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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

Petitions May 30th, 2007

Mr. Speaker, I have the honour of tabling in this House a petition against GMOs, with close to 2,000 names collected by grade five students, under the supervision of their teacher, Marie-Ève Houle, at the Notre-Dame-Saint-Joseph de La Prairie school.

In addition, Thomas Drolet and James Cameron created a website. The petition can be signed electronically at www.contreogm.piczo.com.

In light of some alarming health information, the petitioners are calling on Parliament to make labelling mandatory on all products for human and animal consumption that contain GMOs.

Genetically Modified Organisms May 16th, 2007

Mr. Speaker, students from Notre-Dame-St-Joseph de La Prairie elementary school have come to Parliament Hill today to ask for mandatory labelling of genetically modified organisms.

After gathering information from the available literature and websites, Thomas Drolet and James Cameron created their own website where people can learn more about this.

In record time, nearly 2,000 people signed the petition against GMOs, half of them on the Internet. The purpose of the petition is to draw the government's attention to the negative and unknown effects of GMOs on the food chain and the environment.

Soon, I will table the petition on their behalf.

Committees of the House May 11th, 2007

Mr. Speaker, I listened carefully to the member for Trinity—Spadina's speech concerning the motion.

She explained the problem the Portuguese in Toronto are having. I would like to know if she is also aware of the problem facing Mexicans who come here for seasonal work, such as harvesting produce in Quebec, and who have to pay deductions out of their paycheques even though they receive no benefits. Has she considered that?

Canada Elections Act May 9th, 2007

Mr. Speaker, I thank the member for Montmorency—Charlevoix—Haute-Côte-Nord for his speech on C-54. I would like to hear his comments on what the House Leader told the newspapers, when he said that his government did not intend to table a retroactive bill.

Is there not some justification for making retroactive legislation regarding these contributions?

Committees of the House April 27th, 2007

Mr. Speaker, I would like to talk about the Liberal Party motion on the protocol.

Today's debate is between a minority government and a majority opposition and is on the accountability and responsibility of deputy ministers.

We have before us a report that was tabled in the Standing Committee on Public Accounts in March 2007 on a study that was conducted by an honourable university professor, Mr. Franks. He had a very specific and unanimous mandate to examine the issue of accountability of deputy ministers.

Let us now look at the Gomery report, which heavily influenced the new accountability legislation. The Gomery report, at recommendation four of chapter five, says:

In order to clear up the confusion over the respective responsibilities and accountabilities of Ministers and public servants, the Government should modify its policies and publications to explicitly acknowledge and declare that Deputy Ministers and senior public servants who have statutory responsibility are accountable in their own right for their statutory and delegated responsibilities before the Public Accounts Committee.

This recommendation from Mr. Gomery should be integrated. In my opinion, Professor Franks has integrated it into his protocol. He is clear that this protocol signifies for Parliament, the public service, the government and the general public that no new statutory powers or authority are given by the accounting officer approach to deputy ministers, agency heads or any other senior public servants.

This protocol codifies and clarifies practices for accountability for the existing statutory and delegated powers of accounting officers. Furthermore, this protocol states that for members of the Standing Committee on Public Accounts, as far as parliamentary privilege is concerned, questions should pertain to responsibilities and accountabilities.

Since my time is almost up and we want to move on to private members' business, I would just like to say that the Bloc Québécois will support this motion.

Business of Supply April 24th, 2007

Mr. Speaker, the motion from the Bloc Québécois is structured around three elements, including the fixed targets that will allow us to meet the Kyoto targets. These targets will be achieved swiftly with the implementation of a carbon exchange.

Before going any further, I would like to mention that I will be sharing my time with the member for Brome—Missisquoi.

The Bloc Québécois has been constantly urging the federal government, both Liberal and Conservative, to act in order to meet the Kyoto targets. Twice recently, the House officially recognized the importance of meeting these targets. The Bloc Québécois notes that, instead of developing a truly effective plan including the establishment of a carbon exchange, the Minister of the Environment dedicates himself to rejecting Kyoto, as he has shown in his last document released on April 19.

For the Bloc, there are not a thousand solutions. The polluter-pay principle must apply, fixed reduction targets must be established and Quebec as well as other provinces wishing to do so must be allowed to use a territorial approach.

It is time for the Conservative government to stop blocking the efforts of companies hoping to be part of this solution and to benefit from the progressive replacement of oil with renewable and clean sources of energy.

Given the certainties that are piling up in respect of global warming, it is obvious that investing in combating climate change is no longer optional, from both the human and the economic perspectives. The report recently produced by Nicholas Stern, formerly an economist with the World Bank, in fact recommended that all countries invest up to 1% of gross domestic product, starting now, in combating climate change, to avoid the potential economic costs, which may amount to as much as $7.5 trillion dollars, on the global scale, a cost that will be 20 times more than the money needed now to reverse the trend.

The recent study released by the Minister of the Environment is completely silent on the far more significant consequences of doing nothing, consequences that will cost billions of dollars, certainly, but that will also involve serious losses in terms of biodiversity, millions of refugees and much more frequent extreme weather events.

Moreover, the economic impact predicted by the study released by the Minister of the Environment is based on a tax of $195 per tonne of greenhouse gases. That is a completely exaggerated figure, if we compare it to the $20 that credits now cost through the clean development mechanisms, and in particular to what it costs to institute greenhouse gas reduction measures.

A far more credible UN study estimates, rather, that a tax of from $25 to $50 per tonne is effective. Obviously, the Minister of the Environment has opted for the worst-case scenario, rather than telling the public the whole truth.

In 2004, Canada emitted 26% more greenhouse gases than the limit set for it in 1990. This means that in order to reach the target of 6% less than in 1990, Canada will have to reduce its annual emissions by nearly 260 megatonnes each year. Quebec has made different choices. Between 1990 and 2004, its greenhouse gases rose by barely 6%, four times less than the Canadian average. As well, Quebec has already been showing leadership, with a very concrete plan to address climate change that incorporates all of the Kyoto objectives.

It is the Conservative government, whose ministers directly concerned do not believe in the Kyoto protocol, that is trying today to give itself a green veneer, when it is still not able to meet its own deadlines for deciding what targets will have to be met.

This is a government that is even considering changing the reference dates for reduction efforts, using 2006 as the reference year rather than 1990. The federal government is doing nothing to recognize the efforts put into this by Quebec companies over the last 16 years.

In recent years, Quebec's manufacturing industry has continued to make sacrifices, while the polluters, primarily the oil companies in the west, have continued to increase their production and emission of greenhouse gases. The government, not satisfied with continuing its already impressive contributions to the oil companies, is preparing to completely negate all of the efforts that Quebec has undertaken, in order to reward those polluters yet again. The unfairness embodied in that attitude is disturbing, and Quebec finds it unconscionable. It is essential that the federal government use the 1990 reference year and give more recognition to the work done in Quebec.

When the government pits economic development against environmental protection, there is one thing it is forgetting: in a context where pollution would be costly and non-pollution profitable, Quebec enjoys a relatively huge comparative advantage, one which ought to ensure its prosperity. With the situation in Quebec being different, it is only normal for Quebec to be able to implement a different plan adapted to its situation. If the federal government is serious about reducing greenhouse gas emissions, if it is really serious about this challenge and wants to find a solution, the Bloc Québécois calls upon it to take some simple yet effective measures in order to meet Kyoto protocol targets.

The Bloc Québécois therefore proposes integration of a trading permit market, called a carbon exchange, with a territorial approach. A carbon exchange is a tool which enables a company, government or agency which has brought its greenhouse gas emissions below the objectives set by the absolute targets to sell the tons of greenhouse gas emissions it would still be entitled to emit. For example, a carbon exchange would enable a company that has exceeded its targets to sell its surplus to another experiencing difficulty reducing its emissions.

This becomes a powerful financial incentive to reduce greenhouse gas emissions, because the company can reap a financial benefit from its reductions. Creating a carbon exchange is, however, possible only if absolute greenhouse gas emission targets are predetermined. What is more, the reduction is simple: 6% less than 1990 levels. An independent body, or bodies, will have to be created, however, to certify greenhouse gas reductions and impose financial penalties on those who do not produce the permits relating to their emissions.

To state the situation clearly, to have a carbon exchange in place on other than a voluntary basis, the following are necessary: set greenhouse gas emission reduction targets, a specific effective date for the targets, and a certification mechanism for each ton of greenhouse gas emitted.

Climate Change Accountability Act April 18th, 2007

Mr. Speaker, according to the actual wording of the bill tabled on October 31, 2006, by the member for Toronto—Danforth, the purpose of this enactment is to ensure that Canada meets its global climate change obligations under the United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change.

In a second stage, the bill will create an obligation for the Commissioner of the Environment and Sustainable Development to review the measures proposed by the government to meet targets and comply with the obligation to submit a report to Parliament.

The Bloc Québécois is in favour of Bill C-377.

The fight against climate change is without a shadow of a doubt one of the most important issues of the planet and represents a major challenge for Quebec and Canada. Although the Bloc Québécois is concentrating on respect for the first phase of the Kyoto protocol, namely the period from 2008 to 2012, we should plan for the next stage in order to improve further Quebec’s and Canada’s environmental record.

While awaiting the results of the official negotiations among the 163 signatory countries and stakeholders of the Kyoto protocol, led by the special working group which began meeting in Bonn last May, Canada must determine a medium and long term plan to show it really wants to significantly reduce greenhouse gases. By adopting credible targets acknowledging the importance of significantly reducing greenhouse gases so as to reduce global warming, Canada can resume its role as a leader on environmental issues, a role it has stopped playing in recent years.

The Bloc therefore supports the principle of Bill C-377 in the hope of being able to examine and debate it in committee. The Bloc will seek to improve this bill. For example, the Bloc had Bill C-288 amended so that it includes a mechanism for a territorial approach, the simplest approach, but above all the most effective one for Quebec and the other provinces of Canada, in order to meet the Kyoto protocol targets.

We are in favour of the principle of Bill C-377, and we wish to study it with all due seriousness, given the seriousness of the issue of climate change.

There are three parts to this bill: first, new targets for the years after 2012; second, the publication of an annual report; and third, the new obligation on the environment commissioner. I want to turn now to one of these three parts.

Clause 5 of the bill sets medium and long term targets. The Government of Canada will therefore have to ensure, as a long term target, that Canada’s emissions are reduced to a level that is 80% below the 1990 level by the year 2050.

The second target that is mentioned is 25% below the 1990 level by the year 2020, which is considered the medium term target.

Between 2012 and 2020, Canada will therefore progress from a 6% reduction to a 25% reduction on its way to finally achieving its objective for 2050.

Clause 6 adds something else: it sets interim targets. It establishes the targets to be achieved every five years beginning in 2015. This interim plan also specifies certain other things such as a greenhouse gas reduction target for each of 2015, 2020, and 2025 as well as the scientific, economic and technological evidence and analysis used to establish each target.

The second part of the bill requires that an annual report be published. Since there are certain targets for each of the years mentioned, the purpose is to see whether the government achieved these targets.

The measures may include: lower emissions and performance standards, market-based mechanisms; spending or fiscal incentives may also be mentioned in these proposals or in the objectives in order to reach the targets. Cooperation or agreements with provinces, territories or other governments are another way of achieving these targets.

In regard to the latter point, the Bloc Québécois will ensure that the approach is in accordance with the territorial approach always specified by the Bloc. In complying with the Kyoto protocol, the Bloc Québécois still insists that the federal plan must include a mechanism allowing for the signature of a bilateral agreement with Quebec.

This bilateral agreement based on a territorial approach should give Quebec the financial tools it needs to implement more effective measures to reduce greenhouse gas emissions on its territory. This is the most efficient and the only truly equitable solution that takes into account the environmental efforts and choices made by Quebeckers in recent years, particularly with the development of hydroelectricity. This measure must be included in the measures taken following the 2008-12 period, so that Quebec may also continue to implement its own greenhouse gas reduction plan.

The third point is the new obligation of the environment commissioner to produce a report. It is important to note that there is no provision in Bill C-377 that would make the environment commissioner an entirely independent officer of Parliament who would report directly to Parliament. The Bloc would like such a change to be made to the environment commissioner position so that he has the latitude to fulfill the new duties assigned to him.

As I said earlier, the Bloc Québécois has always sought a territorial approach. Given the major differences between Quebec's economy and those of the other provinces, as well as efforts that have already been made, this is the only fair and effective approach that does not require years and years of negotiation. It is very simple: Quebec and the provinces who wish to do so can opt out of the federal government's plan and implement their own measures to reduce greenhouse gas emissions to 6% below 1990 levels within their territory. To enable Quebec and the provinces to make their own choices, the territorial approach should be combined with a permit exchange system.

As the deadline nears, the federal government must opt for the territorial approach to speed up efforts to reduce greenhouse gases as much as possible. However, the Conservatives twice rejected this promising approach and seem no more open to it now than they were before. For the period following the first phase of the Kyoto protocol, that is, after 2008-12, Quebec must be in a position to undertake its work according to its own plan.

The Bloc Québécois has no doubt that human activity is the cause of greenhouse gas production and is responsible for climate change. During discussions prior to the climate change conference in Bonn, the Bloc Québécois sent a clear message to the Conservative government. The federal government must shoulder its responsibilities and start thinking about medium and long term objectives. Since the conference, the Conservative government has stubbornly rejected the Kyoto protocol. It has lost face in the eyes of all of the countries that ratified the protocol. As my colleague said earlier, the past two years and the past few months have been a total loss in the fight against climate change.

The Environment April 17th, 2007

Mr. Speaker, the government wants to establish a carbon trading market only within Canada. However, this would constitute a very serious handicap for our businesses that would like to deal on the international market.

Will the government admit that the reason it insists on denying Canadian businesses access to the international carbon market is because it refuses to set absolute targets consistent with Kyoto, which is an essential condition to joining the international market?

The Environment April 17th, 2007

Mr. Speaker, the Groupe interprovincial et industriel sur les réductions de gaz à effet de serre submitted a position paper to the government in February, calling on the government to work within the Kyoto protocol, for both strategic and financial reasons, and to immediately establish a carbon trading market.

How can the government, which received this report two months ago, continue to delay agreeing to the demands of this group, which has demonstrated that even private enterprise is ahead of this government when it comes to protecting the environment?

National Wildlife Week April 16th, 2007

Mr. Speaker, National Wildlife Week, which was celebrated from April 8 to 14, raised our awareness about the major climate changes in the north. But we can all help to conserve northern wildlife species. These amazing species and unique ecosystems, which have been around for thousands of years, are now facing the impact of rapid climate change, increasing toxins and growing natural resources development.

We must all realize that our awareness is critical to the conservation of biodiversity and habitats, sustainable development, climate change, invasive species and the recovery of species at risk.

I urge my colleagues to learn about and actively contribute to wildlife conservation in their day-to-day lives.