House of Commons photo

Crucial Fact

  • His favourite word was quebec.

Last in Parliament September 2008, as Bloc MP for Saint-Lambert (Québec)

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

Statements in the House

Denis Lazure February 25th, 2008

Mr. Speaker, if we could put a face on humanism in Quebec, it would be that of Denis Lazure, who is no longer with us.

Dr. Denis Lazure passed away on Saturday at the age of 82. He was one of the architects of a real revolution in psychiatry in Quebec. But most Quebeckers would know him for the very important role he played in René Lévesque's first government, in which he focused on defending the rights of the disabled. He had a long career that spanned over 50 years, during which he tenaciously fought against all kinds of social inequalities, injustices and prejudices.

Quebeckers will also remember his strong support for the sovereignty of Quebec, and the integrity, dedication and intelligence he brought to this noble struggle. Passion, compassion, action and persuasion typified this great social democrat.

My Bloc Québécois colleagues and I would like to offer our sincerest condolences to his wife, Anne-Marie, his children, and to all of his friends and family.

Business of Supply October 29th, 2007

Mr. Speaker, it is ironic that an hon. member from a party that denied the existence of the fiscal imbalance for years, from the height of his arrogance, condescension even, should ask me such a question.

I am no expert at accounting, but I would bring my colleague back to the debate before us today: it is a question of principle. Quebec was recognized as a nation. And as such, Quebec, through this motion presented by the Bloc Québécois—which is the embodiment of the aspirations, the needs and the grievances of all of Quebec society and of the National Assembly of Quebec—is entitled to demand the elimination of the federal spending power. That is the subject.

Business of Supply October 29th, 2007

Mr. Speaker, I think that the sentiments just expressed by my colleague are shared. It is also obvious that, on the plane of ideas, we are at diametrically opposite poles.

My colleague said that my ideas were an anachronism, that they were obsolete. It was only last year, as he himself mentioned, that the House of Commons finally recognized the existence of the Quebec nation. Recognizing the existence of a nation is more than a symbolic act. Nations, like individuals, have fundamental rights. The most fundamental of them is the right of a nation to itself control the social, economic and cultural development of its own society, that is, the right of self-determination.

One cannot, on the one hand, recognize that the Quebec nation exists and has the right to make choices different from those of Canada, and on the other, deny to it that right by maintaining the federal spending power of which we have been speaking since this morning. The spending power in areas of Quebec jurisdiction is a denial of our integrity, a denial of the Quebec nation.

I repeat: my colleague considered my comments to be an anachronism and obsolete. I do not think there us anything obsolete about the recognition of Quebec as a nation. It is something that took place just a few months ago.

Business of Supply October 29th, 2007

Mr. Speaker, I would note, before beginning, that I am sharing the time available to me with the member for Argenteuil—Papineau—Mirabel.

I would like to congratulate the member for Papineau on the motion she has introduced for public debate today. I would also congratulate my colleagues in the Bloc. Listening to them since this morning, we might well conclude that the case is almost closed and the masks keep falling away. I will therefore avoid lapsing into condescension and redundancy.

However, I would like to recognize the decision by the Conservative government and the two other opposition parties to participate in this debate in spite of the difficulties it apparently causes them in terms of Quebec. I say difficulties, because they must be aware of the unanimous opinion of the National Assembly of Quebec on the subject we are discussing here today.

By their positions, in fact by their past and present posturing, as confirmed by their votes right here in this House, they crystallize a tried and true tradition in federal politics. They could not care less about the unanimous opinions of the National Assembly of Quebec. The most unfortunate thing is that they have among them sons and daughters of Quebec who claim to speak for Quebec.

While they may be the elected representatives of the Quebec people, they do not dare to explain to their party, in government or in opposition, that it is unwise, to say the least, to scorn the National Assembly of Quebec. Yesterday, today, and time after time, the Quebec nation is cheated by its federalist members, who are intoxicated by the simple fact that they help to provide alibis for the government team.

They sacrifice the interests of the Quebec nation to those of the Canadian nation. What words can we use for that kind of behaviour? We must recognize that Quebeckers place enormous trust in representatives who are totally loyal to them, who demand respect for their rights in a parliament where a majority represents another nation. They are worthy, and they speak the truth. We are those people. That is why I am proud to be one of those representatives.

For more than a half-century, the National Assembly of Quebec has been disputing the existence of the federal spending power. Regardless of political allegiance, all Quebec governments, without exception, have stated their intention of defending the integrity of Quebec’s legislative jurisdiction and its ability to decide its own policies, policies that suit its own needs, that are made to fit it, policies that reflect its uniqueness and its difference, policies that reflect its own unique talent, its own unique identity.

The federal government has repeatedly interfered in matters under Quebec’s jurisdiction, and every time it had not even been invited. In the recent throne speech, the government said that it was open to fair compensation, provided that the programs of both levels of government are compatible. The Conservative government has to understand that Quebec’s historic demand calls for full and unconditional compensation. Any interference, any conditions placed on Quebec, will always be rejected by the worthy representatives of the Quebec nation.

Given the present conflicted relationship between Quebec and Canada, and particularly in relation to the issue before us today, given the repeated deadlocks in which we have often found ourselves, sovereignty is the only viable insurance policy. Day after day, this is what the people of Quebec are preparing for.

When our home is threatened, it is our duty and our responsibility to defend it. All the same, let us not be narrow-minded about it, as some might say. The adoption of the Bloc Québécois motion in this House would be the most sincere signal that the Conservative government could send to Quebeckers, assuming that the famous speech by the Prime Minister on December 19, 2005 to the Quebec City chamber of commerce was not just sounds coming from his mouth for the sole purpose of seduction, of getting Quebeckers to swallow the noxious mixture of his party’s values.

Voting in favour of this motion would also restore to politics its letters patent of nobility, which have been much damaged in the Canadian Parliament with its many breaches of promises made, its misrepresentations and its shams of all kinds. It would be an act respectful of the truth and of democracy.

Broadcasting and Telecommunications October 29th, 2007

The name is Dupont-Hébert, Mr. Speaker.

The regulatory debacle at the CRTC is nothing new; it has even intensified since the Conservatives took office. They are encouraging it instead of containing it.

Does the Minister of Canadian Heritage realize that, by promoting deregulation in the broadcasting and telecommunications industry, her government is sending this simple message: culture is secondary and not worth protecting?

Broadcasting and Telecommunications October 29th, 2007

Mr. Speaker, in a press conference held today, 18 artist and cultural business groups asked that the Minister of Canadian Heritage use her power to issue policy directions to the CRTC to ensure that, in CRTC decisions, priority is given to the social and cultural reality, as required under the Broadcasting Act.

Will the minister accede to this request from artist and cultural business groups and support a firm and efficient regulatory framework for broadcasting?

UNESCO October 24th, 2007

Mr. Speaker, just because I am an African does not mean I should get a reply that relates to Africa. I was referring to UNESCO.

Two days ago, when I put a question to the Minister of Canadian Heritage regarding her refusal to fund CIFEJ, the minister said:

...under the previous Liberal government, CIFEJ was funded under special ministerial authority. However, it was never subject to any formal application process, any specific Treasury Board authority or the slightest financial accountability.

Can the minister explain why her own government used that same procedure on October 5, 2006?

UNESCO October 24th, 2007

Mr. Speaker, a number of people, including Quebec minister Gagnon-Tremblay, are falsely presenting the Quebec-Ottawa agreement on UNESCO as a “historic agreement”. However, some archives from Quebec's department of international relations show that, already back in 1968, Pierre Elliott Trudeau made the same proposal to Daniel Johnson, who rejected it, because it did not provide a real presence for Quebec on the international scene.

Did the Minister of Canadian Heritage know that?

Resumption of Debate on Address in Reply October 22nd, 2007

Mr. Speaker, I have a very simple question for the minister.

Is the minister aware that, in Quebec, the vast majority of people, men and women alike, view the recognition of the Quebec nation and the so-called openness towards Quebec as bogus, as a smoke screen designed to lull them?

In that regard, he has stated that his government corrected the fiscal imbalance. The fact of the matter is that the vast majority of people in Quebec are convinced that that is absolutely untrue; that is not the reality. Correcting the fiscal imbalance also means eliminating the federal spending power in Quebec's fields of jurisdiction.

Does the minister realize that the vast majority of Quebeckers are sharp, clear-headed people who are very critical of such speeches?

UNESCO October 22nd, 2007

Mr. Speaker, what a banal response.

On August 30, 2007, the Minister of Canadian Heritage, Status of Women and Official Languages informed the International Centre of Films for Children and Young People that it would no longer be receiving federal government subsidies. Yet that centre, also known as CIFEJ, is a UNESCO associated organization.

How can the minister justify pushing a UNESCO organization out of Quebec, by cutting its funding, while her government pretends to facilitate Quebec's access to UNESCO?