House of Commons photo

Crucial Fact

  • His favourite word was industry.

Last in Parliament April 1997, as Liberal MP for Saint-Henri—Westmount (Québec)

Won his last election, in 1993, with 60% of the vote.

Statements in the House

Petitions October 18th, 1994

Mr. Speaker, I rise on a point of order. I wonder if I could seek the unanimous consent of the House to revert to committee reports for the purpose of tabling a report.

Department Of Industry Act October 17th, 1994

Madam Speaker, I welcome this opportunity to participate in the debate on this bill to establish the new Department of Industry.

As you know, the department is given wide powers including not only functions previously assigned to the former Department of Industry, Science and Technology, but also certain functions of the Department of Communications and the former Department of Consumer and Corporate Affairs.

The Department of Industry is responsible for the administration of government programs in support of the industry, including small businesses, tourism, science and technology. All government activities relating to science and technology come under the Department of Industry, including those carried out by agencies like the National Research Council, the Canadian Space Agency and the Natural Sciences and Engineering Research Council, just to name a few.

Telecommunications policy, consumer protection and corporate affairs in Canada come under the Department of Industry. This is a very wide mandate.

Naturally, this bill deals with government organization. And while organization is important, it is the policy set forth by the department that is the essential factor. The department objectives are stated in Section 5 of the bill: a ) strengthen the national economy and promote sustainable development; b ) promote the mobility of goods, services and factors of production, [-]and of trade and commerce in Canada; c ) increase the international competitiveness of Canadian industry, goods and services[. . .]

And the list goes on. My point in quoting these examples is that this government's action is in fact based on Chapter 3 of the famous red book, the Liberal electoral platform. This chapter is entitled "An Innovative Economy". I would say that this document, the red book, was innovative in that it emphasizes the importance of the small- and medium-sized businesses in the modern economy.

Let me quote briefly from page 47 in Chapter 3 on an innovative economy, where we read that a "Liberal government will focus on small- and medium-sized businesses because they can and must be the determining factor in turning around what has so far been a jobless recovery". Small- and medium-sized businesses employ 36.7 percent-almost 37 percent-of the labour force and account for roughly 40 percent of our gross domestic product. They have recently-in the 1980s-been responsible for up to 85 percent of new job creation in Canada.

In its electoral platform, the government undertook to improve access to capital for small- and medium-sized businesses. The industry committee has spent the past six or seven months reviewing this issue and will be tabling its report tomorrow. The government also promised to establish a Canada-wide technology network. Plans to that effect have already been announced. Here is another example. The government promised to promote technology partnerships between universities, research institutions and businesses, with a view to focussing on commercial applications of research and development.

Since coming to power, the government has embarked upon widespread consultations on the expansion of science and technology. Such consultations are carried out under the direction of the Minister of Industry, Mr. Manley, and the Secretary of State to Science, Research and Development, Mr. Gerrard.

I do not think members would find it surprising for me to say that I believe the industry committee has a particularly important role to play in policy development. Being the chairman of the committee, I suppose it is only normal that I would say that. Committee work may not always appear to be glamorous but it is in committees that the nuts and bolts of government policy become reality.

Tomorrow we will table our report on small business financing. The report deals with financing but it also tries to provide a context. We try to address the significance of small- and medium sized businesses in today's economy.

I referred earlier to the off-sided statistic that small- and medium sized business accounted for 85 per cent of the jobs that were created in the 1980s. Small businesses are important to job creation and community cohesion but there is more to it than that.

Not all small businesses have the potential to become medium sized businesses or big businesses. We need policies that address the needs of small businesses with strong growth potential. We also need to concern ourselves with the interactions between small and large businesses.

We need to be conscious of the competitive environment in which all Canadian businesses operate. We address these questions in the report that we will be tabling tomorrow. I hope the report will contribute to the debate and lead to policies that respond to the needs of Canadian businesses, small, medium sized and large.

Gun Control September 22nd, 1994

Mr. Speaker, I would like to offer my support to the Minister of Justice and his initiative to draft legislation on gun control. The minister is striving to strike the right balance. He has told the House that his bill will focus on three areas: stopping illegal firearms, toughening the criminal justice system for firearms offences, and improving the regulation of firearms with a goal to enhancing community safety.

The minister has also assured the House that he is keenly aware that hunting has a long tradition and is an important economic activity in many parts of Canada. His proposals will reflect not only the need for a safe society and a strong criminal justice system but will also respect the legitimate interests of hunters, farmers, and those who use firearms for subsistence.

This is the kind of balanced approach to gun control that Canadians need and deserve. I encourage the minister to stick to his timetable and table new legislation in November.

Tribute To The Late Gaston Péloquin September 19th, 1994

Mr. Speaker, it is in my role as chairman of the industry committee that I had the opportunity to work with Gaston Péloquin during the winter and spring of 1994. As you know, Mr. Speaker, more often than not committees conduct their work in a non-partisan fashion. We are removed from the media and the atmosphere is very different from the one during question period, for example. Mr. Péloquin participated in all our proceedings on the financing of small and medium-sized businesses. He was assiduous and his comments were always serious and well thought-out. He was interested in every aspect of our review, whether it was the relationship between banks and small businesses, the mandate of the Federal Business Development Bank, or the role of the Superintendent of Financial institutions. Before entering politics, as was mentioned earlier this afternoon, Mr. Péloquin made a career in teaching. He was a single parent with an adopted child, Pascal, who is now 16 years old. I attended Mr. Péloquin's funeral in Cowansville and was able to see how much he was loved by his colleagues from the education sector because of his dedication, his generosity and his sense of humour.

Again, I want to express my sympathy to his son Pascal, to the other members of his family and to his friends, including the members of the Bloc Quebecois.

The Late Rabbi Menachem Mendel Schneerson June 13th, 1994

Mr. Speaker, those concerned about humanist values and religious faith have lost a powerful voice and a champion with the passing of Rabbi Menachem Mendel Schneerson, spiritual leader of the Lubavitch Hasidic community.

Rabbi Schneerson operated from Brooklyn but his was a vision without boundaries and without borders. He was not a parochial figure. He cared and spoke for people of all walks of life and in all parts of the world.

He was a tireless supporter of prayer in schools, Christian as well as Jewish. He built the movement which today has representatives in every centre of Jewish life working to build a better quality of life for Jews and non-Jews alike.

We are witnessing in his departure the end of an era. I am sure, though, that it is not the end of the ideals of Jewish values and Jewish internationalism which he championed.

I would ask all members of the House to join me in extending our condolences to the Lubavitch community and our hope that his inspiration will help them to continue his good work.

Democracy May 9th, 1994

Mr. Speaker, last week's events should make all Canadians think.

There was the signing of an historic agreement between Palestinians and Israel. Also, democracy has emerged in South Africa. Nelson Mandela invited all his fellow citizens to forget about the past and he called for their unity. He said and I quote: "We can have our differences, but we form one single people, with a common destiny within our rich variety of cultures, races and traditions."

In contrast with such remarkable developments and this lucidity, in Canada the Opposition Leader has told a radio audience that our differences were irreconcilable.

It is surprising that the former Canadian ambassador in France cannot see the link between what is going on elsewhere in the world and the situation here in Canada. Talk about being blind!

Palestinian Self-Government May 5th, 1994

Mr. Speaker, all Canadians were no doubt moved by the scenes from Cairo where representatives of Israel and the PLO finally signed an agreement on self-government for the Palestinians. It is important to mention the courage and vision of the architects of this peace, Yitzhak Rabin and Yasser Arafat.

We know that change will not come overnight. Much bitterness remains, but this first step is very significant. The parties have decided to settle their disputes through negotiation. We must continue to help the partners build mutual trust, which we hope will lead to a broader lasting peace that will extend to the whole region.

Terrorism March 11th, 1994

Mr. Speaker, it is sad that as peace comes closer between Israel and the Palestinian people so does the prospect of terrorist action designed to hurt and outrage, to fuel distrust, fear and hatred.

When tragic and terrible violence occurs it is essential that we continue to support those engaged in the search for peace. I found encouraging the powerful statements by Prime Minister Rabin in the aftermath of the Hebron massacre and as well the forceful condemnation by the American-Arab Anti-Discrimination Committee of the murderous attack on Jewish youth in New York.

It is important that members of all faiths and communities examine more carefully their own habits of thought and expression so that these cannot fuel the acts of extremists, so that they can never believe that they are merely zealots acting as true agents of God and their people.

It is such mistaken beliefs that lead to the most hateful acts.

The Budget March 10th, 1994

Mr. Speaker, I commend the member on his speech. At the same time however I would like to ask him to perhaps go back and check his arithmetic.

He criticizes the rather modest expenditure the government is undertaking in re-establishing the Law Reform Commission, but criticizes the rather sensible decision the government made about the KAON factory. The hon. member should know that the KAON factory would cost the Canadian taxpayers in excess of $200 million a year in capital and operating costs.

Given that extremely high cost and the futuristic nature of the science involved, the government's advisory councils made a recommendation. The National Research Council, the Natural Sciences and Engineering Research Council, the Science Council of Canada and a committee of the National Advisory Board on Science and Technology appointed by the previous Prime Minister unanimously recommended this expenditure could not be justified given the country's priorities with respect to science

and technology and the current levels of science and technology spending and the other needs we have.

The hon. member also failed to mention in his speech that this government has committed in this budget substantial resources to implement the red book commitments for example to upgrade the industrial research assistance program and create a Canadian technology network. There are very important expenditures on the diffusion of technology.

That will benefit the many small and medium sized businesses which really comprise the Canadian economy. Canada has a small firm economy and that is where the efforts of this government have been directed.

Bilingualism February 21st, 1994

Mr. Speaker, last Friday, it was very amusing to hear the statements made by two members of the Bloc Quebecois.

The member for Richmond-Wolfe condemned those who oppose official bilingualism. I am very happy to hear that the Bloc supports official bilingualism.

For his part, the member for Louis-Hébert congratulated Isabelle Brasseur on winning a bronze medal. But he did not even mention the name of her partner, Lloyd Eisler, who comes from Ontario. Does he think that Ms. Brasseur would have won in pairs skating by herself?

This reminds me of the Canada Cup tournament held a few years ago when we won with Wayne Gretzky and Mario Lemieux. Many people said that we could not have won without both of them, for is it not true that unity is strength?

These statements by two members of the Bloc Quebecois show the contradictions and weaknesses in that party's positions.