- On the Parliament site
Last in Parliament September 2008, as Bloc MP for Brossard—La Prairie (Québec)
Lost his last election, in 2011, with 17.50% of the vote.
Statements in the House
Laval Transit Authority June 10th, 2008
Mr. Speaker, the Société de Transport de Laval will be reducing its bus fares from $2.50 to $1 on all smog days starting this week until Labour Day. This transit authority will be the first public transit system in Quebec to support the fight for better air quality in such a tangible way. Urban smog is caused mainly by two air pollutants: ozone and small particulate matter. It is the small particulate matter that produces the yellowish haze hanging in the sky and obscuring the sun during bad air quality days.
Recently, Dr. Jocelyne Sauvé presented a health report linking 9% of deaths and 3% of hospitalizations to bad air quality in Montérégie. Offering public transit for $1 will give Laval's citizens a chance to save by reducing their gas consumption and to reduce greenhouse gas emissions that cause smog, therefore also improving air quality.
World Environment Day June 5th, 2008
Mr. Speaker, Environment Week, which coincides with World Environment Day, is in its 37th year.
This event gives us an opportunity to take stock of how far we have come and how far we have yet to go. According to André Porlier, director of the Montreal regional environmental council, governments are talking about the environment, but they are not taking action or allocating resources.
The Montreal regional conference of elected officials and Équiterre have selected June 5, World Environment Day, to raise people's awareness of environmental issues. They launched the climate challenge for businesses and individuals. The challenge is to commit to doing something for the environment, such as plant a tree.
I invite everyone to participate in taking small steps to help the environment.
Science in Society Journalism Awards May 26th, 2008
Mr. Speaker, the Canadian Science Writers' Association presented its Science in Society Journalism Awards on May 24, 2007.
Quebec journalist Dominique Forget received the award for best Canadian general audience book for her essay Perdre le Nord? This essay deals with the environmental, economic, legal, political and human impact of the disappearing polar ice cap in the Arctic and the opening up of the Northwest Passage.
The Radio-Canada program Les années-lumière won in the category “best documentary over 30 minutes” for Spoutnik 1; 50 ans d'exploration spatiale, hosted by Yanick Villedieu and produced by Dominique Lapointe. This broadcast focused on humankind's space adventure, with guest astronomer Robert Lamontagne from the Université de Montreal.
My Bloc Québécois colleagues and I are very proud to congratulate these talented Quebeckers for winning these prestigious awards.
Carbon Neutral Certification April 30th, 2008
Mr. Speaker, I am very proud to announce that my colleague from the riding of Rosemont—La Petite-Patrie, the Bloc Québécois environment critic, will receive carbon neutral certification through Tree Canada's Carbon Neutral Companies and Organizations program.
Not only has he consistently worked to reduce his carbon emissions, but our colleague has also committed to planting 77 trees in his riding, which will completely offset his carbon footprint.
Michael Rosen, the president of Tree Canada, acknowledged the commitment of the member for Rosemont—La Petite-Patrie, saying that he has demonstrated environmental leadership.
The member for Rosemont—La Petite-Patrie has shown that small actions can have a big impact. Our colleague and the Montreal Canadiens players, who are participating in the NHL Carbon Neutral Challenge, are showing that it is high time to take our future in our own hands. I suggest that the government do the same.
Food and Drugs Act April 3rd, 2008
Mr. Speaker, I am also very pleased to speak to this debate on Bill C-517, a private member's bill introduced by the member for Rivière-des-Mille-Îles, which would amend the Food and Drugs Act. The bill primarily deals with foods and food components for human consumption that are or that contain genetically modified elements.
As the member for Rivière-des-Mille-Îles said, this is not the first time that the Bloc Québécois has tabled a similar bill in the House of Commons. On November 4, 1999, Hélène Alarie's Bill C-309 was adopted at first reading. In reading this, I am very surprised to see that in nine years, Parliament has not been able to produce legislation on labelling for GMOs.
Bill C-517 would make the labelling of GMOs mandatory. The new clause 7.3 proposed in the bill provides for a list of genetically modified foods to be made available to the public. The bill also provides for prison sentences and fines for any violators.
In the absence of information about the medium- or long-term impact of GMOs, it is natural to have concerns.
Canada has no standards in place to force mandatory labelling of foods containing GMOs, despite the demands and concerns of many consumers and the recommendations of many studies and reports. The federal government's policy of voluntary labelling remains a fiasco.
In September 2003, after four years of consultations, the Canadian General Standards Board reached a decision regarding the rules for voluntary labelling of products containing GMOs. According to lobby groups following the issue, a final compromise was reached that involved complex, ambiguous labelling left to the discretion of the industries and manufacturers.
On April 15, 2005, on the first anniversary of the implementation of voluntary labelling policies, Greenpeace, the Union des consommateurs, Équiterre and other environmental groups denounced the laxity of the measure, demonstrating that it is still impossible to find foods labelled as containing GMOs. Those groups even based their information on a Health Canada assessment, estimating that nearly 70% of processed products found in grocery stores in Quebec and Canada would contain GMOs.
Once again today, Greenpeace, in partnership with the Bloc Québécois and the Union des consommateurs, came to Parliament Hill to say that the contamination of cultures by GMOs concerns all agricultural producers.
Voluntary labelling standards have failed completely, according to Greenpeace, which also reminded us that 86% of Quebeckers are demanding or calling for mandatory labelling. Its consultations with agricultural producers in Quebec confirmed that over 80% of farmers also want mandatory labelling. We can therefore ask when the government will give consumers the right to know if their food products contain GMOs.
Greenpeace and the Union des consommateurs came here to ask the Canadian government to respect and ratify the Cartagena protocol on biosafety.
They are also calling on the government to respect consumers' fundamental rights to know what is in the foods they eat. Some 40 countries around the world have already brought in mandatory labelling. The Union des consommateurs is demanding that research into biotechnology be continued and improved.
Today, at this press conference on GMOs, Canada's dairy producers and Quebec's Union des producteurs agricoles also lent their support. The president, Réal Gauthier, also came to represent the Laurentian and Outaouais dairy producers.
In his speech, the member for Rivière-des-Mille-Îles mentioned that he had two idols in his riding: Claire and Norbert. He happened to mention that he was talking about young people aged 11 or 12. Last year, I had the same experience in my own riding. Two young people, Thomas Drolet and James Cameron, also got involved at school and created an Internet site to inform the community and their classmates about the problem of GMOs. They also came here to the House of Commons to present a petition with over 2,000 names of people who support them and recognize the need for mandatory labelling of genetically modified foods.
These young people did their research. They learned about the issues, they did a lot of reading, and they consulted websites about GMO issues. They developed their knowledge of the subject and shared that knowledge through presentations in class. I am very surprised that these primary school children are so interested in health issues at such an important time in their lives, right before they go to secondary school. We should pay close attention to these young people and tell them that we will accede to their request concerning GMOs.
Bill C-517 is a bill that also focuses on future generations and seeks to ensure that they have the right to healthful food and can read the labels to find out exactly what they are about to eat. Twelve year olds can make choices too. The young people at Notre-Dame-de-Saint-Joseph school in La Prairie want to make informed choices. Some people might tell them to consult the government websites that list the 50 products. However, when people are buying products or eating chocolate bars, they need to know what they are eating. If the chocolate bar label says that the product contains modified organisms, young people will be able to freely choose what they want to eat.
Bill C-517 is about the future. It is for future generations, for the young people who are now asking us—urging us—to pass this new bill.
Kyoto Protocol April 3rd, 2008
Mr. Speaker, yesterday in Parliament, the three leaders of the opposition signed a pledge requiring Canada to make a firm commitment during negotiations for a post-Kyoto agreement.
By participating in the KYOTOplus campaign, the Bloc Québécois shows Quebec's unwavering support for the fight against climate change at a time when the Conservative government is trying, by any means possible, to kill the international community's only instrument to fight this scourge.
While 163 countries meet in Thailand to discuss the post-Kyoto agenda, the Canadian government is busy digging a grave for the Kyoto protocol. It must stop digging and start acting on behalf of the environment.
The Kyoto protocol represents hope for future generations. I invite all of my colleagues to sign this petition immediately, as the Bloc Québécois members have done.
Refrigerator Recycling Program April 1st, 2008
Mr. Speaker, as of yesterday, the people of Quebec have access to the Recyc-Frigo Environnement program, implemented by Hydro-Québec. The program will help to collect and recycle 230,000 energy-consuming appliances, such as refrigerators and freezers, by 2010. This new program will make it possible to save about 180 million kilowatts-heures of energy over the next three years. It is a free collection service for this type of appliance, and owners will receive a $60 incentive for each appliance recycled.
Participants must be Quebec residents. A form is available online and a specialized carrier will pick up the appliance at the resident's home. This is the kind of program that the Conservative government could have implemented with the budget surplus, as the Bloc Québécois suggested.
As a retired Hydro-Québec employee, and as a Bloc Québécois member, I applaud this wonderful initiative.
Marouane Aboudraz March 13th, 2008
Mr. Speaker, Marouane Aboudraz, his wife and their two sons, aged 3 years and 13 months, left Montreal to visit family in the Gaza Strip in April 2007. The visit was supposed to last a few months, but it turned into a nightmare in June 2007 when Hamas seized control of Gaza, and Israel cut off access to the Palestinian territories, thereby preventing the Aboudraz family from returning home.
The father managed to escape when the border with Egypt opened at the end of January. He was able to return to Montreal, but without his wife and children. The children need asthma medication, but everything has become very scarce in Gaza.
My colleague from Papineau received assurances from the Department of Foreign Affairs that the family will be able to leave the Gaza Strip within the next few days. The Bloc Québécois is asking the minister to do everything in his power to make that happen.
The Environment February 29th, 2008
Mr. Speaker, in Budget 2008, the Conservative government is continuing its policy of inertia when it comes to fighting global warming. Scientists, economists and the business community have criticized this government's inaction a number of times and have asked that it immediately adopt a real environmental policy. Instead of taking tough action right now and doing what is necessary to truly reduce greenhouse gas emissions, the Conservative government is pushing back the effective date of its regulatory framework to 2010. This framework, which is based almost exclusively on intensity targets that favour the oil industry, is so weak that it in no way ensures real reductions of greenhouse gases.
While other countries, including France and the United Kingdom, have adopted tough measures to reduce greenhouse gas emissions, this Conservative government still refuses to act responsibly.
Nobel Peace Prize February 14th, 2008
Mr. Speaker, yesterday, a reception was held on Parliament Hill to honour Canadian scientists for their contribution to the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change or IPCC, which with Al Gore was awarded the 2007 Nobel Peace Prize for helping to raise awareness and disseminate knowledge about global warming.
The Conservative Party refused to pay tribute to these scientists, preferring to ignore them. The Prime Minister and the Minister of the Environment were noticeable by their absence, as all the other parties honoured these scientists for receiving no less than the Nobel Prize.
The Conservative government is maintaining its policy of inaction on the environment, an ideological policy that led to its refusal to honour the scientists.