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Crucial Fact

  • His favourite word is languages.

Liberal MP for Charlottetown (P.E.I.)

Won his last election, in 2015, with 56% of the vote.

Statements in the House

World Theatre Day March 27th, 2018

Mr. Speaker, on March 27, we celebrate World Theatre Day.

Canadians enjoy live theatre in communities large and small, including in my riding of Charlottetown. Locals, tourists, and Canadians from coast to coast to coast come to the Confederation Centre of the Arts to experience high-quality productions such as Anne of Green Gables–The Musical.

Theatre makes our communities vibrant and inclusive places. It helps us to reflect, express ourselves, and develop our creativity. Sharing our stories helps us better understand one another. It is a space where we can examine our societal issues and explore solutions.

In recognition of our love of theatre, I would like to celebrate our artists and creators, and all those who contribute to engage Canadians through theatre in their communities.

I hope all Canadians take the time to enjoy a theatre presentation in their community on World Theatre Day.

Bills of Exchange Act March 20th, 2018

Mr. Speaker, I rise today to speak to Bill C-369, an act to amend the Bills of Exchange Act, the Interpretation Act and the Canada Labour Code (National Indigenous People Day), introduced by the member for Desnethé—Missinippi—Churchill River.

The bill proposes to amend the Bills of Exchange Act, the Interpretation Act and the Canada Labour Code to modify the definition of holidays within each of these acts to include National Indigenous Peoples Day as part of these definitions. As a result, it would establish National Indigenous Peoples Day as a paid non-working holiday for approximately 904,000 employees working in the federally regulated private sector. This represents about 6% of Canada's workforce.

National Indigenous Peoples Day has been celebrated across Canada for 21 years. In 1996, the Government of Canada, in co-operation with national indigenous organizations, designated June 21, the summer solstice, as a day to recognize indigenous peoples in Canada. This day was designated National Aboriginal Day by way of a proclamation signed by the Right Hon. Roméo LeBlanc, the then Governor General of Canada, on the advice of the Queen's Privy Council. In 2017, the Prime Minister announced that the government intended to rename June 21 National Indigenous Peoples Day.

This day aims to highlight the unique and significant heritage, cultures, and contributions of first nations, Inuit, and Métis peoples. Celebrating National Indigenous Peoples Day fosters greater knowledge and understanding of our history and of the traditions and customs that played a key role in shaping the country we know today as Canada. It provides the perfect opportunity to learn about the people, places, and events that are a part of the history of our land and it permits us to realize the importance that diversity plays in our great country.

National Indigenous Peoples Day is one of the four celebrate Canada days. This suite of special days starts on June 21 with National Indigenous Peoples Day and includes Saint-Jean-Baptiste Day on June 24, Canadian Multiculturalism Day on June 27, and Canada Day on July 1. The celebrate Canada days put a spotlight on Canada's diverse cultures. They help us honour the heritage and backgrounds of those who came before us and those who continue to strive for a Canada that is reflective of all its citizens, a Canada that is truly inclusive.

Celebrations in 2017 were an opportunity for a greater number of Canadians to participate in activities in all parts of the country. Indeed, as we marked the 150th anniversary of Confederation, more Canadians than ever took part in community events and celebrations on National Indigenous Peoples Day.

Through its celebrate Canada program, the Government of Canada made such investments so as to provide funding for over 1,700 community celebrations in 2017. Events were held in each province and territory. Additionally, high impact events marking the day were held in eight cities across Canada and were broadcast through a partnership with the Aboriginal Peoples Television Network and through social media. An unprecedented 1.2 million Canadians had the chance to take in these celebrations.

Every year, there is a wide range of activities on offer, including ceremonies, cultural displays, and stage performances. These activities highlight the traditions and contemporary vision of indigenous peoples. They give children and families a chance to taste foods, listen to stories, and marvel at the art and artistry of the descendants of the first inhabitants of this land.

From traditional smudging ceremonies to concerts, National Indigenous Peoples Day showcases a broad spectrum of indigenous culture and proves that it is alive and important.

The legacy of residential schools is a stain on our past and we must seize every chance we get to rebuild relationships between indigenous communities and the rest of Canada. As the Prime Minister has stated, no relationship is more important to Canada than the relationship with indigenous peoples.

In 2015, the truth and reconciliation commission presented a report that included 94 calls to action to redress the legacy of residential schools and advance the process of reconciliation. The Government of Canada committed to implementing these recommendations, including call to action 80 that urges the federal government, in collaboration with aboriginal peoples, to establish, as a statutory holiday, a national day for truth and reconciliation to honour survivors, their families, and communities, and ensure the public commemoration of the history and legacy of residential schools remains a vital component of the reconciliation process.

To that end, the hon. member for Desnethé—Missinippi—Churchill River has introduced a bill to make National Indigenous Peoples Day a paid statutory holiday for some of Canada's workforce, namely federally regulated private-sector employees.

Under the Canadian constitutional framework, this is the first step in establishing a new statutory holiday. It is important to note that in order for us to designate this day as a paid holiday for all Canadians, federal public service collective agreements have to be amended, and the provinces and territories have to amend their respective laws if they have not done so already.

I should note that June 21 has been a paid statutory holiday in the Northwest Territories since 2001 and in Yukon since 2017.

I am pleased to contribute to today's debate and to call upon the House to carefully consider all the implications of the bill before us. I think we can aspire to an outcome that is aligned with the commitment to renew the relationship between Canada and indigenous peoples based on recognition of rights, respect, and co-operation in the same way the designation of National Indigenous Peoples Day 21 years ago was the result of a process that engaged and co-operated with the community.

Bills of Exchange Act March 20th, 2018

Mr. Speaker, I would like to thank the hon. member for bringing this bill forward.

The member talked about the celebration of indigenous cultures as a key element of this, yet call to action 80 talks about reconciliation, residential schools, and the black mark on our history.

I realize we have different national holidays with different purposes. Remembrance Day is a very solemn holiday, while New Years Day is one that is very celebratory. It strikes me that in the true spirit of the calls to action that the real theme of a national holiday such as this one would be more akin to self-examination and reflection as opposed to celebration. Would the member care to comment on that?

Taxation March 1st, 2018

Mr. Speaker, we know that the media sector is facing many upheavals because consumer habits are changing. That is why we have made a commitment to modernize our policies so that they address digital issues. The Prime Minister has been very clear on the tax issue. We made a promise, and we are going to keep it. We acknowledge that over the longer term, we will have to develop a comprehensive solution to the issue of taxing digital platforms, and we are not going to take a piecemeal approach.

National Flag of Canada Day February 15th, 2018

Mr. Speaker, 53 years ago today, the Canadian flag was raised on Parliament Hill for the very first time. Today, our flag is the strongest symbol of our Canadian identity. That is why, every year on February 15, we celebrate National Flag of Canada Day.

In my riding of Charlottetown, which was recently recognized by law as the birthplace of Confederation, there is immense pride in our flag. This pride can be seen while driving through the streets of our beautiful city, seeing our maple leaf proudly flying from peoples' porches.

As our best and most talented athletes are currently wearing their red and white uniforms in Pyeongchang, this is perfect time to be celebrating the flag they so proudly wear.

I wish everyone in Charlottetown and across the country a very happy flag day.

Taxation February 5th, 2018

Mr. Speaker, Netflix Canada created a new film and television production company. This is great news for Canadian creators and producers.

Once again, over the next five years, Netflix will invest a minimum of $500 million Canadian in original productions produced in Canada in English and in French for distribution on Netflix's global platform.

Let us not forget that Netflix already has a strong track record of investing in Canadian producers and content, with recent examples including Anne and Alias Grace with the CBC, Travelers with Showcase, and Frontier with Discovery.

We believe that this significant investment in Canada demonstrates that Netflix is committed to continuing to be a meaningful partner in supporting Canadian creators, producers, and the Canadian creative expression.

Taxation February 5th, 2018

Mr. Speaker, I would like to thank my hon. colleague from Sherbrooke for giving us a chance to talk about the many benefits of the agreement with Netflix.

This government strongly believes that the establishment of a new Canadian business in the film and television production sector by Netflix is wonderful news for Canadian creators and producers, and ultimately for our cultural industries as a whole.

The approval of this significant investment in Canada under the Investment Canada Act is yet another indication of our government's strong commitment to growing Canada's creative industries, with new investments that create more opportunities for creators and producers across the country. In fact, this major investment of a minimum of $500 million over the next five years on original productions in Canada will provide them with even greater access to financing, business partners, and ultimately new ways to connect with audiences across the globe.

Such an unprecedented investment by a digital platform in Canada, a first of its kind for Netflix outside of the United States, is yet another confirmation to the world that Canada is a great place to invest, attesting to the creative talent of this country and the strong track record of our cultural industries in creating films and television productions that really stand out.

It is important to make a distinction between the cultural activities of Netflix Canada, which has committed to investing a minimum of $500 million Canadian in the production of Canadian-made films and television series, with the activities of its U.S.-based video streaming service. These are in fact two separate kinds of cultural activities.

It is also important to reiterate that all businesses, including those involved in television and film production that set up and operate in Canada, must abide by the Canadian tax system, which includes GST. Given that Netflix Canada plans to operate a production company in Canada, it will have to comply with all GST-related rules, which could apply to its production activities in Canada.

Lastly I would like to point out that Netflix announced last week that it has acquired the award-winning Canadian film, Les Affamés, written and directed by Robin Aubert, one of the most unique voices in Quebec's cinema, to be made available on the international market as early as this coming March. This represents the first of many Canadian films and television series to be acquired or produced by Netflix Canada as a result of its significant investment announced last fall.

Canadian Heritage February 5th, 2018

Mr. Speaker, I thank my hon. colleague for Laurentides—Labelle for his question and his excellent work.

Our government is proud of its nearly $600,000 investment to relocate the Centre d'exposition de Mont-Laurier. This investment will enable the centre to further diversify its programming and improve the quality of its educational activities. This is yet another investment our government has made in our creators as part of the creative Canada program.

Questions on the Order Paper January 29th, 2018

Mr. Speaker, in processing parliamentary returns, the government applies the Privacy Act and the principles set out in the Access to Information Act. The requested information has been withheld on the grounds that it constitutes competitive as well as personal information.

Salaries Act December 12th, 2017

Madam Speaker, I heard my colleague's speech, in which he, in a way, criticizes the Minister of Innovation, Science and Economic Development, and I just wanted to defend the minister.

I very much appreciate the member and his party's new-found interest in our regions. Perhaps it would have been a good idea for the Conservatives to take such an interest when they were in power.

My colleague opposite seems to have a problem with the minister for ACOA being from Mississauga. In the province of Prince Edward Island, after 10 long, lean years, we now have a subsea cable to New Brunswick that will substantially aid our economic development. We now have substantial investments at the University of Prince Edward Island. We now have waste water systems being built in Prince Edward Island that will substantially aid our future. We now have substantial investments in incubators, which we never, ever saw under the previous government.

From his perch in Quebec, would the member like to reconsider his critique of the value of the Minister of Innovation to Prince Edward Island and Atlantic Canada?