore, the Liberal government's record over the past three years clearly demonstrates how important private members' bills and motions passed and adopted in the House of Commons, some of them unanimously, are to our Prime Minister and his team.

Let me remind members of a few examples. Perhaps the most recent one that comes to mind is the unanimous vote in the House of Commons to fully protect supply management. We saw how that turned out with the signing of the new agreement. That motion carried very little weight.

I could also mention Bill C-262, a bill proposed by my colleague from Abitibi—Baie-James—Nunavik—Eeyou, which is intended to ensure that the laws of Canada are in harmony with the United Nations Declaration on the Rights of Indigenous Peoples. The legislation was passed by the House with overwhelming support, yet just a few days later, the Liberal government undermined the very spirit of the bill. Unless we get a real Liberal bill intended to fix a problem, I fear we will fall wide of the mark.

If there is one thing that will be obvious to Canadians by the next election, it is this government's paltry legislative track record. Setting aside its legalization of marijuana, its gifts to web giants, and its purchase of a pipeline that is a money pit, this government's accomplishments have been meagre, especially since it is on the wrong side of the fight against greenhouse gases.

Conversely, we could consider ourselves lucky to have a government that allows private members' bills to play a greater role in the political arena, enabling individual members to meet their constituents' expectations more effectively. However, as I just mentioned, there is a major disconnect between the role they are allowed to play and the results being achieved. Furthermore, we know the limitations of a bill or motion compared with a real government bill.

What is there to say about a motion calling for a study? While this is a legitimate issue, it could have been addressed in committee, where it would have received a positive response. This would have allowed us to make the most of our valuable time in the House. However, the government has made up its mind. Canadians will draw their own conclusions when the time comes, but for now, let us go ahead and debate Motion No. 177.

The motion asks that the Standing Committee on Transport, Infrastructure and Communities be instructed to undertake a study of flight training schools in Canada and be mandated to do the following three things: to identify the challenges that flight schools are facing in providing trained pilots to industry, to determine whether the infrastructure available to flight schools meets the needs of the schools and the communities where they are located, and to present its final report no later than seven months after the adoption of this motion. I will come back to the second point a little later.

Although I support such a study, I believe there is a technical flaw in this motion. If we ask the committee to present its final report seven moths after the adoption of this motion, and I remind members that this is only the first hour of debate on the motion, then there is no way that the office of the Minister of Transport will be able to draft a bill before the next election, particularly since we have seen how slow the minister has been to act on other issues. I would like to remind members that people on the north shore, particularly in Trois-Rivières, have been waiting for 25 years for the train to come back. VIA Rail's high-frequency train proposal seems to have been languishing on the minister's desk or buried under a pile of studies that all say the same thing for several years now. Nonetheless, the minister is not taking a position.

Let us talk about the bypass that the people of Lac-Mégantic have been anxiously waiting for. There is an election coming up in 2019 and the bypass will not have been built.

What about a topic that was the subject of an interesting documentary on the JE news program on Sunday, namely the passengers' bill of rights, which everyone has been waiting for for ages?

The NDP proposed such a bill under the previous government even though it is clear even before anything has been tabled that it will be inferior to the one in European countries. It would seem that the government shifts the focus of most resolutions to the benefit of corporations rather than consumers.

These are just a few examples that make it hard for me to believe that we will be able to flesh out such an important issue.

Let me come back to the motion. As I was saying, I will support this motion and recommend to the members in my party that they do the same because this is very important.

The industry expects that by 2025, which is not long from now, we will need 7,300 new pilots. Fewer than 1,200 new licenses are issued every year, of which 45% are issued to international students. That does not take into account the fact that for undetermined reasons, which we might want to look into, 30% of these new pilots leave the profession or leave Canada to go work in China or the Middle East.

According to the Air Transport Association of Canada, there could be a shortage of 3,300 pilots in Canada by 2025.

The problem is even more complex than it would appear to be. Not only is there a shortage of students, but there is also a shortage of flight instructors because they are accepting lucrative offers from major carriers, which have been seriously impacted by the pilot shortage.

An adequate response to the problem can only be given with a more nuanced understanding of the issues plaguing this industry.

If we have questions about the causes of this shortage in a sector with generally good working conditions, we should first come to an understanding of the situation where, for example, there is significant inequality between male and female pilots before we propose measures to be implemented.

If our efforts were to give rise to recommendations for concrete measures that will mitigate or resolve the problem, this would automatically lead to an increase in students. More students means more training flights and perhaps more schools or schools that provide more hours, landings and takeoffs. The title “Standing Committee on Transport, Infrastructure and Communities” does make mention of “communities”.

I said that I would get back to the second point, which is to “determine whether the infrastructure available to flight schools meets the needs of the schools and the communities where they are located”.

Because these flight schools exist near urban communities, there are already questions about the effect of the noise associated with the frequent take-offs and landings and with loud, low-flying aircraft, which significantly diminish the quality of life of those living near these airports. With the agreement of my colleague from Kelowna—Lake Country, and in the spirit of taking a holistic approach, I would like to propose a friendly amendment to include research on potential solutions to this issue in the study. The amendment could be something like:

iii) study the effects of noise pollution on public health

iv) that the government be more transparent in how it handles all the data collected

It goes without saying that I will support this motion and, as a member of the Standing Committee on Transport, Infrastructure and Communities, I look forward to working with all stakeholders to find concrete solutions to this whole issue, including the issue of noise for the people who live near these airports.

Standing Committee on Transport, Infrastructure and Communities October 15th, 2018

Mr. Speaker, I listened carefully to what my colleague from Kelowna—Lake Country had to say.

I must admit that I agree with him in principle. I will deliver a speech of my own shortly, but there is one burning question I have to ask him now.

If a motion concerning such a study had been put to the Standing Committee on Transport, Infrastructure and Communities, we would definitely have agreed to it given how serious this issue is.

Why did my colleague move a motion in the House of Commons rather than introduce a bill? Is there no other way he can convince the Minister of Transport to do something about this issue?

I think the industry's problems are serious enough to warrant a government bill, not just a motion calling for a study. A lot has to happen to get from here to there.

Rail Transportation September 21st, 2018

Mr. Speaker, all party leaders in Quebec support the high-frequency train proposal and are anxiously awaiting funding. The only person who does not want to join the chorus is the Minister of Transport.

Even though $11 million worth of studies are piled up on his desk, the minister still cannot make a decision. It is time for action. Canadians and Quebeckers are tired of waiting. The economy, the environment and regional development all depend on this project.

Do we have to wait until the next election campaign for an announcement?

Aeronautics Act June 19th, 2018

Mr. Speaker, I will try to be brief. First, I would like to thank my colleague from Repentigny for her initiative, which reminds me that the aerodrome in Neuville was a contentious issue under the previous government and that my colleague Élaine Michaud did an extraordinary job at the time.

As the hon. member said herself, her bill is something of an omnibus bill, because it affects eight laws. Although I support the bill, I wonder whether the amendments she proposes are the same in all eight cases. For example, are we talking about incorporation by reference? By what legislative process does she intend to tackle the problem?

Firearms Act June 19th, 2018

Madam Speaker, I will focus my remarks on the time allocation motion, even though we should be spending a lot more time on the bill. The irony is that the Liberals have just told us that the 338 members of the House will collectively have 300 minutes to debate the bill. That is less than the amount of time I just spent on the lead-up to my question.

A time allocation motion should demonstrate that there is a certain urgency. However, we have a government that has had a rather thin legislative agenda since coming to power.

What is the urgency? Why does the government now want to move so quickly?

Unless I am mistaken, when we return from the summer recess we will not be going into an election. We will still have time to debate such important and sensitive bills as the firearms bill.

Canada Shipping Act, 2001 June 19th, 2018

moved for leave to introduce Bill C-412, An Act to amend the Canada Shipping Act, 2001 (Compensation for Damage Due to Navigation and Shipping Activities Fund).

Mr. Speaker, this morning I have the honour to introduce, seconded by my colleague from Berthier—Maskinongé, a bill that offers a meaningful response to victims of the incidents in Yamachiche.

Even though a report submitted to Transport Canada stated that damages suffered by residents were not attributable to an act of God, those residents never received financial compensation. As faithful representatives of the people, and in keeping with the practice established by Jack Layton, we have honoured our duty to oppose the government by questioning it about this issue.

With the introduction of this bill this morning, we are proposing a solution. This very simple bill would create a fund to support victims of maritime incidents. Money in the fund would come from penalties incurred by vessels that break Transport Canada rules. Victims would receive compensation without burdening the public purse.

In the spirit of collaboration, we invite the Minister of Transport to consider this bill and champion it without delay.

(Motion deemed adopted, bill read the first time and printed)

National Security Act, 2017 June 18th, 2018

Madam Speaker, I thank my colleague for his comments.

I would like to clarify with him, if possible, a discussion that I began with my colleague from Bellechasse—Les Etchemins—Lévis on the use of torture. He said he was without a doubt against torture. He was clear and to the point.

However, my question is on the information obtained. Whether we are talking about the previous Bill C-51 or Bill C-59 before us today, does the hon. member think it is acceptable to use information obtained through torture by countries other than Canada, countries that engaged in torture to obtain intelligence?

National Security Act, 2017 June 18th, 2018

Mr. Speaker, I thank my colleague for his comments, most of which I had already heard during the last Parliament. I had the pleasure of debating him from time to time and not sharing his opinions on Bill C-51.

One thing he said this evening struck me. He said that the authorities need all the tools. In his opinion, should this toolbox also include information obtained through torture?

We know that that kind of information is usually weak precisely because it was obtained through torture and that the use of such information violates international agreements.

Questions Passed as Orders for Returns June 11th, 2018

With regard to the monitoring of the safety management systems of federally regulated railway companies and rail safety between 2006 and 2017, broken down by year: (a) what is the total number of audits completed; (b) what is the target number of audits required by the Transport Canada policy; (c) how many non-federally-regulated railway companies were targeted by the audits; (d) what is the number of inspectors qualified to conduct the audits; (e) what is the number of managers and inspectors who have completed the course on the audit approach; (f) what was the deficiency rate across the federally regulated rail industry; (g) how many times did inspectors encourage voluntary compliance; (h) how many letters of safety concern, letters of non-compliance, notices or notices and orders as interim measures to reduce threats or immediate threats to safe railway operations were issued by inspectors; (i) how many prosecutions for serious violations have inspectors participated in; (j) how many letters of warning were issued by inspectors; (k) how many notices or notices and orders were issued by inspectors to local railway companies; (l) how many notices or notices and orders were issued to federally regulated railway companies; (m) how many local railway companies failed to comply with a notice; (n) how many federally regulated railway companies failed to comply with a notice; (o) how many exemptions from the application of regulations were accepted by Transport Canada for local railway companies; (p) how many threats under the Rail Safety Act were identified by inspectors; (q) how many serious threats under the Rail Safety Act were identified by inspectors; (r) how many in-service rail failures were identified by inspectors; (s) how many in-service joint pull aparts were identified by inspectors; (t) how many broken or cracked wheels found on a train in a yard or in a repair facility were identified by inspectors; (u) how many deviations from the defective rail standards in the Rules Respecting Track Safety were identified using rail flaw testing activities; and (v) what is the average number of inspectors assigned to the monitoring and inspection of each tank car?