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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

Department of Social Development Act December 7th, 2004

Mr. Speaker, I want to ask a question of my hon. colleague opposite, the member for Windsor West.

Does he not believe, as the Bloc believes, that this bill to establish the Department of Social Development directly interferes in provincial jurisdictions?

I want him to make a few comments about this because we believe this is strictly a provincial jurisdiction.

Supply December 2nd, 2004

Mr. Speaker, I would like to commend my colleague from Saint-Hyacinthe—Bagot for his speech and especially for his knowledge of agriculture.

As you all know, my colleague started his career in agriculture as an economist. Therefore, I am curious to know why producers in other provinces do not want to agree to the floor price for meat from the type of cows that were affected by the mad cow disease.

Veterans November 3rd, 2004

Mr. Speaker, as veterans affairs critic for the Bloc Québécois, in this week that is dedicated to them, I am proud to pay tribute today to the women and men who have participated in war, whether in world conflicts or peacekeeping operations.

Our thoughts and respect go out to all those who fought on behalf of Quebec and Canada in World War I from 1914 to 1918, in World War II from 1939 to 1945, 175,000 Quebeckers among them, in the Korean war from 1950 to 1953, and more recently in the gulf war and the various UN and NATO peacekeeping missions.

Remembering our veterans means also caring for them, including the younger ones who often have trouble fitting back into society here and whose problems are not always acknowledged as being related to their combat experiences, post-traumatic stress for instance.

As I have done since first elected in 1997, I will continue to defend these women and men whom the government forgets too quickly once they are back from war or a mission. We owe them this recognition and support.

Since its inception 10 years ago, Veterans Week has offered us an opportunity to perpetuate the memory of our veterans and their exceptional sacrifices.

Let us show our recognition and respect to the thousands of women and men from this country who have sacrificed themselves in the defence of freedom and democracy.

I would like to take this opportunity to congratulate Veterans Affairs on its most interesting web site. I discovered, for instance, the virtual war memorial on which I was able to find 17 people with the same last name as myself, Perron, and I wish to pay particular tribute today to those soldiers and their families.

Peace must remain the primary objective of our government. We must preserve our reputation, built up since the early years of the last century, often at the price of our soldiers' lives. Their contribution must be remembered with gratitude.

Supply October 21st, 2004

Madam Speaker, I thank the hon. member for Jonquière—Alma for this opportunity to say something about the war in Iraq. Yes, I completely agree with the position Quebeckers took on this issue. It was also the Bloc Québécois position. Since the beginning we Quebeckers have been a peaceful people. We do not like war. For example, during the second world war, we opposed sending soldiers. But a law was passed here that forced us to go and fight.

Let us return to the war in Iraq. Yes, it is true that we, the people of Quebec, put pressure on this government not to follow the Americans on this issue. I am aware that, for once, the government listened to the people of Quebec, and all the more so because this war—as is very clear now—is especially and uniquely about oil, the lifeblood of the modern economy. No weapons of mass destruction have yet been found.

Supply October 21st, 2004

Madam Speaker, I recommend that my colleague, the hon. parliamentary secretary, read the blues carefully tomorrow, because I said that the army does not only do bad things, that it also does good things. That is what I said. The army does not only do bad things, it also does good things.

In response to the second part of his question about whether the army should have offensive weapons, yes, these are necessary in a conventional army. More needs to be done, however, and I would like to hear him on this: should there not be a new defence policy for this army? That is the problem. We are working with defence policies dating back to 1994; we are still talking about the 1994 white paper, even if this is 2004.

Supply October 21st, 2004

Madam Speaker, I am indeed aware of the exhibition. The army does not only do bad things. It also does good things. I think, however—and this is the Bloc's view—that the Parliamentary Secretary to the Minister of Defence will have to agree with me that it is time this country had a national defence policy.

I sincerely believe that we need to know what role and responsibilities our army will have. Will it be a defensive or an offensive army? What role will it have? We absolutely must develop a defence policy for this army.

Supply October 21st, 2004

Madam Speaker, since this is my first speech in this 38th Parliament, I would like to take some time to congratulate you on your appointment as Acting Speaker of the House and to thank my constituents, the voters of my riding of Rivière-des-Mille-Îles for re-electing me.

On June 28, 64.9% of voters reaffirmed the trust they had in their MP for the third time. That is a clear sign for me to keep up the good work. It shows me that they approve of what I do in this House and that they support the work of my colleagues, the members of the Bloc Québécois. I would also like to thank and congratulate my colleagues from northwestern Quebec, my seatmates, who provide us with moral support during our speeches.

Please excuse me, I forgot to mention that I will be sharing my time with the hon. member for Jonquière—Alma.

Enough thank yous and compliments, let us get to the heart of the debate. The Bloc Québécois and I are against this motion, not because it is bad, but because it asks to invest money in national defence when there is no national defence policy. The same is true for Canada's foreign affairs policies—there is no policy.

The last time national defence policies were reviewed was in 1994. I wonder if DND still uses these policies. If so, it should consider changing them because the concept of defence and military armament has changed dramatically since September 11, 2001.

We no longer have an army to contend with, we have to deal with people we call terrorists, who have not been identified and whose methods we do not know. Consequently, this government absolutely must establish a defence policy. In the meantime, it should invest money in the living conditions of our service members.

I have, unfortunately, had occasion to provide support to young men and women the age of my own son, who have returned from war or peacekeeping in Bosnia with post-traumatic stress syndrome. They have come home as human wrecks, a harsh term perhaps but they are greatly in need of psychological and psychiatric help. Unfortunately, we turn a blind eye to them.

Some of these young people in my riding have to spend time at Sainte-Anne-de-Bellevue regularly, daily or weekly. Unfortunately, they need more help than that. Let us not lose sight of the fact that these young people, like all our military personnel, have been to war or on peacekeeping assignment in order to advance the cause of democracy. That was their role.

The dangers that await us if we invest in our armed forces without any national defence policy is that these investments are likely to be wasted. I will give a few examples of this.

Hon. members will recall that, in 1998-99, the national defence budget was $8,964 million, while it will be $13,400 million in 2003-04. That is a lot of money. Ordinary people's dreams of winning the lottery never exceed a million. So this is an increase of 49.5% in national defence spending since 1998.

What did that money go to? Let us think back to 1993, when the government over the way spent $500 million to cancel the helicopter contract. Or back to 1998 when, without consulting the House, it announced, just like that, the purchase of four used submarines from Great Britain, ones that had been in mothballs since 1993. They were purchased in 1998 for $800 million, apparently to protect our coasts, the Arctic and the far north, but the submarines were not equipped to operate under northern ice.

Since then, several hundred million dollars have been invested in those submarines. The total has reached nearly $1 billion in expenditures on those four submarines, now all in dry dock. Unfortunately, for that to happen, Lieutenant Saunders had to lose his life in the incident aboard the HMCS

Chicoutimi.

While waiting for my colleague to take his seat, I would just like to add that we spent another $174 million needlessly on a communications satellite that has not been used. That is one of the things the auditor general pinpointed.

With that I shall pass things over to my colleague for his ten minutes.

Hmcs October 7th, 2004

Mr. Speaker, on Monday, when they set out for Halifax from the port of Faslane, Scotland, on their maiden voyage, the 57 crew members of HMCS Chicoutimi could not have imagined the tragedy that awaited them on the first leg of their Atlantic crossing.

The fire on board the submarine on Tuesday turned into a nightmare yesterday when one crew member, Lieutenant Chris Saunders, a combat systems engineer from Saint John, New Brunswick, succumbed while being transported to hospital.

In this time of grief, our thoughts are with the family and friends of Lieutenant Saunders.

We also salute the courage of all the crew members and their families in the difficult times they are going through. Your sense of duty is commendable and exemplary; we are very grateful to you.

Taxation May 14th, 2004

Mr. Speaker, we have learned that the Quebec government is not in a position to make its contribution to the infrastructure program, because it does not have enough money. This is more tangible proof of the tax imbalance.

What is the Prime Minister waiting for to admit that he has too much money, while Quebec and the provinces have glaring needs? What is he waiting for to finally acknowledge and settle the issue of tax imbalance?

Automobile Industry May 7th, 2004

Mr. Speaker, in Ottawa, there is no money for Quebec, but there is some for Ontario. The Parliamentary Secretary to the Prime Minister tells us that a tripartite agreement is being worked out for the Oshawa plant.

Can we have a guarantee that the same amount of money will be allotted for Quebec as for Ontario, in order to create new jobs in the Basses-Laurentides region?