House of Commons photo

Crucial Fact

  • His favourite word was quebec.

Last in Parliament April 1997, as Bloc MP for Brome—Missisquoi (Québec)

Won his last election, in 1993, with 41% of the vote.

Statements in the House

Old Age Security March 11th, 1994

Mr. Speaker, is the minister willing to apologize to seniors he upset with his controversial statement, forcing the Prime Minister to contradict him?

Old Age Security March 11th, 1994

Mr. Speaker, my question is for the Minister of Human Resources Development.

After the Minister of Human Resources Development made his controversial statement calling for Canadians to choose between old age pensions and youth training programs, the Prime Minister intervened to allay the fears raised by this statement. The Prime Minister said that the government had no intention of touching old age pensions.

Now that the Prime Minister has contradicted him, can the Minister of Human Resources Development confirm that the white paper he will table in June will not propose any changes to the old age security program?

Winter Olympics February 24th, 1994

Mr. Speaker, Quebec is once again in the spotlight today in Lillehammer. It is with great pride and pleasure that we learned this morning that Philippe Laroche of Lac-Beauport, in the riding of Charlesbourg, and Lloyd Langlois of Magog, in my riding, have respectively won silver and bronze in freestyle skiing-aerials.

We extend our heartfelt congratulations to them and wish them the best of luck in whatever challenge they decide to take on next, with no lack of enthusiasm, that is for sure.

Mr. Speaker, the success of our athletes at the Olympic Games is even more preaiseworthy when you think that they must initially struggle on their own to find financial support.

We will see to it that the Minister responsible for Amateur Sports honours his commitments and quickly puts in place new policies regarding support for our athletes.

Defence Policy February 17th, 1994

Madam Speaker, I listened very closely to the speech by my hon. colleague for Hillsborough and I agree with him that the Depatment of National Defence does many things very well and that it plays an important role.

However, if we examine each of the services in detail, it is clear that each one is important and has a role to play. My question is the following: Since we already have a national defence committee and given that we are asking the middle class and the poor to tighten their belts, what more can a special sixteen-member joint committee accomplish that existing committees cannot?

I would also like to ask my hon. colleague why the sixteen committee members should be authorized to travel from place to place within Canada and abroad to receive evidence?

Would it not be more logical to have witnesses come here to give evidence?

Tribute To Frédéric Back February 11th, 1994

On behalf of all Quebecers and Canadians, we wish to congratulate Frédéric Back whose new film Le fleuve aux grandes eaux has been selected for the Oscars in the short animated category.

It is the fourth nomination for this Quebec film-maker who already won two Oscars for Crack , in 1982, and The Man Who Planted Trees, in 1988.

This new film by Mr. Back, which has been described as a love song to the St. Lawrence River, was already awarded the Grand prix of the Annecy animated film festival in June 1993 and the prize for the best animated film of 1993 awarded in January by the movie critics of Los Angeles.

We wish to point out that this film was produced thanks to the Canadian Broadcasting Corporation, which shows once more the need to maintain the budget of the CBC.

Good luck, Mr. Back.

International Development February 4th, 1994

Mr. Speaker, I want to remind the House and all Quebecers that next week will be the third International Development Week. Its purpose is to increase our awareness of the living conditions of people in Third World countries.

All across Canada, various activities will show Canadians the economic and social situation of Third World countries and what kind of work our non-governmental organizations are doing all over the world, particularly in Africa.

I would like to take this opportunity to pay tribute to all the volunteer workers from Quebec and Canada who remind us of the needs of the underprivileged. They accomplish a commendable task and deserve our gratitude.

Social Security System February 3rd, 1994

Mr. Speaker, as this is my first official speech in this House, I would like, with your permission, to congratulate all members on their election and congratulate you on your appointment to this responsible position.

I would also like to thank the voters of Brome-Missisquoi from the bottom of my heart for placing their trust in me and electing me as their representative. Brome-Missisquoi is a lovely riding in Quebec's Eastern Townships. It has both an urban and a rural mix and tourism, farming and industry are the dominant areas of activity.

The Minister of Human Resources Development and Minister of Western Economic Diversification has informed us that he intends to hold broad public consultations on social program reform. The government has given itself two years to review social programs and make changes in a manner which, as it promised repeatedly during the election campaign, takes into account the concerns of the people.

Many Quebecers and Canadians are afraid of what the government has in mind for social programs. They are afraid that the government, under the pretext of getting public finances in order, will slash the only social safety net they have.

The upcoming social program review scares many disadvantaged people and those who are suffering because of the sluggish economic recovery. It scares unemployed persons, welfare recipients, low and middle income families, senior citizens and, of course, disabled persons.

All of these people are currently facing a great deal of uncertainty as to the availability of quality occupational training to help them integrate the labour force and gain access to the health care and social services they desperately need.

According to the Office des personnes handicapées du Québec , in 1986, there were ten times as many disabled persons living in a residential setting as there were disabled persons in an institutional setting. More than one third of the population over the age of 75 is considered disabled and overall, there are more women than men who are disabled.

The challenge facing the government is, therefore, complex. On one hand, all Quebecers and Canadians want the government to tackle the employment problem. Citizens who want to use their skills and experience to make a contribution to society find nothing noble about unemployment and welfare. Finding work is a priority for disabled persons, particularly for those not confined to an institution because of their disability.

Disabled persons often encounter obstacles such as discriminatory hiring and promotion practices. Yet, many disabled persons are highly qualified and functional. Why not call upon these individuals who want to participate in the economic development and modernization of Quebec and Canada.

Disabled persons also face problems in other areas such as training, transportation, communications and housing, areas in which most Canadians take fairness for granted.

Most of these areas come under provincial jurisdiction and we believe that the federal government has no business interfering any more than it now does in such matters. We think that the money allocated by the federal government to these programs for the handicapped must be transferred to the provinces, which are a lot closer to the needs of their population.

We think there is an increasingly urgent need for Quebec to create institutions that unite us, based on our needs and not on standards imposed by the rest of Canada that do not always take into account our economic, cultural and social situation. The duplication and overlap problem is costly and so complex that the average person is easily lost. The competition among governments on service quantity but not quality has resulted in waste, the rule being that the federal government takes up as much room as possible without regard for costs.

Cuts in transfer payments to the provinces for health care may translate into budget cuts in home-care and rehabilitation centers.

Quebec and the other provinces will be forced to slash their health care services. The government must not be allowed to make the provinces bear the burden of its deficit and shoulder the blame for these cuts.

The lack of funds in the health care system affects non only the availability of occupational therapy and physiotherapy services but also the home support program for people with disabilities.

Are we to think that cuts to social programs will lead to a reduction in efforts to make public buildings accessible to people using wheelchairs since, as the humorist Jean-Marc Parent was saying, there are always doors that open on the wrong side and 90 degree access ramps?

Despite their significant presence in our society, there is still too little research on the social integration of people with handicaps or functional disabilities. While we are scraping the bottom of the barrel to offer concrete and direct services to the population, can we afford to have two of everything? In 1993-94, the overall administration of federal and provincial health and welfare programs accounts for over $150 million and more than 1,500 full-time jobs.

Can we afford to duplicate initiatives aimed at target groups with occasionally conflicting priorities? These are areas of exclusive provincial jurisdiction and the federal government is merely trying to raise its political profile.

In 1991, only $46 million was spent on programs for the handicapped over five years or a little over $9 million a year. According to Statistics Canada, between 12 and 13 per cent of Canadians have various disabilities; it may be a mobility impairment, a vision, hearing or speech problem, an intellectual deficiency or a mental illness. As the figures clearly show, the time and energy spent on duplicating programs for the handicapped are not only costing us a lot of money but also lowering

the quality of services offered to these people. This is further evidence that Quebec's sovereignty is the only valid solution to this administrative nightmare.

Employment January 28th, 1994

Mr. Speaker, the speech from the throne tells us that job creation is the government's top priority. Yet, just before Christmas, the Distribution and Transportation Directorate of the House of Commons dismissed 10 messengers.

What surprises me is that when the Conservative government tried to dismiss these same messengers in August 1993, several members of the present government protested vehemently. Even the hon. member for Hamilton East, now Deputy Prime Minister, said at that time, and I quote:

"For many this is the only family income. The result will be hardship and misery for the employees, their spouses and children".

Even the hon. member for Glengarry-Prescott-Russell said in a radio interview that it was shameful to offer 20 hours of work a week to these heads of families with two or three children. He thought it was just like sending them straight to the welfare office.

They were promised full-time jobs some time in the future, but for now, all they have are temporary jobs.

Petitions January 21st, 1994

Mr. Speaker, on behalf of my constituents, I would like to present a petition denouncing rent increases in social housing in Bromont.