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Crucial Fact

  • His favourite word was colleague.

Last in Parliament May 2004, as Liberal MP for Chicoutimi—Le Fjord (Québec)

Lost his last election, in 2006, with 29% of the vote.

Statements in the House

Lac-Saint-Jean—Saguenay Byelection December 5th, 2002

Mr. Speaker, members of the Bloc Quebecois are in a state of panic.

In the final stretch of this election campaign in the beautiful riding of Lac-Saint-Jean—Saguenay, the riding of the founding father of the Bloc Quebecois, they are making all kinds of unfounded statements. People are tired of the Bloc Quebecois working itself into a state everyday without ever proposing any constructive action.

In the meantime, our candidate in Monday's election, Gilbert Tremblay, is out working the riding. He is not simply giving speeches. He is already acting as a member for his neighbours, whether it is on the Agropur issue in the heart of the riding of Roberval, the riding of the Bloc Quebecois' House leader, where he has already organized ministerial meetings, or on the issue of Monts Valin, which he wants to be turned into a Canadian winter sports centre for economic diversification.

On Monday, the people of the riding of Lac-Saint-Jean—Saguenay will choose to vote for a member who is already working for our region. Monday night, the riding of Lac-Saint-Jean—Saguenay will give the Bloc the chop.

Airline Industry November 19th, 2002

Mr. Speaker, my hon. colleague is going to have to make up his mind. One day, security is important, and the next, it is not quite so important.

He is well aware that the tax is distinctly marginal as compared to the overall costs of the security measures the government has put in place. He is also well aware that this tax is continually reassessed.

Port Security November 19th, 2002

Mr. Speaker, to answer my colleague, close to $8 billion have been invested in additional security measures and cases are evaluated by the department as they arise.

Rest assured that when requests are legitimate, grants are given and the appropriate funding will be provided.

Port Security November 19th, 2002

Mr. Speaker, Transport Canada is taking the necessary steps, together with all of the departments concerned, to ensure the maximum security at Canadian ports.

Highway Program November 18th, 2002

Mr. Speaker, our government has adopted a specific $2 billion strategic infrastructure program. We are doing on a daily basis what the opposition is asking of us, that is to respect provincial jurisdictions.

We have negotiations underway with each of the provinces. I hope that the opposition is going to vote with us when we take such positive steps to carry out projects that are so important to the provinces.

Public Safety Act, 2002 November 18th, 2002

Madam Speaker, to my knowledge, the bill provides that the offences for which warrants must be executed are extremely serious ones, including murder.

Public Safety Act, 2002 November 18th, 2002

Madam Speaker, I want to congratulate my colleague on his remarks regarding this extremely important bill. He just mentioned that, in drafting this bill, the government should have taken into account the comments made by the Privacy Commissioner.

In Bill C-17, the government took into account the comments made by numerous stakeholders, particularly our colleagues in the House of Commons, all civil associations and the Privacy Commissioner, especially regarding the elimination of controlled access military zones. These zones will only be maintained in three locations in the country, namely in important ports on the west coast and in Halifax. That debate was difficult. Some people wanted Canadians to believe that all of Canada would become a controlled access military zone even though, initially, the bill was strictly limited to anything that had to do with military equipment that belonged to Canadian Forces or to foreign forces.

Changes have also been made to the deadlines for interim orders. This is a significant change. On the issue that concerns my colleague with regard to the exchange of information, particularly in the case of passengers with outstanding warrants, I would like to ask him if he has had the opportunity to see whether the definition of warrants issued for very serious offences is satisfactory or not. It is a new notion that seems important to me. I would like to have the member's opinion on that, knowing that the committee will improve the bill if necessary.

Canadian Coast Guard November 6th, 2002

Mr. Chairman, I always appreciate comments from my opposition colleagues. I would like to try to clarify things for the Bloc Quebecois members, in particular the member who just spoke. If there were not already such a thing as negativity, the Bloc Quebecois members would have invented it. Allow me to illustrate this quickly.

They make all sorts of demands: wharf repairs, highway construction and tonight they are calling for more money for the Coast Guard. I ask them, with all the humility I can muster, if they might not be a bit more consistent when, for example, the government comes up with tools to carry out major infrastructure projects.

This was the case a few weeks ago. Bill C-49 created a program specifically for strategic infrastructure projects. Nothing is more strategic than highways, wharves and major projects.

They voted against the bill. It was not even a general budget, where it is always possible to find some grounds for voting against it. They voted against a strategic infrastructure program. Can the members of the Bloc Quebecois, who, incidentally, campaign against me year round—which I quite like, I quite like them during election campaigns, and they will be in the riding of Lac-Saint-Jean—tell me why they voted against these specific measures? Then, they come to the House asking for money. When we carry out projects, they say, “it is thanks to us”.

Let me give another example. I know that you are very tolerant, Mr. Chairman. It is nice this evening—

Public Safety Act, 2002 November 5th, 2002

Mr. Speaker, I always say that when a bill is introduced in the House, it can always be improved. When it introduces a bill, the government never feels it is a perfect document. This is why every time we have an opportunity to have an exchange, we should always pay tribute to those who rise to try to improve a bill, be it with regard to fundamental issues or technical issues.

My colleague said, quoting someone, that it was better to defend one's values than one's mistakes. Personally, I would like to point out that the bill illustrates and highlights some fundamental values. I think among other things that the whole issue of tcompliance with the Charter is rather fundamental. One of the important values is that by making changes and improving the bill, the government is showing that it is able to respect the point of view of both the members of our party and those of the opposition parties.

Among others, with regard to the whole issue of controlled access military zones, the fact that this dimension was virtually totally eliminated from the bill is, I believe, rather significant. The interim orders and the issue of arrest warrants are also important. The warrants must very clearly deal with very serious offences such as murder.

All in all, I believe that the bill that was introduced, in its general principles and also in its details, addresses most of the concerns that were raised.

I would also like to add that sometimes blowing things out of proportion prevents us from seeing the facts as they are. We must resist this temptation.

Public Safety Act, 2002 November 5th, 2002

Mr. Speaker, on behalf of the Minister of Transport, I am happy to rise once again to speak about public safety. Over the last few months, my colleague, the minister, had several opportunities to talk about safety and security.

Naturally, since September 11, the subject of public safety is unavoidable in various areas of human activity, especially those involving the Department of Transport.

I want to draw attention to the exceptional work accomplished by the minister who, within seconds of the September 11 attacks, assumed leadership for continental safety and security, if I can put it that way. At that time, our minister became responsible for all air traffic and, with the help of the whole department, operating in all areas of activities and especially air transportation, he helped thousands and thousands of people of various regions of the world. These people benefited from immediate action by the Minister of Transport, and everybody agrees that we should pay tribute to him for what he accomplished in those extremely difficult moments.

Obviously, as elected officials, it is our responsibility to discuss safety in all areas. This morning, I would like to talk more about development in resource-based communities, and health and research in key sectors, where the government has a fantastic agenda for sectors that are fundamental to the future of every region in the country.

I would also like to refute certain statements made by my Bloc Quebecois colleagues, who make a lot of noise here in the House. The statements refer to health care, to the federal share, and regional development. In all, there are initiatives that will be very productive for the regions and that we would like to highlight and perhaps seek to improve.

However, the reality of the situation is that any responsible government must also respond to the challenge of immediate needs as they arise. Safety is one such challenge that has become an undeniable reality in the last 13 or 14 months. Governments around the world, but particularly western governments, that are able to assume the costs related to safety in all fields, are now required to invest absolutely astronomical amounts to ensure the safety of citizens. This is an undeniable reality and we have no choice.

While I do believe that this expenditure of billions and billions of dollars for security is necessary, allow me to say that I would much prefer it if all of this support, all of this money invested in safety programs, were spent in sectors such as the environment, where there are some incredible challenges to be met, and in the area of health and medical research to help those who are coping with illness.

In summary, we must invest in safety, but I obviously would have preferred it if we had not had to deal with the attacks of September 11, which had the effect of radically changing the agenda for all countries around the world, or almost, for every western country, which forced all of our allies to invest an incredible portion of the financial resources at our disposal in safety.

The government has been fulfilling its responsibilities for several months now. Several billions of dollars have been invested. Several departments have done their part to help build a wall against international terrorism, as it were, and this work will not stop in the near future. Right now, there is a battle of civilizations. This is an everyday challenge.

Our government has assumed its responsibilities, particularly under the leadership of the transport minister, who went into action in a matter of seconds after the terrorist attacks to assume leadership and take all the measures required. He also coordinated the operations of all the departments involved in safety and security matters, with the assistance of course of all its partners, the other countries, which are very much concerned.

I would be remiss if I failed to mention what the International Civil Aviation Organization always said about the safety and security measures put in place by our government before and after the attacks. It is an example on the world scale.

This morning, I am pleased to say that, to deal with the situation, we face a huge challenge, and we must live up to that challenge. I will make a few comments about Bill C-17, a revised version of Bill C-55, which was introduced a few months ago and of course died on the Order Paper because of the prorogation of Parliament, last September.

This new bill is a definite improvement. The government took into account the views of both our colleagues in the House of Commons and of key players across the country. Moreover, it took into account the views of all the provinces and territories. It is and will be easy to show that the government has worked hard on this matter.

A government is like an individual. An individual or a government cannot lay claim to perfection. This is true about one's individual behaviour as well as the bills introduced in the House of Commons.

In connection with this issue, there is the whole aspect of the controlled access military zones. Among politicians, we tend to show some degree of partisanship. We must live with that. In my region, I am used to living with partisanship, and it is an everyday challenge.

The government took that reality into account because, had the debate on controlled access military zones gone on much longer, all of Canada would have become a controlled access military zone. That was not the government's intention. It is worth mentioning, concerning the concept established in the now defunct Bill C-55, that the government has designated three specific zones as coming under this definition, namely Halifax harbour, Esquimalt harbour and Nanoose Bay, British Columbia.

Obviously, our armed forces must have the tools needed to deal with emergency situations. In this case, I stress that the government quickly sided with all those who told us this was leading to a difficult and complicated debate, in spite of the fact that, at the time, we had made it clear that the purpose was strictly to preserve the equipment of our armed forces and of foreign forces sometimes involved in helping to resolve major crises. In the end, the government decided to take these concerns into account.

There is also the reality of upholding interim orders and the underlying principle. September 11 was a lesson for all; sometimes, the government, in cooperation with all the parties in the House and all the departments concerned, must respond rapidly to totally unpredictable events.

Governments have no choice but to equip themselves with important tools, to deal with emergencies. Extreme threats may arise completely out of the blue. We have experienced this and continue to experience it on a daily basis since September 11. We need only think of all the attacks occurring around the world.

Governments now have a priority in their agenda called the safety and security of all nationals. Any responsible government has no choice but to equip itself with the tools it needs to be able to respond rapidly.

With respect to interim orders, the government amended some important elements, namely the deadlines prescribed in previous Bill C-55. Bill C-17 amends those aspects. In some cases, the deadlines for interim orders have been shortened.

Deadlines are as follows: the interim order ceases to be in effect 14 days after having been made, unless approved by the Governor in Council. This is a new reference we are giving ourselves through this bill.

Within 15 days after the interim order has been made, a copy of the said order must be tabled in each of the Houses of Parliament. If one of the Houses is not sitting, the order will be filed with the Clerk of that House.

Also, within 23 days of the making of an interim order, a copy of the order will be published in the Canada Gazette . Except for the interim orders made under the Canadian Environmental Protection Act, for which there is a two-year deadline, an interim order approved by the Governor in Council will cease to have effect within one year following its making.

As can be seen from the comments I just made on the chronology of interim orders, and as is implicit in the bill, an interim order can only have provisions which can be found in a regulation and which are immediately necessary to deal with a significant risk, direct or indirect, to health, security, safety or the environment.

In order to clarify a misconception that interim orders will not be made in the two official languages and will be authorized in violation of the Charter, I wish to say that under the Official Languages Act an interim order must be made in both two official languages. This confusion, which is being deliberately promoted, is absolutely false.

Furthermore, I would point out that the Charter applies to all government measures. In other words, the protection given by the Charter applies to emergency orders. Emergency orders must comply with the Official Languages Act and the Charter. I believe you will find that we have taken into account previous comments and that we have tried, if the power to make an emergency order is ever used, to ensure that it would be under close and transparent control.

I wish to call your attention to three new parts that were added to the bill. The first two, parts 5 and 11, were added in order to allow the sharing of information in situations arising under the Department of Citizenship and Immigration Act and the Immigration and Refugee Protection Act.

The third new part, part 17, amends the Personal Information Protection and Electronic Documents Act in order to allow for the operation of the data sharing system established by proposed sections 4.82 and 4.83 pertaining to the Aeronautics Act.

The information sharing system provides that an authorized person could ask for the communication of information on someone in particular. The air carrier or the operator of a reservation system for air carriers could answer without asking for the consent of the individual in question.

Unfortunately, in reality, the air carrier or the operator of a reservation system for air carriers would not be able to follow up on the request, since it could not accept the name or list of names submitted, because this list would not be authorized under the Personal Information Protection and Electronic Documents Act.

Part 17 corrects this minor yet very important problem, while ensuring compliance with the global objective of the Personal Information Protection and Electronic Documents Act.

Finally, I want to comment on the concerns raised by the warrants mentioned in clause 4.82 of the Aeronautics Act. The power to request information from airlines to identify a person for whom a warrant has been issued has been eliminated. This power, which raised a great deal of concern, has been deleted from Bill C-17.

Moreover, the definition of warrant has been changed to apply to serious offences, to be specified by regulations, that are punishable by imprisonment for a term of five years or more. This will guarantee that the information on passengers that is obtained from airline carriers cannot be used to help execute a warrant—and this is extremely important—except in the case of the most serious offences, such as murder or kidnapping.

I think that these changes concerning warrants help protect the public, while respecting the privacy of individual passengers except, as I pointed out, in the case of very serious offences. I am convinced that the debate will be interesting and that we will properly review all these provisions in committee.

I am very pleased to have had the opportunity to say a few words on this bill, a much improved version of Bill C-55, which had raised some concerns, particularly with respect to controlled access military zones, which are now limited to three strategic areas. There is also the whole issue of interim orders, which are also limited to extremely serious cases.

We will be very pleased to hear all members of the House of Commons, so that they can possibly make a contribution and help us continue to improve this legislation.