- On the Parliament site
Last in Parliament May 2004, as Bloc MP for Jonquière (Québec)
Lost her last election, in 2004, with 5.97% of the vote.
Statements in the House
Angèle Malaison November 7th, 2003
Mr. Speaker, tomorrow, November 8, will be a very special day at the Résidence Georges-Hébert in Jonquière, where Angèle Malaison will celebrate her 100th birthday. This milestone will be matched by another, equally exceptional event, the 75th anniversary of her marriage to Eddie Lapierre.
Mr. and Mrs. Lapierre are remarkable people and, despite their advanced age, always have a twinkle in their eyes that leaves us in no doubt that they are just as alert and just as much in love as they were 75 years ago.
I want to wish a happy 100th birthday to Angèle Malaison and a happy 75th wedding anniversary to her and her husband. Your love is a shining example, and I wish you both many more years of happiness together.
Statistics Act November 6th, 2003
Mr. Speaker, I am pleased to speak today on behalf of the Bloc Quebecois on Bill S-13 to amend the Statistics Act.
There are three specific points in the bill. Among other things it states, and I quote:
This enactment removes a legal ambiguity in relation to access to census records taken between 1910 and 2003.
There will be limited publication of census records and full publication. With respect to limited publication, it says:
It allows genealogical and historical researchers access to these records under certain conditions for a 20-year period, beginning 92 years after the census took place.
For full publication it says:
One hundred and twelve years after the census, anyone may examine the records without restriction. The bill also includes a provision for avoiding any problem with respect to divulging data contained in any future census.
The important elements of this bill concern the availability of information contained in census records taken between 1910 and 2003.
Subsection 17(4) of the bill would allow, after 92 years, any person who so desires to conduct genealogical or historical research if that person seeks written permission to examine the information contained in the census records. A person could do so if that person obtains written permission.
The approval of any research project is subject to its public and scientific value. Conditions for the use and communication of information apply if a person seeks permission to conduct historical or genealogical research. A person who wishes to examine the records must sign—and this is very important—an undertaking in the form prescribed by regulation and abide by it. Every person who contravenes this undertaking is guilty of an offence and liable on summary conviction to a fine not exceeding $1,000.
Who is interested in examining this information? Whom is this bill for? It is for everyone interested in history, such as historians and genealogists who want to consult these census records. Historians and genealogists seek information about households and families in earlier times. They want to find out about how work was shared among members of the family, the geographic and socio-economic mobility of ordinary Canadians, and the growth or decline of rural and urban areas, all essential aspects of our national history. That is what they want to know.
These census records are a unique source of information on the Canadian population and patterns of settlement. It is of inestimable importance to our understanding of the past. If you do not know where you have been, the saying goes, how will you know where you are going? We often use historical data to see the path behind us and to stake out the path ahead.
Historians say that only access to individual census records will enable them to do their research adequately. Why, after all, do we take a census? Why, after all, do we go from house to house, as used to be the case, to ask people questions? It was the only way to find out how families were made up.
Some families at the time were very large. Many people went to work in the forests; others went to work in another city, but they still had one specific place of residence.
People at the time, then, were very mobile. Nevertheless, their physical place of residence remained the same, even though they went elsewhere to work. They would come back after several months.
I always give the example of my father and grandfather. My father lived in Laterrière and my grandfather, in Chicoutimi. At the time, in the early 1930s, my father worked in the Price logging camps. He left in the fall, spent the winter in the forest, and returned in the spring.
Every time he came home, my mother had given birth to a new baby. My mother had 16 children. That was quite an accomplishment. A census was needed to count the people and observe how they were living.
In those days, many households also included the grandparents or, if not the grandparents, some great uncles. So this was a kind of blended family, a different kind from those we have now. At that time, it was the extended family all living under one roof.
As a result, it was important to carry out a census. Data is not collected in the same way nowadays.
Many Canadians and Quebeckers have an interest in genealogy and need to consult census data on individuals in order to establish lineage and to trace families back in time.
As I said, this is very important. People have more and more free time these days, and more and more are retiring early at 50 or 55. They then have time to look up their ancestors and investigate their family tree.
In my own family, we have done this on both sides. My father's and my mother's ancestors are all from the same French background. They came from Normandy. We have done the research and found that out.
It is very important to be able to tell children where their ancestors came from, who their relatives are, and how their ancestors came here.
Census data is therefore very important for providing information from which people can investigate their family tree.
Census data is a source of very important and valuable information, because it provides names and ages.
In the past, many people went by nicknames. Someone might, for instance, have been baptized as Amédée but have been known all his life by some other name. People did not even know what his real name was, what names were on his baptismal records. This was a common occurrence.
For instance, my father always told us about his uncles, but we never knew their real names. We found them out only when the family tree was done. They had been known by nicknames.
Census data includes names and ages. It used to be difficult to figure out people's ages, because they might have been baptized long after their birth. So we could not always know their exact age.
Certain details about all family members are also given in the census. They provide information specific to an individual, such as date of birth, whether or not they were an immigrant, level of education and economic situation.
It is only through an examination of the lives of each family member that we can establish the lineage of Canadian families.
In my opinion, it is very important. Gérard Bouchard, the brother of the former leader of the Bloc Quebecois, Lucien Bouchard, has compiled a database on all the lineages in my area.
I do not know if you are aware that there are a lot of diseases such as cystic fibrosis in my area. There is a high incidence of these diseases because, through the ages, there has been too much inbreeding. It is important to be able to retrace lineages through statistics to find solutions to this problem and deal with these diseases.
So we can see how important this bill is. The main point of the bill is to make census records available. There is also another important thing. Subclause 17(7) indicates that, starting 112 years after the census is taken, the information may be examined by anyone.
Subclause 17(8) says that “the information contained in the returns of any census of a population taken in 2006 or later may, starting 92 years after the census is taken, be examined by anyone if the person to whom the information relates had given their consent to disclosure of that information”.
If consent to disclose personal information is not given by the person concerned, the information will never be made public. Earlier, a Canadian Alliance member said that the bill was dangerous. I say no, it is not, because if a person were to refuse consent, the information will never be disclosed.
Subclause 17(10) states that the returns of each census conducted between 1910 and 2003 or effective 2006 shall, “92 years after the census is taken, be transferred to the National Archives of Canada in order to permit their examination”.
The Bloc Quebecois finds that Bill S-13 allows important historical information to be studied after an acceptable statutory timeframe. Consequently, we are in favour of Bill S-13.
The Bloc Quebecois' political action and presence here in Ottawa help to extend Quebec's common history. Access for archivists and historians, 92 years after the census is taken, will allow the production of better historical documents that enrich the cultural heritage of Quebec.
In fact, Quebec does not have access to information from this period in Quebec's history. This will enable us to enrich Quebec's heritage. Many experts maintain that census documents are essential. This is an important point. With regard to historical or genealogical research, where does the right to privacy end and the need for historical information begin?
That is the question we need to ask: Where do we draw the line between privacy and the need for public disclosure? The Bloc Quebecois feels that while the right to privacy has to be respected, census information should not be subject to perpetual confidentiality.
With the passage of time, respondents' concerns about protecting their privacy will diminish and, after an appropriate period of time, the public's right to access census records overrides respondents' rights to privacy.
Furthermore, since the data is not harmful to those still living and that releasing such data cannot harm them, we feel that historical and scientific requirements are more important than protecting the privacy of the dead.
Some people would argue that Canadians were assured that their privacy would be protected. The threat of harm to persons still living is very slim.
I want to digress here. Next Saturday, people in my riding will celebrate a woman's 100th birthday and her husband's 98th birthday. They will also be celebrating their 75th wedding anniversary. This is unusual and an honour for Jonquière to pay tribute to this couple, originally from the Magdalen Islands. They settled in my area when the Abitibi Consolidated plant was built in Kénogami and raised their family there. Now, we are paying tribute to them.
This bill could adversely affect them, but I think not. I think that they are proud to talk about their lives; they are proud of their children, their grandchildren and their great grandchildren. I am sure that, if asked, they would agree to disclose their information so that their family and their great-grandchildren can have access it, to do their family tree.
The Bloc Quebecois does not believe, however, that the dead do not have the right to privacy protection. The terms in the bill will ensure a reasonable statute of limitations, as recommended by a committee of experts, including Mr. Justice La Forest.
Most of the census data is not confidential. Data that is confidential, such as income data, probably lose its confidential nature over the years.
Despite assurances about confidentiality given to people providing census data, we believe there was a desire at the time to keep the information for future generations. A good indication of this is that the information was always sent to the National Archives of Canada, as indicated in the current act. The National Archives have always had the mandate to conserve the data for future consultation.
Many concerns relating to the private nature of census records deal with ephemeral issues that are of no great interest 92 years later. We realize that some people may have concerns about the privacy of people who provided census information, but we believe the reasons for these concerns will disappear over the years.
The additional 20 year time limit, that is between the right to examine records for historical or genealogical research and the right for anyone to examine them, in relation to census records taken between 1910 and 2003, shows a great respect for people covered by previous censuses.
For all these reasons, the Bloc Quebecois believes that making legislative changes to allow for the divulging of census information considered to be confidential does not affect privacy.
A March 2000 study revealed that Canadians are in favour of releasing census information under the method proposed by Bill S-13. For all these reasons and many others, therefore, the Bloc Quebecois agrees with the principle of the bill.
As I said at the beginning, the bill respects privacy and shows great respect for the people concerned and those who might be 100 years old today. The provisions of Bill S-13 are also critically important for historians and records officers, allowing them to pursue their historical and genealogical research.
The Bloc Quebecois will gladly to vote in favour of this bill.
Sex Offender Information Registration Act November 5th, 2003
Madam Speaker, I am pleased to speak this afternoon on Bill C-23.
Before getting into the bill itself, I must congratulate my colleague, the hon. member for Châteauguay, for his excellent work throughout the entire study of Bill C-23. He is laid up at home today, but I want to tip my hat to him and thank him for defending this bill so vigorously on behalf of the Bloc Quebecois.
The Bloc Quebecois is in favour of this bill in principle, given our conviction that a sex offender registry is necessary. We feel it is important to facilitate police investigations into sex crimes, and this is the purpose of the registry.
Two years ago, I introduced a bill here in the House on sexual offences committed by pedophiles on children under the age of 14. At that time I was calling for changes to be made to the Criminal Code with respect to these offences. I introduced a bill again in February 2003 which called for the establishment of a national registry of sex offenders and amendments to the Criminal Code with respect to sex offences against children under the age of 14.
This bill responds in part to what mine was calling for, and I am very pleased to see that. I received a great deal of input from people in my riding whose children had been sexually abused by pedophiles. As well, I heard repeatedly from police officers calling for just such a registry.
We sometimes hear that opposition MPs cannot get any improvements put through on anything. Yet I see my bill has borne fruit, because here we are with Bill C-23.
We do wonder, however, whether this registry, as set out in this bill, is the best way to go about things. We are therefore committed to paying particular attention to the following points.
First, the data must be confidential so that they are sent to police services only for the purpose of investigating crimes of a sexual nature.
Second, we are disappointed by the fact that gravity of the offence and risk of recidivism were not retained as assessment criteria before making registration obligatory, as the Bloc Quebecois had suggested.
Also, we wonder about the cost assessment that was done with respect to implementing such a registry. We are going to monitor this carefully.
Finally, we are going to closely monitor the legal mechanisms used to guarantee the registration of offenders. We have many questions about this.
For the information of the listening public, I would like to say that this bill has 26 clauses. The primary objective of this bill is to help police services investigate crimes of a sexual nature. That is clause 2. This will be accomplished by the sex offender information registry.
According to clause 2 of the bill, the objective can only be attained by complying with certain principles. Information can only be collected for the purpose of investigating crimes of a sexual nature.
Three major principles must be respected and they are found in clauses 2( a ), 2( b ), and 2( c ). Information must be rapidly accessible and reliable, and its collection must strike a balance between the privacy interests of the sex offender and the public interest.
These principles must also take into account respect for the confidentiality of the information collected.
Under clause 2(2)( c )(i), the information may be collected only if there are reasonable grounds to suspect that the crimes are of a sexual nature.
Clause 2(2)( c )(ii) restricts access to the registry, and the use and disclosure of information.
The government has decided to amend its own bill to replace “reasonable grounds to believe” with “reasonable grounds to suspect”.
We are categorically opposed to this change, which gives unlimited powers by substantially lightening the burden of proof.
Clauses 4 and 7 of this bill deal with the obligations of sex offenders. Clause 4(2) states that they shall report by themselves within 15 days. These are rules that sex offenders will have to comply with; it is very important to set them out because this will have to be part of the registration process.
Under clause 4(2)( a ), offenders have to report within 15 days after the order is made, if they are convicted of the offence but are not given a custodial sentence.
Under clause 4(2)( b ), offenders have to report within 15 days after they receive an absolute or conditional discharge, if they are found not criminally responsible on account of mental disorder; under clause 4(2)( c ), after they are released from custody pending the determination of an appeal; and under clause 4(2)( d ), after they are released from custody.
Clause 4.1 provides for subsequent registration after a change in residence. That is normal practice. This way, if an offender moves to another part of Quebec or Canada, he or she can be located.
Officers have told me that, often, when there was a sex offender in a specific jurisdiction whom the police recognized, the offender moved out of their jurisdiction and they lost track of him because there was no registry.
The offender could then commit offences and not be located quickly. This clause will avoid that. It will also give the police faster tools to better protect the public and those who have been sexually assaulted, be they young people or adults. I think that clause 4(1) raises a very important point.
Clause 5 sets out the information to be provided by sex offenders: their given name and surname, date of birth and gender, address of residence and work, as well as telephone, cell phone or pager number.
The sex offender must also provide the person collecting information with a description of any identifying physical characteristics; if he has a mole somewhere, it must be recorded. He must disclose the facts. If he has a physical handicap, that too must be recorded. The more details that are provided, the more quickly the police will be able to arrest him if need be.
Clause 6 covers notice to the authorities if the sex offender leaves the area in which his main residence is located, and how that notice is to be given.
The duties of the person who collects and registers information are described in clauses 8 to 12 of Bill C-23.
The person will enter the sex offender's information into the database without delay, while ensuring confidentiality of the data.
That is very important. The offender has the right to obtain a copy of the information about him in the registry. This will all be quite transparent. That is only right because, after all, the offender is making disclosures, and one is normally entitled to a copy of the information one discloses.
Thus, he has the right to obtain a copy of the information about him in the registry free of charge, or to be sent a copy in the mail, in accordance with clause 12(1).
In addition, the person who receives information must make appropriate corrections. As I was saying, if the offender moves to a different area, region or province, he must inform the registry office to have the appropriate changes made.
I would have liked to provide our listeners with more information. However, I shall simply sum up the Bloc's position.
As I said at the beginning, the Bloc Quebecois is in favour of this bill in principle.
We are convinced of the importance of establishing a registry of sex offenders. Still, there are points we shall be watching very closely when this bill becomes law. I want to emphasize this, in order to ensure that this registry meets the need for which it was created.
Also, there are costs. We know what happened with the firearms registry. It was supposed to cost several million and now it is up to nearly a billion dollars.
The Bloc Quebecois will be watching the enforcement and cost very closely. In addition, the Bloc Quebecois wants to ensure that confidentiality is respected, and that the Charter of Rights and Freedoms is respected.
Specific Claims Resolutions Act November 4th, 2003
Mr. Speaker, through you I would like to request that the Liberal member retract his words, which were a judgment of the Bloc Quebecois. We are independent people, who hold democracy dear, and we recognize the first nations.
Specific Claims Resolutions Act November 4th, 2003
Mr. Speaker, I would be pleased to ask a question.
What has just happened is absolutely shameful, shameful beyond words.
The member who has just spoken may not have a crystal ball, but the facts are there. Throughout consideration of Bill C-6, all of the first nations were opposed to this bill, along with all the opposition parties.
Everything in this bill is anti-democratic. I wonder what the hon. member is doing in this House when he denies the first nations' right to be masters of their own house, and to take steps to regain the independence this government has taken from them.
I would like to hear the hon. member's thoughts on this resolution, which the first nations have sent to my colleague, the hon. member for Saint-Hyacinthe—Bagot.
Specific Claims Resolutions Act November 4th, 2003
Mr. Speaker, I seek unanimous consent of the House to table the first nations resolution to which my colleague has referred.
Specific Claims Resolution Act November 4th, 2003
Madam Speaker, a tip of the hat to my colleague from Saint-Hyacinthe—Bagot for his extraordinary defence of the cause of the first nations.
In my region of Lac-Saint-Jean there is a Montagnais community at Mastewiash. I believe it is one of the best organized communities. It has taken advantage of opportunities to improve itself, yet there is a very high unemployment rate, particularly affecting aboriginal youth.
I have been listening to my colleague speaking about the amendments made by the Senate. I believe he has confirmed what we have always believed: that the government and the senators, mostly appointed by this government, consider aboriginal people as minor children. Being a minor means not having the right to speak for oneself, and having to do as one is told without any means of recourse. This is, to my mind, a slap in the face for the aboriginal nations, for I have always considered them a nation first and foremost.
Having the powers of a nation, these are people who are capable of assuming responsibility, who know their needs and their rights. They know how much money they need to solve the problems in their community.
I have been a member of the Standing Committee on Aboriginal Affairs, Northern Development and Natural Resources, and have heard presentations by aboriginal people referring to the highest rates of suicide and alcoholism in their communities. I had always assumed that aboriginal women were well treated, but I also learned that this was not always the case.
The extraordinary speech by my colleague has affected me deeply. The way he has described the first nations has gone straight to my heart, because we too want recognition by the government that we are a nation, the Quebec nation. I know that being a nation means holding all the power, but even though they are recognized as a nation, it is as though they had no power at all.
The Bloc Quebecois defends the aboriginal nations. I would like to ask my colleague from Saint-Hyacinthe—Bagot what it would take to get this government to finally listen, to address the real problems of the aboriginal nations, and to provide them with what they need in order to become full fledged members of Canada in all its diversity, to become a true nation realizing its potential and working to eradicate unemployment on its reserves.
Criminal Code November 3rd, 2003
Mr. Speaker, I have listened attentively to my colleague from the NDP, whose speech contained so many negative comments on this bill that I was obliged to ask his colleague whether the NDP was for or against it. She told me they were in favour. I therefore found this rather odd.
I have two little questions for him. I would like to know his views on proposed section 487.013, which allows banks to disclose such confidential information as the account number of an account holder, the status and type of account and the date on which the account was opened or closed, the person's social insurance number and date of birth.
Does the hon. member not feel this bill encroaches on an individual's right to privacy? I would like his comments on this.
I would also like to hear his comments on the fact that federal attorneys may prosecute, when we know that financial markets fall under provincial jurisdiction.
I am asking these questions because I have not heard any of his colleagues address these clauses of the bill.
Criminal Code November 3rd, 2003
Mr. Speaker, I thank my colleague from Lotbinière—L'Érable for his question. It would take all night to list all the times, since this government came to power, that it has gotten involved in Quebec's areas of jurisdiction.
The future prime minister of Canada hiding behind the curtain and hon. member for LaSalle—Émard has, in every measure he introduced since he was the finance minister, always encroached on provincial jurisdiction. He says that when he becomes Prime Minister of Canada, he will get involved in the jurisdictions of municipalities. He will bypass the provinces, when everyone knows that municipalities come under provincial jurisdiction. He intends to negotiate and conclude agreements directly with the municipalities.
This is an insult. Municipalities in Quebec exist because they were created by legislation passed by the National Assembly, which has responsibility for them. No matter what else people say, he is preparing to do this.
This is not playing fair. It is not right for the future prime minister to tell all the provinces in Canada—and I am not talking solely about Quebec, but also about Ontario, British Columbia and all the rest—that their representatives were elected democratically by the people and that they have areas of exclusive jurisdiction, but that they will not be recognized and that attempts will be made to encroach on their jurisdiction. This is a slap in their face.
The Bloc Quebecois will never allow this to happen. The government has huge powers of taxation, and there is a fiscal imbalance in Canada. The federal government must understand that it is not the one administering public services. It must return the money. Once this is done, we can negotiate as equals.
The excess funds that the government took always came from the same place, the taxpayers, and always the same taxpayers. The money I give the federal government is mine, because I am the one giving it. The money my constituents in Saguenay—Lac-Saint-Jean pay to the federal government is theirs and must be returned to Quebec, just as the money from the residents of other provinces must be returned to them.
This debate is just beginning. The future prime minister will stand before us; I hope that he will answer our questions, because I cannot wait to ask him some.