House of Commons photo

Elsewhere

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

Automobile Industry May 7th, 2004

Mr. Speaker, in 2002, the GM plant at Boisbriand closed its doors, causing a net loss of 1,300 direct jobs in Quebec. Today we have learned that the government may be planning to invest hundreds of millions of dollars in the Oshawa plant.

Can the minister confirm that, basically, the government dumped Boisbriand in favour of Oshawa?

Supply May 6th, 2004

Mr. Speaker, first, I would like to commend my colleague, the member for Laurentides, who will be, I believe, I am even sure, the future member for Rivière-du-Nord. Indeed, she will have a new riding that will be called Rivière-du-Nord.

I see that my colleague knows quite well the problems that are directly related to unemployment and seasonal work. In her region, the majority of workers are seasonal workers in tourism, ski resorts and other sectors. However, there is an issue that my colleague forgot to talk about. In her riding, as in mine, there are not many large industries. There is a huge number of self-employed workers who have to fend for themselves. I would like to know if my colleague has solutions for these self-employed workers who are not eligible for employment insurance.

Supply May 6th, 2004

Mr. Speaker, this is one of the best comedies I have ever seen performed in this place. This is a farce.

My colleague opposite who just spoke tried to entertain us with his humour. Luckily, few people watch the proceedings of the House at this time of day and I am very happy about that, because there is more entertainment value for those at home in watching cartoons than listening to this person talk rubbish. That is the best way to describe his remarks.

It takes some gall, some nerve, to suggest that we should take our time to settle the problem properly. Since May 2001, the Standing Committee on Human Resources Development has heard testimony, conducted investigations as committees do, and presented 17 recommendations, 17 unanimous recommendations that is. As the hon. member aptly said, we should all work together. If these 17 unanimous recommendations are not the result of a team effort, I wonder what is.

Are members opposite waiting for the election to be called to repeat the 2000 election stunt, when the current Prime Minister worked himself into a state in Baie Comeau and said that the seasonal workers' issue would be resolved? We are in 2004, and there is still no solution forthcoming to this problem.

Will the proposal forthcoming from this government in the next few days or weeks just be smoke and mirrors, just one more campaign promise? We are almost back to the days of Duplessis. Will employment insurance be used for vote-getting purposes for the next 10 elections? Duplessis could promise the same bridge election after election. We are heading that way ourselves now.

I would like to have my colleague's comments on the 17 unanimous recommendations tabled by the Standing Committee on Human Resources Development in May of 2001. Were they shelved or pitched out altogether, or was this a serious effort by members of all the parties?

Armenian People April 23rd, 2004

Mr. Speaker, this week we witnessed a historic moment. The House of Commons voted decisively in favour of a motion recognizing the Armenian genocide.

Although the Minister of Foreign Affairs has tried to minimize the import of this motion by my colleague from Laval Centre, the fact remains that the representatives of Canadians and Quebeckers will have had the last word on the meaning to be attributed to this other tragic crime against humanity.

Tomorrow is the sad anniversary of the Armenian genocide of 1915, which claimed over 1.5 million victims.

The Bloc Quebecois sympathizes with the Armenian community and, together with them, we will continue to remember this event and remind future generations of it so that such terrible acts are never repeated.

Natural Resources April 2nd, 2004

Mr. Speaker, the federal government is refusing to create a petroleum monitoring agency, under the pretext of allowing multinational oil companies to control the market.

By so doing, this government is ignoring a unanimous recommendation by the Standing Committee on Industry, Science and Technology to regulate an industry sorely in need of it and which is doing tremendous harm to the economy, particularly the transportation industry.

However, the situation is urgent and the threat of gas prices reaching $1 per litre very shortly means that this government should take this crisis, which has struck again, seriously by quickly creating a petroleum monitoring agency, essential to ensuring the sound management of this industry.

Budget Implementation Act, 2004 April 1st, 2004

Mr. Speaker, I want to congratulate my colleague from Winnipeg Centre on his excellent speech. However, before I make any comments, I want to say that everyone is no doubt aware that there is a rumour going around the House that this might be one of the last times we will sit before the next election.

That said, I also want to remind the Chair of something he announced to me personally, which is that the Speaker has decided to hang up his skates, as we say in northern Ontario and northwestern Quebec—we are from the same parts of the country—after 25 years.

Consequently, personally and on behalf of my Bloc colleagues, I wish the Speaker a very happy retirement; I wish him many enjoyable days of fishing and hunting. It takes courage, perseverance and patience to spend 25 years in the House and I congratulate the Chair on this achievement.

To come back to my colleague's speech, I want to say that I am quite simply disgusted to learn that 53% of the young people in his riding live below the poverty line. In a country like Canada, this is unbelievable.

I realized that, in his speech, he failed to mention—and I want to tell him about this—not only this government's poor administration, but also the scandals, theft, and so forth. I am thinking, for example, of a trip to the circumpolar countries by Adrienne the First, which cost x millions of dollars. I am thinking that, with those millions, we could have given a lot of money to young people in my colleague's riding so they could eat.

I am thinking too of the gun registry administrative scandal. Yes, it may be good to have a gun registry, however, when it is supposed to cost $2 million and it ends up costing $2 billion, that would have been money for the 53% of young people in his riding.

I could go on and on. I want to hear a little from my colleague about the scandals and wasted money since at least 1997, when I came here.

Budget Implementation Act, 2004 April 1st, 2004

Mr. Speaker, I want to congratulate my friend, the hon. member for Kamouraska—Rivière-du-Loup—Témiscouata—Les Basques, on his excellent speech. I also want to congratulate him on his official nomination as a candidate in his riding and I am convinced he will win in the next federal election. That said, I thank the Chair for allowing the member for Rivière-des-Mille-Îles to run this paid announcement.

I want my colleague to talk us about one of the things we hold dear. He spoke at length and quite seriously about employment insurance, contribution rates and so forth. However, he failed to mention the creation of a self-sustaining employment insurance fund managed and administered by employees and employers, and the benefits or advantages of this.

Supply March 11th, 2004

Mr. Speaker, I am very much attuned to the comments of my colleague from Repentigny, and will moreover be in his riding this coming Sunday, in Le Gardeur, for a special event, namely his nomination meeting. He can count on my being there.

What we are seeing is a real shame. A real shame, because ever since 1997, that is for as long as I have been in this House, we have been aware of this dictatorial side to the government, the despotic side which seems to be sending the message: “We are the true possessors of enlightenment, the possessors of all knowledge”.

To review a few events, all provincial health ministers in Canada say there is a fiscal imbalance. Everyone agrees on this except this famous Liberal government. Over there, they say “No, that is not true”, because they are the enlightened ones.

Let us hearken back to the young offender legislation. Everybody said there was something wrong with that bill, everyone but the people over there. It was not just us nasty separatists who were saying so, it was everyone involved in the justice system everywhere in Canada.

The folks over there think they know it all.Their attitude: “We are right, we are the enlightened ones, we have a direct line to the Almighty”.

I will give my colleague from the riding of Repentigny the best answer I can. Just remember the tax credits, the tax points, they are all mixed up in this. Let us remember how the provincial governments allowed the federal to encroach on their areas of jurisdiction, to collect taxes during the second world war.

We tried to restore things after the war. In 1964, the Liberal Premier of Quebec, Jean Lesage, managed to regain a few of what were called tax points. Let us remember that we managed to regain a few of those points in 1997.

In those days, Duplessis described the Supreme Court—since we took this as far as the Supreme Court—as being like the leaning tower of Pisa, always leaning to the same side.

Those words are just as apt today. Truth always leans toward the Liberals, with their lord-and-master mentality. Yet there are a lot of things they could stand to learn, things I have pointed out in my speech. As for their forecasted surplus, they are in the wrong every year.

My apologies if I have gone on overly long, and I thank the Chair for his indulgence.

Supply March 11th, 2004

It would be positively a pleasure, as my colleague opposite said.

Would a government which manages responsibly have sunk billions in gun registration? What a scandal.

Yes, a gun registry is needed, but there is no need to spend billions of dollars on it. That means it could be billions of dollars. My colleague from Lac-Saint-Jean—Saguenay agrees with this statement since he is nodding his head. Could the government have saved hundreds of millions of dollars in the sponsorship program? There could have been a surplus in excess of $8 billion.

What are we to think of this government that does not seek a fair share of taxes from some individuals or companies. I am talking about wealthy people and companies, such as the company owned by the Prime Minister of Canada, who invest their money in tax havens and pay roughly 2% to 2.5% tax in Barbados and not a cent here in Canada. What an insult.

What an insult to us Canadians when they save $100 million a year. What an insult to us Canadians who pay our taxes. You too, Mr. Speaker, have paid handsomely in taxes.

I believe the government opposite must do what the Bloc is asking today and try to obtain funding for health in a long-term transfer, not just a band-aid solution for now. It has to be for the long term and the government has to focus on achieving the goal of 25% of stable funding, not 16% like it is now. That would be 25% for 2004-05. With the surplus the Conference Board has estimated until 2019-20, they will have enough surplus to properly fund health transfers to each province.

Supply March 11th, 2004

Mr. Speaker, as I begin, I would like to tell you that I will be sharing my time with the hon. member for Kamouraska—Rivière-du-Loup—Témiscouata—Les Basques.

Today we are engaged in a debate of capital importance for all the provinces, Quebec in particular. We know that the biggest challenge for all provincial and territorial governments is to manage their spending and investments in health care. We know that the average amount invested in health is around 38 or 40% of all expenditures by each of these governments.

According to the Conference Board—who is not a group of nasty separatists—by 2005, nearly 45% of provincial and territorial spending will go to health investments.

The motion by my colleague, the hon. member for Joliette, says that the former Prime Minister, Mr. Chrétien, promised $2 billion. Let the government give this $2 billion to the provinces and let them divide the current year's surplus in half and invest it in health. For example, we in the Bloc Quebecois believe that the federal government will have a surplus of $8 billion this year.

I would like to remind the House of some history here, namely the estimates made by the Bloc Quebecois since 1998, when I was a new member of this House, having been elected in 1997.

We will remember that in 1998-99 the government across the way estimated that it would have a surplus of $3 billion. That was the same amount the Bloc Quebecois estimated. In reality, it was $3.1 billion. In 1999-2000, the government came in with the same estimate of $3 billion. The hon. member for Saint-Hyacinthe—Bagot estimated it would be $11.5 billion. What was it in fact? It was $12.7 billion.

Remember that in 2000-2001, the people on the other side predicted a $4 billion surplus. The Bloc Quebecois estimated $18.2 billion. The real number was $18.1 billion. In 2001-2002, the folks across the way predicted $1.5 billion while we predicted $8.3 billion. The actual number was $8.9 billion. In 2002-2003, the Liberals estimated $3 billion and the Bloc $7.5 billion; in reality it was $7 billion. For 6 consecutive years, the Bloc Quebecois has been on target in its estimate of the surplus.

Therefore, this year we firmly believe that the amount will be roughly $8 billion. Last week, the Conference Board—another non-separatist institution—predicted that the Government of Canada would have a $10 billion surplus this year.

Where does this $8 billion come from? First and foremost, it comes from the change brought about in the transfers to provinces for health, social services and so on. That change was implemented unilaterally. I remember when the present Prime Minister and former finance minister decided to change the formula for transfers to provinces. In doing so, he impoverished the provinces. He carried out the will of the former president of the Treasury Board, who used to say, “Let us starve the provinces; we will have the money and, thus, have a hold over them”.

That is what this government is doing. Where did the $8 billion surplus come from? The government keeps grabbing the surpluses in the employment insurance fund. It keeps dipping in union pension funds. It keeps clawing back the tax on school bus transportation, and so on.

This $8 billion surplus could be even higher. It could be, if the government opposite managed its finances prudently and responsibly. It is not even able to estimate what the surplus will be for a given year. We in the Bloc Quebecois have to tell the government.

My colleague, the member for Joliette, who is a financial expert, could tell the government that the real estimated amount for this year's surplus is $8 billion. I am sure it would be a pleasure for my colleague, the member for Joliette, to help the finance minister—