House of Commons photo

Crucial Fact

  • His favourite word was quebec.

Last in Parliament March 2011, as Bloc MP for Saint-Jean (Québec)

Lost his last election, in 2011, with 31% of the vote.

Statements in the House

Indian Affairs January 25th, 1994

I would like to ask the minister if his government is prepared to exert its influence with the Liberal Government of Newfoundland in order that positive steps might be taken to improve the living conditions of the inhabitants of Davis Inlet and in particular to help the desperate young people in that community.

Indian Affairs January 25th, 1994

Mr. Speaker, I would remind the minister that I am the hon. member for Saint-Jean, not Lac-Saint-Jean. It is very important; it is my other colleague here.

Indian Affairs January 25th, 1994

Mr. Speaker, my question is for the Minister of Indian Affairs and Northern Development.

On my recent trip to the Canadian north I witnessed the deplorable living conditions of the Inuit. In particular, the misery of the inhabitants of Davis Inlet in Labrador has been highlighted in recent months following the disclosure of the very high rate of suicide, drug and alcohol abuse among the young people in that community and the failure of the treatment administered.

Does the government intend to put an end to the disgraceful and inhumane treatment meted out to the inhabitants of Davis Inlet by moving the village, for example, and are these priority concerns for the minister?

Speech From The Throne January 24th, 1994

Mr. Speaker, I wish to congratulate the Minister of the Environment and Deputy Prime Minister because she began her speech by saying that we need women. I do not know her personally, but I think that she is a woman of action. We need women like that. She is in authority; she is now the Prime Minister's right arm. Right now, she is probably the most influential woman in Canada.

I also listened closely to her speech. She mentioned a country with values of justice and fairness and so on. However, like me, she must admit that even though we have very good intentions, right now, unfortunately, the country is not fair and just.

The Deputy Prime Minister must know that at least one family in five in Canada lives below the poverty line. I am now on the first subject that I want to raise, which is also the poverty of Indians living on reserves and in the far north; in their case, not one in five but one in two families in the far north and on Indian reserves lives in poverty. These are very disturbing statistics. We must deal firmly with these issues. There is a lot of discrimination in Canada and I think that is an example. Shortly, I will be asking her to say just how her government intends to proceed on these matters.

I also come back to the environment because I know that it is a subject which particularly interests her. With respect to the environment, we also know that the food chain in the far north is deteriorating, and I think that is one of the few places where an environment which was protected by the very nature of things is deteriorating. My first question is this: can she state what her thinking is on how to deal with this poverty, out of concern for justice and equity, for Indians on reserves and in the far north?

Second, does she with her government intend to put forward specific issues and ways to deal with the deterioration of the food chain in the far north as such?

Speech From The Throne January 21st, 1994

Mr. Speaker, since this is my first speech in the House, I would like to take this opportunity to convey my congratulations to you as my hon. colleagues have done.

Before I put my questions to the hon. member for Winnipeg St. James, I would like to focus in on some remarks he made to the effect that the Bloc Quebecois and its leader wanted to break up this beautiful country. In my opinion, this is not only a pejorative, but also an inaccurate statement. I would like to draw his attention to several historic footnotes to this debate.

First, there was the Act of Union which, in my estimation, may have been the beginning of the emergence of the two solitudes. As we know, Upper and Lower Canada were united in 1840. Lower Canada came out on the losing end since at the time, it had a much more effective and efficient administration than did Upper Canada. The situation was unfair from the beginning.

I will not review the events of the past 200 years, since it would only bring me to cite examples of the way Quebec has been treated by English Canada. Specifically, in the case of the Meech Lake agreement which set out five minimum conditions for bringing Quebec back into the constitutional fold, English Canada was unable to accept these conditions and these were just our minimum demands.

Charlottetown ultimately signalled the end of this debate and for one very simple reason. English Canada as a whole rejected the Charlottetown accord, claiming that Quebec was asking for too much and that the accord was slanted in its favour. Quebec rejected the accord for exactly the opposite reason. Our goal is definitely not to break up the country. It is to build a nation that would work side by side with Canada, share the same economic space and viability.

I would like my hon. colleagues to think of our objective as being not to break up the country, but rather to complement it on our terms.

Now then, as far as the economy is concerned, I fail to see how the Liberal Party can resolve the problem of the deficit which will hit $45 billion this year, tackle the national debt which just surpassed $500 billion and create jobs without touching social programs. This would seem to me to be a Herculean task, one that I personally think is impossible to accomplish. Therefore, as we can already see, there are some glitches in the throne speech which lead one to believe that this government says one thing, but when the time comes to follow through, it will find that it cannot.

Does the hon. member for Winnipeg St. James agree that a parliamentary committee should be set up to look at ways of resolving the country's economic problems? This is the course of action we are advocating. Why not make this a priority, sit down together and review each budget item separately? And everybody knows that the bureaucracy must be streamlined. So, let us start there before embarking on a crusade against social programs, which is what could well happen now. I would like the hon. member to answer a question. Would it not be better to have an all-party joint parliamentary committee instead of a red book or a throne speech which is only wishful thinking?

Cigarette Smuggling January 21st, 1994

Mr. Speaker, the vast majority of native people are peaceful citizens who are willing to negotiate in a spirit of respect for the law and have always been respectful of law and order.

Cigarette smuggling is often wrongfully attributed to native peoples while we know that it is controlled by a bunch of criminals who base their power on armed threats.

The main difficulty then is the undeniable fact that the government is cowering before a few armed individuals and abandoning its major role of ensuring the protection of all Canadians.

Cigarette smuggling exists because taxes are so high that the black market is flourishing. We believe that raising fines and imposing more controls will not solve the problem.