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Crucial Fact

  • His favourite word was know.

Last in Parliament March 2011, as Conservative MP for Charlesbourg—Haute-Saint-Charles (Québec)

Lost his last election, in 2011, with 30% of the vote.

Statements in the House

Business of Supply June 1st, 2010

Mr. Speaker, first of all, I would like to mention that I will be sharing my time with the member for Prince Edward—Hastings.

I am pleased to discuss this very important issue in the House today, because the government takes the safety of Canadians very seriously.

As the Prime Minister has said, in many ways, 2010 is an international year for Canada.

We hosted the world in Vancouver and Whistler for the 2010 Olympic and Paralympic Games.

And this month, Canada will host summits for the leaders of the G8 and G20 nations. These events are unique and extremely useful opportunities to show what Canada has to offer, and to demonstrate our leadership on issues that are important to Canadians.

These types of events always pose special challenges. When Canada hosts the world, it is responsible for ensuring the safety of the site and of the participants.

Although the right to demonstrate peacefully is fundamental in any democracy, unfortunately, some people try to disrupt high-profile international events, or do even worse.

It is therefore quite a challenge to provide security for events such as the Olympics and the G8 and G20 summits. It is an enormous and unprecedented task to provide security for two events attended by foreign leaders in two different locations for three days.

But Canada can count on some outstanding Canadian partners that did an excellent job on security at the Vancouver Olympics. Certainly, they will be up to the challenge of providing security at the G8 and G20 summits.

We heard about the outstanding job the RCMP is doing as the main organization in charge of security at the summits. I would also like to mention the Canadian Forces' contribution to the many aspects of this highly complex government-wide initiative.

I would like to start by putting things in context. The government expects the Canadian Forces to demonstrate excellence as they do their job here at home. It also expects them to be a reliable partner in defending North America and to show leadership abroad, as the Canada first defence strategy clearly states.

The Canadian Forces are surpassing these expectations. Just a few months ago, even though they were making final plans for security at the Vancouver games, a huge undertaking if there ever was one, they still managed to quickly bring humanitarian aid to the victims of the disaster in Haiti. At the same time, our Canadian Forces were continuing their operations in Afghanistan and taking part in other missions abroad.

This was possible because Canadian soldiers are consummate professionals. Canada's sailors, soldiers and air personnel represent the best Canada has to offer.

But the government also plays a crucial role by making the necessary investments to provide the Canadian Forces with the resources they need.

Whether we are talking about buying new equipment such as C-17 Globemaster strategic lift aircraft, modernizing and replacing ageing infrastructure or investing in new integrated personnel support centres and other initiatives to look after our personnel, who are the Canadian Forces' most precious resources, the government has made a commitment to implement the Canada first defence strategy, our long-term master plan, which will allow us to provide the Canadian Forces with the personnel, equipment, infrastructure and readiness they need to do their job in the 21st century.

These investments allow the Canadian Forces to perform the task at which they excel—protecting Canadians and Canada's interests.

For example, while Canadian Olympic and Paralympic athletes were setting records on snow and ice, some 4,500 Canadian military personnel were working behind the scenes helping the RCMP and civilian organizations ensure the safety of all those who came to Vancouver to participate in those remarkable games.

The Canadian Forces played a significant and integral role in the security operation, Operation Podium, during the Olympic Games. This operation involved personnel from the navy, the army and the air force, who worked together to ensure that the 10,000 km2 area surrounding the site of the games as well as the site itself were safe.

A number of lessons were learned from this experience. The various groups that were mobilized made a concerted effort to ensure that this government-wide security operation during the games was a success.

All aspects of this security operation, from the training and exercises before the games to the way that information was exchanged between the various departments and organizations throughout the games, are being studied and reproduced for the G8 and G20 summits.

The Canadian military is ready to play a similar role in these summits.

Although the size of the summits, each of which will be unique, is similar to the Vancouver Games, there are important differences. For example, the games took place in a generally festive atmosphere, whereas the summits are more serious political events.

In the past, events of this type have been met with large protests that have sometimes resulted in violence.

As well, the participants at the summits—the leaders and their delegations—will outnumber the participants at the Vancouver Games. Although the RCMP is doing an incredible job managing the security operations for the G8 and G20, it cannot do everything by itself.

The RCMP asked the Canadian Forces for help so that the government could draw on more security resources. The navy, the army and the air force will provide unique military resources and capabilities to ensure the security of the two summit locations as part of operation Cadence 2010.

The Canadian Forces will make their large-scale operational planning skills available to the RCMP.

They will also conduct land and air surveillance, ensure water safety, transport visiting leaders and their staff and carry out some logistic and ceremonial functions.

As was the case during the Olympic Games, the military contribution will draw on the partnership between the Canadian Forces and the United States Armed Forces set out in the bilateral North American Aerospace Defense Command, or NORAD.

The Canadian Forces will contribute personnel to the security operation during the G8 and G20 summits and will deploy required equipment to provide security for activities in Huntsville and Toronto.

The military contribution to this large-scale operation will ensure the security of foreign leaders and their entourages, as well as that of everyone participating in these crucial events.

In conclusion, the 2010 G8 and G20 summits provide an excellent opportunity for Canada to make a useful contribution to discussions among foreign leaders about global issues that affect us all.

Canada will be in the foreground, demonstrating leadership on the world stage and promoting the values it holds dear, such as human rights, democracy and the rule of law.

The Canadian Forces will support the RCMP and civilian organizations by working behind the scenes to keep both summits safe and secure.

Providing security during this kind of large-scale international event is just one aspect of the Canadian Forces' mandate here at home. The Canadian Forces are well-equipped to provide unequalled support for security at the G8 and G20 summits because the government committed to giving them the tools and support they need.

That is why I cannot support the motion before the House.

Business of Supply May 27th, 2010

Mr. Chair, I will share my five minutes with the member for Northumberland—Quinte West and the member for Calgary Centre.

I am pleased to take part in today's discussion, and will use this opportunity to expand on the minister's remarks regarding defence infrastructure renewal.

To begin, I would ask you to think about the tremendous demands on our Canadian Forces, at home, on the continent and abroad. At home—surveillance, sovereignty patrols, search and rescue, and support to security partners at special events and in response to natural disasters. On the continent—working with American partners to keep the skies of North America safe and provide a clear picture of maritime security threats. Overseas—contributing to international security through deployed operations and delivering humanitarian aid.

What does it take to ensure that the Canadian Forces can carry out all we ask of them, safely and effectively? The right people, well-trained, of course. And the right equipment, well-maintained. But there is also defence infrastructure. The hangars, roads, landing strips, docking facilities, accommodations, medical, training and recreational facilities—and much more. These are absolutely essential to the effectiveness of our military.

The right infrastructure—up to date and properly maintained—ensures that the Canadian Forces personnel and civilians on our bases and wings across Canada have the safe and healthy work environment they expect and deserve. It ensures they have suitable facilities for their accommodation, and for fitness and training. And it ensures they can house and maintain their equipment under the right conditions.

With stations, bases and wings stretching from Haida Gwaii to Alert to St. John's, National Defence infrastructure holdings are as extensive as they are varied: some 35,000 buildings and works assets serviced by 3,000 km of water, storm and sewer pipes; 2.25 million hectares of land—that is four times the size of P.E.I.; and 5,500 km of roads—enough to stretch from here to Whitehorse. These are impressive numbers.

However, much of this inventory is aging and in need of pressing upgrades or replacement. As well, DND must build or enhance infrastructure associated with the introduction of new capabilities. With good reason, defence infrastructure is one of the four essential pillars of the Canada first defence strategy.

This strategy calls for the replacement of 25% of the existing infrastructure over 10 years and 50% over 20 years. Let me give you an idea of some of the projects underway.

On the west coast, at CFB Esquimalt, a new facility is being built that will allow for the safe receiving, processing, storage and transportation of hazardous material and waste such as poisons, corrosive agents and flammable substances. Heading inland to CFB Wainwright, a water treatment plant is being upgraded to ensure safe and reliable drinking water to both the base and the town of Wainwright. Continuing eastward, a number of upgrades are being made to the airfield at 8 Wing Trenton, including the important work being done to accommodate the C-17 Globemasters.

As you might imagine, the huge Globemasters need infrastructure to match. DND will be reconstructing a part of 8 Wing Trenton's airfield so that it can support their massive weight. These aircraft have been hard at work for the Canadian Forces from their first operation in support of Jamaica, within a week of the first Canadian Globemaster touching down in Trenton, to their most recent operation, in Haiti.

Because the Globemasters are not the only new acquisitions that National Defence has to accommodate, Trenton will also get a new air mobility training centre to house the equipment and personnel required to train operators and maintainers of the C-130J aircraft. That is also supporting a real need. The aging Hercules that the C-130Js will replace have been in steady use for Afghanistan and Canadian Forces relief missions, and they have also been invaluable to operations at home, including search and rescue.

Communities in Quebec are benefiting from infrastructure renewal as well, with a variety of projects under way, including new facilities at Valcartier and Montreal for the LAV III, a versatile vehicle that has been serving our soldiers faithfully in Afghanistan. The LAV III facility at Valcartier will be used for day-to-day operations, maintenance and preparations for deployment of the vehicles. The Montreal buildings will be used for full maintenance, including repairs to battle-damaged machinery, LAV III mission preparation and vehicle decontamination. These new facilities will ensure that the LAV III continues to play a vital role in the future of our land forces for many years to come.

Atlantic Canada is also benefiting from infrastructure renewal under the Canada first defence strategy. 14 Wing Greenwood will get a new fire hall and a new health services centre in addition to four other projects, while 9 Wing Gander will get a new headquarters facility for 19 Airfield Engineering Flight and a new multi-purpose facility.

These and other improvements, completed or under way, are already making a difference for the men and women of the Canadian Forces and for civilians working at defence installations, adding to their safety, readiness and effectiveness.

The new and upgraded storage and maintenance facilities are helping to ensure the required equipment is available where and when it is needed. But the benefits of defence infrastructure renewal extend beyond the Canadian Forces' bases and wings.

Investments in National Defence infrastructure are helping us meet the targets of Canada's economic action plan. Our renewal efforts complement the plan by bringing economic activity to local communities through the creation of thousands of jobs across the country. For example, in addition to the 8 Wing projects I just mentioned, there were five other Trenton projects that the minister announced last September. The seven projects represent an investment of more than $340 million and will bring significant economic activity—an estimated 1,800 or more direct employment opportunities—to Trenton and its surrounding communities over the course of the work.

Overall, the cross-Canada defence infrastructure projects announced in the 2009-10 fiscal year alone have a total value of $1.8 billion and will sustain an estimated 4,320 jobs over the course of these projects. This is a very important consideration of the benefits of defence infrastructure renewal. It is also important to remember that there is more to managing infrastructure than updating and construction.

Maintaining assets in good condition, disposing of aging or surplus assets, managing heritage sites and exercising environmental stewardship are all part of the process. DND and the Canadian Forces demonstrate due regard for the environmental health of the lands with which they are entrusted. They practice pollution prevention in their everyday activities by reducing resource consumption and waste generation. And while keeping in mind the primacy of operations, they incorporate environmental considerations into their decision making. For instance, they use the latest assessment tools to integrate green building concepts into the design process of construction plans.

In conclusion, defence infrastructure renewal supports the delivery of defence operations by supporting our people, our equipment and our operational readiness. It also helps to ensure we have a first class, modern military, ready to take on the challenges of the 21st century.

May 27th, 2010

Mr. Speaker, I will respond to my hon. colleague's comments.

With the funds announced in Budget 2010, this government has almost doubled the federal funding available to victims since our arrival in government. As an example, the funding for victims at the Department of Justice in 2005 was $5 million. In 2010, the federal funds for grants and contributions to support victims and families, provincial-territorial service providers and NGO advocates is $9.05 million each and every year. That is progress!

With regard to the assertions of the ombudsman, there should be no doubt that the government remains committed to this function. Mr. Sullivan will confirm himself that he was honoured to be the first Federal Ombudsman for Victims of Crime. An announcement as to the next ombudsman will be made in due course.

May 27th, 2010

Mr. Speaker, I am pleased to speak on behalf of the Government to the important issue of funding for victims of crime, which my colleague was just talking about. The government has made the protection of law-abiding citizens one of our very top priorities. We have always put the safety of law-abiding Canadians first and we have always believed that every victim matters.

That is why one of our first actions, upon taking office in 2006, was to introduce the Federal Victims Strategy. Since then, our Government has committed over $50 million to this strategy.

We created the Office of the Federal Ombudsman for Victims of Crime, an independent resource for victims. We passed the truth and sentencing law, eliminating the two-for-one credit that criminals get for time served in custody prior to sentencing.

We have cracked down on organized crime, including drug crime, with tougher sentences. We passed the Tackling Violent Crime Act, better protecting 14- and 16-year-olds from sexual predators for the first time.

We gave police and judges tools to deal with impaired drivers. To combat white collar crime, we are introducing new legislation to provide stronger sentences. We want violent criminals, repeat offenders and fraudsters to serve their time in prison not in their homes.

Let me remind the House that this government began its tenure in 2006 by committing additional funding of $52 million for four years, that is $13 million per year from 2007 to 2011, to the Federal Victims Strategy.

When we entered office, the Department of Justice received $5 million per year for victims programming. We raised that amount to $13 million per year, including $1.5 million for the federal ombudsman.

For the past four years, our actions have shown our commitment to ensuring that victims have a voice in the criminal justice system and greater access to services.

The Federal Victim Strategy included the establishment of the first Office of the Federal Ombudsman for Victims of Crime and a range of new initiatives within the Departments of Justice and Public Safety. The additional funding has allowed a variety of new programs and services to be implemented in the Department of Justice. For example, the Victims Fund has been enhanced to provide more resources, totalling $7.75 million per year, for victims of crime, provincial/territorial victim services, NGOs and others working to assist victims and their families.

Specific enhancements to the fund include providing financial assistance for Canadians who are victimized abroad, expanding the financial assistance provided to victims travelling to attend National Parole Board hearings so that they may be accompanied by a support person; enhancing services for underserved victims of crime; and assisting victims with emergency costs in three territories where the Attorney General of Canada prosecutes criminal offences. The majority of the funding that the government provides to support victims and families is directed to provinces and territories, who provide the bulk of services to victims.

Justice May 27th, 2010

Mr. Speaker, I am pleased to inform the House that Bill C-13, An Act to amend the Employment Insurance Act, unanimously passed in committee yesterday.

This bill will allow Canadian Forces members, who serve our country with pride, to spend time with their new child when they return from a mission.

Major Duquette, who originally brought this matter to the attention of the hon. member for Nepean—Carleton, said yesterday that getting this bill to pass has been the greatest achievement of his military career because it will have a significant impact on military families.

I call on all parties to help pass this bill quickly, so that military families can access the benefits they so rightly deserve.

Justice May 12th, 2010

Mr. Speaker, the Bloc's votes in this House have made it clear that they do not care about victims' rights. Yesterday afternoon, the Bloc leader made his indifference towards victims of serious crime very clear.

Speaking with reporters on May 11, the Bloc leader said that, “with sexual assault, for example, it can be very important, or much less so when committed by a young person.”

How can a party leader say such things and trivialize a crime as violent as sexual assault against women or children? How can the Bloc leader try to reason that a sex crime is less serious if the offender is young?

It is clear that the Bloc leader does not support Quebec women and children who have been the victims of sexual assault.

Business of Supply May 11th, 2010

Madam Speaker, my colleague made a good speech and I want to ask her a question.

Her party's motion says that the five clauses of the Meech Lake accord have not been observed. Today, the Bloc Québécois denounces the fact that the accord of 20 years ago is not being respected when, at the time, even the least sovereignists among Quebeckers were against it. If the accord in its entirety were proposed today, I guess that the Bloc would support it and that its presence in the House of Commons would not be needed anymore since the five clauses would be implemented. Is this what the motion means? Is the Bloc ready to acknowledge that if the five clauses were accepted, it would not have to be here and that everything would return to normal?

Controlled Drugs and Substances Act May 7th, 2010

Mr. Speaker, first, I would like to thank the member for West Vancouver—Sunshine Coast—Sea to Sky Country, who introduced Bill C-475, An Act to amend the Controlled Drugs and Substances Act (methamphetamine and ecstasy).

He is very concerned about the problems caused by the use of methamphetamine and other similar drugs in Canada. I would like to congratulate him for introducing this private member's bill targeting these drugs.

I would like to say a few words about these two drugs. The chemical name for ecstasy is methylenedioxymethamphetamine—that word is not easy to pronounce—or MDMA. The chemical structure and the effects of MDMA are similar to amphetamine—a stimulant—and to mescaline—a hallucinogen.

What is sold as ecstasy often contains drugs other than MDMA, which may or may not be similar in effect to MDMA. Some of the other drugs include caffeine, ephedrine, amphetamine, ketamine or LSD. Ecstasy sometimes contains highly toxic drugs, which can be lethal even in low doses. MDMA affects the chemistry of the brain, in particular by releasing a high level of serotonin. Serotonin is a chemical in the brain that plays an important role in the regulation of mood, energy level and appetite, among other things.

The possession, trafficking, importing and production of MDMA have been illegal in Canada since 1976.

Ecstasy is made in illicit labs with chemicals and processes that vary from lab to lab. What is sold as ecstasy often contains unknown drugs or other fillers. Ecstasy is usually sold as a tablet or capsule that is swallowed. It may also be sold in powder form, or the tablets may be crushed and then snorted. Although rare, there are also some reports that the drug is injected.

Ecstasy tablets come in different shapes, sizes and colours, and are often stamped with a logo, such as a butterfly or clover, giving them a candy-like look. This branding of ecstasy tablets should not be mistaken for an indication of quality, as manufacturers may use the same logo, and low-quality copycats are common. Tablets that are sold as ecstasy may not contain MDMA.

The increased use of ecstasy as a recreational drug began in the 1980s in the U.S. The group most commonly associated with ecstasy use is young people at "raves" or all-night dance parties. More recently, ecstasy has attracted a wider range of users, including urban professionals, and is used in a variety of settings, including mainstream nightclubs.

How ecstasy affects you depends on several things: your age and weight; how much you take and how often you take it; how long you have been taking it; the method you use to take the drug; the environment you are in; whether or not you have certain pre-existing medical or psychiatric conditions; and if you have taken any alcohol or other drugs—illicit, prescription, over-the-counter or herbal.

In low to moderate doses, ecstasy can produce feelings of pleasure and well-being, increased sociability and closeness with others. Like all stimulant drugs, ecstasy can make users feel full of energy and confidence.

Even at low doses, ecstasy can also have strong negative effects. Higher doses are unlikely to enhance the desirable effects, and may intensify the negative effects.

These effects include grinding of teeth and jaw pain, sweating, increased blood pressure and heart rate, anxiety or panic attacks, blurred vision, nausea, vomiting and convulsions.

After the initial effects of the drug have worn off, users may also experience after-effects such as confusion, irritability, anxiety, paranoia, depression, memory impairment or sleep problems.

The effects of ecstasy usually begin within an hour, and may last four to six hours. The duration of the after-effects cannot be predicted as precisely, though they may last for days or weeks.

Although some people regard ecstasy as a relatively safe drug, a growing number of deaths have been associated with it. As with many illicit drugs, these risks increase with the amount taken and frequency of use.

A major factor in many ecstasy-related deaths is the dehydration and overheating that can result when ecstasy is taken in conjunction with all-night dancing. Ecstasy increases body temperature, blood pressure and heart rate, which can lead to kidney or heart failure, strokes and seizures. Ecstasy may cause jaundice and liver damage.

People with high blood pressure, heart or liver problems, diabetes, epilepsy or any mental disorder are the most vulnerable to the potential dangers of ecstasy. Part of the danger is that people may not be aware that they have these conditions, and the effects of ecstasy can trigger symptoms.

As for the long-term effects of ecstasy, animal research has established that ecstasy use can damage the brain cells that release serotonin. Research on humans is limited, but there is some evidence to support that ecstasy can damage the cells and chemistry of the human brain, affecting some functions of the brain, including learning and memory. Research suggests that the risk of damage caused by ecstasy use is linked to the amount taken and the frequency of use.

Methamphetamine is a neurotoxin that alters and damages the brain. It is a drug that is highly addictive and has a high potential for abuse. The abuse of methamphetamine can cause serous behavioural problems, psychotic symptoms and dangerous medical complications, such as vascular problems, strokes and even death. Methamphetamine addiction is a chronic illness, one that is characterized by relapse and that is difficult to treat.

The illicit production and trafficking of this drug has caused terrible harm to thousands of Canadians. Methamphetamine and other synthetic drugs cost us millions of dollars in health care and tens of millions of dollars in law enforcement. Even worse, they have led to the loss of many lives and have been a cause of heartbreak for many families and friends.

There are plenty of recipes for methamphetamine on the Internet, and it is easy to buy books from popular online bookstores that explain how to make it. It is relatively easy to get the dozen or so ingredients and the equipment needed to produce it from neighbourhood pharmacies, grocery stores and hardware stores.

I believe we all agree that nobody wants a meth lab in their neighbourhood. Nobody wants people manufacturing methampthetamine near our schools and playgrounds or on the farm down the road.

And I am sure that nobody wants this relatively cheap and easy-to-produce but deadly drug to fall into their children's hands.

Another issue is the fact that producing methamphetamine is dangerous. The ingredients can cause chemical burns and can easily explode if handled inexpertly. First responders on the scene of an illegal lab are exposed to serious health hazards, as are the neighbours. The environmental risks associated with methamphetamine production are very real.

We also have to take into account the social costs—in dollars—of illegal drug use. I am sure that the direct and indirect costs to the Canadian economy resulting from harm associated with illegal drugs, such as methamphetamine and ecstasy, add up to hundreds of millions of dollars per year. That includes costs associated with health care, law enforcement and loss of productivity due to illness and premature death.

I want to emphasize that, for all of these reasons—the insidious nature of production, the use of toxic chemicals in the manufacture of methamphetamine and its cost to the economy—our government is taking these problems very seriously.

The government is committed to fighting drug production and addiction. Over the past few years, Canada's primary objective in the war on drug abuse has remained unchanged: to make Canadians safer by protecting them from the damage caused by drugs.

We must not underestimate the complexity of fighting this deeply entrenched problem. We have to tackle illegal drug use on a number of fronts. We have to examine it as a social phenomenon.

Official Languages May 3rd, 2010

Mr. Speaker, our government will continue to be guided by principles of merit and legal excellence in the selection and appointment of judges to Canada's highest courts.

Afghanistan May 3rd, 2010

Mr. Speaker, I can assure the member who just asked the question as well as all other members that the government's lawyers are continuing to work with the Military Police Complaints Commission in order to provide all the necessary documents that are relevant to its mandate.