- On the Parliament site
Last in Parliament November 2005, as Bloc MP for Louis-Hébert (Québec)
Lost his last election, in 2006, with 34.08% of the vote.
Statements in the House
Transportation November 25th, 2005
Mr. Speaker, no doubt during his last visit to Quebec City, the Minister of Transport saw the terrible and rusty condition of the Quebec Bridge. Renovating this bridge is a regional priority.
Instead of boasting about having read CN the riot act, why does the minister not get his department to immediately make the repairs, and then demand repayment from CN? It would go much faster, unless the minister is as rusty as the Quebec Bridge.
Le Clap Cinema November 22nd, 2005
Mr. Speaker, I rise today with pride in this House to mark the 20th anniversary of the Le Clap repertory movie theatre.
For two decades, film enthusiasts in the Quebec City area have had the chance to see repertory films in their original language.
I have fond memories of that locale and of many interesting post-screening discussions.
The Bloc Québécois congratulates the founders of Le Clap, its management team and the entire staff, who over the past 20 years have stimulated our interest in cinema not only with their program choices, but also with their publication Le Clap .
Any credit for making international cinema popular in Quebec City goes to Le Clap and its team. Congratulations and many more years to Le Clap from my beautiful riding of Louis-Hébert.
Petitions November 18th, 2005
Mr. Speaker, it is my duty today to table in this House a petition signed by many citizens of Quebec, asking that Pierre Elliott Trudeau International Airport be returned to its original name of Dorval International Airport.
Pierre Elliott Trudeau was responsible for expropriating some of Quebec's finest farmland to build Mirabel airport. He was the Prime Minister who enacted the War Measures Act in 1970, a very sad page in the history of Quebec. In 1982, he unilaterally patriated the Constitution in spite of the fact that the Quebec National Assembly was unanimously opposed. Therefore, the undersigned petitioners ask that this Montreal airport be returned to its original name of Dorval International Airport.
Pacific Gateway Act November 16th, 2005
Madam Speaker, I will be brief. I thank my colleague, the member for Saint-Maurice—Champlain.
Indeed, the bill is not entirely clear about the provinces. I have mentioned this. I think this must be a preoccupation for provincial interests—in the case of the provinces—and we will have to make sure once and for all that they will be consulted when a potentially interesting strategy is being developed.
However, as history repeats itself, we sometimes wonder how the federal government could infringe on provincial jurisdiction, as it has a habit of doing.
Pacific Gateway Act November 16th, 2005
Madam Speaker, the question from the member for Honoré-Mercier is a very interesting one and casts light on a number of factors.
We cannot, of course, deny the proximity of Asia and Canada. I do not need to give him a geography lesson, nor does he need to give me one. Quebec is, of course, still part of Canada, and that is why we are working so hard to have our own country, a country that would respect the member's country as much as it did China, Asia and the developing countries. That is the context.
Historically, I would remind the hon. member for Honoré-Mercier that Canada has not always kept its commitments. This is the same country that is known to have mistreated the Chinese workers when the Canadian railway system was built, that same system that will be affected by the Pacific gateway. Canada has made mistakes, sometimes virtually unpardonable ones.
I will not speak on behalf of Canada, but it is interesting that this bill introduced by the Minister of Transport refers to the close proximity of Asia and the fact that we need to be far more open to it. We do not want to hear any more statements about their country being better than our as yet non-existent one. This is nothing but an aberration. As the holiday season approaches, we will be seeing many such bills sprinkling millions in largesse over Quebec. Caution is required. The government may be playing at Santa, but we do not want to find any trick presents under our tree.
Pacific Gateway Act November 16th, 2005
Madam Speaker, I am pleased to have my chance to speak at second reading of Bill C-68, an act to support development of Canada's Pacific Gateway. In other words—since much has been said on this without any real explanation—it would be a sort of multimodal network of transportation infrastructures focussed on trade with Asia. I therefore feel able to take part in this debate because I am the Bloc Québécois critic for Asia and the Pacific. Those two regions are of the greatest interest to me, since we all know how buoyant the markets in Asia are.
I thank the hon. members from all parties who have spoken so far in this debate, especially my colleagues in the Bloc Québécois and the hon. member for Longueuil—Pierre-Boucher in particular, our transport critic. I mention this because this whole matter is interrelated. Among other colleagues who have spoken was our critic for international trade, the hon. member for Joliette. Hon. members can see how interrelated this all is, and I will go into that a little later on. My colleagues from Berthier—Maskinongé and Argenteuil—Papineau—Mirabel have also made contributions.
I am not likely to make a habit of this, and it may not happen again, but I will certainly be supporting my colleagues' position on this bill introduced by the Minister of Transport. At least I shall support it in principle. I will tell you my reasons why. First, as has been said, this involves the concept of a gateway to Asia that opens from western Canada, a concept we support. As I said, this is not our usual habit and will not happen again. In this instance, however, we find this an interesting way of dealing with the problem of integrating everything in the way of modes of transport connected to trade with Asia.
We have some reservations, of course. They relate to a number of factors. We have reservations about the role reserved for the provinces, which is not well delineated in the bill. Once the bill is passed, creating the council itself will be very costly. We wonder how all of this will be put in place. We have a number of reservations about that.
There will be federal government support for businesses and employees in Canada's traditional manufacturing sectors and in Quebec, specifically, in sectors of employment such as textiles. A lot of products are imported from Asia. We would like a few more guarantees in this regard. We are aware that the rapid growth of trade between Asia and Canada, through this Pacific gateway in particular, is creating growing congestion in ports and the western transportation network.
I would like to elaborate on some of these reservations, but for the moment I will say why we support this concept. First of all, the gateway as it is called is very interesting. It requires a comprehensive view and a spirit of integration. It will be welcomed by those who work in the port facilities or manage them, both in Vancouver and Prince Rupert, because the integration involves a number of facets of public policy formulation. Physical infrastructures are of course involved. I mentioned the ports of Vancouver and Prince Rupert. However, roads too are involved, as are airports and customs facilities. The list is long, because intermodal facilities are involved.
The bill also provides for policy and regulatory integration, which will have a major impact on labour and the labour market. It will also have an impact on operating methods in the supply system and even in security matters. We recall the immigration issue involving the periodic discovery of Chinese people in containers. This whole policy will have ramifications for the security of the ports in the west.
Trade promotion and standardization will be affected. Accordingly, municipal policy on land use will also be affected. This has already been addressed by other colleagues on both sides of the House. There is also the whole matter of sectoral cooperation.
As the critic on Asia and the Pacific, what I particularly like about this bill is the aspect of integration and, we must admit, a certain strategic consistency. This bill addresses principles that the Bloc Québécois defends, including sustainable development. We believe in it a great deal and the Bloc has been advocating this type of approach for many years.
In a more general sense, we can say that the network improves as it becomes faster and more energy efficient. Everyone applauds this initiative that encourages sustainable development. The sea and rail combination outlined in this bill could be another interesting niche. We would be wise to develop this niche and take it a step further.
Nonetheless, in order to put all this in place, a cohesive policy is needed and not one imposed by a dictatorship, but one developed through dialogue. A little later I will explain the reservations we have about working together with the provinces on this.
The intermodal transportation and gateway concept is quite interesting to the Bloc, especially because we think it could be applied generally. There are some aspects that could apply to the St. Lawrence River for example. There are some potentially interesting applications for the development of the St. Lawrence River.
Last spring, the Bloc Québécois held a series of consultations in various regions of Quebec on the future of the St. Lawrence. I am not getting off topic, since this still relates to shipping. Several shipping industry stakeholders told us during these consultations on the St. Lawrence in Quebec, that they would like to see improvements to everything involving “intermodal marine and rail connections”.
Some of this is addressed in the transport minister's bill. We would be interested in seeing how this type of integration could promote the development of the St. Lawrence River in the future.
However, in our opinion, the federal government lacks enough vision when it comes to the development of that river. We hear the government talk about it during elections. We get the feeling that the federal manna is going to fall, like a nice snowfall on Christmas Eve, and is going to favour the development of the river. However, the government does not have a more strategic vision.
This is not new. For example, the Quebec bridge in my riding of Louis-Hébert is falling into disrepair. We would like to see the federal Liberal government make the same commitment with regard to infrastructure in eastern Canada, such as the Quebec bridge and the airport. Yet this same Minister of Transport is also responsible for Quebec.
We applaud this willingness to foster the development of infrastructure in western Canada. It is impossible to oppose a great principle such as the Pacific gateway, since it is such an excellent principle. However, we do observe more willingness to act in western Canada than in eastern Canada, particularly when it comes to infrastructure in Quebec.
I would like to remind the hon. members that having a vision for Asia in the bill is a huge advantage. The spinoffs for Canada and all the provinces are attractive. At the same time, we need to point out that this same generosity should apply to Quebec.
In my opinion, it is important to adopt an integrated management policy and put an end to what I call silo or individual management.
I support the principle of the bill for the reasons I gave a little earlier. However, I hope that we will see this principle applied again—and I think my colleagues will agree—in connection with the St. Lawrence, which is so dear to our hearts.
I said earlier that the Bloc Québécois had concerns about this bill. Although we support it, we still have some serious reservations. Our first concern relates to the structure and appointment of members of the council. We have the following questions: why would all the members of the Pacific Gateway Council be appointed by the federal government, as set out in the bill? This concerns us, because we know that, in the past, some appointees have not always been the best candidate for the job. We also have questions about the council's structure and mandate. We have a number of questions in this regard.
Finally, we have a number of other concerns, but I want to stress above all else—and I will conclude here—the more positive aspects. We are opening ourselves up to the Asian market.
However, in order to do this, the federal government must understand the consequences of this and give the textile and other industries the time to adjust.
Once all that has been done, of course, we will support Bill C-68. The Bloc Québécois will work to improve this bill during consideration in committee.
Petitions November 16th, 2005
Mr. Speaker, it gives me great pride today to table a petition, since CanWest Global has decided to transfer its broadcasting, routing and video tape recording activities from CKMI in Quebec City to Toronto. Numerous individuals and organizations in the Quebec City region have already complained to the CRTC about this.
Today, I am proud to table a petition calling on the House of Commons to ensure that the CRTC will rapidly intervene so that Global TV in Quebec City respects its commitments and keeps the station's production and broadcasting activities in Quebec City.
Laval University November 16th, 2005
Mr. Speaker, today I have the opportunity to welcome a group of young men and women who are here to learn more on the workings of the federal parliamentary system.
These students from Quebec and France are currently taking courses toward a specialized degree in public affairs and government, a joint program of Laval University and the institute of political science in Bordeaux, France. I commend these two institutions for their deep belief in internationalizing university training.
The students from this program will have a chance today to meet MPs and public affairs professionals.
The Bloc Québécois welcomes them to Parliament Hill and wishes them much success in their future endeavours.
Supply November 15th, 2005
Mr. Speaker, I too heard my colleague from Argenteuil—Papineau—Mirabel take part in the debate on the motion to amend the Access to Information Act. Some comments are very disturbing. We have often heard such statements in the House, but now they are becoming much more specific.
In light of the remarks made by my colleague, I want to ask him a question. In his opinion, does the government secrecy that the Liberal government loves to surround itself with take precedence over the public interest, the right to know and the desire for transparency? My colleague seems to be indicating that, on numerous occasions and in many respects, the Liberal government has violated these great principles of access to information and the public interest before all else. He mentioned, in particular, that appointments are often made without any consultations or transparency whatsoever. As a result, members who lose their seats suddenly ascend to new heights or the Prime Minister's Office; they are appointed to very important and well-paid positions. On occasion, they are appointed to the Senate; Liberal candidates who were defeated in the last election become senators, in repudiation of the people's decision.
Does this motion being introduced today, which my colleague supports, speak to this need to sanction the public's democratic legitimacy? Is this motion, which was introduced by the Conservatives and which the Bloc supports, a way for citizens—especially Quebeckers, since they are our first priority, but also Canadians—to obtain the right to transparency and an indispensable honesty in the management of public matters? Does this motion suggest some possible ways to improve the public well-being?
Air Canada Public Participation Act November 3rd, 2005
Mr. Speaker, I want to congratulate my colleague from Acadie—Bathurst for his enthusiasm. Each time we talk about the rights of French language minority groups, he does not just give a speech, he speaks with enthusiasm and honesty. Based on his and all our experience, we all still feel as if the francophones of this country are second class citizens.
Imagine people who cannot speak the other official language. It still happens since we cannot blame people for not speaking English. They travel from somewhere in Acadia, Quebec or Ontario and have trouble being served in their language.
I want to ask my colleague from Acadie—Bathurst the following question. Does he believe that this bill has the potential to provide even greater protection for linguistic progress, since this issue affects him and numerous Quebeckers and Canadians across Canada? Could we ask the legislator to make this bill even tougher to ensure respect for the francophones right here?