Crucial Fact

  • His favourite word was quebec.

Last in Parliament April 1997, as Bloc MP for Bellechasse (Québec)

Lost his last election, in 2000, with 37% of the vote.

Statements in the House

supply February 11th, 1994

Mr. Speaker, I thank the hon. member for Richelieu for his comments and question.

I believe the hon. member was referring to the first part of my speech to which he listened closely, since after an interruption of more than one and a half hours, he was able to focus in on the point I was making. Before statements from members, I was saying how odd it was that Bill C-207 dated February was sponsored by the former chairman of the public accounts committee under the late lamented Conservative government. The bill calls for interim, sequential reports to be issued throughout the year so that reviewing public finances becomes a routine matter and members are finally able to fulfil their real mandates as parliamentarians.

The hon. member for Ottawa-Vanier also mentioned that a period of time should be allotted to consider reports from the public accounts committee and I think that is what the hon. member for Richelieu was alluding to. It is not enough simply to table a report. I agree with what others before me have said, namely that time should be allotted for the serious consideration of reports of this nature.

As for the last question raised by the hon. member for Richelieu, namely whether a committee should be struck to review spending item by item, of course I think this would be the best approach, certainly preferable to a motion such as the one put forward today by the hon. member for St. Albert which touches on certain aspects, but overlooks others. I think the motion we presented yesterday was much broader and, as the hon. member for Richelieu said, it would provide a much better overview of Canada's public finances.

supply February 11th, 1994

Mr. Speaker, I thank you, and I wish to remind you that, pursuant to Standing Order 43(2), the Official Opposition will be splitting its time into ten-minute periods.

As the time for statements by members and oral question period was beginning, I was about to bring up the provisions of Bill C-207 introduced by one of my hon. colleagues as a private

member's bill. The purpose of the bill is to allow the Auditor General to present interim reports throughout the year, a move which would give parliamentarians a greater role to play in the affairs of government.

I think that the government should take Bill C-207 introduced by the hon. member for Ottawa-Vanier and reintroduce it, either as is or in some other form, as a government bill to which improvements could be made in committee.

As I noted earlier, the Reform Party motion tabled in this House by the hon. member for St. Albert contains eight separate items. It is difficult to examine even one item thoroughly, much less the entire motion.

For example, item (e) calls upon the Minister of Indian and Northern Affairs to address problems relating to the rights of aboriginal peoples. This is one area on which the Auditor General has focussed.

I think that this is a very interesting proposal. The federal Indian Act made native peoples second-class citizens by confining them to reserves and treating them as wards of the state, without giving any thought to the fact that they had the legitimate right to govern themselves as they saw fit, under the broad terms of the Canadian Constitution.

In the early 1980s, Quebec worked hard to prove to the other Canadian provinces and to the federal government that it was possible, working within the framework of the current Constitution and with the openings afforded by section 35 of the 1982 Constitution, to give native peoples a greater opportunity to find their own way, one which would be defined as openly as possible, and, after so many years of federal trusteeship, to recognize their right to native self-government.

This was just wishful thinking, of course. We have long been advocating an end to overlap and duplication of services between the federal and provincial governments. We are pleased to a certain degree to hear the hon. member for St. Albert and his party call for this kind of action, since we have studied this issue at considerable length. The Bélanger-Campeau Commission in Quebec very aptly recommended an end to overlap.

The Bloc Quebecois' mission is to bring an end to overlap once and for all. This will come about when sections 91 and 92 of the British North America Act of 1867 are repealed. In the meantime, we will do everything we can to limit the damage inflicted on us by the Constitution Act of 1867.

But, as long as we are Canadian taxpayers, we in Quebec will continue to keep a close watch on things to ensure that the situation we inherit-and we will inherit our share of both assets and liabilities-is the best it can be. It is with this objective in mind that we will continue to work in the House to improve or stabilize the situation.

Supply February 11th, 1994

Mr. Speaker, I wish to inform you that, pursuant to Standing Order 43(2), speeches from the Official Opposition will be limited to ten minutes.

I have the pleasure to rise today to speak to the motion presented by my colleague, the hon. member for St-Albert, which comprises eight different points, and gives us a lot to talk about. I will limit my comments to the Auditor General's role.

His role is painfully obvious, once a year, when he presents his annual report. Instead of focusing on one annual report, Bill C-207, presented by the member for Ottawa-Vanier, offers a very different approach which could be a good starting point for discussions on allowing the Auditor General to present, on a regular basis, periodic reports that would enable the House to regain control of the budget.

Historically, the role of the House of Commons has been mainly to control government expenditures. Take for example the case of the aircraft carrier Bonaventure ; a few years ago, it was one of the first of a long list of white elephants uncovered by the Auditor General every year. Year after year, we have watched this horror show presented by the Auditor General of Canada. From one annual report to the next, time goes by and

very little is done to remedy the deficiencies revealed by the Auditor General.

I wonder if this famous red book we have heard so much about for so long suggests specific ideas to improve the image of parliamentarians, by presenting such reports for example. We will have the opportunity to see what the government's position is in this respect. I was rather surprised when the minister did not squarely state his position regarding Bill C-207.

I wonder whether the government is ready to go as far as amending the Auditor General Act to allow presentation of progress reports. This would make less alarming the problems the Auditor General of Canada could bring to the attention of the House for review, not once a year, but from time to time. It seems to me that such an approach would open up the process. In view of the $28 billion Quebec contributes every year to the federal purse, the Official Opposition, the Bloc Quebecois, would be well advised to take part in this exercise which, far from being futile, is a fundamental aspect of the parliamentary system, even more so if we were able to study more in-depth-

Cigarette Smuggling February 4th, 1994

Mr. Speaker, I have a supplementary question to the Deputy Prime Minister. Would she not agree that the tax cutback action plan may prove unefficient in Akwesasne, since this reserve is bordered by Ontario, United States and Quebec, especially if the government of Ontario refuses to lower its taxes on tobacco?

Cigarette Smuggling February 4th, 1994

Mr. Speaker, my question is to the Deputy Prime Minister. The action plan on cigarette smuggling that the government is about to announce is said to include a six dollar cutback in taxes on a carton of cigarettes. Nevertheless, provinces in English Canada are joining forces against any cutbacks in taxes.

Could the Deputy Prime Minister tell us whether the government is going to proceed with its plan to reduce federal taxes on tobacco, even though it may be supported only by the province of Quebec?

Social Security System February 2nd, 1994

Mr. Speaker, I listened with interest to the speech by the hon. member for Parry Sound-Muskoka. I had the chance to listen to the previous Liberal speakers. We heard three speeches and three different positions. One Liberal member who spoke a while ago was sensitive to the needs of the population and focussed on the poorest members of our society. Another shared most of the concerns expressed on this side of the House. Then we gradually moved away from this position with the address by the hon. member for St. Catharines.

I will keep my question short. It is fortunate that I still have my sight because I could see that the hon. member for Parry Sound-Muskoka was on his feet but I was hearing what sounded like a Reform speech. Could the hon. member for Parry Sound-Muskoka tell me what distinguishes his speech from those made by Reform members? He seems to be putting a great distance between himself and some of his colleagues who have spoken, it must be said, from the back benches, not his colleagues from the front benches who are conspicuous by their absence from this debate. We are fortunate to have a minister present in the House. It is interesting, but the viewpoint from the back benches seems a little pro forma and at times sounds like what we heard at the Spicer Commission, a kind of cantina where everyone brings their own wine and where the bill is prepared in advance. While we are talking, I am wondering whether the policies have not already been drafted.

My question to the hon. member for Parry Sound-Muskoka is this: Is there a difference between his own personal position and that of the Reform Party since this is an open debate?

Social Security System January 31st, 1994

Madam Speaker, on January 20, in answer to a question asked by the hon. member for Saint-Hubert, the Prime Minister said in this House that the whole issue of the action brought by the Minister of National Revenue against the federal government of Canada should be settled once and for all.

However, following question period, the Minister of National Revenue made a statement to the media, outside this House, as reported on Page B11 of the January 20 issue of The Gazette , and I quote:

"Obviously I am not the one who can terminate an appeal against a victory of mine in the court. The person who appealed has to do that".

The following day, on January 21, during question period, I asked the Prime Minister if the Minister of National Revenue was going to abandon the proceedings before the Federal Court-Trial Division, which the Crown had appealed. The prime minister told me that the Minister of National Revenue would not be getting any settlement from the government.

I find particularly strange that neither the Prime Minister, nor the Minister of Justice, nor the Minister of National Revenue informed the House that the appeal of the lower court's decision had been discontinued.

My question is really very simple. Is there, still today, before any court whatsoever, some kind of proceedings involving the Minister of National Revenue and the federal government of Canada?

Given the openness the Prime Minister once promised us, I should be able to get a short and concise answer to my question. Could the Prime Minister, the Solicitor General or the minister, who is in the House, confirm that the Minister of National Revenue has withdrawn his action, and if not, if someone intends to ask the minister to fully withdraw his action? In case the minister answers himself, I would like to know if the complete withdrawal papers were tabled.

Social Security System January 31st, 1994

Madam Speaker, I did not want to interrupt the speech by the hon. member for Mount Royal. This is just a reminder, as the Speaker himself asked, to hon. members to address the Chair and not each other directly.

Job Creation January 31st, 1994

I have a supplementary, Mr. Speaker.

I expect an answer and not a filibuster.

After making this House into a vast sounding board of ideas in the past three weeks, what specific legislative menu does the government House leader intend to give us now?

Job Creation January 31st, 1994

Mr. Speaker, my question is for the House Leader of the Government.

During the election campaign, Liberal candidates, invoking the red book, proposed various measures which they said were an action plan to create jobs and stimulate the economy. Now the third week of the session has begun without any legislative indication of the measures promised for this action plan.

My question is this: Since we are in the third week of the session, why has the government not yet proposed a single significant piece of legislation to give effect to the job creation provisions of the red book?