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Crucial Fact

  • His favourite word was quebec.

Last in Parliament September 2008, as Bloc MP for Brossard—La Prairie (Québec)

Lost his last election, in 2011, with 18% of the vote.

Statements in the House

Canadian Environmental Protection Act January 28th, 2008

Mr. Speaker, I too would like to participate in the debate on Bill C-469, An Act to amend the Canadian Environmental Protection Act, 1999 (use of phosphorus), tabled by the member for Berthier—Maskinongé.

As my colleagues have pointed out, there are other bills on the table not only in Ottawa, but also in Quebec, where Bill 194 is before Quebec's National Assembly.

In addition to these bills, industry too is taking action. I have here a news release from the Canadian Consumer Specialty Products Association announcing a voluntary commitment to limit phosphorus content to 0.5% by weight, effective July 2010.

What is the member for Berthier—Maskinongé proposing in his bill? Simply put, the bill aims to prohibit the manufacture, sale and import of these products.

The bill clearly states that once it comes into force, it will be against the law to manufacture, for use or sale, a cleaning product or water conditioner that contains nutrients, such as phosphorus. This would also apply to products for use in dishwashers.

The bill also proposes that the importation of such products be prohibited 180 days following royal assent. With respect to the sale of such products, the prohibition would come into force 360 days after the bill receives royal assent.

I would like to say a few words about phosphates. I found it very interesting that people do not realize that the phosphates and phosphorus that end up in our lakes do not come from dishwashers alone. That much is clear. I will come back to that in my discussion of concentrations, percentages and how much dishwashers contribute, but we know that the main sources are agriculture and waste water.

When it comes to waste water, it is not easy to figure out how much comes from treatment plants because not all of them put waste water through a process to remove phosphates with a chemical known as alum. Not all treatment plants contribute to the problem. If waste water does not undergo tertiary treatment, phosphates often go right through treatment plants.

The other issue concerns septic tanks and septic fields. I believe there are also bills on the table in Quebec to strengthen or give more teeth to the regulations on septic tanks and septic fields. It is also important to point out that some isolated residences in our society still discharge household waste directly into septic tanks and therefore directly into the environment.

The aging of a body of water is known as lake eutrophication. This happens when nutrients such as phosphorus and nitrogen are added to the water and cause aquatic plants and algae to grow.

Statistics show how many lakes and rivers have been affected in recent months. Quite often, lakes and rivers are affected, with the result that people are prohibited from using these bodies of water, especially as sources of drinking water.

Since 1972, various statutes have prohibited phosphates in laundry detergents. At that time, legislators no doubt neglected to realize that dishwasher detergent use would increase.

Was this an oversight? Was it a deliberate choice dictated by manufacturers at the time? Was it due to the fact that we had few dishwashers in our homes and cottages at the time?

We know that these regulations on laundry detergents have existed for many years. The aim of this bill is to strengthen those regulations by including dishwashing detergents.

Last spring, the Bloc Québécois submitted a proposal to Environment Canada calling on the government to regulate phosphates. Ottawa is responsible for imported products. The member for Hochelaga therefore felt that the two levels of government, Quebec and Ottawa, needed to work together and with all the other provinces to address the problem of blue-green algae.

On June 12, 2007, determined to fight the spread of blue-green algae, the Bloc Québécois introduced and won adoption of the following motion in the Standing Committee on Environment and Sustainable Development:

That, pursuant to Standing Order 108 (2), the Standing Committee on the Environment and the Sustainable Development recommends that the government amend the Phosphorous Concentration Regulations in order to phase out concentration of phosphorous in dishwasher detergents and laundry detergents and that the adoption of this motion be reported to the House at the earliest opportunity.

On December 5, 2007, the chair of the Standing Committee on Environment and Sustainable Development officially tabled the committee's first report, Blue-Green Algae (Cyanobacteria) and their Toxins. The document is now officially before the House.

The Bloc Québécois is well aware that banning detergents containing phosphates—such as laundry and dish detergents—will not be enough to completely eradicate blue-green algae. Other measures must be taken by governments. However, the federal government can ban the use of phosphorus in dish detergents as quickly as possible.

In 2002, Quebec established a very good water policy. Among the commitments of the policy introduced by the Parti Québécois in 2002, article 3 set out the obligation to protect the quality of water and ecosystems. In both cases the objective is the same: to protect water quality for human consumption and use, such as swimming and bathing, and also to protect ecosystems, which are composed of living things, in our lakes and rivers.

As I was saying earlier, the Government of Quebec has taken action. I would like to go back to the choice society must make between prohibiting phosphates in dish detergents, or paying to remove these phosphates in treatment plants once they have been dumped into the sewers and transported through the sewer system to those plants.

I would like to talk about the studies conducted at Lake Champlain. I believe this is related to the comment by my colleague from Outremont, who spoke about this situation. A number of studies were conducted at Lake Champlain that revealed that it was about 50% cheaper for residents of Vermont, New York and Quebec to ban phosphates in dish detergents than to have them removed in treatment plants.

This concludes my speech on phosphates.

The Environment December 13th, 2007

Mr. Speaker, that did not answer my question. By choosing 2006, the Prime Minister is favouring anyone who continued polluting between 1990 and 2006, including oil and gas companies in particular. These same oil and gas companies that, for 16 years, made fewer efforts than the others will still be able to sell carbon credits, even if they are reducing only the intensity of their emissions.

Will the Prime Minister admit that by choosing 2006, he is choosing to compensate major polluters such as oil and gas companies by applying the polluter-paid principle instead of the polluter-pay principle?

The Environment December 13th, 2007

Mr. Speaker, I have a very simple question I would like the Prime Minister to answer.

Using 2006 as the base year instead of 1990 when calculating greenhouse gas emissions reductions will penalize manufacturers and aluminum smelters in Quebec by ignoring the efforts they made prior to 2006.

Will the Prime Minister acknowledge this fact, yes or no?

An Act to permit the resumption and continuation of the operation of the National Research Universal Reactor at Chalk River December 11th, 2007

Were these five suppliers called to determine if they could provide these isotopes?

An Act to permit the resumption and continuation of the operation of the National Research Universal Reactor at Chalk River December 11th, 2007

Mr. Chair, it was mentioned that the Chalk River reactor provided between 60% and 70% of medical isotopes worldwide. That is what was said. At present, who are the other suppliers capable of providing the remaining 30% to 40%?

An Act to permit the resumption and continuation of the operation of the National Research Universal Reactor at Chalk River December 11th, 2007

Mr. Chair, I now have a question for the Minister of Health. Why is there no plan B to solve the problem of the Chalk River shutdown?

An Act to permit the resumption and continuation of the operation of the National Research Universal Reactor at Chalk River December 11th, 2007

Mr. Chair, the Chalk River reactor produces Tc-99 and Cobalt-60. In addition to its medical uses, Cobalt-60 is used for sterilizing food. Does that mean that clients who use Cobalt-60 currently do not have any other supplier?

An Act to permit the resumption and continuation of the operation of the National Research Universal Reactor at Chalk River December 11th, 2007

Mr. Chair, when the Chalk River reactor is shut down for four days, do all the clients still manage to get their isotope products?

An Act to permit the resumption and continuation of the operation of the National Research Universal Reactor at Chalk River December 11th, 2007

Mr. Chair, could the production of isotopes in Chalk River be transferred to another CANDU reactor?

An Act to permit the resumption and continuation of the operation of the National Research Universal Reactor at Chalk River December 11th, 2007

Mr. Chair, there have never been stoppages at the Chalk River nuclear reactor for major repairs or refurbishment, as is the case for the CANDU reactors in Gentilly? Hydro-Québec plans to stop the Gentilly reactor for a year and a half to complete the refurbishment. The Chalk River reactor has never been stopped for an extended period?