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Crucial Fact

  • His favourite word was first.

Last in Parliament October 2019, as NDP MP for Abitibi—Baie-James—Nunavik—Eeyou (Québec)

Won his last election, in 2015, with 37% of the vote.

Statements in the House

Indigenous Affairs November 30th, 2018

Mr. Speaker, the housing crisis in the north is so severe that Nunavik alone needs 1,000 houses, today alone. It is a serious problem. The lack of housing leads to social challenges, marginalization and mental health problems. A woman recently died in my riding after losing her home. The UN declaration directs Canada to ensure the well-being of indigenous elders, women, youth and children.

The Inuit want to know. Will the Prime Minister call a state of emergency to finally address the housing crisis?

Budget Implementation Act, 2018, No. 2 November 26th, 2018

Mr. Speaker, I thank my colleague from Berthier—Maskinongé, which is a magnificent riding.

Earlier, she spoke briefly about pay equity. I have been hearing about pay equity and its importance for years. I even heard about it before I was elected in 2011. It was one of the government's key campaign promises. The Liberals promised to do things differently, and they promised real change. However, we have yet to see any real change on the indigenous file or other key files, including pay equity for women in Canada.

If the campaign promise was sincere, work should have begun on this file the day after the election. Clearly, that did not happen. We are less than a year away from the next election, and the Liberals are promising to hold further consultations. We might see action on this file in another four years.

As I see it, if the Liberals were unable to keep their promise right after the election, it is a sham.

Indigenous Affairs November 19th, 2018

Mr. Speaker, the forced sterilization of women is still happening in other parts of the world, and believe it or not, it is also still happening here in Canada to indigenous women.

Article 22.2 of the United Nations Declaration on the Rights of Indigenous Peoples requires that all states take measures to ensure that indigenous women enjoy full protection against all forms of violence and discrimination.

Will the Liberals launch an inquiry to put an end to this situation and make restitution for the harm done to the victims and their families?

National Aboriginal Veterans Day November 8th, 2018

Mr. Speaker, in a couple of days, we will be honouring all veterans on Remembrance Day. I want to salute them. I also want to pay tribute to those we sometimes forget: the Inuit, the Métis and first nations veterans. It is estimated that between 7,000 and 12,000 indigenous people participated in the two world wars and the Korean War.

For their sacrifice, they returned home only to continue to endure exclusion and injustice, serving in different battalions and regiments, sometimes as snipers or code talkers. Although there is much work to do, I want to to honour them on this 25th indigenous veterans day today, and extend our sincere meegwetch for their invaluable contributions to this country.

Lest we forget.

Indigenous Affairs October 18th, 2018

Mr. Speaker, sadly, I get the impression that the Liberals and the Conservatives are cut from the same cloth. Stephen Harper stood before the G20 and announced with a straight face that Canada had no history of colonialism. Now, the Minister of Canadian Heritage and Multiculturalism claims that there is no racism in Canada. Good grief.

Does he realize how many people he just insulted?

Allow me to give the minister an opportunity to admit he was wrong, to admit he made a mistake, that he screwed up, and say “I'm sorry”.

James Bay Highway October 15th, 2018

Mr Speaker, the James Bay Highway was built in the 1970s to make way for hydro development in James Bay—Eeyou lstchee. It is 620 kilometres long and is an important corridor for thousands of people who use it every month. It badly needs repair. I have had the pleasure of driving that bumpy and broken highway many times to visit the communities in my riding.

The highway is so infamous that Manuan Lafond, a musician from Chisasibi, has written an honour song for all the people who use this road. The song, James Bay Highway Blues, is written in Cree and English, and the chorus goes, “It is so bad, this road, so horrible.” Manuan says that it is a wonderful feeling to write Cree lyrics and to sing his heart and soul out. I invite everybody to get to know northern Quebec a little more by supporting musicians like Manuan, and safely driving the James Bay Highway to visit beautiful Eeyou lstchee.

Natural Resources October 3rd, 2018

Mr. Speaker, we believe that the Prime Minister must be true to his word. If he is prepared to recognize those who have the right to say yes to this project, he must recognize the equal right of others to say no to the pipeline project.

Does the Prime Minister not recognize that consulting when the decision has already been made is not the type of consultation required by the Supreme Court of Canada?

Natural Resources October 3rd, 2018

Mr. Speaker, let me quote the Federal Court of Appeal again, that “Canada's efforts fell well short of the mark set by the Supreme Court of Canada” when it came to consulting indigenous peoples on Trans Mountain.

How can the Prime Minister claim that he will consult again when he has repeatedly said in the House that this project will be built no matter what?

Does the Prime Minister not realize that he is in fact totally abdicating his constitutional duty to consult and accommodate indigenous peoples and obtain their consent?

Business of Supply September 27th, 2018

Mr. Speaker, I thank my colleague for that great question. I imagine she knows as well as I do how difficult things can be for indigenous people who decide to move to Val-d'Or.

We have done the math, and I can share some numbers. We need 2,560 units for Crees, about 1,000 for Inuit in Nunavik, and about 300 for the Lac Simon and Kitcisakik Algonquin communities. Kitcisakik has neither electricity nor running water despite being located right next to a hydro dam. This is 2018; this is Canada.

These are serious, urgent issues. That is why we moved this motion. The Liberal government's latest budget allocated $500 million over two years for indigenous communities. That would cover the construction of about one house in each of Canada's 600 communities. Construction costs in the Far North are so high, it might cover only half a house per year. That is why this motion is so urgent.

Business of Supply September 27th, 2018

Mr. Speaker, I want to thank my good friend for what is an important question.

One of the things I have said over and over in the past is that in any national housing strategy, there needs to be a distinct and clear indigenous component. That is important to do. This needs to be done in collaboration and in co-operation with indigenous communities and people throughout the country, those who live in urban settings. We all know that a very high percentage of indigenous people do not live on reserves but live in urban areas.

That is the importance of taking that component seriously and having a good discussion with indigenous people themselves.