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Crucial Fact

  • His favourite word was colleague.

Last in Parliament March 2011, as Conservative MP for Pontiac (Québec)

Lost his last election, in 2011, with 29.50% of the vote.

Statements in the House

United Nations Security Council Resolution Concerning Libya March 21st, 2011

Mr. Chair, that is indeed an important question.

Everyone will recall that when we had the take note emergency debate on Egypt, I indicated that among the things we wanted the new authorities in Egypt to support was the whole question of religious freedoms. We have made that quite clear. I made that perfectly clear to its foreign minister, as well as its prime minister.

When I was there on Wednesday, I had the opportunity of speaking to authorities from the civil society and the youth I met all called upon the new way of looking at how this is going to be introduced. They certainly want a de-radicalization of the elements that have been creating difficulties in that country for so long.

We have been outspoken on this specific issue. The Prime Minister, the Minister of Citizenship, Immigration and Multiculturalism and I stand for religious freedom. We have to remember that this party finds its roots in what John Diefenbaker and the bill of rights and religious freedoms stood for.

United Nations Security Council Resolution Concerning Libya March 21st, 2011

Mr. Chair, I will take the first question under advisement and will be able to discuss it.

In terms of the end game, it is not up to Canada to decide who stays and runs which country. It is up to the people of Libya. It is up to those who are fighting to continue what Amr Moussa called the winds of change that are sweeping across the Middle East as well as North Africa, and to be able to make sure that the conditions to favour that do exist.

Therefore, it is not up to Canada to say this or that individual does not have the authority, legitimacy or the right to govern and be in place in such-and-such a country. It is up the population. It is up to the people. That is, indeed, what Canada is promoting in terms of foreign policy, fostering and promoting democracy, the rule of law and human rights. Those are the things we stand for and that we want put in place in those countries.

United Nations Security Council Resolution Concerning Libya March 21st, 2011

Mr. Chair, we have been extremely active on the diplomatic front. Last week I had the opportunity to travel to Europe to participate in the G8 foreign ministers meeting where this issue was discussed. I then proceeded to Cairo to meet Amr Moussa, the Secretary General of the Arab League on Wednesday. I had the opportunity of seeing him once again on Saturday in Paris.

What is important here is the coming together and the building of a consensus among the like-minded and the members of the Arab League, the African Union, the countries that participate quite actively on the UN Security Council.

The operation over the course of the last several days and indeed over the last couple of weeks has been to build that consensus to ensure that we put an end to the violence that is occurring and stop the bloodshed and make sure that the humanitarian assistance to provide shelter, et cetera, which I indicated in my speech a few moments ago is in the vicinity of $6.5 million, is available.

Members may recall my colleague, as well as the Prime Minister, indicated that the frigate HMCS Charlottetown was on its way. We deployed it specifically to help with the humanitarian deployment for Canada and to ensure that the 750,000 Egyptians who are caught in Libya do get help and aid as they try to transit back into their country.

United Nations Security Council Resolution Concerning Libya March 21st, 2011

Mr. Chair, I want to reassure my hon. colleague that Canada has spoken out clearly on recent events, whether they be in Yemen or Bahrain. We condemn the violence in Yemen. We have expressed regret over the deaths and injuries to innocent civilians who are protesting peacefully in those countries. Canada has called upon the authorities in those countries to exercise restraint and to engage in peaceful and fulsome dialogue with other civil societies.

United Nations Security Council Resolution Concerning Libya March 21st, 2011

Mr. Chair, in just one month, Canada and Canadians have witnessed an historic change in Libya. It all started when the people of Benghazi, inspired by the recent developments in Tunisia and Egypt, took to the streets to stand up for their basic human rights. The courage these citizens showed in the face of atrocious acts of violence galvanized the entire country and the international community. Initial hopes that Colonel Gadhafi would accept the will of the people and allow them to be in control of their own destiny crumbled when he decided to attack his own people, thereby forcing the United Nations Security Council to approve a no fly zone in order to end the violence. Despite the many challenges to overcome, one thing is certain: a profoundly changed Libya will emerge.

As Gadhafi's forces were advancing to surround the heavily populated historic city of Benghazi, the fear was that the people of Libya who were standing up for their legitimate human rights would face a final bloody confrontation with a defiant and isolated dictator supported by mercenaries. Gadhafi has not only ignored the demands of the people, but he has also ignored those of the international community. He has ramped up the assaults and threatened his own people on television, promising he would attack them one house at a time and that he would be merciless toward some one million inhabitants.

Gadhafi has threatened the Mediterranean countries and any other country that opposes his madness. According to the United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees, 300,000 people have fled to neighbouring countries, including Tunisia, Egypt, Algeria and Niger.

Canada is very concerned about allegations that refugees are being prevented from leaving the country, in western Libya in particular, a region about which it is very difficult to get any information, and that vulnerable populations, including migrant workers, are being targeted.

Canada has taken a series of measures to press the Gadhafi regime to respect the rights of its citizens. On February 23, the United Nations Secretary General responded to the egregious violations of international and human rights law and called on the government of Libya to protect its own people.

On February 27, the United Nations Security Council passed resolution 1970, which condemned Gadhafi's actions, which by then included the killing of at least 1,000 people and the arrest, detention and torture of thousands more. The measures included a travel ban and an asset freeze on members of the government.

Canada's approach, in concert with the rest of the international community, has been to isolate the Gadhafi regime, cut it off from its financial resources, deprive it of its legitimacy and ensure that there will be no impunity for crimes against humanity committed against the civilian population and for violations of international humanitarian law.

Canada welcomes the decision by the Security Council to refer the matter to the International Criminal Court and the prosecutor's announcement that he has initiated an investigation.

As always, our first priority was the safety and security of Canadians caught in the conflict and we worked with our allies to ensure the safe evacuation of all those in need. During the early stages of the crisis, nearly 350 Canadians as well as numerous nationals of partner countries were transported from the conflict zone by road, air and by sea.

Then the Government of Canada responded to the Security Council's initiative by immediately suspending our diplomatic presence and by implementing our own sanctions in accordance with the United Nations Security Council resolution and the domestic Special Economic Measures Act. Our quick action to end all financial transactions with Libya prevented Gadhafi and his associates from immediately accessing more than $20 million in assets at Canadian financial institutions. Altogether, this move deprived the regime of more than $2.3 billion in resources located in Canada. Unfortunately these messages from the international community were not strong enough for the regime of Colonel Gadhafi.

Most recently, on March 17, a new Security Council resolution No. 1973 authorized the use of military force to bring the Libyan government into compliance with its international legal obligations.

UN resolution 1973 authorizes UN member states to “take all necessary measures” to protect civilians and civilian populated areas under threat of attack in Libya. This resolution, drafted and supported by the League of Arab States, does not—I repeat—authorize any foreign occupation. It sets out a solid mandate of protection, and Canada urges all member states to implement it.

The resolution also imposes a no-fly zone in Libyan airspace and authorizes member states to “take all necessary measures” to enforce compliance. However, the resolution does not affect flights whose sole purpose is to provide humanitarian aid or evacuate foreign nationals. The resolution calls on member states to implement these measures in accordance with Chapter VII of the Charter of the United Nations in order to restore international peace and security.

Canada has answered the call. It has notified the secretaries general of the United Nations and the League of Arab States of its intention to participate in the international efforts, and is in close contact with its allies in order to determine how its participation in these efforts can be as effective as possible.

Resolution 1973 authorizes international action and sets limits on the action. It specifically excludes any form of occupation force on any portion of the Libyan territory. Now this was a clear agreement between the sponsors of the resolution and the Arab League. The central purpose of the resolution is to end the violence, protect citizens and allow the people of Libya to shape their own future.

In closing, I want to reiterate that Canada has contributed $6.5 million to date to partners to help the people of Libya and those affected by the crisis, particularly those who have fled to neighbouring countries. Our contribution will fund essential food, water, shelter, medical supplies and evacuation assistance to those fleeing the violence.

Canada stands ready to provide further assistance to those who suffer as a result of the terrible humanitarian crisis unleashed by Gadhafi. We sincerely hope that Gadhafi does decide to step down.

Rights & Democracy March 21st, 2011

Mr. Speaker, the hon. member talks about taking control, but I am simply talking about modernizing the approach used by Rights & Democracy. It is, as we all know, perfectly normal for the board of directors to address the direction of this agency. In that regard, the president and CEO shared his point of view and the new intentions of the agency.

Export of Military Goods from Canada March 11th, 2011

Mr. Speaker, I have the honour to table, in both official languages, the Report on Exports of Military Goods from Canada for the years 2007-2009.

Foreign Affairs March 11th, 2011

Mr. Speaker, I would like to thank the member for her question. States can recognize states. We are committed to contacting this interim council to engage in dialogue. We believe that the council is a valid interlocutor that can help put an end to the hostilities in Libya as well as the blood bath that the Gadhafi regime is inflicting on the Libyan people.

Japan March 11th, 2011

Mr. Speaker, our thoughts are with all of those affected by this terrible earthquake, the strongest in Japan's history, that has caused widespread infrastructure damage as well as fatalities.

This morning, the Prime Minister spoke with Japan's ambassador to Canada. He obviously offered our assistance and let him know that our thoughts are with those who have been affected by this terrible tragedy.

I would also like to reassure the members of this House that our officials at the Canadian embassy in Tokyo are working closely with colleagues at—

Status of Women March 8th, 2011

Mr. Speaker, I do not intend to dredge up that debate on semantics.

This is about gender rights and equality between women and men.

Overall, the committee generally does excellent work. I dared suggest that the committee study the action plan that we tabled concerning UN resolution 1325, which aims to protect women in conflict zones around the world.