Crucial Fact

  • His favourite word was forces.

Last in Parliament May 2004, as Liberal MP for Compton—Stanstead (Québec)

Lost his last election, in 2006, with 22% of the vote.

Statements in the House

Foreign Affairs October 8th, 2002

Mr. Speaker, four days ago Pakistan tested surface to air ballistic missiles. That same day India chose to respond by testing a conventional surface to air missile. Today Pakistan has again conducted missile tests.

Could the Secretary of State for Asia-Pacific please tell the House the response to these very disturbing developments?

Interparliamentary Delegations October 2nd, 2002

Mr. Speaker, pursuant to Standing Order 34(1), I have the honour to present to the House, in both official languages, the 15th report of the Canadian NATO Parliamentary Association, which represented Canada at the spring 2002 session of the NATO Parliamentary Assembly held in Sofia, Bulgaria from May 24 to May 28, 2002.

Interparliamentary Delegations May 22nd, 2002

Mr. Speaker, pursuant to Standing Order 34(1) I have the honour to present to the House, in both official languages, the 14th report of the Canadian NATO Parliamentary Association which represented Canada at the meeting of the Secretaries of National Delegations and the Standing Committee of the NATO Parliamentary Assembly held in Granada, Spain from April 5 to April 7, 2002.

Battle of the Atlantic May 2nd, 2002

Mr. Speaker, every year on the first Sunday of May Canadians remember and salute those who lost their lives in the Battle of the Atlantic. Canada played a significant role in the battle, which ran from September 1939 until the end of the second world war.

Starting from a tiny base of ships, aircraft and personnel, Canada grew into one of the foremost allied powers. While Canadian warships and aircraft sank and shared in the destruction of 50 U-boats, the main objective of Canada's Atlantic forces was protection of shipping. The outcome of the war was dependent on the Atlantic convoys reaching the United Kingdom.

However, participation came at a high cost. More than 2,000 members of the Royal Canadian Navy were killed during the war, the vast majority in the Battle of the Atlantic, and 750 members of the Royal Canadian Air Force died in maritime operations. The Book of Remembrance for the Merchant Navy lists over 1,600 Canadians and Newfoundlanders who served.

This Sunday I encourage all Canadians to remember those who lost their lives and to salute the veterans of the Battle of the Atlantic.

National Security April 29th, 2002

Mr. Speaker, my question is for the Minister of National Revenue. Could the minister explain why our border policy allows allegedly armed and dangerous criminals to enter Canada from the United States and why our customs officers are being compared to bank tellers?

Species at Risk Act April 29th, 2002

Mr. Speaker, parliamentarians have dedicated many hours and days to the consideration of federal species at risk legislation. In this process members of the House have heard from Canadians from all across the country. We will continue to listen, monitor progress, watch implementation, and we will do our jobs as parliamentarians in overseeing the legislation of the land.

Our work at this stage of forming the legislation is over. We can debate, delay, and listen to the same positions over and over again. While we do that we have no law. I do not think that is what any of us want. It is time to move on and get the proposed species at risk act into place. We have a science based process that is already at work. Let us get it verified in law.

We have discussed that science based process at great length. We must remember that under the proposed act the committee on the status of endangered wildlife in Canada would be recognized in federal legislation for the first time. COSEWIC would provide for rigorous independent and scientific advice regarding the status of species at risk. It is already doing so. It would continue to do so but this time with the full weight of the law that would recognize the importance of its role.

The assessment process would continue at an arm's length relationship from the government. This was and never would be in doubt. COSEWIC would keep its impartial scientific and expert judgment. Our approach depends on it. This law would verify it. Species and habitat would benefit from it.

Members will recall how the assessment works. First, COSEWIC would determine whether a species is eligible for assessment by asking specific questions. These include determining if the species is native to Canada. Second, a subcommittee of specialists would develop a list of species to be considered for assessment. Third, when a decision has been made to assess a species a status report is commissioned. These are very detailed reports that can take many months to prepare.

COSEWIC would use the status report to assign the species to one of seven categories: extinct; extirpated, which means the species is no longer present in the wilds in Canada; endangered; threatened, special concern; species not at risk; or data deficient.

The COSEWIC assessments are at the core of Bill C-5. Everything in the bill depends on what it says. That is why we have ensured it would be done using the best scientific advice we can find. COSEWIC would present its completed assessment to the Minister of the Environment and the Canadian Endangered Species Conservation Council. The COSEWIC assessment would also be placed in the public registry established under the legislation. Anyone can see them at any time.

The minister would use these scientific assessments as a basis for recommendations to the governor in council to add a species to the schedule attached to the law. In keeping with this process we have debated at great length the importance of accountability. When a species is added to the legal schedule things start to happen. There are automatic prohibitions, mandatory recovery planning and the authority to take emergency action to protect the habitat.

For that reason our democratic process demands that the government have the ultimate responsibility for making decisions on which species to add to the legal list should the situation arise where there would be serious economic or social implications.

The decisions made under the proposed species at risk act could affect the livelihoods of Canadians, for example, hunters and trappers. All aspects of the listing must be considered and we want to ensure the job gets done right, not just done fast.

Such decisions could affect the way in which these people make their living. With all due respect, they should not be made by scientists. They must be made by the people who can be held accountable for their implications and that is us, here in the House, the ones elected by the people of Canada, the ones accountable to the people of Canada.

Let me also address the issue of critical habitat. This is one of the most complex parts of the policy and has preoccupied us for years.

This protection must be applied in a manner that is in the best interests of the species. It must take into account Canada's constitutional structure. We must respect jurisdictions, and of course throughout all of these considerations we must ensure that the provisions for protection are workable, efficient and integrated with other Canadian law and conventions.

Not only would the bill protect the critical habitat of endangered and threatened species, it would also protect the critical habitat of extirpated species. These are species that exist elsewhere but are gone from the wild of Canada. Should an extirpated species be reintroduced in the wild in Canada, the provisions in the bill would give authority to protect its critical habitat if needed.

Part of the government's approach involves a proposal for automatic critical habitat protection in national parks, marine protected areas, migratory bird sanctuaries and national wildlife areas. Surely we must all agree that federal lands warrant such a measure.

The government has also proposed to require the competent minister to recommend protection of critical habitat anywhere else in federal jurisdiction that is not protected, within 180 days of being identified, in an approved recovery strategy or action plan. In this way we ensure nothing falls through the cracks.

These measures on critical habitat are reinforced by a further motion that requires all federal ministers to consider the possible impacts on identified critical habitat prior to issuing any licence or permit for any activity.

These measures are for every eventuality. Many of these may never arise but they are provided for in the bill. However all this has to be done in a way that makes partners of those involved, not criminals. It has to be done in a way that works on the ground and works quickly, not that grinds its way through the already overburdened court systems.

Coercion is not here. It is not our way. Stewardship and co-operation come first. That is the Canadian way. That is the way it works. Strong measures in case the co-operative approach fails are of course in the bill.

I summarize by saying that the legislation would ensure that there would be a rigorous and independent scientific process to assess species, operating at arm's length from the federal government. It would also create mechanisms and powers to do something about those assessments by mandating plans to help species recover. It is strong, it fosters co-operation and it begins the premise that Canadians will do the right thing. It is time to put it to work.

World Youth Championships in Athletics April 11th, 2002

Mr. Speaker, on the eve of the World Championships in Athletics held in Edmonton in the summer of 2001, Sherbrooke, Quebec, was chosen as the site for the international federation's 3rd World Youth Championships in Athletics. They will take place from July 2 to 6, 2003.

The Secretary of State for Amateur Sport recently announced funding of $7 million from the government for these championships to be held. During this international event, over 2,000 athletes aged 15 to 17 from 165 countries will participate in 39 athletics events. The event will also have a beneficial impact on tourism and the economy in the region.

On behalf of the Parliament of Canada, I strongly encourage people in the Sherbrooke area to take part in this international event.

Canada Post Corporation March 14th, 2002

Mr. Speaker, in 1994, this Liberal government declared a moratorium on rural post office closures. In the past month there have been two such closures, one in Saskatchewan and one in B.C. Rural post offices give an essential service in these communities.

I ask the Deputy Prime Minister this. Is this a new Canada Post management plan?

Black History Month February 21st, 2002

Mr. Speaker, in 1995 the Parliament of Canada officially designated February as Black History Month. In honour of Black History Month the Government of Canada established the Mathieu Da Costa challenge in February 1996.

Mathieu Da Costa is generally recognized as being the first recorded black person in Canada, arriving at the start of the 17th century. He was reputed to be the first of many black Canadians who made important contributions to the country and shaped much of who we are as Canadians today. Mathieu Da Costa was a translator and interpreter who succeeded in bridging the linguistic gap between the Mi'kmaq people and the French explorers. By bridging the differences in language, Da Costa was instrumental in bridging cultures as well, creating an honest and open relationship between people of different backgrounds, which continues to be an integral part of Canadian society.

The Mathieu Da Costa challenge is administered by the Canadian Teachers' Federation. It invites elementary and secondary school students to research, discover and celebrate the contributions made by aboriginals and Canadians of diverse ethnocultural origins, such as Mathieu Da Costa, to the building of this great country of Canada.

Bill Barclay February 19th, 2002

Mr. Speaker, I ask the House to join me today to recognize the life and achievements of Bill Barclay, president of the Royal Canadian Legion, who passed away last week.

Bill Barclay served with the militia in the Saskatoon Light Infantry. He held several positions with the Royal Canadian Legion including past president of the Saskatchewan command and four years on the national executive council before becoming president. He was also chair of the Remembrance and Poppy Committee. He was a strong advocate for veterans, committed to improving benefits and services. He also promoted the teaching of Canadian history in schools.

I ask the House to join me in extending deepest sympathies to the family and friends of Bill Barclay.