House of Commons photo

Crucial Fact

  • His favourite word was quebec.

Last in Parliament October 2000, as Bloc MP for Terrebonne—Blainville (Québec)

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

Statements in the House

Points Of Order February 15th, 2000

Madam Speaker, following the introduction, by the Minister of Intergovernmental Affairs, of a bill denying the fundamental rights of Quebecers, I ask for the unanimous consent of the House to table a document that will enlighten the House.

It is a document on the Canadian dollar and Quebec's separation. To convince my colleagues across the way of the capital importance of this document, I will read a brief excerpt from it.

It states that “in the Parti Quebecois' bill on sovereignty, the currency having legal tender in Quebec shall remain the Canadian dollar”. This position has for a long time—

Canada Elections Act February 14th, 2000

Madam Speaker, for years the funding of political parties by corporations, which would ask for control and favours from the government in exchange, has been the Achilles heel of western governments.

But contrary to Greek heroes, these democracies do not die—at least none has died yet—from the low blows to this weak point in their bodies. Each time, however, they are damaged and their image is severely tarnished, which could eventually throw them out of balance.

We recall the series of scandals that shook France five years ago, when the public was at first astounded and then indignant upon learning how just about every national party was bending the law and accepting money from powerful corporations. The French government hastened to pass an act of indemnity to calm people down and save top political figures from legal proceedings.

In recent weeks, France's top political figures have yielded their place in the pillory of public opinion to the once-respected, once-adulated Chancellor of Germany, Helmut Kohl, the father of a unified Germany, he whose party funding over a number of years now appears to be just the tip of an iceberg on the rough seas of German democracy, below whose waters lurks a huge mass of dangerous liaisons between politics and business.

This lax attitude in the western world's legislation on party funding, and worse yet the indulgence with which infractions are tolerated are, in my opinion, what lies behind the dangerous disrepute into which elected representatives today, in Canada as elsewhere, have fallen. The end result of massive financing of parties by lobbies is, of necessity—you scratch my back and I'll scratch yours—nice little subsidies to generous donors, political favours, patronage, hush money, all of which quite properly scandalize public opinion.

The most recent—and most juicy—illustration of this is the discredit currently being focussed on the Minister of Human Resources Development. Do you realize this, fellow citizens? We have just taken money from your pockets that will go to pay back—with heavy interest—the money lobbies have paid to the party that governs us, so that it may continue to reign over our province, when two-thirds of the population have rejected it.

These dirty dealings are possible because of our electoral legislation. In Canada, no one has to even put any effort into getting around it. The Elections Act sets a limit on election expenditures, but there is no such limit on what amount of election funding can come from business.

When the government announced that it was going to freshen up this legislation, when Bill C-2 came up on the floor of the House, we were perhaps incurably naive to imagine that the Liberals had decided to finally tackle a thorough cleaning of the Augean stables of party financing. It meant really not knowing these people and having underestimated the man leading them, the incarnation of vote winning gimmickry and political scheming.

However, our Prime Minister did not have to look far for a model in this area. The Quebec elections act prohibits corporate donations. In shutting off this tap, it put a stop to the disgusting stench that rose from the trough of political favours because of the conniving about contracts and grants.

Do you see in Quebec this sort of endless scandal, which, in Ottawa, delights the columnists, but little by little, dangerously, adds to the up to now silent—regrettably—disdain of the public for its representatives?

The Bloc Quebecois has therefore moved an amendment to limit election funding of the parties to voters and to a maximum of $5,000 per contributor. This is the third time we have tried to change the law in this regard. On the first two occasions, the Liberals rejected our amendments.

If it is accepted this time—we can always dream and God willing—if such a miracle were to happen, it would put an end to the resolution we voted on at our convention to enable our party, so that it could fight as an equal, to accept corporate donations—with a $5,000 limit—as our adversaries can.

In conclusion, if our amendment is rejected, Parliament Hill will remain the centre for the distribution of the billions of dollars this government has acquired improperly by rationing the provinces, overtaxing the middle class and the ransoming of two pension funds, by the barons of the system to their buddies, who, never disappointed in their expectation of the favour being returned, will finance their return to power.

But as it is an ill wind that blows no good, we may hope that the bill will help finally convince Quebecers that sovereignty is the only route of escape from the cesspool the federal system has become.

A few more bills like Bill C-2, a few more HRDC scandals and those of us who hoped that Canadian federalism might yet rectify itself, will in the end recognize and understand that there is no hope for a rotten apple. We pitch them.

Municipal Grants Act February 11th, 2000

Mr. Speaker, the Ottawa government has finally put before the House of Commons Bill C-10, respecting payments in lieu of taxes.

The need for such legislation has been obvious for years, and the issue has been studied several times over the last five years. However, the wheels of government, as we know, grind exceedingly slow when it is not seeking to encroach upon the rights of provinces, as in the case of the so-called clarity bill.

In this case, of course, the government moved quickly, even to the point of imposing closure, as it did yesterday. But better late than never. The Minister of Public Works and Government Services has finally recognized the need to legislate, and I quote from clause 2.1 “to provide for the fair and equitable administration of payments in lieu of taxes”.

For 50 years, the federal government, as everyone knows, has been making payments in lieu of property taxes to municipalities with regard to federal properties.

Except for some reservations, which are reflected in our amendments, we consider Bill C-10 to be an improvement over the existing Municipal Grants Act.

Under the new act and regulations, crown corporations will have to pay interest on arrears and supplementary payments just like departments. Crown corporations will also have to make payments when their tenants do not fulfil their obligations. This is obviously a step forward.

Currently, the municipalities' finances are in order. The same would be true of higher levels of government if the rule the municipalities must abide by had been followed, a rule that every head of household knows very well: Never borrow money to buy groceries.

However, the drastic cuts in transfers to the provinces by the federal government have had compelled Quebec to share the financial consequences with the municipalities, in addition to putting the health care and education systems in jeopardy.

Therefore, payments in lieu of taxes made by the federal government represent a greater share than ever of revenue in many municipalities, including the six cities in my riding.

Of course, Bill C-10 does not go as far as to force Ottawa to make payments in lieu of taxes to cities and villages on the basis of the municipal evaluation rolls, as is the case for all the taxpayers. That would be asking too much. Rather, the real progress achieved in this bill is the extension of the type of structures covered by these grants and the reduced arbitrariness in the determination of amounts to be paid.

Our amendments are designed to improve the law and, since they are based on common sense, I am confident all my colleagues will approve them. Some were mentioned this morning by my colleague, the member for Saint-Jean. Among the other amendments that were tabled, one aims at defining more accurately certain terms which, because of their ambiguity, might be open to dispute when the legislation is implemented.

We are also asking for a statutory review of the law on a regular basis. This review is important because it will allow us to follow up and make appropriate changes. With this review, the municipalities will also be able to express their views clearly and directly.

In conclusion, the bill before us is good, and it will be made even better by our amendments. We are living and will increasingly be living in a universe where the globalisation of the economy and the levelling of cultures will threaten the individual in his heartfelt sentiment of belonging to his community.

After his family, his municipality is the community with which he has the closest ties. I am thinking here mostly of the cities in my riding, which are large enough to provide their citizens with all the services they need and, at the same time, small enough to maintain warm human relations instead of seeing them lost and diluted because of high numbers.

But this community must have sufficient resources, and that the buildings owned by the two levels of government actually not pay the full cost of the utilities provided to them, the same services provided to the residents, that is security, water, roads, and so on.

With Bill C-10, the federal government is encouraged to take on a fair share of those expenses. Our party will vote in favour of this bill and do everything it can to see that it is implemented as soon as possible.

Points Of Order February 10th, 2000

Mr. Speaker, the last time I wanted to table a document, members opposite rejected my request without giving it proper consideration, since you asked for unanimous consent before I could even say what it was all about. I hope to have more luck this time.

Following the introduction by the Minister of Intergovernmental Affairs of a bill denying Quebecers their basic rights, I ask for the unanimous consent of the House to table a document which could enlighten members in this House. This is an article published on February 1 in Le Devoir and entitled “Quebec made its nest in Davos”.

Point Of Order February 7th, 2000

On a point of order, Mr. Speaker. I do not understand how I could be refused unanimous consent even before I said what it is sought for.

Point Of Order February 7th, 2000

Mr. Speaker, I am sorry, but I did not even get to say what the paper was about.

Point Of Order February 7th, 2000

Mr. Speaker, further to the announcement by the prime minister who introduced a bill denying the basic rights of Quebecers, I seek the unanimous consent of the House to table a paper whose inherent value will be very clear to all hon. members.

Gm Plant In Boisbriand December 17th, 1999

Mr. Speaker, General Motors of Boisbriand has just been awarded the prix Grande mention in the major manufacturing category. This prize was awarded by the Quebec department of industry and commerce.

To quote the mayor of Boisbriand, “This award is a tribute to the efforts of the 1,500 men and women who work in this plant to provide the consumer with a truly top quality product”.

Yet imagine, these skilled workers are likely to end up jobless before long, because the plant is scheduled to close down within months, despite the efforts of the Government of Quebec.

Will this situation finally strike a chord with the federal government? Given the human and economic aspects of the situation, and the fact that public funds have been invested in maintaining these jobs, I again strongly urge the federal government to assume its responsibilities. Time is of the essence.

Bill C-20 December 16th, 1999

Mr. Speaker, we are on the eve of the Christmas holiday. Quebec families will be discussing the minister's bill when they get together.

Should that bill not be clear and should the minister not give a nice present by clearly stating that in a future referendum no vote will have more weight than another one and, therefore, recognize the legitimacy of the 50% plus one rule?

Bill C-20 December 16th, 1999

Mr. Speaker, as Mr. Trudeau pointed out in 1958:

In national politics, English Canadians have long behaved as if they believed that democracy was not made for French Canadians.

Will the Minister of Intergovernmental Affairs admit that his clarity bill perpetuates the same bias regarding the ability of Quebecers to democratically decide their future?