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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 10th, 2003

Mr. Speaker, the Minister of Agriculture and Agri-Food has forced cattle producers into poverty by refusing to extend assistance past September 1.

What answer can the minister, who is so boastful of his agricultural policy framework, give to the Fédération des éléveurs de bovins du Québec, which points out that this does not meet the expectations of farmers here since it does not cover all losses, but only 70% of them?

How can he justify not covering the other 30%, when we know very well that businesses are being forced into bankruptcy because of lack of income?

Public Safety Act 2002 October 7th, 2003

Mr. Speaker, I would like to tell my colleague that in my area, in the Saguenay, there is a military base. Under the first version of the bill, all the land around the base was part of it. My town was in a military security zone. That is extremely serious. At second reading stage, I spoke out against this. The government listened and decided to make changes, with the exception of three locations.

However, under the current bill, the governor in council will be able to create military zones by order in council. We, in the Bloc Quebecois, believe that Quebec should be consulted before this government goes ahead.

Is there a provision in this bill to consult Quebec before defining a controlled access military zone?

Public Safety Act 2002 October 7th, 2003

Mr. Speaker, I had another question for my colleague. I would like him to talk about the government's amendments dealing with the powers of the Royal Canadian Mounted Police and CSIS to access information on airline passengers. Those powers are much too broad.

I would like to have my colleague's opinion on those powers, which are much too broad. I would also like to know what kind of limitations these powers will put on privacy.

Public Safety Act 2002 October 7th, 2003

Mr. Speaker, I want to take this opportunity to thank my hon. colleague for speaking on this bill and giving listeners a very detailed overview of how Bill C-17 came into being.

In his speech, my hon. colleague said that the democratic values relating to security must be ensured, in light of the events of September 11, 2001. It is true that this was an extremely serious event that shook the entire world. However, as my colleague mentioned, we must keep things in perspective and not generate fear by implementing measures limiting freedom and democracy.

I want my colleague to provide additional information, which he did not have time to mention in his speech. In his opinion, what measures could have been included in order for the Bloc Quebecois to support this bill?

Public Safety Act 2002 October 7th, 2003

Mr. Speaker, I have a question for my hon. colleague from the Liberal Party.

Yes, a terrible event shook the world on September 11. Yes, it did happen, but we now have to stop telling tall tales to make people believe that we have to make a greater effort on security issues and adopt more specific guidelines in this regard. We were all troubled by the tragic events of September 11, 2001. We all know what happened.

However, we cannot circumvent the Charter of Rights and Freedoms by giving such enormous powers, warrants to check on people's identity.

I would like my Liberal colleague to tell us if he would be comfortable living in a dictatorship, since that is almost what he is proposing. I believe that we live in a democracy, and in a democracy, we can ask questions and we can add more security measures, but we have to stop creating a virtual world and adapting our way of life to virtual events that might occur some day.

It is true that people need to be reassured because they have not felt secure since that day. However, we have to assure people that democracy will survive and that we will still comply with the Charter of Rights and Freedoms. They should also know that the decision makers will not have all sorts of powers that go beyond democracy.

I would like the member to tell us what the word democracy means to him.

Library and Archives of Canada Act October 6th, 2003

Mr. Speaker, at the beginning of the debate on Bill C-36, we had reached an agreement and the members of the Bloc Quebecois were of the opinion that clause 21 had to be removed. We thought that it should not be in there.

The Standing Committee on Canadian Heritage is presently reviewing the copyright issue. We believed then, and we still believe now, that this clause should have been removed and included in the Copyright Act.

This is one of the reasons why we oppose this bill. This clause does not belong there. It does not need to be included and it should be discussed in the context of the copyright issues. This bill, which will be referred to the Standing Committee on Canadian Heritage, is very important for the Bloc Quebecois.

This is why there was no fundamental discussion on this. Since an agreement had been reached to exclude it, we did not go into it in great detail.

Library and Archives of Canada Act October 6th, 2003

Mr. Speaker, I thank the hon. member of the Canadian Alliance for his question. I could give him another example.

Let us talk about conscription, both in 1917 and for the second world war. Historical interpretations differ a great deal, depending on whether you are a Quebecker or a Canadian.

In this mandate, which interpretation will be considered the right one? That is the question I have. There is always a choice between different interpretations, and this worries me.

This raises big questions. We cannot ignore the fact that we are Quebeckers or Canadians. In Quebec, we do not look at Canadian history the same way a Canadian Alliance member does, because he is a federalist.

Which of these interpretations will be made accessible to all? Just the Canadian interpretation, or will the Quebec interpretation be available too? I worry about the way the documents concerning both interpretations will be made available. Will the Canadian interpretation be a priority while the other one will be pushed aside? I worry about that.

Library and Archives of Canada Act October 6th, 2003

Mr. Speaker, I would like to thank my colleague from the Canadian Alliance for his question. I can tell him that yes, we each interpret history in our own way, each on our own side of the river as I said earlier. Canadians and Quebeckers can certainly view history in a different perspective.

What I regret is that this bill broadens the terms of reference of the new institution and gives it a role which is contrary to its mandate; this destroys the neutrality that has always been displayed by the National Library of Canada and the National Archives of Canada.

Yes, historians do interpret history, but that was not the role of the National Library of Canada or the National Archives of Canada. We would go to the National Library of Canada to have access to reference books and we would go to historians so that they would help us understand those documents.

This bill will broaden the role of the Librarian and Archivist, but that will ruin the neutrality that has always been there since the creation of the National Archives and the National Library. I would like to see the new institution maintain this neutrality.

Library and Archives of Canada Act October 6th, 2003

Mr. Speaker, I am pleased to speak to Bill C-36, which was introduced by the government.

Since Bill C-36 was introduced, to create the merged Library and Archives Canada, I have been wondering about the government's real goals as it tries determinedly to merge these two institutions, which have two distinct missions and two distinct approaches.

Why is the government going against the trend in most industrialized countries such as France, Belgium, the United States and Germany, which are determined to have these two institutions remain autonomous and retain all their prerogatives?

I listened to the witnesses; I asked questions; I expressed my concerns, but my questions were not answered.

There must be something fishy going on. Let us look more closely at this bill and let us consider the real issues that are present or absent.

There are issues of transparency and integrity, for example, regarding the appointment of the Librarian and Archivist and the members of the advisory council. There is the issue of broadening the mandate of this new institution by adding the interpretation of history. There is also the copyright issue.

Although the Bloc Quebecois has pointed out a number of flaws in this legislation, the government has decided not to correct them. Why is this government so stubborn in refusing amendments that would have ensured transparency in the appointment of the Librarian and Archivist of Canada? This appointment will be made by the governor in council, with the agreement of the heritage minister therefore.

Why are there no benchmarks in this bill with regard to this appointment, that would have provided some guarantee of integrity and transparency? Why does the responsibility of the standing committee on heritage not have oversight on this appointment?

Absolutely nothing in this bill reassures us on this aspect. We in the Bloc Quebecois also feel that it is unacceptable to create an advisory council whose members are selected and appointed by the heritage minister. These will be political friends and close relatives, who will be beholden to the people who chose them.

We will never be able to tell the people of Canada and Quebec that this committee is independent from political authorities. To say so would be to put one's head in the sand. It would be taking voters for uninformed people. When appointments are made and those who make them do not even know under what prerogatives, or whether appointees have expertise in an area related to the new structure—will they be archivists, librarians, we do not know—how can this be expected to work?

People do not like to be duped. It is well know that those appointed are forever indebted to those who appointed them. That is why politicians have lost a great deal of credibility with the voters.

Increasingly, this government is ignoring transparency.

With this bill, the institutions in the new organization are becoming politicized. This is very serious.

First, there is the political appointment of the deputy head. And there are political appointments to the new advisory council. The Bloc Quebecois asked that these appointments be handled by an independent committee, as in Quebec.

The ruling party is no longer the PQ but the Liberal Party, and it is not changing how this operates. We relied on transparency. I think it was the hon. member for Verdun—Saint-Henri—Saint-Paul—Pointe Saint-Charles, who was a minister in the Quebec government, who developed this process.

The greatest concern with this bill is that the government is expanding the mandate of the new institution to include a reference to the interpretation of Canadian history. This new mandate is contrary to the neutrality objectives historically pursued by the National Library and the National Archives.

The government is trying to impose its own vision of history. Like most Quebeckers, including the current Premier of Quebec, we in the Bloc Quebecois believe that Quebec is a nation with a culture of its own. Even the new Premier of Quebec, Mr. Charest, shares that belief.

In his statement under Standing Order 31 today, my colleague from Saint-Jean said that it has been six years since the death of Mr. Bourassa, the former Premier of Quebec. The day after the Meech Lake Accord failed, in June 1990, he said in a solemn and historic speech:

English Canada must clearly understand that whatever happens and whatever is done, Quebec is and always will be a distinct society, one that is free and quite capable of taking charge of its own destiny and development.

There are a thousand and one ways to interpret history; everything depends on what a nation such as Quebec experienced. For instance, when we talk about the War Measures Act in 1970, the perception of events is completely different depending on whether one is from Quebec or Canada.

The Minister of Canadian Heritage talks about Canadian culture. To her, anything from Quebec's culture is in fact a regional element of Canadian culture. It is very worrisome to give a mandate that would allow Canada's history to be interpreted, when we know how the minister thinks and what Quebec culture means to her. Her goal is Trudeau-style nation building, which seeks to instil a sense of belonging, and which reflects only one history and vision of Canada.

The mandate of Library and Archives Canada is not to interpret history. Its mandate is to make historical information available, not to create its own version to propagate across Canada.

It is important to see to what extent in this bill the government ignores the way political institutions make appointments. Given that this type of bill will not be reviewed regularly each year, we should include clauses that would ensure transparency and integrity in the people who will be appointed.

What is more, historical facts must not be interpreted by people who are appointed. Historians, documentalists and archivists are not there to interpret history. Their job is to make available to the people of Canada and of Quebec reference documents to enable them to have a relative view of what occurred at a specific point in Canadian history.

How do we ensure that the transfer of documents is going to be respectful of factual integrity? That is not in the bill. Who will be responsible for assessing the pertinence of documents? Here again, there is nothing in the bill.

As well, they want to include the concept of promoting and understanding heritage. That is a pretty tall order. If anyone is capable of explaining to me what that mumbo jumbo means and how it will be accomplished, they are one up on me.

We are headed for an administrative muddle. The new entity ought not to be responsible for this. It is not the responsibility of archivists, documentalists and historians. It is not part of their mandate, nor of their training. This is a concept of managing the Canadian mind. This bill is an expression of the vision of the Minister of Canadian Heritage.

We cannot subscribe to this initiative, which is aimed at adding this duty to the position of Chief Librarian.

Hon. members need think no further than what has happened with the mandate of the CBC and the notion of selling Canadian unity. Where is there any journalistic freedom in that? It will be tested out with these orientations.

Time moves on, but nothing changes with this government. There is talk of encroachment, lack of transparency. The intent with this bill is for it to recover its vision of what politics needs to be. This is not what politics are all about. I am from a province, a riding, and a city whose inhabitants demand information from me. They want me to assure them that what is going on in Parliament is being done in an atmosphere of transparency.

Unfortunately, with Bill C-36, I could not assure my constituents that, in future, those in this new entity will be beholden to someone.

I do not understand why they are creating this new structure. The people who will be working within this structure do not have the same mission and the same training. They are serious professionals. These professionals are having a political burden imposed on them, and it is not part of their mandate.

This legislation lacks transparency and in no way guarantees any respect for those who will be working within this institution and those wanting access to it.

The Bloc Quebecois will never support the government's new, soon to be adopted, vision concerning the role of archivist and librarian.

In this bill, the government does not guarantee any transparency. The Bloc will vote against this bill, since our party opposes the merger between the National Library and the National Archives of Canada. The Bloc Quebecois considers that the enlarged mandate of the new institution is aligned with Canadian propaganda goals, and that the new mandate will interfere with the neutrality the library and archives have always displayed.

The Bloc Quebecois demands that any reference to the interpretation of the history of Canada be removed from the mandate of the Library and Archives of Canada. This is part of a Trudeau-style nation-building effort. This bill seeks not only to merge two entirely different institutions, with two different missions, but also to turn the history of Canada into a propaganda tool.

The Bloc Quebecois will never allow any federal entity to interpret Quebec history. It will never allow the Canadian government to disseminate biased information. Those working at this institution will not do so by choice; they will be forced to do so by law. We will never allow that to happen, because we have too much respect for our ancestors and others who built Quebec.

As my colleague from the Conservative Party was saying, one has to know where one came from to be able to go where one wants to go. It may not be the exact same words that he used, but it means the same thing.

I come from a family where the historical values of the Quebec nation have been omnipresent since before I was born. These values were passed down orally by my ancestors, from generation to generation.

It is true that something is missing right now in our schools in terms of getting our young people interested in our history. However, this new entity will never allow that to be done in a transparent way.

We know that history is a work in progress. Yesterday's history is not today's history nor is it tomorrow's history, but yesterday's history must stay the same. We must use it to go forward today and into the future. However, if we allow these people to interpret it, we will never reach our goal, and that is what we are here for. Therefore, we insist that our history truly reflect the facts.

In closing, I will reiterate that the Bloc Quebecois opposes this bill and will vote against it at third reading.

Library and Archives of Canada Act October 6th, 2003

Mr. Speaker, I listened carefully to my distinguished colleague; he knows that I have always had the greatest respect for him. I truly appreciated everything the Liberal member did to advance the cause of environmental protection in Quebec when he was Minister of the Environment in that province.

Obviously we will not spend the rest of our lives talking about what happened, but certain things had to be said. However, I noticed—and it is the same with all committees—that some members attend all committee meetings; they listen to all the witnesses and do all the work, but the government party, represented by eight members on the committee, is never there. All of a sudden, when it is time to vote on opposition motions, we see new people arrive who have no idea what we are talking about, which skews all the work done very respectfully by opposition members. That is what happened and it is a common occurrence in several committees of this House.

An agreement had been reached in good faith among all parties, and I was part of that agreement. All of a sudden, there was no agreement anymore. Do you think that it is nice to be there and to have the government force all kinds of things down our throats when those who represent the government do not even know what it is all about?

I am not criticizing the chair of the Standing Committee on Canadian Heritage, because he is an excellent chairman and I know that he does a good job. However, I hope that this will not happen again.