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Crucial Fact

  • Her favourite word was quebec.

Last in Parliament May 2004, as Bloc MP for Jonquière (Québec)

Lost her last election, in 2004, with 6% of the vote.

Statements in the House

Agriculture October 24th, 2003

Mr. Speaker, although Quebec signed the agricultural policy framework, Quebec producers of cull cattle, the unwilling victims of the mad cow crisis, are on the verge of despair. They can no longer make ends meet. They are threatened with losing their farms and urgently need assistance.

The policy framework is not providing them with any assistance, so what is the minister waiting for to announce a specific aid program?

Supply October 23rd, 2003

Mr. Speaker, I want to congratulate my hon. colleague from Argenteuil—Papineau—Mirabel on his speech. I do not know if the Liberal members paid attention and listened carefully. Our colleague just provided glaring evidence of how important it is that all the members of this House vote for the motion put forward by the Bloc Quebecois.

He referred to the Standing Committee on Transport and the promises made by the Liberals. They have been promising a Quebec City-Montreal-Windsor train link for decades. The current leader of the government wants it to happen, but the one behind the curtain does not.

I would like my hon. colleague from Argenteuil—Papineau—Mirabel to expand on this a little and tell us what lies beneath all this? Does he want an election to be called? For the sake of the Canadian democracy, should there be an election after November 14?

Supply October 23rd, 2003

Mr. Speaker, I want to thank my colleague. That is how we need to react. We need to tell the truth to the people who are watching us tonight. I commend the member for having had the fortitude to say what is going on here, something the Liberal members would never tell their constituents.

Following his comments and all the speeches made by the Bloc members in this House, does my hon. colleague think that the Liberal members will support our motion?

Supply October 23rd, 2003

Mr. Speaker, I want to thank my hon. colleague from Lac-Saint-Jean—Saguenay for his question.

As we all know, my region is primarily engaged in forestry and is the leading lumber producer in Quebec. We do rank first in that industry, my region and that of the member. We were hard hit. In fact, we lost 3,000 jobs. Forestry jobs are specialized and very well paid work. Three thousand workers have lost their jobs so far.

My colleague opposite, the hon. member for Chicoutimi—Le Fjord, said that these workers got EI benefits. That is not what they want. First, these workers paid EI contributions, but the government is not investing anything in the EI account. The member says it is charity. The government is not giving these people all they are entitled to, since there is still an EI surplus.

We do not want to hear any more bull from this member, who is totally disconnected from the concerns of my constituents. We must deal with the softwood lumber crisis. We must get these workers back to work. We told them to go to phase 2 and allow the businesses to resume their operations.

Supply October 23rd, 2003

Mr. Speaker, I do not know where the member opposite got his figures because it is the first time that the premiers and finance ministers from all the provinces agreed that there is a fiscal imbalance in Ottawa.

Indeed, the federal government taxes Canadians too heavily for the services it provides them. Everybody agrees on that. However, all of a sudden, the government is the only one saying that there is no fiscal imbalance. We were able to see that again yesterday. If there were no fiscal imbalance, the government would not be in a position to announce such a huge surplus.

Let us not forget that, under the Constitution, health care, education and social welfare are provincial jurisdictions. These services are provided by the provincial governments.

Even in the area of health care, we know that, since this government took office in 1993, all the provinces were affected by cuts to the Canada Health and Social Transfer. Even with the commitment that the current Prime Minister made to his colleagues, the provincial health ministers, when he told them that the federal government would give them an additional $2 billion, that would not even make up for the cuts made to the CHST since 1993.

The fiscal imbalance is so large that the government is being asked to give the excess revenues to the provinces right away. It has to give them money for health care. This is no secret. I am not a chartered accountant, but one plus one always makes two. If the current Minister of Finances denies that, then he should go back to school to brush up on his arithmetic.

Supply October 23rd, 2003

Mr. Speaker, before beginning, I would like to congratulate my colleague from Champlain. What we heard from him is just common sense.

That is what Bloc Quebecois members are all about. They have common sense and they understand the reality that voters in their ridings have to face every day. They are the ones who defend the interests of all Quebeckers and Canadians.

I am pleased to speak to this motion brought forward by the Bloc Quebecois. Finally, one political party in this Parliament has decided to expose what has been going on behind closed doors within this government and within the Liberal Party.

The situation that currently exists in the Parliament of Canada is very troubling. It is almost like total paralysis. Nothing is happening. What do we see when we ask questions during question period? Ministers contradict one another, as we saw again today. The Minister of Transport was contradicted by the Minister of the Environment.

That is what we witness every day. Canadians and Quebeckers have the right, through opposition members, to obtain answers regarding issues of real concern to them.

I was listening earlier to what several government members were saying. I realized that they were totally out of touch with reality. Is it normal that the Liberal majority, which runs the country, has two leaders? There is a democratically elected Prime Minister. In August 2002, he decided that he was going to leave office in February 2004. And behind the curtain stands the man whom I call the Phantom of the Opera.

Is it normal that behind the curtain stands a man who has not yet been elected leader of his party but who is already exercising the powers that his colleagues in the Liberal Party have decided to confer upon him? And most of the time, in exercizing these powers, he is going against the broad objectives set by the Prime Minister. The Kyoto protocol is one thing that comes to mind.

I will talk about highway 175 in my region. In August 2002, the Prime Minister of Canada came to my region. You know how many times I talked about this issue during oral question period. I asked many questions about this highway, which is called the route du parc des Laurentides. It had become an urban legend. After nearly a year, the Prime Minister came to our region to announce that his government would pay 50% of the cost of this highway.

No one can convince me that it is because of the former Parti Quebecois government that no agreement was reached. This is sad. All the ministers I was able to talk to never said that the PQ government had done something to delay the agreement. Nearly a year later, there is still no agreement on this issue. Is it bad faith?

Who is making the real decisions? The current Prime Minister, whom I trusted, made a commitment on this. However, does the member for LaSalle—Émard really want to reach an agreement that was signed in Quebec when Bernard Landry was the premier? This highway is very important for the development of my region.

People in my region are asking this question. They tell me that I should hurry up and ask the Liberals to sign the agreement, because they fear that, with the member of LaSalle—Émard, there will be no agreement.

This is a source of considerable concern. The hon. member for Chicoutimi—Le Fjord was just talking about EI benefits and saying that they are being improved. Ours is an industrial region that was a model for the aluminum and pulp and paper industries, but there are no longer any jobs being created. We know that it is not good for one's self-esteem to have to go on EI, particularly when one gets 55% of what one used to earn, not good at all. So let us not exaggerate here. People do not want to be on benefits, people in our regions want to work.

What did the government do about the softwood lumber crisis? Three million workers in my region have lost jobs because of it. Two years later, the Minister for International Trade is standing up to pat himself on the back and announce that we are going to win out. In the meantime, most workers in my region are no longer even on EI. This is being unrealistic.

When we see the way this government is deteriorating, I think that all Liberal members ought to be congratulating the Bloc Quebecois and ought to be voting as a block themselves in favour of this motion. Not because it is against the present PM, but because it will get this Parliament back up to speed, get things settled and force the future PM to come out from behind the curtain and provide some answers to the real questions we are asking democratically.

Let us not lose sight of the fact that we are elected by people who wanted us to be sitting here in this Parliament to play the watchdog role they wanted over this government, and wanted the opposition to ask the real questions. Ordinary citizens cannot come to this House and question ministers and the rest of the government themselves. We have to speak for them.

I sometimes wonder whether those members actually go to see their constituents from time to time. If they do, do they listen to them or is it just a matter of popping in, delivering a fancy speech, and popping out again?

As the hon. member for Champlain has said, our constituents are constantly asking us when the situation in Ottawa is going to be settled. We do not know any more than they do, we are not able to solve our own problems. We are well aware of what is going on. Only the hon. members across the way do not realize that everyone knows. People are not blind. The press is constantly reporting on what is going on with this government, particularly the arm twisting and backstabbing that is going on.

With this motion we merely want to get out of this mess. The present situation is really quite detrimental to democracy.

The government House leader argues that this is a non-confidence motion that would bring the government down if it is carried. The government House leader is using that argument because he is scared; he does not know if the future PM will let him keep the keys to his limousine. That is what he and his colleagues on the front benches are afraid of.

Several of the partisans of the hon. member for LaSalle—Émard are getting ready to take their places. They want to keep enjoying their perks for a few more months. We are not here to enjoy perks but to ask real questions and get real answers. We pay taxes.

The finance minister has been bragging now for two days about the budget surplus he just announced. The Bloc Quebecois had predicted an even greater surplus. The minister is bragging when he knows full well that he had to take $3 billion out of the EI account to get this surplus.

We are entitled to put real questions to the real PM, that is the hon. member for LaSalle—Émard. We are told it is not a done deal. Come on. We know it was settled a long time ago. Do you take us for fools, do you take the people for fools? Do you think they believe that this might not happen on November 15?

We are entitled to get answers to our questions and to address our questions to the real PM. This motion would ensure that, as is done in any great democracy, the real PM, who is hiding behind the curtain, will answer real questions.

When you have someone who owns boats and does not pay taxes in his own country, you have a serious situation on your hands. If you did not pay your taxes, Mr. Speaker, you would be prosecuted. The member has not paid his taxes, so we want to ask him some tough questions.

I hope that members will all vote in favour of the motion brought forward by the Bloc Quebecois.

Supply October 23rd, 2003

Mr. Speaker, I want to congratulate my colleague from Champlain. What he says is true. In bringing forward this motion, members of the Bloc Quebecois never meant to hurt the current Prime Minister. On the contrary, this motion is meant to help him. Right now, his credibility is being undermined by his colleagues within his own party.

I would like to ask a question of my colleague, who comes from the same region as the current Prime Minister of Canada. Could the member for Champlain tell me if he has ever been in a similar situation? He sat as MP in the Quebec National Assembly. Has he ever experienced such ambiguity? Also, is what is happening now in Canada healthy for democracy and are taxpayers getting their money's worth with this situation?

Supply October 23rd, 2003

Mr. Speaker, you know how carefully I listen to the member opposite when he speaks. He has my undivided attention.

This time, I asked myself all sorts of questions while he was speaking. I asked myself what kind of dance he is doing now. Is it the tango, the waltz or the cha cha?

During his speech, he said that he had unlimited confidence in his Prime Minister. We know that this government currently has two prime ministers, one who is in his seat, and one who is behind the curtain.

First, I would like him to tell me who is Prime Minister right now. I think that he knows the answer.

Second, when he spoke about the motion brought forward by the Bloc Quebecois, I was disappointed. I know how intelligent this Liberal member is and I also know that the Bloc Quebecois motion would help all the Liberal members and all the members in this House, because this government would finally have to answer questions from the opposition for the good of democracy in Canada.

Electoral Boundaries Readjustment Act October 22nd, 2003

Mr. Speaker, it is my pleasure to rise this evening to speak on Bill C-49. This bill should never have come to be. The readjustment process that was announced stems from the Constitution Act, 1867. I am talking about the Electoral Boundaries Readjustment Act.

This approach to establishing the boundaries of electoral districts dates back to that time. Until now, no one has tried to change the process, which was intended to be democratic and free of political interference.

Many things are happening within the Liberal Party of Canada. It will soon be giving us our next prime minister. We all know that the member for LaSalle—Émard has his eye on the position currently held by the member for Saint-Maurice. This member of Parliament, who is not a minister of the Crown, is using the Liberal majority to distort a process that used to be a democratic one. That is serious. This situation we are facing on this October 22, 2003, is a very serious situation for democracy in Canada.

This new approach has hurt Quebec in general, and the regions of Quebec in particular. We must bear in mind that the regions of Quebec are grappling with depopulation. We have a big company economy. Big companies are no longer creating employment. They are only maintaining employment. Consequently, our young people, who are more and more highly educated and need jobs in their region, are forced to look for jobs elsewhere. That is our situation in the regions.

I think that this was not done in a way that is respectful of the regional democracies. I am my party's critic for regional development issues. This government is constantly boasting about its commitment to regional development. However, with this bill, the government, and first and foremost the member for LaSalle—Émard, is distorting the democratic process.

I have always been a political organizer. During an election, the election organizers must have everything under control so that all voters can vote. Even during the 2000 election campaign, many streets, neighbourhoods and houses were left off the voters' list. The Chief Election Officer will not be able to do his job within the time allowed. One year was set aside to establish all the new territories and new ridings to ensure transparency and accessibility so that all voters could go and vote. He will not be able to do it.

In 2000, there were huge problems with the voters' list. Things are going to get worse. The Chief Electoral Officer will never be able to enumerate everyone in all the ridings.

What is happening in the House is serious. This bill has serious consequences. It goes against the interests of my region. It deprives my region of its deserved political clout. My region, like all other regions in Canada, has the right to its share of the taxes it paid to Ottawa.

By eliminating one riding from my region, it loses its political weight. This is serious.

I am not opposed to the Electoral Boundaries Readjustment Act, but I am opposed to the process undertaken by the future prime minister of Canada. This is a sign to voters and those listening that, in Canada, the Liberal Party can do anything if it has a majority.

I am a democratic sovereignist, but the federalist Liberals are not democrats, because they want to move up a process regulated by the Constitution Act, 1867. As a result, we have a right to know what the hon. member for LaSalle—Émard is hiding behind this process.

He wants more seats in Ontario, because he knows that Quebec will lose political weight in the regions. The Bloc Quebecois had asked to increase the number of seats in Quebec to 77 so the regions could maintain their political weight. We are trying to bring people back to the regions, but this process will not help. It will undermine our efforts.

The more we participate in political fora to defend our regions—before municipalities, the provincial legislatures or the federal government—the more we can talk about our own region and sing its praises. I am not saying that the three members who are elected will not do so, but I am talking about the consequences of this bill. It reverses a process that was already established.

I will run in the Jonquière riding, which will include Alma, Saint-Ambroise, Saint-Charles-de-Bourget, Saint-David-de-Falardeau and Bégin. These additions enlarge the riding, but as I have always been a regional member, I do not think the voters who are added to the Jonquière riding will lose any political weight.

However, I think this process should set off warning bells. I do not know what they will try to impose on us next. You know what has happened with the Liberal Party. There was the whole sponsorship affair. They took taxpayers' money and used it the way they wanted with their cronies.

Have the Liberals launched this process because they are afraid to face the voters? Is the member for LaSalle—Émard concerned about not having a majority in Quebec?

We have to wonder, and I think Quebeckers do wonder. Democracy is an accumulation of many small actions that make us a democratic society. But I do not think the Liberal Party can pretend to be democratic in this legislative process.

As the member for Jonquière, in the Saguenay—Lac-Saint-Jean area, and as the Quebec critic for regional development, I think the hon. member for LaSalle—Émard is sending signals that should scare the regions. He is telling them he will not take care of them, that they should fend for themselves, that he just does not care.

The opposite approach should be taken. The 17 administrative regions of Quebec are very important. What would Quebec do without them? It would be a serious problem, because it is the identity of the regions that has helped make Quebec different from other Canadian provinces.

I do not have anything against those Canadian provinces who will get more members, when Quebec regions will lose representatives they are entitled to because of the taxes they pay.

The Bloc Quebecois, the member for Jonquière and all members from my region who have the interests of their constituents at heart will vote against this bill, because it is undemocratic. But I am not sure the hon. member for Chicoutimi—Le Fjord will vote against it.

Agriculture October 10th, 2003

Such cynicism, Mr. Speaker.

Laurent Pellerin, the head of the UPA, has said, “This does not suit us at all”, referring to the agricultural policy framework. He went on, “Quebec has 25% of the population of Canada, and 20% of agricultural production, yet we are getting a mere 10% or 11% of the envelope”.

Thirty seconds after he has brushed aside the concerns of the cattle producers, is the minister going to step his cynicism up a notch by doing the same to those of the entire agricultural industry of Quebec?