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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

Remembrance Day November 4th, 1999

Mr. Speaker, in Europe at the 11th hour of the 11th day of November 1918, buglers announced the armistice along hundreds of kilometres of bloody and muddy trenches separating the two warring sides.

Millions of men came up out of the muddy trenches, able to breathe fresh air at last without fearing that this might be their last breath.

They were then able to go home to their families with the satisfaction of a job well done. Not only had they saved their homes and their freedom, but they were also convinced that they were responsible for putting an end to such butchery, by winning “the war to end all wars” as it was called.

Millions more, however, laid to rest under wooden crosses, did not get up and go home.

Today we honour both those who gave their lives and those who were prepared to give their lives to defend our values.

Alas, “the war to end all wars” was not to be the last after all, as we know. We also honour today the children of those first soldiers, who shouldered their kit-bags and marched off to a second and even bloodier war 21 years after the first, to fight for their country and for freedom again threatened.

We must not forget all those who fell in Korea, in the United Nations' struggle against yet another incarnation of tyranny, that two-headed hydra so known to our century. Finally, 55 years after the Second World War, it seems that we are finally thinking of another group. Let us gratefully acknowledge the contribution of the merchant seamen who, during four years, braved U-boat infested waters, risking their lives to bring weapons and ammunition to their comrades in arms to ensure the victory.

Malraux said that the victory must remain with those who fought the war without liking it. That is indeed what happened.

Aviators, sailors, foot soldiers in 1914-18, 1939-45 and 1950-53, these victorious men and women fought in the war as a duty, but without liking it, because we are peaceful. Without them, without their victories, we would not be here in this free parliament.

Certainly, we will not forget them. We will make sure our children do not forget them either. Let us make sure that they know what huge sacrifices were made so they could live, worry free, in freedom and peace, these things that seem as natural as the air they breathe, but they were passed on by the sacrifices so many of their parents and grandparents paid for with their lives.

National Co-Op Week October 22nd, 1999

Mr. Speaker, this week is Co-op Week, and I am very pleased to take this opportunity to pay tribute to all co-op members in Quebec and around the world.

In this era of globalization, at a time when major corporations are streamlining their operations strictly for reasons of profits, co-operatives are viewed as an effective protection against desolidarization within the economy.

Throughout the world, an increasing number of men and women are turning to co-ops as a mean to reconcile economic development and solidarity.

In Quebec, there are co-ops in the agri-food, financial services, housing and work industries, and these employ tens of thousands of men and women.

Co-ops inform and develop, while promoting democracy and solidarity. Long live the co-ops.

Forces Of Liberation June 7th, 1999

Mr. Speaker, on June 5, 1944, just 55 years ago, millions of Europeans in occupied countries who were anxiously listening to the BBC, as they did every evening, heard, as I did, despite the jamming by the Germans, a mysterious phrase that translated roughly as: The drawn out sobs of fall's violins soothe my heart with their monotonous languor.

The next day they understood. Deliverance was at hand. The landing had just begun. The mysterious coded message was a warning to the French resistance.

That day 20,000 Canadians and Quebecers launched an attack on Juno beach and 359 of them died for the liberation of Europe. Let us never forget.

Today, obviously on a smaller scale, the same countries have again mobilized to liberate another people from an occupation they oppose; the Kosovars.

Let us be proud to belong to the free world, to the western world, which knows how to mobilize not just to defend its own freedom, but the freedom of others, even when its own material interest is not threatened.

Canadian Environmental Protection Act, 1999 May 27th, 1999

Mr. Speaker, the bill under consitderation today is part of a continuum. Tirelessly, unrelentingly, this government pursues the same two objectives with each bill it introduces: first of all, nibbling away at the constitutional powers of the provinces, and second, making money.

Bill C-32 is a wonderful illustration and demonstration, as if one were needed, of this dual obsessive propensity of the Liberals to make political hay by centralizing within their hands as much power and money as possible, with an absolute disdain for the interests of the people.

I will start by speaking of the intrusion into the constitutional powers of the provinces.

Everyone knows that the environment is a shared federal and provincial jurisdiction. Starting right with the preamble to the bill, the division of powers relating to the environment is as follows: Ottawa has the power to decide, the provinces the power to implement. Am I exaggerating? Let the hon. members listen to the following. This is taken from the preamble:

Whereas the Government of Canada will continue to demonstrate national leadership in establishing environmental standards—

Here we go again with the same old Trojan Horse of national standards.

Members are still not convinced? Let us continue, with clause 2, which reads “the federal government must endeavour”—I repeat, endeavour—“to act in cooperation with governments to protect the environment”. Endeavour, not act, just try to act. We can trust the government not to go out of its way to endeavour to co-operate with the provinces. We want to get rid of this too convenient term, endeavour.

These two examples illustrate the federal government's firm resolve to confine the provinces to the humble role of carrying out its orders.

My second point is that the bill will be used to increase government revenues, at the expense of the public interest.

To illustrate my point, I will now read clause 185:

(1) No person shall import, export or convey in transit a hazardous waste or hazardous recyclable material, or prescribed non-hazardous waste for final disposal, except a ) after notifying the Minister and paying the prescribed fee;

Who will pay the prescribed fee? The Canadian company that imports the waste to process it.

Do not tell us that it is appropriate, for reasons of safety, to raise barriers against the transborder movement of hazardous waste in Canada, and that it is the reason for this provision. The industry that processes the waste is an important factor. It plays a critical role in the protection of the environment.

Obviously, the survival of the industry depends on the volume of waste it processes. The efficiency and performance of the Sablex plant, in Blainville, not to mention the attention it pays to safety, are recognized worldwide by those concerned. This company processes and must process waste from the United States to ensure its profitability. Its profitability will be jeopardized if it must add fees paid at the border to its other charges.

Increasing the financial burden borne by the hazardous waste industry will obviously lead to an increase in the rates the industry charges its customers. Higher rates mean a higher risk certain unscrupulous businesses that generate this kind of waste will avoid having them processed by dumping them God knows where.

Therefore fees on waste imported for processing is working against the environment. It is unconscionable and makes no sense to find such a provision in a bill on, precisely, environmental protection.

One could understand that fees be levied on waste bound, let us say, for a province where the movement of these substances is not governed by legislation—I do not even know if such a province exists—which would make it desirable to curtail their importation. But this is certainly not the case in Quebec where we have such legislation.

Our amendment to clause 185 therefore does not seek to eliminate these fees, but to exempt from them these substances bound for a province where such legislation exists. The amendment reads as follows:

(1.1) The Governor in Council shall, by order, exempt from the application of subsection (1)—

That is exempt from the fees.

—any person who imports into, exports to or conveys in transit to a province substances described in subsection (1) where an Act of the legislature of the province is in force that governs the movement of such substances—

I have no doubt my colleagues from every party recognize the advisability of the amendment introduced by my colleague for Jonquière, our party's environment critic.

Peace In Yugoslavia May 26th, 1999

Mr. Speaker, I am extremely proud to draw attention to a project with great promise, which was thought up and carried out by the young people of my riding.

In these times of great upheaval in Yugoslavia, the students of the Jeunes du Monde school in Terrebonne have decided to work toward peace.

They made up a white flag symbolizing a call for peace in the Yugoslav conflict, addressed to both President Milosevic and to NATO. This flag, signed by all the students and all the staff of the school, constitutes a repudiation of violence.

This symbolic flag will be sent to NATO in the next few days on behalf of young people who wish to propose alternatives to the use of violence in conflict resolution.

I salute the efforts of these representatives of our youth who want to introduce a new era of peace and brotherly love.

Mirabel Airport May 14th, 1999

Mr. Speaker, yesterday, the Government of Quebec tabled a bill making Mirabel a tax free zone. In the meantime, the government opposite does nothing. But we know that the Minister of National Revenue has all kinds of spare time now that his department has been privatized and turned into an agency.

My question is for the Minister of National Revenue. It would seem that the minister is studying the question, but what is he waiting for to take action and do something concrete to help Mirabel out of the mess his government has landed it in over the last 30 years?

Public Sector Pension Investment Board Act May 13th, 1999

Madam Speaker, errare humanum est, persevere diabolicum, said the Romans. To err is human, but to persist is diabolical. One could not describe any better the bill before us.

After appropriating the employment insurance fund surplus, the government now wants to get its hands on the accumulated surplus in the public sector pension plans. We have to face the facts. Relying on his docile majority, the Prime Minister has decided to grab everything within his reach and put it in his large pocket, whether it belongs to him or not.

It would not be so bad if this misappropriated money were to be used for legitimate purposes. But can we say the federal government's obvious intention to use this money to build a slush fund for the next election is a legitimate purpose? It wants to be able to tell people how good and how generous it is just before they cast their vote.

Of course, the federal government also wants to use this money to continue to fund its intrusion in provincial jurisdictions. That is certainly as bold, shameless and cynical as can be.

What scares me about this scheme is that people did nothing else but shrug in disgust and resignation. All those scandals in Ottawa have made them numb. They are no longer reacting.

This kind of passivity is dangerous because it encourages the government to continue with its actions. What is the use of democracy if the people, theoretically sovereign, give up their sovereignty, thereby allowing their leaders to act as dictators with impunity?

Why would we be surprised at this lack of public reaction, when, higher up, the provincial leaders, except Quebec's, provided a lamentable example? It is time to recall the history of the social union.

On February 4, at 24 Sussex Drive, nine premiers, abdicating their birthright to their area of jurisdiction in exchange for a dish of budget largesse lentils, agreed to the massive intrusion by Ottawa in their constitutional jurisdiction.

The most pressing duty of the members of the Bloc Quebecois is to awaken the indignation of the electorate. Holy indignation, the salutary ability to react, to rise up, to cry out loud and long in the media and, if necessary, in the street, our disgust, our indignation, our satiation at this insulting scorn for the most elementary government ethics.

When parliamentary democracy is in crisis, elected representatives have no other choice but to advise their electors.

But, it is an ill wind that blows no good. By settling deeper and deeper into ignominy, this government will, I hope at least, one day soon convince all Quebeckers that, to escape this foul mudhole that Canadian politics has become under it, sovereignty is the only way.

I would now like to introduce a motion. I began my speech by recalling the old proverb that to err is human, to persist in error is diabolical. My colleagues opposite have twice rejected a motion asking them to withdraw from this debate, since they are the ones that imposed closure.

In the hope that, having made a mistake they will not want to persist in their error diabolically, I request the unanimous consent of the House for the following motion:

That all government members, since the government has imposed time allocation on consideration of Bill C-78, at report stage, be prevented from speaking during today's debate on this bill.

Official Languages April 30th, 1999

Mr. Speaker, Maxwell Yalden, the former commissioner of official languages, recently wrote an article to try to show that bilingualism had made progress in Canada over the past 30 years, but failed to include actual figures.

Mr Yalden will be interested to learn that, since 1951, in spite of the millions of dollars invested, the ability to speak French has dropped from 31.9% to 31.3% among Canadians, while the ability to speak English increased by 4%.

Also, compared to 30 years ago, there are 60,000 fewer Canadians outside Quebec for whom French is the language spoken at home. In eastern Ontario, where the Official Languages Act has been in effect for 30 years, the assimilation rate doubled in that time, rising from 13% to 24%.

The Bloc Quebecois sincerely hopes that the next commissioner of official languages will be an ally for the francophone communities and that he will tell things as they are, not as the government would like them to be.

Member For Bourassa April 22nd, 1999

Mr. Speaker, once again, the member for Bourassa has jumped at an opportunity to feign indignation at our party.

This time, he is incensed that last weekend the general council of the Bloc Quebecois defined a Quebecker as anyone living in Quebec. Hardly something to get all hot and bothered about, is it?

The member for Bourassa has provided me with an opportunity to remind this House of a statement he made in May, 1996, about Mr. Nunez, a member of Chilean origin. He said that sometimes he felt like restoring the deportation act and sending back to their country those who spit on the Canadian flag. Such is the intolerance of this holier-than-thou member.

My colleague might like to know that I too should be sent back to my native land. I was born in Belgium. But, like Mr. Nunez, I have never spit on the Canadian flag, which I respect as the flag of a country with which a sovereign Quebec will want to be friends.

Until that wonderful day comes, I say to my colleague that I am a Quebecker through and through and proud of it.

Kosovo April 16th, 1999

Mr. Speaker, yesterday the Minister of National Defence contradicted the Prime Minister on the request to sent additional planes to Kosovo.

The Prime Minister said that six additional planes had been requested, whereas the Minister of National Defence said that no specific number had been given. These unexplained contradictions show the state of the government's disorganization in this business.

My question is for the Deputy Prime Minister. Could we, 24 hours later, have an answer on the number of CF-18s that NATO asked the Government of Canada to provide?