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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

ADISQ Gala November 1st, 2004

Mr. Speaker, over the course of last week and last night in particular, a number of artists had the privilege of being honoured by their peers and the people of Quebec, under the auspices of ADISQ, the Quebec alliance for the record, performance and video industries.

I will not try to name them all in the little time we have. Nonetheless, together with my colleagues from the Bloc Québécois, I would like to congratulate all the award recipients. Our congratulations also go out to those who contribute from behind the scenes.

Quebec culture is very much alive. However, we must increase our efforts to ensure that it has the means to continue to thrive.

Soon we will have the opportunity to discuss cultural diversity, funding for culture and ways of protecting it.

Culture is the psyche of nations. Without culture, our unique identities will perish.

Supply October 28th, 2004

Mr. Speaker, I thank my hon. colleague for his question.

Of course, given that money is held back, here in Ottawa, the Quebec government makes choices, and pushes ahead with a certain number of priorities. Generally, as he has noted himself, culture always seems to end up like the spare tire in the car. This is where cuts are the most frequent and the first to be made, on the spur of the moment.

This shows, and on this I shall not dwell much further, that once there is a shortfall of funding, culture is last in line in the Quebec government's priorities. As I said earlier, culture is a vector through which the psychological character of peoples and nations is built. We must convince ourselves that culture is at least as important as education, if not more so, given that it is more democratic.

If we do not properly care for culture, we run the risk, especially for our youth, of a copycat effect or mimetic response which can easily take on a life of its own, the tendency being in our case to copy the United States, overwhelmed as we are by television, radio and movies from that country. When models our young people can identify with and refer to are lacking because Quebeckers and Canadians generally are not providing them, they shift to those other models.

This is an important aspect to consider since we will soon be looking at the Convention on Cultural Diversity, which is now the subject of debate at UNESCO, in Paris. This convention will have a defining impact on culture in every country of the world. Given how little importance we accord to culture however, are we ready to confront the U.S. and Europe in this area?

Ready we shall be when there is funding for these artisans, these artists who create the memory and the markers through which national identities come alive.

Supply October 28th, 2004

Mr. Speaker, as I begin, please note that I will be splitting my time with the hon. member for Trois-Rivières.

Since this is the first opportunity when I will have a longer time to speak here, I would also like to thank my constituents in Saint-Lambert, who have elected me to defend Quebec's interests on their behalf on Parliament Hill.

The fiscal imbalance, the financial pressures, the systematic retention of money by the federal Liberals for more than a decade—this has been told and retold and will be repeated and repeated over again because it is a big story—have a great impact. The human costs and harm done by the fiscal imbalance and the way it has shredded the entire social fabric of Quebec and the provinces are known to all.

Nevertheless, the federal Liberals, in their nihilistic approach and their stubborn denial that the fiscal imbalance exists, have inspired many of us to diagnose this as a behavioural problem rather like political autism. Everyone here, all the political parties represented here, recognizes the existence of the fiscal imbalance—except them. Everyone in Quebec, all political parties in the Quebec National Assembly, recognize the existence of the fiscal imbalance—except them. If that is not political autism, what is it?

As is the case in many areas hurt by the fiscal imbalance in Quebec and other provinces, the situation in the cultural area is critical. It is an emergency, because the fiscal imbalance creates a lot of precariousness and disarray in this field.

This fiscal retention deprives Quebec and other provincial governments of their ability to implement their choices, their specific short, medium and long term visions and their policies with peace of mind and a concern for fairness.

The federal government uses fiscal retention to increase its intrusions in areas that are not under its jurisdiction and that beyond its capability, thus weakening the Quebec nation and imposing on Quebec disembodied choices made in Ottawa. There can be no democracy under these conditions. Some will probably question the relevance of culture in the fiscal imbalance debate, along with other recurrent issues, like health, education, social housing and so on, which of great public concern.

I would say it is very relevant. Indeed, culture, far from diverting our attention from other files, can help us deal with them to their full extent and with every resource of our soul and mind. Quality of life necessarily includes culture, which is the dignity of life. When the financial means are lacking, culture is absent from the lives of our fellow citizens when it should rightly be part of it.

I remind this assembly that it would be absurd to envision culture without arts and letters, theatre, music, dance, literature, art crafts, and visual and media arts. Culture, arts and letters are the soul, the psyche of nations, the heart of every people.

For your information, in Quebec, the Mouvement pour les arts et les lettres, the MLA, which represents 15,000 professional artists, has been campaigning since the very beginning in favour of increased support for artists. It has been waiting for a long time. It too is very hopeful that the Liberal government will act with wisdom and foresight and will not be so tightfisted. Right now, the majority of those 15,000 professional artists are living below the poverty line. The money is here, the needs are there.

It might be that for the Liberal government culture is only a tool, an instrument of propaganda. Only the least enlightened dictatorships we know see it as such. This is not Quebec's view of culture. Life teaches us that to cultivate is to be born, work the land in the hope of reaping a harvest, it is to endure by conveying, it is to protect in order to receive.

Societies find their place in history and in the hearts of the people only through culture. However, in Quebec and the other provinces culture is jeopardized by fiscal imbalance.

Canadian Broadcasting Corporation October 26th, 2004

Mr. Speaker, the mandate of the President of the Canadian Broadcasting Corporation is coming to an end. Rumours abound about his successors. In June 2003, the Standing Committee on Canadian Heritage recommended to the Minister of Canadian Heritage that the criteria and directives for CBC appointments be improved.

Will the Minister of Canadian Heritage submit the appointment of the future President of the CBC to the scrutiny of the members of this House, thereby reducing the democratic deficit so strongly denounced by the Prime Minister?

Canadian Heritage Act October 26th, 2004

Mr. Speaker, I congratulate my colleague opposite on his concise and enlightening comments. Now, I would like to know whether his government can give us any indication of the amount or the percentage of the financial resources which will be taken out of the Canadian heritage department, should this legislation pass.

Besides, once the parks are taken out of its purview, would it not be more logical to change the name of the Department of Canadian Heritage and call it the Department of Culture and Communication?