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

National Peacekeepers' Day Act October 5th, 2006

Mr. Speaker, I rise this evening to speak to a bill introduced by a colleague of mine both in the House and at the Standing Committee on Veterans Affairs, the hon. member for Algoma—Manitoulin—Kapuskasing.

From the outset, I want to say that the Bloc Québécois supports this bill in principle. Bill C-287 likely stems from the campaign conducted by the Canadian Association of Veterans in United Nations Peacekeeping to perpetuate the memories and deeds of fallen comrades who lost their lives in defence of peace and freedom.

Indeed, since 1945, more than 100,000 Canadians have worn the blue beret, and 114 Canadians peacekeepers have died while taking part in peacekeeping and observation missions. That represents 5% of the price paid by peacekeepers from every nation, given that 2,298 have made the ultimate sacrifice.

Why pay tribute to our peacekeepers, one might ask? I will list a few reasons.

First, they are a key component of multilateralism, a conflict resolution principle very dear to the hearts of Quebeckers. UN peacekeeping missions represent an impartial and very widely accepted way to share the burden and act effectively.

Second, they are active around the world. The UN Department of Peacekeeping Operations—also known as DPKO—is currently running 18 operations on 4 continents and in 10 time zones. It employs over 90,000 people and directly influences the lives of hundreds of millions of people around the world. The operations are made up of military personnel, military observers, and police personnel. DPKO operations also employ nearly 5,250 international civilian personnel, over 11,300 local civilian personnel and approximately 1,720 United Nations volunteers from 108 countries that supply military and police personnel to United Nations peacekeeping operations.

Third, their missions are usually effective. Since 1945, United Nations peacekeeping forces have conducted 60 peacekeeping missions on the ground and have negotiated 172 peace settlements that ended regional conflicts and enabled the populations of more than 45 countries to participate in free and fair elections.

In addition to peacekeeping and security, the peacekeeping forces have, with increasing frequency, been responsible for supporting political processes, building legal systems, creating law enforcement and police forces, and disarming former combatants.

Fourth, peacekeeping missions offer good value for money.

A study conducted by Oxford University economists found that international military intervention, coordinated under Chapter VII of the Charter of the United Nations, was the most effective way to minimize conflicts. The official budget for the DPKO for July 1, 2005, to June 30, 2006, was roughly $5 billion, or 0.5% of the world's military expenses.

This raises the question: why August 9? It was on August 9, 1974, that Canadian peacekeepers suffered the most casualties in a single day. Nine peacekeepers perished when their white plane bearing the United Nations insignia crashed on a routine flight from Beirut to Damascus. Captain Gerry Foster, the pilot of the plane, managed to avoid the first missile, but was unable to avoid the other two.

Why not choose May 29, since that was the date chosen by the United Nations to celebrate International Day of United Nations Peacekeepers? It is an international day celebrated on May 29 by all nations that take part in peacekeeping missions. Indeed, May 29 commemorates Security Council Resolution 50 on the creation of the first United Nations peacekeeping operation in 1948.

We could choose July 28 in memory of the most recent peacekeeper, Colonel Hess-von Kruedener, who was killed during an attack between Lebanon and Israel.

Keep in mind that peacekeepers are sent mainly for missions of peace, to maintain peace. These missions became increasingly popular in 1956 after a UN resolution was tabled by a colleague dear to all Liberals here, Lester B. Pearson. This resolution earned him the 1957 Nobel Peace Prize. Let us pay tribute to Mr. Pearson for his dedication to peace.

In closing, I want to confirm that the Bloc Québécois is in favour of this motion in principle.

Softwood Lumber Products Export Charge Act, 2006 September 25th, 2006

Mr. Speaker, to begin, I would like to congratulate my colleague, the member for Sherbrooke, first for his excellent presentation and next on his appointment as international trade critic for the Bloc. I agree with him completely when he says that this is not a good agreement. Moreover, I am concerned by the fact that an impression is being created that, good or bad, the agreement is the solution to all the problems in Quebec.

Does the member believe that this agreement will save jobs in Quebec and prevent the closing of lumber mills?

Business of Supply June 1st, 2006

Mr. Speaker, I would like to congratulate my friend, the member for Abitibi—Baie-James—Nunavik—Eeyou, on his excellent speech. Knowing that my colleague comes from the construction industry and the labour movement, I want to ask a question and make the following comments.

I also come from the construction industry. We know that petroleum-based products such as monomers are used to make PVC, credit cards and all plastic materials.

We have a problem and it also affects all manufacturers of piping for water supply and sewage systems. I am thinking about Royal Plastics and IPEX. These are Canadian manufacturers who are no longer able to manage their work or their production because they do not know from one day to the next what the price of the raw material will be—raw material they need to produce piping made of PVC, CPVC, Carnar, etc. for water supply systems, sewer systems, electrical systems and industrial plumbing.

What impact does the volatility of commodity prices, which keep changing every day, have on the construction industry?

Business of Supply May 11th, 2006

Mr. Speaker, I would like to put a direct question to all government members and all members of this Parliament: what personal effort have they made to reduce greenhouse gas emissions?

I can give you my own report card, and I hope that the report card of the Minister of Transport, Infrastructure and Communities will be similar to mine.

The day after our vote on the signing of the Kyoto protocol, in 2002, I bought a hybrid vehicle. I also convinced our environment critic, the member for Rosemont—La Petite-Patrie, to do the same, which he did a few months later. I also convinced the member for Brome—Missisquoi to get a hybrid vehicle. That is the effort I made.

After that, I convinced the city of Saint-Eustache to get hybrid vehicles, and the city of Deux-Montagnes, and the city of Sainte-Marthe-sur-le-Lac, and the city of Boisbriand.

What has the minister done?

His recommendations on transport are strictly financial and will not contribute to the reduction of greenhouse gas emissions. It is—

Business of Supply May 11th, 2006

Mr. Speaker, I congratulate my colleague from Berthier—Maskinongé on his excellent speech.

However, I would have liked to know more and I am wondering about something. My colleague certainly has a copy of Canada's Greenhouse Gas Inventory with him, which gives the number of tonnes per capita, since he indicated in his speech that Quebec produces only 12.2 tonnes of greenhouse gases per capita.

If he has that document, I would like him to give us the number of tonnes produced by the other provinces and by Canada.

Public Health Agency of Canada Act May 5th, 2006

Mr. Speaker, I would like to correct the record. The Parliamentary Secretary to the Minister of Health says that Quebec does not need help or wants nothing to do with the rest of Canada. This is totally false.

Quebec has always been fully cooperative. We should not forget either that Quebec has its own health research university centres. What we said and what we are repeating is that Bill C-5 that is before the House today is directly interfering in provincial areas of jurisdiction. A federal government that manages only a few hospitals has no right telling the provinces how to manage their health care systems.

We need to set things straight. Today's debate is not about a war between Quebec and the rest of Canada. Rather, we are discussing the government's plan to put a health care system, a registry, a new level of public employees in each of the provinces. I do not think that we need this. That would be spending money for nothing.

I would like to hear the comments of my friend from Winnipeg Centre on this issue.

Business of Supply May 4th, 2006

Mr. Speaker, I have two concerns this morning. The first is that I am wondering why we are discussing this motion since this is an area of provincial jurisdiction.

I heard what my Liberal colleague, among others, had to say. The inference is that provincial governments, with the exception of Quebec's, which has its own child care system, do not have the ability or the intelligence to set up such a day care system.

I would like to know what my colleague thinks about the involvement of the federal government in this area of provincial jurisdiction.

Resumption of debate on Address in Reply April 7th, 2006

Mr. Speaker, I am rising in this House for the first time in this 39th Parliament. I would therefore like to recognize the people of my riding, to whom I am very grateful for re-electing me.

I would like my colleague from Lévis—Bellechasse to try and convince me, for every situation I will put to him. I am thinking in particular of the $1,200 per year for child care that the Conservative government will be giving parents. By my calculations, that is $100 a month. My daughter has a child in daycare. It is costing her $7 a day. Five days times $7 is $35. The government in Quebec subsidizes daycare to the tune of $30 a day, for a total cost of $185 per week for my granddaughter's daycare. Four weeks times $185 is $740 per month. So, my daughter will be getting a bonus of $100 a month, minus taxes. Where is the logic?

Braun Scott Woodfield November 25th, 2005

Mr. Speaker, we were saddened to learn that a Canadian soldier from Victoria, Braun Scott Woodfield, was killed, while four others were injured.

He is the eighth Canadian solider to die in Afghanistan since 2001. This tragic event highlights the dangers faced everyday by these men and women who risk their lives for freedom, peace and democracy.

To the soldiers injured in the accident, we wish a speedy recovery. To the family and friends of Private Woodfield we extend our deepest condolences.

Canada's military mission in Afghanistan November 15th, 2005

Mr. Chair, I believe we are getting bogged down. All viewpoints, avenues and means of success must be considered. No mistake can be made.

I am aware that security is important, but helping the people of Afghanistan is important too. This unfortunate people needs help urgently. Is our military better equipped than NGOs to provide it? These are the questions we have to ask. It is easy to talk theory and practice, but let us stop and make the right decisions. That is what counts.

What counts is that we reach this goal and make these people happy, give them the tools they need to take control of their lives as soon as possible.