The 2016-2017 parliamentary session in review

Bernard Généreux, MP for Montmagny—L’Islet—Kamouraska—Rivière-du-Loup, member of the Standing Committee on Official Languages, Official Opposition Critic for Canada Economic Development for Quebec Regions, and president of the Conservative Party’s Quebec Caucus, gives the past year in the House of Commons and in his constituency a satisfactory rating.

“I am proud to have initiated the tradition of the January federal-municipal conference at the beginning of the session. It provides the 58 mayors, along with county wardens, reeves and provincial legislators, with an opportunity to share information and our visions for the areas we serve. It forms the basis of strong, lasting relationships and provides as many opinion leaders as possible with information about federal programs that could benefit their communities,” said the MP.

It was a seminal year for the Conservative caucus, as the long leadership race ended last month with the election of the new Leader of the Opposition, Andrew Scheer. M. Généreux also salutes the work of interim leader Rona Ambrose, who surpassed expectations by pressuring the Prime Minister in the House of Commons and across the country.

“Because of issues such as the astronomical $25-30 billion deficits that loom over future generations, spur-of-the-moment policies like the Infrastructure Bank and the complete legalization of cannabis, partisan official languages appointments, and the government’s inability to appoint judges to avoid unreasonable delays in our justice system, people are becoming more aware of the fact that the Liberals are not standing up for their values, and that the Conservative team to which I belong is more important than ever as an alternative to Justin Trudeau,” noted Mr. Généreux.


During the month of March, Mr. Généreux criss-crossed his riding’s four RCMs to promote hundreds of available jobs and his constituency’s quality of life. He met with about 50 dynamic owners of businesses and factories of all sizes and counsellors from job search agencies. He used videos to showcase job openings on social media. This venture was highly successful.


The MP continued his efforts to improve cell phone service and Internet coverage in MLKRDL. He sent correspondence to municipalities advising them of the procedures for participating in the federal government’s Connect to Innovate program when it was announced in December 2016. He then pressed the Minister of Innovation, Science and Economic Development, Navdeep Bains, to postpone the application deadline, because the requirements in terms of time, technical skills and financial and human resources were too stringent; his request was granted. He also submitted a recommendation to the CRTC in connection with the call for comments on the development of the Commission’s broadband funding regime. He is pushing every day for a resolution of this issue.


Before voting against Bill C-45 on the legalization of cannabis on June 8, the MP polled his constituents, since the proposed legalization on July 1, 2018, is a very sensitive subject. He commissioned StratComTendances Inc. to conduct a telephone survey. The results spoke for themselves: of the 2,575 people who responded to the survey, with undecided respondents excluded, 81.75% were against legalization and 18.25% were in favour. Moreover, the timeline set by the government is far from realistic, with many provinces expressing concern about the additional health care and public service responsibilities they will have to assume. Police services are critical of the lack of reliable instruments for detecting impaired driving due to drug use.


On September 15 to 17, 2016, and April 20 to 22, 2017, nearly 1,400 people visited one of the six passport clinics organized by the MP and a team of about 20 volunteers. A similar event is planned for next fall (September 14 to 16, 2017). It should be noted that residents can go to the Rivière-du-Loup office (277 Lafontaine) or the Montmagny office (6 St-Jean-Baptiste est, Suite 101) at any time to have their applications checked free of charge.


Over the last 10 months, the MP has visited more than a dozen schools, from elementary schools to CEGEPs. In his talks, he told the students about the demands of life as an MP in a remote constituency, Canada’s democratic system, the constitutional monarchy, how elections work, and how bills are passed. He found that the students had a keen interest in politics.


MP Bernard Généreux is delighted with the choice of Andrew Scheer as the new leader. He notes that Mr. Scheer finished with 82.13% of the votes of Conservative Party members in MLKRDL, and he acknowledges that the supply management issue was of considerable importance in his riding during the voting. Mr. Généreux has repeatedly spoken out in favour of keeping supply management. At the invitation of milk producers, he visited many of the 444 dairy farms in his constituency. He criticized the amateurish approach of the Liberal government, which offered to renegotiate NAFTA with the U.S. Administration without even realizing that the Americans would be seeking the abolition of the supply management system.


There have been 220 applications under the Summer Jobs Canada 2017 program for a total of 446 job openings. In the end, a total of $561,399 is being invested to provide summer jobs for 186 students, who may be interested in returning to the region after completing their education. With regard to the New Horizons program, which ensures that senior citizens can enjoy and contribute to their community’s quality of life, there are 25 projects, worth a total of $331,939, submitted by organizations in the riding.


In recent weeks, Bernard Généreux has been very active in criticizing the partisan appointment of Madeleine Meilleur to succeed Commissioner Graham Fraser. Through his painstaking efforts, he uncovered serious deficiencies in the process used to select Ms. Meilleur, who eventually declined the post because of the controversy. In his view, the process of selecting a commissioner should be objective, impartial and free of political interference.


The MP also recognizes the importance of fighting the carbon tax proposed by the Trudeau government. He sees it as a “sham” that would substantially increase the cost of living for seniors on fixed incomes in his riding. While Quebec already has a carbon tax of $10 a tonne, the federal government wants to raise it to $50 a tonne across Canada by 2022. In addition, according to an Environment Canada internal memo, the tax would have to rise to $300 a tonne by 2050 to have a tangible impact on greenhouse gas reduction. Various research groups estimate that such a tax would cost every family an additional $9,000 to $15,000 a year. In a rural constituency such as MLKRDL, that would penalize people who have little choice when it comes to heating their homes in the winter, travelling long distances and purchasing imported food because of Quebec’s climate.