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Crucial Fact

  • His favourite word was since.

Last in Parliament April 1997, as Bloc MP for Louis-Hébert (Québec)

Won his last election, in 1993, with 56% of the vote.

Statements in the House

Tran Trieu Quan April 22nd, 1997

Mr. Speaker, the terrible experience of Tran Trieu Quan and his family continues to speak to the emotions of their fellow citizens in the greater Quebec City area.

In fact, 124,000 people have signed a petition sponsored by the archbishop of Quebec City, the mayor of Quebec City and the president of the Sainte-Foy Chamber of Commerce, asking the Vietnamese authorities to pardon Mr. Tran on compassionate grounds. Today, the sponsors will present this petition to the Minister of Foreign Affairs and ask him intercede more directly so as to obtain the release of Mr. Tran.

I wish to welcome to our gallery some members of Mr. Tran's family and 30 students at the Rochebelle secondary school in Sainte-Foy who have become involved in this cause. Finally, I want to draw your attention to the presence of Janel Gauthier and his support group for the release of Mr. Tran.

I am proud to see residents in my riding involved in so many actions to support Mr. Tran, and this has been going on for nearly four years. Many thanks to you all.

Canada April 9th, 1997

Mr. Speaker, fate is always kind, especially when it is given a helping hand. Thus the polling firm of Angus Reid released on Monday, a few weeks before an election is called, the results of a survey on Canada's

image abroad commissioned by the government and paid for out of the public purse.

Over the course of the election, the Liberal Party of Canada will present this idyllic portrait to screen out Canada's reality: 1.4 million children living below the poverty line, 5 million poor people, 1.4 million unemployed, native populations living in squalor, francophones outside Quebec being assimilated by the majority at a phenomenal rate, and the people of Quebec living under constitutional law that was never approved by their National Assembly.

This is the Canada the Bloc Quebecois will describe to Quebecers during the election campaign.

[English]

Course Destination Monde April 8th, 1997

Mr. Speaker, on Sunday, Radio-Canada rounded off the Course Destination Monde with prizes for the best productions. The Bloc Quebecois would like to congratulate the eight young people on their perseverance and skill.

Since its inception, the Course Destination Monde has been an interesting forum for bringing major international development issues to the attention of television viewers. The survival of the program is all the more relevant in the context of the abolition of CIDA's public awareness programs.

In particular, I would like to offer my congratulations on the quality of the reporting on international development. Anne-Marie Cadieux, Alexis Turgeon, Pascal Brouard and Antoine Laprise shared the CIDA, IDRC, Développement international Desjardins, International Centre for Human Rights, Union des producteurs agricoles du Québec, ministère de l'Agriculture, des Pêcheries et de l'Alimentation du Québec and Inter Pares prizes.

Congratulations to all the winners.

Middle East April 7th, 1997

Mr. Speaker, my question is for the Acting Prime Minister.

The American President and the Israeli Prime Minister are meeting today in Washington. They will be discussing ways of salvaging talks with the Palestinians on the last phase of the Oslo accords.

Since Israel is trying to acquire new land by going ahead with Jewish settlements in order to operate from a position of strength in the upcoming negotiations with the Palestinian authority, will the Acting Prime Minister agree that such a strategy will lead to an impasse inhibiting the peace process rather than renewing it?

Journée Internationale De La Francophonie March 20th, 1997

Mr. Speaker, today, March 20, is the Journée internationale de la Francophonie. The Francophonie includes 134 million French speaking people living in 49 countries, on all five continents.

French has been celebrated for 20 years. It all began when the ministers and chiefs of French speaking delegations attending an extraordinary session of the General Conference of the Agence de coopération culturelle et technique, in Paris, proclaimed March 20 the Journée mondiale de la Francophonie.

The Francophonie is, to use a line coined by Léopold Senghor, "this integral humanism which is being knit around the world; this symbiosis of dormant energies from all continents, all races, waking up to the new warmth".

The Francophonie is a human force which lives and flourishes on every continent. Let us pursue our efforts to make the Francophonie a haven for peace and solidarity.

Canada Labour Code March 11th, 1997

Mr. Speaker, I listened carefully to the Reform Party member for Capilano-Howe Sound.

It is distressing in 1997 to hear what could, if we were not afraid of calling a spade a spade, be described as an anti-union plea.

Among other things, the hon. member is critical of unions for defending their own interests. If unions do not defend the interests of workers, who will? Employers? The government? I do not think so. If unions do not have the right to defend workers' interests, what then are businesses defending, within their corporations and within chambers of commerce?

Does the member for Capilano-Howe Sound not think that the pay of unionized employees has an upward effect on the pay of non-unionized employees? I think it does, and I think it absolutely essential that it do so.

Does he think that by keeping workers at minimum wage, he is helping to put money in the pockets of the men and women of this country? In the end, if people are not paid fairly for the work they do, what must be put in place? A social safety net to help offset the poverty created by businesses that do not pay their workers fairly. I therefore presume that the member for Capilano-Howe Sound is also against the establishment of a minimum wage.

I ask him one last question. Do we really need businesses that are unable to pay their employees fairly? I say we do not. If businesses are unable to pay a fair wage, they have no right to exist, because they are generating poverty.

Human Rights March 11th, 1997

Mr. Speaker, the 53rd session of the UN Commission on Human Rights has just opened in Geneva. This important exercise provides an opportunity for the international community to learn and consult about serious human rights violations.

In these days of market imperatives, the government must uphold its past reputation. It must break the silence that confers a sort of international impunity on regimes that are trampling the most elementary rights. It must vigorously denounce the sorts of actions taking place in Burma, Turkey, Algeria, East Timor, Nigeria and the Great Lakes region of Africa.

This government has given itself the mandate of promoting Canadian values. Will it take a stand and assume leadership on the fundamental issue of human rights? While it continues to conduct trade with impunity, men, women and children are being tortured, imprisoned and killed daily. It is high time to move from denunciation to concrete and decisive action.

Commonwealth Day March 10th, 1997

Mr. Speaker, it is impossible not to notice the paradox between this theme, communication, and the lack of transparency and information that characterizes this government.

Why is it so difficult if not impossible for members of Parliament, who are the elected representatives of the people, to obtain the right to take part, even if only as observers, in consultations with various groups in our society? Why is it that the government, which is constantly promoting communication, especially through the Internet, has cut subsidies to the NGOs responsible for making the Canadian public aware of the importance of development? We know that the key to gaining support for our efforts toward sustainable human development depends mainly on raising public awareness in donor countries.

Why is silence the only response we get when we try to find out what is happening within the ministerial action group since the disguised failure of the special mission sent to Nigeria to examine the situation with regard to democracy and human rights?

In the meantime, General Abacha's regime continues to hold sway with complete impunity. The Commonwealth is even considering welcoming that country back as a member although the situation has not improved in any way since the execution of Ken Saro Wiwa and eight other Ogoni political opponents.

The Commonwealth is indeed a valuable forum to discuss important issues as long as the political will is there. Canada has succeeded in distinguishing itself in the past when it fought against apartheid in South Africa. Despite this positive example, which shows that communication is possible, it remains extremely difficult to reach a consensus when it comes to democracy and human rights, even within a group as limited as the ministerial action group.

Canada can and must exercise strong leadership within the Commonwealth in order to promote democracy and human rights. There are signs of a tendency to use all multilateral forums, including the Commonwealth, to deal with trade issues as separately as possible from human rights and democracy.

In these times of increasing globalization, there is a great risk that vital questions will be overlooked. Canada must not give in to this tendency and must continue to defend human rights and democracy, as it began to do in the case of Nigeria, with the support of Parliament and of the people of Quebec and of Canada.

That having been said, I would also call on the government, next year and in subsequent years, to implement one of the unanimous recommendations of the report by the Sub-Committee on Sustainable Human Development. The committee recommended that the Canadian government play a leadership role within the Commonwealth and elsewhere, in order to raise the issue of child labour and to bring about concrete solutions.

Given that the problem of the exploitation of child labour is one that affects a number of Commonwealth countries, including India, Canada must seize the opportunity provided by this multilateral forum to help move the cause of children throughout the world significantly forward.

In this regard, the Bloc Quebecois intends to keep an eye on the results of the next meeting of Commonwealth heads of government, scheduled to take place in Edinburgh next October 24 to 27.

Regional Development March 6th, 1997

Mr. Speaker, my question is for the Secretary of State responsible for the Federal Office of Regional Development in Quebec.

On February 18, amidst great pomp and circumstance, the Minister of Finance announced the creation of the Canadian Foundation for Innovation, with the election only months away. Yet, with less than a month to go until the end of the fiscal year, the federal government has still not turned over to the Parc technologique du Québec métropolitain the promised $250,000 in funding.

The Government of Quebec, as well as the cities of Sainte-Foy and Quebec, have made their contributions to this complex. What is the federal government waiting for, and will it commit to paying over this promised funding, in its entirety, that is $250,000, within the next few days?

Highway System March 3rd, 1997

Madam Speaker, members of the Canadian Automobile Association from the Quebec City area remind us that a large part of the Canadian highway system is substandard. Therefore, the petitioners call on Parliament to press the federal government to work with the provinces to ensure our national highway system is upgraded.