Last in Parliament November 2005, as Bloc MP for Mégantic—L'Érable (Québec)

Lost his last election, in 2006, with 32.62% of the vote.

Statements in the House

Transportation Amendment Act November 28th, 2005

Mr. Speaker, I would also like to wish a good retirement to my colleague across the way, and to congratulate my colleague, the hon. member for Lévis—Bellechasse, for his speech.

Of course, when the subject is rail transport, we talk about noise, profitability and economy.

In our region, Chaudières-Appalaches, as in that of the hon. member for Lévis—Bellechasse, the Quebec Central is part of the rail heritage. This line was ceded by Canadian Pacific and taken over by a salvage committee created in the area to prevent its dismantling. A promoter, Mr. Giguère, with the help of several other individuals, took charge of the Quebec Central. It was an excellent initiative. It was at the time of the CFIL initiative, creating regional short lines to transport tourists as well as goods from Saint-Romuald to Sherbrooke, through the regions of Beauce, Chaudière-Appalaches, Mégantic—L'Érable and Thetford Mines. This is a significant and sustainable economic activity.

Here is my question. Can my colleague confirm that it makes sense that the responsibility for certain rail lines, such as Quebec Central, for example, be entrusted to cities and towns for the transport of citizens, tourists and goods?

Supply November 24th, 2005

Mr. Speaker, we are well aware—and we have mentioned this on numerous occasions—that the Government of Canada has made a mockery of democracy. I think that it has ignored the public, both in terms of departmental responsibility and democracy. Its time is up.

We also know that the Liberal government specializes in scandals: human resources, firearms and the sponsorships. Furthermore, we learn that this government is insensitive. There is child poverty. We talked earlier about preventive withdrawal, and now about seniors. So, as the House leader of the Bloc Québécois just said, this is a government that has no morals, it is heartless.

I have a question for the member. Now that we know the public's verdict, what would be an appropriate sentence for this government?

Supply November 24th, 2005

Mr. Speaker, I want to congratulate the hon. member on his presentation. He explained the issue really well, particularly when he talked about the responsibility of the current Prime Minister in the sponsorship scandal. Everyone knows that he was aware of what was going on.

It is true that the Prime Minister is not directly blamed in the Gomery report. However, if we read between the lines, it is clear that, considering the positions held at the time by the current Prime Minister, namely that of vice-president of the Treasury Board and Minister of Finance, he had some responsibility.

In fact, Justice Gomery talks about this in his Summary. He defines the Treasury Board as follows: “The Treasury Board...functions as a management board overseeing all federal government operations”. This means that nothing happens without first being checked by the president or the vice-president of the Treasury Board. And who was the vice-president at the time? It was the current Prime Minister.

Similarly, if we read between the lines, we notice that Justice Gomery refers to ministerial accountability. We mentioned it earlier. He said: “Law, tradition or convention dictate that the Minister has sole authority for the management and direction...”. Contrary to the definition of ministerial accountability given by the Liberals, if we read between the lines, it becomes very clear that the current Prime Minister was responsible.

I have a question for the hon. member. He concluded his speech by saying that this government deserves the punishment that the public will mete out. Does he think that the government should step down immediately?

Supply November 24th, 2005

Mr. Speaker, what is at issue, really, is democracy. From day one, we have noted the lack of respect. The Liberal Party trampled democracy.

Quebec and Canada have worked hard to get this parliamentary system, and ministerial responsibility in particular. We could also mention the courts, and what not. However, ministerial responsibility, as defined by the Liberals, is lack of respect.

They say they did not know, they are not responsible, they were not aware, no one told them. That is not ministerial responsibility. It is an important choice, and those whose actions bring scandal ought to resign.

We have had several scandals: the gun registry, the HRDC boondoggle and, now, the sponsorship scandal. The problem with that is that the public no longer trusts the day-to-day management of the finances.

That is what we are told by everyone. If there is no money, they figure it is because it has gone somewhere else: into the pockets of close friends of the Liberal Party. That is what is at issue. That is the issue. The punishment for the Liberals, the public insists, is to get rid of them as soon as possible.

Here is my question to the hon. member. Is this motion not appropriate punishment? Is it not reasonable for the public to think that, once and for all, they will be getting what was coming to them and face the consequences of their actions, of their lack of respect for democracy?

Softwood Lumber November 21st, 2005

Mr. Speaker, the forestry industry has been left to its own devices since the conflict began. Already, $400 million in legal fees have been expended by the industry's companies and associations in order to gain recognition of their rights.

Does the government not feel it is necessary to assume immediate responsibility for those costs?

Softwood Lumber November 21st, 2005

Mr. Speaker, the federal government had promised $20 million to the forestry associations to cover legal fees incurred defending their position in the softwood lumber crisis. The associations are in need of a commitment if they are to convince their bankers of the government's intentions.

Could the government make a commitment today to write a letter immediately to the forestry associations confirming its intention to provide this assistance?

Wildlife Protection Officers November 15th, 2005

Mr. Speaker, two weeks ago, a tragedy occurred in the Chaudière-Appalaches region: a plane carrying a pilot and two wildlife protection officers went missing.

The public, ever hopeful, bravely took part in the long days of searching. It is with great sadness that we have learned that the two wildlife protection officers and the pilot of the plane died.

Officer Fernand Vachon of East Broughton and Officer Nicolas Rochette lost their lives during an anti-poaching surveillance mission. This expedition also cost the pilot, Yves Giguère, his life.

All of Quebec is in mourning over this tragic expedition. There will be a public funeral this afternoon so that people can pay their last respects. The Bloc Québécois joins with the public in offering its sincere condolences to the victims' families and friends.

Inverness Bronze Sculpture Gallery November 2nd, 2005

Mr. Speaker, the Inverness bronze sculpture gallery is celebrating its tenth anniversary this year.

Located in the Mégantic—L'Érable region, this economuseum protects and promotes a rich heritage and pays tribute to Quebec's great sculptors.

The fame of the gallery, its exhibitions and its works helps promote the cultural, tourist and economic development of both the L'Érable region and Quebec as a whole.

On October 2, the gallery celebrated its anniversary with an exhibition of the work of some forty highly talented artists, who were present at the event and included Armand Vaillancourt, Raymond Barbeau, Pascale Archambault, Huguette Joncas, Gérard Bélanger, Hélène Labrie, Roger André Bourgeault, Marcellin Fortin, Marie-Claude Demers and Jacques Lisée.

Their enthusiastic response shows just how much support there is in the artistic community for this gallery devoted to Quebec's top sculptors.

Congratulations to the gallery. May it long flourish.

Energy Costs Assistance Measures Act November 1st, 2005

Mr. Speaker, I thank my colleague for his question. First off, it is true that the Bloc expressed its support in principle. We pointed out, however, that the program was far from comprehensive. It failed to include the disabled, seniors, workers, farmers and forestry workers, for example. Many groups are not covered.

I disagree with my colleague's suggestion that we are asking for money. That is not what we said. We said the oil companies have created the crisis and have benefited from it. They have an obligation to the public and to those who have been abandoned. They should be approached for the money, some $500 million or $1 billion. They who deliberately created a crisis and will continue creating it should pay for part of it or contribute to the program for everyone.

Energy Costs Assistance Measures Act November 1st, 2005

Mr. Speaker, I thank the member for Rimouski-Neigette—Témiscouata—Les Basques for her questions.

With regard to her first question, she is correct. We must have faith in Canadians and Quebeckers. The parliamentary secretary suggested that people might inflate the cost of their renovations or invent expenditures in order to get more money. The Liberals are used to such talk. This will not happen here. We must have faith in those undertaking renovations.

Both my colleague's suggestions are fundamental. This program should have included a tax credit. It is easy to recover the money in the event of an overpayment. Quite often, the government finds a way to recover the $2 it is owed. It is true that it is not trying nearly as hard to recover the $100 million. Whatever the case may be, this measure affects us. My colleague's suggestion is very important.

As for the recurring problem of increasing gas prices, this is true. Anyone with a little political experience need only look at what is happening: when the oil companies are cornered, they start to admit that they can influence prices. Then, when the crisis is over and they see that the government does not have the courage to protect consumers, prices go up. We see this dynamic time and again.

My colleague's suggestion with regard to alternative energy is also worthwhile. The Bloc Québécois put forward a similar proposal, particularly with regard to wind energy. There are already supplementary energy programs in place. This is important too, but the government sees it as secondary.