House of Commons photo

Crucial Fact

  • His favourite word was energy.

Last in Parliament May 2004, as Liberal MP for Timiskaming—Cochrane (Ontario)

Won his last election, in 2000, with 62% of the vote.

Statements in the House

Member For Beaver River March 21st, 1997

Mr. Speaker, I was appalled to read the comments attributed to the member for Beaver River in the newspapers today.

Referring to women MPs and candidates, the member for Beaver River said that gender equality in the House of Commons would spell trouble at certain times of the month.

"What would happen if we all PMSed the same week", she was quoted as saying. These are totally unacceptable comments, not befitting a member of Parliament, especially the House leader of the Reform Party.

No wonder women are shying away from the Reform Party. I am sure that women voters will remember her comments at in next election.

We in the Liberal Party believe in gender equality and will take all necessary measures to achieve it, including appointing qualified women as Liberal candidates. I congratulate the Prime Minister for his initiative.

The sad part is that the Reform male MPs are laughing about the whole matter.

Journée Internationale De La Francophonie March 20th, 1997

Mr. Speaker, I am proud to say that today, March 20, Canadians and thousands of other people throughout the world are celebrating the French language.

The Francophonie plays a vital role in Canada. One Canadian in four has French as his or her mother tongue, while one in three can speak that language.

Because of its linguistic duality, Canada is one of many French speaking countries, while also a member of the Commonwealth. For that reason, Canada, in co-operation with the participating governments of Quebec and New Brunswick, maintains a special relationship with close to one hundred countries, half of which are French speaking nations.

As a member of the Francophonie, Canada is proud to show its national identity at the international level.

I would like members of this House to take this opportunity-

Quebec Liberal Party March 10th, 1997

Mr. Speaker, I speak for all my colleagues when I congratulate the Leader of the Quebec Liberal Party, Daniel Johnson, on the tremendous vote of confidence he received from his supporters.

At their convention in Quebec City on the weekend, the provincial Liberals discussed and adopted a series of innovative resolutions that will form the nucleus of their next election platform. They also reaffirmed their faith in Canadian federalism as the only valid alternative for Quebec.

The only fly in the ointment was the totally inappropriate and uncalled-for attempt by the Conservative Leader to approach Liberal supporters. His attempt to attract the attention of Liberal supporters can only be explained by the panic and fear that are rampant in his party.

Bilingualism February 19th, 1997

Mr. Speaker, my question is for the President of the Treasury Board.

Reformers and others have been complaining that bilingual labelling and packaging adds millions of dollars to the cost of doing business in Canada. Could the minister tell the House the real cost of doing business in the two official languages of this country and the benefits to Canadians?

Supply February 17th, 1997

Mr. Speaker, I think that this discussion is being conducted on my time, and we already had two interventions. I did not have the opportunity to answer the hon. member.

Supply February 17th, 1997

It is my right, Madam, to speak English or French in this country, and I prefer at this point to address the House in English. Please have the decency to accept that.

The member for Frontenac was referring to a love of only one night. I think the member for Portneuf is talking about having a separation, a divorce, because the family is not working anymore. After that he said "We want to get back together. We want to remarry. We will get divorced but we want to keep not only alimony from Canada but also bed privileges". I say that they cannot have it both ways.

Supply February 17th, 1997

Mr. Speaker, the hon. member for Frontenac a while ago was talking about love of one night.

Supply February 17th, 1997

I would rather use public funds for propaganda to promote pride in this country-and I am proud of it-than to promote separation and job loss.

My colleague, the member for Portneuf, just said that there are children who still live in poverty and suffer. I admit this is true. It is true in Quebec and outside. But the problem may now be more serious in Quebec because of the separatist option which hinders job creation and economic recovery in that province and elsewhere in Canada.

Supply February 17th, 1997

Mr. Speaker, I am indeed one of those Canadians who travelled to Montreal in 1995. I did it with pride, and I would gladly do it again tomorrow. I went back there afterwards too. It has not been just a one day love affair, as you say. I do not believe in the love of one night, also called a one night stand.

I went back to beautiful Quebec City. And I have to tell you I visit Quebec City with the same pride I feel when I visit the Rockies, Vancouver or the maritimes. Each summer, I spend a week down there visiting my Acadian brothers and cousins. Incidentally, I met the hon. member there.

Let me say just this. We did not go to Montreal just to tell Quebecers we love them, but also to undo some of the misinformation by the Parti Quebecois and the Bloc Quebecois. I visited Jonquière, not far from Mr. Bouchard's riding. I asked about 200 people how many French speaking Canadians they thought we have in Ontario: 5,000, 10,000, or 50,000?

When I told them 50,000, they were amazed and would not believe there were more than 10,000, because that is what they had been told by the separatist propaganda. When I told them there were 600,000 francophones in Ontario, and that 400,000 anglophones had learned French, they would not believe me. One million people speak French in Ontario, and they are not even aware we exist, and they want to make an informed decision on the future of this country. This is the problem we have in Canada. There is a lack of communication.

Quebecers are ill-informed by the media which are very often separatist but work with federal money. That is why it is so important that the federal government should make sure Quebecers and all Canadians are proud of their flag and have all the information they need if another referendum is ever held, so that Quebecers can make an informed decision. This time you will be soundly beaten.

Supply February 17th, 1997

Mr. Speaker, I too was elected by 60 percent of my constituents to serve Canada in this House. That is what I intend to do.

I would like to address the House today to set the record straight. I want to talk about the exceptional measures taken recently to help francophones in this country develop culturally. It is true that the arts and culture sector in Canada has suffered cutbacks, on both the anglophone and francophone sides. You know this better than anyone: the economic situation in which we find ourselves requires that the government reduce spending. It has no other choice. This is the case for Canada and it is the case for all other countries in the world, including Quebec, more about which, which is now up against new international stakes.

All sectors in society, including the cultural sector, must look at the situation and carry their share of the load. Canada's prosperity depends on it. But let us be clear: there is no question of the economic development of our country moving ahead to the detriment of our culture and our collective identity.

Above all, the Government of Canada has no intention of weakening without due cause a sector as important as culture, which alone contributes $30 billion to the Canadian economy and represents almost 900,000 direct jobs, even less so in this time of expanding markets and borders when the cultural vitality of a country is a key to success and to the future.

Francophones share in this cultural wealth that makes Canada so unique and so successful. One quarter of the population speaks, sings, writes and lives in French, including my community in northern Ontario. From our earliest history, francophones have constituted an influential force that has contributed to the growth of this country, culturally, socially and economically.

In this context, the government's commitment to francophone communities in minority situations takes on its full significance. The government wants to help its communities meet the challenges of their situation so that they can continue to take part in Canada's development and help strengthen its cultural identity.

Francophones outside Quebec recently expressed their concerns regarding government cuts to the CBC. They were worried that these cuts would have adverse effects on regional programming.

We know how important it is for these communities to have access to French language broadcasting that reflects their values, presents their perspective on the world and enables them to communicate with each other. For those who are most isolated, it is nothing less than a matter of survival.

Aware of this reality, the CBC and the government took the necessary decisions. Last January, the CBC announced a series of measures to reduce the impact of these cuts on French language programming outside Quebec.

First, the four western television stations will give up the news cast Ce soir . In addition, regional stations will continue to produce children's, news and special broadcasts focusing on events of importance to these communities.

Second, the CBC will make available to independent producers and community groups of the Acadian community in the maritimes a mobile T.V. unit to cover cultural and community events. It will also provide a $500,000 line of credit.

Third, the sum of $500,000 will be set aside for the most affected radio stations outside Quebec, those in Vancouver, Edmonton, Regina and Windsor, in order to augment the content of local broadcasting.

I remind everyone that radio stations serving minority francophone communities were less affected by the cuts than other CBC radio stations on the average throughout the country.

In a press release dated January 30, the Fédération des communautés francophones et acadienne, a national coalition of nine provincial and two territorial francophone associations, praised the efforts of the CBC. It said: "This reorganization demonstrates that the CBC is becoming increasingly attuned to the needs of the communities in the various provinces, as well as to its mandate to those communities".

Subsequent to this, the Government of Canada also made two major decisions which will help the CBC fulfil this mandate. It announced that it would be giving an additional $10 million to the French and English language services of CBC radio.

According to Marcel Pépin, Vice-President CBC French language radio, this will enable radio to better fulfil its primary missions: to support talent, maintain information systems which are strongly anchored in the regions, and properly reflect regional voices on the AM and FM networks.

One piece of good news follows another. Starting April 1, 1998, the government will guarantee stable financing to the CBC for the next 5 years, in keeping with the announcement it made less than a week ago.

In addition, a new television and cable production fund has been created for the production of Canadian programs, totalling $200 million yearly, and now accessible to the CBC.

I hardly need to point out that these announcements were received with a great deal of joy by the francophone communities in this country. Canada's cultural vitality must of necessity include the cultural development of its francophe population. French speaking Canadians have shaped the history of this country, and they lend a singular face and a special voice to Canada. That is why, despite the financial restrictions facing it, the government has intervened to strengthen the cultural foundations of the francophone communities outside Quebec.

To touch the culture of a country is to touch its very soul. On the eve of a new millennium, we are becoming increasingly aware of the necessity of using every possible means to strengthen the soul of this country. All of these measures, and those the government plans to take in future to safeguard Canadian culture, are paving the way to the Canada of tomorrow.