House of Commons photo


Crucial Fact

  • His favourite word was quebec.

Last in Parliament September 2007, as Bloc MP for Roberval—Lac-Saint-Jean (Québec)

Won his last election, in 2006, with 45% of the vote.

Statements in the House

Older Workers October 18th, 2006

Mr. Speaker, the mission of this government is to care for the most unfortunate among us, and yesterday it failed in that task.

Does someone not have to be disconnected from reality to think that a sawmill worker who has spent 40 years of his life in a sawmill is going to be able to get retrained and re-enter the labour market at the age of 59, under a program like the one the government is proposing?

Why does a government decision to give oil companies $250 million call for just two lines in the budget, but it is always impossible to do something for workers?

Softwood Lumber October 16th, 2006

Mr. Speaker, that is not all the Minister of the Economic Development Agency of Canada for the Regions of Quebec said. Referring to Richard Desjardins, who sings about forestry issues, he wondered when a singer would stand up to defend the unemployed.

The question is not when will a singer sing about the unemployed, but when will we have a government that cares enough to do something for the unemployed?

Softwood Lumber October 16th, 2006

Mr. Speaker, contrary to what his two colleagues just said, the Minister of Labour and Minister of the Economic Development Agency of Canada for the Regions of Quebec said that the government could not do anything to help the forest industry.

Can the minister really not think of a single thing the government could do? The Bloc Québécois introduced no fewer than 10 measures: fiscal measures and new market development measures, as well as older worker assistance measures and a program to go along with them. All of these measures are appropriate. How can he say that the government's hands are tied when these solutions exist? All it lacks is the will to do something.

Regional Development September 26th, 2006

Mr. Speaker, given the $13 million budget surplus, can the Minister of Labour and Minister of the Economic Development Agency of Canada for the Regions of Quebec explain why he could not persuade cabinet to allocate the funding needed for regional development, especially since he promised nothing short of a Marshall plan during the last election campaign?

How can he justify the fact that everything he announced yesterday is really no better than exchanging four quarters for a dollar?

Points of Order September 21st, 2006

Mr. Speaker, this is a bill introduced by the Bloc members of Parliament for the purpose of returning to people who lose their jobs, or the unemployed, the employment insurance benefits to which they are entitled. I say “to which they are entitled” because, under the Employment Insurance Act, benefits come basically from contributions from workers and employers. Not a penny in the employment insurance fund comes from the federal government. The federal government used to contribute to it in the past, but now and for the last several years, there has been over a $47 billion surplus in the fund.

Consider the following, Mr. Speaker. How can they claim that they need a recommendation from Her Majesty in order to spend money that belongs to working people, money that can be traced back, money that comes directly from the pockets of working people and their employers?

The government should be ashamed to use these surpluses for its own benefit. It should at least let the House allow citizens who lose their jobs to use the money that is theirs, their contributions and their protection.

Mr. Speaker, I want to draw this to your attention. I know that you are an honourable man in private life and have insurance on your home and car. You would take a dim view of someone who wanted to appropriate your insurance premiums and your surpluses when you do not make any claims. When you need them, you would not want someone who had illegally appropriated your insurance premiums to prevent you from receiving the benefits to which you were entitled, which you had purchased and paid for. That is what is happening here.

Please make an amazing overture to the unemployed, to people who are counting on you, Mr. Speaker, who are counting on us and this entire House. Please pay special attention to this. Our money is our money. The government is already very lucky not to be taken to task more openly for regularly seizing these funds.

We do not need any royal recommendations and we do not need Her Majesty. We need our contributions. That is what we want.

Maher Arar September 20th, 2006

Mr. Speaker, in keeping with tradition, I have informed my fellow House leaders, and I think you will find that there is unanimous consent in this House to adopt this motion immediately:

That, in the opinion of this House, apologies should be presented to Maher Arar regarding the treatment he has been subjected to.

Maher Arar Inquiry September 19th, 2006

Mr. Speaker, I understand that the government will take action, for anything less would be surprising, to say the least. The RCMP is guilty of the worst abuses. Our government police force created guilty parties by fabricating evidence. This is unacceptable. People are worried. People called in to hotlines today and expressed their concerns. First it was Maher Arar, but who is next? What official guarantees will the government give us to ensure that the recommendations will be implemented and that its police force can never do something like this again?

Maher Arar Inquiry September 19th, 2006

Mr. Speaker, the RCMP acted in a way that is entirely unacceptable in the Maher Arar case. It made up evidence. It is unbelievable how it behaved. It created a guilty party out of thin air.

I understand that the government will implement the recommendations of the O'Connor report, but I would like to ask the government if it intends to follow up with a report to the House, so that implementing the recommendations is not left up to the RCMP and nothing happens.

Canada Elections Act September 18th, 2006

Mr. Speaker, I am very pleased that the President of the Treasury Board liked what I had to say about the ministers. I can tell you that this is so for all ministers of all governments. It is natural and it is also to their credit.

I have always had respect for a minister who goes to the trouble of crossing the House, of coming to see me, going to see the leader of the official opposition or the leader of the NDP to try and get a bill passed. I have always found that it was a mark of trust and commitment on the part of such people.

So I sincerely feel that holding elections on set dates will get rid of this element of surprise. It will give rise to fewer surprises for these people, and more work will get done with better planning.

It has happened that, in wishing to support bills, we have agreed to go a little faster, and sometimes we have made mistakes from going too fast, because the legislative process requires us to act seriously. This is another reason in support of holding elections at set times. We will have more time to do our job properly, we will not need to fast-track, there will be less need for us to rush and there will be less risk of typos slipping into bills. So it is a good measure.

Canada Elections Act September 18th, 2006

Mr. Speaker, I mentioned this briefly, but for the benefit of my hon. colleague and everyone else, I will add the following. The parliamentarians in this House and the government could do a better job of preparing; they could draw up their schedule better and would have a better idea of how much parliamentary time they have to critique a bill and consult Canadians. If necessary, they could consult a little longer and do further research.

When we know the election date and how long we have for our work, the quality improves. We know where we are at.

I am the House leader. I have been in the House of Commons for 13 years and have been House leader for 12.

For all 12 years, at the end of every session ministers in the various governments come to see me, because I am the House leader, and beg me to allow their bill or legislation to pass. They tell me that a certain bill is absolutely essential and ask if I would be willing to consent to this legislation being speeded up so that it can pass.

I am saying this for the people listening to us and for the hon. members who have not yet had a chance to experience a few ends of session. I find this game at the end of parliamentary sessions unseemly and unfortunate. However, I can understand it.

A minister who has an important piece of legislation— on the environment or industry or in any given area—is very eager to see it pass. He has worked on it for seven, eight or ten months and sometimes more than a whole year, and there have been consultations and much effort. When the minister sees the end of the session looming, he definitely does not want to all this work to go down the drain. He does not want to have to start all over again a few months later, or even after an election, because there is nothing left that matters any more.

Fixed election dates would eliminate surprises. How many prime ministers have thrown their own ministers for a loop by calling early elections? It is amazing. I think that Canadians—whom we are supposed to be serving here by introducing and passing legislation—would be happy to know that the hon. members work in a planned, orderly fashion and that the results will arrive as expected.

This would therefore be a great improvement for everyone: for both the people and ministers. They voted for legislation and did well. It will be easier for them and easier as well for opposition members to work on legislation that they want to help along. That is another good reason to support this bill.