House of Commons photo

Crucial Fact

  • His favourite word was workers.

Last in Parliament March 2011, as Bloc MP for Chambly—Borduas (Québec)

Lost his last election, in 2015, with 28% of the vote.

Statements in the House

Business of Supply February 8th, 2011

Mr. Speaker, my colleague does not understand what his government is in the process of doing. On January 1, 2011, the tax rate for large corporations was lowered to 18%. On January 1, 2012, it will be lowered to 15%. Those are his government's planned tax cuts. I do not understand what he does not get. That could explain why he does not realize what kind of damage they are doing.

Business of Supply February 8th, 2011

Mr. Speaker, first of all, I thank my colleague from Dartmouth—Cole Harbour for his question, and I congratulate him on his excellent work on the Standing Committee on Human Resources, Skills and Social Development and the Status of Persons with Disabilities.

He is absolutely right. The money that the government is prepared to give to large corporations could be used to actively work on developing social housing. We know that one of the most challenging factors that contributes to poverty is the lack of housing for low-income individuals. That would be one thing to do. The government could also support persons with disabilities to give them access to social housing, of course, but also to help them find and keep jobs.

Business of Supply February 8th, 2011

Madam Speaker, I would like to commend my colleagues from Hochelaga and Joliette on their excellent remarks. I think that they clearly set out the information that we have about the situation related to the motion before us.

For those who are watching, I would like to repeat the text of the motion that was introduced by the Liberal Party on this opposition day. It reads:

That, in the opinion of the House, the Government’s decision to proceed with cuts to the tax rate for large corporations fails to address the economic needs of Canadian families, and this House urges the Government to reverse these corporate tax cuts and restore the tax rate for large corporations to 2010 levels in the upcoming Budget.

This reference to large corporations clearly allows us to vote in favour of this motion since we are of the opinion that SMEs must be given room to breathe and that there is room to ease their tax burdens a little, especially given that, over the past few years, it has been mainly large corporations that have been benefiting from the situation.

We are currently dealing with a Conservative government that gives gifts to certain large corporations. These are large corporations that are making sometimes indecent profits, such as oil companies, banks and businesses with outrageous revenues and profits.

The actions of the Conservative government are indicative of its governance strategy. That is what I would like to speak about. The Conservatives' strategy involves taking every possible means away from the Canadian government so that they can then justify reneging on commitments related to the social safety net or social services. It started with the reduction of the GST from 8% to 6%, and now we are seeing it with the banks.

Let us talk about the Liberal government. They began lowering taxes in 2000. Corporate taxes were at 28%. Taxes were gradually lowered to 21% by 2006. Now the Conservatives want to cut them to 15% by 2012. Each percentage point costs Canada $1 billion in revenue. If this revenue were to go to help low income earners, those who are the worst off, it would be different. But that is not the case. We are talking about banks that have made approximately $46 billion in profits since 2007. That is huge. But the Conservatives still want to hand tax cuts to them and to oil companies that make billions in profits.

In the meantime, the Conservative government continues to apply a policy implemented by the Liberals, which consists in finding money to make up in some small way for the shortfall from people such as those who lose their jobs. We know that when the Liberal government was in power, it wanted to pay down the debt. It gradually complicated access to employment insurance to make as many people as possible ineligible. Earlier, my Liberal colleague said that the government is running a $56 billion deficit. But $57 billion was stolen from the employment insurance fund by the Liberals when they were in power.

If they want to redeem themselves and say otherwise, that is fine, but we need to look at the similarities in their policies.

The same goes for the Liberal Party. When a previous economic statement was tabled, the Liberal members had also voted to cut taxes for large corporations.

My two colleagues spoke earlier about the benefits granted to large corporations. I too would like to talk about the measures the Bloc Québécois has proposed to the Minister of Finance for the next budget.

First of all, we must not raise taxes for individuals or small and medium-sized businesses. Conversely, we must not cut taxes for large corporations. We need to stop giving these gifts to large multinationals, banks and oil companies.

The Bloc Québécois is proposing a series of measures. The wealthiest taxpayers should pay a surtax, specifically 2% for people who earn between $150,000 and $250,000 a year—some members of this House would likely have to pay up—and 3% for anyone who earns over $250,000. This measure alone would allow the government to bring in an additional $4.8 billion. My colleague, the hon. member for Hochelaga, has had the opportunity to present this measure to the Minister of Finance.

Another measure would be to impose a heavy tax on bonuses. In recent years, the public has been shocked to see companies closing or laying off many of their employees, only to turn around and hand out millions of dollars in bonuses.

We are also proposing a review of the federal military procurement policy. We believe that $470 billion over 20 years is excessive. We believe that a different measure is needed in order to support our soldiers, particularly in combat situations. Some of that money should be used to meet the needs of the people.

We must eliminate access to tax havens. At present, as surprising as it may be and despite the lofty commitments of successive Liberal and Conservative governments, it is still possible to put money in tax shelters by using offshore tax havens. Government operating expenditures also need to be reduced. Some of these measures have also been explained by my colleague from Hochelaga. Lastly, we also need to fight tobacco smuggling. Just those two measures alone would allow the government to save billions of dollars.

This morning, the Federation of Independent Business, which Canadian and Quebec businesses are a part of, said it did not want tax increases, and we concur. Where necessary, taxes could even be reduced. Small and medium-sized enterprises are what drive the local and regional economy. Tax cuts would ensure that the economy of proximity—those businesses that sustain communities and truly create jobs—is given priority in any strategy to support the economy.

Since there is a new Speaker in the chair, I will just remind the House that the Bloc Québécois will support the Liberal Party motion and continue to make suggestions for getting money where money is found. Let us stop allowing those who make profits to abuse the system.

Enhanced New Veterans Charter Act February 7th, 2011

Mr. Speaker, like my colleagues, I have to acknowledge that the minister has made a remarkable effort to try to correct a terrible situation for our soldiers.

It is not a situation anybody wanted. Under the circumstances we can say that one element of compensation for soldiers is missing, and that is a lump sum payment.

I would like the minister to elaborate on two things: the amount of the lump sum payment and medical support. With regard to the lump sum payment, the minister just mentioned that this applies specifically to people who have a serious injury who would also normally be eligible for an income of roughly $58,000 a year. It is easy to see that the lump sum payment pales in comparison to the constant income these people could have, especially since most of them are young.

We would also like to hear these soldiers in parliamentary committee. I do not think the minister would have any objections to that at all.

The other element concerns medical support for people who have the illnesses described by the minister.

I would like the minister to elaborate on these two matters.

Canada-Panama Free Trade Act February 7th, 2011

Mr. Speaker, first of all, I would like to congratulate the member for Hochelaga for so eloquently expressing our party's opinion.

He did not have time to address one issue, which is the Conservative government's apparent desire to associate with countries whose actions do not respect the values that have been adopted here, or at least in Quebec. I am thinking, for example, about the concerns we have regarding respect for workers' rights.

Last May, the Republic of Panama passed Law 30, which had a provision that would incriminate workers who dared to defend their rights. This was very similar to the position the Conservatives took regarding equality in the workplace for women when they prohibited unions from going to court to defend them, unless the unions want to risk being fined.

I would like to hear what my colleague has to say about whether the Canadian government has lost its way by wanting to associate with governments that would do such things.

Employment Insurance December 16th, 2010

Mr. Speaker, the Minister of Human Resources and Skills Development refuses to renew the pilot project to ease the criteria for employment insurance. She says she would rather offer more training. We agree with the idea of training more workers. However, to access Emploi Québec programs, you must first qualify for employment insurance. Consequently, many unemployed workers will not have access to benefits or training.

Will the minister stop laughing at the unemployed and renew the pilot project to ease access to employment insurance?

Informal Caregivers December 16th, 2010

Madam Speaker, I am pleased to have the opportunity to commend the invaluable work done by informal caregivers. With the vital care they provide, these people support their loved ones when they need it most. Informal caregivers look after an ill or disabled child or parent with generosity and compassion. Caregiving involves huge sacrifices and can have a serious impact on caregivers' income, health and professional and social lives.

At this time of the year, my Bloc Québécois colleagues join me in paying tribute to caregivers for their courage. We invite all the members of the House to work together to find solutions that will reduce the burden on informal caregivers, while respecting the jurisdictions of the provinces and Quebec, of course.

Democratic Representation Act December 16th, 2010

Madam Speaker, I will try to answer in 30 seconds if my colleague over there would actually listen, because if we were to apply what he said, one province would end up with one member instead of the four it has now. Some provinces, like Prince Edward Island and New Brunswick, have greater representation. That is fine for geographic representation. He has to be consistent with his logic. If he had paid attention to my speech, he would have understood that there are two options: geographic situations and specific cases like those of the Quebec nation and the issue of the French language.

Democratic Representation Act December 16th, 2010

Mr. Speaker, I thank my hon. colleague from Alfred-Pellan who does an excellent job for his constituents in this House and at home, I am sure.

The question might surprise some people, those who think it goes without saying, and therein lies the nuance of my colleague's question. We always have to repeat this over and over. There is a world of difference between recognizing a nation in a motion and recognizing a nation de facto through actions. To date, we have seen nothing in this Parliament since the 2007 recognition that would suggest that the members who voted in favour of that motion would like to give it any concrete expression. One member was even honest enough to admit that he was against it. It was the member across the floor. We were insulted and angry, but at least he was honest and consistent. He has not changed his perspective. But what were the others thinking, those who voted in favour of it?

Democratic Representation Act December 16th, 2010

Madam Speaker, this question is important enough that we should not improvise. That approach was never suggested to us, yet the member for Winnipeg North spoke so eloquently about it earlier.

The opening part of my colleague's question worries me a bit. Often people tell someone they are taking something away for their own good. That is what it sounded like he was saying.

I know that was not his intention, but they are taking something away and saying that it is for our own good. But the feeling in Quebec is unanimous: it is not for our own good.