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Crucial Fact

  • His favourite word was community.

Last in Parliament October 2015, as NDP MP for Jeanne-Le Ber (Québec)

Won his last election, in 2011, with 45% of the vote.

Statements in the House

Common Sense Firearms Licensing Act May 25th, 2015

Mr. Speaker, I, too, had to chuckle at that last question.

It seems ironic to me that the government that hails on spending more money than anybody in the entire universe, on one thing or another, is still so hell bent on not having a responsible program for guns.

We are not talking about gun owners; we are talking about guns. We expect people to register their cars. There are serial numbers on cars. Automobiles are things that are used for useful, peaceful purposes. Guns are made to kill. Whether they are made to kill animals in hunting for pleasure or they are made to kill humans, they are made to kill. The government seems resistant to track that.

Could my hon. colleague comment on the irony of the government that talks about law and order, and responsibility, and how irresponsible this bill is in regard to guns?

Economic Action Plan 2015 Act, No. 1 May 14th, 2015

Mr. Speaker, it is a shame that we are in a situation where we are here debating the use of time allocation for the 96th time. Rather than responding to why that is, why the government feels that there is no need to debate any of its bills, we are getting speeches on cherry-picked items from the budget.

Why are we again, for the 96th time, in time allocation for a budget bill, arguably the most important document we will debate in this House, as it affects all Canadians? Why are we not giving it its just time to have a fulsome debate with as many members of this House as want to participate?

Privilege May 12th, 2015

Mr. Speaker, I listened to my colleague's comments very carefully and with great interest. One of the things that struck me when I first entered this precinct was how swiftly the House of Commons guards knew who we were. We walked in the door, and they greeted us with “thank you” or “good morning”, and I was impressed with that. It created a sense of safety, their knowing who I was and my learning who they were.

It strikes me as problematic when we rush into or are pushed into a situation where we have people who are there to look out for our welfare, and I thank them for that, but do not know who we are. It seems to me that the key to any successful security issue is everyone knowing who the players are and what their roles are. It is something that is sorely lacking in this situation because of how quickly, and without much forethought, we were pushed into this situation. I wonder if my colleague would like to comment on that.

Canadian Legion Branch 4 April 24th, 2015

Mr. Speaker, 2015 marks the 100th anniversary of the Battle of Ypres.

This Sunday I will again be participating in the commemoration of this important event. As always, this remembrance ceremony will be hosted by Canadian Legion branch 4, in Verdun.

Legion 4 is the only Legion branch in Canada that steadfastly continues to remember the contribution and sacrifices of Canadian service members in this important battle.

Let us take a moment to remember those who risked their lives and fought to protect our rights and freedoms. We must take care of our veterans by bringing in better measures to protect their health.

Veterans in this country fought for the freedoms we now hold dear. Let us in this House honour their spirit and sacrifice by protecting those freedoms, for if we sacrifice those freedoms out of fear, then what did they fight to protect? Lest we forget.

Common Sense Firearms Licensing Act April 2nd, 2015

Mr. Speaker, during his speech, the member basically said that the law should be simplified and that certain unelected individuals, such as firearms control individuals and the police, should not have the right to control gun ownership laws.

This is a vast country, with different needs and very different attitudes about everything across it. I wonder if my colleague discounts the fact that the people on the ground have a better idea of how certain things affect their community. Should they not be in a position to say, “This is a problem in this community. It may not be in another community, but it is a problem in this community”? I wonder if he would like to answer that question.

Zero Tolerance for Barbaric Cultural Practices Act March 12th, 2015

Mr. Speaker, my issue is, and the Minister of National Defence alluded to it as well, that we have laws in place already to deal with polygamy. Also my friend from Saanich—Gulf Islands said we have laws already. Polygamy is already illegal in Canada. Forced marriage is illegal in Canada.

Many of the things the bill purports to want to address are already being addressed, so it seems to me that we should look at why we are not enforcing these more readily and then find out where the holes are in terms of addressing these issues directly.

Again, to paint a whole culture with the brush of “these are the only people who are doing this” is unfair and dangerous.

Zero Tolerance for Barbaric Cultural Practices Act March 12th, 2015

Mr. Speaker, I stand with pleasure to speak to the bill. I would like to say at the outset that we are opposing the bill. My hon. colleagues across the way may likely fan the flames of fear and intolerance by using such rhetoric as to say we are in favour of forced marriages or polygamy, but I believe that Canadians will see through this distasteful practice and hear our objections for the reasoned and human positions that they take.

I will be addressing my remarks to the more human side of this issue. Using the word “cultural” in these days unfairly creates an image of “other”, “them”, and “those who are not us”. When we go as far as adding the word “barbaric” to “cultural”, on top of that, we go back directly to a time of colonialism, to a time when those others were referred to as savages, as barbarians.

We have an obligation as government to be responsible in the type of legislation we bring forward to the floor, and not only to the type of legislation, but to how we communicate that legislation, how we communicate the reason and the need for the proposed legislation. Calling any culture barbaric, directly or indirectly, is unforgivable

There may be, and there are, some individuals who either alone or in self-identifying groups may engage in violent and despicable acts, barbaric acts, but painting an entire culture with these acts, the acts of a few, has its own inherent dangers. We see this played out on a daily basis on the news where those people of culturally diverse communities are painted with the same brush as the acts of a few. It smacks of arrogance, and it is the same arrogance that fuelled those attitudes of an era that should be long gone.

Do we want to create a safe haven in this country for women and girls who might otherwise be threatened by forced and/or polygamous marriages and, yes, even some of the other distasteful and despicable acts, such as female genital mutilation? Yes, we want to be able to protect women and girls from these sorts of acts. Should we do so by threatening everybody under the sun with imprisonment, including the victims? No.

Canada has laws that prohibit these types of marriages and these types of acts, yet these laws are very seldom enforced. We need to ask ourselves why this is. In the same way that we needed to bring changes to our own laws in regard to domestic and sexual violence in order to make it safer for victims to come forward, we need to do the same thing for the victims of forced marriages, polygamy, and other barbaric acts. We need to create that protection for victims and potential victims of any and every culture, including our own, who may find themselves in these unacceptable situations.

Over the past little while, we have seen the climate of fear and division being created and exploited by the very people and institutions that should be at the forefront of bringing our nation together.

Bill S-7 with its short title, zero tolerance for barbaric cultural practices act, serves no purpose other than to inflame the fears, shortsightedness, and closed mindedness of a few individuals and brings into question the very nature of what it means to be Canadian.

St. Patrick's Day March 12th, 2015

Mr. Speaker, a few days from now, we will celebrate St. Patrick's Day.

I would like to recognize the strong, deep roots of the Irish community in my riding, Jeanne-Le Ber, especially in the Pointe-Saint-Charles neighbourhood. Many St. Patrick's activities happen there in March, such as the mass of anticipation at the historic St. Gabriel church.

Every year, the United Irish Societies of Montreal organize one of the biggest St. Patrick's Day parades. This festive community event is part of our cultural wealth.

With St. Patrick's Day approaching, on behalf of the entire Irish community of Jeanne-Le Ber, I invite one and all to celebrate with us at this year's St. Patrick's Day parade, and to take a moment to remember Montreal's Irish heritage with a visit to the Black Rock in the heart of Point St. Charles, in the area once known as Goose Village.

Yukon and Nunavut Regulatory Improvement Act March 11th, 2015

Mr. Speaker, we have heard all sorts of rhetoric about what the bill would do, but this debate is on time allocation being imposed 90 times.

This is the 90th time.

My colleague from Alfred-Pellan asked why this government wanted to delay or stop the work of MPs, and the minister did not answer.

Business of Supply March 10th, 2015

Mr. Speaker, I thank my colleague for the opportunity to respond to this question.

Although the Conservatives like to paint the NDP as anti-trade, the NDP is by no means anti-trade. The NDP does, however, think that it is the responsibility of any responsible government to make sure that its trade agreements are made with countries that have good, strong human rights records so that the manufacturing and work being done in those countries do not come at the cost of the people who live there.

Ours is not an anti-trade agenda but a human rights agenda.