Crucial Fact

  • His favourite word was opposition.

Last in Parliament April 1997, as Liberal MP for Bonaventure—Îles-De-La-Madeleine (Québec)

Lost his last election, in 1997, with 41% of the vote.

Statements in the House

Supply March 12th, 1997

Madam Speaker, we have been following this debate with great interest and I can see that the Reform Party is almost as much in the dark as the Bloc Quebecois is about what regional economic development is all about.

It is even surprising to hear them say that and dare put federalism on trial. I listened to the hon. member for Saguenay-Lac-Saint-Jean denigrate the benefits of federalism, when we know that the federal government has spent $800 million to help his own region get back on its feet.

I remember that, last summer, when even members of the opposition, people from the West were welcomed with open arms by the people in Lac-Saint-Jean; when families from other provinces sent food to the people of Saguenay-Lac-Saint-Jean, when the Canadian government sent its experts, the Canadian Armed Forces and the Canadian Coast Guard, the people in that region could not thank me enough.

We can easily see that the 80 per cent paid by the federal government, by all Canadians, is a source of embarrassment for the opposition because this is a benefit of federalism. In a way, this is the true spirit of federalism, because we are well aware that we can count on all Canadians to invest in the regions, not when times are easy, but especially when times are tough.

We could also put the Bloc on trial, because the members of the Bloc Quebecois do nothing in the area of regional economic development.

Have the Bloc members ever come up with an economic development program for Quebec's regions? Never. I had to come up with an additional $5 million to help out the Gaspé fishers. I had to act on behalf of those who are not properly represented.

The next campaign will not be on a motion by the Bloc, it will be the trial of the Bloc. We will explain to Quebecers that federalism works for Quebecers, particularly those in the regions.

Supply March 12th, 1997

With less money.

Supply March 12th, 1997

Mr. Speaker, I listened with great interest to the comments of the minister, and particularly of the member for Trois-Rivières.

Given that Quebec is receiving $11 billion more than it contributes to the Canadian federation, given the importance of the role of governments in regional development, could the member explain to us where SDI stands? Where does Innovatech stand? Where do Quebec's provincial organizations stand in relation to regional development?

The federal government is investing, but a number of regional development projects are on hold because of the footdragging of the opposition and especially of the Government of Quebec.

Job Creation February 20th, 1997

Mr. Speaker, I wish to inform this House that the Minister of Labour has just announced, on behalf of his colleague, the Minister of Human Resources Development, that $850,000 has been awarded to the new MDF board plant in the Saguenay town of La Baie.

Following the opening of the plant, this financial assistance drawn directly from the transition job fund will create 98 permanent full time jobs as well as 245 indirect jobs in the region. In addition, construction of the plant itself will generate employment for 145 workers. This project, viewed as a priority for the economic development of the region, will be carried out in partnership with Uniboard Canada, which will provide the funding required to complete this $128 million project.

We are proud to be directly associated with this project, which will create permanent jobs in this high growth sector in the Saguenay area.

Supply February 17th, 1997

Mr. Speaker, on a point of order. These are allegations. I can tell you that I go there every month and I do not think it is appropriate for the hon. member to discuss the problems in my riding. I can assure you that I look after my constituents' interests and I believe that they will be the judges of that.

Things like the Irving Whale , the $1.5 million invested in the Magdalen Islands, the new ferry soon to be put in service, will remind people that the member for Bonaventure-Îles-de-la-Madeleine is working hard on their behalf, for their well-being.

Supply February 17th, 1997

Mr. Speaker, one must conclude that the hon. member of the opposition has not understood anything because Quebecers said no on two occasions. I wanted to remind him of that.

I think that we must make sure that Quebecers and the rest of Canadians gain a better understanding of the way the Canadian federation works. Our system is not perfect, I admit, but I believe that it is our duty to explain to the people how our federation works and to promote exchanges between Canadians.

I do not think that we must put up obstacles. I do not think that we must isolate Quebec from the rest of Canada or from the international mainstreams. I think that sometimes, we must spend all the money that is necessary. Some people may not like it, but some others are happy with it and I believe that the ultimate goal is to make sure that for Quebecers, the sovereigntists do not take over the debate without being challenged in their assertions.

I think that it is worth mentioning the millions spent by the Quebec government in nonrecurring or special projects, like the $4 million that went to the Conseil de la souveraineté, to which I often allude, the $300,000 spent on the 1-800-INDEPENDANCE toll free line, and the $8.5 million used to finance the separatist commissions and the sovereignty commissions just before the referendum.

That opposition that is suppose to be the loyal opposition is not so loyal to Canada after all. This is not the case. These people have used most of their time dismantling the Canadian federation, and I believe and hope that the figures provided by the opposition and the things it says will be put in the proper context, based on clear explanations of the benefits of the Canadian federation to the people of Quebec.

I know of no government, be it in England, Germany or France, which would not do anything in its power to preserve the unity of its country. I believe we have shown an exemplary tolerance. We are not propagandists, but people who wish to share true information. We want a balanced debate. I believe that the primary goal of the Department of Cultural Affairs and of this government is to make sure that the truth is known. The reason we are here in this Chamber is to discuss a substantive issue. We talk about the Canadian flag, Canadian colours and Canadian history.

I wish to talk about the future and about employment. Now, we all know that the future lies within the Canadian federation and not outside as the opposition claims.

Supply February 17th, 1997

Mr. Speaker, I wish to highlight, so to speak, these values. And one of the great values of our Canadian federation is taking care of the needy. It is also to say the truth and, often, to denounce iniquities, injustices frequently committed by the government of Quebec.

Of course, I sometimes speak as someone in opposition, but what concerns us most is not propaganda, it is not flags, it is to put people back to work. And I believe that we must tell this to Quebecers, we must condemn the opposition once and for all, by saying that there are costs-

Supply February 17th, 1997

Things are changing in Quebec. I feel the will of a new generation. The will not of the old generation, not of these backward-looking people, but of a new generation that has taken the opportunity to travel, to explore, to exchange, to find new ways to communicate, new ways to create jobs, to open up to new horizons often unexploited.

You know, the great Canadian project meets the real needs of the people. Lucien Bouchard came to my constituency in the Magdalen Islands to announce a $200,000 grant for a small project there. As for us, we invested $1.5 million to send workers back to school, to develop programs, to train a new generation of workers. That is what the Canadian government wants; that is what the people want: to put Canadians back to work.

I hear them in the House talk about telecommunications, and the electronic highway, but, as you may know, my constituency has the greatest number of netsurfers in all of Quebec. More than eight villages are on the net. This is not the case, unfortunately, throughout Quebec. Through federal programs, thanks to the Canadian government, these new community centres are linked to the Internet. I hope they will be able to create long term jobs in my riding.

Unfortunately, there is always some lag time in communications.

Supply February 17th, 1997

Mr. Speaker, I think there is very little time left in this House. I can assure you that Quebec will be part of the Canadian Federation for still a very long time because I can feel things are changing.

Supply February 17th, 1997

Mr. Speaker, I want to congratulate the hon. member who just gave an impassioned speech. He spoke with a lot of conviction about the Canadian francophonie and, of course, the preservation of Quebec within the Canadian federation.

However, I want to point out that the promotion of a sovereign or an independent Quebec is hurting Quebec and is worrying some people, including investors. We must ensure that the people know the full cost of independence.

We talked about the unemployed young people in my riding and the economic problems we have, which are, indeed, very serious. If we do not have the opportunity to address the concerns of our people it is mainly because of the political instability which is being propagated and pursued by the Parti Quebecois and also because of the presence of the Bloc Quebecois here, in Ottawa.