- On the Parliament site
Last in Parliament May 2004, as Bloc MP for Berthier—Montcalm (Québec)
Won his last election, in 2000, with 57.09% of the vote.
Statements in the House
Business of the House May 2nd, 2002
Mr. Speaker, it is an honour for me to speak to this bill, since it is such an important one. I understand that all the bills in this House of Commons have a certain importance, but this one is extremely specific in character, and extremely important. It must be considered very wisely.
We need to look at Bill C-55, the purpose of which is to fight terrorism, keeping in mind that this important legislature must meet the expectations of the voters of Canada, and those of Quebec as well. Examination of this bill requires us to bear in mind all the other pieces of legislation in place in Canada, but in particular, the charter of rights and freedoms, which is in place and must be respected as well. We must meet the public's expectations, respect existing legislation as well as the charter, and strike a balance between individual and collective rights and national security.
The government has failed in its duty on at least two occasions, by attempting to get Bill C-42 through, which was divided up and enacted in part, and then by going back to the drawing board and tabling Bill C-55.
Upon examining this new legislation, one cannot help but notice that the government has not listened and is not responding to the expectations of constituents across Canada and Quebec. This is so evident, that at first reading of this bill, the person responsible for monitoring and protecting the privacy of individuals has said that this is legislation that could be found in totalitarian countries. Naturally, I am referring to the privacy commissioner.
I do not agree with the member for Ancaster--Dundas--Flamborough--Aldershot who said that the privacy commissioner should not be commenting. This is not the first time that the privacy commissioner has commented to the media about a bill, saying that it makes sense or does not.
I remember Bill C-36, to fight organized crime, because it is an issue that I was concerned about. This very same privacy commissioner supported it. The member opposite did not rise then to say “He should not comment on it”. No, then it was fine, because the privacy commissioner was supporting the government.
That is not how it works. He did not have to rise when the commissioner commented on Bill C-36, just like he did not have to rise and get offended by the fact that the privacy commissioner made his view on Bill C-55 clear. He described it as unacceptable. He said that it was legislation that could exist, but in totalitarian countries, not a country like Canada, where individual and collective rights are recognized. The privacy commissioner probably came to the same conclusions that the members of the Bloc Quebecois did, when we examined the bill.
Mr. Speaker, I know that I only have ten minutes. I cannot go into detail on each of the points, but you must understand that the whole issue of controlled access military zones worries us.
Incidentally, the words may have changed, but the nuts and bolts of Bill C-55 have not necessarily been changed, because it bears a curious resemblance to Bill C-42, which was plagued with problems. The military security zone is now called a controlled access military zone. This is the biggest change to this section. The whole issue of controlled access military zones is worrisome.
The interim orders that are included in a whole series of acts are also a major source of concern. When we look at the list, we may be surprised, because interim orders may be made under the Department of Health Act, the Explosives Act, the Export and Import Permits Act, the Food and Drugs Act, The Hazardous Products Act, The Marine Transportation Security Act, the Pest Control Products Act, and so on.
What is particular about these interim orders is that each of the ministers responsible for an act will have the authority to make such orders. If we look at these changes, we see that they are exempted from the application of sections 3, 5 and 11 of the Statutory Instruments Act.
A layperson who reads this without really knowing about it, or without the schedule to these acts, may not understand. I wonder if the Minister of National Defence himself understands these provisions, considering the replies that he gave us today.
If we look at the Statutory Instruments Act, we see that sections 3, 5 and 11 are those that are used to determine whether or not an act complies with the Canadian Charter of Rights and Freedoms.
I understand why Quebec did not sign the Constitution. Members opposite boast about this and they celebrate the 20th anniversary of the constitution. Incidentally, they are celebrating a little too soon, because it has not been 20 years, but they are celebrating the 20th anniversary simply to show that they are a little mixed up. This year is the 20th anniversary of the patriation of the Constitution. But the 20th anniversary of the coming into effect of the Canadian Charter of Rights and Freedoms will come later. They will eventually learn that in the history books, when they read them.
These sections will not be applied to the acts that I listed. In other words, the government will not check to see if these measures respect the Canadian Charter of Rights and Freedoms. This is serious business. Yet, the government seems to be merrily going forward, oblivious of the fact that trouble may lie ahead because of these sections. But, as far as the government is concerned, there is no problem.
The very important part 2 of the bill, which deals with the National Defence Act, gives exceptional powers to the Minister of National Defence regarding the creation of the controlled access military zones to which I referred earlier.
My third concern has to do with the whole issue of damages. It will not be possible to sue the government in cases of abuse.
The amendments to the National Defence Act give excessive powers to the Minister of National Defence. One of these powers has to do with the dimensions of zones. He is the one who, at some point, is going to decide exactly what size of controlled access military zone is needed.
Right off the bat, we think that there should be very specific criteria in the bill so that the minister, whoever he is, cannot get carried away. A properly advised, open-minded legislator acting in good faith includes such criteria in a bill. The criteria in subsection 260.1 (4) are as follows:
The dimensions of a controlled access military zone may not be greater than is reasonably necessary to ensure the safety or security of any person, thing or property for which the zone is designated.
These are the criteria which the Minister of National Defence will use. This is the same Minister of National Defence who showed a lack of judgment in the Afghan prisoner affair.
Let us remember that Canadian troops captured prisoners. The minister knew this. He was told that they had during a briefing. But he did not feel the need to inform the Prime Minister, cabinet, or anyone else, while everyone in Canada was anxiously waiting to hear what would happen if prisoners were taken. He even told the House that none had been, when it fact some had, and so on. This is a flagrant lack of judgment, and this is the same minister who is going to implement this legislation.
It is ridiculous. I could give other examples, such as subsection (14) of this same section, which prevents taxpayers from taking the government to court.
I am being signalled that my time is up. I would have liked to speak at greater length about this bill, because it is extremely important. We in the Bloc Quebecois are naturally against it, because we defend ordinary citizens. That is why we were elected.
Public Safety Act, 2002 May 2nd, 2002
Madam Speaker, I listened to the minister, who said he had understood what people wanted and that that was what had finally convinced him to make amendments to Bill C-42. The terminology is the biggest change to the bill. He has gone from military security zones to controlled access military zones. The minister's powers, however, remain practically the same. That is what people were afraid of.
Regarding the powers given to the Minister of National Defence, members should examine subsection 4 of section 260.1. It reads as follows: “The dimensions of a controlled access military zone may not be greater than is reasonably necessary—”. This is pretty sweeping.
How will this be interpreted by the Minister of National Defence, who showed a distinct lack of judgment throughout the Afghan prisoner affair. He did not even feel the need to inform the Prime Minister or cabinet that our troops had taken prisoners, when everyone was on the alert and it was an issue internationally. He did not have the judgment for a simple decision like that. How is he going to interpret the term reasonably necessary? And how is he going to justify these interim orders, when sections 3, 5 and 11 of the Statutory Instruments Act do not even apply to these entire sections of the legislation.
As members are well aware, under sections 3, 5 and 11 of the Statutory Instruments Act, regulations are checked to ensure that they are consistent with the Canadian Charter of Rights and Freedoms. It is all very fine and well to celebrate the 20th anniversary of the charter, but the first opportunity that the government has to demonstrate that the charter means something to it, it introduces Bill C-55, and excludes entire sections of the legislation from the application of the charter. Does it not think that it is making a mistake with this bill and that it is treating the comments it has received from Canadians and Quebecers with arrogance?
The Liberal backbenchers who never say anything are another fine example. They are there to be yes men and they let anything through.
Excise Act, 2001 April 30th, 2002
They do not support the microbreweries anymore either.
The government and the official opposition have, in a way, abandoned the microbreweries. Not us. We intend to battle this out, because it is important.
From 1993 to 1997 in Berthier--Montcalm—my riding had a name change along the way—the entire Maskinongé area was part of my riding. There are major buckwheat producers in that area. We wondered how we could promote buckwheat. I will in passing greet “Mr. Buckwheat, le père Sarrasin”, who will know whom I mean. We went off to Belgium to promote the region and the Louiseville buckwheat flat cake festival. Afterward, Belgian businessmen came to Louiseville. They had a technology for brewing beer from a cereal much like buckwheat. Today in Saint-Paulin, there is a microbrewery that produces three buckwheat beers. These are very different, really excellent, and are exported.
However, with a bill like the one now before us, its exports will certainly be limited. It cannot be competitive. Even the U.S. has a tax of about 9 cents per hectolitre, while ours is 28 cents. This favours the big breweries at the expense of the microbreweries. This microbrewery, with its three beers—the Belgians apparently are crazy about them—could step up its production and increase job creation in the region. Saint-Paulin is not a major centre. So, this would be very important for the region. This technology did not exist in the Maskinongé area prior to 1997 or 1998.
Saint-Paulin is, if I am not mistaken, now in the riding of the Prime Minister. What is the Prime Minister doing to defend the microbrewery properly? I am certain that it is in the PM's riding. The people around me seem to be questioning that, but I am sure it is. He is doing nothing, whereas he should be standing up in defence of his constituents.
In the region of Lanaudière, more specifically in Joliette, Broue-Pub L'Alchimiste also produces five or six beers. This microbrewery is also affected by the excise tax, by the bill that the government introduced, and particularly by the favoritism shown to major breweries. This is in the region of Lanaudière. My riding is close to two regions where microbreweries are found. If we look around, we realize that there are such microbreweries everywhere in Quebec.
But there are some in Ontario as well. I do not understand why members from Ontario—perhaps it is because they take Ontario for granted—are not doing anything and are letting their constituents down when it comes to microbreweries by not protecting them properly.
It is the same thing in western Canada. The Canadian Alliance should rise and fight for microbreweries, but it does not. Yet, because of the policy of the government opposite, 13 Ontario microbreweries have shut down in the past five years. In Quebec, 11 have shut down for the same reasons since the Liberals came to office. There were some in Saint-Hyacinthe, Saint-Eustache, Baie-Saint-Paul, Amos, Montreal, Cap-Chat and Lanaudière. There were some everywhere. Because of the policy of the Liberal government opposite, which favours the big companies—probably because of their big contributions to the Liberal Party—microbreweries and regions were gradually affected. The Canadian Alliance is no better in this respect. The Liberals and the Canadian Alliance get along very well on issues like this one.
However, the Bloc Quebecois is here for these people. We will continue to protect them. This House has not heard the last of the Bloc on this most important issue for the regions of Quebec.
Excise Act, 2001 April 30th, 2002
Mr. Speaker, I want to thank you for the opportunity to speak to this bill.
This bill may seem to have little to do with the issue I usually deal with, which is justice. However, when we look at what happened to Bill C-47 in committee and the impact it can have in our respective ridings, we come to realize that everyone in this House should take a particular interest in this bill because of its economic impact and because of the way the opposition, which was calling for changes, was handled or gagged.
The Bloc Quebecois is a sovereignist party, and we do engage in politics. However, when a good bill is before the House, we very often support the government.
At first glance, Bill C-47 seemed like a piece of legislation that we could support. In fact, our finance critic, the member for Saint-Hyacinthe--Bagot, and our assistant critic, the member for Drummond, worked with the government to improve the bill and correct some oversights. We wanted to improve upon it. The negotiations went very well. We even supported the government at second reading. It was at committee that things turned ugly.
One of the roles of the opposition, whether it is the official opposition or a third party like the Bloc Quebecois, which represents a large number of Quebecers, is to voice their concerns, and that is what the Bloc members have done. We stood up for a very important industry in Quebec, the microbrewery industry, which could expand even more if it could be heard.
It was at committee that things turned ugly, when the Bloc Quebecois members wanted to point out a flaw in the bill, because the government forgot—at the beginning we believed it was an oversight—to include beer in the bill on excise tax. We realized that it was no oversight, given the appearance of conflict of interest that everyone is aware of, involving the committee chair and a lobbyist, a very important person who works for the big beer company, Labatt. Because of the links that existed, we realized that it was not an oversight.
This all started—and this comes from the microbreweries—because initially even the big breweries said they supported the microbreweries and lowering the tax. When compared to the U.S. tax, the Canadian excise tax is very high. In the end, we realized that the big breweries were not defending the microbreweries.
For this reason, the Bloc Quebecois tried to have beer included in the bill on excise, so that microbreweries would be treated fairly.
The bill contains just about everything. Nothing is left out. It contains provisions on spirits, wine, cigarettes, everything that can be purchased in Canada, with the exception of beer. This alone raises questions.
I do not understand why the Liberal members are not raising questions. Why are we treating microbreweries differently? Why should beer be different from any other product? I understand that they may presume to be acting in good faith, but once the issue is raised, the members of the government who represent their constituents in their ridings, which probably have microbreweries in them, these members must stand up and tell the government, the Minister of Finance, the Minister of Revenue and those who are responsible for this issues, that they are on the wrong track.
How ironic that only the Bloc Quebecois would stand up to denounce the government's ways. At first, the Canadian Alliance appeared to waiver, but in the end, they will likely support the bill.
Supply April 23rd, 2002
Mr. Speaker, it is not all that clear that Justice Shaw failed to follow the direction provided by the Supreme Court of Canada in the Sharpe decision, because questions are still being asked. No authority has decided to appeal from this decision, so it cannot be all that clear.
In considering an issue such as this, my first thought is that we must look for similarities with other approaches to the criminal code. The strongest analogy that I can see is with hate propaganda. I am not the first one to mention this. Others have looked at the issue of pornography in relation to hate propaganda. Just as hate propaganda must incite, promote or advocate something, so too must child pornography.
Looking at the Shaw decision by the Supreme Court of British Columbia, one realizes that even if that court had not accepted the concept of artistic merit, the accused would have been acquitted anyway. According to the judge who heard the evidence, who examined the documents, who examined the entire matter in a mature manner, knowing full well that this was a highly visible case, the prosecution was not able to prove beyond a reasonable doubt that these works advocated or counselled sexual activity with a person under the age of 18 years. There was no incitement.
Our society abides by the rule of law. We are told this with such frequency in this House that the hon. member must realize it, as must all other members as well. The offence of which a person is accused must be looked at closely. If one wishes to be defended properly, and if one wishes to have a decision based on law, the charges must be looked at. The judge then decides whether the crown has proven its case beyond all reasonable doubt. This is the basis of criminal law in Canada. The crown must prove its case beyond all reasonable doubt.
Is this too much to prove in this case? That is another debate. However, for as long as these rules of law, which have been in place since time immemorial, have not been changed, they have to be applied. This is how criminal law works. The charges must be proven beyond all reasonable doubt.
The judge heard the evidence, saw the pictures, viewed the videotapes, and reached the conclusion that, as far as incitement is concerned, there was none present. That is why Justice Shaw reached the conclusion he did.
This may not be satisfactory to us, but that is not the judge's fault. He merely applied the rules of law. When all is said and done, when these are properly applied, when the evidence has been properly provided, it is my opinion that counsels for both the crown and the defence are satisfied with the way things have been done, particularly with the guidelines provided by the highest court in the land, the Supreme Court of Canada.
Supply April 23rd, 2002
Mr. Speaker, I think that the member hears what he wants to hear. What I said concerns the Young Offenders Act. Furthermore, I noticed that he did not argue this, because his arguments on the distinction lack credibility.
What I said with respect to ten year olds is that the Canadian Alliance members want to lower to ten the age at which the Young Offenders Act applies. They have always been up front about this; they have stated their views repeatedly. Of course, the age of consent is different. What they are saying today is that they want instead to raise it from 14 to 16.
What the Canadian Alliance member does not understand is that they are not being logical from a legislative point of view. They themselves say that a 14 year old can be treated like an adult when it comes to criminal offences. That is what they want; that is what they sought. They are very cosy with the Canadian right and pushed until the Liberal government caved in and lowered the age of criminal responsibility to 14.
Today, these same members want to raise the age of consent from 14 to 16. It is clear to anyone listening that they lack credibility.
Supply April 23rd, 2002
Mr. Speaker, this morning's debate is very important and addresses a very serious matter.
I believe that the Canadian Alliance member who introduced the motion before us has not taken the right approach when it comes to the debate he wants to initiate. If it is true that his objective is to protect young people, he has gone about it the wrong way by wording the motion as he has.
No one can be opposed to the creation of a committee or to the possibility of improving Canadian legislation in order to increase the protection of our children. I would be among the supporters of such a thing, but this is not what we have before us at this time.
If that is what he had in mind, he has gone about it in the wrong way. We could address the entire issue of television violence and the possibility of providing our children with more information in the schools. We could also look at the possibility of holding sensible and balanced discussions on sexuality and young people.
We could also address poverty, the question of extortion in the schools, and the drug issue. Something very close to sexual exploitation can occur when a young person needs money for drugs or something else. We have to look at what is going on in our schools to realize that we can do something about it.
However, this is not how the hon. member has gone about it. Let us not be taken in. In reading today's motion, we can see that it addresses two specific points which come up periodically with the Alliance and before that with the Reform Party.
The first part deals with the age of consent, that is raising the legal age of consent from 14 years to 16. A private member's bill was introduced by the Reform Party during the 36th parliament, and we heard all the speeches then. It did not get through. I will come back to this in more detail later on.
The second part of the motion is in response to the Sharpe judgment. Incidentally, yesterday I listened to speeches in the debate on Bill C-15 that made the hair on my arms stand on end. Whether one agrees or not with the court's ruling is one thing. However, dragging the name of a judge through the mud, as they did, a judge who rendered a decision in the Supreme Court of British Columbia based on the statutes that exist in Canada, that is quite another story.
Justice Shaw rendered a decision. One might argue that is was not the best decision, but then the law must be changed. His decision was based on the law as it currently exists, based on the Canadian Charter of Rights and Freedoms, obviously, but also based on the criminal code.
There is good reason that we do not yet know if this judgment will be appealed or not. That is because there has been no decision yet. It might be wise to give the authorities, the crown attorneys and the government, a chance to decide whether or not they will appeal, but this has yet to happen. However, I challenge the Canadian Alliance to find where the judge made an error in law in this ruling.
Before dragging the judiciary through the mud, as the Alliance did yesterday, which discredits to some extent the position it is taking, I would like them to do some thinking.
I myself have been doing some thinking on the motion we are debating today. Certainly, if I wanted to play petty politics, like the Alliance is doing, I would applaud the motion and say, “Yes, this is terrible. All of these guys who are taking advantage of our young people and abusing them, and so on, they should be thrown in jail, regardless of the legislation and the age”. However, that would not be responsible. We are hear to act responsibly.
Let us compare the past and the present situation. Is there room for improvement? The age of consent of 14 has been around for quite some time. If we look at the criminal code, and even before the criminal code was adopted in 1892, we see that for women—because women accept a great deal—the age of consent has been set at 14 since 1890.
With the introduction of the criminal code, in 1892, this was included, again to protect women. But even then some distinctions had to be made. There were exceptions, because in those days, people were getting married at a very young age, even under 14. All this to say that if we look at the evolution of the legislation, we realize that, since 1892, there was never a full ban on sexual relationships with young girls over the age of 14.
Earlier, a Canadian Alliance member said “I speak as a father”. It just so happens that I too am a father. I have a 12 year old daughter and a nine year old son. They are much more mature than I was when I was their age. Do we have to go backwards? I do not think so. I believe that someone who is not handicapped, who does not have psychological problems, can give consent by age 14. This is not ideal and I do not wish this to anyone, but I think that, in its current wording, and considering the whole related jurisprudence, the criminal code provides good protection. A balance is struck and this is what we must seek.
To engage in petty politics as they want to is one thing, but they should be a little more logical in the process. The political party that is bringing forward this motion to raise the age of consent from 14 to 16 is the same party that is largely responsible for the amendments to the Young Offenders Act to lower the age of criminal responsibility from 16 for 14 for serious offences.
Based on the logic of the Canadian Alliance, a 14 year old who commits a criminal act is fully responsible for his actions and should be tried as an adult. Under the recent legislative changes made, provinces such as Manitoba, Alberta or British Columbia will be allowed to try 14 year olds as adults when they commit certain acts. I can assure the House right now that, in Quebec, we will use a ministerial decree to exclude 14 and 15 year olds from these provisions. This will not be the case in the provinces that are represented by the Canadian Alliance, where right wingers are very influent. They will treat 14 year olds like adults when it comes to criminal offences, but these same young persons would not be old enough to give their consent to sexual relations.
Once again, I urge them to be logical. There is an obvious contradiction here. Just now, I heard them say 10 years old. They even want to lower the age at which the Young Offenders Act would apply to ten. I certainly hope that someone, somewhere, will finally draw the line.
It was largely because of them that the legislation was amended. Fourteen and fifteen year olds will be treated like adult criminals, but the age of consent must be raised to sixteen. This makes absolutely no sense. Even in the criminal code, consent per se is not easily established. There are rules, specific criteria for arguing such consent. It is very complex. Even the supreme court has ruled on this more than once; the criteria are very clear.
Since I am an MP from Quebec, I look at what is being done in Quebec. Under the Quebec civil code, a 14 year old is deemed to be of full age for all acts pertaining to his employment or to the practice of his profession. He is also considered to be old enough to enter into contracts alone to meet his ordinary and usual needs. Under the Quebec civil code, a young person is recognized has having the power of discernment of an adult.
That having been said, at some point, it becomes necessary to amend the legislative provisions if it is felt that they do not reflect what society is prepared to tolerate. In Quebec, as far as the civil code is concerned, 14 year olds may act as adults. They can also be emancipated and take responsibility for some of their actions, although they are not adults. We need to be clear about this. As they mature, they are able to make certain distinctions. Fourteen seems to be a good age as far as the provisions of the criminal code go.
So much for the first part. I have taken the time to speak to this at length because it troubles me. This is not the first time the Canadian Alliance has acted in this way. I would like to see this party be logical in its approach to young people. I too want to protect them, but I also do not want to see their rights endangered.
The second part of the opposition motion consists, as I have said, in opposing the finding in the Sharpe case. As we know, the Sharpe case got to the Supreme Court of Canada, and then was brought back before the courts and retried. Justice Shaw of the British Columbia Supreme Court also brought down a verdict.
The second part opposes all of this. Even in connection with the Supreme Court of Canada's judgment in Sharpe, this set some guidelines and directed the debate properly in a free and democratic society such as ours. I therefore cannot understand the tenacity of the Canadian Alliance on this matter, unless it is for political gain and visibility.
As far as the Sharpe decision is concerned, I shall read a brief excerpt from it:
Accordingly, s. 163.1(4) should be upheld on the basis that the definition of “child pornography” in s. 163.1 should be read as though it contained an exception for: (1) any written material or visual representation created by the accused alone, and held by the accused alone exclusively for his or her own personal use.
Thus, this entire aspect was excluded in a way. Once again, this problem is not going to be solved by lowering the age from 16 to 14. People who have problems are going to continue to have them even if the age of consent in the criminal code is raised to 16 years.
The second part of the judgment reads as follows:
(2) any visual recording, created by or depicting the accused, provided it does not depict unlawful sexual activity and is held by the accused exclusively for private use—
This is understandable. The man in question may be unbalanced. I am not familiar with his specific situation. As far as the legal and criminal aspect is concerned, however, as well as application of the criminal code or the charter of rights and freedoms, at some point guidelines have to be set, as I have said. And we are within them.
If we do what the Canadian Alliance wants us to do—I do not know if they have thought about it—which is to go against the ruling made by the Supreme Court of Canada, to try to do in the legislative branch what the courts did not do in the judiciary branch, because they applied the Canadian Charter of Rights and Freedoms, this means that it would even be prepared to promote the use of the notwithstanding clause.
Did the Canadian Alliance say that it was prepared to use the notwithstanding clause to sort of validate the approach that it is proposing in its motion this morning?
I clearly remember that the Canadian Alliance was opposed to using the notwithstanding clause in the fight against organized crime, even though organized crime is a scourge that may be even more serious. I am not saying that pornography is not important. That is not the point. But in terms of the impact, of the monitoring problems, organized crime remains an even broader issue.
I think the Canadian Alliance is failing, both as regards raising the age of consent from 14 to 16 and blocking the decision in Sharpe. Therefore, going ahead with this motion would not make any sense.
If we look at the decision made by Justice Shaw, we realize that even the evidence adduced by the crown was insufficient to demonstrate beyond any reasonable doubt that the writings were advocating or encouraging sexual activity with a person under the age of 18.
Also, let us not forget that the individual was found guilty regarding the pictures, the use of films, etc. There is a whole part to which the criminal code could be applied, and properly so, when the evidence was adduced.
As for the other part, B.C. Supreme Court Justice Shaw even said that he did not have proof beyond any reasonable doubt that this individual, through his book, was advocating or encouraging sexual activity with a person under the age of 18.
Again, the Canadian Alliance is going about this the wrong way if it really wants to solve this problem, because the motion that it is moving would do nothing to solve this aspect, given that the judge had no proof. This is why I am saying that the Alliance had no reason to drag the judge's name through the mud because of this decision, because it was well founded when it comes to the issue of proof. This motion will do nothing to solve the problem.
I shall end my remarks here. Obviously, when it comes to the principle, the Bloc Quebecois will always fight to protect young people more. There is no problem when it comes to this.
We have introduced a number of private bills specifically to protect young people, whether it be from violence on television, drugs, or taxing. We have always been ready to intervene, and especially to improve legislation to protect youth. When the issue is clear, we support it. When it is vague, as is the case with the motion before the House, when it is not clear and says just about anything, that is a different story.
Yesterday, during question period, following a question from a member of the Canadian Alliance, I saw that the Liberals are interpreting it quite differently, very broadly. This proves that we do not even understand the motion in the same way. Based on the speeches made this morning, it is clear where the Canadian Alliance is heading with this, without spelling it out in the motion.
For all of these reasons, we do not support the motion, and I personally will be voting against it.
Young Offenders April 17th, 2002
Mr. Speaker, if the minister had come to Quebec before the bill was passed, he would have seen that the Canadian approach with young offenders does not reflect the reality in our province. Worse still, it denies this reality by not allowing Quebec to do things differently.
While Quebec recognizes—and accepts— the different Canadian approach with young offenders, Canada just cannot live with such diversity and imposes its centralizing views on Quebecers.
Is this the legacy of 1982?
Young Offenders April 17th, 2002
Mr. Speaker, in 1982, the Prime Minister and his colleagues set the tone for the future by giving themselves the right to change fundamental things without Quebec's consent. The same thing happened again 20 years later regarding young offenders, when the federal government imposed its repressive approach on Quebec, ignoring the Quebec consensus.
Will the Prime Minister admit that the approach that prevailed in 1982 with the unilateral patriation of the constitution is the same one that forced Quebec to abandon a rehabilitation approach that had proven successful with young offenders?
The environment April 12th, 2002
Mr. Speaker, every spring the banks of the St. Lawrence are damaged by the spring runoff, the ice breakup and the wash from passing vessels, thus dangerously accelerating the erosion of its islands and shores. Since the Liberals took over in 1993, only a pittance has been invested to protect these banks, while Toronto has received $1 billion to revitalize its lakeshore area.
When is the government going to create a similar program, in conjunction with the government of Quebec, for the protection of the banks of the St. Lawrence, and particularly for the protection of those living along the river?