Crucial Fact

  • His favourite word was federal.

Last in Parliament May 2004, as Liberal MP for Abitibi—Baie-James—Nunavik (Québec)

Lost his last election, in 2004, with 43% of the vote.

Statements in the House

Supply October 9th, 1997

Mr. Speaker, is it a practice in the opposition to remark on the presence of another member in this House? We all know that under the Standing Orders we are not to make such comments, but I am pleased he mentioned that I am here.

Canada Pension Plan Investment Board Act October 7th, 1997

Madam Speaker, it is a pleasure for me to speak on Bill C-2, which will have an impact on the future of Canadians.

In keeping with tradition, I would like to thank the electors of Abitibi who put their trust in me for the next four years.

I represent the largest riding in the ten provinces of Canada. It covers an area of over 802 square kilometres and has a population of 92,000. To give you an idea of its size, it is equivalent to more than half the province of Quebec. There are four PQ members of the National Assembly doing the same work I am as a federal MP. In other words, in the riding of Abitibi, there are four provincial MNAs and that costs four times as much.

To get back to the bill, in compliance with the law, changes to the Canada pension plan must be approved by at least two thirds of the provinces representing two thirds of the country's population. This requirement has been met.

This bill represents a significant step toward preserving, as we said we would, the Canadian income and retirement system. The changes will ensure the plan's viability over the long term while making it fairer and more affordable for future generations of Canadians.

They recognize that the Canada pension plan is fundamental to the public pension system. The proposed changes will strengthen our system to permit it to continue to provide Canadians with the opportunity to create for themselves new and sufficient retirement income.

To ensure the future of the Canada pension plan for all Canadians, last February the federal and provincial governments agreed on changes to the plan to ensure its long term financial viability, while making it more fair and more affordable for future generations.

The proposed changes have the support of the federal government and the provinces of Newfoundland, Nova Scotia, New Brunswick, Prince Edward Island, Quebec especially, Ontario, Manitoba and Alberta.

However I must point out that Quebec administers a plan which parallels the Canada pension plan, that is, the Quebec pension plan. The Government of Quebec, through the Hon. Lucien Bouchard, recently announced amendments to the Quebec pension plan comparable to the proposed changes to the CPP, with the result that premiums will be the same.

Let us take a look at this new investment policy. There are approximately two years' worth of benefits in the CPP at the present time. The assets not immediately required to pay benefits are placed in non-negotiable instruments issued by the provinces. The provinces pay interest on these loans at the rate of long-term federal government bonds, as set at the time they were issued.

Greater capitalization of the CPP will result in significant growth of the assets from approximately two years of benefits to four or five years of benefits over the next twenty years. A new investment policy is necessary to get the best return possible in the interests of contributors. A higher return on the plan's assets will help hold the line on increases in premiums.

The ministers of all provinces, including Quebec, agreed on the following measures. The assets of the CPP will be invested in a diversified portfolio of instruments in the best interests of the contributors and beneficiaries. This new policy is consistent with that of most other pension funds in Canada, and in particular with that of the Quebec pension plan.

The assets will be managed in a professional manner, independent of governments, by an investment board, which will periodically report to the public and to the various governments on its activities.

Finally, with respect to investments, the board will be subject to rules similar to those applying to other pension funds in Canada.

I noticed that schedule II contains a comparison of existing CPP provisions and the proposed changes. This is something we should also mention: early retirement, from age 60, no change; normal retirement, at 65, no change; late retirement, up to 70 years of age, no change. There is no change in the new bill to the maximum annual earnings with pension entitlement, indexed to salary.

There will be no change to the ceiling for the combined survivor's and pension benefit in the new bill. All benefits, except death benefits, are now fully indexed. There will be no changes.

There are several stages to go through still. The bill complies with the terms and conditions agreed upon with the provinces in February regarding such things as a move toward fuller funding, with the new investment policy, changes to the formula for calculating certain benefits and a tightening of the administration of benefits.

It is always important to keep our people informed of what goes on in Parliament.

Acadian Artists October 7th, 1997

Mr. Speaker, them Acadian artists had to go to Montreal to find work. It's kind of like them poor sovereignists what went to Ottawa because there weren't no jobs in Quebec City.

Quebec Premier October 2nd, 1997

Mr. Speaker, Lucien Bouchard's economic mission is drawing to a close. Is it an economic mission or a partitionist mission? Did he talk about Quebeckers' concerns? Did he talk about job creation and economic recovery?

If he did, he only paid lip service to it. The truth is that this was no economic mission. Its objective is clearly to promote Canada's partition.

Does he hear Quebeckers when they tell him that their priority is the economy?

No. Mr. Bouchard, how will you justify to Quebeckers the high cost of your trip to France if you do not talk about their priorities? Mr. Bouchard, as you prepare to discuss partition among the splendor of the palaces at Matignon and the Élysée, all Quebeckers demand that you talk about job creation and economic recovery.

It is high time that you put your own interests aside to talk about those of all Quebeckers.

Quebec Premier September 30th, 1997

Mr. Speaker, Lucien Bouchard uses Quebeckers' priorities in a shameless manner, in order to further his own interests, his partitionist interests.

Under the guise of an economic mission, he is promoting Canada's partition. Once again he is putting his own interests before those of the Quebec people.

Quebeckers want their politicians to devote themselves to job creation and the economic recovery. Therefore, I call upon Lucien Bouchard to adequately represent all Quebeckers.

Mr. Bouchard, it is not too late to transform this political mission aimed at promoting partition into a genuine economic mission.

Speech From The Throne September 25th, 1997

Mr. Speaker, I too want to pay tribute to the member for Nunavut. In my riding, they would tell her in Inuit:

That means “Thank you very much. You are a superstar for having been elected to the House of Commons”.

Abitibi covers 802,000 square kilometres, and has 92,000 inhabitants, 68 communities and 68 mayors. There are 14 Inuit villages in Abitibi. So I am very familiar with the Inuit culture. I would like to mention to the hon. member that it is true that, while in the south bread sells for between $1 and $1.06, in Nunavut, New Quebec, bread can cost between $2.50 and $3.

We have many problems right now. Housing is one of them. I realize that much needs to be done. There are many who say that people in the north are receiving subsidies, but there is one thing that needs to be pointed out to the citizens of Canada and of Quebec and that is that, for every dollar we give our Inuit friends, 97 cents always comes back to the south. They are participating in the economy.

Much remains to be done, particularly in Nunavut and in Nunavik, Abitibi, such as working together and visiting New Quebec. That is the Canadian economy. We will play our part. I wish to congratulate the hon. member on her election.

Canadian Economy September 24th, 1997

Mr. Speaker, there can be no doubt that the Canadian economy is back on track.

The cost of living is going up very slowly, while retail trade is stronger than it has been in years. Statistics Canada announced that, between July and August, the consumer price index increased by 0.19 per cent, the same level as for the two previous months.

Between August 1996 and August 1997, Canadian consumers have faced an average increase of 1.8 per cent in the cost of living, which is pretty low.

All this is good news for Canadians.