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

Question n February 26th, 2003

Seals in Atlantic Canada consume large quantities of fish, including cod. The Eminent Panel on Seal Management studied the situation and reported that the real impact of seals on the recovery of cod stocks is very complex. The panel concluded that while seals consume large amounts of fish throughout Atlantic Canada, there is less scientific evidence that this predation was having a major impact on the recovery of most commercial fish stocks. The panel also noted that many of these stocks would probably take a long time to recover to fully exploitable levels, even if all seal predation is removed.

A new multi-year management plan governing the Atlantic seal hunt has just been announced. The harp seal Total Allowable Catch, TAC, has been increased to 975,000 animals over three years with an annual TAC of up to 350,000 seals in any two years. For example, sealers could take 350,000 seals in two years, but would only be allowed to take 275,000 in the other year. This represents an increase of almost 18% over the previous TAC and is consistent with allocations requested by sealers in Newfoundland and Quebec.

The harp seal population will be reduced if the actual harvest is over 250,000 animals per year. If the full TAC were taken in each of the three years, it is estimated the population would decline to 4.7 million by 2006.

The panel's report, along with consultations with more than 100 stakeholders at a seal forum last November, greatly assisted in the development of this plan. The consultations included discussion on seal exclusion zones, or cod conservation areas, and cod predation by seals.

Pink Salmon Action Plan February 21st, 2003

Mr. Speaker, yesterday Fisheries and Oceans Canada announced a Pink Salmon Action Plan. The purpose of this plan is to protect the pink salmon resource in the Broughton Archipelago, off the northern tip of British Columbia's Vancouver Island.

The 2002 decline in the pink salmon run is of concern to the department, and we plan to determine the factors that may have contributed to that decline. The department's approach supports the measures taken by the aquaculture industry and complements the British Columbia Government's Action Plan for the Broughton Archipelago announced earlier this month.

The Fisheries and Oceans broad pink salmon action plan reflects a number of the recommendations contained in the January 2003 Pacific Fisheries Resource Conservation Council report.

The action plan has five components: a freshwater monitoring program, a marine monitoring program, an active salmon farm management approach, a long term research plan and a public consultation and dialogue process.

The department has made a firm commitment to determining the risks to which wild salmon are exposed, including the impact of sea lice.

Roméo LeBlanc February 20th, 2003

Mr. Speaker, this morning, the official portrait of the Right Honourable Roméo LeBlanc was unveiled.

Mr. LeBlanc was the 25th Governor General of Canada and the first holder of this office to come from the Atlantic provinces.

The causes he holds dear influenced his actions as Governor General. These causes are volunteerism, the history of Canada, aboriginals, and peace-keeping by the Canadian Armed Forces.

During his mandate, he created the Governor General's Caring Canadian Award and the Governor General’s Awards in Visual and Media Arts.

Painter Christian Nicholson did a wonderful job in paying tribute to one of the greatest Governor Generals that Canada has ever known, the Right Honourable Roméo LeBlanc.

Question No. 106 February 19th, 2003

The answers is as follows:

A. The Department of Fisheries and Oceans (DFO) 2002 lamprey control field season began on April 22. Up to June 18, DFO had treated 13 streams with a lampricide 3-trifluoromethyl-4-nitrophenol (TFM). The concentrations used varied between 1.0 and 8.0 mg/L and the amount of TFM used ranged between 0.3 kg. and 2342 kg. The total amount of TFM applied was 5845.3 kg. The concentration of TFM required to kill sea lamprey larvae (referred to as the minimum lethal concentration or MLC) is a function of stream pH and alkalinity while the total amount of TFM used depends on the MLC and the size or flow of the stream.

B. The lake trout and other fisheries in the Great Lakes collapsed during the 1950s due to a combination of overfishing and the invasion of sea lamprey (Petromyzon marinus), an exotic species that is native to the Atlantic Ocean and its tributaries. Sea lampreys accessed the Great Lakes following the construction of canal systems and other navigation works. The governments of Canada and the United States signed and enacted the Great Lakes fishery convention treaty in 1956, in response to the collapse of the fishery in the Great Lakes. The convention created the Great Lakes Fishery Commission (GLFC) to undertake fishery research in the Great Lakes and to control populations of sea lamprey. The GLFC conducts an annual program of sea lamprey control in the Great Lakes through its agents, the US Fish and Wildlife Service (USFWS) and DFO. USFWS and DFO assess the population abundance and distribution of lampreys in the lakes and their tributaries. They also conduct a control program that includes, where appropriate the construction of barriers, trapping, and release of sterilized males, to reduce the abundance of spawning lampreys. In addition, a critical component of the control program is the application of a lampricide, TFM, to kill larval lamprey in streams before they migrate to the Great Lakes and begin feeding on fish. If allowed to complete their life cycle, each lamprey can kill the equivalent of 18 kg. of lake trout during the parasitic stage of its life cycle.

DFO uses lampricides as part of an integrated management program to restore and rehabilitate the fishery community of the Great Lakes. The TFM program has been an effective tool in the control of sea lampreys. Sport, commercial, and tribal fisheries in the Great Lakes are now valued at more than $4 billion due in large part to the sea lamprey control program. Applications of TFM in streams are highly effective in killing sea lamprey larvae (~95% mortality) while having minimal effect on other fish species. In 2002 the sea lamprey control program expects that over 10 million larvae will be removed from Great Lakes tributaries.

DFO, USFWS and the GLFC have used TFM since 1958. Recently, the US Environmental Protection Agency and Health Canada have reviewed TFM as part of re-registration legislation in each respective country. TFM is eligible for registration in both countries because it is environmentally benign (breaks down rapidly into non-toxic products) and for the most part, does not significantly affect non-target species. TFM causes mortality in lampreys because their primitive physiology does not have a mechanism to metabolize or excrete TFM while most other species can effectively eliminate TFM in the concentrations that are applied in the control program.

C. The toxicity of TFM is governed by a stream’s alkalinity and pH. Biologists determine the stream pH and alkalinity so that they can apply TFM in concentrations high enough to kill sea lamprey but low enough to not affect non-target fish. Both alkalinity and pH vary through time. However, while alkalinity can vary seasonally, it is relatively stable over the one to three days of a TFM treatment. On the other hand, pH has a daily cycle that is a function of the rate of respiration of periphyton, algae and other aquatic plants. The pH cycle in a stream is generally predictable and repeatable during short (one to two weeks) time intervals. During the day plants extract carbon dioxide from the water and release oxygen. This has the effect of increasing stream pH and reducing the toxicity of TFM. However, during the night, plants use oxygen and release carbon dioxide causing the stream pH to decrease and increasing the toxicity of TFM. The magnitude of the daily changes in stream pH is typically not enough to cause TFM to become toxic to non-target species.

Sudden changes in environmental conditions can change the pH cycle in a stream beyond the typical daily fluctuations. For example, drastic changes in stream water temperature or the amount of sunlight can affect the amplitude of the pH cycle. Several sunny days followed by heavy overcast and a sudden decrease in water temperature can result in a significantly lower night stream pH compared to preceding nights. Other factors can also unexpectedly suppress stream pH. Larger than normal discharges from sewage treatment plants can increase biological oxygen demand, resulting in lower than expected stream pH.

The probability of a TFM treatment causing significant mortality to non-target fish increases if a sudden change in environmental conditions occurs after a TFM treatment begins. In some circumstances, biologists can decrease the volume of TFM being applied and thereby protect non-target fish species. However, in relatively rare instances, especially large pH suppressions can cause some mortality in non-target fish. DFO conducts between 25 and 30 TFM treatments each year. We have observed significant non-target mortality on average once every 10 years, i.e. one in every 250–300 treatments. It should be noted that significant non-target mortality is defined as 50 fish of any particular species and likely constitutes only the most sensitive component of a population.

DFO is investigating the environmental circumstances that occurred in the Credit River after the TFM treatment began. Both a change in solar input and increased biological oxygen demand have been proposed as causes for the sudden decrease in pH in the Credit River.

D. DFO conducts extensive water quality and discharge analyses prior to and following every lampricide application. These tests include monitoring discharge, temperature, pH, alkalinity as well as other water quality parameters. The tests are conducted at pre-determined locations throughout the watershed and are repeated at 30 minute to one-hour (TFM) and two-hour (pH, alkalinity, etc.) intervals. In addition, bioassays are used to confirm that local conditions are consistent with the published relationship between pH, alkalinity and TFM toxicity to larval lamprey and non-target fish. After the initial application of TFM, its concentration, along with water quality parameters, are assessed from the initial application point to the mouth of the river. The concentration of TFM declines to non-detectable levels within hours of completing a treatment.

Fisheries January 28th, 2003

Mr. Speaker, last week, Fisheries and Oceans Canada released the results of the 2002 commercial fishing season in Quebec.

On November 30, nearly 58,000 tonnes of fish, shellfish and crustaceans were landed in Quebec, at a total value of $158.7 million, an overall increase over last year. This is the highest tonnage since 1995, at the highest value since 1993.

As the Minister of Fisheries and Oceans said last Thursday in Quebec City, during the conference of the Association québécoise de l'industrie de la pêche:

By working together, the Government of Canada and the fishery can meet the challenges of tomorrow, maintain a strong fishery and aquaculture sector and produce the best quality seafood possible.

Quebec Byelections December 6th, 2002

Mr. Speaker, the byelections underway in Quebec raise a very important question: the relevance of the Bloc Quebecois.

The public, sovereignists, journalists and regional stakeholders are seriously wondering. Let me quote a few.

First, Marc Beausoleil, a militant sovereignist, said “I wonder if it is still appropriate for the Bloc Quebecois to be in Ottawa”.

Jacques Brassard, a former PQ minister, said, speaking of the Bloc “This is a party that was born to die. Perhaps its time has come”.

In Berthier—Montcalm and Lac-Saint-Jean—Saguenay, we do not want the opposition anymore. It is time to stop blocking issues, and start focussing on the development of these ridings.

Next Monday, vote for your Liberal candidate. Vote in your own interest.

Fisheries and Oceans November 22nd, 2002

Mr. Speaker, as the minister indicated yesterday, no decision has been made to date as to whether or not there will be a moratorium on groundfish. Preliminary data available to us are definitely worrisome. In that sense, never has a minister been as transparent with data, because what he wants is to be proactive and to take a position that provides a degree of security to coastal communities, both in Newfoundland and in Quebec, and in the Gaspé in particular.

I suggest my hon. colleague to wait for the final data. We will make sure to also involve our provincial partners to ensure that our communities—

Banking Act November 21st, 2002

Madam Speaker, I think we need more time.

In answer to the first question about the environmental assessment of the developing aquaculture industry, a moratorium, which had been in effect in British Columbia for the last 10 years, was lifted recently. We could not carry out environmental assessments on those sites while the moratorium was in place.

Now that the moratorium has been lifted, every project will be subject to an environmental assessment, in accordance also with the shipping policy in these waters. From now on, environmental assessments will be carried out on such sites.

Where first nation communities are concerned, I do not think there is a problem with developing aquaculture projects in native communities where it is badly needed. For instance, I went to Bras D'Or Lake, in Nova Scotia, not too far from Baddeck and Eskasoni, where first nations have set up aquaculture projects that are very productive and very beneficial for the economic development of their communities.

With any aquaculture project, we need to ensure that it is environmentally friendly--

Banking Act November 21st, 2002

Madam Speaker, I am very pleased to rise tonight in the House to respond to the motion moved by the hon. member for Davenport. I thank him for his continued interest in aquaculture and in all environmental issues.

This issue is a priority for the Department of Fisheries and Oceans. The program for sustainable aquaculture, announced in 2000, is an investment that will not only allow the aquaculture industry to grow and become a vital component of the Canadian economy, but it will also allow the government to ensure that this growth does not come at the detriment of our aquatic ecosystems.

Aquaculture is an increasingly important activity, in Canada and around the world. It provides numerous social and economic opportunities.

In the last ten years, the department has established a certain number of initiatives to promote the sustainable development of this promising industry. Since the Program for Sustainable Aquaculture was launched, the department has stepped up its efforts to meet its objective.

I would also like to mention that the Standing Committee on Fisheries and Oceans has, in recent years, demonstrated a great deal of interest in the sector, in terms of its effects on the environment, and its future, from both a social and economic standpoint.

A number of studies on aquaculture have been carried out to date. Despite its relative youth, the aquaculture industry has been the subject of a number of rigorous studies and reviews over the past ten years. These studies and reviews have shown that when properly managed, the impact of aquaculture on the environment is minimal.

The Department of Fisheries and Oceans is carefully considering all of these results in order to ensure that the measures implemented today take into account all that we have learned up to this point.

The aquaculture industry is a viable industry that continues to improve its practices. Despite this positive fact, we must continue to better understand the effects of aquaculture on the environment and take measures to improve the confidence of the public in this industry.

Given the extraordinary opportunities that aquaculture provides us with, we must also take appropriate measures to make the industry more competitive on world markets. To this end, DFO has adopted a detailed action plan to support the sustainable development of aquaculture.

I would now like to talk about some of the key features of this plan.

First, let us address the issue of environmental assessment. The department adopted a series of measures to better regulate the industry and ensure the sustainable development of Canada's aquaculture industry.

As Parliamentary Secretary to the Minister of Fisheries and Oceans, I want to stress the fact that the department has always maintained that it must, on the one hand, make sure the industry has all the tools it needs to play an important part in rural development and, on the other, put in place all the audit and monitoring mechanisms necessary to increase Canadians' confidence in the sustainability of the industry.

With respect to effective monitoring of the industry, the government's role is not only to improve the legislation and regulations pertaining to aquaculture. The department is also trying to find ways to better monitor the activities of the industry on a day-to-day basis.

In cooperation with the provinces, the department is reviewing provincial methods of monitoring aquaculture activities. We want to continue to work in close consultation with the provinces to improve these methods and strengthen them if need be.

Let us talk about cooperation. Since aquaculture and environment issues come under the jurisdiction of both the federal government and the provinces, the department is working closely with provincial and territorial governments. This cooperation is taking place under the auspices of the Canadian Council of Fisheries and Aquaculture Ministers and is producing very good results.

Thanks to the council, DFO and the provinces can ensure consistent management of the aquaculture industry all over the country. This prevents the duplication of efforts and resources that are saved can serve other important purposes such as research and environmental protection.

In conclusion, given all the work--

Canadian Coast Guard November 6th, 2002

Mr. Chairman, I would simply like to put a question to my colleague about the Cap Rouge II affair.

In a press release that he himself made public the day after the unfortunate incident, and in which he offered his sympathy to the family—and it was quite appropriate at the time—he said the following, and I quote:

“We need to let the investigators do their job before we draw any conclusions”.

Three concurrent investigations are now underway, following this incident: that of the Workmen's Compensation Board, the Transportation Safety Board and the provincial coroner.

In order to ensure I understand the member, given that he says we must await the conclusions of these investigations before making a definitive judgment and ensuring that are no more accidents such as this, I find it inconsistent that he makes a judgment, when in a press release, he said that we should await the results of the investigation. Obviously, the investigation has not yet finished yet.

I would like it if the member could clarify this situation.