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Crucial Fact

  • His favourite word was quebec.

Last in Parliament October 2015, as Independent MP for Richmond—Arthabaska (Québec)

Won his last election, in 2011, with 34% of the vote.

Statements in the House

Respect for Communities Act November 21st, 2013

Mr. Speaker, I am pleased to speak to today's debate on Bill C-2, which I would have entitled the “not in my backyard” bill.

The Conservatives’ ideology is to always be sure to try and hide what they regard as neither fine nor good. It makes me think of those countries that are named hosts of the Olympic games and, at some point, decide that when the foreigners are about to arrive, it will be time to clear the area around the games site of the homeless and all those who, in the authorities’ opinion, would not reflect a good image of the country.

However we must not bury our heads in the sand, as a member of the Quebec National Assembly has said. It is a fact, however, that people do play the ostrich. In vain we put on rose-coloured glasses, in vain we try to build a wall of silence around problems of health, homelessness, substance abuse and so on: the fact remains that these things exist.

The InSite centre was created to help people who are dealing with substance abuse problems, not to be a place of debauchery. To listen to the Conservative members’ speeches since the start of this debate, one would think that the latter was true.

However, as my colleague just said, the courts that have considered this issue have been very clear.

First of all, the British Columbia Court of Appeal declared in 2010 that this was a medical centre falling under provincial jurisdiction. The matter should have been settled there: it had been put to rest. The province, the local authorities and the people familiar with the issue who work in the health field know what to do and what is good for their population. The City of Vancouver and the Government of British Columbia had decided that the supervised injection site had its place and its usefulness, as has since been demonstrated.

The Conservative government just cannot accept this. It is now bringing forward a bill that sets a whole pile of conditions. I think there are 26 in total. The purpose behind this, and it is certainly no secret, is to effectively shut down InSite and prevent other sites from opening.

I will talk a bit later about Montreal, for example, in Quebec. Indeed, the new mayor, Mr. Coderre, said during his campaign that this was a pressing public health and safety issue, and that he was considering at least creating an agency to discuss the issue more thoroughly and move forward with plans for a supervised injection site. I never thought I would be quoting him in a good way; no, I am just joking.

A Supreme Court decision followed in 2011, as the federal government had appealed the ruling of the B.C. Court of Appeal.

This was clear to the Supreme Court:

It is a strictly regulated health facility, and its personnel are guided by strict policies and procedures. It does not provide drugs to its clients, who must check in, sign a waiver, and are closely monitored during and after injection...The experiment has proven successful.

The Supreme Court also stated the following:

The Minister’s decision, but for the trial judge’s interim order, would have prevented injection drug users from accessing the health services offered by InSite, threatening their health and indeed their lives.

I think that this is very clear and very far from the horror stories we heard earlier from the Conservative minister. He would have us believe that supervised injection sites are located in residential neighbourhoods right next to daycares. According to him, these sites hold open houses every Sunday afternoon after church, so that small children can visit, play with needles and mingle with people who are, as they say, unsavoury. Obviously, this is not at all how these sites operate.

Bill C-2, with its 26 conditions, requires obtaining the approval of a city’s police service, first responders and mayor. There is nothing wrong about this on the surface, because we tend to think that nobody can be against social acceptance.

However, the InSite centre in British Columbia is socially acceptable because the provincial government, the municipal government, the police, first responders and doctors have decided that it is. Clearly, all these people are not imbeciles who suddenly decided that it would be fun to open such a site, and, why not, to open more sites just about everywhere else in the province; and to arrange, as I was saying, for sites like this to be located in residential areas, more or less haphazardly, with no framework.

On the contrary, when a decision is made to set up services like these, it is done with a sense of social acceptability. We do not need an ambulance attendant to suddenly exercise a veto right and to say that it cannot work, and that the site will not be opened. That is not how it works.

In any event, it is clear to the Bloc Québécois that medical treatment and the organization of health services are not Ottawa’s areas of jurisdiction. It is up to Quebec to evaluate and authorize treatment, together with Quebec's health institutions. Quebec has the power and the jurisdiction needed to open supervised injection sites as part of a solution to mental health and addiction issues. That, moreover, is a subject that was studied by Montreal's health and social services agency in 2011.

There is a very eloquent and interesting report entitled “Vers un service d'injection supervisée” that sets out succinctly what would justify the opening of a supervised injection site in Montreal. It is a matter of a higher mortality rate among injection drug users and infection epidemics caused by HIV and hepatitis C.

It says:

Cocaine use, the drug most often injected in Montréal, is a major determinant of HIV transmission, as is sharing used needles.

That is why, in one of the main recommendations in the conclusion of the report, the director of public health recommends fixed sites and a mobile unit staffed by nurses:

It is proposed that the fixed sites be located in RSSS [health and social services networks] institutions and community organizations that based on an agreement with the RSSS, would integrate medical supervision of injection and nursing care into the services they already offer.... The mobile unit would be more appropriate for priority sectors where a fixed service could not be offered....

According to this report, supervised injection sites are essential because even though they are geared toward only a small segment of Montreal's population, that segment of the population is affected by more than its share of health and social inequalities. Dr. Richard Lessard, Montreal's director of public health in 2011, stated that he felt it was a matter of social justice and equality.

I would like to give everyone a chance to have a look at this important report. As I was saying, this issue came up during the Montreal election campaign. It definitely has a lot of momentum. Neither Quebec, nor Montreal, nor public health and safety stakeholders will let the federal government create all kinds of obstacles and barriers to prevent this kind of service. That is what the Conservatives really want. They would rather not see and not know.

I am sure my government colleagues will be interested in the fact that the Montreal police has studied this issue. The Montreal police has said it will collaborate under certain conditions. That makes sense because the police force cares about public safety. It is in favour of a collaborative effort among partners to combine several approaches: prevention, treatment and care, law enforcement and harm reduction. To keep users from shooting up on the street, the Montreal police would encourage them to go to supervised injections sites.

Earlier, I was listening to the member for Rosemont—La Petite-Patrie, who is clearly from Montreal. In response to the Conservatives' rhetoric, he said that by not allowing drug addicts to use supervised sites, they will not just suddenly give up drugs. Unfortunately, these people will not stop using. That is what we would like to see, but they will not necessarily stop using drugs. They will keep using, in public washrooms, parks or places where a child's hand, foot or finger could come into contact with a used needle and he could get sick or hurt himself. That has already happened; it has been documented.

It is a myth to think that banning these types of sites will improve the safety of our children and families. It is quite the opposite.

Clémence Le May November 8th, 2013

Mr. Speaker, a few days ago, almost 8,000 people were voted into office in Quebec municipal elections. The Bloc Québécois would like to congratulate them. We would also like to salute those who decided to pass the torch. Clémence Le May decided to retire from politics after serving the people of Saint-Christophe-d'Arthabaska for 39 years, 21 of them as mayor. A nurse by training, Ms. Lemay has taken care of people in so many different ways.

In addition to the people of Saint-Christophe-d'Arthabaska, the clients and employees of Carrefour d'entraide bénévole des Bois-Francs have also been fortunate to have known her and benefited from her talents and generosity.

Clémence Le May is a woman of character and has never hesitated to defend the integrity of her town, fight for safe drinking water and protect her townspeople affected by two floods. A woman of conviction, she has publicly stated that she would like to see Quebec become sovereign.

Thank you Clémence for all your years of public service. As you said so well, you can retire with a sense of accomplishment. Congratulations.

Champlain Bridge November 6th, 2013

Mr. Speaker, along with the Government of Quebec, the Communauté métropolitaine de Montréal and the south shore business community, 61% of the people in the Montreal area also oppose the toll the federal government plans to levy on the future Champlain Bridge. The Prime Minister's political lieutenant for Quebec now stands alone.

Instead of imposing its views and bending the rules in the awarding of contracts—the same rules meant to prevent what we are seeing every day with the Charbonneau commission—when will the government really sit down with the stakeholders and stop operating in a vacuum?

Business of Supply November 5th, 2013

Mr. Speaker, with the sponsorship scandal, after the Bloc Québécois gleaned some information, it asked over 400 questions in the House, people started to testify, emails circulated and journalists got information out. What happened next? The Gomery commission was set up.

Now we have a Senate scandal, “Senategate”. I have heard and we all have heard the information that is circulating about it. The Prime Minister's credibility is at stake because his story is different in almost every question period.

Why are the parties in the House not doing what the Bloc Québécois has been calling for from the start, as was done with the Gomery commission and as they are doing in Quebec City with the Charbonneau commission? An independent public inquiry should be set up and require the Prime Minister and the people involved to testify under oath. Witnesses will have to give their answers on the spot and provide the relevant documents. Right now, it is a mess and a shambles.

Why is the government not setting up this kind of independent public inquiry?

Justice October 31st, 2013

Mr. Speaker, the Supreme Court will not consider the case of Justice Nadon—a judge who does not meet the basic criteria and does not live in Quebec but was still recommended by the Conservatives, NDP and Liberals—until January 15.

However, in less than a month, the Supreme Court will hear the case of the federal government, which claims to be able to make changes to the Senate without Quebec's consent and without three judges from Quebec sitting on that court.

The Minister of Justice must take action. Will he ask that the hearings of the case pertaining to the Senate be postponed until there are three judges from Quebec duly appointed to the Supreme Court?

Supreme Court October 30th, 2013

Mr. Speaker, once again, Conservatives, Liberals and New Democrats have failed to show respect for Quebeckers.

By appointing a judge to the Supreme Court who is supposed to be from Quebec but does not meet the basic criteria or even live in Quebec, the federal government failed in its duty to respect Quebec's separate legal system.

By including Justice Nadon in the list of the top three candidates, Liberals and New Democrats also participated in this pathetic ploy. Considering they once recommended a unilingual anglophone judge, we should not have been surprised. Furthermore, none of them stood up for Quebec's historical position that Quebec judges on the Supreme Court should be appointed from a list submitted by Quebec.

Yesterday, the Quebec National Assembly unanimously denounced the federal government's unilateral actions in appointing Justice Nadon and condemned the fact that this decision is depriving Quebec of one-third of its representation on the Supreme Court, just as important cases are being considered.

The Quebec nation's civil code and fundamental rights deserve respect. The federalist parties here in this House have still not figured this out, unfortunately.

Interprovincial Relations October 25th, 2013

Mr. Speaker, to please their voter base, which is grumbling about the deluge of ethical scandals in the government, the Conservatives are stepping up their vicious attacks against Quebec. The controversial appointment of Justice Nadon, the challenge to Quebec's Bill 99 and the unilateral reform of the Senate are all designed to stir up conflict and distract attention.

Now the Minister of Human Resources is putting his oar in too. He is planning to interfere once again in manpower training, and he is criticizing Quebec's requirements for apprentices in construction trades.

Why does the minister want to lower standards that fall under Quebec's exclusive jurisdiction?

Ethics October 25th, 2013

Mr. Speaker, to get out of the crisis of confidence caused by the Prime Minister, his entourage and his senators, some are asking him to testify under oath, while others are asking him to submit all the documents or even to make them public.

However, there is a solution that addresses all those requests. Why not have an independent public inquiry, like the Gomery commission or the Charbonneau commission?

To get out of the mess he got himself into and to prevent him from being hoisted by his own petard, why does the Prime Minister not set up an independent public inquiry right away, as the Bloc Québécois has requested since the beginning of the crisis?

Economic Action Plan 2013 Act, No. 2 October 24th, 2013

Mr. Speaker, it was not a question of whether the government was going to move another time allocation motion but when it would do so. The Conservatives likely would have moved these time allocation motions sooner had they not shut down Parliament for four weeks—four weeks when Parliament should have been in session, four weeks that we could have used to discuss various issues that many of my colleagues have listed one by one. Obviously, we are wondering why these issues are being addressed in the budget implementation bill.

For example, the bill takes away public servants' right to strike. The Conservatives put this measure in a massive, omnibus bill that is over 300 pages long. The Conservatives are finally eliminating the tax credit for labour-sponsored funds, a measure that they were so proud to announce and something that constitutes a direct attack on Quebec's economy. The hon. member just spoke about the appointment of Justice Nadon, even though her own party was part of a committee that supported that appointment. They now realize that they made a mistake. A Supreme Court justice was appointed in an unlawful and unfair way and now the Conservatives are trying to remedy that by slipping three or four lines into a megabill. What is more, the Conservatives are following the Liberals' example by continuing to pillage the employment insurance fund. This time, they will be taking $2 billion. That is also in the omnibus bill.

What do the Conservatives have to hide? Why are they hiding these measures in this bill and why do they not want to debate it? After debate, we could vote on these measures democratically.

Business of Supply October 23rd, 2013

Mr. Speaker, I just quickly wanted to make sure that you understood our dissent regarding the motion moved by the Chief Government Whip. We shouted “on division”, but I did not hear you say that. I just wanted to clarify this.