Crucial Fact

  • His favourite word was region.

Last in Parliament November 2005, as Liberal MP for Pontiac (Québec)

Lost his last election, in 2006, with 24% of the vote.

Statements in the House

Unanticipated Surpluses Act October 27th, 2005

It is because they don't exist.

First Nations Oil and Gas and Moneys Management Act October 6th, 2005

Mr. Speaker, I am pleased to speak today in support of Bill C-54, which will have numerous positive benefits for the first nations who have been involved in the pilot project and the drafting of the legislation.

When the participating first nations began this process nearly ten years ago, the White Bear nation, the Blood tribe, and the Siksika nation shared the same overall goal: to create employment and new economic prospects for the members of their communities and thereby build a better future for their children. They realized that in order to achieve that goal they needed to begin by honing their knowledge and then develop their capacity to assume responsibility for the economic development of their lands. Throughout the entire process they never lost sight of their ultimate goal: to benefit more fully from oil and gas operations by taking charge of the management of these resources and thereby to provide their communities with a better life.

The time has come for these three sponsoring nations to reap the rewards for their efforts. Passage of this legislation will provide a level playing field so that first nations with oil and gas resources will be able to reap the benefits of the growing prospects of that sector of the economy. Direct participation in the energy sector will become a possibility for them for the first time.

The White Bear First Nations, Blood Tribe and Siksika First Nation have worked with the federal government to develop this sectoral self-government legislative initiative which would enable interested first nations to assume jurisdiction and control of their oil and gas and related revenues, as well as the moneys held in trust by the Crown, to better meet the priorities and aspirations of their people.

Hon. members must know that this initiative has been jointly developed by the three sponsoring first nations. This initiative was developed from A to Z by the people closest to the challenges and the solutions. The proposed legislation respecting the management of the oil and gas and moneys of first nations will be implemented by the very people who developed it and who stand to benefit the most from it.

Once the bill is passed, subject to a favourable vote by their members, the first nations will assume control of the management of the oil and gas moneys and will be able to take advantage of development opportunities throughout the industry, from the exploration stage to the final sale.

They will also be able to do this on their own lands, where jobs and wealth will be created for all the members of their communities to enjoy. A strengthened economy will eventually translate into an improved quality of life not only for this generation but also for future generations.

In the long term, this legislative initiative will ensure that first nations children and young people have good opportunities for the future and for self-sufficiency. They will not feel compelled to leave their communities to find work, seeing as more work will be available where they live, on reserve lands. Moreover, they will take pride in being able to provide for themselves and will enjoy the fringe benefits that come with good jobs, productive people and healthy communities.

What is more, they will see the advantages of partnerships. They will realize that projects created and undertaken in the community and then developed jointly with the Government of Canada can substantially improve the governance of their communities. The fact is that this bill, drawn up after many years of negotiations and cooperation with Canada, provides tangible evidence of strengthened relations between the two levels of government.

And this is only a start. Given North America's appetite for energy resources, the opportunities for exploiting these resources on first nations land will only increase. The growth of this sector will provide a major stimulus to social and economic development on the reserves, which could then provide a solid basis for other industries and businesses.

The three sponsoring first nations are prepared now to assume their responsibilities, and other first nations have expressed their interest in doing the same. There are more than 130 first nations capable of exploiting oil and gas and about 50 that have active oil leases or licences. Over the next few decades, some of these first nations may adopt the proposed legislation.

That is another advantage of this bill. It is entirely voluntary. First nations can decide to take advantage of all the provisions in the bill or just some of them. Every community is entitled to decide for itself whether or not it wants to benefit from this legislation. It was designed to meet the needs of the sponsoring first nations and does not force any first nation to adopt it or prevent other first nations from suggesting alternatives. It just gives first nations that opt to adopt it some new tools for achieving their goals of building solid economies that create wealth and better prospects for their members.

And these are not the only advantages. The bill will also benefit industry because companies will be able henceforth to go directly to the decision-makers for quick decisions on the exploitation of resources. There will also be some direct benefits for governments in the form of new revenues from the increased production of oil and gas. These revenues will increase the funds spent on social programs to meet the needs of first nations communities.

Ultimately, all Canadians will benefit from the fact that self-sufficient and autonomous first nations will be better able to overcome the socio-economic challenges they have faced for so long. Now they will be able to improve the quality of life of their members.

It is extremely important for these groups and for all Canadians that the House pass this bill.

Thanks to the lessons learned and the skills and knowledge acquired over the years, the sponsoring first nations now want their long-term goal to become reality. They want to begin generating all the social and economic benefits for their peoples and their communities that oil and gas development will support.

It is important for people in every community with natural resources to have the opportunity, like other Canadians, to meet their own needs and create this sense of belonging and renewal that is so important to communities on first nations reserves.

This long-cherished goal and dream are in our hands. Let us be fair to the White Bear first nations, the Blood tribe and the Siksika nation—and all Canadians—and pass this good bill so that these people, like each and every one of us, can reach new heights and be proud of where they live.

Federal Gas Tax September 29th, 2005

Mr. Speaker, I want to share with my colleagues my enthusiasm in light of the historic agreement signed between the Government of Quebec and the federal government to transfer a portion of the federal gas tax.

I am especially pleased because the 43 municipalities in my riding will benefit from new funding. This will allow small municipalities to plan and get work done, instead of waiting for funding.

During the last election campaign, we talked about the need for a new deal for cities and communities: promise made, promise kept. So, thanks to our government, Canadian municipalities will receive $5 billion over the next five years.

This is a government that keeps its promises, a responsible government, our government.

International Aid September 26th, 2005

Mr. Speaker, Canada has always led the way in the international debate on debt relief for the poor countries, particularly those in sub-Saharan Africa. In June, Canada took part in the meeting of the G8 countries at which agreement was reached to wipe out the combined debt of the 18 poorest countries, totalling $40 million. This week, the G8 announced that it would be writing off the debt of at least another 18 poor countries, bringing the total to over $55 billion.

Could the Minister of Finance explain the details of this agreement to us?

The Budget June 22nd, 2005

Mr. Speaker, yesterday, at the signing of the new deal for cities and municipalities, the Premier of Quebec called on the support of Quebec MPs. Premier Charest urged Bloc Québécois MPs to support the budget bill that we will soon be called to vote on. He said:

They have a responsibility that goes beyond party lines: to make sure funding is available. The current government made a promise to make it available. Now it is up to Quebec MPs to act in the interest of Quebeckers and vote in favour of the budget to make the funding available.

Upon leaving the House yesterday, the leader of the Bloc Québécois said he could not support the bill because of some other provisions. In other words, the Bloc opposes the additional $4.6 million investment in education, the environment and housing.

Softwood Lumber June 13th, 2005

Mr. Speaker, through its Bill 71, the Government of Quebec reduced the allowable cut of softwood by 20%. The impact of this, in addition to the softwood lumber conflict and the existing problems with the other species, has several communities in my riding quite worried.

Will the Government of Canada intervene to help the affected communities in my riding and throughout Quebec?

The Environment May 31st, 2005

Mr. Speaker, my question is for the Minister of the Environment.

Over the weekend, the leader of the Bloc Québécois had the temerity to claim that the 2005 budget did not serve the interests of the people in Quebec. I know full well that the environment is very important to the people in my riding.

Could the minister tell the House how the environmental initiatives contained in the budget will benefit Quebec?

Cité étudiante de la Haute-Gatineau May 10th, 2005

Mr. Speaker, I would like to draw attention to the remarkable performance by the representatives of the Vallée-de-la-Gatineau at the 2005 Défi sportif held in Montreal from April 27 to May 1.

Thirteen young students from the Cité étudiante de la Haute-Gatineau in Maniwaki proudly took part in the various challenges at this international sports event for young people living with physical or intellectual disabilities.

Our dynamic delegation came away with two gold medals, no less, both won by Dany Langevin-Lajeunesse.

Congratulations to teachers and staff who made it possible for these 13 athletes to be part of this enriching and rewarding experience. My warmest congratulations once again to the practical training group from the Cité étudiante de la Haute-Gatineau.

New Homes Month April 11th, 2005

Mr. Speaker, I am pleased to inform my colleagues that April is New Homes Month. The purpose of this annual event, sponsored by the Canadian Homebuilders Association, is to inform the public about construction industry specialists and the goods and services they provide.

The month is also an opportunity to provide consumers with information that will enable them to make informed choices on housing.

As the federal body responsible for housing, Canada Mortgage and Housing Corporation is the main source of reliable and objective information on housing in Canada, and it is acknowledged as an expert in this field.

Our housing must keep pace with our changing needs. CMHC is a source of information on home ownership, renovation and maintenance.

CMHC is committed to housing quality, affordability and choice. It plays a lead role in the creation of dynamic and healthy communities and cities.

International Day of La Francophonie March 21st, 2005

Madam Speaker, every year on March 20 we are reminded of the reality of the Francophonie, a language-based community spread over five continents. It represents an original and voluntary effort to bring together countries which share the use of the French language.

A variety of tools have made it possible for member states to enjoy important exchanges in everyday life, starting with interactions between populations so far apart geographically.

Thanks to a variety of francophone institutions, many exchanges have been possible in such areas as education, agriculture, energy, credit cooperatives, song, film, literature and sports.

Powerful communications tools, such as TV5, now relay the actuality of these exchanges.

In addition to the cultural connections, francophone exchanges have resulted in Canada's setting up a number of development cooperation initiatives francophone countries.

Long live the international Francophonie.