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Track Stéphane

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Crucial Fact

  • His favourite word is colleague.

Liberal MP for Saint-Laurent (Québec)

Won his last election, in 2015, with 62% of the vote.

Statements in the House

Foreign Affairs September 28th, 2016

Mr. Speaker, I fully agree with what my colleague said. In fact, there was an official declaration done by the Government of Canada, and we are willing to start reading it in the House.

Today, as we consider the interim findings of the independent joint investigation team into the downing of Malaysian Airlines flight MH17, we are reminded of the unspeakable suffering caused by this tragic attack. The interim findings made clear that the Russian-made Buk missile was fired from rebel-controlled territory in eastern Ukraine. In a nutshell, the declaration clearly condemns it.

Foreign Affairs September 28th, 2016

Mr. Speaker, I would like to congratulate my colleague for having been chosen as the spokesperson of his party for foreign affairs. I also want to congratulate him that he has seen the light, because now he speaks about discussions. We have noticed that in his questions. He dropped the word “negotiation” that he was using for the last two weeks, and so I congratulate my colleague for that. It is quite an improvement, because today, at this very moment, we are having a discussion together, but we negotiate nothing.

Foreign Affairs September 28th, 2016

Mr. Speaker, first, I would like to congratulate my colleague on being appointed deputy critic for foreign affairs.

I would also like to tell the members of the opposition that, for the past two weeks, they have been asking questions about something that does not exist. The Prime Minister never said anything about negotiations. The Canada-China joint communiqué issued on September 12, 2016, which is public and easily accessible, reads: “start discussions”. There is a huge difference between discussions and negotiations. If my colleague needs clarification on that, my department can give him a briefing.

Business of Supply September 27th, 2016

Mr. Speaker, I would just like to say that I remained seated not because I was abstaining, but because I arrived too late and you had already started reading the motion. If I had been able to vote, I would have supported the government, and that would have made a big difference in this vote.

Questions on the Order Paper September 19th, 2016

Mr. Speaker, as of June 15, 2016, all Global Affairs Canada full-time, part-time contract, and casual employees working abroad, including local and third-country co-operants and advisers, had a valid security clearance.

Contractors are not employees of the Government of Canada.

Questions on the Order Paper September 19th, 2016

Mr. Speaker, in response to (a), officials from Global Affairs Canada, GAC, have had preliminary discussions with officials from the Islamic Republic of Iran, as publicly stated by the Minister of Foreign Affairs. This government is committing to re-engaging with Iran in a responsible and step-by-step manner. This is a harder path than the one chosen by the previous government, but it is the best way to make real progress in promoting human rights and protecting Canada’s friends and allies.

With respect to (b) and (e), in processing parliamentary returns, the government applies the principles set out in the Access to Information Act. Information has been withheld on the grounds that the disclosure of certain information could be injurious to the conduct of international affairs.

In response to (c), no. Discussions on re-engagement are at their preliminary stages. There is no precise timeline for the potential re-establishment of a Canadian diplomatic presence in Iran.

Part (d) is not applicable as the answer to (c) is not in the affirmative.

In response to (f), the safety and security of Canadian personnel is of paramount importance and will be a key consideration in any decision to re-establish a Canadian diplomatic presence in Iran. There is no precise timeline for the potential re-establishment of such a presence in Iran.

Part (g) is not applicable as the answer to (c) is not in the affirmative.

Part (h) is not applicable as the answer to (f) is not in the affirmative on the question of a security audit. GAC has not organized consultations on the reopening of a Canadian mission in Tehran.

Questions on the Order Paper September 19th, 2016

Mr. Speaker, Canada has been explicit in its condemnation of Russia’s aggression against Ukraine but also understands the value of engagement, that dialogue can lead to improvements for Canada, for Ukraine and for global security.

In November 2015, the Prime Minister had a brief conversation with President Putin on the margins of the G20 Summit in Antalya, Turkey. The Prime Minister communicated that although Canada has indicated its intentions to broaden its engagement, Canada remains deeply concerned over Russian interference in Ukraine. The Prime Minister also reiterated Canada’s strong and unequivocal support for Ukraine and called on Russia to fully engage and implement the Minsk agreements, in order to end the violence and bring about a peaceful and durable solution in eastern Ukraine. Since this initial exchange, the Government of Canada has indicated that dialogue and diplomacy are important in the conduct of international affairs, including with countries with which Canada has a profound disagreement. This government’s engagement strategy allows us to continue to hold Russia to account, including in regard to its actions in eastern Europe. Canada has been re-establishing channels of direct dialogue with Russia, with eyes wide open, in order to advance Canadian interests and express Canadian values, on issues such as the Arctic, global security and human rights.

Canada’s engagement is taking place gradually and incrementally, and is being conducted in accordance with the interests at stake. Issues of Canadian national interest have been discussed in both the bilateral format and in the multilateral context, including, for example, at the Organization for Security and Co-operation in Europe and in the United Nations Human Rights Council. Canada’s engagement with Russia will continue to include clear messages regarding Russia’s unacceptable actions in Ukraine and the maintenance of sanctions until Russia implements the Minsk agreements in full. Canada has announced the deployment of troops to Latvia for a mission of deterrence against Russian aggression.

The Minister of Foreign Affairs utilized his full bilateral meeting with Russian Foreign Minister Lavrov on the margins of the ASEAN regional forum in July to speak clearly and frankly to Russia about the unacceptability of Russia’s action against Ukraine, and to make plain to Russia Canada’s expectation that Russia deliver on its Minsk commitments and demonstrate respect for Ukraine’s sovereignty and territorial integrity. He also engaged in firm discussions on Syria and NATO, and used the meeting to advance Canada’s interest, including with regard to the Arctic and counterterrorism.

Questions on the Order Paper September 19th, 2016

Mr. Speaker, in response to (a), the operations and salary budget for the former office of religious freedom, ORF, comprised of five full-time employees, FTEs, was $720,386 with an annual programming budget of $4.25 million of which $3.75 million was disbursed in fiscal year 2015-16. By comparison, the new Office of Human Rights, Freedoms and Inclusion, OHRFI, is comprised of three divisions--Human Rights and Indigenous Affairs; Inclusion and Religious Freedom; and Democracy--with a total of 36 FTEs. The overall operations and salary budget for the three divisions within the OHRFI totals $3.04 million. The programming budget dedicated to the promotion of peaceful pluralism, inclusion, respect for diversity and human rights, including freedom of religion or belief, will be as much as $15 million, three times the amount originally committed to the former ORF.

In response to (b), like the former ORF, the OHRFI does not have dedicated signage or promotional materials. As such, there have been no costs incurred to reflect the new name. In the first few weeks following the establishment of the OHRFI, significant outreach activities were undertaken with domestic stakeholders across Canada to maintain and expand the network previously established by the ORF, share information on the future operations of the office, and consult stakeholders to inform future advocacy and promotion activities. The OHRFI will continue to engage with domestic stakeholders on a regular basis, and continue to work closely with Canadian and international members of civil society, religious groups, academics and NGOs, to best leverage Canada’s pluralist experience as a multicultural and multi-faith country.

In response to (c), as noted in (a) above, the operations and salary budget for the new Office of Human Rights, Freedoms and Inclusion totals $3.04 million. The programming budget dedicated to thepromotion of peaceful pluralism, respect for diversity and human rights, including freedom of religion or belief, will be as much as $15 million, three times the amount originally committed to the former ORF.

Questions on the Order Paper September 19th, 2016

Mr. Speaker, in response to (a),the new Office of Human Rights, Freedoms and Inclusion, OHRFI, which replaces the former ORF, is comprised of three divisions with 36 full-time employees: Human Rights and Indigenous Affairs; Inclusion and Religious Freedom; and Democracy. The overall operations and salary budget for the three divisions within the OHRFI totals $3.04 million. The programming budget dedicated to the promotion of human rights, including religious freedom, will be as much as $15 million, three times the amount originally committed to the former ORF. Programming will aim to promote peaceful pluralism, inclusion, respect for diversity and human rights, including freedom of religion or belief.

In response to (b), since its establishment on May 17, 2016, the new Office of Human Rights, Freedoms ad Inclusion, OHRFI, is working to identify programming opportunities. As a first step, the OHRFI has actively engaged with a multitude of different existing and new stakeholders, including those who have previously received funding through the former office of religious freedom, ORF. As part of this ongoing outreach, stakeholders and potential partners have been encouraged to submit concept papers on a variety of human rights issues, including freedom of religion or belief, peaceful pluralism, inclusion, diversity, and democracy.

In response to (c), the Prime Minister is actively championing all human rights, including freedom of religion or belief, through various platforms, including news releases, media events and social media. In addition, the Prime Minister and the Minister of Foreign Affairs have empowered Canadian heads of mission--ambassadors, high commissioners and consuls general--to speak from the field and promote human rights, freedoms and inclusion online, within conversations with counterparts and publicly with the media. Human rights promotion, including freedom of religion or belief, is now entrenched in our heads of missions’ core objectives and priorities and will be included in their annual performance commitments. Further to statements made domestically and through social media channels, Canada has released a total of 10 stand-alone public statements and nine group statements at the 32nd session of the United Nations Human Rights Council, June 13, 2016 to July 1, 2016. These Canadian statements focused on the 10th anniversary of the council; thematic issues including on women and migrants; and specific situations, including Burundi, Syria and Ukraine. Canada also delivered two statements during high-level meetings of the United Nations Alliance of Civilizations, on April 25 and June 29, 2016.

Global Affairs June 17th, 2016

Madam Speaker, under the provisions of Standing Order 32(2), I have the honour to table, in both official languages, the 2014 and 2015 reports on exports of military goods from Canada, the 2014 and 2015 annual reports to Parliament on the administration of the Export and Import Permits Act, and the Arms Trade Treaty, which was adopted on April 2, 2013, in New York.

An explanatory memorandum is included with this treaty.