Last in Parliament April 1997, as Bloc MP for Manicouagan (Québec)
Won his last election, in 1993, with 54.98% of the vote.
Statements in the House
Information Centres December 11th, 1996
Mr. Speaker, let us call a spade a spade. Will the minister admit that there is only one thing involved here: patronage?
Information Centres December 11th, 1996
Mr. Speaker, my question is for the Minister of Human Resources Development.
Until November 1, there were 126 people working in 11 Quebec information centres, 66 of these people in Montreal, and the other 60 distributed throughout the Saguenay-Lac-Saint-Jean, Quebec City, Outaouais, Eastern Townships, Eastern Quebec and North Shore regions. According to certain sources, the government apparently intends to close 9 of the 11 information centres as early as February of 1997.
Will the minister confirm that his government intends to close nine information centres, retaining only two: one in Montreal, which is totally logical from a geographical point of view, and the other, purely coincidentally, in the Prime Minister's riding, in Shawinagan?
Natashquan December 5th, 1996
Mr. Speaker, next Saturday, December 7, an extraordinary event will take place in my constituency, when the highway between Havre-Saint-Pierre and Natashquan will be officially opened. After several years of hard work by the offices of both politicians and local administrators, the communities of Baie-Johan-Beetz, Aquanish, Pointe-Parent and Natashquan will finally be linked to the rest of the North American road system.
The poet, songwriter and singer Gilles Vigneault, who made this small area of our country famous, will honour us with his presence.
Natashquan is now a tourist destination accessible to everyone. With its breathtaking scenery and the warm hospitality of its residents, the region is now ready to share its beauty and its treasures with the rest of the world.
Everyone is welcome.
Security Officers November 27th, 1996
Mr. Speaker, my question is for the Minister of Labour.
On October 24, Bradson Mercantile Inc. locked out its 365 security officers and immediately replaced them with scabs. The security officers employed by Bradson are assigned to supply protection at several sites in the Ottawa-Carleton region.
Does the minister think it is acceptable that approximately 273 scabs provide protection at 32 federal government buildings in the Ottawa-Carleton region, including 2 at Elections Canada, 20 at the Museum of Nature and no fewer than 50 at Statistics Canada?
Rehabilitation Of Young Offenders November 26th, 1996
Mr. Speaker, last week, the justice and judicial affairs committee heard stakeholders from every region of Canada as it toured the country. The purpose of its tour was to gather ideas about what changes should be included in the bill to amend the Young Offenders Act.
The Bloc Quebecois applauds this clear shift toward diversion programs. I do hope the minister will recognize that providing young people with rehabilitation opportunities is a key objective and that a justice system that tries to keep our youth out of prison really is the way of the future.
The people of Quebec are proud to see that Quebec's initiative in the administration of justice for young offenders has become an example that provinces and organizations in Canada have chosen to follow.
Telecommunications November 22nd, 1996
Mr. Speaker, my question is for the industry minister.
Last week, the industry minister issued an information sheet aimed at consumers of direct-to-home satellite broadcasting services and stipulating that it might be a crime for consumers to have equipment used to pick up non-authorized American signals in Canada. The industry minister is relying on importers, suppliers and retailers of satellite broadcasting material to relay this information to consumers.
Does the minister expect that those who sold this equipment and who contributed to create the problem will be able to enforce his regulations?
Canada Labour Code November 19th, 1996
Madam Speaker, labour ministers have been coming and going for three years, and they have all promised us a renewed Canada Labour Code. It was supposed to be a little marvel.
Well, a few weeks ago, the minister finally delivered this little marvel. The bill is not all bad, but it certainly is no marvel. Some aspects of the bill are what we could call an improvement, but others are deficient. Let us look first at something that I have noticed as being a small improvement.
I am talking here about the recognition of the family residence as a place of work. We have to live in 1996. We are approaching the 21st century. Things have changed and it has become normal. It is a good thing that the government has thought of including this in the Canada Labour Code. Such a decision must have been inspired by certain speeches from members of the Bloc Quebecois.
It is important that the Canada Labour Code create a balance of power. I was listening to my colleagues opposite who were praising the newly tabled bill. They were saying that, finally, there was a balance of power, continually claiming that the balance that existed before had even been improved.
A few moments ago, when talking about the antiscab legislation in Quebec, a member even said that it was out of date, that we had to live in 1996 and that the labour environment had changed. It is sad to hear these kinds of things. We know that the antiscab legislation has been in force in Quebec since 1977 and that this province keeps getting good results with regard to the length and the contents of negotiations.
Everybody is happy, including unions and management, because strikes do not last as long. Everybody is happy. We must not forget that, when there is a strike, there is a picket line, of course, but these people on the picket line have families, spouses, children. Families are affected by a strike, and the impact then extends to businesses, services, etc.
I will not enumerate all those affected by a strike, but the impact goes far beyond the striking workers. It is often said that they are spoiled children earning $12 an hour who want $13 and therefore go on strike for 6 months. It is much more than that. People who go on strike are seeking a better quality of life.
A strike is a balance of power. If provisions are not added to the Canada Labour Code prohibiting replacement workers, it is a sign that the balance of power is being ignored, that it is acceptable for one of the parties to be stronger than the other.
And then they wonder why there is violence on picket lines, why people are frustrated. When there is no balance of power, people are frustrated. It is only normal, people are like that. In a nutshell, the Liberal government's complete lack of will to ban replacement workers is the most important weakness in this reform. It is obvious that there is no will to do anything about the issue. I will come back to this later.
Another aspect not often mentioned is the minister's powers. The Sims report recommended taking away some of the minister's powers, but this bill adds to them instead. In addition to some fifteen possible interventions by the minister in the bargaining process, another one is added: the power to order a union to hold a vote on the employer's latest offers. Nobody else, just the union. This is interference in the administration of the central labour body affected by the conflict. In my opinion, this is really biased. It comes close to being-I will not use the word-but I will say that it is biased, to be very nice.
Where does it say in the Canada Labour Code that the minister can force a company to act on sincere offers from the union? The underlying theme is always that the union is dishonest. It may well happen that a union is dishonest. An employer could be as well, but there is still a marked imbalance here.
I am afraid I am running out of time, so I will concentrate on my next point, which is that the minister denied a request by the Public Service Alliance of Canada to be regulated by the Canada Labour Code and not by the Public Service Staff Relations Act. We could also add the RCMP, the only police force in this country-and there are a lot of people in this country, 27 million-which does not have the right to unionize. Talk about image! Their horses might have a better chance of joining a union than they would. This does not make sense. After all, this is 1996.
Earlier, I heard members say that in 1977, Quebec's legislation was rather obsolete. I just want to read to you a recommendation concerning Canada Post. As you know, negotiations are taking place at this time. Now this is what could happen without anti-scab provisions. "Recommendation No. 15, that if the collective bargaining process does not produce the necessary adjustments without interruption of service-I am talking about postal services-the government be prepared to take appropriate steps to protect the immediate public interest and ensure the long term financial viability of a strategically repositioned Canada Post Corporation".
Adding this to the Canada Labour Code means that Canada Post could hire scabs at any time, and we know what the consequences have been in the past. It is a mystery to me why they still fail to understand the risks involved in hiring scabs. But Recommendation No. 15 is clear: if you do not accept, we have the right to hire scabs, and we will. This is highly unusual.
One last point, because I know my time is running out. Right next door we have Bradson Mercantile which provides security services for the government in buildings scattered all over Hull and Ottawa. Its employees are now on strike. Scabs were hired to replace them. So what happened recently? It is just not done, but I feel I must tell you about it. Employees attended a meeting where they were told that a vote would be held to find out whether they were in favour of going back to work. And imagine, 30 scabs were there to vote as well. Seventeen people voted in favour of going back to work.
This means that some scabs voted against these people going back to work. That is what can happen under the Canada Labour Code when there is no anti-scab bill. Of course these scabs voted against the employees' going back to work, as their livelihoods depend on the lack of an agreement between the parties. They came to influence the vote because if the other people went back to work and the dispute was resolved, they would lose their jobs. So they took part in the vote. This is serious.
The government turns a blind eye to this kind of abuse, as far as the Canada Labour Code is concerned, to allow workers to establish what the hon. member for Mercier referred to earlier as "l'équilibre des forces". It should not be a privilege but a right. Fairness and balance should be what the Canada Labour Code is all about. But it is not, and there are many cases of abuse like the examples I just gave you and those my colleagues gave you this morning.
In concluding, I am disappointed because of certain shortcomings in the Canada Labour Code.
The Member For Vaudreuil October 23rd, 1996
Mr. Speaker, since the House resumed this fall, the Liberal members from Quebec are using the period for statements by members to launch petty attacks on the Quebec government and all sovereignists.
Yesterday, the member for Vaudreuil took this anti-Quebec offensive one step further. The Liberal member attacked an article in Montreal's La Presse .
The article, which appeared in the arts and theatre section, dealt with a film about the referendum and noted that, in it, the federalist option was essentially defended by anglophones and new Canadians. This brief comment in a review of an NFB film was not to his liking.
We know all about these Liberals, who for years have been trying to control the CBC. Now they want to control all print media, silence the sovereignist opposition and turn our media into branch offices of the federal Liberal Pravda . How sad and how cynical.
Canada Labour Code October 22nd, 1996
moved for leave to introduce Bill C-337, an act to amend the Canada Labour Code.
Mr. Speaker, this is the second anti-scab bill I have introduced in the House. This one takes a somewhat different approach, although the objectives are still the same, the only objectives debated and defended by the Bloc Quebecois here in the House of Commons. And we will go on doing so. Only the approach is different.
The House will recall that the previous bill was voted down with a majority of only ten votes. I have reason to believe that the approach I have taken in this particular bill will get us the majority we need to initiate legislation that will eliminate the use of scabs by firms regulated by the Canada Labour Code.
(Motions deemed adopted, bill read the first time and printed.)
Prisons And Reformatories Act September 17th, 1996
Mr. Speaker, before I was elected, I worked in a prison for five years, and I say this with humour, because it is rather strange. Five years during which we would take an inmate to court every day and hear all the incredible stories about what may have happened: from shoplifting to feed one's family to the foulest crimes, through extortions, drug dealing, major cases where tons of drugs had been shipped to the North Shore. This was no small operation; we do not do things by halves, where I come from. So, I heard these stories for five years.
When I was elected, on October 25, I said to my wife, among other things, that there would be a change, that I would not hear about major murders any more. It could not happen. We were going to the House of Commons; we were not going there to tell stories, but to work, to improve the fate of a society we believe in.
Well, I was wrong again. Every time a Reform member stands up to talk about a criminal case, he always tells a story about some foul crime that happened in his area. I have great respect for the Reform members, but other things happen as well. They always talk about the 10 percent failure rate, but there is a 90 percent success rate in social rehabilitation services. This means that 90 per cent of the people who go through a social rehabilitation process turn out well.
Of course, I sympathize with victims of crime. Everyone sympathizes with them. It would not make sense to do otherwise. But if one believes in a functional system, at one point, one stops talking about a minority of cases and says: "Let us do something to correct that".
From that moment on, one must have a positive attitude, and work at amending bills for the better. One cannot be content with voicing opposition, and make one's point by telling a story that happened in one's riding, by talking about the length of the knife or the pools of blood. Even Alfred Hitchcock did not go that far. We must draw the line somewhere.
I would like to ask the member for Fraser Valley West to tell me, in no more than two or three sentences, what the Reform Party recipe for the ideal system of reintegration is. What is their recipe?