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

Royal Canadian Mounted Police November 18th, 1996

Mr. Speaker, I have a supplementary.

Still according to Marcel Audet, "senior officials" in the RCMP put a stop to his mission and blocked the arrest of kingpins in the trafficking network.

Can the minister explain to us why the RCMP did not arrest such dangerous traffickers when it was possible to do so?

Royal Canadian Mounted Police November 18th, 1996

Mr. Speaker, my question is for the solicitor general.

Last November 13, Marcel Audet, an RCMP informant, revealed that he had arranged, on behalf of the RCMP, to buy cases of machine guns, explosives, grenades and even rocket launchers with arms traffickers associated with the Akwesasne reserve.

Since it is worrisome, to say the least, to know that an individual can purchase rocket launchers in Canada, can the minister confirm whether the Akwesasne reserve is still an important point of entry for arms traffic and can he tell us what his services have done to stop these illegal activities?

An Act To Change The Names Of Certain Electoral Districts November 8th, 1996

moved that Bill C-347, an act to change the names of certain electoral districts, be read the second time and referred to a Committee of the Whole.

Mr. Speaker, I want to take a few seconds to thank the chief government whip, the hon. member for Stormont-Dundas, and the coordinator of the Reform Party caucus, the hon. member for Fraser Valley East, for the non partisan work they did during the discussions that led to the tabling of this bill. They showed great class throughout all the stages. In my opinion, this bill will improve the representativeness and particularly the description of the various regions represented in this House.

Point Of Order November 8th, 1996

Mr. Speaker, if you were to seek it, I believe you would find unanimous consent to adopt the following motion:

I move:

That nothwithstanding the Standing Orders and the practices of the House, Bill C-347, an act to change the names of certain electoral districts, be now considered at second reading stage, and that the House proceed to dispose of the bill at all stages, including Committee of the Whole.

Act To Change The Names Of Certain Electoral Districts November 7th, 1996

moved for leave to introduce Bill C-347, an act to change the names of certain electoral districts.

(Motions deemed adopted, bill read the first time and printed.)

Petitions November 6th, 1996

Madam Speaker, I am pleased to table a petition signed by 2,664 residents of the federal riding of Bellechasse, and certified by the clerk of petitions.

This petition calls for the abolition of the Senate of Canada. I would also ask you to note that this petition has received the support of the municipal councils of L'Islet and Saint-Fabien-de-Panet in my riding.

U.S. Government November 6th, 1996

Mr. Speaker, on behalf of the Bloc Quebecois, I wish to congratulate U.S. President Bill Clinton on his re-election.

Now that the election is over, we hope that the President will again have some elbow room to address the many international issues that were left on the backburner, especially those with Canada, on a more solid and conciliatory basis.

Let us not forget that several trade disputes remain unsettled. This includes the Helms-Burton law, whose outright withdrawal we are calling for, as well as the disputes regarding the tariffs on dairy, egg and poultry products.

Furthermore, we believe Canada could take advantage of its special relationship with its American neighbour to help revive the Middle East peace process and favour the rapid establishment of an international force that would open the eagerly awaited humanitarian corridors in eastern Zaire.

As the member for Bellechasse, I wish to thank the people of the state of Maine for voting in a referendum to allow the rational development of their forests to continue.

The Election Act November 5th, 1996

Mr. Speaker, my question is directed to the government house leader.

The Quebec Election Act provides under section 40.92 that the chief electoral officer of Quebec may release information contained in the permanent voting list for Quebec to Elections Canada, for the purposes of drawing up a similar list.

Why does the federal government refuse to use Quebec's list, which is already ready to be used at this time, and instead insist on doing its own enumeration?

House Of Commons October 29th, 1996

Mr. Speaker, I listened with great interest to my friend and colleague, the hon. member for Scarborough-Rouge River and I am pleased to speak to his Motion M-142. And in doing so, I am in good company, since I have the hon. member for Gaspé at my side to support me, should I become weak.

Motion M-142 reads as follows:

That this House unequivocally reconfirms the undoubted rights and privileges of the House of Commons, won from the Crown and which became part of the law many centuries ago, and in particular the unfettered right of the House and its committees to at all times compel the attendance of persons and require them to answer questions and to compel the production of such papers and documents as the House or committee considers necessary for the due carrying out of its mandate.

The English version of the motion translates the French word "indubitables", in reference to privileges, as "undoubted rights and privileges". If rights are undoubted, unchallenged, there is no need really to reaffirm or reconfirm them.

In fact, the hon. member for Scarborough-Rouge River provided a brilliant historical demonstration, and knowing his attachment to the parliamentary system, I am sure he feels this demonstration even in his frustrations as a parliamentarian. I will share some of my own with you in a moment.

I do not think that it is necessary to pass the motion again. That said, should the question be put again, I will gladly vote in favour. But it is worth reaffirming from time to time rights so longstanding in the British parliamentary system, probably dating back to the Magna Carta of 1215, the Oxford provisions of 1258, the Bill of rights of 1689 and all the legislation that, little by little, over the course of centuries, have affirmed the rights and privileges of the House of Commons and Parliament.

I assume that the hon. member for Scarborough-Rouge River has put this motion before us today not to have a purely academic debate, but in response to actual situations. I will not speak for the hon. member for Scarborough-Rouge River, but for myself. Since the very beginning of this Parliament or almost, I have been sitting on the sub-committee on national security, which was set up by the Standing Committee for Justice and Legal Affairs.

One of the matters we have worked on was the Heritage Front affair. On many occasions, at in camera sessions, with members of Parliament in attendance, we have had members of the Security Intelligence Review Committee, better known as SIRC, appear before our committee as witnesses.

These people systematically refused to answer questions, to table uncensored versions of documents they had sent to the Solicitor General and to co-operate in any way with the committee.

At the time I moved a motion before the committee to have the Chairman of the Security Intelligence Review Committee, Mr. Jacques Courtois, cited for contempt of Parliament. It was divine providence that prevented the motion from being debated because, meanwhile, Mr. Courtois had died.

The other members of the Security Intelligence Review Committee had never volunteered their co-operation either. Neither the chairman pro tempore nor the other members of the Security Intelligence Review Committee. We had to sit for months and months to try and get clear answers to clear questions. All the members did was look at the clock to check when the committee's time was up, and they then rose without having answered the question.

These same members of SIRC, although they had been informed of their obligations by the general legal counsel of the House, Ms. Diane Davidson, refused to answer our questions. They refused to answer, even when the hon. member for Scarborough-Rouge River, chairman of the sub-committee, ordered them to answer.

In spite of all that, they left us in great good humour, but we never got an answer to matters of substance. Our report to the Standing Committee on Justice and Legal Affairs was, to all intents and purposes bereft of substance. We could not include any pertinent elements because we had no evidence, which was the fault of those who were supposed to serve the Canadian people by providing accurate replies to the elected representatives of the people.

By hiding behind the oath of office they had taken to keep their information secret, members of the Security Intelligence Review Committee refused to answer the questions asked by the elected representatives of the people. In a parliamentary democracy, this is a moral sin.

Unfortunately, the text of the motion of the hon. member for Scarborough-Rouge River does not solve the problem. These rights are not discussed but are perhaps open to discussion in connection with the contemporary element which might be added. These rights are not really being questioned, it is the exercise of those rights which is being questioned. That is where politics enters into it.

There was nothing to prevent the subcommittee on national security from promptly making a report to the Standing Committee on Justice and Legal Affairs, which would in turn have reported to this House so that the Security Intelligence Review Committee could have been brought before this House for contempt of Parliament and subjected to sanctions commensurate with the offence committed. But no political majority ever came together to have these people charged with contempt of Parliament.

For months and months the question hung fire, and I understand the political constraints under which the chairman and member for Scarborough-Rouge River found himself. Despite all of his attempts at negotiation, he could not compel the members of SIRC to provide answers.

When a parliamentary committee is totally paralyzed, rendered incapable of action by people who refuse to bow to the laws of the country, we are-you will pardon the expression, which may seem to be going almost too far-almost in a state of insurrection. People mandated to do something, who are categorically refusing to do it.

If the question were to be raised again, as it will be-we have already had to adjourn a meeting of the subcommittee on national security-the next time the people of the Security Intelligence Review Committee come before the subcommittee on national security and again refuse to respond, as they have for months, for years now, to the legitimate questions asked of them, I shall be the first in line to table a motion that they be accused of contempt of Parliament.

Canada Elections Act October 28th, 1996

Madam Speaker, I am pleased to speak on Bill C-307, which the hon. member for Vancouver-East just moved for second reading.

But first, I want to point out that today is the first day that people everywhere in Canada and in Quebec are wearing, just like the members of this House, a lapel poppy to pay tribute to all those who served in the armed forces during the first and the second world wars, during the Korea War and even during the first wars of the Empire, including the Boer War at the end of the previous century.

Whatever their origins, these people were sent wherever they were needed to defend democracy. In my native parish of Sainte-Claire de Dorchester, there were people who had fought the Bosporus and Dardanelles war and who vividly remembered that experience throughout their lives up until their deaths. I met and still meet with veterans who served during the second world war and in Korea and who are still very proud of the duties they carried out.

Those who never came back deserve, of course, all our admiration and those who fought and were lucky enough to come back know they did world peace a huge favour. Some mothers lost their

sons, some wives lost their husbands, some brothers and sisters lost their brothers and even their sisters.

So, of course, today, all the members of this House spare a thought for those in our families, in our communities, and in all of Canada, who fought to defend the values they believed in.

We have taken over, in a more peaceful fashion, but may the example they have set guide us in the debates we hold and the decisions we have to make.

Regarding Bill C-307, I had the privilege to hear the explanations given by the member for Vancouver-East. Obviously, when polling hours were set, we did not think that Canadians would be able to get the results over the radio immediately via another country. We did not think that a television network such as CNN could broadcast the results instantaneously throughout the world. We did not think that results would be available on Internet.

These technological developments mean that just a few minutes after polling stations close in St. Anthony or Maryston, Newfoundland, the results are available to Canadians via foreign countries, even though they cannot be announced in Canada under the Canada Elections Act. They are available in Langley, British Columbia, in Surrey, in North Vancouver, in Calgary or anywhere in Canada.

Instantaneous communications have rendered the provisions of the Canada Elections Act obsolete and they have to be revised. In this sense, the official opposition, concerned with what goes on from coast to coast, supports in principle the bill introduced by the member for Vancouver-East.

To make a comparison, everybody in this House certainly remembers the all important hockey games we used to have many years ago between Canada and Russia. We got the result on the news before we could watch the game on television. What was the use of watching a hockey game when you already knew the result? Even when the CBC, Radio-Canada and private broadcasters held back the results in response to public pressure, people took to their telephones and always managed to find out who had won a game in international competitions.

The magic of modern communications has made it easy to obtain results, even though the law technically prohibits it. It is therefore time to amend the provisions of the Canada Elections Act so that voters in different time zones voting to elect the same Parliament may cast their ballot on a footing that truly feels equal, not just one that is theoretically equal. Voters in Vancouver, Calgary, Saskatoon and Winnipeg all have a right to feel that their participation in the Canadian democratic process carries the same weight as that of any other citizen.

The United States is having the same problem, as we are now seeing. There has been much talk in the western states about whether legislation should not be standardized so that results are not known ahead of time.

Political analysts who have looked at several presidential elections in the United States have shown that there was a snowball effect at play in presidential wins, particularly in the 1980 election. This was noted not only in the selection of the president, but also of congressmen, with eastern results coming in quickly and western voters apparently staying home in droves or voting with the tide, thus creating a snowball effect. This effect is not necessarily desirable.

The hon member for Vancouver East was saying earlier that, in Quebec and in Ontario, 10 p.m. was not particularly late in most municipalities, that in fact there was still quite a bit going on at that time of night. There will perhaps be a small problem in the Atlantic provinces, because there is still a one and a half hour difference with Newfoundland, but these are questions that are worth looking at in committee, and that must not used as excuses to block the bill at second reading.

Thus, in the Standing Committee on Procedure and House Affairs, where we are now in the process of looking at Bill C-63, an act to amend the Canada Elections Act, which was referred to us after first reading I might note, we could probably wrap up our examination if Bill C-307 was referred to committee fairly rapidly.

With this in mind, and in order to make our contribution to the debate and show our understanding of the problem associated with the existing Canada Elections Act, we will be supporting the bill at second reading and following its progress in committee attentively.