House of Commons photo

Crucial Fact

  • His favourite word was quebec.

Last in Parliament September 2008, as Bloc MP for Rivière-des-Mille-Îles (Québec)

Won his last election, in 2006, with 54% of the vote.

Statements in the House

Resumption of debate on Address in Reply October 19th, 2007

Mr. Speaker, this will only take me a couple of seconds. I want to thank my colleague from Beauharnois—Salaberry. I am very fond of the city of Valleyfield.

Can she explain whether funding for the POWA is shared with the provincial governments?

Canada Elections Act May 31st, 2007

Yes, that they are. Instead of giving gifts, handing out contracts and such things, we must not be afraid to roll up our sleeves and get down to work. I would like to hear what you have to say about that, my dear friend from Argenteuil—Papineau—Mirabel.

Canada Elections Act May 31st, 2007

Mr. Speaker, there is a serious problem in my riding, Rivière-des-Mille-Îles. June 2 will mark my 10th anniversary in this House. With each election, voter turnout continues to decline. I do not have a problem because my share of the vote continues to rise. But what I would like to know is why do voters not vote and, in the case of those that do, why do they change their vote? Instead of voting for the Liberals or the Conservatives, they vote for the Bloc. As for the others, they stay home.

My friend from Argenteuil—Papineau—Mirabel has raised an important point. We, the elected members, must regain the confidence of voters. We must get back out there and meet with them to prove, through our actions, the value of a member of Parliament. We had proof of that last night. A group of young students from my riding came to see us. I wish to thank you for welcoming them, Mr. Speaker. We must change the type of politicians that we are.

Business of Supply May 18th, 2007

Mr. Speaker, since every province and every industry emits greenhouse gases at different rates, I would like the hon. member to say a few words on the polluter pays principle.

Battle of Vimy Ridge March 29th, 2007

Mr. Speaker, I thank my friends.

This brings us to Vimy. Vimy had been taken by our adversaries, early in the war, in 1914. Both the French and the English, the imperial troops of the British Empire as they were known at the time, had lost a lot of men as they tried, again and again, to retake Vimy, but with no success.

But General Currie, who was in charge of the army, had decided to change the way the war was fought. It was that new approach that led to the 5th Brigade, which was entirely on the right, setting off from the little village of Thelus at the foot of the south side of the hill, the one that could be seen in front of the mountain, on April 9, 1917, Easter morning. They moved out and they engaged in a new kind of warfare.

Since April 18, the 5th Brigade had drilled using sketches. They took aerial photographs. Every soldier was therefore familiar with the lie of the land, and every battalion, or rather every platoon, because a battalion was divided into four platoons, A, B, C and D, had specific objectives.

We must remember that throughout the war, the 22nd Battalion had only once failed to take its objective, and that was in the battle of Regina Trench. The 5th Brigade, I should say, to be more honest, never failed to take another objective throughout the entire war, from 1915 to 1918. This demonstrates the strength of those soldiers, people from our hometowns in New Brunswick, Nova Scotia and Quebec, as I mentioned.

So they left Thelus on Sunday about five in the morning. The first small problem they encountered was the village of Farbus. It cost them dearly. There were 40 dead and 90 wounded in the 22nd Battalion. As an aside, in 1920, a year after the war, the battalion was made into a regiment. The following year, King George V allowed the 22nd Battalion to call itself the Royal 22nd Regiment, which is where the name of our 22nd Regiment comes from. The soldiers of today's Royal 22nd Regiment should be very proud of their forebears.

To come back to my account, they arrived at Farbus and used the same tactic. They fired, they launched, they bombarded all of the barbed-wire emplacements and all of the defences on the other side of the no man's land, and they pounded the trenches on the other side with shells. While their adversaries stayed in their trenches, the soldiers swarmed out, like ants, moving to the next trench and hiding in shell craters. And so they moved up, gradually, and on the evening of April 9, Easter Sunday, they reached the crest of Vimy Ridge. The soldiers of the 5th Brigade were the first to reach the top of the ridge.

I have spent over 200 hours reading about the first world war. To me and to historians, Vimy was the turning point of the war. Our enemies' morale was crushed. Beginning on April 10, 1917, we advanced again and again, and we drove our adversaries back with incredible speed. And finally, on November 11, at the 11th hour, in Mons, the 5th Brigade was there when the Armistice was sounded. This was a tremendous achievement by men.

I am very proud of the 5th Brigade and also of the Royal 22nd Regiment. I wish them good luck; my heart goes with them.

Battle of Vimy Ridge March 29th, 2007

Mr. Speaker, it is with emotion and sadness that I rise this morning. I could talk for two hours or more, but sadly, I have to deliver my speech within ten minutes. Sadly, it will focus on history.

Sadly also, many of us do not remember World War I. Let us remember that, in midsummer 1914, our adversaries—I will not use the word “enemy” because it is against my religion—namely the Germans, the Austrians and the Italians, declared war.

Moments after war was declared, the French, the British and the Russians engaged our adversaries. What was our adversaries' strategy? To fight on three fronts.

The first one, known as the northern front, allowed them to move through the north of Belgium and France to seize the seaports in Panne-Adinkerke, Dunkirk and Calais to make it easy to go across and invade the mother country at the time: England.

The second front, the central front, included Pas-de-Calais, South-Pas-de-Calais, North-Pas-de-Calais and the Somme, which ran from Germany through the middle of France, to seize the ports of Boulogne-sur-Mer and Le Havre.

The third front ran from Germany to Paris and was designed to bring about the surrender of France and win the first world war. Such were our adversaries' plans.

Unfortunately, the allies woke up a little too late. Shortly before the end of 1914, the Germans were 94 km from Paris. The Germans and our adversaries had almost a free run at crossing Belgium, which was neutral at the time. The English declared war because a neutral country had been invaded. What did the English colony—since it was a colony—do to help England and France prevail and preserve democracy, freedom of speech and liberty? Our ancestors went to war.

Let us now look at Vimy, through the eyes of the first commander of the 22nd French-Canadian Battalion, commander Thomas-Louis Tremblay, a little guy from back home, a little guy from Chicoutimi. Commander Thomas-Louis Tremblay went to university in Kingston and became a military engineer.

I would like to provide some background on the 22nd French-Canadian Battalion. Toward the end of 1914, few Quebeckers were enlisting in the army and people were trying to figure out why.

There are three reasons. First, remember that in spring 1917, an Ontario law prohibited French from being taught in school. Second, the majority, if not all, of the combatants or residents of Quebec did not speak English. The only pocket of anglophones was in the Montreal area. The militia, which existed throughout the country, was very limited in Quebec since orders were given in English and Quebeckers did not understand English. I am telling this story not as a Quebecker of 2007, but as a Quebecker of 1917. Third—and this is the main reason—contrary to the people from Upper Canada or English Canada, for Quebeckers, the mother country was France.

Dr. Mignault, a wealthy doctor from Montreal, invested some $50,000 of his own money to create, with approval from this House, a francophone battalion called the 22nd French-Canadian Battalion, under the command of Thomas-Louis Tremblay. The 22nd Battalion was part of the 5th Brigade, which consisted of the 23rd, 25th, and 26th Battalions. These battalions were mostly francophone, since they came from the same region as my friend from Nova Scotia, from New Brunswick, and from the Ottawa area, where most of the soldiers were francophone.

This 22nd Battalion, or the 5th Brigade, should I say, landed in France on September 15, 1915. Their first mission was to stop the adversaries in Ypres, in northern Belgium. The route ran through Panne-Adinkerke, Dunkirk and Calais, the seaports, because the adversaries wanted to stick close to the coast of the English Channel so as to be able to easily cross to England and invade it. Our men vigorously defended Ypres. Brave soldiers were needed.

I would like to lighten things up a little this morning. Did you know that the most popular battalion in France was the 22nd French-Canadian Battalion? They were known to the French as the beavers, because their emblem was just that—a beaver. Also, because they were fighting under the British flag, the French wondered why these soldiers were speaking a kind of French they were not familiar with, but that they understood just the same. From then on, the French—from France—took a liking to and respected the 5th Brigade, which included the 22nd Battalion.

Things were heating up. The 5th Brigade started to march. It left Ypres, returned to Boulogne, and followed the Atlantic down to defend Vimy.

I am being signalled that my time is running out. I will try to go faster, or I will ask for unanimous consent to continue my speech for another five minutes if people are interested. Do I have unanimous consent to continue for another five minutes?

Business of Supply March 1st, 2007

Mr. Speaker, I have a short question. I could not agree more with my colleague opposite. Unfortunately, it is true that in Canada the avionics sector is bombarded, to use military language, by foreign companies who come here to try and find parts.

I am being told to speed up, so I am asking for the member's comments on this.

Business of Supply March 1st, 2007

Mr. Speaker, we are at the end of the opposition day, and the debate is on the purchase of Boeing aircraft. One question interests and intrigues me. I would like some clarification from the members of the House.

Is the government opposite not kowtowing to Boeing? If Boeing awards contracts in Quebec, these contracts could possibly be taken by Boeing's competitors.

I am thinking of Canadair, of Bombardier. Bombardier makes medium-haul aircraft which compete with Boeing's commercial aircraft. I think of Messier-Dowty, which makes landing gear. I am thinking of the companies in the Trois-Rivières region which specialize in interior and exterior finishing—painting specialists. I am thinking of all these people.

Would it be bowing down to an American multinational if we said that we wanted to retain control over the entire aerospace industry associated with C-17s?

Business of Supply February 8th, 2007

Mr. Speaker, I wish to congratulate my colleague from Châteauguay—Saint-Constant for her wonderful speech.

In my opinion, greenhouse gases are every Canadian's business. I will share my own experience with my colleague. I have had a hybrid car since early in 2003. I will brag a little and say that I was the first member of Parliament on the Hill to buy such a car. Now that I am through promoting myself, I have a question for my friend.

I would like her to share her comments. What does she think of the polluter pay principle?

Softwood Lumber Products Export Charge Act, 2006 November 21st, 2006

I have a comment for my colleague opposite. She said there is a housing boom. In Ottawa the buildings and condominiums going up are made of concrete. She should have come out of her cocoon in Toronto for a while and gone to Kapuskasing, Timmins, Englehart, Swastika, New Liskeard, Cobalt and Tri-City, to see how many houses were built this year in those towns. She also could have come to Abitibi, to Rouyn-Noranda, Amos, La Sarre, Mont-Laurier, to my riding of Rivière-des-Mille-Îles and to Saint-Eustache.

How many houses were built of wood this year? There is a housing slowdown.

In my opinion, my colleague should take the time to assess the rate of construction in Quebec and Ontario before making comments or saying that we have not consulted our people.