Crucial Fact

  • His favourite word was quebec.

Last in Parliament October 2000, as Bloc MP for Beauharnois—Salaberry (Québec)

Lost his last election, in 2000, with 42% of the vote.

Statements in the House

Algeria September 30th, 1997

Mr. Speaker—

Algeria September 30th, 1997

Mr. Minister—

Algeria September 30th, 1997

Mr. Speaker, my question is for the Minister of Foreign Affairs.

Mr. Minister—

Algeria September 30th, 1997

Mr. Speaker, my question is for the Minister of Foreign Affairs.

Mr. Minister, the ceasefire called for—

Speech From The Throne September 29th, 1997

Mr. Speaker, I would like to begin by telling the member for Edmonton—Strathcona how much I, and I am sure, my colleagues appreciate his speaking French in this House and speaking it very well.

I would like to ask him whether the citizens of Edmonton—Strathcona, whom he represents, feel that Quebecers are a people and whether they feel that this people has the freedom to determine its future and to have its own country.

Speech From The Throne September 29th, 1997

Mr. Speaker, I appreciate the comments of the hon. member. I appreciate her concern and her will to make Quebec part of Canada. However there are differences. There are things that have not functioned well. There are solutions other than federalism to bind the futures of people together.

I believe we have exhausted constitutional remedies in Quebec. There will be evidence shortly that the Calgary declaration shows once again that the views of other Canadians and Quebeckers are irreconcilable. We will see once again that those constitutional remedies have been exhausted. Then we will have to find a solution. We will have to find a solution to bind the future of people living on the same land together.

For me and for many Quebeckers of all generations that solution is sovereignty accompanied by an offer of partnership which will be made and will continue to be made in good faith by Quebeckers like myself.

Speech From The Throne September 29th, 1997

Mr. Speaker, I thank the parliamentary secretary and I hope my behaviour in this House may be as dignified as his own.

As you know, Quebecers have long debated the two roads, and continue to do so. With the Bélanger-Campeau commission, they once again agreed to debate renewed federalism. Since 1990, this road of renewed federalism has seemed to be a dead end.

When we hear, as we did again this weekend, major political personages from the rest of Canada saying that the Calgary declaration is unacceptable to the rest of Canada, the implication is that, yet again, the road of renewed federalism is a dead end.

In this context, the road to sovereignty and partnership is the most credible alternative. It the most valid one for Quebecers and the one that will make Quebec a country that is open to the realities of the world and a player in the international community, desirous, to a large extent, of maintaining the economic and monetary union that the people and sovereign states of Europe, for example, have maintained while retaining their sovereignty.

To quote an internationalist you know very well, Emmerich De Vattel:

“Of all the rights that can belong to a nation sovereignty is doubtless the most precious”.

If sovereignty is precious to Canada, admit it—it is important to—so it is for Quebec.

Speech From The Throne September 29th, 1997

Mr. Speaker, for us Quebecers, for those who share the idea that Quebec ought to become a sovereign country, it is the people who will be sovereign. The people will determine the head of State. Discussions will be held on who this should be.

What I can tell you is that there are many sovereignists who wish to see Quebec remain in the Commonwealth, like other nations which have remained in the Commonwealth but do not necessarily have the Queen as their head of State. Quebec's anglophones will no doubt do a fine job of representing a sovereign Quebec within the Commonwealth's institutions, and we will be proud to have them representing all Quebecers there.

Speech From The Throne September 29th, 1997

Mr. Speaker, first of all, I would like to say that I will be splitting my time with my colleague, the member for Charlesbourg.

I want congratulate you on your appointment as an officer of the House. I assure you of my complete co-operation in the proceedings of this parliamentary institution, in which I intend to behave with dignity and respect. And might I urge you, Mr. Speaker, and your colleagues to use your experience and your authority to make this House a place in which the debate will be as vigorous as it is courteous, but also a forum that the public will hold in esteem rather than contempt.

I would also like to take the opportunity of my maiden speech to pay tribute to the citizens of Beauharnois—Salaberry. This riding in the southwest corner of Quebec is graced by a majestic river, a seaway, vast lakes and fertile banks, and is proud home to the county town of Salaberry-de-Valleyfield and the cities and municipalities of Beauharnois, Huntingdon and Napierville.

Those who put their trust in me and voted for me last June I thank from the bottom of my heart. I give my word to those who elected me, and to all those I represent here in Parliament, that I will carry out my public duties with deep and sincere respect for my new office.

I take this opportunity to pay my respects to my Bloc Quebecois predecessor, Laurent Lavigne, to whom I wish a well deserved rest before another referendum on Quebec's political future is called and he is again called upon to help build a country, a plan that he must not have lost sight of in his retreat in Saint-Stanislas-de-Kostka.

The Speech from the Throne was disappointing. As I listened to it in the Senate, last Tuesday, I could not help but be disappointed by a government program with so little vision, by a speech lacking consistency, apparently designed to lead us into the next century. It is a collection of empty words, cautious commitments and artful dodges.

My colleagues from the Bloc Quebecois has already brought to light the weaknesses in this speech and they will continue to do so all week long. The proposed initiatives to promote Canada's economic, social and cultural development are far from innovative and unlikely to give hope and create the momentum required to get the men, women and children of this country excited about the 21th century.

The same goes for foreign affairs. Considering that our country paid tribute to the memory of Lester B. Pearson by mentioning the 100th anniversary of his birthday in the September 23 speech, the throne speech definitely did not put enough emphasis on foreign affairs.

The current foreign affairs minister, who may succeed Lester B. Pearson as a Nobel peace prize recipient, did not manage to convince his government to give foreign affairs the importance they deserve in its agenda. Merely listing a few measures will not provide a vision to our foreign policy.

Canada's initiatives to ban antipersonnel land mines, promote human rights and protect the environment are definitely good measures and will get the Bloc Quebecois' support when, as in the previous Parliament, we feel they are compatible with Quebec's interests and those of the international community as a whole.

However, the Bloc Quebecois will not hesitate to condemn the positions of a government that constantly reduces its official development assistance, or whose approach is inconsistent as regards the linkage of human rights and international trade.

The Bloc Quebecois will also condemn the fact that Canada is slow to ratify a treaty as important as the American convention on human rights and seems too reserved regarding the inclusion of cultural exemptions in international trade agreements.

You can also count on me, as the new Bloc Quebecois critic on foreign affairs, to expose a government that puts its foreign policy at the service of national unity. I will display unprecedented vigilance in this regard, and I will not miss any opportunity to respond to those who seek to jeopardize Quebec's autonomy at the international level, to take away the voice Quebec has gained, after an endless struggle, with various states and international institutions.

Those who would try to keep the Bloc Quebecois and its spokespersons from speaking to foreign officials in Ottawa and around the world about the political project of the Quebec government, a project shared by both the Parti Quebecois and the Bloc Quebecois, will not succeed in preventing us from doing so.

You are probably not surprised to hear me say that the throne speech has very little to inspire those who seek to put an end to the constitutional deadlock. I respect those who promote Canadian unity, who find some degree of comfort in the Calgary declaration and who believe in its potential to produce a reform satisfactory to Quebecers.

Like the Meech Lake and Charlottetown accords, in my opinion the Calgary declaration does not contain the elements which would allow Quebecers to live with a Canadian federalism based on the equality of provinces and individuals rather than on the recognition and freedom of peoples.

I have less respect, however, for those who support Plan B, those who are anticipating the failure of Plan A. To the ministers and members of this House who wish to insure unity through basically undemocratic pronouncements and measures and who are setting us all on a collision course, my response is that the people of Quebec is sovereign and will, when the time is ripe, reject any plan intended to restrict its freedom to be master of its own destiny.

It is now time to acknowledge the diverging views of the peoples of Quebec and Canada on the nature and structure of the federation. It is time to reconcile Canada and Quebec in a new kind of partnership, a novel form of union between genuine sovereign states.

Why not consider calling it a Canadian union, just like René Lévesque did in 1967, an entity that could foster the possibility of going beyond the unsuitable and inappropriate federal structure that has bound the peoples of Canada and Quebec for the past 130 years. The challenges of Quebeckers and Canadians will then be nation building, affirming the unique personalities of their two countries, and union building that is defining their common destiny within a novel body politic.

These new challenges will replace the old divisions, allowing both Canada and Quebec to understand and appreciate each other. This avenue might be chosen with great reluctance, but I cite the words of a poet, Robert Frost:

Ah when to the heart of man Was it ever less than treason To go with the drift of things To yield with grace and reason, And bow to accept the end Of a love or season?

My answer, my answer to my Canadian friends, lies in a poem of Gilles Vigneault who in his Balises wrote, and so I conclude in French:

I came to you, bearing my country, To sow it in your garden. You need not be surprised To see it growing in your neighbour's as well.

Algeria September 24th, 1997

Mr. Speaker, five months after condemning in this House the civil war in Algeria, the Canadian government has yet to call upon the international community to find a peaceful solution.

This silence has made it possible for the tragic events that took place in Benthala, Algeria, over Monday night, to occur. The majority of the 200 people killed in this massacre were women and children.

In view of the increase in acts of terrorism and senseless violence in Algeria that have left more than 60,000 victims in recent years, according to Amnesty International estimates, Quebec, Canada and the international community must echo the voices of the bereaved families by utterly condemning the use of violence and seeking a political solution to the Algerian crisis.