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Crucial Fact

  • His favourite word was quebec.

Last in Parliament November 2009, as Bloc MP for Hochelaga (Québec)

Won his last election, in 2008, with 50% of the vote.

Statements in the House

Economic and Fiscal Statement December 2nd, 2008

Mr. Speaker, first of all, my congratulations on your new responsibilities. Far be it from me to comment on how long you will be in the Chair, but as long as you are there, I am sure you will give of your best.

I believe that there is a question that must be asked of our colleague for Laval—Les Îles. She is right to remind us of just what a disappointment the Minister of Finance's economic statement was. A disappointment, because a consensus could have been reached here in the House on a number of proposals made by the opposition parties. It is incredible to witness the angry and offended tones assumed by the government members in reaction to the events we are witnessing which, truth to tell, are making history. Must we not admit that the primary responsibility of a minority government is to make sure, in all circumstances, that it has the confidence of the House? What we have been treated to instead is a stubborn, arrogant, obtuse and disdainful government and Prime Minister wanting only to thumb their noses at the opposition.

I would like my colleague from Laval—Les Îles to describe, in parliamentary terms, which I have never known her to deviate from anyway, the attitude of the Prime Minister toward the energy and good faith shown by the opposition since the session began.

Regional Economic Development June 17th, 2008

Mr. Speaker, the bad decision by the Minister of the Economic Development Agency of Canada for the Regions of Quebec demonstrates his lack of understanding of the economic dynamic of Quebec. For example, the mandate of the Quebec Film and Television Council is to attract foreign productions here, through ongoing actions, not just one-shot efforts. Its tireless and efficient efforts have resulted in a doubled economic spinoff from film in Quebec between 2006 and 2007. It could end up closing as early as this fall, thanks to the minister's cuts.

Will the Prime Minister reverse this bad decision by his minister and will he restore the funding of the Quebec Film and Television Council in order to avoid its closure?

Committees of the House June 17th, 2008

Mr. Speaker, I would like to thank our loquacious colleague of the class of 1975 A.D. We all know that our colleague is a veteran litigant and an accomplished lawyer, and that his mission has been to push back the boundaries of the legal profession. I thank him for pointing out that I completed my law degree but not the bar admissions courses, and that it is not my intention to seek admission to the bar any time soon.

That being said, he was correct in saying that several factors contribute to regional development. These may be natural resources, labour, people's mobility, connections between population centres, and of course, communications. In this case, communications go hand in hand with an impressive tourism infrastructure, one of the most beautiful in Quebec.

He was quite right to suggest that I reiterate here the tremendous importance of ending the discrimination that the Mont Tremblant airport administrators are dealing with.

Committees of the House June 17th, 2008

Mr. Speaker, first of all I want to congratulate the hon. member for Laurentides—Labelle. Everyone listening to us today should know that if we are debating the Rivière Rouge Mont Tremblant International Airport, it is because we have a colleague, the hon. member for Laurentides—Labelle, who is doing her job as an elected official and telling us about the initiative taken by people in her community that was related, of course, to economic development and tourism.

There is nothing nobler than to take up a cause, work with the community, and try to correct injustices. I will have a chance to show that there really is an injustice here.

The Rivière Rouge Mont Tremblant International Airport is not a minor issue. First of all, in the history of the regional development of Quebec, the Laurentians are part of our collective imagination. Who, in Quebec at least, has not heard Les belles histoires des pays d'en haut, by Claude-Henri Grignon, who won the Athanase-David award in 1933? It takes determination to accomplish one's goals.

The hon. member for Laurentides—Labelle is another Father Labelle. I am not referring to her looks, of course, but her determination to ensure the development of the Laurentians, which is one of the most beautiful regions in Quebec. Father Labelle wanted to develop Saint-Jérôme and the surrounding area—at the time they spoke about colonizing of course. A railway was needed to connect it to the other more or less urban centres of the times.

It is rather sad to see a government in 2008-09 that is so insensitive to the regions. We are certainly talking about regional development when we have a community that was accredited in 2002 for international flights thanks to an initiative of the local development board, municipalities and private shareholders.

Why is it that we members of the Bloc Québécois are forever up against a government so utterly insensitive to regional development?

I want to take a few moments as a Montrealer to tell the House about the Minister of the Economic Development Agency of Canada for the Regions of Quebec, who incarnates the crudest, basest, most disgusting incompetence possible. It can scarcely be imagined that this kind of minister still exists.

He decided, with the stroke of a pen, to pull at least $50 million out of the Montreal economy. For what must have been grossly ideological reasons, given his total lack of calibre and the meanspiritedness and pettiness of the policies he pursues, this minister decided if non-profit organizations are getting involved in economic development it is inappropriate because that is not their mission.

There is a connection between the decision this minister made in regard to exporters, the aerospace industry and Montreal International, to take just a few examples, and the decision that the Canada Border Services Agency made in regard to the Rivière Rouge Mont Tremblant International Airport, which was discriminatory.

Why are we dealing with discrimination here? Discrimination consists of different treatment in comparison with the whole.

I have just heard some figures given by a colleague—ones I have not checked but will use as well—saying that 201 comparable airports, that is of similar size, are exempt from charges, but that in the Laurentian region the Mont Tremblant airport had to pay customs charges when an international flight lands there and has to be processed through customs.

How can we explain this to our fellow citizens? How can the hon. member for Laurentides—Labelle explain to her fellow citizens, to local developers, that everywhere across Quebec—and in Canada, I would add—there are no customs charges during the time period when there are not supposed to be any, except in her particular region? This is even more serious because everyone in Quebec realizes that the Laurentian region has a very specific tourist character.

All hon. members, of course, believe that their area is the loveliest. I might mention that Hochelaga-Maisonneuve is celebrating 125 years of existence this year. Hochelaga-Maisonneuve was an autonomous Montreal municipality, an area of economic prosperity. People called it the Canadian Pittsburg, because of its burgeoning footwear industry. The town joined Montreal in 1918. My colleague Louise Harel, who is known for her sense of humour, has remarked that there has always been an anti-amalgamation tradition in the east of Montreal.

All that to say that the Laurentians are an extremely special tourist attraction. I do not know whether the minister responsible for the agency has even set foot in the Laurentians. I would remind hon. members that this region boasts 10,000 lakes and rivers, which contribute to its tourism potential. There are numerous outfitters, national parks, nature preserves, and activities such as walking nature trails, fishing, hunting, the fall colours festival and cross country skiing. There is open space for walking, for hikes, for romantic strolls—this is a region that brings out the romantic in people—something you will acknowledge in yourself I am sure, Mr. Speaker —for getting out in nature behind a dog sled or on a bicycle. Tourism is one very vital aspect of life in the Laurentians.

I would also like to pay tribute to my colleague, the hon. member for Marc-Aurèle-Fortin, he of quick wit, and he who has served well in the National Assembly. I believe he has been recently honoured by the Barreau du Québec. This honourable member is well known for his silver tongue. He is an orator, a talented litigator, a man with a strong grasp of effective language. The hon. member for Marc-Aurèle-Fortin, who stands strongly behind this region, proposed a motion in the Standing Committee on Public Safety and National Security, to which the agency reports and where its estimates are voted on, if my information is correct. I will reread that motion, which has been accepted and has nothing ambiguous about it. It reflects the wishes of the committee and those wishes need to be expressed in the House. The minister must allow himself to be influenced by the committee motion , which reads as follows:

That the Committee recommend that the Rivière Rouge Mont Tremblant International Airport (YTM) be recognized as an airport of entry into Canada, without customs charges being imposed for regular commercial flights, as is the case with the airports in Montreal and Quebec City.

I have to ask: where is the Quebec Conservative caucus when it comes to defending the interests of Quebec? Did anyone besides the hon. member for Laurentides—Labelle and her colleagues from the Bloc Québécois stand up? We have a situation here where the future regional development of one of Quebec's finest tourist region is mortgaged. The Conservatives from Quebec should be equally supportive of economic development in Quebec. There are times when partisanship has no place and we have to join forces. When one region of Quebec is under attack in its economic development, it is all of Quebec that comes under attack. Again, as I said, the Laurentians region is a unique tourist attraction.

There is no indication that the ten Conservative members from Quebec have offered any support to the hon. member for Laurentides—Labelle. We need everyone in this House to clearly understand how urgent the situation is.

Each time a plane lands at the Mont Tremblant international airport in Rivière-Rouge, it costs the airport administration $1,093.68. Naturally, that is in addition to the airport's regular operating costs, which makes it uncompetitive. That should be troubling enough in and of itself.

All members of this House have to understand that this is a situation unique to that airport, which is not found in Montreal, in Quebec City or in any other similar size airport anywhere in Canada.

I am gripped by anger and indignation. I have no intention of having an unparliamentary behaviour or showing any disrespect to anyone in this House, but I do believe that all parliamentarians have to understand the urgency of the situation.

I will stop here because I am so angry I can barely contain myself.

Court Challenges Program June 16th, 2008

Mr. Speaker, the Conservatives have gone half way by saying they made a mistake with this program, but they still have to acknowledge that it is not just French-Canadians and Acadians who have been affected by the budget slashing by Conservative ideologues; it has also had an impact on advocacy groups for women, gay men and lesbians, people with disabilities and other groups for whom the Conservatives have no sympathy.

What is the government waiting for to restore the program funding for all those groups?

Court Challenges Program June 16th, 2008

Mr. Speaker, the Prime Minister is now backpedalling on eliminating the court challenges program. By proposing an out of court settlement, he is recognizing that the ideology-driven cuts made in 2006 were irresponsible. We are also hearing not only that the agreement could reduce the scope of the program, but also that the program would now apply only to official language minorities.

Can thePrime Minister confirm these rumours?

Justice June 10th, 2008

Mr. Speaker, directors of organizations that work with young offenders oppose the federal law undermining the rehabilitation of young offenders. Daniel Côté, from Centre jeunesse de Québec, says that the law does not take into account young people's personal needs and particular circumstances. Linda Keating, from another youth centre, criticizes the changes in the law's criteria that will not allow the right action at the right time.

With the rate of youth crime now lower in Quebec than in the rest of Canada, does the Minister of Justice realize that the current law is undermining the rehabilitation of young offenders?

Justice June 3rd, 2008

Mr. Speaker, the Minister responsible for official languages refuses to say whether or not she supports the appointment of a bilingual judge to the Supreme Court. The minister stated that she prefers to see the process run its course. In fact, she has demonstrated her lack of regard for francophones. The Commissioner of Official Languages, the Quebec National Assembly and the opposition parties are demanding that a bilingual candidate be appointed.

Will the government make bilingualism an essential requirement when appointing the next Supreme Court justice?

Canadian Environmental Protection Act, 1999 May 26th, 2008

Mr. Speaker, there is no doubt that the previous speaker, the member for Stormont—Dundas—South Glengarry, is naturally rather confused. I believe there would be a pretty strong consensus on that, although I will not ask for a show of hands.

My colleague gave a very clear presentation. I am going to ask her questions that will give her an opportunity to make some of the essential distinctions in this debate. The debate cannot be between those for and against the use of ethanol; that is not the debate. I would ask my colleague, who is also the Bloc Québécois natural resources critic—and I want to congratulate her on the great job she is doing—to explain why the Bloc Québécois takes a less rigid position and why we believe that ethanol should come from a variety of sources. Perhaps she could even make the connection with other issues.

This morning I saw that a number of our constituents had taken the time to write us. Some people may have written to my colleague to ask that we vote against Bill C-33. In fact, under the circumstances, there is no guarantee that this bill will not add to the food crisis and reduce corn supplies.

I would therefore ask her to explain the nuances of the Bloc's position.

Yves Michaud May 13th, 2008

Mr. Speaker, I would like to sincerely congratulate the Mouvement d'éducation et de défense des actionnaires, a shareholder advocacy group, and its president, Yves Michaud, on winning the opening round against the very powerful Power Corporation.

Recently, the Superior Court of Quebec ruled in Mr. Michaud's favour, stating that shareholders of a company have the right to be informed not only of that company's financial details, but also of those of the company's subsidiaries and other corporate entities. According to the decision, each company must keep these records at its headquarters and make them available to all shareholders.

The lawsuit began in May 2006 when Mr. Michaud asked Power Corporation for permission to consult Gesca's financial statements. When the company refused to disclose the information, Mr. Michaud took the matter to court. Last Friday, he attended Power Corporation's annual general meeting to learn more, but to no avail.

I know Mr. Michaud, and I know that he will continue the fight. Congratulations on this first victory.