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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

Anti-terrorism Legislation October 19th, 2001

Mr. Speaker, the term terror is not mentioned in the definition. Through her answer, the minister herself has shown that there is room for interpretation, even before the bill is passed.

How does the minister think that a police officer who has to implement the act a year from now will do so in the heat of the moment? If the minister, who drafted the bill, is interpreting its provisions, does she not think that the police officer will do the same and that things could get out of hand?

This is precisely what Canadians and Quebecers fear. They fear that the act may not be applied properly. My question is very simple: the word terror is not mentioned in the legislation.

Anti-terrorism Legislation October 19th, 2001

Mr. Speaker, in special legislation such as this one, definitions are of critical importance. The starting point for a fair use of these powers is undoubtedly the definition of terrorist activity.

All week long, the minister has been telling us that the terrorist activity that is targeted is the one that generates terror, but this is not at all reflected in the bill.

Will the minister confirm that the concept of terror is nowhere to be found in the bill's definition of terrorist activity?

Anti-Terrorism Legislation October 18th, 2001

Mr. Speaker, increasingly, people, including a number of her Liberal colleagues, are encouraging the minister to be prudent. Even the member for Mount Royal, her colleague, sees a need for temporary legislation.

What I want is a political commitment from the minister. Could she tell us honestly today just why she is refusing to promise in this House to reassure the public by including a sunset clause in the bill with respect to certain articles.

I want her to make a commitment before the House.

Anti-Terrorism Legislation October 18th, 2001

Mr. Speaker, efficiency must not compromise the future.

The need for quick action against terrorism must not be at the cost of prudence. The Minister of Justice should know that prudence and urgency can go hand in hand.

Will the minister recognize that sunset clauses are essential to some of the clauses of the bill that have to do with exceptional measures, such as the case in the United States at the moment and in France, which has just done this in its ad hoc legislation?

Anti-terrorism Act October 18th, 2001

Mr. Speaker, I will be brief, but I wanted to comment on this bill.

In its first form, in May or June of this year, we supported most of the provisions of Bill C-15. We asked that the bill be split to speed things up. It took some time, but we were successful in the end and the bill was split.

There is nothing wrong with the part that we are considering today. There is agreement; many groups have asked for certain changes over the years, including those that are to be found in this part, and we agree with them.

These include the whole issue of sexual exploitation involving the use of the Internet. The criminal code was not responding to today's reality. These sections of the code needed updating and modernizing, and the bill does this. There is no problem adopting these amendments.

The other amendment found in this bill increases the maximum penalty for criminal harassment. If we look at the case law, if we look at what is being done in this field, it becomes clear that we needed to act on adjusting the maximum penalty in this precise case.

Then, they made home invasions an aggravating factor for sentencing purposes. That was what the Canadian Police Association and the Fédération des policiers et policières du Québec asked for. There were private members' bills introduced to amend the criminal code in this regard, but they were not passed at all stages. It is understandable that the Bloc Quebecois today supports such an amendment. This is a request by the police, justified by what is happening in home invasions.

Another change is making the disarming or attempted disarming of a police officer a specific offence. Clearly the police argued in favour of this provision. They expressed their point of view. We also heard experts on this question in committee. Although I was not too hot about this idea at the start, I was convinced in committee. It is necessary. Working hard in committee and listening to the witnesses who come forward means we hear interesting points of view that convince us and support our position to support a given bill or clause or not to.

In this case, the witnesses I heard convinced me that we could amend the criminal code and add this offence to it.

The other amendment, which we have already spoken of, is the codification and clarification of applications for review by the Minister of Justice of miscarriages of justice.

I would have liked the minister to be somewhat more attentive to our remarks. We wanted a process different from the one in C-15A, like what they have in Great Britain, on which the government seems to have drawn for its amendments to the criminal code. I would have preferred a much more independent tribunal instead of having the decision come from the Minister of Justice. I am sure that, at some point, the Minister of Justice will be judge and jury in some matter. At that point, the minister would be in an awkward position, and would she make the right decision to correct a miscarriage of justice?

I know that the minister is of good faith and so is everyone else here, but I would have liked something surer for those who have been victims of a miscarriage of justice, so that they could have all the tools to ensure that justice is truly done.

In law, not only must justice be done, it must be seen to be done. I am not sure, given how the minister and the Liberal government opposite drafted these provisions, that the accused will come to the conclusion that justice was done and seen to have been done, particularly when the miscarriage of justice may result from the work of the Department of Justice and it is the Minister of Justice who is called upon to decide whether or not there was indeed a miscarriage of justice.

However, we did support this bill so as to not block it and ensure that it would be passed rather quickly, since the other provisions are not controversial.

It is from that perspective that we are letting this go, but we will take a close look at what will happen and we will be prepared to present amendments later on if we deem appropriate to do so.

The bill also includes a series of reforms and seeks to modernize criminal proceedings regarding the disclosure of evidence and certain rules relating to electronic documents. These things did not exist 20 years ago, but they are now part of our lives. The bill also deals with remote appearances, a plea comprehension inquiry scheme, private prosecutions, the selection of alternate jurors and a restriction on the use of agents. All this is part of a modernizing effort to update and clarify the criminal code. There is no problem and this is why we give our support.

I will conclude by raising a question that came to mind when I was listening to some witnesses. The Canadian Alliance member referred to it earlier. It has to do with the issue of consent regarding sexual relations. The hon. member wants the age of consent to be raised from 14 to 16 years. The argument used by the Canadian Alliance member and by groups such as the Canadian Police Association is that a 14 year old is not mature enough to give his or her consent to a sexual relation with an older person.

Members of the Canadian Alliance and others who want to change the age of consent think that 14 year olds are not sufficiently responsible and mature and are unable to take a decision of this magnitude, i.e. to have sexual relations with an older person, which will have an impact on them for the rest of their life.

But, when it comes to the Young Offenders Act, these same people want the age to be lowered from 18 to 16 or from 16 to 14. They would even like to lower the age of criminality, if possible.

I fail to see how these young people are not sufficiently mature at 14 to make an informed decision about whether or not to consent to sexual relations with an older person, but would be mature enough at the age of 16, or 14 in a criminal case, where they would receive an adult sentence. According to them, at that age adolescents are responsible, they are supposed to know what they are doing and they are old enough to commit a criminal offence and so forth.

Let us have a bit of logic. The position being defended by these groups is not logical when it comes to the age at which adolescents can consent to sexual relations versus the age at which they can be considered young offenders.

This bothered me a bit in committee. I explained how I saw it and I asked witnesses what they thought. They had no answer, because there is none. It is not logical.

Should the age of consent to sexual relations be raised from 14 to 16? I have no firm opinion on this. But I do know that someone under the age of 18 cannot be judged like an adult because he does not have an adult's sense of responsibility.

These are children, adolescents, I realize, not as developed as adults and needing to be treated accordingly. What I am asking the Canadian Alliance and the government as well, as they also seem to be interested in this approach, is to look at the situation very seriously and logically.

The fact that the bill has been divided has made it possible for us to address the problematical parts--as we are doing--that is everything that relates to firearms and cruelty to animals. If we had listened to the government over there, probably the whole thing would have been passed now, and in a rush. Fortunately, they were told to take the time to examine the issue in this House.

The exact same thing is happening with the anti-terrorism bill. Yes, legislation is required, but let us take the time to consider all the ins and outs of the bill properly.

The same things goes for Bill C-15A. I thank the government for having understood, after this was called for repeatedly by the Bloc Quebecois and other opposition parties, that the bill had to be split. They have done so. Today, Bill C-15A will be passed; so much the better. Then we can focus on Bill C-15B and hope that, for that part as well, the Minister of Justice will listen to the opposition and make appropriate amendments.

Money Laundering October 17th, 2001

Mr. Speaker, does the Minister of Finance realize that his lack of willingness continues to make it impossible to know whether the $30 billion invested in these tax havens, which his government encourages, have been or are being used to finance terrorism?

Money Laundering October 17th, 2001

Mr. Speaker, the world money laundering conference concludes today in Montreal. At least $30 billion left Canada last year for three tax havens recognized by the OECD.

Can the Minister of Finance guarantee that not one cent of this $30 billion was used to finance terrorism?

Privilege October 16th, 2001

Mr. Speaker, it goes without saying that, as the member for Berthier--Montcalm, I would support any act that seeks to improve national security, public security.

But we must not go overboard and let people use this bill, whose goals are good and laudable under the circumstances, distort its application and engage in abuse.

As I said this morning, we must not only look at Bill C-36. We must examine it, but with the existing criminal code, with the existing federal legislation. We must also look at it while keeping in mind the eventual implementation of Bill C-24, which is in the Senate and which is waiting for royal assent.

Let us not forget that Bill C-24, the anti-gang legislation, allows police officers to commit acts that would be considered illegal under any act passed by parliament.

When Bill C-24 was passed in the House, there was no anti-terrorism bill on the horizon. Now we have one. We must look at the bill in its entirety and understand that police officers have increased powers under the organized crime legislation and the anti-terrorism act. All this put together could lead to abuse.

This legislation should be reviewed every year and a three year cut-off date should be set. After three years, this act would become obsolete. It would no longer be in effect, unless parliament brought it back, debated it and passed it again.

Privilege October 16th, 2001

Mr. Speaker, if the hon. member is referring to the review of this legislation that was authorized, we agreed to review the legislation and anything to do with its enforcement to see if it was properly implemented.

It is not the first time that the Bloc Quebecois asks for a provision to be added so that the legislation is subject to an automatic review. I cannot seem to remember what bills exactly we were dealing with, but at the justice committee, we oftentimes consider such bills. Unfortunately, I have no examples that come to mind right now, but I certainly could provide some to the member. Members of the justice committee are often asked to consider such issues and we frequently ask for these pieces of legislation to be reviewed.

What we have before the House is an extraordinary and lengthy measure that gives new powers to police officers, as I said earlier, including the authority to arrest people without a warrant and to proceed with preventive detention.

During question period, my hon. colleague from Saint-Hubert talked about the new powers granted to the Minister of Justice and Attorney General of Canada concerning the enforcement of the Access to Information Act. There is a whole panoply of exceptional powers being granted to the Solicitor General of Canada, the Minister of Justice and the Minister of National Defence.

Since this is extraordinary legislation, a very special bill, the Bloc Quebecois is asking for a yearly review and wants the bill to have only a three year life expectancy. If, after three years, it is deemed necessary to renew it, parliament would again get to vote on this bill.

This is a very exceptional set of circumstances for which we need to take exceptional measures.

If the government truly intends to pass extraordinary legislation to balance national security and individual and collective rights and freedoms, if that is what the government really wants, then it should recognize that we are right and amend the bill accordingly.

Anti-terrorism Act October 16th, 2001

Mr. Speaker, concerns were raised during preliminary consultations involving those who have read the section in question, that such a broad definition of what constitutes a terrorist activity would lead to abuse.

My question is quite simple. Given these legitimate concerns, does the minister intend to tighten up this definition in order to avoid mistakes and the risk of abuse?

Will the minister issue clear directives to try to avoid, as much as possible, abuse of this legislation? That is what I am asking the minister.