House of Commons photo

Crucial Fact

  • His favourite word was cbc.

Last in Parliament April 1997, as Liberal MP for Restigouche—Chaleur (New Brunswick)

Lost his last election, in 1997, with 37% of the vote.

Statements in the House

Question On The Order Paper September 17th, 1996

In so far as the National Capital Commission is concerned:

1995 Sound and Light Show on Parliament Hill

NCC Costs

Costs

Development Costs $165,009

Production Costs Cash expenditures 129,098 In kind expenditures 67,405 Total production costs $196,503

Total Costs $361,512

Revenues

Payment of partial costs of new visual component (fromPublic Works and Government Services Canada) $100,000

Media sponsorship (in kind) 67,405 Total Revenues $167,405

Net NCC Cost $194,107

Attendance

Number of Performances 145

Total Attendance 142,240

Notes:

  1. Personnel costs are not included.

  2. Development costs are the costs of the new visual component required due to the restoration work being done on the Centre Block.

  3. Development costs were incurred over two fiscal years. Costs included above are costs incurred in 1995-96 fiscal year. Development costs of $148,057 were incurred in 1994-95.

  4. Media sponsors supported this program providing promotional services in kind.

Broadcasting Act September 16th, 1996

Mr. Speaker, I am pleased to rise today to speak on the hon. member's bill, and would like to take advantage of the same opportunity to congratulate him on the effort he has put into it.

I, and I believe most of the other members of this House, share the objective sought by the hon. member for Sarnia-Lambton in introducing this bill. We all agree that Canadians must be able to fully express their opinion on the programs they receive in their homes. We all wish to ensure that Canadian consumers receive the programs they want at a reasonable price. In this respect, I congratulate the hon. member for his initiative.

While supporting the underlying reasons for this bill, I have had the opportunity to discuss and review it with other members, and have reached the conclusion, in light of the questions raised, that this bill would have unexpected and dramatic effects.

This bill would, unintentionally, restrict Canada's capacity to guarantee Canadian content and the availability of French programming outside of Quebec. As a francophone from outside Quebec, I believe that access by the regions outside Quebec to French programs is essential. For example, had the bill being proposed at this time been in effect a few years ago, it is very likely that we would not have Newsworld and RDI today. Despite its intention, which I believe to be an honourable one, I feel that the unexpected consequences of this bill would be devastating.

In tabling this bill, the hon. member's intention was to guarantee all Canadians fair and equitable treatment. Unfortunately, it would hamper the flexibility the CRTC requires to ensure that very fairness and equity.

As such, therefore, while congratulating the hon. member for his intentions in proposing this bill, its unexpected consequences force me to vote against it.

In a nutshell, the intent of the bill is good. In reviewing comments made by members of Parliament from all parties, they agree with the intent of the bill that there should be no negative optioning, that consumers should be protected.

What we are saying here today is that this bill goes beyond that. It takes away a lot of the flexibility of the CRTC. It takes away the flexibility of the government. I can give an example, as I have

mentioned. Had this bill been in effect years ago, we might not have "Newsworld" today or RDI, the French version of "Newsworld". That is what would have happened.

It would be impossible for me to support such a bill that would take away the flexibility of the Canadian government. That would also go for Canadian content. It would also go for the rural regions. It would have a negative impact right across Canada.

It is clear that MPs are against negative optioning. The new president of the CRTC has indicated that she prefers the positive option. The cable companies have indicated that they are against it and they do not intend to use it.

The member must be congratulated for the intent. The member who is quite imaginative, who has grasped the subject quite well, should be able to come up with a new way to propose something to the House at a later date which deals directly with negative option billing.

I suggest to members that they review the legislation before they cast their deciding votes. It could have some very serious implications for their regions, for Canadian content, for the flexibility the CRTC has in distributing programs across Canada.

Canadian Broadcasting Corporation June 14th, 1996

Mr. Speaker, that is what I have just said. The English network of the CBC will absorb its own cuts.

I would like to take this opportunity to draw attention to the spirit of co-operation between Radio-Canada and Radio-Quebec, which have just concluded an agreement ensuring maximum visibility for programs produced by Canadians for Canadians. In these times of budget cuts, this sort of innovative and creative partnership reflects judicious use of funds and promises more of the same.

Canadian Broadcasting Corporation June 14th, 1996

Mr. Speaker, the CBC has a mandate to serve Canadians in both official languages. The hon. member should delight in the fact that 90 per cent of programming in prime time is Canadian. The network intends to increase that figure to 100 per cent.

Having said that, the CBC English network has already factored in those cuts and no other network will have to pay for the Canadianization of the English network.

Supply June 13th, 1996

Madam Speaker, our francophone communities in Canada have, over the past 25 years, acquired a maturity and an assurance that our colleagues in the opposition do not seem to suspect. They want and they can take into their hands their own future and, to do that, they have a new tool, the Canada-communities agreements, which are proof of continued direct support by the Canadian government.

The needs of official language minority communities, like those of any other groups of Canadians, are increasing, whereas the resources of the Department of Canadian Heritage, like those of every other department, are decreasing. The challenge is to fill the gap between needs and resources.

In 1994-95, the Department of Canadian Heritage dealt head on with this challenge, which was all the bigger because the department could not have disregarded 25 years of close co-operation to impose some procedures to communities.

As it realized that it could not and should not stop its action, the department undertook to redefine its direct support to official language communities while trying to find with them new ways to operate in order to be more efficient than ever.

The exercise was launched with the release, in May 1994, of a discussion paper dealing with a redefinition of the relations between the department and its client groups to enhance confidence in the future. This was essentially meant to redefine the relations between the department and the official language communities on a basis that reflects the maturity acquired over the years. The department established a new partnership that would preserve the major contributions of the past and would allow the communities to continue to grow. All that in spite of the fact that the public funding could not keep increasing as it did in the past.

Keeping in mind its constitutional and legislative commitments and its obligations in other such areas as, for example, interdepartmental joint action, the department proposed to the communities various possible solutions that could lead to new co-operation and funding mechanisms taking into account the ever decreasing resources.

Consultations were held with communities in all the provinces and territories and with national French language organizations. A lot of people took part in these consultations, including many community organizations.

Some points in particular were raised. For instance, organizations recognized the need to act very soon considering the new budget realities; communities said they were ready to explore a new partnership with the Department of Canadian Heritage as well as to consult more and set real priorities; they expressed consider-

able interest for mechanisms based on an enhanced managing role for the communities; the organizations recognized that to apply the same budget cuts everywhere would not be efficient and that we needed a better approach; they thought this was a necessary and useful process only if we found mechanisms to meet the new development needs of the communities.

These francophone minorities have shown great maturity and a deep sense of responsibility. Instead of feeling sorry for themselves, as my hon. colleagues opposite would have hoped for it seems, they worked with the Department of Canadian Heritage to develop the terms of a new co-operative approach, the Canada-community agreements.

These agreements help to better take into consideration the different needs of the official language minorities from various provinces and various areas. These differences do have an impact on the ways to ensure the development and growth of the communities.

Increased co-operation will help the communities to develop a vision based on their needs and to reach a consensus over their priorities in terms of development. The Department of Canadian Heritage subsidies will be allocated in accordance with this vision.

The department can thus ensure that its support goes towards issues viewed as priorities by the communities themselves, while at the same time involving the communities in the realization of projects and the attainment of results. By turning to those who have the greatest and most genuine stake in the matter, the department achieves better results.

There is no doubt that the results thus obtained, whether in the fields of culture, communications, the economy, education, or whatever, make it possible for our francophone communities outside Quebec not just to survive, but to affirm their vitality throughout the country. Thanks to their schools, their artists, their business people and their institutions, they are increasingly recognized as "value added" for their province or territory, where, furthermore, they are making quite a name for themselves.

Our government will therefore be supporting the francophone economic forum to be held in Beauce this fall, which will showcase their energy and desire to excel in the economic field, by creating exchanges and sharing their experiences with francophones throughout the country. Taking charge of their own destiny and taking it one step further are another sign of their vitality.

The Department of Canadian Heritage also recognizes that the consolidation of the communities' long term development requires that efforts be made to increase their independence from government funding by promoting the development of their capacity to themselves fund any measures they wish to take.

The efforts of the Department of Canadian Heritage will therefore not stop with the signing of the Canada-communities agreements. Our government remains strongly committed to providing to official language minority communities the support and the tools they need to continue to develop and flourish.

By devising a new way of managing their relationship, official language minority communities and the Department of Canadian Heritage have one more tool at their disposal to fill the gap between their respective expectations and resources.

Needless to say, the success of this initiative largely depends on the spirit of co-operation that has driven the two parties concerned for a quarter of a century now.

In my province of New Brunswick, the federal government's commitment has allowed the Acadian community to develop and flourish at exceptional levels. The federal government supports our cultural groups, our museums, our universities, our community associations, our school-community centres, and so on.

Therefore, it is very disappointing to see that members opposite continue to ignore such determination and such goodwill and to be blind to the increasingly vigorous presence of francophone communities outside Quebec.

Official Languages June 12th, 1996

Mr. Speaker, as the linguistic debate heats up once again in Quebec, we in this House are faced every day with the sorry spectacle of two regional political formations competing for the linguistic intolerance award.

The Bloc Quebecois and its twin, the Reform Party, are unable to rally all Canadians around a common project. Both of them would rather try to destroy what they know they cannot control.

In his latest report, the Commissioner of Official Languages draws an objective portrait of the linguistic reality. The situation in this country has greatly improved since the Official Languages Act was passed. Attitudes have also started to change for the better.

I hope the commissioner's message will be heard and that the extremist attitudes of the Bloc Quebecois and the Reform Party will start to evolve.

Questions Passed As Orders For Returns May 31st, 1996

Mr. Speaker, I would ask that the remaining questions be allowed to stand.

Questions Passed As Orders For Returns May 31st, 1996

Mr. Speaker, if question No. 36 could be made an order for return, that return would be tabled immediately.

Government Response To Petitions May 31st, 1996

Mr. Speaker, pursuant to Standing Order 36(8), I have the honour to table, in both official languages, the government's response to 6 petitions.

French Speaking Minorities May 31st, 1996

Mr. Speaker, I am very surprised because, two weeks ago, they complained when the commissioner congratulated us for improving the situation of francophones living outside Quebec. I want to make it clear that we need no lesson from this party.