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Crucial Fact

  • His favourite word was quebec.

Last in Parliament May 2004, as Bloc MP for Berthier—Montcalm (Québec)

Won his last election, in 2000, with 57% of the vote.

Statements in the House

Youth Criminal Justice Act February 4th, 2002

There are none in Quebec.

Youth Criminal Justice Act February 4th, 2002

I invite the member for Laval East to withdraw her statement. We did not hire an artist by the name of Marc Beaupré. Marc Beaupré volunteered his time and efforts because he believed—

Youth Criminal Justice Act February 4th, 2002

Mr. Speaker, I understand this is a debate, but I invite the member for Laval West—

Youth Criminal Justice Act February 4th, 2002

Mr. Speaker, frankly it is difficult to remain calm when one hears a member from Quebec saying such things and adding that she is proud to use strong arm tactics against Quebec on an issue like the Young Offenders Act. It is unbelievable that she has the gall to say all those absurdities.

According to the hon. member, there is no coalition for justice for minors. According to her, the centres jeunesse are supporting Bill C-7 introduced by the federal government. I would point out to the member that there are at this time at least 42 groups from Quebec who are part of the coalition for justice for minors. This is practically every organization dealing with young offenders. There are judges, stakeholders, defence councils, deputy public prosecutors, psychologists from the Institut Pinel, academics. No one in Quebec wants this bill.

Worse, despite its 160 amendments, which, according to the government, answers all questions, there is still opposition in Quebec and no one wants this bill.

Another absurdity is that the member seems to be unaware that Quebec is the province with the least custodial sentences. As regards the Centres jeunesse, it is nonsense to say that they are jails. The Centres jeunesse do an excellent job and, thanks to them, we have a good rate of success in Quebec. The hon. member should apologize.

Points of Order February 4th, 2002

Mr. Speaker, I rise on a point of order.

I tried earlier to bring this matter to your attention, but you asked me to do it later.

On January 30, I raised this question in the House, pointing at the discrepancy between the English and the French wording of the Senate amendment before us today.

In French, it says:

Toutes les sanctions applicables, à l'exception du placement sous garde qui sont justifiées dans les circonstances, doivent faire l'objet d'un examen—

This is a requirement. In English, it says “should be”. This is a suggestion. There is a significant difference between the two.

On January 31, in response to my question, the Deputy Speaker of the House said that he had checked the texts from the Senate and that there was no mistake, namely that the French version said “doivent faire l'objet d'un examen” whereas the English version said “should be” and that was as far as the Chair's responsibility went.

I walked across to the Minister of Justice, who told me to seek a decision by the Supreme Court on this matter. But we have to decide. In addition, closure was invoked on the bill, and we will be forced to vote on this amendment tonight.

I would like you to shed some light on whether the French version or the English version will prevail eventually, since the aboriginals themselves are wondering. I checked with English-speaking lawyers and they told me that, indeed, there was a problem as far as any future interpretation of this text is concerned.

Mr. Speaker, before the vote, could you shed some light on this issue for us and for the House, especially since the government has invoked closure and seems determined to expedite this matter. I would like us to be able to make an informed decision.

Youth Criminal Justice Act February 4th, 2002

Mr. Speaker, I rise on a point of order.

On Wednesday, January 30, I raised a question about the Senate amendment regarding the English and French versions. I know that the Deputy Speaker handed down a ruling on Thursday, but I do not think that it enlightened the House as to whether the French or the English text—

Youth Criminal Justice Act February 4th, 2002

Mr. Speaker, where exactly does the urgency lie in an issue like young offenders that would require a gag order to be imposed on those wishing to speak out clearly and openly on it?

I am asking the Minister of Justice, who is first and foremost a member from Quebec, if he has at least had the decency to meet with the members of the coalition, stakeholders from Quebec and specialists in the field, who have devoted their entire lives to the young offenders of Quebec and to creating a Quebec model for the treatment of young offenders?

I am asking the minister to at least have the decency to rise and tell us that no, he did not meet with them and that, merely to satisfy his Prime Minister, he has decided to renounce his pride and the fundamental principles of Quebec. I am asking the minister to stand up and at least tell the truth on a matter as fundamental as that of the Young Offenders Act.

Does or does not the minister acknowledge that we in Quebec have a specific approach to young offenders? Does or does not the minister acknowledge that in Quebec we have a different way of doing things than the rest of Canada?

Points of Order January 30th, 2002

Mr. Speaker, I rise on a point of order. I would just like a clarification, which the Table can perhaps provide me with.

We understand that this is a motion relating to an amendment originating in the Senate. When we look at the Senate's amendment, we note a difference between the French and the English versions.

I would like a clarification, because in the French text in clause 38, page 38, the replacement for line 27 reads as follows:

Toutes les sanctions applicables, à l'exception du placement sous garde qui sont justifiées dans les circonstances, doivent faire l'objet d'un examen, —

This is a kind of order, an obligation. Reference to the English text finds the expression should be, a suggestion. The form is conditional. This makes a very big difference in application. This being criminal law, there must really be great precision. I would like clarification on this, because it will affect the vote later on.

Is it the shall of the French or the should be of the English, a kind of suggestion in conditional form, that should prevail?

Youth Criminal Justice Act January 30th, 2002

Mr. Speaker, I am not sure I fully understood the question.

I believe that it is wrong to say that Bill C-7 allows for early intervention. Yes, but that can be negative, given the experience in Quebec. Let me explain.

Thanks to Quebec's social system, the youth centres and the ministry of social affairs are able to intervene very quickly, with today's Young Offenders Act. We would rather deal with a young person that has a small problem than deal with a 17 year old with an extremely serious delinquency problem that cannot be turned around.

Intervention is already being done very quickly and it could not be done any quicker. Perhaps, with additional money, the net would be tighter and we could catch all of the problems, but we could not intervene any quicker.

Bill C-7 does the opposite. With its whole series of different levels of intervention, a young person could slip through more easily if the has only committed petty crimes. But petty crimes, if they are not immediately caught, become serious crimes. All of the social workers, all psychologists, all professors and criminologists say the same thing, the greater the crime, the more difficult it is to treat; that is the first thing.

Second, it is also wrong to say that Bill C-7 attempts to implement what is being done in Quebec. The Quebec model was created with the Young Offenders Act by investing money and because there was the political will to do so, by looking at what the police can do, what schools can do, what parents can do as well. We looked at all of this. Naturally, we looked at the legal aspect, enforcing the legislation. We managed to come up with our own way of doing things today, with the Young Offenders Act.

Out west, if they have not had the same success, or if they have a different way of doing things, it is not the act that needs changing; they should come to Quebec to see how it works. What works for Quebec is not all bad; others can copy it, we do not have a copyright on the system.

As Justice Jasmin said to the Standing Committee on Justice on several occasions, Quebecers are always happy to show other provinces or countries how we treat young offenders and how we have produced such good results when it comes to crime, rehabilitation and reintegration.

Europe sees Quebec as a model for the treatment of young offenders, but bringing in Bill C-7 will put an end to that.

The hon. member's response is that the shortcomings in the bill were not what prevented us from having the Quebec model, but rather shortcomings in its enforcement. WIth the hundreds of millions of dollars the minister seems to have available for implementation, they would be as capable of success as Quebec, provided the funds were invested in the right places, in the social area, as is done in Quebec.

Youth Criminal Justice Act January 30th, 2002

Mr. Speaker, I do not know the exact figure but I think it is around $1 billion over five years, or something like that. The House will agree that the then minister said that she would put hundreds of millions of dollars into implementing Bill C-7.

When this amount was broken down, we realized that there was not much left for those who were going to implement the new legislation. One thing is certain and that is that the problem was examined very closely in Quebec in the 1990s. A very important report, the Jasmin report, was produced. This report concluded that the problem, if there were one in the other provinces, but also in Quebec, was not due to the legislation but to its application.

Although there were a series of social programs at the time, starting in 1990, different departments took a very different approach to young offenders. This is why, since 1990, with Quebec dollars, we have been able to build or finalize the model now used in Quebec.

If there is a problem in the other provinces it is not because of the legislation but because of how it is applied. There is nothing surprising about that because the money the federal government gives the other provinces, particularly English Canada in the past, was invested in bricks and mortar instead of in social programs.

Right now, if the new minister still has these millions available, changing the legislation is not what is going to solve the problem. The money needs to go to the provinces if there is to be a better application of the Young Offenders Act. We in Quebec are not any better than anyone else. If our results are better it is because we are investing the time and the energy and, most important of all, we are implementing the legislation properly.

If the government has any spare money for the application of the new legislation, or the Young Offenders Act, it should hand it over to the provinces in the assurance that the provinces will have a better understanding and, especially, a better perception of the Young Offenders Act because this act will give results.