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

Act to establish the Economic Development Agency of Canada for the Regions of Quebec November 16th, 2004

This has contributed to a collective effort toward developing the beautiful Pontiac riding. We have numerous projects and we are working with the various levels of government, the private sector and Canada Economic Development.

I would add that the effects of the assistance provided by the Economic Development Agency of Canada for the Quebec regions are lasting. For example, more than 39% of the businesses which received help between 1996 and 2000 recorded an increase in income. More that 39% of these businesses are making more money. This is excellent.

We also see long-term effects on the employment situation. More than half of the businesses, that is 57%, reported an increase in the number of employees after completion of the projects that had received aid from the agency. This means more jobs that are so badly needed in our regions.

We should continue to support our regions because they are a source of continuity.

A particularly eloquent example of the relevancy of the agency is that, for the last three years, customer satisfaction has steadily risen. In 2003-04, for instance, 94.5% of the agency's customers were satisfied with the overall quality of services.

The information being shared today illustrates the need for the agency and its benefits and shows that regions want to make a collective effort, in partnership with the governments of Canada and Quebec, the municipalities and all the public stakeholders.

In conclusion, the bill before us today confirms the role played by the Economic Development Agency of Canada for the Regions of Quebec. It provides the agency with the necessary tools to take up the current challenges in regional development, ensures continuity and prepares people for the 21st century.

We are moving straight towards the development of our regions and we have to support them. We should ensure that, in places like the beautiful riding of Pontiac, people have the opportunity, like all other Canadians, to live and work in their region and develop a pride in being Quebeckers and Canadians.

Act to establish the Economic Development Agency of Canada for the Regions of Quebec November 16th, 2004

Mr. Speaker, as the representative for the riding of Pontiac, in the beautiful province of Quebec, I am very happy to have the opportunity to address the House in considering the bill on the Economic Development Agency of Canada for the Regions of Quebec.

This bill is aimed at establishing the framework for the agency's activities in the coming years in Abitibi, the Outaouais, Quebec City, the Greater Montreal area, in all of Quebec's regions.

With this bill, the agency will have the means to carry out its mandate to the extent expected of an agency in tune with the 21st century.

If this bill is passed, the agency will be able to keep on addressing the needs of all Canadians, in keeping with this government's commitment. The bill before us today must be seen as part of a continuum.

Indeed, it was once again a Liberal government that, in 1969, created the Department of Regional Economic Expansion, a forerunner of the Economic Development Agency ofCanada for the Regions of Quebec. Our government is strongly committed to leveling out regional disparities in Canada and is giving itself the means to do so.

As you will see, this government's confidence in all Canadians goes a long way back. Each and every one of them must have the same opportunities with regard to the pursuit of wellness. We have always believed that all our fellow citizens must be able to realize their full potential, regardless of the region where they live.

The Economic Development Agency of Canada for the Regions of Quebec has a very important role to play in order to help the government of Canada ensure the prosperity of all our fellow citizens from the regions of Quebec. The agency's mandate is to promote the economic development of Quebec regions, including those with low income levels, slow economic growth or insufficient productive employment possibilities. It also focuses on long-term economic development, employment and sustainable revenue.

The agency's mandate is also to concentrate on small and medium-sized enterprises and to promote entrepreneurial capabilities. We all know that SMEs are an important part of Quebec's economy. They account for 43% of all jobs and contribute 29% of manufacturing value added.

Over the years, the agency has tried to give SMEs, the true engine of economic growth in Quebec, the most useful information on government resources that can help them to keep on growing.

I would now like to tell the House about something that occurred last week in my riding, a resource area of Quebec where lumber from our forests is processed and from where products are sold across Canada and exported to the US. Some citizens of my riding of Pontiac import lumber from Peru. People import lumber from Peru in the Outaouais region of Quebec, specifically in the riding of Pontiac, in the municipality of Déléage. Why?

Simply put, through Canada Economic Development, support is provided to a Quebec company importing wood from Peru for secondary and tertiary processing in the county of Pontiac, manufacturing mouldings and solid core doors for sale on the Canadian, Quebec and U.S. markets. This is creating jobs in our region, in our ridings where people need jobs as well as support from the various levels of government. That is what Canada Economic Development is offering.

In partnership with organizations such as Info Entreprises in Montreal and Ressources Entreprises in Quebec City, the Economic Development Agency of Canada for the Regions of Quebec can answer more than one million—that is right, one million—inquiries annually about government programs. This goes to show that there is a need. Canada Economic Development handles one million inquiries. That is incredible.

This is also an opportunity to refer entrepreneurs to other departments of the Government of Canada or other local players such as the CLDs and CFDCs. These are our partners; we must work together to develop our regions. Who better than them can help make wise decisions and pursue projects?

The agency acts as a catalyst in promoting the economic development of the regions of Quebec. Through its 14 business offices, the agency is present and securely anchored in each of the regions of Quebec. This strong presence enables the Government of Canada to make a contribution to the development of SMEs in Quebec and the regions. I did say that the government makes a contribution in partnership with other stakeholders. We have to work together for the community and to develop our beautiful province of Quebec within a strong Canada.

In this context, the agency teams up with a broad network of development agents in each region of Quebec. By funding these organizations and facilitating their networking, the agency moves closer to citizens and the different regional realities, and offers local economic agents the opportunity of contributing to the development of their economy. For example, the agency works closely with the Alliance numériQC, Enviro-Access, and BioQuébec to promote innovation in enterprises.

The agency also works closely with World Trade Centre Montreal and a network of regional export-assistance organizations—we will recall the example I mentioned earlier—to contribute to the attainment of national objectives for development of international markets, so that Quebec can be present on both national and international markets. That is just what we want as Quebeckers: to be present. That is great.

By its actions, the agency promotes the implementation of development projects that would not occur without its assistance or that would be postponed and could possibly be abandoned, something that would deny the Quebec regions some obvious material benefits as far as prosperity and the improvement of regional quality of life is concerned. According to data compiled by the agency for the year 2003-2004, 73.9% of its clients indicated that they could not have implemented their projects without the agency's financial support. We can be proud of that. The agency committed to contribute more than $1.02 billion to finance the implementation of 2,116 projects in 2003-04.

If we add the amounts provided by other lenders to the Agency's contributions, the total value of these 2,116 projects will reach more than $3.9 billion in all Quebec regions for 2003-2004.

Moreover, as of March 31, 2004, these 2,116 projects had already contributed, directly or indirectly, to the creation, transformation and maintenance of more than 13,671 jobs throughout Quebec.

I can tell you that in my riding, the agency has brought hope to entrepreneurs.

Economic Development Agency of Canada for the Regions of Quebec Act November 5th, 2004

Mr. Speaker, in my riding there is a roundtable of all federal and provincial stakeholders. There are anglophones, francophones and Algonquians working together for the good of the community. I encourage my hon. friend opposite to take part in this kind of working environment for the good of the community and of all Quebeckers.

With respect to the program before us, we are not creating a new structure. This structure already exists. We are just removing the Industry Canada shell and giving it its own identity.

Economic Development Agency of Canada for the Regions of Quebec Act November 5th, 2004

Mr. Speaker, I am proud to see that my colleague across the way feels that the Canadian federation serves a purpose. As Canadians, we have to work with our fellow Canadians in Quebec, as I do.

For example, in my lovely riding of Pontiac, which is just across the river, not far from here, we regularly work with members of the Quebec National Assembly to find solutions that enhance the quality of life of our taxpayers.

This week, I will have the pleasure of taking part in press conferences to announce funding as a result of a solid analysis by Canada Economic Development and all the people. The CLD's role in the projects was to participate in the analysis of the business plan. The CFDC played another role on another level. The CED will also contribute, as will other Quebec agencies and departments.

This is a perfect example of a collective effort for the well-being of our region, the beautiful riding of Pontiac.

And now the question for my colleague opposite: Does the member believe that this formula, under which federal and provincial members work together with all the regional stakeholders to find solutions that will enhance people's lives, is a good thing?

Does he apply the same philosophy in his riding that we do in Pontiac?

Canadian Heritage November 5th, 2004

Mr. Speaker, will the Minister of Canadian Heritage tell this House about the public's worries regarding the Bloc Québécois's refusal to distribute flags to veterans who wish to honour the memory of their brothers in arms who gave their lives for our freedom?

Canadian Heritage November 5th, 2004

Mr. Speaker, will the Minister of Canadian Heritage—

Agriculture November 3rd, 2004

Mr. Speaker, the cattle farmers in the riding of Pontiac are experiencing serious problems in making their operations cost effective, as are their counterparts in the rest of Canada. One of their main problems is not being able to slaughter cattle locally.

My question is for the Minister of Agriculture and Agri-Food. Would it be possible to have our own abattoirs and to sell our meat locally at a price that would allow the farmers of the Pontiac to make a living?

Supply October 28th, 2004

I am sorry. I am anglophone but I make an effort to speak French. I ask you to forgive me if I have insulted anybody. Mea culpa.

This being said, the issue is still there. The Pontiac region is located between Quebec City and Windsor, in the corridor that is home to 80% of the Canadian population. The pressure felt in the cattle industry—I cannot be wrong—is due to the border closure. The Minister of Agriculture and Agri-Food has found solutions to support this industry by providing the opportunity to open new slaughterhouses.

I can tell you that in my riding for example, we have looked into this opportunity to see if we could slaughter our own cattle, locally, and sell the products of the beautiful Pontiac region, the largest riding in Quebec, an integral part of Canada.

I am getting to my question. Would this solution of offering $60 million, new money, to allow us to slaughter our own cattle and sell our products here in Canada, not be an ideal solution to relieve this tremendous pressure that already exists?

I would like to know what the member thinks of the fact that our farmers from Quebec or anywhere else in Canada cannot even slaughter their own cattle and sell their meat because their slaughterhouses are too busy.

Supply October 28th, 2004

Mr. Speaker, the Bloc Québécois critic for agriculture and agri-food is telling us tonight that there is a fiscal imbalance in this area in Quebec. It is true that there are pressures in the agricultural industry.

Being a native of the Haute-Gatineau Valley region, I was brought up on a farm and I represent the beautiful Pontiac riding where many cattle producers live. Problems are bound to occur.

Leader of the Opposition October 19th, 2004

Mr. Speaker, the Leader of the Opposition mixes with a curious group of people. We know he likes to form alliances, like the one he just formed with the sovereignists that almost derailed the work of this House.

Now he is negotiating another alliance with the Action démocratique du Québec. If his party were in power, he would probably have already granted Quebec independence without further ado. We understand that the Leader of the Opposition is feeling the heat of not having a single MP from his party elected in Quebec. This is no doubt a reflection of his profound ignorance of Quebec.

Allow me to clarify his most recent flirtation. Action démocratique du Québec has a grand total of five members in the National Assembly and therefore does not even have official party status.

Birds of a feather stick together. The Leader of the Opposition has at least three things in common with Mr. Dumont: general unpopularity in Quebec, an extremely ambiguous attitude toward the Constitution, and a penchant for two-tier health care.