Crucial Fact

  • His favourite word was made.

Last in Parliament May 2004, as Liberal MP for Portneuf (Québec)

Lost his last election, in 2004, with 28% of the vote.

Statements in the House

Radiocommunication Act February 9th, 2004

Mr. Speaker, I am pleased to rise today to express my support for Bill C-2, an act to amend the Radiocommunication Act.

Let me remind members of this assembly what this bill deals with. Signals that are transmitted via direct communication satellite, which are called DCS, are encoded. Authorized users receive “an access control module” or a memory card, as well as a decoder, which are provided to them by the DCS signal distributor.

However, hackers are able to develop a technology that allows them to decode signals. Thus, distributors regularly change their signal code to keep away users who are illegally accessing their programming. But hackers respond to this by continually creating new technologies that allow them to thwart the new code. We find ourselves in a cat and mouse situation, where distributors are constantly trying to keep ahead of hackers, while the latter find ever more creative ways to access the new code.

Stealing signals is illegal. The RCMP is now stepping up enforcement measures. The bill before us supports these efforts by suggesting penalties that would discourage repeat offenders. This is the remedy for criminal activities.

There is another way of discouraging DTH signal piracy. It is to encourage distributors themselves to take civil action. The bill before us will help us to encourage authorized distributors of DTH signals to take such action, which will help reduce law enforcement costs.

Let me first explain that, under the current civil law system, victims of DTH signal piracy, that is authorized distributors, must prove they have incurred losses. However, satellite piracy is an underground activity. Thus, it is difficult to prove the actual harm done.

In the context of this bill, victims of commercial hacking can be awarded statutory damages that will help to compensate them for the loss of their intellectual property.

In the case of hackers who steal signals for commercial gain, the courts will have the option of imposing statutory penalties of up to $100,000. This is a huge fine and the idea is to ensure that this penalty is not viewed as a mere cost of doing business by those who pirate DTH signals.

However, in the case of individuals who are found guilty of stealing signals, the amount of damages remains the same, with a maximum penalty of $1,000. This is a significant amount for an individual. This penalty must continue to be a deterrent if distributors of DTH signals decide to take civil action against an individual.

I stress the fact that the bill before us does not put the emphasis on individuals who break the law but, rather, on those who start a business that contravenes the act for commercial gain. We want to deter the sale of illegal devices to decode satellite signals.

Nor does this legislation put the accent on the pirates that develop the pirating technology. Pirates are individuals who are usually not business people. More often than not, they are motivated by the challenge of decoding a secret encoding system, rather than by profits. They are unlikely to be deterred by the threat of a financial loss.

Again, we can make sure that the businesses that buy the products of these individuals and use them for commercial gain are fined. This is what the bill proposes to do by providing for criminal convictions and for damages when a civil action ends up with a guilty verdict.

The businesses that provide television programming must be able to make a profit on their investments. When they suffer losses because of pirating, their profitability is threatened, which results in the loss of jobs and investments in the broadcasting sector.

Signal distribution companies and cable companies want fair competition.

They cannot compete against free television.

This bill will not only deter those who would compete unfairly through illegal means, but also allow the victims of piracy to recover part of what they lost because of illegal activities.

This bill will create an open and fair market in one sector of the broadcasting industry in Canada, which will be good for the industry and, in the long run, for Canadian viewers.

I hope members of this House will support this bill which, I repeat, deals with the growing problem of piracy of direct-to-home satellite broadcast signals. It aims at enhancing our ability to protect one of the most important components in our cultural industry. God knows how much money is invested in this sector and, if our broadcasting services cannot be profitable, culture will be dealt a hard blow.

The theft of satellite signals deprives broadcasters, program producers and authorized Canadian programmers of millions of dollars annually. Money is being stolen from an industry that provides thousands of jobs. Anyone who steals signals is destroying jobs.

The existing legislation is simply not adequate to solve the growing number of problems we now have. Broadcasters and those in charge of enforcing the law lack the means they need to deter criminals from importing, designing and selling illegal equipment.

This bill will counter this illegal activity. We do not want to target the Canadian inspectors, as has been said, but business people who are guilty of piracy. They are the ones we should go after.

Criminal Code November 5th, 2003

Mr. Speaker, in fact, since I did not have enough time to do so earlier, there is one thing I want to clarify: we have not yet made a decision to develop additional approval measures based on anticipated impact on the economy. However, I can assure the House that we are very aware of the concerns raised by the hon. member.

Canada has a strong biotechnology surveillance program. The Canadian biotechnology strategy includes a wide range of activities and initiatives, in particular, the identification of common issues, risk management and the implementation of measures to ensure public confidence in how Canada reacts to the challenges of biotechnology.

This approach to biotechnology has constantly evolved to respond to new scientific advances. Clearly, if a novel food ever presented a serious risk for our business practices, the appropriate action would be taken.

However, we are still just assessing the future impact. Until we know the outcome of discussions between Monsanto and stakeholders on the marketing of Roundup Ready wheat, there is no point in changing our current practices.

Criminal Code November 5th, 2003

Mr. Speaker, I am very pleased to reply to the question asked by the hon. member for Davenport on October 21, regarding Monsanto's application to release genetically modified wheat.

This new wheat developed by Monsanto is called Roundup Ready. The hon. member's question is based on the premise that Roundup Ready is a threat to the economy and to the environment.

As the hon. member must know, the government is concerned primarily with the product's safety, which is determined by scientific assessment. Before any new plant material such as Roundup Ready can be marketed, it must obtain a whole series of separate approvals. It must obtain approval from the Canadian Food Inspection Agency, the CFIA, regarding its environmental safety and its safety as animal feed. Moreover, Health Canada must approve it with regard to safety for human consumption.

A new type of plant must pass through all these assessments before it is approved for general cultivation. For example, it cannot be cultivated solely for animal feed if it has not also been approved for human consumption and with regard to environmental safety.

I wish to inform the House that Monsanto Inc. asked that Roundup Ready wheat be evaluated by Health Canada in July 2002, followed by an application for unconfined release into the environment in December of the same year.

In response to the hon. member's specific concern about the environmental risk, I would point out to the House that the CFIA is examining the issue from all angles.

It will determine whether this wheat will become more invasive or weedy than other strains of wheat, whether it can be crossed with wild relatives, whether it will become a plant pest, whether it will have a negative impact on non-target organisms, and whether it will have a negative impact on biodiversity.

The assessment also covers other aspects such as sustainable farming practices and the impact the new strain of wheat could have on agronomic practices. A new plant that changes agronomic practices in a way that is not consistent with sustainable farming is not approved.

These are important issues in connection with the effects on the environment of Roundup Ready wheat. I can assure the hon. member that the CFIA will carry out an indepth assessment of this wheat, make use of the recognized expertise of the Plant Biosafety Office and call on outside expertise, where necessary. I can also assure the hon. member that it will be just as rigorously assessed by Health Canada.

Another issue must be examined before GMOs may be introduced. As the hon. member indicated, this issue is the economic impact of the new strain. Will our trading partners close their borders to Canadian products for fear that they have been contaminated by GMOs that they have not approved?

That is an important issue; that is why we are looking into it with other stakeholders, such as our provincial and industry partners.

Criminal Code November 3rd, 2003

Mr. Speaker, the hon. member was supposed to talk to us about Bill C-46. What he is talking about is of no interest. He is talking about reality television and it is irrelevant.

Agriculture October 30th, 2003

Mr. Speaker, we cannot reveal anything about the program until it is complete. However, since there are many cull cows in Quebec, that province will receive its share for cull cows under this program.

Agriculture October 30th, 2003

Mr. Speaker, the minister certainly cannot announce anything today because he is not here. What I can say is that the minister and all the hon. members are well aware of the issue. The minister is busy working on a new program that could be announced shortly.

Agriculture October 30th, 2003

Mr. Speaker, the agricultural policy framework agreements have been signed. I cannot answer the question, because I do not know exactly why these funds have not been delivered. Still, the framework agreement with Newfoundland has been signed and the funds should be there any minute now, if not sooner.

Agriculture October 30th, 2003

Mr. Speaker, I am sorry, but I did not hear the question.

Agriculture October 10th, 2003

Mr. Speaker, my colleague likes to quote people, so I will give her a quote as well. Had she read on a bit further, she would have seen that Mr. Pellerin also said, “This will be excellent news in the long run, however, because of the efforts to dovetail the federal program and the farm income stabilization insurance program”.

He went on to say, “Quebec producers should be at the same level as before, once they have access to the best of both worlds—”.

What could be better than that?

Agriculture October 10th, 2003

Mr. Speaker, I do not understand the hon. member. We have a strategic policy framework. It has been signed, and makes $5.2 billion available over the next three years. Cattle producers can access those funds immediately, because the APF was signed yesterday morning.

So I do not understand the hon. member's question at all.