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Crucial Fact

  • His favourite word was debate.

Last in Parliament November 2005, as Liberal MP for Glengarry—Prescott—Russell (Ontario)

Won his last election, in 2004, with 48% of the vote.

Statements in the House

Canadian Broadcasting Corporation September 28th, 2005

Mr. Speaker, my question is for the Minister of Labour and Housing.

CBC employees have been locked out since August 15. Since that date, the only thing francophones outside Quebec are hearing about on CBC is traffic jams on highway 40 in Montreal. We are tired of hearing about highway 40.

When will the government be able to tell us that we can hear about Canada again on CBC airwaves and that we francophones outside Quebec can get our local news? We are paying $1 billion a year and getting nothing in return.

Franco-Ontarian Flag September 27th, 2005

Mr. Speaker, last Sunday, Franco-Ontarians celebrated the 30th anniversary of the Franco-Ontarian flag. This emblem of our French-speaking community was officially unveiled on September 25, 1975, at Laurentian University. Since then, it has been proudly flown throughout the province.

In 2001, artists in my riding officially launched the song, “Mon beau drapeau”, a tribute to the Franco-Ontarian community and its flag. This week, throughout my riding, students will join together to proudly sing these optimistic verses.

Je te chante, mon beau drapeau Des Français de l'Ontario,Je te lève, brandi bien haut,Pour que vous voyiez bienQue je suis Franco-Ontarien

Committees of the House September 26th, 2005

Mr. Speaker, I have the honour to present the 45th report of the Standing Committee on Procedure and House Affairs, concerning the work of the Subcommittee on Private Members' Business.

Pursuant to Standing Order 91.1(2), this report contains the list of items added to the order of precedence under private members' business on June 17 that should not be designated non-votable.

Civil Marriage Act June 27th, 2005

Madam Speaker, I have a supplementary question for my colleague. She indicated to us that a number of her constituents had written to her. That's fine, of course. A number of people have written to me, as well. Is it her opinion that rights should be established by way of public opinion polls or some other measurement of a simple majority of the wishes of constituents?

Civil Marriage Act June 27th, 2005

Madam Speaker, I have a question for my colleague. Both she and I are members from eastern Ontario. Would a Conservative government, should there be one and should this country be so unfortunate, revoke Bill C-38 if elected, and if so, would it use the notwithstanding clause to unmarry those married already?

Civil Marriage Act June 27th, 2005

Yes, this is questions or comments and this is my comment. Perhaps the hon. member will familiarize himself with that procedure. I welcome him to do so.

I want to ask the hon. member to react when I indicate to her that it is quite proper that this bill be before Parliament, quite proper for her to be against it and quite proper for me to be in favour of the measure and to express those views in the legislature in which we sit. No one is coercing me to vote in favour of the measure. I am not even running again in the next election. However I feel this is right because the courts have so decided and that is the view I hold.

I want her to comment, if she will, and hopefully to have her change her mind, not on the position that she holds, but on the fact that we have every right and it is our duty to be voting on issues like this. I only wish we had done it some time ago so we would not have caused some of these conditions in which we are living right now.

Civil Marriage Act June 27th, 2005

Madam Speaker, I listened with attention to the hon. member. Although I do not share her views, I congratulate her on her speech which I know was heartfelt.

I also want to take the occasion to wish my very best to her daughter who I believe is graduating. I say that as a father and grandfather. I have had occasion to deal with lots of that through the years. I certainly share her feelings having not always been where I wanted to be on special days with my family throughout all these years.

I do, nevertheless, respectfully indicate to her that I do not share the view that she expresses that this bill should not be before the House or that it somehow will create the kinds of changes that she is expressing.

Same sex couples are being married in eight Canadian provinces now, including my own province of Ontario. I do not recall what province the hon. member is from, but the only provinces where same sex couples are not being married are the provinces of Alberta and P.E.I.

In my own province the change is almost a year and a half or perhaps two years old and a number of same sex couples are being married.

I do not want to suggest here that I was strongly in favour or jubilant of the decision of the court. That is not the issue. However once a decision is made by the courts and rights are determined I hold the view that it is my duty--

Parliamentary Interns June 27th, 2005

Madam Speaker, I rise today to recognize the outstanding contribution of the 10 parliamentary interns who have been working on the Hill since last October. For 35 years the House has been fortunate, blessed to welcome talented young university graduates who are selected from across the country.

This year Joshua Alcock, Jeffrey Bell, Karen Diepeveen, David Hugill, Mélisa Leclerc, Jonathan Manes, Katrina Marsh, Jay Nathwani, Althia Raj and Tony Romanelli have worked in the offices of 20 members from all parties.

I would like to highlight the contribution made by these young people, including Jonathan Manes, who worked in my office. I would also like to congratulate Jean-Pierre Gaboury and the former program administrator, JoAnne Cartwright. My thanks to these young people, and I hope to see them again some day on the floor of this House.

Extension of Sitting Period June 23rd, 2005

Madam Speaker, I definitely was not calling the hon. member opposite who just rose by that name, nor was I calling you by that name, Madam Speaker. Let us make the record clear that I was calling neither the member nor you “Charlie”.

In any case, let me continue. There is the issue of Bill C-38, which the hon. members across say they do not want to vote on. Maybe I should remind members of something that appeared in today's Quorum , I believe, and definitely in a number of newspapers. It is an article written by columnist Don Martin, who gave some advice to the hon. members across about that issue. He said that for their own political good maybe what they should consider is getting the vote over with before they embarrass themselves even further, not only on that issue but on many others.

I say for the hon. members across that whether they agree or disagree with the content of the bill, this issue has been in the public domain for three years. Sixty-two witnesses have been listened to by the legislative committee. The bill has about four clauses. The members across have all spoken at second reading, every single one of them who wanted to, and every single one of them on the amendment as well, and on the subamendment and so on.

We have listened to what they had to say. It is not a matter of the House needing more pearls of wisdom in that regard. In any case, if I listen to what the opposition House leader says, it is not that they want more time. It is that they do not want to do that particular work at all because they do not like it.

I know that Madam Speaker is a teacher by training. Do people have a choice in doing their homework based on whether or not they like it? That is not the criteria.

Let us hear what the opposition House leader said today, June 23, after question period in the foyer of the House of Commons:

We've been consistent in saying right from the beginning that we are strongly opposed to these two bills.

That is all right. They can vote against them. He stated further:

There's not a Canadian left out there in the real world that doesn't understand that.

Of course: they have all spoken two or three times each so every one of us understands what their position is. It does not need to be clarified much further.

I will continue to quote the opposition House leader:

We have no intention and it's not our role, frankly, to make things easy for the government to pass bills that we're opposed to.

There we are. They do not like Bill C-38. They do not like Bill C-48. They do not like the fact that we are going to give more money to social housing. They do not like more money going to the Canadian International Development Agency to help the world's poor.

What is their solution? Is it to vote against that which they do not like? No, it is to not want to do the work. Not wanting to work is the way in which they solve their problems.

Now, not wanting to work just does not cut it with Canadians. Their constituents and mine will not put up with that. They sent us here to do the work.

Let us do the work. The hon. members say they want to go home. Of course they do. Their House leader said that on their behalf and their House leader always says it the way it is, or generally. In any case, if their House leader says they want to go home, I am not opposed to that.

We are going to vote on this motion tonight. We have from now until midnight. Let us vote on the two bills and go home. Canadians will say, “You did your work, Mr. or Ms. MP”. We will all have done our work and we can go home to do all the things that the opposition House leader said we should be doing.

I agree with him that we should be going home, but we should do our work first because when we do not do our work we have to stay in class at recess or after hours to get the work done. We are supposed to do the work before we go away. Those are the rules.

I say this in the presence of a teacher, namely our Acting Speaker, because I know she used to teach for a living and she will know these things in the truly objective manner in which I am sure she sees these matters.

I ask all my colleagues to join together and vote for this motion. After the motion, let us join together again and vote for the bills. Let us get the work done and then we can go home, in that order. That is the way it should be done.

Extension of Sitting Period June 23rd, 2005

They are applauding that. I want the record to show that the Conservatives are applauding that they do not want to have more foreign aid and they do not want to have more money for housing. That is what the Conservatives are applauding. They are applauding the fact that they do not want to give more benefits to Canadians. That is what the Conservatives are applauding. Let them applaud that, if that is what Conservatives want to do. That is not what I want to do.

Here is what a Conservative member from Alberta said a little while ago in the House. We cannot help people with social housing because the housing industry is overheated, said he, and therefore there would not be anyone left to build houses. That was the answer of the member across the way. If that is a problem anywhere, it is not in my riding.

I ask my colleagues from Cape Breton, is there a terrible shortage of labour in their area so that they could not possibly build an additional house? I do not think so. What about my colleague from P.E.I.? I do not think it is a problem there either.

I will ask myself and gladly respond that there is room to build more houses in Hawkesbury in my riding. There are people who need additional housing in Hawkesbury, in St. Isidore, in Sarsfield and all those other villages that I could enumerate in the constituency I represent.

Let us think of this as a matter of social conscience. The member said that they cannot build social housing because there is a shortage of labour in his riding. That is quite a way of looking out for the greater good of the nation, is it not? That is, “I am doing all right, Charlie, so for...”. I do not want to use the words, but the message is clear that the rest of the country does not matter providing he is all right.

That may be the Conservative way of looking at things, but it is not the way that Liberals look at things. It is not the way, I say on this bill, that the New Democrats look at things. We are looking here--