House of Commons photo

Crucial Fact

  • His favourite word was workers.

Last in Parliament October 2000, as Progressive Conservative MP for Madawaska—Restigouche (New Brunswick)

Won his last election, in 1997, with 50% of the vote.

Statements in the House

Job Creation October 19th, 2000

Mr. Speaker, on February 7, the Minister of Human Resources Development told the House that over 30,000 Canadians had found work thanks to the transitional jobs fund. This is in contradiction with the statement by the Auditor General of Canada to the effect that he is unable to determine the number of jobs created, because the department's files are in such a terrible state.

Can the minister tell us where these figures come from or did they just come out of thin air?

Economic Policy October 19th, 2000

Madam Speaker, I rise on a point of order. When the debate ended yesterday, I believe the NDP leader still had five minutes left for questions and comments.

Supply October 16th, 2000

Mr. Speaker, I can tell you that this member here will stay put.

I listened carefully to what my colleague from the Bloc Quebecois had to say. I also took part in the March of Women last Sunday.

I also participated in a study carried out by my party on poverty in Canada in general and among women in particular. We noticed that women's poverty mostly affects single mothers and their children. Very recently, the government introduced Bill C-44 to change the eligiblity criteria for EI.

Does my hon. colleague for Québec, who sits on the Standing Committee on Human Resources Development, think these new changes will help women and families with young children qualify more easily for EI benefits?

World March Of Women October 16th, 2000

Mr. Speaker, I am please to rise to speak today on behalf of the women of the riding of Madawaska—Restigouche.

This past Sunday I took part in a very important march, a march to raise awareness of the problems women in this country and throughout the world are faced with. Women everywhere in Canada are coping with the problems of poverty and abuse.

Often the ones having to deal with poverty are single mothers with young children. The priority for this government, and for this parliament, should be to put an end to poverty for the women of Canada and women throughout the world, particularly those with young children.

I encourage all members of parliament to get involved. It is up to us to take action. I would like to congratulate Yvette Bourgouin for all of her efforts, as well as the Dames d'Acadie in my region.

Emergency Service Volunteers October 4th, 2000

Mr. Speaker, I am pleased to rise to address a very important issue I raised last week.

My question dealt with the infrastructure of our colleges and universities, and providing our students with the necessary infrastructure to allow them to receive the best education possible in this great country of ours.

I was disappointed by the minister's answer to my question. Canadians across the country believe post-secondary education must be a priority. It is certainly a priority for the Progressive Conservative Party of Canada.

I am disappointed when I read the minister's answer; I am disappointed not only as a Canadian, but also on behalf of those who go to university every year. I am disappointed for professors in colleges and universities, and also for all those who try to give our young people the best education possible.

The minister said:

This is where most citizens' priorities lie—

This government's priorities are roads and sewers. Honestly, should our young people not have precedence over that? Students are the backbone of a strong society. An educated society is a healthy society. When I heard the minister's comments last week, I could not believe my ears.

I asked the minister about it and we heard about infrastructure programs for municipalities for roads and water. I wholeheartedly agree but I think our education system, our universities and colleges throughout Canada are also in need of infrastructure money. I was very disappointed to see that the minister and the government did not have the same priorities as many Canadians and families.

Does the House know how much money the U.S. government invests per student for post-secondary education? It is more than $500 per student, and here in Canada it is $144. I call on the government to review this policy and take a look at infrastructure for post-secondary education.

Employment Insurance Act October 4th, 2000

Madam Speaker, I am certainly pleased to add my voice to this debate for my party. What we have in Bill C-44 is plainly an admission of guilt. What the government is admitting is that for the past four years Canadians throughout the country have suffered. They have suffered because of the reforms to employment insurance.

People have suffered in British Columbia. People have suffered in Alberta and throughout western Canada. People have suffered in northern Ontario. People have suffered in the province of Quebec and people have suffered in my home of Atlantic Canada. It is not just a question of Atlantic Canada. This is a national question and the government is a national disgrace.

In the 1997 election, people were not afraid to express their feelings about the government.

I listened carefully to my colleagues on the opposition side and I want to congratulate them for the excellent comments they brought to this debate.

I also want to say a few words about the comments made by members of the Canadian Alliance. For some time now, we have been hearing members of the Alliance say that the Canadian Alliance is a national party, that they are there for all the provinces. Yet they have the audacity to say that seasonal workers are well paid, when we know that a significant percentage of these workers earn less than $10,000 a year. We hear comments from Alliance supporters saying that the people in Atlantic Canada are lazy.

Recently we heard the comments of the Alliance pollster who said that anybody with vision in Atlantic Canada moved away. That is a disgrace. In this day and age we should be talking of uniting the country, not dividing it, not pointing the finger at a region of Canada. That does nothing to unite the country. We have a lot of work on our plate in order to do that. The comments coming out of the Alliance do nothing for that.

We see surplus after surplus in the EI account, a total accumulated surplus of over $35 billion. This year we see the Government of Canada wanting to move a certain way, wanting to rectify the wrongs of the past, but it is a wrong that represents only $1.7 billion of that $7 billion surplus this year.

The member from the Liberal side said a while ago that we were doing wonderful things. In reality people are suffering. Children are suffering throughout the country. More could have been done and they did not do it. The Liberals had a golden opportunity to do it and they did not.

As I said earlier this week, what the government sees is not light at the end of the tunnel. It sees an election. I will be sharing my time with the hon. member for Beauséjour—Petitcodiac.

What they have demonstrated is their inability to govern. Canadian taxpayers will decide who is best to govern, who approaches the country in a tolerant way, including every province of Canada.

Seasonal workers play an important role in Canada's economy; they play an important role in the maritime provinces, in Newfoundland, Quebec, Ontario and western Canada. These people must be recognized once and for all.

They play an important role in the forest industry. I can tell you that, without our seasonal workers, without those people who go out each year to plant trees and to guarantee the future of the forest industry, the most important in my riding, we would be in serious trouble.

These workers play a role that is vital to our economy throughout Canada. And, once again, this government is turning a deaf ear.

There have been demonstrations over the last months, but they were totally justified. People came to my office, dignified people with great qualities who could no longer plan their future. Some of them had children.

Once again, the Liberal government did nothing to relieve these people from this incredible burden.

There is a perception that seasonal workers do not want to work. That is totally false. That is so false and so far from the truth that it is not even funny.

What has to be done is that these economies have to be developed. I agree, but if I take a person that is planting trees this year, move him out of there and bring him into the company, who will plant the trees next year? There is a dynamic here that has to be understood. These people are not lazy. These people work hard every day, put in long hours, and guarantee the sustainability of our economies.

I will not put up with this. I will use my voice to defend these people every time anyone in the House of Commons or anywhere in Canada strikes them.

People want hope. They want to know that their children have a future. This bill does absolutely nothing to give them hope.

The government also tells us that it wants to reduce EI premiums. But considering the size of the surplus in the EI fund, it could reduce them even more.

People are also asking for a tax break. There has to be that balance. The government could have gone further and it has not. It has not gone there. These industries and these workers want to have that break in order for industries to hire more people and in order for these workers to have more money to put away for their children's education. The bill does absolutely nothing to address this issue. Hopefully we will have a reasonable debate in the House.

The Liberals are ranting. She is the only one here but hopefully we will have reasonable debate.

Employment Insurance October 4th, 2000

Mr. Speaker, last year, the auditor general asked the government how the employment insurance commission set the EI premium rate.

My question is a very simple one. Why is this not indicated in Bill C-44? What is the government hiding?

Employment Insurance September 27th, 2000

Mr. Speaker, we have received notice that a bill to amend the existing Employment Insurance Act will be introduced.

Why—this is my question as well as that of many other Canadians—did the government take so long to become aware of the difficulties it had created with the 1996 reform, for employers as well as employees, Canadian workers?

Education September 26th, 2000

Mr. Speaker, yesterday the Minister responsible for Infrastructure said that the government priority was with water and air quality. She deliberately left out post-secondary education.

Why does the minister ignore the report by the Canadian Association of Universities and Colleges saying that there is a $1.2 billion need for urgent repairs to universities? Will she put that money into educational infrastructure now?

Post-Secondary Education September 25th, 2000

Mr. Speaker, the minister forgot to mention the enormous debts of the students going to university today. That is what he forgot.

According to a report by the Association of Universities and Colleges of Canada, college and university campuses throughout the country are in terrible shape because of the tremendous lack of infrastructure funding. It estimates the cost of urgently required work at more than $1.2 billion.

Is the minister responsible for infrastructure prepared to create an infrastructure program for Canada's college and university campuses in order to meet the urgent needs?