House of Commons photo

Crucial Fact

  • His favourite word was federal.

Last in Parliament April 1997, as Bloc MP for Rosemont (Québec)

Won his last election, in 1993, with 62% of the vote.

Statements in the House

Kidnappings March 11th, 1997

Mr. Speaker, ever since 1993, every time the government has been asked about this question, the answer has always been the same. They promise an agreement will be reached, they promise something will be done, but although the government seems to get moving every time a kidnapping causes a media storm, there are never any concrete results.

My question is straightforward and is directed to the Deputy Prime Minister. Is she prepared to sign an agreement with Egypt before the next election and is she prepared to guarantee that Karim will return to Canada?

Kidnappings March 11th, 1997

Mr. Speaker, my question is directed to the Deputy Prime Minister.

Four years ago, Karim, the son of Micheline Tremblay, was kidnapped by her ex-spouse who is hiding him somewhere in Egypt. Mrs. Tremblay made numerous representations to the police and judicial authorities. Interpol issued an arrest warrant against the former spouse. The former Minister of Foreign Affairs, Mr. André Ouellet, promised early in 1996 to sign a bilateral agreement with Egypt that would have made it possible to bring the child home. However, Mrs. Tremblay only saw her son for three hours, and she is still calling for help because nothing has really changed.

Can government members, who like to travel with Team Canada to promote economic ties, remain insensitive to this very disturbing humanitarian case? Will they promise today to intercede with the Egyptian government to make sure Karim returns to Canada?

Tobacco Act March 6th, 1997

What about the museum in Berthierville?

Federalist Forces October 24th, 1996

Mr. Speaker, tomorrow the federalist forces will celebrate what is known as the love-in of October 25, 1995 in Montreal. A year ago, faced with the popularity of the sovereignist option and having nothing tangible to offer Quebecers, the hard-core federalists, today's supporters of Plan B, organized what the senior editorial writer of La Presse , Alain Dubuc, qualified as a declaration of love that was too little, too late.

This demonstration and the celebration of its anniversary are a good illustration of the position of Canadian federalists. Quebecers are not a people. Quebec has no right to determine its future, and its aspirations regarding its status in Confederation will be given no consideration. The government prefers to appeal to the courts and support extremists like Guy Bertrand and Howard Galganov.

Tomorrow's demonstration will once again reflect the intellectual vacuum that exists in the federal camp.

Supply October 24th, 1996

Madam Speaker, it is interesting to see how impatient the minister gets when we remind him of the Liberal government's decisions concerning the rail system, shipping, civil aviation, the pharmaceutical industry and the petro-chemical industry.

The people who are watching this are no fools. Of course, a corporation was granted a subsidy recently. However, I questioned the minister about two decisions. If he had listened to me the first time, he would have been able to give me an answer. I put two questions to him. It would not cost a penny, at a time when millions of dollars are given away, while hospital budgets and unemployment benefits are cut. I put two questions to the minister and he did not answer either one of them. These two decisions are political and would not cost a penny. What do you intend to do about the drug patents and about the pipeline to revitalize the petro-chemical industry in Montreal?

Supply October 24th, 1996

As you know, Madam Speaker, a large centre like Montreal does not change overnight, or even in a year. We are currently experiencing the consequences of decisions made in the last few decades. Similarly, our children's lives will be largely influenced by the decisions we make today. In order to understand Montreal's situation, we have to put things in

perspective. When we have convictions, it is because we put things in perspective.

It is no accident that we are convinced today that Montreal is a metropolis in need of a country, of a capital that cares for its metropolis.

Montreal was once a city and a region whose population was primarily anglophone. At that time, the anglophones were the masters and we were their servants. There was the affluent Montreal and the poor Montreal. Poverty had a language, ours.

Things have changed. Today, Montreal is a primarily a francophone city, and I hope it will be so forever. But, things have also changed politically. Montreal was once the metropolis of Canada. Today, political Canada has chosen its metropolis, Toronto. This is largely due to a series of decisions made by the federal government.

Montreal is the metropolis of Quebec and it can clearly be demonstrated that its major problem is that most of the decisions affecting it are still made in a capital which has another metropolis. This is the major problem Montreal faces.

When the Prime Minister of Canada came to Montreal to tell us that we, the sovereignists, are the ones responsible for the uncertainty and suggested that this uncertainty is responsible for the decline of Montreal, he just wanted us to forget about our ideals and, why not our language while we were at it, and to concern ourselves with concrete things.

I accept the challenge, but only for a few minutes, while I examine the concrete decisions that the federal government has taken in the last few years in areas under its jurisdiction.

The Prime Minister presents himself as the reassuring buddy, and us as the uncertainty. Let us look at each individual issue. In something that is exclusively under federal jurisdiction, the rail industry, I would like to ask the 15,000 workers who lost their jobs in the last years in Montreal if they are reassured by the federal government's decisions. I would like to ask them who is responsible for the uncertainty they have to live with now.

I would like to ask the 8,000 workers of the shipbuilding industry, who lost their jobs as a result of federal decisions, if they are reassured by the Prime Minister's statement. Do they still want the federal government to take care of them?

I ask the same thing to the thousands of workers of Montreal's petrochemical industry, who lost their jobs to Sarnia, Ontario, following a federal decision to draw an artificial line down the Ottawa Valley known as the Borden Line. This decision allowed petrochemical development to take place in Ontario while this industry declined in Montreal. All Montreal's workers know that those who are responsible for their uncertainty are not the sovereignists.

The attitude of the federal Liberal government was similar in other sectors. I need only think of civil aviation and the pharmaceutical industry. Let us ask managers and workers of the pharmaceutical industry if the federal decision power concerning patents is reassuring for them.

During over 20 years, Canada was the only western country to deny real patents to a research industry that was well settled in Montreal. When the Conservative government wanted to change the legislation and give real patents to this industry, the whole region had to rally for months instead of putting its energies into its own development. We constantly have to put a lot of energy into bringing the federal government to make positive decisions.

Who delayed the bill? Not the Conservative government, but the Liberal Senate, during several months, in Toronto's pay. Let the Secretary of State for Regional Development answer that. The federal government's attitude toward the pharmaceutical industry could change.

We are asked to make concrete proposals. What we want are basic decisions for Montreal's economy, not an announcement to the effect that some funding will be provided. In order to dispel the uncertainty concerning Montreal and drug patents, it must clearly be stated that the drug patent legislation will be amended by 1997. The government must pledge that the pharmaceutical industry will be able to get patents similar to those available everywhere in the western world. If this is done, investments will increase in Montreal.

Let me say to those who are listening to us that fundamental changes have occurred over the years and will continue to occur. The most important of these changes is the presence, in Ottawa, of the Bloc Quebecois. The days when federal ministers, or even the Prime Minister, could secretly make basic decisions that were unfavourable to Quebec's economy and then try to look good by announcing some subsidy are over. These days are over.

We do not want the government to announce some subsidy; we want it to make basic decisions regarding Montreal's economy. Here is another suggestion. The Sarnia industry, which was developed at the expense of Montreal's petrochemical industry, is now asking that the Sarnia-Montreal pipeline go the other way. My suggestion would not cost one penny to the government. The government only has to demand that these multinationals revitalize Montreal's petrochemical industry, in exchange for the service. They would then contribute to Montreal's development.

What is needed for that? No money is necessary. We know that governments do not have any money and when they do, it comes from our pockets. But political will is necessary. The two suggestions I am making would not cost a thing; they only require political will. We will be watching to see if this political will is there. If it is not, the Liberal government will have to pay the price. Put an end to economic uncertainty.

I want to ensure the Prime Minister that we are still part of Canada. The No side won the last referendum by a very narrow margin. Quebec pays $30 billion to be part of Canada; it is a rather high contribution. We are here to protect the interests of Quebec and to demand that these $30 billion be used.

I also want to tell him that we will keep our ideals. We will keep our will to develop our identity, and the Bloc Quebecois will continue to promote sovereignty and Quebec's interests in Ottawa, until the fundamental decision on our future is made. We are not prepared to give up our ideals for a subsidy.

Return To Canada Of Karim Noah October 1st, 1996


That, in the opinion of this House, the Canadian government should bring all appropriate political pressure to bear on the government of Egypt to ensure the immediate return to Canada of Karim Noah, son of Mrs. Micheline Tremblay, a resident in the riding of Rosemont, who was abducted illegally, on January 17, 1993, by his father, Mr. Moustafa Nouh, and taken illicitly to Egypt.

Mr. Speaker, since my name is Tremblay as well, I would like to say right away, for the benefit of my colleagues and all those who are listening, that Mrs. Micheline Tremblay is not in any way related to me.

She is, however, a resident of the riding of Rosemont, and the reason I presented this motion on February 28 this year and the reason why we are having this debate today is that I hope to convince the Canadian government to provide some real support for what a mother, Mrs. Tremblay, is doing, a mother who has been fighting for almost four years to find her son and get him back to Canada.

Mrs. Tremblay earnestly hopes that the Canadian government will intervene politically, because she is convinced that the legal action she has taken and has continued to take in Egypt will not be enough to bring her son back.

The fact is that her ex-spouse, Mr. Moustafa Nouh, by abducting his child and taking him to Egypt, has simultaneously violated the Canadian Criminal Code, the Quebec Civil Code, the United Nations Convention on the Rights of the Child and The Hague Convention on International Child Abduction.

Despite these patent violations of the law, Mrs. Tremblay has been unable to see her son again for more than three years, her ex-spouse was not arrested and the Canadian government has said repeatedly that it could not intervene in this case. Incredible but true, and I am convinced that the people who are listening will find it hard to believe and wonder how a country like Canada can let its laws and the rights of its citizens be trampled in this way.

I am also sure they wonder how a country like Egypt can agree to be a safe haven for a child abductor, a place where the law cannot reach him.

In fact, this can be largely explained by the legal context of the relations between Egypt and Canada with respect to this kind of situation and by the lack of political will on the part of both governments to change the situation.

Let me explain the legal context in a few words. I will then get back to the urgent need for the political will to do something in this case.

The ex-spouse of Mrs. Micheline Tremblay, Mr. Nouh, is a Canadian citizen of Egyptian origin. In fact, he is both a Canadian and an Egyptian citizen. When in Egypt, he is treated like an Egyptian citizen, which provides him double immunity against the charges brought against him: first of all, immunity against criminal charges, because Canada has not signed an extradition treaty against Egypt. Under the circumstances, the police find themselves virtually incapable of arresting the accused. Let us examine those circumstances.

After an investigation into the circumstances of the kidnapping of Karim on January 17, 1993, criminal charges were laid against the father, Moustafa Nouh, in Canada. A warrant for his arrest was issued, and the Canadian police asked Interpol to co-operate with them. This standard procedure does not, however, necessarily lead to an active search for the accused. The bulk of the work has to be done by the local police force, in this case the Montreal Urban Community force, which called for the co-operation of other police forces when there were any real clues.

Yet, since there is no extradition treaty between Egypt and Canada, it is impossible for the Canadian police to bring the accused to justice when he is in Egypt. Moustafa Nouh must, therefore, be identified and arrested when he is in another country, one with which Canada had an extradition treaty.

The investigation leading to such an arrest is a very long and difficult one, because it involves a knowledge of the international movements of the accused. The whole thing has to be done without the co-operation of the Egyptian authorities.

It is easy to understand how, in these conditions, Moustafa Nouh is still free to move around with total impunity in Egypt, and probably in other countries as well, despite the criminal charges brought against him in Canada.

In fact, Mr. Nouh is also immune from the laws of Quebec and Canada in another respect, namely the legal custody order. Child custody matters come under civil law, in this case Quebec's civil law, and the same goes for every country.

But there is an international convention to honour custody orders whenever a child is taken illegally away by one of the parents. This convention provides for the child's immediate return to his or her usual place of residence and recognizes that the courts in that location have jurisdiction over all legal custody matters.

Egypt has not signed the Hague Convention on the Civil Aspects of International Child Abduction, and Canada has not yet compensated for this by negotiating a bilateral agreement with Egypt. Even though Egypt has not signed this international convention, some countries, including France, have an agreement with Egypt and all French nationals are covered by this treaty.

This is what the Canadian government should do. This is what the Canadian government has promised to do on several occasions. They tell us they are trying to do so but we are still waiting and in the meantime people like Micheline Tremblay still have to deal with these tragic situations.

If Egypt had signed the international convention or if Canada simply had a bilateral agreement with Egypt, proceedings would have been fairly simple and inexpensive as well as speedy. In fact, Karim would have been returned to his mother in Canada after a few weeks, because Moustafa Nouh would have been required to assert his custody rights in Canada in accordance with the laws of Quebec and Canada.

Unfortunately, this is not what happened. Mrs. Tremblay found herself in an absurd situation in that the police were unable to arrest the kidnapper for lack of an extradition treaty with Egypt while the Canadian government said it could do nothing because it had signed no treaty or convention with Egypt.

All they could do was suggest to Mrs. Tremblay that she try on her own to assert her rights before the Egyptian courts in accordance with Egyptian laws. It must be pointed out that such proceedings entail substantial legal and travel costs as the mother has to travel to Egypt every time she must appear before the court and there is no financial support program for the victims.

Fortunately, Mrs. Tremblay's co-workers at the National Bank in Montreal organized a fundraiser so she could initiate legal proceedings. But this is a long and expensive battle that no one can take on alone.

On the other hand, Egypt is a Muslim country whose laws and customs are very different from ours, which makes it almost impossible, in Karim's case, to obtain an order to have him returned to Canada. Let me give you an example to illustrate this.

Since Karim is a boy and his father is a Muslim, under Egyptian law, the child must be raised in the Muslim faith. Ms. Tremblay's son Karim was baptised in the Catholic faith, which is a serious breach under Egyptian law. That is why her lawyer suggested she should try to have her son's baptism annulled: to increase her chances of convincing a court in Egypt to give her custody of her son.

You can imagine that there are many more customs and considerations like this one that make it almost impossible to get Karim back without infringing in any way Egyptian law.

While realizing that laws, customs and religions may vary from country to country, and we respect that, we must understand that what we have here is a situation where a Canadian child was born to a Canadian couple and this child grew up in a setting governed by Canadian and Quebec laws until he was kidnapped and taken to his father's country of origin.

The law is clear, and international conventions are clear. If the father wants to return to his country of origin, he may assert the rights he has over the child before the courts in Quebec and Canada. In this case, having committed an illegal act on two counts, the father ends up in Egypt with the child, and the mother is the one who has to go over there to argue her case before Egyptian courts. In fact, it is exactly the opposite of what should be, and all this government finds to say is that it cannot interfere.

You know as well as I and everyone who is listening that this is absurd and just not true.

Mrs. Tremblay is hoping for a political intervention and we support her efforts. To date, more than 2,000 citizens of Rosemont have signed a petition to express their support.

In recent years, Canada has taken pride in the fact that it has made a number of decisions to ensure children a better future. As recently as last week, the Minister of Foreign Affairs expressed his satisfaction at Canada's action in support of children, at the 51st UN general assembly.

We want to give the minister a small opportunity to follow up on his nice speeches. We are convinced he can act and we want him to act now.

Our belief that the Canadian government can act was greatly reinforced last June. In fact, today's debate could have taken place on June 12. However, since we mentioned that the debate would then take place while Mrs. Tremblay was in Egypt, the powers that be got their act together for the first time in three and a half years.

On June 11, I received a telegram asking that the debate be postponed. For the first time, Mrs. Tremblay was able to see her child for a few hours, in the presence of the father. The powers that be had taken action.

But if we are holding this debate today, it is because the powers that be have stopped taking action. The initial co-operation is totally inadequate to settle the issue quickly. After initial progress, there were no other developments. This is why we will continue to ask people to sign the petition and to exert political pressure.

We want the Canadian government to act quickly to patriate Karim and to sign a convention to avoid other such cases.

I would like to conclude by paying tribute to the courage and the determination of the mother, Micheline Tremblay, who has been fighting for four years to be reunited with her son. I do hope she will inspire all of us to show solidarity and to urge this government to take action.

Petitions September 25th, 1996

Madam Speaker, I rise today to present two petitions signed by over 2,000 people in my riding of Rosemont. These petitioners support the efforts of a mother, Micheline Tremblay, who has been trying for close to four years to have her son, Karim, returned to Canada, after he was abducted by his father and taken to Egypt, his father's place of birth.

Four years of legal action have still produced nothing, because there is no legal agreement between Canada and Egypt for co-operation in cases of child abduction.

The petitioners call on the Canadian government to bring the appropriate political pressure to bear on Egypt in order to ensure that Karim is immediately returned to Canada. The government must do everything possible to bring about a co-operation agreement between Egypt and Canada, in order to facilitate the rapid resolution of such situations, which are completely unacceptable.

Supply June 13th, 1996

The government whip ought to behave decently.

Supply June 13th, 1996

Allow me, Mr. Speaker, I want to come back to what I would call the parable of the frogs as told by our friend and colleague, the hon. member for Ottawa-Vanier, who is so proud of the fact that one frog managed to survive. But he forgot to tell us about the one that died. When we look at the situation in Canada, we notice that a growing number of francophones are no longer speaking French. That is the fact they are trying to hide.