House of Commons photo

Crucial Fact

  • His favourite word was quebec.

Last in Parliament May 2004, as Bloc MP for Trois-Rivières (Québec)

Won his last election, in 2000, with 47% of the vote.

Statements in the House

Claude Mongrain February 12th, 2003

Mr. Speaker, Mauricie has lost one of its most famous sons, a major contributor to the sports scene in our area.

Claude Mongrain passed away on Sunday, to the sorrow of his family, to whom I offer my condolences, and to the sorrow of all those who have been involved directly or indirectly in amateur sports in Mauricie since the mid-1950s.

How does one sum up in just one minute the contributions of “Pit”, as he was affectionately referred to by young people and the regional media. Listing his many accomplishments would surely be inadequate as a tribute; others who spent more time with him will do this better.

However, one thing is certain. Everyone thought the world of this big-hearted man who devoted more than 20 years to writing in the daily paper Le Nouvelliste about the exploits of our sports stars, but also about the small victories of those who would otherwise go unnoticed.

Mr. Mongrain deserves our recognition. We will long miss the man who was Mauricie's sports personality of the century.

Supply February 10th, 2003

This reflects concern and dissatisfaction, and increasingly calls into question the democratic representativeness of our parliaments. Perhaps the minister should show an interest in this.

What is the government up to? I do not want to think about Berlusconi's situation, when protests will begin in Rome. When this right-wing government is so easily won over by Tony Blair, we must wish him luck. Democracy and real representativeness are at stake.

There is a widening gap between our Parliament and democracy. What can I say about that? We can see that Tony Blair and his Labour Party are experiencing some problems. Members of Parliament, who represent the people, are increasingly divided on the relevance of Tony Blair's actions as prime minister. He is looking more and more like some kind of part-time foreign affairs minister for the United States, travelling the world to try to get countries like Italy and Spain to sign on.

In fact, as I was saying, this is starting to create an uproar. We can feel it in certain nations and also in certain people. We hear the damning comments by Nelson Mandela, who is not only denouncing the imperialism underlying the U.S. position, but also making, in public, a direct connection between the importance of oil for the Americans and their intention to attack Iraq.

The fact that this man, whose wisdom is recognized internationally, would dare say such things in public is a sure sign that something is really wrong.

The solution still resides in looking to achieve peace through diplomatic means. In this regard, France's efforts must be encouraged. It does not always behave as it should, in Africa for example, but I think that what it is doing right now with Germany, Belgium and Russia is more civilized than the kind of belligerent rhetoric that we have been hearing elsewhere and that I, as a citizen of the world, find totally irrelevant in today's society.

Power does not give a country the right to do as it pleases. I will conclude by saying that we must replace the “might is right” rule by the rule of law.

Supply February 10th, 2003

Mr. Speaker, first I want to inform you that I will by sharing my time with my new colleague from Lac-Saint-Jean—Saguenay.

I am very pleased to take part in this debate, which is of the utmost importance to our work, to democracy and to peace. I feel the need to read the motion brought forward by the Bloc Quebecois:

That this House consider the sending of troops to Iraq by the government only after the United Nations Security Council has passed are solution explicitly authorizing a military intervention in Iraq.

I am very happy, because it is an important debate that deals with one of the main issues relating to the role of the United Nations and the need for the United Nations not only to be respected, but to be involved in this decision.

Indeed, with the evolution of the world and of mankind, we are supposed to have gone beyond the days when a state, However powerful, would unilaterally decide to declare war, with everything that that implies, on another sovereign state.

Those days in the history of mankind are long gone, and the League of Nations, which later became the United Nations, was given the authority and the mandate to examine and assess the merit of any decision to attack another sovereign state.

This is what today's debate is all about. The role of the United Nations has to be respected. This organization is the guardian of international law, and that is no small task. We know what human nature is like. We can see what goes on in the Liberal Party, and we can see what goes on at the UN as well. There can be bargaining, but the authority to approve war rests with the UN, after discussions and after looking at whatever bargaining there may have been between countries. We can also see bargaining elsewhere, for example between states and between governments, where they say, “You give me this and I will give you that”.

Still, despite all of this, we need to respect the United Nations, because it is our best achievement so far. To act without the consent of the UN would be a travesty and a denial of justice. As implied in the motion, the role of the UN as sole repository of international law must be recognized, and anyone who does not respect the authority of the UN should eventually bear the brunt of it.

This issue raises a lot of concerns. I have received a lot of submissions from various groups in my riding that I will mention briefly: MagnificArt, École Bois-Joli of Trois-Rivières-Ouest, where some twenty students wrote to me, as did students from the École Saint-François-d'Assise. I might read some of these letters later on. Also, 11 organizations from the Mauricie, under the aegis of the Comité de Solidarité Tiers-Monde, got together to criticize the attitude exhibited and the threats made by the Americans.

The following organizations supported the initiative of Brian Barton, chairman of the Comité de Solidarité Tiers-Monde, in the hope of finding a pacific resolution to this problem: the Société Saint-Jean-Baptiste of the Mauricie, the Centre de femmes of Shawinigan, in the Prime Minister's riding, the Centre d'action bénévole of Shawinigan, the Centre Roland-Bertrand, also of Shawinigan, the Conseil central Coeur-du-Québec of the CSN, the Table de concertation du mouvement des femmes de la Mauricie, the Office diocésain de pastorale de Trois-Rivières, the Fédération des syndicats du secteur de l'aluminium, namely the FSSA of Mauricie, the Syndicat de l'enseignement des vieilles Forges de la Mauricie, the COMSEP group, which is doing a great job in the area of literacy training, and the Corporation de développement communautaire de Francheville.

These organizations are quite representative of our society. They are against this almost unstoppable movement, this determination to go to war at all costs, without establishing the legitimacy or the necessity of such a war. And this is another aspect of this issue.

I was speaking earlier to students in grade four at Saint-François-d’Assise school who had sent me letters to pass on to the Prime Minister, which I did.

I will read you the one, for example, written by little Maude Langlois, who is in grade four; she wrote the following:

I think that violence is not the best way to fix things. We do not have to go to war. I am scared. I do not want to die so young. If we go to war and we lose, what will we do?

I think this letter shows that there is fear and dissatisfaction. The crux of the problem, in my opinion as a citizen and as a parliamentarian, is that the need for this aggression or war, or the legitimacy of this war, has not been demonstrated. Its legitimacy was not demonstrated by Tony Blair a few weeks ago nor by Colin Powell last week.

Both times, there was a lamentable failure, I believe, to make the case. They only convinced people who were already convinced. They did not present any truly new evidence to prove the real threat posed by Saddam Hussein and his government to the Western world.

That is the crux of the matter: the legitimacy and the need for this war have not been demonstrated. That is why, currently, throughout the world, there are protests, and polls in Quebec and elsewhere show that the public does not support aggression.

There were protests in Paris, Beijing, Moscow and across the continent. There were protests in Montreal, and there will be more to show that people do not agree. In Quebec, 49% of the population say that, even with the UN's approval, Canada should not participate in this war. This is extremely telling.

Ivory Coast February 10th, 2003

Mr. Speaker, in a press release issued by the Canadian government on January 27 about the Ivory Coast peace accords signed in France by the major political parties and the rebels, Canada reiterated its support for an independent investigation into human rights violations in the Ivory Coast.

Will the Minister of Foreign Affairs explain what the Government of Canada intends to do within the international community to bring to light all of the facts, including what happened in the rebel-controlled northern part of the country, and to ensure that those responsible are brought before international justice?

Black History Month February 3rd, 2003

Mr. Speaker, this being Black History Month, I would like to highlight the important contribution of black communities to Quebec's social, economic and cultural vibrancy.

Many black people of various origins have settled in Quebec over the past four hundred years. Slaves freed under French rule, Afro-Americans fleeing slavery, workers from the West Indies who came to build the railroad and dig the Lachine canal, young West Indians who came to work in hospitals and schools in the 1950s, professionals from Haiti, and refugees and immigrants from numerous African countries all played an essential role in the development of modern Quebec.

In closing, I would like to point out the challenges still faced by the black community in being fairly represented in all sectors of Quebec society. To this end, it is particularly important to maintain a dialogue between Quebeckers of all origins, so that Quebec can be an increasingly inclusive and egalitarian society.

Émile Ollivier November 18th, 2002

Mr. Speaker, eight days ago, author Émile Ollivier passed away. Journalists, literary critics and friends paid tribute to him and bade farewell to this sociologist, teacher and author.

Émile Ollivier was born in Haiti. He chose to live in Quebec so that he could live in French. He was a great lover of the French language.

Quebeckers can pride themselves on the contributions by those like Émile Ollivier, who came from afar to take part in building a society that is rich and modern, thanks to its diversity. A society in which many flourish in harmony with their new surroundings, while maintaining bonds with their motherlands. The works of Émile Ollivier have left an impression, and will continue to do so, on generations of Quebeckers.

I extend my condolences to his wife, Marie-José Glémaud, his daughter, Dominique, and his granddaughter, Mélissa, and to all those who, with the passing of Émile Ollivier, have lost someone they loved and admired.

Citizenship of Canada Act November 7th, 2002

Madam Speaker, I want to ask the hon. member for Mercier what she thinks of the new procedure whereby, in order to acquire Canadian citizenship, an applicant would have to pledge loyalty, and I mean loyalty and allegiance, not only to the Queen, but also to Canada. The hon. member alluded to this earlier, and this is something that I personally object to, for all sorts of reasons.

I would like to know what the hon. member thinks of the government's intention to include in our political and constitutional context the word “Canada”. By including only the term “Canada”, the Canadian government is once again denying the existence of the Quebec nation within Canada.

So, I would like the hon. member to tell us where, in her opinion, we stand. As we know—and this is what I am concerned about—there is no right to appeal the decision made in secret by a judge. There is no right of appeal in this whole immigration process.

What would happen, and this is what I am worried about, if a new Canadian citizen has pledged loyalty and allegiance to Canada and then, realizing the existence of the Canadian and Quebec realities, and the merits of the claims made by Quebec sovereignists, becomes a sovereignist in Quebec, lives in a region or in Montreal, joins the Bloc Quebecois, the Parti Quebecois, the Société Saint-Jean-Baptiste de Montréal or a national society, and becomes persona non grata in the eyes of the Canadian government, which closely follows this whole thing? The current minister of immigration made extremely harsh and unfair comments about our former colleague, Osvaldo Nunez, when he referred to deportation.

So, what would happen to an immigrant who becomes a sovereignist in good faith, under our democratic rules? Is there not a danger that a witch hunt will begin and that the government will invoke futile reasons, in secret, to revoke that person's Canadian citizenship, under the legislation, simply because that person is a sovereignist? Is there not a danger that the person could be sent back to his country, because he unfortunately became a sovereignist in Quebec, that is a good citizen of Quebec?

I would like to know what the hon. member for Mercier thinks of the government's intention to include the term Canada in the bill?

Public Safety Act, 2002 November 5th, 2002

Madam Speaker, first of all, I would like to congratulate the hon. member for Saint-Jean on a very articulate speech. We can tell he has a very good knowledge of the military, the military life, and the military response we can see in Canada after the September 11 events. We are also well aware of the pressure the United States is shamelessly putting on the American people and friends of the Americans, particularly Canadians who happen to share common borders.

The hon. member also talked about the role of the RCMP and CSIS. Quebec has had some very bad experiences with them. One example is the October crisis. The hon. member mentioned that to remind us how unethical these people can be.

I have one specific question for my colleague. It seems that the federal government, probably in the context of this bill and probably with great delight, is preparing a megafile to collect as much information as it can on Canadians and Quebeckers. To create this megafile, it will start with travellers on international flights. This has a semblance of legitimacy in this context, but it seems that this megafile will soon include railway passengers who travel abroad, travellers who go on cruises or use international ferries. It could even eventually include bus passengers.

Is my colleague aware of this? What does he think about it, and where does it fit in the events unfolding?

Privacy November 1st, 2002

Mr. Speaker, a spokesperson from Canada Customs recently confirmed the government's intention to include in its megafile not only personal information on air passengers, but also on people who come to Canada on cruise ships, ferries, trains and even buses.

How can the government broaden the scope of its megafile when the privacy commissioner has already stated that he considers it illegal and feels that it will turn every citizen into a potential suspect?

René Lévesque November 1st, 2002

Mr. Speaker, the former Premier of Quebec, René Lévesque, died on this day 15 years ago.

A symbol of Quebec's Quiet Revolution, René Lévesque was the incarnation, for a quarter century, of a nation's daring decision to affirm its existence and promote its identity through a series of reforms that modernized Quebec, socially, culturally, economically and politically.

Two parts of his legacy I would like to particularly emphasize are the nationalization of hydroelectric power culminating in the creation of Hydro-Québec, and the political reform that has made Quebec democracy a model for the world.

René Lévesque passed on his conviction of Quebec's nationhood and his pride in that nation to an entire people.

I pay tribute to the memory of this great democrat, to the courage, generosity and integrity that characterized his actions throughout his entire career, to build a modern Quebec with an awareness of its dimension as a nation with the potential to participate in the community of nations.