Crucial Fact

  • His favourite word was fish.

Last in Parliament May 2004, as Liberal MP for Bonaventure—Gaspé—Îles-De-La-Madeleine—Pabok (Québec)

Lost his last election, in 2004, with 33% of the vote.

Statements in the House

Fisheries October 2nd, 2003

Mr. Speaker, I also had the opportunity to meet the representatives of the Pacific Halibut Management Association. We know that the minister must make a decision shortly.

As the hon. member indicated, a very transparent process was put in place last year. In the coming weeks or days, the minister will be in a position to make known his decision on this conflict.

Search and Rescue Operations October 2nd, 2003

Mr. Speaker, this past Monday morning, the Canadian Coast Guard and the Department of National Defence were jointly involved in a search and rescue operation in response to a distress signal from a vessel foundering off Anticosti Island.

Their intervention on September 29 was prompt and effective. Three Coast Guard vessels, the Wilfred Templeman , the Louisbourg and the Québécois were dispatched to the area. The first Canadian Forces plane reached the site at 8:30 a.m. to take part in the operation, followed by the first Canadian Forces helicopter at 10:55 a.m. The captain of the ship in distress was located on shore by the helicopter at 11:25 a.m. Regrettably, the other two crew members could not be found.

Those are the facts. Yesterday, the hon. member for Delta—South Richmond stated that the distress call went unanswered. In reality, rescue operations were set in motion in less than four minutes.

You can see, Mr. Speaker, that Canadian Coast Guard resources were available in the Gulf of St. Lawrence and were put to good use.

It would be a good thing if the hon. member for Delta—South Richmond would look at the facts before using a member's statement to criticize the excellent work being done by the Coast Guard in Quebec.

Environment October 1st, 2003

Mr. Speaker, as I and the minister as well have already said here in this House, following discussions with Fisheries and Oceans, the project has been modified and nothing will be discharged into the sea. There are, therefore, no tools at our disposal with which to invoke the legislation. Consequently, in my opinion, the hon. member ought to be satisfied with the present situation, because the fish habitat has been protected as a result of the department's intervention.

Fisheries and Oceans September 26th, 2003

Mr. Speaker, I will repeat what I said. I think there would be a problem if the minister did not allow employees to talk to members of Parliament. If that were the case, I could see that this would be a problem. But in this instance, all we are doing is ensuring that members are properly informed about our files and how their files are being handled. I do not see any problem with that.

Fisheries and Oceans September 26th, 2003

Mr. Speaker, I am having difficulty following the hon. member's reasoning. Our staff is not forbidden from talking to members of Parliament. Our goal is simply to ensure good service. By keeping the minister abreast of the kind of questions being asked, we want to ensure that our employees provide members with excellent answers.

Fisheries September 25th, 2003

Mr. Speaker, I think that the appointments that have been made will ensure effective use of public funds. I think it is very well known that the appointments we make are made properly; I am convinced that the appointments we have made will ensure that public funds are spent responsibly.

The Environment September 25th, 2003

Mr. Speaker, as I said earlier, we did our duty with regard to ocean deposits. As for the ships, oil tankers and all ships transporting dangerous goods must comply with the restrictions and standards set by Transport Canada. What I find surprising from the Bloc, given that this is a delicate environmental matter which should be treated carefully, is that the Bloc members want us to interfere in an area of provincial jurisdiction, when there were three questions just now to say that we should not interfere. They should make up their minds, because they are being inconsistent.

Environment September 25th, 2003

Mr. Speaker, we were consulted in this matter about whether there were ocean deposits. If there were, in fact, any, then this is a matter for the Department of Fisheries and Oceans.

Following discussions with the Province of New Brunswick, the developer decided to change the plans and ensure that no ocean deposits would be made. So, 100% of the water is being recycled.

Consequently, since there are no deposits and since we have been advised that there will be none, I think that there is no cause for concern at this time. We did our duty, and this is a matter that comes under the exclusive jurisdiction of the province.

First Nations Governance Act June 3rd, 2003

Madam Speaker, I agree, it would be a lot better if we could give them even more money. But the fact remains that these amounts are quite substantial. I think we have shown our good will by taking action rapidly, as a government.

That is the argument that was advanced. We felt that with regard to SARS in Toronto we had to take emergency measures. But the situation in Newfoundland was just as important. That is why we took action.

I agree that perhaps we would like to spend more money, but unfortunately we have limited means. However, I think we have proved our good faith. For the benefit of the hon. member, I must tell him that for fishermen to be eligible, 25% of their income should come from cod. With regard to processing plant workers—the hon. member might not be as happy to hear about that—50% of their income must be derived from cod. Therefore, this is twice as much, compared to fishermen's income. I said this for his information. I could give him further information later on, if he so desires.

I really do want to say that we showed our good faith in this case, in our effort to guarantee that these people would at least receive an income in the short term.

First Nations Governance Act June 3rd, 2003

Madam Speaker, I want to thank the hon. member for St. John's West for his speech and also for the opportunity to to discuss this very important issue, both for the people of Newfoundland—be they in the hon. member's riding or elsewhere—and the people of my riding, which has been hard hit.

The hon. member was asking what the government intended to do. I think that, first, we have shown good faith in announcing the moratorium on cod and groundfish. In fact, we announced $44 million in short-term measures to compensate for the inconvenience this caused the communities concerned.

This affects a little more than 4,000 people. We realized that these short-term measures could not be put in place overnight. Today, knowing that people are suffering for lack of income, we announced an additional $27 million. Before the short-term measures are implemented, these people will be entitled to income not exceeding $325 a week retroactive to April 27 when the moratorium on groundfish was announced. This is being done to ensure that people do not run out of money before the short-term measures are implemented.

Second, the member told us that more vision is needed. I agree with him except that first it is important to establish and introduce short-term measures to ensure that people have an income. That is the first step.

The second phase will be cooperation with the industry, the processors, the fishers and the plant workers to develop a long term strategy. We will make sure they can stay in other sectors of the same industry. This is the reason behind the recent announcement made by the minister on northern shrimp. He has raised by 30,000 tonnes the allowable catch of northern shrimp, so that workers can turn to other sectors. The shrimp biomass allowed this additional catch.

The hon. member talked about the moratorium in 1991-92, some ten years ago. It has been very expensive for the taxpayer, almost $4 billion. It may have been justified, but we realize after ten years that things are not necessarily much better, even with an investment of $3 billion in the first phase of the moratorium.

This is why we must be careful. We must ensure that these people have a short-term income because they have been hard hit. But, also, it is not only a matter of money. I think that, yes, we will have to put more money into long-term measures, but perhaps we should not repeat the mistake that we made in the first moratorium. We must ensure that, if we invest money, it will be to sustain this industry. These people do not want to depend on governments. They do not want to depend on government budgets year after year. As the member said so well, and I agree with him, these people want to work in the industry.

This is why we are getting involved right away. I agree that these are not long-term measures, because we do not have time. This is why we have an emergency budget and we will quickly begin working on long-term measures. We must not repeat the mistake that we made in the first moratorium and we must ensure that these people have access to a resource that will allow them to make a decent living for the future, without the assistance of governments.