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

Afghanistan June 9th, 2010

Mr. Speaker, the Conservative government is going before the Federal Court to try to get out of a request from the Military Police Complaints Commission, which is calling for access to some important documents regarding the allegations of torture of Afghan prisoners.

Why is the government using the courts to avoid being held accountable? What does this government have to hide?

Business of Supply May 27th, 2010

Mr. Chair, I would like the minister to explain to me why Quebec is not getting its fair share of all the military aerospace contracts we see before us when 55% of the Canadian aerospace industry is in Quebec. For the C-17s, Quebec has only 30% of the contracts while Ontario has 20%, the west has 20% and Atlantic Canada has 7%. That is far from the critical mass of Quebec's aerospace industry. The same goes for the Chinook contracts that, so far, have brought $127 million to Atlantic Canada, $127 million to Quebec and $234 million to Ontario.

Are the two ministers from Ontario, the Minister of Industry and the Minister of National Defence, not helping themselves at the expense of Quebec, which has to settle for such a small sum?

Business of Supply May 27th, 2010

Mr. Chair, I would like to address the issue of industrial defence policy. In my opinion, we are entitled to have a clearer position. I always give the same example of the aerospace industry. My first question is for the minister. It is very short.

In addition to being the Minister of National Defence, is the minister still responsible for the economic diversification of the Atlantic provinces?

Business of Supply May 27th, 2010

Mr. Chair, on the same subject, can the minister confirm whether, based on current specifications, the Air Force prefers the Alenia? Does the minister share the same vision as the generals of the Air Force? Is that not the problem?

When does he intend to issue a fair, equitable and transparent call for tenders? Will it be soon? Does he have a preference among the range of equipment currently being considered in this military contract?

Business of Supply May 27th, 2010

Mr. Chair, I would like to move on to another topic, fixed-wing search and rescue aircraft. As the hon. minister knows, we have been waiting for several years for a call for tenders on this kind of aircraft. Although the aircraft are operated by the military, the service is offered to all Canadians and Quebeckers. Also, I think this is the only service provided to Canadians and Quebeckers when they are in situations of serious distress. I would like to know where this matter stands.

We have seen one delay after another and I believe this is a $3 billion program. This money has already been set aside, waiting for a decision on how to proceed. I know there was a bit of a conflict between the minister and his colleague from Industry Canada—perhaps the minister could tell us about that—which led the government to ask the National Research Council of Canada to do an independent study.

Once again, the government seems to want to keep this study under wraps. It says it is not confidential, but neither is it public. Besides, some journalists already have copies of it. As members, we went to a lot of trouble regarding censored documents. Now we cannot understand why the government does not want to give us a document that we have asked for.

Does the minister know about this study? Does he plan to provide it to the Standing Committee on National Defence, which will use it to determine its position on search and rescue activities and on its study on the Arctic? It is an important aspect of the study we are conducting on Arctic sovereignty.

Can the minister provide us with that study? Are we seeing these delays as a result of the conflict or misunderstanding he is having with his colleague from Industry Canada?

Business of Supply May 27th, 2010

Mr. Chair, I want to let you know that the three slots allocated to the Bloc Québécois will be taken by three members of our party and will be used mainly for questions.

My first question for the minister concerns the reopening of the Royal Military College Saint-Jean. The minister came, I believe with the former minister of public works, to announce the partial reopening of the military college, which the Liberal government had closed in 1995. By partial reopening, I mean that the Royal Military College does not have the same status it had when it was closed. Allow me to explain. When the facility was closed, it had university status, but the two ministers came to announce that it would have college status.

Second—and this is something we have repeatedly talked about with the minister—the college used to have a budget of about $25 million, but its current budget is about $12 million. I am sure the minister knows that last weekend, there was the first partial reopening parade of cadets in the preparatory year and first year. I sensed that people were proud, even very proud, to see soldiers on the parade ground again. I think that when we talk about pride, there are no half measures. The college needs to regain its former pride with full status as a university military college and with its former budget.

Moreover, I am told, and perhaps the minister can confirm this, that work is about to start in Kingston. Space will be needed for the soldiers, and Saint-Jean might provide that space. Many senior military people also say that the time has come to reopen the military college. I would add that the number of francophone officer cadets in the Canadian Forces has peaked and is declining.

My question for the minister is this: is it not time to reopen the military college with full university status and with its former budget?

Afghanistan May 12th, 2010

Mr. Speaker, while the government swore that prisoners handed over to the Afghans were not at risk of being tortured, Brigadier General Laroche told us that on the ground—and he was on the ground—civil servants did not visit Afghan prisons often enough and, therefore, could not guarantee that detainees were not being tortured.

How can the government say that it respected the Geneva convention on torture when the prisons were not being visited often enough?

Afghanistan May 12th, 2010

Mr. Speaker, the government told us that the 2007 agreement guaranteed that prisoners handed over to Afghan authorities would not be tortured. As well, ministers have assured us on numerous occasions that prisoners were not being tortured. But Brigadier General Guy Laroche said that the situation became critical in the summer and fall of 2007 because there were not enough visits to Afghan prisons. The safety of detainees could no longer be guaranteed.

Does this further testimony not prove, once again, that the government has failed in its obligations under the Geneva convention?

Business of Supply May 11th, 2010

Mr. Speaker, my colleague is somewhat mistaken. All in all, 30,000 Saint-Jean constituents voted for me. I won. The Bloc won 49 seats in Quebec. The people decide and that always holds true. Just because the people for a Conservative in his riding does not mean that there is nothing more for us to do here. We have heard that before and it is a blow to democracy. Forty-nine Bloc members were elected to this place. That is democracy. I am asking my colleague to respect democracy as much as I do.

Business of Supply May 11th, 2010

Mr. Speaker, I have to admit that it was a heartbreaking defeat. But we live in a democracy. We always respect the voters' decision. I have always told my constituents that if they do not want me as their member anymore and they elect someone else, I will never question their decision. I will tell myself that it was their decision. There is a Latin saying that the voice of the people is the voice of God. But recent polls give me hope that we will win back that riding and several others in the Quebec City area. The Conservatives can go ahead and blindly follow their ideology. Quebeckers will make their decision in the next few years.