Crucial Fact

  • His favourite word was budget.

Last in Parliament November 2005, as Liberal MP for Ottawa—Orléans (Ontario)

Lost his last election, in 2008, with 39% of the vote.

Statements in the House

Financial Administration Act October 26th, 2004

Mr. Speaker, I rise today to speak in support of Bill C-8 concerning the Public Service Human Resources Management Agency of Canada.

The government's ability to meet the expectations of Canadians depends first and foremost on the quality, commitment and integrity of its public service. I am proud to be part of a government that is taking such a leadership role in this regard.

This is also our opportunity not only to recognize the great dedication of our public servants, but to show that every effort shall be put in place to provide them with the tools they need to maintain the highest levels of service they have accustomed us to expect.

We need employees who are guided and supported effectively and in accordance with the highest ethical standards in a workplace that is empowering, healthy and respectful of employees' language rights. In other words, we need an outstanding public service workforce and workplace guided and supported by effective and responsible human resources management.

That is why the government created the Public Service Human Resources Management Agency of Canada as part of its December 2003 reorganization.

The agency will make it possible to give the attention, direction and support needed to promote and maintain throughout the public service human resources management that is exemplary and leadership that is constantly renewed and constantly more effective and results oriented. In short, it will make it possible to put in place the conditions that public servants need to provide Canadians with efficient quality services while promoting the highest standards of integrity, transparency and accountability.

The agency was created through orders in council, transferring functions from the Treasury Board of Canada and the Public Service Commission.

The purpose of this bill is simply to confirm the existence of the agency in a legislative document, but it will also contribute to the agency's success by implicitly reinforcing the leadership it needs to carry out its mandate.

For example, among the functions already transferred, the agency will supervise the implementation of the Public Service Modernization Act which received royal assent in November 2003. It will also implement integrated planning, oversight and human resources accountability systems throughout the public service.

It will promote the training of highly competent executives who will be guided by the highest ethics and accountability standards and who will also be assessed against these standards. It will also continue to bring in targeted improvements in the area of employment equity and to promote linguistic duality while implementing better oversight and accountability systems that will make the results more accessible and more transparent for Canadians.

Thus, although the bill simply enshrines the agency's function in legislation and proposes relatively modest additions to the Financial Administration Act, these amendments constitute a key step for public service administration. With this bill the agency will have a legislative basis that clearly sets out its role and relationship within the portfolio of the Treasury Board and with the Treasury Board in its role as employer.

The bill will permit the clarification of the perceived role of the agency within the system, including unions and in particular, the clarification of its relationship within the portfolio of the Treasury Board and with the Treasury Board in its role as employer. It will allow for better integration of activities relating to human resources management within the Treasury Board portfolio. It will give greater visibility for the agency, both within and outside the public service, facilitating implementation of its policies, programs and services.

This is a turning point in the history of the public service of Canada. For the first time ever, a separate agency will be responsible for human resources management in the federal public service.

The government has committed to a different approach and the establishment of the agency is a reflection of this commitment. This clearly tells managers, public servants and union representatives that the proper administration of human resources is a priority for the Government of Canada and a recognition of their important contribution to our country.

Public Service of Canada October 19th, 2004

Mr. Speaker, my question is for the President of the Treasury Board.

Residents in Ottawa—Orléans have expressed their concern to me about the delays of reaching an agreement with the Public Service Alliance Commission. I understand that we have reached tentative agreements.

Could the minister tell the House why it is taking so long to ratify these agreements?

Resumption of Debate on Address in Reply October 19th, 2004

Mr. Speaker, what we are trying to do as a government is not necessarily to have a one size fits all model. I do not think that would ever work in Canada. There are differences among communities.

We are trying to work directly with the provinces in their respective development of child care programs to ensure universality and, for those want a child care program for their children, to have access to a very reasonable fee for that type of program.

Yes, we are looking at other models, one being the model in Quebec which has put in place an excellent program that could possibly be used elsewhere in the country.

We will have to remember that even within a specific province there might be several models that can be explored. I, being the former assistant deputy minister of education of Ontario, know of some specific models in Ontario. The reason this program, I am sure, will be concretized within the next few years is because of the open access to different models that could answer the specific needs of specific communities.

Resumption of Debate on Address in Reply October 19th, 2004

Mr. Speaker, this is a very important venture. Because of its fast growth, Ottawa—Orléans had lagged in infrastructure and services. Even in the election campaign, we agreed among all elected officials and soon to be elected officials that as soon as the election was over we would establish a full-fledged partnership between all levels of government.

We had the economic summit three weeks ago and so far we have concretized our partnership to include myself, my provincial counterpart, the mayor of Ottawa and four city councillors.

What we are trying to accomplish is in the grey area because often enough in a municipality like ours there was blame on one or the other level of government for not bringing the solution to the issues we were facing.

Right now we are working collectively to identify what the priorities are for the social economic development of our area. We have already identified 11 concrete projects that range from ensuring a more balanced federal presence in the riding to a cultural facility for our riding, along with sporting facilities. Eleven concrete projects will be chaired by community members who will report to the committee.

It is action driven and action oriented. Already we are seeing concrete results from the project. I am very proud of it.

Resumption of Debate on Address in Reply October 19th, 2004

Mr. Speaker, I will be sharing my time with the Minister of the Environment.

Mr. Speaker, let me begin by congratulating you on your appointment. It speaks well for your ability to be conciliatory with all parties in the House as well as the respect you have earned over the years. I am sure we will all benefit from your expertise and wise judgment.

I rise today as the member of Parliament for Ottawa—Orléans to address the House in response to the throne speech. It is an honour for me to represent the people of Ottawa--Orléans. I am grateful to them for the confidence they have shown in electing me to represent them in Parliament. I would like to assure them once again here today that I will represent their interests to the best of my ability. It is quite an honour for an Ottawa Valley boy to take part in this glorious assembly.

It is with both pride and humility that I accept the honour of representing the people of Ottawa—Orléans in the House of Commons. I will try my best to listen to them attentively and promote their interests in this House and with this government.

I began my career in Orléans 30 years ago. Thanks to my first job, I came to know and appreciate the community and the area of Ottawa—Orléans, to which I now wish to devote my energy and efforts.

I would like to start by paying tribute to this great community of Ottawa--Orléans. As many would say, it is the best kept secret in Ottawa.

I take this opportunity to invite all members of the House of Commons to visit. It is about 20 minutes away from here, and I would certainly be pleased to welcome you with warmth and friendship.

The riding of Ottawa--Orléans is made up of a collection of small and large communities in Ottawa's most eastern sector. Our population is highly educated and qualified as well as culturally and linguistically diverse, which makes it very representative of the whole of Canada. It is also a community where the quality of life is second to none. We have a vibrant arts community and our citizens are renowned for their charitable leadership and community involvement.

More than 100 years ago, the village of Orléans saw the construction of its first hotel, its first post office and its first school. This village and surrounding borough now has a population of over 100,000 people. Since the early to mid-1980s, Orléans has been one of the fastest growing communities in Canada and all signs indicate that this trend will continue.

This means that Ottawa--Orléans not only has many needs as a community but is ready to assume its rightful place in the national capital region and at the federal level. I am therefore very pleased that the government is committed to forging a new deal with cities and communities. This is more important than ever for the inhabitants of Ottawa--Orléans living, working and raising families.

Our communities are vital to Ottawa's economic, social and cultural viability. The challenges our cities and communities must face are now so numerous, and at times overwhelming, that it is beyond the capacity of local governments to act alone.

That is why the new deal focuses on striking more productive relationships among all three levels of government and community groups as well as the private and the not for profit sectors, relationships that will lead to local solutions for local problems. These relationships will have fiscal benefits for all communities.

Since 1993 our government has contributed over $12 billion in infrastructure funding, which in turn has leveraged over $30 billion from all partners. I am delighted that my colleague, the Minister of State for Infrastructure and Communities, will lead the federal efforts to secure this new deal.

In Ottawa--Orléans, we immediately got down to work. The day after the election I began organizing the first of two economic summits, bringing together all elected public officials. I would like to take this opportunity to thank my provincial counterpart, Phil McNeely, Mayor Bob Chiarelli, and the four city councillors, Rainer Bloess, Herb Kreling, Rob Jellett and Michel Bellemare, who have all committed to begin this strategic economic development for Ottawa--Orléans. We have already identified 11 concrete projects for Ottawa--Orléans.

I pledged to my constituents that I would place Ottawa--Orléans on the federal radar and I intend to deliver.

I am pleased to have this opportunity to talk about the Speech from the Throne, because it is a faithful reflection of our election promises, both nationally and locally, and especially for the young families of Ottawa—Orléans.

Under the leadership of the Minister of Social Development, our government, along with all the partners involved from the various communities and the provinces, will prepare a national plan for preschool learning and child care, based on the key requirements identified by parents and child care experts—quality, universality, accessibility and development.

I am particularly proud of our commitment to help Canada's children. As a trained educator, I am pleased to support the government in this file and offer my expertise. The announcement in the throne speech that $5 billion will be allocated over five years to early learning and child care is truly good news for Canadian families. We must, however, respect the diversity of our population and the self-determination of our communities.

One of our government's key commitments was health care. In less than three months after the election, we have already met that commitment through our agreement with the provinces. This past September's historic agreement on health care will ensure that appropriate services are accessible and wait times will be significantly reduced for all Canadians no matter where they live and their income level. This agreement is part of our 10 year action plan to aggressively address health care in Canada.

All this was accomplished under the leadership of our Prime Minister who did a fine job delivering the goods. I had the privilege of taking part in this negotiation with the provinces and territories and to see the birth of this new evolving federalism.

This agreement is especially historic because our government obtained the signature of all the provincial and territorial premiers in order to ensure fair and stable funding for health within well-defined parameters and an accountability framework. This was possible because the governments recognized that that is what every Canadian wanted.

The government is very committed to health care because it is the one social policy Canadians constantly identified as their number one priority. In our 10 year health care plan, $41.2 billion will go to the provinces. However the government has ensured that the provinces and territories will produce information on outcomes so that Canadians can be assured their money is being spent where it should be, securing for them, their families and community the best access to the best health care possible.

I am also very proud to be part of this government for its work with official languages. It has always shown a strong commitment to Canada's linguistic duality. It has just reiterated its support to the francophone and Acadian communities in the Speech from the Throne.

Our government will make sure the official languages action plan is applied and will continue to promote the vitality of official language minority communities across the country and not, as some would suggest, only those communities where the numbers justify it.

Allow me also to take this opportunity to acknowledge the invaluable contribution and extraordinary work of Senator Jean-Robert Gauthier, who has always been a great defender of the rights of Franco-Ontarians and francophones outside Quebec.

I want to pay tribute to this citizen of Ottawa, who has had an exceptional career in the House of Commons and in the Senate. In addition to his work as an MP and a senator, and his involvement in the community, he was the Chair of the Assemblée parlementaire de la Francophonie from 1997 to 1999. He is a role model for all Canadians. Senator Gauthier, we will miss you when you retire at the end of the month. We thank you for everything you have done for francophone and Acadian communities across Canada.

I strongly believe that the Speech from the Throne truly conveys a message of hope to all Canadians for a better and stronger Canada, for safer and healthier communities, for more effective partnerships and respect for the diversity of our people. In my humble opinion, it reflects the priorities expressed to me by my constituents in Ottawa—Orléans, and I am proud, as their representative, to lend it my full support.

International Interests in Mobile Equipment (aircraft equipment) Act October 18th, 2004

Mr. Speaker, I thank the hon. member for his question. I hope I understood him well, but if is asking me to join the Bloc Québécois, I must of course tell him that it is not in my intentions as a Liberal member.

However, in my opinion, Canada has always supported Quebec's aerospace industry, and it will continue to do so. The industry minister has said it very often. Clearly, the aerospace industry is a pillar of our industry, not only in Quebec, but also in Canada.

International Interests in Mobile Equipment (aircraft equipment) Act October 18th, 2004

Mr. Speaker, there is no doubt this piece of legislation is quite complex. International agreements stipulate that operational details will come later on, and only then will the agreement be really in force.

Of course, these issues are under study and will be resolved as soon as the protocol becomes operational and the details of its implementation are finalized.

International Interests in Mobile Equipment (aircraft equipment) Act October 18th, 2004

Mr. Speaker, you will remember that the entire aerospace industry supports this new protocol under which, when there are bankruptcy problems, state parties would be able to resort to an international legislation allowing equipment to be used as security.

There is no doubt that the industry is anxiously waiting for this and will achieve considerable gains through this international agreement.

International Interests in Mobile Equipment (aircraft equipment) Act October 18th, 2004

Mr. Speaker, I too am pleased to congratulate you on your appointment. I am certain that the House will be enriched by your presence in the Chair.

I also would like to indicate that I will be splitting my time with the hon. member for North Vancouver.

Canada played a leadership role in the negotiation of the convention and protocol which were designed to facilitate the financing of aircraft equipment, airframes, aircraft engines and helicopters.

There was strong support for this project from the provinces, territories, airlines, industry associations and aircraft manufacturers. Canada's active involvement in the negotiation leading up to the adoption of the convention and protocol highlights this country's commitment to seek global solutions to global problems in cooperation with the rest of the international community.

Extensive consultation with interested parties were held throughout the development process. Representatives of the Canadian industry were present and participated in many of the meetings leading up to the diplomatic conference at Cape Town as well as at the meeting that formally adopted the instruments.

Momentum for achieving these instruments grew very strong in early 1999 with negotiations in Rome and Montreal involving Unidroit and ICAO. The convention and protocol were adopted on the last day of the diplomatic conference held in Cape Town, South Africa, from October 29 to November 16, 2001.

The package adopted at Cape Town is rather novel in form. It consists of a convention drafted in general terms and a protocol with rules specific to aircraft equipment that complement and vary the rules of the convention.

To make the instruments more user friendly, the Cape Town conference decided that a consolidated text would be produced and distributed along with the convention and protocol. The consolidated text will be a useful interpretive tool.

Canada signed the convention and protocol on March 31, 2004. To date, 28 countries have signed the instruments and four countries have ratified them. The convention came into force on April 1, 2004, and the protocol will come into effect once eight countries have ratified it.

The United States has passed implementing legislation and the president has senate authorization to ratify the convention and protocol. Other countries can be expected to follow suit once the U.S. ratifies it.

The convention and protocol are the subject of the bill currently being considered. They represent an unparalleled example of cooperation between governments and industry in creating a harmonized international legal regime.

In addition, the International Air Transport Association has indicated that it estimates that the convention and protocol would generate savings of $5 billion for the airline industry.

It seems obvious then that passage of this bill will mark an important stage in the creation of an international system which the aviation industry throughout the world will find highly advantageous.

International Interests in Mobile Equipment (aircraft equipment) Act October 18th, 2004

Madam Speaker, let me congratulate you on your appointment to this position. This is the first opportunity I have had to do this.

I am pleased to be able to provide some information on the background and history of the Convention on International Interests in Mobile Equipment and the Protocol to the Convention on International Interests in Mobile Equipment on Matters Specific to Aircraft Equipment.

As evidenced by recent events such as September 11, the global economic downturn, and SARS, the aviation sector is particularly vulnerable to economic shocks and other geopolitical events.

This industry would benefit greatly from a harmonized international legal regime to increase certainty for those providing credit to airlines and aircraft manufacturers.

It was a Canadian delegate to the International Institute for the Unification of Private Law, or UNIDROIT, who first proposed the establishment of an international registry for security interests in aircraft in 1988. More than 15 years later, this initiative has finally become a reality. It is strongly supported by both the airline and manufacturing elements of the aviation industry, as well as by those providing financing.

In the mid-90s, it was decided that the convention and protocol would be developed as a joint project co-sponsored by Rome-based UNIDROIT and the Montreal-based International Civil Aviation Organization or ICAO.

UNIDROIT has 59 member states. It is a leading international organization in the harmonization of private law and the preparation of uniform rules of private law for adoption by states. The ICAO, of which 188 states are members, is the specialized agency of the United Nations for matters relating to international civil aviation, including the recognition of rights in aircraft. Its membership is, therefore, virtually universal.

Canada played a leadership role in the negotiation of the convention and protocol, which are designed to facilitate the financing of aircraft equipment--airframes, aircraft engines and helicopters. There was--