House of Commons photo

Last in Parliament April 1997, as Bloc MP for Abitibi (Québec)

Won his last election, in 1993, with 45.88% of the vote.

Statements in the House

Women's Success In Sports April 7th, 1997

Mr. Speaker, today the Bloc Quebecois warmly congratulates the Canadian women's hockey team, for yesterday's victory in the Women's World Hockey Championship, in Kitchener, Ontario.

With this championship win, the Canadian team remains unbeaten, having won four tournaments in a row.

Our warmest congratulations to all of them, and to Nancy Drolet in particular for scoring a hat trick goal at 12 minutes, 59 seconds of overtime, to bag the championship.

The Bloc Quebecois also wishes to call attention to the performances of Nathalie Lambert, Isabelle Charest, Christine Boudrias, Annie Perreault and Catherine Dussault for their silver team medal at the World Short Track Speedskating Championships in Seoul.

The Bloc Quebecois salutes all of these women, whose success in sports is the result of the many years of long, hard training they have put into it.

Abitibi-Consolidated March 10th, 1997

Mr. Speaker, we have just learned that the new Abitibi-Consolidated, a merger of Stone Consolidated and Abitibi-Price, has decided to locate its head office in Montreal.

Abitibi-Consolidated is thus joining other companies like Avenor, Donohue, Tembec, Cascades and Kruger, which also have their head offices in Montreal. This good news means that Montreal can consolidate its role as a major player in the pulp and paper industry.

The new company, whose annual sales top $4 billion, becomes the world's top producer of newsprint; 54 per cent of its jobs will be divided among 14 plants set up in Quebec.

In addition, the presence of numerous other head offices of paper manufacturers, forestry research and training centres, and the Canadian Pulp and Paper Association, is a clear indication of Montreal's strong position in the pulp and paper sector.

We are delighted at this news and welcome Abitibi-Consolidated to Montreal.

Mining Industry February 18th, 1997

Mr. Speaker, wollastonite is a little known mineral, a white crystalline substance used in the manufacture of plastics, ceramics and paint. Production of this mineral has doubled over the past decade. This is good news for the first wollastonite mine in Canada, which is located in Quebec near Saint-Ludger-de-Milot.

At the present time, annual production is forecast at over 50,000 tonnes, and the mine has the potential for expanding its production to 85,000 tonnes. Such forecasts are, of course, forecasts as well of economic growth and increased employment for Quebecers.

Thanks to such initiatives, the mining industry has become a pillar of the Quebec economy, providing close to 17,500 people with jobs. In order for this progress to continue, I am asking the government to turn its promises into concrete actions and to do away with the costly duplication in regulations which is hindering investment in Quebec's mining industry.

Supply February 13th, 1997

Mr. Speaker, I would like to ask my colleague, who spoke about the federal government's many failings with respect to transportation policy, to talk about something he perhaps forgot, but since my colleague represents a region, I would like him to talk about the federal government's uniform policy of requiring regions to prove that they have a large enough clientele to support their airport, to maintain railway lines, when, in the regions, the means of transportation are related to regional development. So, if we do not have a uniform Canada--

because Canada is not uniform; there is an urban Canada and a regional Canada-the government's transportation policy should reflect this situation and provide the regions with the means to develop.

Nuclear Safety And Control Act February 12th, 1997

Mr. Speaker, I am pleased to rise in this House to speak to Bill C-23 at third reading.

As my Liberal colleague mentioned, I have done considerable work on this bill. I thought that nuclear energy was a very serious matter, and that, since the old act had been around for 50 years, a great deal of attention would have to be given to improving it.

I would like to take this opportunity to explain my point of view, which is that Bill C-23 will have to be transparent so things can be put in context.

While the existing act encompasses both the regulatory and developmental aspects of nuclear activities, this enactment disconnects the two functions, provides a distinct identity to the regulatory agency. It replaces the Atomic Energy Control Board with the Canadian Nuclear Safety Commission, underlining its separate role from that of Atomic Energy of Canada Ltd. The role of the latter agency is to promote the sale of CANDU reactors, among other things. It also oversees the federal research, development and marketing organization for nuclear and atomic energy.

Since the act was first adopted in 1946, the mandate of the regulatory agency has evolved from one chiefly concerned with national security to one which focuses primarily on the control of the health and environmental safety consequences of nuclear activities.

This enactment provides the Canadian Nuclear Safety Commission with a mandate to establish and enforce national standards in

this area. It also establishes a basis for implementing Canada's policy of fulfilling its obligations with respect to the non-proliferation of nuclear weapons.

This new philosophy underlying Bill C-23 establishes a very reasonable basis for attaining objectives, but perhaps not enough time has been allowed to take a 50-year-old enactment and turn it into a modern piece of legislation. It must be remembered that the bill replaces a 50-year-old enactment dealing primarily with national security. It must be kept in mind that in 1950, after World War II, there was more interest in linking nuclear energy with bombs for war time use. Gradually the desire developed to show Canadians that this energy could also be a safe, easily produced, low cost, clean energy source.

Mr. Speaker, there are not many of us here, and the House is not really paying much attention. In light of the events that have taken place, and in order to continue this debate in a more serious manner, I therefore move:

That the House do now adjourn.

Is it the pleasure of the House to adopt the motion?

Nuclear Safety And Control Act February 12th, 1997

Mr. Speaker, I have an interesting question for the Liberal member, who is also the chairman of the Standing Committee on Natural Resources. The hon. member said this is a very important bill for the health and safety of Canadians.

I asked the natural resources committee to amend clause 3, which reads:

The purpose of this Act is to provide for a ) the limitation, to a reasonable level- of the risks- associated with the development, production and use of nuclear energy and the production, possession and use of nuclear substances, prescribed equipment, etc.

I would like the hon. member to tell me why he did not accept the amendment I proposed in committee. My amendment provided that the limitation should be not to a reasonable level, but to a minimum level. It is important for Canadians to understand that, when it comes to nuclear energy, the acceptable threshold should not really be the acceptable level, but that we should work to arrive at a minimum level. Given the current technology, this should be possible.

Could the hon. member tell me why he did not agree with this amendment, which sought to protect the well-being of Canadians?

Nuclear Safety And Control Act February 12th, 1997

Mr. Speaker, are we debating Bill C-23, dealing with the nuclear safety commission?

Nuclear Safety And Control Act February 4th, 1997

Mr. Speaker, Group No. 8 contains the last two motions, namely Motions Nos. 18 and 19. Every board dealing with the government is normally required to submit reports to the House. It would be appropriate for the bill before us, Bill C-23, to provide for the commission to submit a report to the minister at the end of each fiscal year and for this report to be tabled in the House.

For an organization as important as the Atomic Energy Control Board, the fact that reports will be tabled in the House would foster transparency. Not only would its weaknesses and improvements become apparent, but public confidence in our institutions would be enhanced as a result.

In that sense, Motions Nos. 18 and 19, which are identical except for a few technical details, tend to foster the notion that the House should exercise a tight control on the commission's activities and the commission should be made accountable to the public.

Nuclear Safety And Control Act February 4th, 1997

Mr. Speaker, I will speak briefly to Group No. 7, which comprises Motions Nos. 16 and 17. In essence, the bill contained something of a technical defect, with no provision for particular situations. I will read the clause in question:

51.1 No person shall be found guilty of an offence under this Act or a regulation made thereunder if the person establishes that he or she exercised all due diligence to prevent its commission.

The notion of due diligence already exists in jurisprudence. It is even found in the Canadian Environmental Protection Act, from which Bill C-23 is drawn. I believe all members of the House of Commons should approve this amendment.

The government itself recognized this flaw and proposed Motion No. 17, which is essentially identical, except that it takes into account section 50, which excludes people who might voluntarily go around with a miniature nuclear bomb, for example, so they cannot go to court and be exonerated for this oversight.

So I imagine we will not have to debate this bill at length and we will all agree that it should be corrected.

Nuclear Safety And Control Act February 4th, 1997

Mr. Speaker, the group of motions we are now considering includes Motions No. 10, 11, 12 and 13. These motions suggest that industry be consulted so as to ensure that the costs it is required to bear are not prohibitive, so that it has an opportunity to suggest solutions to problems, rather than have solutions imposed by the commission.

Industries have, for many years, had to adjust to international competition in order to stay competitive. They have had to find simpler procedures, with less infrastructure, that allow them to reach the same objectives, while cutting costs by one half or one third.

If these amendments are included in the bill, it will give Canada's nuclear industry greater flexibility and improve its competitiveness on foreign markets, with which it will henceforth be on an equal footing. I propose that Motions Nos. 10 and 11 be approved.

This same group also includes Motion No. 13, which is based on a different philosophy. We think that the public should have better access to information. To this end, public information should appear not just in the Canada Gazette but also in the newspapers.

We were told in committee that this method could be very expensive. That may be so, if the intention is to use the mass media to disseminate the commission's decisions. But today there are some very economical means of dissemination, such as the Internet. It is therefore possible to spend less to attain this objective and thus serve Canadians.