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Crucial Fact

  • His favourite word was veterans.

Last in Parliament September 2021, as Conservative MP for Bellechasse—Les Etchemins—Lévis (Québec)

Won his last election, in 2019, with 50% of the vote.

Statements in the House

Government Business No. 10—Broadcasting Act June 21st, 2021

Mr. Speaker, I would like to vote against the motion and would ask that the following votes be tallied with those of the Conservative Party.

Infrastructure June 21st, 2021

Mr. Speaker, with the closing of the Pierre‑Laporte bridge for repairs in a few days, construction of a third link is more important than ever to maintain the flow of traffic between Quebec City and Lévis.

What are the Liberals waiting for to follow our lead? The Conservatives are giving their support for the third link, which will help our regions and our motorists.

Will the Liberals finally make a decision and support the third link, which is essential for regional urban mobility?

Canada Labour Code June 10th, 2021

Mr. Speaker, I am pleased to rise as you preside over the work of the house. This is surely one of the last weeks before the summer break. I would therefore like to say hello to the people of Bellechasse—Les Etchemins—Lévis, and tell them that it is such a privilege to represent them.

Today we are debating a bill that the Conservative Party intends to support, as mentioned at first reading stage. It is Bill C-254, an act to amend the Canada Labour Code, the Official Languages Act and the Canada Business Corporations Act. In my opinion, there is cause for concern.

As we know, Canada is based on a vision of cultural diversity, but also of linguistic identity and duality, and this duality is threatened.

I have some news articles here with me.

An article from the Journal de Montréal entitled “The situation of French in Montreal: a catastrophe. Interview with Frédéric Lacroix” states, “We are in an unprecedented situation where the relative weight of francophones in Quebec is rapidly declining whereas that of anglophones is increasing.”

Charles Castonguay is a leading expert on this issue. He appeared before the Standing Committee on Official Languages. In his hard-hitting book, he bemoaned the fact that the use of French is declining rapidly in Quebec and that French itself is in an unprecedented free fall. Quebec is not the only place where this is happening.

I have here an article by Benjamin Vachet, an excellent journalist with ONFR+, entitled “Déclin du français au Québec: un danger pour tous les francophones?” He notes that only 20% of the country's population speaks French. I am a member of a committee that studied minority language post-secondary institutions, and I can say that all our institutions, be they in northern Ontario, in Saint‑Boniface, on the Campus Saint‑Jean, in Alberta or in Moncton, are experiencing financial pressure. It is time for a complete overhaul of the Official Languages Act, which we have been calling for for years. As we near the end of the session, and with Saint‑Jean‑Baptiste just around the corner, the Liberals are telling us they might introduce a bill. That is nice and all, but we will not be able to pass it.

French is in decline. Canada recognizes French and English as its official languages, but the two are not represented equally.

I am proud to belong to a party that is taking action for official languages and has done so all the way back to Brian Mulroney.

The Official Languages Act is just over 50 years old. Brian Mulroney's government was the one that really gave this legislation some teeth and enabled official language minority communities to become free and independent with the major reform of 1988. That reform entailed much more concrete action than the lip service of 1969.

We can also think about Mr. Harper. He gave Bernard Lord the mandate to come up with the roadmap. The Harper government invested $1 billion, which was then re-invested to support our communities. It also made it possible to recognize Quebec as the cradle of French, francophone culture and French-Canadian culture. Mr. Harper and the Conservative government recognized that Quebec forms a distinct nation within Canada.

I would like to use my time to correct a Liberal mistake.

The Liberals are always saying that the Conservatives did away with the court challenges program and that the Liberals reinstated it. They are forgetting a very important part of the truth: When Stephen Harper's government abolished the court challenges program, it established the language rights support program, which sought to support francophone communities.

Then, the Liberals took office. For 20 months, the communities no longer had an organization to turn to that would defend their rights. It is always important to distinguish between the narrative and the facts. The Conservatives are there to support francophone communities.

Bill C-254 seeks to support the large francophone minority in the English ocean that is North America, namely the Quebec nation. That is based on a choice that Quebec made, the much-talked-about Bill 101 or Charter of the French Language.

In my opinion, the Conservative Party was a little quicker off the mark. This is not the first time the Bloc has introduced this bill. Two months before the bill was introduced, our leader said that it was important that federally regulated institutions in Quebec be able to enforce the Charter of the French Language.

Why is this important? It is important because this linguistic duality is fragile. As I mentioned at the beginning of my speech, French is in decline in every respect across Canada. The federal government has a constitutional responsibility, and a quasi-constitutional responsibility under the Official Languages Act, to ensure that French has the support and structure it needs to continue to be a tool of vitality and development. In that regard, I can say that there are significant needs at the post-secondary level, even in Quebec. Some big decisions will have to be made.

When our leader met with the Quebec premier in September 2020, he announced his support for the full application of Bill 101 to federally regulated private businesses in Quebec. The bill we are debating was introduced in November 2020.

Our leader promised something that goes much further than the private member's bill we are debating today.

Our political party is committed to modernizing the content of the Official Languages Act and renewing the spirit of the act. The Liberals are telling us that that is what they want to do, but they have not introduced a bill that would do it. We feel it is important to create a new funding envelope for francophone universities in minority settings in the first 100 days of our term.

This is what my leader said about this subject:

As it stands, the act is based on the principle of reciprocity between the two official languages, but if we are being honest, that statement does not reflect reality.... The federal government must develop an asymmetrical approach that prioritizes protecting the French language.

We are seeing a paradigm shift. Not only does the Official Languages Act protect francophones in minority situations, that is francophones outside Quebec, but it also supports Quebec's anglophone minority, which certainly deserves to be supported. The bill we are debating today recognizes this.

However, it is also important to take positive measures to support French and the emancipation of French in Quebec and across the country. That is what fundamental change is all about. On that note, I should mention that the Standing Committee on Official Languages has embarked on this enormous task, and this is just the beginning. We are coming to the end of the session, but there is still a lot of work to be done.

I would also like to mention that the bill that is in front of us would amend the preamble, part VII and section 55 of the Official Languages Act, to have the federal government commit to “enhancing the vitality of the English and French linguistic minority communities in Canada and supporting and assisting their development” and “fostering the full recognition and use of both English and French in Canadian society.”

Essentially, that means that the federal government must not be given this additional responsibility to the detriment of Canada's minorities, whether they are anglophones or francophones. As the saying goes, we must not rob Peter to pay Paul.

Again, it is important to ensure that minorities are promoted in a proactive and asymmetrical way, including francophone minority communities, but it is also important to promote linguistic duality.

In closing, I would like to reach out to the Liberals. Currently, there is only an English version of the fundamental law of our land, the Constitution of 1867. The government is fighting a lawsuit demanding that our country's founding document be accessible in both of our country's official languages. I am calling on the Liberals to ensure that we have a legal French version of the 1867 Constitution. Instead of promising the sun and the moon, they should do something meaningful.

Immigration, Refugees and Citizenship June 10th, 2021

Mr. Speaker, at Mikes, a restaurant in Lévis, there are four workers; Serres Laliberté in Sainte-Claire has four workers; and IPL in Saint-Damien has 24 workers.

The recovery is critical, but our businesses are facing a labour shortage. The temporary foreign worker program, while essential to their survival, is also a veritable obstacle course.

Instead of the lofty rhetoric, when will the minister finally do something to align his program with Quebec so that the workers, who are ready and waiting, can come and work in our businesses?

The Budget April 26th, 2021

Madam Speaker, I thank my hon. colleague for his question.

Let me reassure him that federal Conservative governments have always been open to suggestions from Quebec. During the 2008 economic crisis, for instance, health transfers were not only maintained, but also increased by 3% a year during an extremely difficult period.

That is why, contrary to the Liberals' approach of interfering in provincial jurisdictions, we choose to respect these jurisdictions and support the provinces.

I remind my hon. colleague that a Conservative government—

The Budget April 26th, 2021

Madam Speaker, I am honoured to answer a question posed by my colleague from Beauce. His region had to deal with another wave of the pandemic. As the member knows, my father lives in Beauce and has been vaccinated. There have been deaths though.

More vaccination delays mean more repercussions for people's health. People are paying the price for vaccination delays, and that is a shame.

The message we have to send now is that people need to get vaccinated so we can slow the spread of the virus in Chaudière-Appalaches.

I would like to take this opportunity to congratulate my colleague on his leadership. He is helping Beauce do what it does best, which is create quality jobs and wealth.

My colleague can count on me to make sure we find workers and work against Liberal measures preventing us from finding the quality workers we need to meet our needs.

The Budget April 26th, 2021

Madam Speaker, my answer to the member's question is why does he not go and see the entrepreneur who is waiting for the government's pandemic supports that are not in the budget? I refer to the entrepreneur I spoke about in my speech in the transport and tourism sectors.

The Liberals are failing to help those who really need it. They are not using the money wisely and are actually increasing the burden by growing expenses that will have an impact on future generations. That is why I will oppose this budget with a lot of conviction.

The Budget April 26th, 2021

Madam Speaker, I want to wish those watching at home a good afternoon.

I would like to inform you that I will be sharing my time with my colleague from Mission—Matsqui—Fraser Canyon, which is in British Columbia. Even though we live on almost opposite ends of the country, we have something very important in common and that is that we are both extremely proud of the farming and dairy production in our ridings. I am pleased to share my time with him.

I look forward to finding out whether he is committed, as I am, to opposing the government's budget a few hours from now. That is the purpose of my speech. Over the next few minutes, I would like to explain the three main reasons why I do not intend to vote in favour of the budget presented by the Minister of Finance.

The first reason is that, as we all know, the Chaudière-Appalaches region is currently in heightened lockdown because it is in a zone that has been identified as particularly susceptible to a resurgence of cases. That is why we want as many effective measures as possible.

One very effective measure is vaccination. I am pleased to inform the House that many people over the age of 45 in Chaudière-Appalaches are getting vaccinated. Vaccination centres are operating at full capacity. We are a bit behind because of delays in vaccine distribution, for which I blame the government's poor pandemic management and its failure to sign contracts with western vaccine manufacturers in favour of cozying up to the Chinese. We ended up not getting the eagerly awaited vaccines.

The good thing is that, for now, we are trying to use vaccines to rein in the pandemic, but if we had received vaccines earlier, maybe more of us would be able to gather around our barbecues on warmer days like today.

This failure to manage the pandemic can also be seen in how government business and the financial response to the pandemic have been managed. We Conservatives have always been in favour of effective measures to combat the adverse effects of the pandemic and to support businesses. Unfortunately, there are businesses in my riding that have been left out of this latest budget. It is on their behalf that I will be voting against the budget and will continue to work to ensure that there are specific measures for the businesses that have been hit hardest by the pandemic. That, then, is my first reason for opposing the budget.

The second reason is that the budget does not address the needs of businesses. There is a business in my riding that I greatly respect that operates in the tourism and transportation sector with a fleet of buses. I received an email this afternoon from the owner. He told me that extending the Canada emergency wage subsidy, which still has an expiration date, as proposed in the budget, is a real joke for businesses like his. Many businesses will not begin to recover for at least 12 months. For example, he relies on educational school trips and international tourists to charter his buses.

Some businesses are having a field day during this pandemic. Just look at our grocery stores. That sector certainly has not been hit hard by the pandemic. On the contrary, their sales are up. However, there are businesses in the tourism, culture and transportation sector that have been grappling with an almost total decline in their revenues for months now. Even if vaccination does the job and things open up, people are not going start chartering buses and taking package tours, including to our beautiful national capital. Tourists are not going to come to the Quebec City region or start travelling here from overseas.

There will still be a buffer period, and these people are counting on the bit of breathing room provided by the government to support them while the public health measures and guidelines remain in place. However, the government is taking a one-size-fits-all approach. The government is putting mechanisms in place and gradually removing the assistance measures, but it did not target the sectors that had specific needs, like the tourism business with a fleet of buses, of which we are very proud. I just want to note that its buses were manufactured in my riding at Prevost.

These are all businesses that have been hit hard by the pandemic, but no specific measures were created for them. The ill-conceived one-size-fits-all measures that the Liberals decided to implement backfired. Today, the labour shortage is even more acute. I am thinking in particular of restaurant owners who are looking for workers. In some instances, the measures implemented by the Liberals actually made the crisis worse instead of better. That is why I cannot support this budget.

Not only are there no specific measures, but the government wants to spend recklessly because of the promises it made. We must remember that the Liberals had been in power for almost five years when the pandemic hit. They had made all kinds of promises and had not kept them. Today, we are in the midst of a pandemic, our economy is being battered, and the government is undertaking ambitious reform programs that will have a significant impact on the debt.

The third reason is the debt. People often say that all the Conservatives talk about is money and debt. Economists are saying that the debt is not that high and that we can go into debt. The only reason that is possible is that previous governments were responsible and managed taxpayers' money as though it were their own.

Marcel Boyer, a professor emeritus of economics at the Université de Montréal and fellow at the Center for Interuniversity Research and Analysis of Organizations, said today that, based on the figures in the budget, the federal debt is in the range of 30% to 50% of GDP.

Earlier, some of my Bloc Québécois colleagues spoke about the level of debt in Quebec. Based on the methods used by major international organizations such as the International Monetary Fund and the OECD, a Quebecker's debt would be 116% of GDP. There is provincial debt, federal debt and municipal debt. Mr. Boyer says that these three levels account for the 116%, with the federal share being 50% of it. However, before the pandemic and before the Liberals' obsession with racking up deficits, that figure was below 25%.

The Liberal government has mismanaged public funds, so I have to give it a failing grade. These same Liberals were in Washington last week telling us that they care about the environment, climate change and sustainable development. Our friends in the government need to be reminded that sustainable development is about striking a balance between the environment and the economy. Creating structural deficits will only move us further away from sustainable development and deprive future generations of the tools they will need to adopt measures to fight climate change. That is the second reason I will be opposing this budget.

I will recap the three reasons I will be opposing this budget. First, the government is spending huge amounts of money. Second, it has not created targeted measures for businesses like Autocar Excellence, the company I mentioned. Third, this budget demonstrates fiscal irresponsibility that leaves a burden on future generations.

In closing, I want to quote two different sources. Obviously, I would be remiss if I failed to mention the FADOQ, the organization that represents our seniors. It believes that this budget takes our seniors for fools and discriminates against them. Those between the ages of 65 and 75 are out of luck. The winners are those who are over the age of 75 because they are entitled to a $500 cheque from the federal government. The FADOQ is wondering why the federal government created two classes of seniors and why it thinks the cost of living and rent is higher for those aged 75 and over. The FADOQ is also wondering what the basis is for this public policy that discriminates against seniors.

The government claims to be the champion of diversity, but now it is engaging in ageism and discrimination against our seniors. Members need to hear the felicitous comments of a 95-year-old senior who managed his fortune so well that it is now worth an estimated $2 billion. He wants to know why the government does not manage Canadians' money as though it were its own and why it is acting childish and failing to make responsible decisions.

What is shameful is that this budget does not meet the objectives that taxpayers have the right to expect. That is why I intend to vote against it.

Explore Program April 23rd, 2021

Madam Speaker, in 1971, the Government of Canada launched Explore, a second-language summer program for young students across the country that seeks to promote our official languages.

Since then, over 250,000 young people, including myself when I attended Glendon College in Toronto a few years ago, have taken advantage of this program to improve their second language and their understanding of Canada's cultural and linguistic reality.

This year, 2021, marks the 50th anniversary of the Explore program, which is something worth celebrating.

It is time to extend heartfelt congratulations to all those who contributed to the success of this program over the years by implementing, managing and facilitating it in order to give these thousands of youth the experience of a lifetime.

Let us continue to support the Explore program, which strengthens our linguistic and cultural diversity and represents a pillar of our national identity.

Official Languages April 22nd, 2021

Action, Mr. Speaker. Our francophone communities demand action. The federal government has the duty and power to take action.

Our leader made it clear that a Conservative government will increase funding for post-secondary education in francophone minority communities, but the minister keeps making excuses instead of taking action now.

When will the government take immediate, concrete action for our francophone universities, schools and communities?