House of Commons photo


Crucial Fact

  • His favourite word was languages.

Last in Parliament October 2015, as NDP MP for Acadie—Bathurst (New Brunswick)

Won his last election, in 2011, with 70% of the vote.

Statements in the House

Rail Transportation October 1st, 2014

Mr. Speaker, all of New Brunswick is up in arms because of VIA Rail's latest plan to transfer the responsibility for stations on the Montreal-Halifax line to municipalities—as if small municipalities were in a better financial position to look after train stations than VIA Rail and the federal government. Come on. That is just insulting.

Will the minister make VIA Rail listen to reason and tell it that there is no way that the company can off-load its problems to New Brunswick municipalities and that it must accept its responsibilities?

Business of Supply September 29th, 2014

Mr. Speaker, we are talking about answering the question and ensuring that the answer really addresses the question asked. The answer needs to be relevant.

I would like to know if the Conservative member listened to the Leader of the Government in the House of Commons, who was more worried about the fact that the government cannot ask the opposition any questions. In my view, when a question is asked, an answer normally follows. Today the Leader of the Government in the House of Commons defended himself, saying that this motion would take away the government's chance to ask the opposition questions.

Really, in any parliament, it is the opposition that asks questions of the government. There are also members on the government side who ask three or four questions during question period. This motion does not take away their right to ask questions.

Does the member agree with the Leader of the Government in the House of Commons that the motion would take away the government's opportunity to ask questions and cost him this privilege he thinks he has?

Business of Supply September 29th, 2014

I have one.

Business of Supply September 29th, 2014

Mr. Speaker, the Minister of State for Western Economic Diversification has been here for a little while now. I listened to her speech and enjoyed it. She did it by herself and put a lot of work and information into it.

Does she understand, though, that the House of Commons is for questioning the government? Does she understand that the government has a majority and can make decisions, and this is the place to question the government?

It seems that she listened to the speeches today because she said she heard what the leader of the government talked about. He said this motion would take away the right for government members to question the opposition. The Conservatives had many years to question the government when they were in opposition, and they may have a lot of time next year. However, right now in Parliament, it is the opposition questioning the government, to keep it accountable to Canadians. That is what the House leader was worried about.

On top of that, he moved the motion that the question be now put. That means we will probably not be voting on the motion of the NDP. To me, it goes against democracy and the responsibility of the House.

House of Commons Pages September 29th, 2014

Mr. Speaker, every year, 40 students are selected from secondary schools and CEGEPs across the country to work as pages in the House of Commons.

I am very pleased to congratulate Emilie Stewart from Beresford, who was chosen from among 175 candidates to be a page in the House of Commons for the 2014-15 school year. Emilie is studying political science and history at the University of Ottawa.

Becoming a House of Commons page gives young people an opportunity to work at the heart of Canadian political history. Their participation in the parliamentary machinery is crucial to the operation of the House of Commons and to members' functions.

I encourage all young Canadians to apply to this program during the next recruitment campaign. It is a unique experience that only a few Canadians will have in their lives.

Once again, congratulations to Emilie and all the pages. I look forward to working with you. Thank you so much for all your hard work.

Business of Supply September 29th, 2014

Mr. Speaker, I do not know if my colleague from Newfoundland and Labrador agrees with me that what the House leader of the Conservative Party was concerned the most with today is that he wants to be able to raise questions. If that is the case, he should switch over to the opposition, because as far as I am concerned, the mandate of Parliament is for the opposition. When I was visiting different parliaments in the world, they said that parliaments are for the opposition, because the government has the majority and the power. Parliament is there for debate and to ask questions of the government.

However, that is not what I heard from the leader of the government this morning. Rather, he is worried that he cannot ask questions of the opposition. In that case, he does not know his role. The government's role in a democracy is for the opposition to be able to question the government. That is what it is all about. It is a question period, and the answers come from the government.

That is why the government is worried. It wants to play a political role in Parliament instead of answering questions from the opposition.

Does the member agree with me that the problem with the government today is that it wants to control everything? It does not like questions being raised. All Canadians know that. People are talking about it throughout Canada. Does he agree with me, yes or no?

Business of Supply September 29th, 2014

Mr. Speaker, the member across the way, the Conservative member, said that the same question was sometimes asked six times in a row.

Is it because the government is not answering the question?

Privilege September 25th, 2014

Mr. Speaker, I do not have a question, just a comment. I just want to clarify something. I was stopped when I was on the bus and when I was walking. I wanted to set the record straight because earlier, the member was stopped on the bus while it was crossing the street. I was stopped in two places, on the bus and then in the street.

Privilege September 25th, 2014

Mr. Speaker, the member and I have been on the procedure and House affairs committee many times, and we have discussed that many times before. Would he agree with me that it is not only the RCMP, but it has to be the city police too? There was a city police officer there on a bike who said, “Get on the sidewalk”, giving me orders to get on the sidewalk and not go through. Everybody who is going to participate in the security of this building and people coming in has to be involved. At the time of Bill Blaikie's case, for example, all the police from Ottawa were involved in it, as well as the RCMP and our security.

Privilege September 25th, 2014

Mr. Speaker, this is the same issue that was raised by the leader of the Green Party. Parliament is our workplace, but we now have red carpets all over the place. More and more visitors are coming, and there is all kinds of buzz. That is all well and good, but I have never seen anything like it elsewhere. In other countries, representatives and parliamentarians are never prevented from doing their job. I may be repeating myself, but it is essential to understand that this is important, not just for the member for Acadie—Bathurst, but for all 308 members of the House of Commons.

It is a privilege for us to sit in this House. The day we give up that privilege just because we have visitors, we will have a mess on our hands. I can say that the Brunswick Mine has never stopped mining because they had visitors. I guarantee it. The miners go underground before the visitors arrive. That is one example.

I see a number of violations, and I am asking for this to stop once and for all. An investigation needs to be conducted. We need some rules and we need to follow up on this. We must ensure that parliamentary privilege is honoured, even if we have visitors.