- On the Parliament site
Last in Parliament October 2000, as Bloc MP for Frontenac—Mégantic (Québec)
Lost his last election, in 2000, with 42.27% of the vote.
Statements in the House
Petitions October 18th, 2000
Mr. Speaker, I have the honour to present a petition supported by close to 1,000 residents of the Thetford Mines region.
These petitioners back Mr. Dominique Huot in calling for the CRTC to regulate the volume of television advertisements so that the number of decibels remains uniform. This regulation would provide some peace and quiet to the public, especially its older members.
Needless to say, I support these signatories and encourage their organizer, Mr. Huot, to continue his battle to have some peace and quiet in our living rooms.
Asbestos September 26th, 2000
Mr. Speaker, today in Montreal, communities in the Asbestos and Thetford regions are launching a pro asbestos movement. This dynamic organization will act as a counterweight internationally to the anti asbestos lobby, which for a number of years has been lowering the value of this product, with its exceptional qualities.
I congratulate the workers who initiated this movement and its spokespersons, Laurent Lessard and Rolland Beaulieu. I also wish them considerable success in the many projects they have planned, including a visit to Geneva in support of Quebec City and Ottawa, which are appealing the decision of the WTO on France's ban on asbestos.
I invite the Council of Canadians and the NDP, which oppose Ottawa's appeal in this matter, to follow the activities of the pro asbestos movement. Their position makes it clear once again how little they know Quebecers and how incapable they are of defending their interests.
Species At Risk Act September 19th, 2000
So we have the same milk, the same cow, and two ministers of agriculture. We will end up with an endangered species and two environment ministers, one in Ottawa and one in Quebec City. It will take so long to reach agreement that the endangered species will have time to disappear completely from Canada or Quebec. It is not appropriate to have squabbles over endangered animals.
Two weeks ago I experienced a wonderful example of harmonious co-operation in Stratford, in the regional county municipality of Granit Cambior, Ducks Unlimited, the municipality of Stratford and Mayor Gaétan Côté, and the regional municipality got together and invested $2.5 million to restore the former Sullivan mine sites. Now that the site has been restored, there are more than 170 species which can be found there again after a period of total absence. This was accomplished without the federal government and without any squabbling.
There are enough problems at the present time. In the health field, agreement has been reached precisely because the problem originated with the federal government, which once again wanted to meddle in areas of provincial jurisdiction. Fortunately the agreement between Messrs Harris and Bouchard managed to overcome the resistance of the Quebec MP representing Saint-Maurice, who would not listen to reason and was prepared to again stir up things between Quebec and Ottawa in order to raise his prestige in English Canada. We are familiar with his recipe: jump on Quebec in order to get English Canada on your side. Fortunately it did not work this time.
We can see that there is unified opposition to Bill C-33, by all opposition parties in this House, the great majority of environmental groups, the major companies whose operations involve large tracts of land, such as pulp and paper companies, and the mining association. I would forewarn hon. members that the Bloc Quebecois will do everything it can to stop this bill from moving through the House.
Species At Risk Act September 19th, 2000
Mr. Speaker, in 1867, when some twenty Fathers of Confederation laid the very foundations of Canadian society, they were not in the least bit concerned about endangered animals and other environmental issues. That is why today, with regard to endangered species as well as to the environment, we see federal interference in an area under provincial jurisdiction.
With regard to environment, as shown by agreements between provinces and the federal government, we have come to the conclusion that when a problem affects more than one province or a neighbouring country, the United States for example, it comes under federal jurisdiction. When the environmental problem is within a province, it comes under the province's jurisdiction. This is well understood and it works well. We must acknowledge that sometimes it goes beyond the jurisdictions of more than two countries and affects every country on this planet, since we breathe the same air and drink the same water.
With respect to endangered species, it must be pointed out that four provinces, including Quebec, have already passed strong laws, even better than Bill C-33, which is a reincarnation of Bill C-65 that died on the Order Paper and was sponsored Sergio Marchi, who was then the minister responsible.
Since 1989, more than eleven years ago, Quebec has had its own legislation to protect endangered animals. Now in the year 2000 the federal government wants to play an active role and, once again to encroach upon areas under provincial jurisdiction, again by using its spending authority.
From the point of view of the ordinary citizen, we cannot be against Bill C-33 since there are more than 70,000 animal species in Canada. On these, 340 are at risk. We must give them every chance to survive. We need only think of the peregrine falcon. It is estimated that 12 species disappeared in the last few years.
Of course, if I taught ecology in grade eight, all of my pupils would tell me that something has to be done. And it is true. Well, Quebec did take action and was followed by three other provinces, including Alberta. We have our own act, we are enforcing it and things are working well.
Until recently, the federal government did not care much about the protection of species facing extinction on its own land, that is in federal parks. But suddenly, it has come forward and wants to interfere in an area under provincial jurisdiction. Quebec will never accept, as it has already been had with overlaps and with direct theft by the federal government.
Members should remember that during the war, the federal government took over the power to resort to direct taxation, supposedly for only a few years. The war ended in 1945, which is more than 55 years ago, but we pay more and more taxes directly to Ottawa.
With Bill C-33, the federal government is still trying to encroach indirectly on provincial jurisdiction. Worse still, the bill purports to protect habitats. I agree that the habitats must be protected. The government of Quebec currently protects the habitats of animals, primarily those threatened with extinction. If this bill were passed, what about cutting rights, for example, of spruce trees which are natural resources and therefore under provincial jurisdiction? Well, Quebecers would have to obtain Ottawa's approval to cut down a mature forest.
We know federal bureaucracy. It does not happen in a week. It can take two years to get an answer. We write to ministers and sometimes it can take six months to get an answer, an acknowledgement. Getting approval for cutting rights will take two, three or four years.
No, Bill C-33 must not be passed as it stands. Worse yet, clause 34 of the bill provides that the minister may establish jurisdiction over a province by order in council, if, after summary discussion, he does not feel that things are being done the way he likes, that the province is dragging its heels.
He would quite simply treat a province rather like a large or small municipality depending on the province. Worse yet, we have before us another fine example of structural duplication. It usually creates a lot of discontent and costs a lot of money.
I point this out all the time to my dairy producers, who have a cow and a quota. As we know, quotas today are mixed, that is a combination of unprocessed and fluid milk. While the fluid milk is under Quebec's jurisdiction, milk used in processing to make butter or something else comes under the jurisdiction of the department of agriculture in Ottawa. So there you are, with two ministers of agriculture trying to lead the same cow.
Petitions June 13th, 2000
Mr. Speaker, I am pleased to present this petition urging the House of Commons to take a stand in order to bring an end to the dizzying increases in the price of gasoline.
The report on Radio-Canada, last night, proves without any doubt that the major refineries in Canada are abusing their monopoly position.
Therefore, it is my privilege to table this petition signed by a great number of citizens of the town of Thetford and the surrounding area.
Species At Risk Act June 12th, 2000
Mr. Speaker, it is a known fact that the government of this Prime Minister is looking every day for confrontation with Quebec.
As a matter of fact, last Saturday in Drummondville near my riding, the majority of the Liberal Party of Canada riding association presidents asked the Prime Minister to put an end to this confrontation.
The case in point this morning is Bill C-33, an act respecting the protection of wildlife species at risk.
It so happens that the Canadian Constitution that was patriated by this Prime Minister in 1982 clearly says that sedentary animals, the hare, for example, which lives on a very small territory of no more than one square kilometre, are under provincial jurisdiction, while animals that roam across the North American continent are under federal jurisdiction, and Quebec accepts that. Why does the Minister for the Environment want, once again, to grab powers that belong to the provinces?
I see Bill C-33 as a new source of confrontation. When will the Prime Minister and the Cabinet respect once and for all the provinces and Quebec?
I would like to ask my colleague, the member for Jonquière, who is our critic for the environment, if she could tell us how she intends to try to bring back the Minister for the Environment to his senses, now and in the future.
Supply June 6th, 2000
Mr. Speaker, in the present debate, what we are dealing with is an escape route for the Prime Minister and his government.
I would like to ask the House leader of the Progressive Conservative Party whether he might not agree to invite the Liberal Party, with the Prime Minister at its head, to call a general election for early autumn, the main theme of which would be Human Resources Development Canada and its minister, his little favourite, the daughter of the former leader of the Ontario Liberal Party.
Supply June 6th, 2000
Mr. Speaker, the motion before us, and upon which we will be called upon to vote this evening, is about whether or not we authorize the House of Commons to establish a commission to conduct an independent inquiry into the misappropriation of funds at Human Resources Development Canada.
From what I see, all of the hon. members on this side of the floor are going to vote in favour of this motion. It must be an embarrassment to the Liberal members to have to vote against a motion that is intended to get their fat out of the fire. According to this morning's papers, the Minister of Human Resources Development is in a hopeless mess from which there is no escape.
The Canadian Alliance is offering this government a way out of this mess. I wonder what the hon. member's intentions are in this connection and whether we could not help the Liberals out of the mess they are in by inviting them to support this motion for an independent inquiry.
Supply June 6th, 2000
Mr. Speaker, in the riding of Saint-Maurice, many of the jobs created involve the RCMP, but these are temporary jobs for people who do not live in the riding; i.e. RCMP officers.
So, Groupe Force in the riding of Saint-Maurice apparently obtained $1.5 million, and it is also under investigation. There is some extremely disgraceful misappropriation of money going on.
Modes Conili, $720,000; its owners and the use actually made of the grant are being investigated. Is this related to hidden patronage?
This case, as is very well known, involves a Liberal from Cape Breton, Nova Scotia, who received a contribution of $1.3 million for job creation, but things did not go very well. No real jobs were created.
In the Toronto area, the Community Alliance for Neighbourhood Development apparently obtained $100,000 fraudulently. The figure may even be as high as $1.15 million.
Elsewhere, in New Brunswick, Atlantic Furniture Manufacturing received $280,000 and not only did the plant not create any jobs, but it did not even open its doors. It is an unbelievable fiasco, a misappropriation of public money.
Supply June 6th, 2000
Mr. Speaker, as you know I have memorized all the recommendations. However, I fear I may confuse recommendation No. 30 with recommendation No. 31.
So that I do not get too muddled, I would like to point out to the chair of the human resources development committee that the Minister of Intergovernmental Affairs visited my riding a week and a half ago. I was very surprised to see, and I have to look into this more, that he was accompanied by the director general of Human Resources Development Canada in Thetford Mines.
Are Human Resources Development Canada personnel being politicized to the point of serving as political organizers or advance men or confidants of the Minister of Intergovernmental Affairs? This is called using the public service for partisan purposes.
You are bleeding the coffers of Human Resources Development Canada in order to get re-elected and now you are going to require the representatives of the department in each of Canada's regions to accompany Liberal candidates. This is a scandal. And we wonder—