House of Commons photo

Crucial Fact

  • His favourite word was competition.

Last in Parliament March 2011, as Liberal MP for Pickering—Scarborough East (Ontario)

Lost his last election, in 2011, with 38% of the vote.

Statements in the House

Department Of Canadian Heritage Act November 3rd, 1994

Mr. Speaker, I am pleased to participate in the debate on the bill to establish the Department of Canadian Heritage. French-speaking communities outside Quebec have long relied on the federal government to protect their rights and promote their development.

And the federal government has always responded with concrete and helpful measures for minority groups. In the early seventies, it set up programs to support French-speaking communities outside Quebec. These programs reflect an open and creative vision which allows French-speaking minority groups to thrive and fully contribute to the economic, social, cultural and scientific life of our country.

Since then, these programs have evolved according to the needs of communities and they have played an important role in their development. One of these initiatives is the Official Languages Act, which was originally passed 25 years ago and improved in 1988. There is also section 23 of the Canadian Charter of Rights and Freedoms, which guarantees French linguistic minorities the right to receive school instruction in their first language as well as the right to manage their schools, where the numbers warrant it.

So, the government of Canada, which happened to be a Liberal government, first created a legal framework to promote the development of French and English linguistic minority groups, and to promote the official languages in our country. It also created a constitutional framework which guarantees to the two linguistic communities the right to delivery of services in the official language of their choice. Whether it is delivery of services in both official languages or the right to education in the minority language, these initiatives helped make tremendous progress.

As regards the management of schools by French-speaking communities, the federal government supported every cause related to clarifying that right. The Court Challenges Program set up by the federal government was an invaluable tool for French-speaking minorities in the fight for the recognition of their rights. By the way, that program will soon be reinstated.

After the 1990 Supreme Court decision on the Mahé case, the federal government lent its support to every province to ensure a quick implementation of that judgment everywhere in Canada. In May 1993, the federal government announced measures to fund part of the implementation costs of a school management system in every province where such a system had not yet been set up.

Today, thanks to federal government support, French-speaking minorities can manage their schools almost everywhere in the country. I am convinced it is only a matter of time before all francophones in this country will be able to manage their own schools. I may add that this is already the case in my own riding.

The federal government is also present in other areas that are of primary importance to these communities, including the economy, human resources development and culture, to name only a few. The Department of Canadian Heritage is not the only federal institution that can play a decisive role in priority areas but is responsible for co-ordinating the implementation by departments and federal agencies of the federal government's commitment to the growth and development of official language minority communities.

These provisions of the Official Languages Act were not acted upon by the previous government. Last summer, cabinet members agreed to consider the specific needs of official language communities when implementing the policies and programs of their respective departments.

A number of specific projects have now been finalized: The La Picasse Community Centre Project in Petit-de-Grat, Nova Scotia; the new school of electrical engineering at the University of Moncton; a human resources adjustment committee for Canadian francophones; an economic development plan for bilingual municipalities in Manitoba; and the construction of a francophone community centre in Edmonton.

That is how this government supports the growth and development of Canada's anglophone and francophone minority communities. The departments each have their own mandate but all work together towards a common goal: ensuring that official language communities can reach their full potential in all areas.

The communities themselves agree this is a remarkable achievement that will have a clear impact on the development of minority official language communities.

The Canadian government and the communities had established a good working relationship over the years, but since the seventies, the world has changed dramatically. Economic imperatives and new cultural, social and linguistic priorities that are developing today have made it necessary to restructure the federal government's approach, in order to make its support programs for these communities more effective.

Thanks to the current exercise in repositioning at the Department of Canadian Heritage, communities will be able to take an active part in setting priorities and thus target the main areas where action is needed.

Official language communities are a vital force in Canadian society, not only because of their numbers but also and above all because of their extraordinary vitality and energy.

The Government of Canada has always greatly contributed to their cultural development through cultural co-operation agreements with the provincial governments, direct assistance to cultural institutions, through the federal Cultural Initiatives Program and various other support measures and instruments which I mentioned in my speech.

Some people claim that the federal government does not do enough for francophone minorities outside Quebec. We should realize that despite the current financial squeeze, the federal government has maintained the special budgets that enable francophones to manage their own schools and have better access to post-secondary education.

Furthermore, pursuant to the inter-departmental initiative announced last summer, all federal institutions will from now on be involved in the development of francophone and anglophone minority communities, in the spirit of the Official Languages Act.

It is important to see where the real needs are and where real progress can be achieved in developing Canada's francophone communities. The federal government is committed to meeting the specific needs of these communities because it wants to develop this country's full potential. We are firmly committed to pursuing that goal.

Airports October 24th, 1994

Mr. Speaker, my question is for the Minister of Transport.

I recently attended a Transport Canada public meeting in my riding on the southern Ontario area airport study. This study is in part examining if there is a need for a future airport on federal lands in Pickering, a legacy that has been going on for some 25 years. Related to this is the question of what will be done with the lands which have already been declared surplus.

What assurance will the minister give this House that the result of the study will be made public before a final decision is made on Pickering airport and of course on the surplus lands?

Social Security Programs October 24th, 1994

Mr. Speaker, I listened to the hon. member's comments with some concern. It seems to me he was very negative in his references to the government and made it seem as though one of our initiatives is a way of getting even with the unemployed because we feel they are lazy.

He also said that with our social security reform, we were taxing the poor. It is of course not the first time that comments from the Bloc Quebecois are rather negative and do not represent the real situation.

Where did the hon. member get his information, and could he quote his sources?

Kingston Francophones September 27th, 1994

Mr. Speaker, last Wednesday, during Question Period, the hon. member for Rimouski-Témiscouata said that the problems in obtaining from the Kingston city council a piece of land on which to build a French-language high school confirmed the Commissioner of Official Languages' statement to the effect that it will be difficult to turn Kingston into a bilingual place.

The Prime Minister assured the hon. member that the problem, which is related to finding a piece of land and is not a linguistic issue, will be solved and that a French-language school will be built in Kingston.

It is sad to see how the Bloc Quebecois has a distorted perception of the reality. The Bloc should know that the million francophones living outside Quebec are alive and well.

In my riding, we are proud of our French-language schools. Indeed, in spite of the fact that French-speaking people account for only 2 per cent of the total population, we have one high school and three elementary schools for francophones. I myself benefitted from that school system, as did many other Canadians, thanks to the policies implemented by the Liberal Party over the last 25 years.

Petitions September 27th, 1994

Madam Speaker, pursuant to Standing Order 36, I wish to present a petition signed by 42 constituents of Ontario riding.

The petitioners call upon Parliament not to amend the human rights code, the Canadian Human Rights Act or the Charter of Rights and Freedoms in any way that would indicate societal approval of same sex relationships.

They also call upon Parliament not to amend the human rights code to include in the prohibited grounds of discrimination the undefined phrase sexual orientation.

The Late Bill Bussiere September 19th, 1994

Parliamentarians both past and present from all parties, and certainly you as well, Mr. Speaker, were deeply saddened last Wednesday at the sudden death of our very dear friend, Bill Bussiere.

For 25 years Bill was an integral part of the weekly parliamentary prayer breakfast group and was instrumental in organizing the annual National Prayer Breakfast which most of us attended.

The importance that Bill attached to our spiritual needs can be measured by the respect and admiration we had for him.

On behalf of this House I extend our deepest sympathy to his wife Sandra and his three daughters Lori, Wanda and Linda.

Bill's presence and friendship will be missed but his memory will stay with us.

Perhaps in final recognition of Bill's strong personal commitment I can humbly say for all of us, well done thy good and faithful servant.

Rock Theriault May 11th, 1994

Mr. Speaker, Rock Theriault, the cult leader who tortured his followers with impunity for over 10 years did so as a result of negligence, ineptitude and potential wrongdoing of various public officials and medical experts.

Theriault used starvation, sleep deprivation and mutilations to control his followers. In 1989 he was convicted of cutting off the arm of a cult member. Only then was it discovered that he had killed one of his many wives a year earlier. Her death and the atrocities committed to her body were nothing short of sadistic.

In 1992 Theriault pleaded guilty to a reduced charge of second degree murder and is now incarcerated at Kingston penitentiary.

Theriault will be eligible for day parole in two years and full parole in five, even though the OPP has a list of over 80 attacks Theriault committed but has never been charged for. These range from castration, shootings, stabbings and disfigurement. Some of these acts involve children living at his commune.

Theriault should be classified as a dangerous offender. I ask the Minister of Justice and the Solicitor General to consider a full review of his case including the plea bargaining and to prosecute him on all outstanding charges.

Serial Killer Board Game April 28th, 1994

Mr. Speaker, the sale of killer games and cards in Canada suffered a serious setback last week when the Minister of Justice presented a bill banning them in this country for children under 18. Board games and collectable cards on mass murderers have no place in Canadian society.

These products glorify criminals and their brutal acts. Many constituents in my riding of Ontario have conveyed to me their concern and repugnance over the sale of such items to children.

I wish to commend the Minister of Justice for taking this initiative and I will be glad when the Standing Committee on Justice and Legal Affairs begins public consideration of the bill.

I also take the opportunity to congratulate the Catholic Women's League of Canada and the churches in my riding on their efforts.

Petitions April 22nd, 1994

Mr. Speaker, pursuant to Standing Order 36, I have the honour to present a petition that has been signed by over 300 residents of Ontario riding and elsewhere concerning Frenchman's Bay.

The petitioners call on Parliament to urge the government to use its powers over navigation and shipping as outlined in section 92(10) of the Constitution Act and in the Federal Navigable Waters Protection Act to undertake dredging operations in Frenchman's Bay in order to correct the loss of draught both in the bay and in the channel entrance.

Due to a severe build-up of silt the draught in Frenchman's Bay has been dramatically reduced and now a serious threat is being posed to personal safety and to boats entering that channel.

Armenian Genocide April 22nd, 1994

Mr. Speaker, this year, Armenians throughout the world commemorate the 79th anniversary of the painful events of 1915 that took two million of their compatriots.

On this occasion, the Government of Canada extends its sympathy to the Armenian people, and particularly to tens of thousands of our fellow Canadians of Armenian descent, and hopes that the conflict in Karabakh will be resolved in a peaceful, fair and equitable manner as soon as possible.