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Crucial Fact

  • His favourite word was quebec.

Last in Parliament September 2002, as Liberal MP for Verdun—Saint-Henri—Saint-Paul—Pointe Saint-Charles (Québec)

Won his last election, in 2000, with 51% of the vote.

Statements in the House

Questions On The Order Paper September 19th, 1994

With respect to the program to replace the 5/4 tonne vehicles built by General Motors for the Department of National Defence, ( a ) what is the cost of the new vehicle acquisition program, ( b ) what are the results of the tests carried out on these vehicles (i) by National Defence personnel and (ii) by civilian contractors, and ( c ) what is the value of the contracts awarded to civilian contractors to carry out these tests?

Petitions June 13th, 1994

Mr. Speaker, I want to table a petition signed by over 2,800 Verdun residents who want their post office to remain open.

That petition follows another one on the same issue, which was tabled last March 17.

My constituents enjoy the professional service provided to them at that post office, where the Canadian flag flies proudly.

Second International Kite Festival June 13th, 1994

Mr. Speaker, from June 2 to June 5, the city of Verdun hosted the second international kite festival. Fifteen countries were represented and 54 special guests displayed their skills. A total of 200 people participated. I myself had fun as both a spectator and a participant.

At least 150,000 spectators came and all agreed that it was a great show.

I commend Georges Bossé, the Mayor of Verdun, for his work and Sandra Carmichael for organizing the event. I also want to thank the team of 200 volunteers who showed unequalled community spirit.

The atmosphere was fantastic and the festival was a success.

Engineering May 24th, 1994

Mr. Speaker, I wish to congratulate the team of engineers working for Les Ponts Jacques Cartier and Champlain Incorporée. On April 29 last, they were awarded the Prix Méritas 1994 by the Ordre des ingénieurs du Québec (Régionale Plein-Sud) for their work on the restoration of the Champlain bridge. Congratulations go out especially to CEO Benoît St-Laurent, to Senior Engineer Glen Carlin and to their team.

An important phase of the project involving the replacement of the Champlain bridge deck was the focal point of presentations by Mr. Carlin to the board of directors of the Permanent International Association of Road Congresses, to the annual congress of the Association québécois du transport et des routes, to the Transportation Association of Canada and to the McGill University and École Polytechnique chapters of the Canadian Society for Civil Engineering.

Bicycle Paths April 19th, 1994

Mr. Speaker, along with all cycling enthusiasts, I am extremely pleased that the bicycle path between Nuns' Island and Verdun will be built very shortly.

Cyclists have been waiting 15 years for this path to be completed.

I want to thank the Minister, Mr. Doug Young, and his department for the consideration they have given to this project.

The proposed bicycle path will link the paths on the South Shore and on Nuns' Island to the path in Verdun.

The City of Verdun has agreed to build a segment connecting these paths to those along the Lachine Canal. Therefore, all of the major bikeways on Montreal Island will be linked.

Over 20,000 cyclists will thus be able to enjoy some wonderful outings thanks to this initiative on the part of the Government of Canada and the municipality of Verdun.

Co-operation always accomplishes more than confrontation.

Supply March 22nd, 1994

I hear my hon. colleague opposite say that she is familiar with section 25 programs and with direct employment programs and that she uses them. Well, I use them too and I am a Liberal. I am a French Canadian and I use both of these initiatives, direct employment programs and section 25 programs. Since I was elected, 38 permanent jobs have been created in two small and medium-sized businesses in my riding. I would be curious to know how many jobs the hon. member opposite has created in her riding since taking office?

Supply March 22nd, 1994

Mr. Speaker, instead of always criticizing everything this government does, she should realize there is more to this than infrastructures. Members should look at the situation for small businesses in their ridings, get organized and help create small businesses. These generate a lot of jobs and can be created in all regions. I think that if all members look after their ridings as they should, a lot of jobs could be created in the days, weeks, months and years to come.

I think the hon. member should look around in Quebec, as I have been doing, since we have already started into small businesses, and we have made a start with creating jobs. We are looking in my riding at all the agencies that take care of job creation and training, to ensure that people are not being trained for jobs that do not exist. If we provide training and if once people finish their training, they have no jobs, it is no use training them.

We should have on-the-job training, with the assurance of a job for at least the next few years because, as you know, small business creates 85 per cent of the jobs in this country. I want to ask the hon. member what she has done in her own riding since she was elected and what kind of initiatives she has introduced.

Petitions March 17th, 1994

Mr. Speaker, it is my duty to table in this House a petition bearing the names of more than 2,500 of my constituents. I join them in requesting that the Verdun post office remain operational.

The post office is a place that proudly flies the Canadian flag and where people come and feel truly Canadian, which is essential these days.

Quebec Week For The Developmentally Handicapped March 10th, 1994

Mr. Speaker, next week from March 13 to March 19 will be the Quebec week for the developmentally handicapped, during which traditionally, parents, friends, caregivers and persons who are developmentally handicapped organize various activities throughout the province, to make the public more aware of the experiences of the developmentally handicapped and their families.

I would urge members from Quebec and other provinces as well to take part in the week's activities under the theme: My family accepts me-do you?

This being the International Year of the Family, I want to thank all the people in Verdun-Saint-Paul and especially the "Droit de Vivre" group of volunteers who work with the developmentally handicapped who are living with their families.

Prince Edward Island Fixed Link February 15th, 1994

Mr. Speaker, one of the extremely positive aspects of the bridge over the Northumberland Strait is that it is one of the first and most important capital projects on which the federal government and the private sector will co-operate closely.

Ten years ago, examples of this kind of co-operation in public works were extremely rare.

For the public and in practice, the distinction between public sector and private sector projects was very clear. One presumed that public works like roads, sewers, energy production were carried out by governments and financed with tax revenues. This perception has changed entirely over the last few years.

In all the industrialized world and at all levels of government, we see private companies and consortiums take on infrastructure work that was previously the preserve of the public sector.

Conditions can change, but the basic principle is that the private sector makes the necessary financing arrangements and assumes most of the risks in exchange for the right to acquire or rent the facility and charge user fees.

It is quite clear that Canadians are also changing their opinion on how we can modernize our infrastructure. According to a recent study by the Canadian Construction Association, for example, close to 58 per cent of Canadians agree that we should ask users of freeways to pay for the construction of a network which is financed by the private sector, instead of imposing a tax on gas or special levies.

One of the main reasons for this changing attitude is the alarming debt burden all levels of government are faced with as well as the disgust more and more Canadians feel towards their government, which keeps increasing taxes to finance costly megaprojects. Yet we must renovate our infrastructure, especially in the transportation, communication and energy areas, if we want to remain competitive on the world market.

That is why the principle behind letting the private sector finance and build much needed public facilities is becoming more and more interesting.

Although Canadians generally support this principle, they do have some legitimate concerns about joint participation of the public and private sectors in infrastructure projects. The public wants to be sure it will not be asked to bail out ill-conceived and underfinanced projects. It wants to be sure that private contractors will meet environmental standards. It wants to make sure that the cost will not become prohibitive, once these facilities are put in the hands of the private sector. It wants to make sure that the decisions concerning co-operative projects are made

openly, in the best interests of the public and not only of the government's friends.

Given these facts, the Northumberland Straight bridge project is of particular interest at this time. During the development of this project, public concerns were carefully considered. Thego-ahead was given only after a very open and public review. The deal was signed only after financial soundness was ascertained.

Virtually all the risks associated with the construction and operation of the facility will be borne by the promoter. The fare structure and the appropriate fees will be carefully regulated through federal legislation. Our government is firmly committed to supporting the renewal of this country's infrastructure both in terms of job creation and in terms of enhancing our long term efficiency and competitiveness.

The President of the Treasury Board, who is at the helm of our infrastructure program, publicly invited the private sector to take an active part in this initiative. With this new approach, I think that we have every reason to regard the fixed link project as an excellent model of joint venture implementation and public interest protection. This project has undergone an extremely stringent and comprehensive environmental assessment.

Allow me, Mr. Speaker, to add a few words to what the minister said about how great the project is with regard to the environment. Much has been written on this issue. For the best part of the five years it took to develop the project, environmental considerations have been the primary concern of both the government and the promoter. Of course, this project has been subjected to the most thorough environmental assessment ever conducted on a project of this magnitude. In fact, 90 analyses were carried out, as the minister pointed out this morning, of the impact the bridge will have on the environment. Ten thousand people from both sides of the strait were consulted, and the discussions were very open and honest. The people have had many opportunities to speak on the requirements of the project during the 90 or so public hearings that were held.

The project meets all the technical and environmental requirements.

Let me remind you, if I may, of the result of the last court challenge: the Federal Court concluded that the government's environmental assessment process had been much more thorough than required.

I think that this project will be well received by the people for whom it is so very important that we pay close attention not only to the technical quality of construction but also to the protection of the environment.

That is also why I am sure that this project will set new standards in terms of public consultation and care for the environment.

I am especially pleased to notice that even if construction has already started, this crucial question will continue to be a central concern for the promoter as well as for the federal and provincial regulatory agencies.

The contractor will have to follow a very strict environmental management and protection plan. The project will be continually monitored to ensure that it remains environment friendly.

I fully support this project not only because it is a good thing, but also because it generates substantial economic activity as well as much needed jobs and, more important, it is environment friendly.