House of Commons photo

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

The Environment October 27th, 2006

Mr. Speaker, while downplaying the greenhouse gas issue, the Minister of the Environment has stated that funding for the Quebec plan will be part of the discussions on the fiscal imbalance. Two envelopes are needed: one for the Kyoto protocol and another for the fiscal imbalance.

Does the minister intend to pay the $328 million promised to Quebec now so that it can reach the Kyoto protocol targets?

Perfluorooctane Sulfonate Virtual Elimination Act October 26th, 2006

Mr. Speaker, I am particularly pleased to take part in today's discussion on Bill C-298 introduced by the hon. member for Beaches—East York.

My goal is to illustrate the importance of this bill for protecting the environment and for the health of Quebeckers and Canadians.

This chemical, referred to as perfluorooctane sulfonate or PFOS, is one of the many threats to the health of current and future generations.

PFOS is part of the perfluorinated compounds, or PFCs.

The four non-metallic elements in the halogen group are chlorine, fluorine, bromine, and iodine.

Many common products contain chlorine. Just look at PCBs alone, including organochlorine pesticides such as aldrin, chlordane and mirex.

Many common products also contain fluorine. Take for example all the compounds eliminated from air conditioners and refrigerators that were affecting the ozone layer.

Now it is PFOS that needs our attention and review.

Its anti-adhesive, anti-stain and impermeable properties are very attractive for manufacturers of new products and new clothing.

Among the large number of consumer products that may contain PFOS, there are carpets, fabrics, upholstery, food packaging, cleaning products and industrial and domestic stain removers. Everyone has had or still has ScotchgardTM made by 3M.

All these consumer products can already be found in our homes and their numbers are likely to grow in the future, given that there are currently very attractive designer garments and quality material treated with PFOS in Chinese, Korean, Taiwanese and South-East Asian factories. More products will mean more imports and more skin contact with PFOS.

We are talking about a persistent, bioaccumulative and intrinsically toxic substance, according to an annex to the document published by the Department of the Environment and the Department of Health containing the results of a survey and recommendations on PFOS. The conclusion of that document, published in the Canada Gazette, does state:

Based on available information for ecological considerations, it is concluded that the criterion set out in paragraph 64(a)—

Paragraph 64(a) reads as follows:

64. —a substance is toxic if it is entering or may enter the environment in a quantity or concentration or under conditions that

(a) have or may have an immediate or long-term harmful effect on the environment or its biological diversity;

Examples of presence of PFOS in the environment can be found readily in the literature. Evidence of the presence of PFOS even in the blood and liver of the polar bear confirms that the environment has been contaminated by this substance, that this substance is persistent, that it travels, that it is bioaccumulated and, worse yet, that it is bioamplified through the food chain, from the fish to the seal to the polar bear, all the while increasing in concentration. That is what is called bioamplification.

What about humans?

Our first surprise came from a document entitled “Polluted Children, Toxic Nation: A Report on Pollution in Canadian Families”. This document by an organization called Environmental Defence reveals the results of laboratory tests conducted on 13 volunteers of various ages: six adults and seven children. Of the 68 chemicals studied, 46 were detected in 13 volunteers, 32 products on average in the parents and 23 in the seven children.

Thirty-eight of these chemicals are carcinogens, 23 are hormone disruptors, 12 are respiratory toxins, 38 are reproductive or developmental toxins, and 19 are neurotoxins.

Five of the 13 perfluorinated chemicals targeted by the study were detected, including four in the children and five in the adults. Two perfluorinated chemicals were detected in all of the volunteers, namely, PFOS and PFOA.

The median concentrations of the perfluorinated chemicals was 13.5 micrograms per litre among the 6 adults, compared to 13.8 among the children, which is what inspired the title of the report, “Polluted Children, Toxic Nation: A Report on Pollution in Canadian Families”.

In addition to the shocking news revealed in the Environmental Defence group report, the Standing Committee on the Environment and Sustainable Development received another shock during the meeting of October 19, 2006. The testimony of Kenneth Cook, president of the Washington, D.C., office of the Environmental Working Group (U.S.A.), had quite an effect on the committee. In fact, Mr. Cook revealed the results of the analyses of 10 blood samples taken from newborns that confirmed the presence of numerous toxins in these babies' bodies.

This confirms that the toxins absorbed or accumulated by adults throughout our lifetime, through ingestion, inhalation or contact with the skin, can also be transmitted to the fetus through the placenta in the uterus. This is an incredible discovery that demonstrates that newborn babies no longer have the option of taking positive action against toxins later on in life through healthy living, a strictly controlled diet or a pure environment. Babies no longer have that option later in life, for they already have toxins in their system from birth. They are born contaminated. This is appalling.

This is why the Bloc Québécois will vote in favour of this bill.

Proceeds of Crime (Money Laundering) and Terrorist Financing Act October 20th, 2006

Mr. Speaker, I thank my colleague from Argenteuil—Papineau—Mirabel very much for his speech. He touched upon the issue of offshore subsidiaries. I would like to know whether he sees a link between money laundering and certain tax havens.

Waste Reduction Week October 19th, 2006

Mr. Speaker, Canadians produce more than 31 million tonnes of waste annually; that is 2.7 kg per person per day. Recycling all of our waste newsprint, cardboard, glass and metal can reduce carbon dioxide emissions by about 400 kg per person per year.

Across Canada, it costs $1.5 billion per year to dispose of garbage. Recycling one tonne of glass saves about 39 litres of fuel oil, and recycling one tonne of paper saves 19 trees.

Let us take advantage of this Waste Reduction Week to increase awareness of waste reduction. This awareness must lead to a more efficient use of our water and energy resources, which means avoiding waste and leveraging spinoffs from recycling.

In this context, and given how serious the environmental problem is worldwide, we must urgently reduce waste. Let us all do our part this week and, why not, throughout the—

Hazardous Materials Information Review Act October 16th, 2006

Mr. Speaker, I thank the hon. member. In my speech, I did allude to new workers, but that could also include casual and replacement workers.

Because of the way occupational safety and health meetings are regulated, such meetings can take place once a month or once a week, which means there is a potential risk that a new worker may lack proper training. So, perhaps it would simply be a matter of replacing this meeting, where various issues are discussed, with the introduction of a new worker to the work site.

In Quebec, a special procedure is in place to welcome new workers on a work site. It involves providing information on health and safety. Moreover, new workers are informed of the dangers that their work or actions might involve. This could be extended to include information on the products that these workers will have to handle as part of their work.

Hazardous Materials Information Review Act October 16th, 2006

Mr. Speaker, I am especially pleased to speak to Bill S-2, since the area of hazardous materials was my concern for several years in my career as a health and safety engineer for Hydro-Québec. I even brought with me the guide my colleagues and I prepared on managing hazardous materials.

The Hazardous Materials Information Review Act is governed by a board. This large board is made up of 18 members, including 2 workers, a supplier, an employer, a federal government representative and 4 to 13 representatives from the provinces and territories.

This large board is part of the framework of WHMIS, which stands for Workplace Hazardous Materials Information System. WHMIS participants and stakeholders can be divided into four main categories. First are the suppliers and manufacturers. Next are the workers who handle the products. Third are the employers or industries that purchase the products. Finally, there are the provincial, territorial and federal governments that monitor the system.

WHMIS, the information system, must provide workers with all the health and safety information they need to handle hazardous materials without any risk to themselves, their neighbours, friends or colleagues, and in order to avoid all dangerous situations for pregnant women.

Information on the use of hazardous materials in the workplace is provided in two ways. First, information appears on the label. All containers must have an identification label. If a label identifying a product is damaged, covered or illegible, the worker has the right to refuse to handle the container and its contents, and can have the contents verified by the manufacturer, if the manufacturer is identified on the label. Otherwise, the product is disposed of in a safe manner.

The second is the material safety data sheet, which must be kept in a catalogue accessible to everyone at all times. It is important to emphasize “at all times”. Regular drills must be conducted to verify the storage location of the binder or catalogue. The MSDS must also be kept up to date and must be accessible to workers. This means the catalogue or MSDS cannot be locked up in a supervisor's office or someone else's office. All of these details must be discussed regularly during mandatory workplace health and safety meetings.

Careful attention must be paid to making new employees aware of health and safety regulations because they must know where catalogues are located and be familiar with all of the products they will be using in the workplace.

What information does the MSDS provide? First of all, it lists dangerous ingredients and, if applicable, toxic products. Second, it details the health and safety risks associated with using the product. Third, it describes product-handling precautions. Fourth, it recommends the first aid to be given in cases of accidental exposure, such as ingestion, skin contact or inhalation.

Anyone who cares about the environment will be careful when disposing of large quantities of these products and will know how to respond appropriately in case of accidental spills in sewer or storm drains or in sensitive environments, such as lakes and reservoirs, wetlands or other vulnerable ecosystems.

Bill S-2 proposes three changes. I have read the speeches given by the senator and other senators during debate in the Senate. I hope that there will be no questions insinuating that I have cribbed from the senators.

Trade secrets represent the first major change. In my opinion, there has to be a certain balance between the right of workers and employers to have complete information about the use of hazardous products and the industry’s right to protect trade secrets, patents, contents and components, which competitors could use to their advantage.

The Hazardous Materials Information Review Commission will therefore have the power to grant exemptions to protect genuine trade secrets of manufacturers and distributors of hazardous products. The commission will review claims for exemption. As well, the required health and safety documents will be filed, and manufacturers will also be asked to provide documents of an economic nature. Those measures will protect the confidentiality of the information and will also eliminate the financial consequences of disclosure of the documents.

The second amendment to the existing act allows for voluntary correction of material safety data sheets and labels where the Hazardous Materials Information Review Commission determines that they do not comply with the act. This is a new procedure. There is also a third amendment proposed in the bill, to improve the appeal process.

The Bloc Québécois supports the principle of Bill S-2 and believes that when it comes to hazardous materials it is crucial to keep worker safety in mind. We also believe that this essential effect must be the basis of all decisions made. The Bloc Québécois notes that there is unanimous support for the amendments to the Hazardous Materials Information Review Act set out in Bill S-2 among the members of the commission’s governing council, that is, among the participants I identified earlier: industry, workers and governments.

The Bloc Québécois supports Bill S-2 so that the amendments that the leading stakeholders in those groups have called for can be enacted. In everything it does, the Bloc Québécois seeks to protect working men and women, and that is why it has introduced Bill C-257 to ban the use of replacement workers. There is also a bill on preventive reassignment on the order paper, the purpose of which is to provide women in Quebec who work in undertakings under federal jurisdiction with the same benefits in respect of preventive reassignment as other working women in Quebec.

A third bill, Bill C-269, to improve the employment insurance system, is one such law that affects working men and women. I would remind you that the Bloc Québécois also had the throne speech amended to incorporate an income support program for older workers.

The Bloc Québécois will be supporting Bill S-2.

Ariane Santerre October 6th, 2006

Mr. Speaker, Ariane Santerre, an athlete from Brossard, is a determined young girl. All summer she trained with members of her club, twice a day, and the results were soon evident.

At the beginning of August, she and her team won the gold medal at the Quebec canoe-kayak championships held at the Notre-Dame Island Olympic venue. Three weeks later, at the Canadian championships, Ariane's team won the silver medal in sprint canoe-kayak, in the highly specialized war canoe category. Ariane has proven talent and determination given that she has been involved in the sport for barely a year.

She has distinguished herself in this demanding sport and was able to win the gold medal with her perfect technique.

I would like to pay tribute to the courage, determination and intelligence of this 17-year-old athlete, Ariane Santerre.

Softwood Lumber Products Export Charge Act, 2006 October 6th, 2006

Mr. Speaker, I congratulate my colleague from Joliette.

With regard to the delay in the agreement for another month, thus postponing its implementation to November 1, and given the consequences of not having loan guarantees, is there an indication of the number of companies in Quebec that run the risk of going bankrupt or closing their doors?

The Environment September 29th, 2006

Mr. Speaker, while the environment commissioner was presenting her report, what were the Minister of the Environment and the Minister of Natural Resources doing? Well, both ministers were visiting their friends, the oil companies.

Does this not show a blatant lack of interest in dealing with greenhouse gases and confirm the government's complacency toward the oil companies?

The Environment September 29th, 2006

Mr. Speaker, in her report presented yesterday, the environment commissioner said that to achieve the objectives for reducing greenhouse gas emissions, the government will have to focus its efforts on the oil, gas and transportation sectors, three sectors that are responsible for 78% of greenhouse gas emissions. However, the government is ignoring these sectors and is choosing to maintain tax benefits for the oil companies.

How does the government think it will achieve the Kyoto objectives if it ignores 78% of the causes of the problem?