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 April 22nd, 2010

Mr. Speaker, former ambassador David Sproule confirmed the testimony of Richard Colvin yesterday, saying that their reports for several years indicated that there was a high likelihood that torture was going on in Afghanistan detention facilities. I do not know how to make it more clear: prisoners turned over to Afghan officials were at risk for torture.

How can this government keep denying that it violated the Geneva convention, when its own diplomats acknowledge the risk of torture? Canada failed to fulfill its commitments.

Business of Supply April 20th, 2010

Mr. Speaker, first of all, I would like to congratulate my colleague for his command of French. I appreciate the fact that he expresses himself in the language of Molière. I also appreciate the fact that he sends his children to French school. I think that it is very important, especially since year after year, statistics show that the French fact in Canada is completely in decline. I hope that his example will inspire others and that there will be more people like him.

Regarding the proportional representation to which he refers, if I heard my colleague correctly, there are 129,000 constituents in his riding and he says it is normal that we should look at representation so that it is more or less equitable for everyone.

I am returning to my example of Prince Edward Island, with its population of 129,000 people. Despite that, it has four members. So it is not working. What I want to say to my friend is that there is a historical notion as far as Quebec is concerned. In our province, we have one of the founding nations. That is why more and more people are starting to say that there should be an exception for Quebec. It is similar to what we said earlier about Prince Edward Island; that it constitutes an exception. There should be an exception for us as well and we should maintain the proportion of Quebec seats at 25%. The bill currently before us does not say that.

Business of Supply April 20th, 2010

Mr. Speaker, I am pleased today to express my views in the debate that my party has brought to this House. I am also proud to rise as a Quebecker, which may not be the case for every Quebecker sitting in the House. I gather from some speeches that there are members from Quebec who would be quite happy for Quebec's power to be reduced.

I want to refer to the motion that was passed in this House on November 22, 2006, the motion on the recognition of Quebec nation. Since that time, the Bloc has maintained that this cannot be just a symbolic recognition. The recognition must be legal, real, and attentive to what is happening in Quebec. The Bloc has entered the fray on a number of occasions on a whole range of issues. Now, the Conservative government, which often connives with the Liberals, has systematically shut the door on that.

The Conservative legislation intends to add 30 seats. People will say that that is not so bad. I would like to say that, but where are these seats to be added? Eighteen are to be added in Ontario, seven in British Columbia, five in Alberta and none in Quebec. If I understand correctly, the number will go from 308 seats to 338, with the number of seats in Quebec remaining the same, at 75. People tell us that Quebec has 75 seats and that we have been promised that the number will always be maintained. But when the number is diluted because seats are added, we lose some of our power.

I will not accept members from Quebec saying in this House that it is normal for Quebec to lose its political weight. I have even heard people tell us that, if we had a few more children, we would have more representation. Is that the solution when we see that the government has been systematically diluting Quebec's political weight? When political weight is reduced, it does not take a rocket scientist to see that some power is going to be lost. We want to promote our nation's fundamental values, but, if others do not share them, we have less chance of success. That is the fundamental issue.

For instance, there is the matter of French and the Canada Labour Code. Quebec has a law that we are very proud of. Quebec is surrounded by a sea of anglophones. People need to understand once and for all that if we do not have legislation to prevent the systematic progression of English in North America, if we do not have laws to protect our language, it will disappear.

That would represent a loss not only for Quebec, but also for North America, for Canada and the entire world. When languages weaken and disappear, as is the case for many aboriginal languages, it represents a loss for world heritage. We should be given the opportunity to defend our language, but that does not happen. Since its inception, Bill 101 has been constantly under attack.

I agree with my colleague from Trois-Rivières: the Supreme Court always leans toward the same side and Duplessis said the same thing before us. We are told that Bill 101 is unfair and discriminatory, that the poor anglophones in Quebec are being persecuted. That is simply not true. They have their own heath care and education systems, from elementary school to the university level.

People need to stop taking us for fools. Anglophones in Quebec have their own way of seeing things; they are not being persecuted. But we must always sacrifice ourselves. People talk about the supreme law of the Supreme Court, which decides what will ultimately be enforced. French is constantly being diluted in each and every decision. On the island of Montreal, English is becoming more common and soon it will be the language spoken by the majority. This is not normal in a francophone Quebec, especially since the law requires that French be the language of work. This is less and less the case.

We are not getting any help integrating newcomers into our society.

They are encouraged to retain their basic culture, which is the Canadian multiculturalism policy. We are always at odds. In the end, Quebec's importance is always diminished, not just legally and politically here, but also on a daily basis.

I could talk about many other aspects, such as the differences in the two societies, nations and peoples. Why is it that Quebeckers do not view the youth criminal justice system in the same way? The answer is simple. Just look at the statistics. We are doing better than the rest of English Canada, and yet they want to impose Canada-wide programs on us. The laws apply to everyone and do not make exceptions for Quebeckers.

That is in direct conflict with our youth criminal justice system, which does a better job of rehabilitating young offenders than the system elsewhere in Canada. What does the rest of Canada want? It wants tough laws that will be applied to 14 and 15 year olds. It wants them to gain an education in crime by putting them in jail very early on. That is the perfect recipe if you want to fail and put off Quebeckers. The Quebec nation is different from Canada.

The same goes for the firearms registry. Since the Conservatives came to power, they have tried to get rid of the registry. The opposition parties are scared, except for the Bloc Québécois. Remember that the mass murder at the École Polytechnique happened in Quebec. I get calls from mothers who lost their daughters in that tragedy and who beg us to keep the firearms registry. We can understand. How is it that our counterparts in English Canada cannot understand? What is the answer in their view?

We still have to register our cars, our cats and our dogs. Are we going to carry around firearms without registering them? I have to say it is shocking for those who maintain law and order. Police groups want to keep the registry because they know exactly what will happen during an intervention. If they have to go into a home, they know if it is supposed to contain firearms or not. It is not hard to understand. That is just more proof that we are not able to see eye to eye.

Furthermore, the idea of adding another 30 seats is all about getting votes. The Conservative government has given up on Quebec. It figured that it had annoyed Quebec so much that the province was fed up and would definitely not vote for the government. So since Quebeckers will not vote Conservative, and the government could potentially lose seats in Quebec, it would win some back by adding another 30.

When we have a majority Conservative government, it will certainly be interesting in this House, in Canada and in Quebec. It will be terrible, because the Conservatives have a different approach than we do in Quebec, and they cannot accept that there are different approaches. Everything has to be Canada-wide; it must apply across the board, from coast to coast to coast. That is the way they do things.

Representation by population is the major argument put forth by our adversaries here. They say that it is important and that Quebec cannot have more seats because the aim is to have 100,000 residents per electoral riding. I would like someone to explain to me why Prince Edward Island, which has a population of 125,000, has four members of Parliament. Of course, that exception is provided for in the Constitution. There are always exceptions when it comes time to give more seats or more powers to English Canada.

But for us, everything is by the book. We are not given any exceptions, even though we were one of the founding peoples. History should perhaps be taken into account in this debate. That is not the case. If English Canada likes it, representation by population it will be, end of story. It is fine if there are exceptions elsewhere in Canada, such as Prince Edward Island, because provisions were made for that.

I am proud to be a Quebecker. I am also proud of the Bloc Québécois, which will obviously support its motion, and which will object to this kind of bill that is trying to diminish Quebec's political power. I hope that the Quebeckers in this House will side with the Quebec people, and not just with the Canadian people. I remind them that according to the November 26, 2006, motion, there are two nations.

We must defend our nation. The Bloc Québécois is proud to defend its nation and to defend the interests of Quebec, which the Conservatives have completely disregarded in this bill.

Afghanistan April 20th, 2010

Mr. Speaker, while General Natynczyk rejects the accusations of the Afghan Canadian interpreter about the death of an Afghan teenager and the capture of innocent people in 2007, the interpreter asks the Prime Minister to stop being “soft on war crimes“. Like the interpreter, I ask the minister to immediately make public the internal report on these events.

What is the government waiting for to shed light on all these accusations?

Afghanistan April 20th, 2010

Mr. Speaker, the government continues to block the release of incriminating documents on the Afghan detainee issue. On Tuesday, the Department of Justice intervened before the Military Police Complaints Commission to block, once again, the distribution of new documents. The government claims that the commission does not have the mandate to study these documents.

Does this new cover-up by the government, which, by the way, is itself under investigation, not prove the need for a real, independent and public commission of inquiry?

Afghanistan April 19th, 2010

Mr. Speaker, according to the Afghanistan Independent Human Rights Commission, Canada alone transferred 60% of NATO detainees to Afghan authorities.

Is that not another example of the strategy of the government which, to avoid a second Somali affair, tries to rid itself of prisoners as quickly as possible and at any cost, even if it was sending them to be tortured?

Afghanistan April 19th, 2010

Mr. Speaker, a confidential military report, an excerpt of which was read to the Special Committee on the Canadian Mission in Afghanistan on April 14, states:

During the interviews conducted, it is believe [sic.] that all the detainees were deceptive and they have a better knowledge on TB [Taliban] activity in their is recommended that [names] be transferred to the National Directorate of Security (NDS) for further questioning.

Will the minister confirm that this process is nothing more than the subcontracting of torture?

Afghanistan April 15th, 2010

Mr. Speaker, I would like the minister to raise his standards too, so that there is more transparency in the House on this issue.

The Afghan interpreter also says that Canadian troops killed an Afghan youth. What did the troops do? They went into a village, arrested 10 innocent people and turned them over to be tortured.

Instead of ignoring these summary arrests, what is the government waiting for to step up to the plate and do the only thing it can do, which is to call a public inquiry?

Afghanistan April 15th, 2010

Mr. Speaker, the government's version of events in the Afghan detainee scandal is falling apart. An Afghan-Canadian interpreter has confirmed that when Canadian soldiers thought detainees were lying, they would turn them over to the Afghan security service for Afghan-style questioning, which meant torture. In short, we contracted out torture.

How could the government claim that the 2007 protocol was working well when the incidents reported by this interpreter took place more than a year after that protocol was put in place?

Afghanistan April 14th, 2010

Mr. Speaker, Lieutenant-Colonel Sansterre was in charge of investigating the mistreatment of Afghan detainees. He stated that he took the word of the Afghan authorities, even though they were accused of torturing detainees. He even said he was not aware of the Federal Court ruling that detainee safety was threatened. It defies belief.

How can this government guarantee the safety of detainees when its investigator was given a political order—I repeat, a political order—not to bother the Afghan torturers too much?