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Crucial Fact

  • His favourite word was infrastructure.

Last in Parliament August 2017, as Conservative MP for Lac-Saint-Jean (Québec)

Won his last election, in 2015, with 33% of the vote.

Statements in the House

Agriculture and Agri-Food May 15th, 2008

Mr. Speaker, much to everyone's surprise, a few days ago the Bloc reversed its position and stated that it will now be voting against Bill C-33, which would impose biofuel content targets of five per cent for gasoline and two per cent for diesel. The Conservative government's strategy, with Bill C-33, is beneficial for the environment, for farmers and for the regions.

I would like the Secretary of State (Agriculture) to explain the government's biofuel strategy. Does he not feel that the Bloc is once again abandoning the farmers and regions of Quebec?

Business of Supply May 7th, 2008

Mr. Speaker, court rulings have already stated the framework in which this had to be managed in Canada. In this matter, among others, this is a private transaction. I think the situation has to stay the way it is right now.

Business of Supply May 7th, 2008

Mr. Speaker, I was able to do a good job of reading my notes because I had carefully watched the member for Honoré-Mercier read his. I even asked for a stand so that, for the first time, I could do what he does.

It is very clear that the government wants to send the message that we want to keep news services across the country so that the people in the regions are well informed. It is very important for us to send the message that we are not getting involved in what is happening with the CRTC at present or in the private transaction concerning the purchase of TQS.

It is clear that regionalists and people in every region of the country want to continue providing Canadians with regional news content to keep them well informed.

Business of Supply May 7th, 2008

Mr. Speaker, I thank my hon. colleague for her question. Obviously, the subject we are discussing here today concerns TQS. CBC representatives are currently involved in giving evidence to various House of Commons committees. Having the pleasure of sitting with a number of my colleagues on the Standing Committee on Official Languages, I know we have already begun asking the Canadian Broadcasting Corporation representative some questions, and we will continue to do so.

To answer my hon. colleague's question, in part, I know that news is extremely important in the regions in Canada and Quebec. As for TQS, we also have a regional program in Saguenay—Lac-Saint-Jean that is very popular with our citizens and that reports what is happening in our beautiful region. There is also another reason. Opportunities are needed for young people studying media art and technology in Jonquière, where we train most technicians and many of the animators on all television and radio programs in Quebec. We must continue to offer these young people opportunities in our regions, in our province and in our country. We will therefore continue working on this issue and closely follow everything that is happening with the Canadian Broadcasting Corporation.

Business of Supply May 7th, 2008

Mr. Speaker, I would first like to tell you that I will be sharing my time with the hon. member for Glengarry—Prescott—Russell.

I would like to begin by thanking the hon. member of the opposition for this opportunity to debate a public policy issue that is so important to the social and democratic vitality of our society in general and to the regions that comprise it, in particular, as our hon. colleague just mentioned.

I would like to point out that while the government supports this motion in principle, we have no intention of making any comments about matters that are currently before the CRTC.

As everyone knows, the TQS issue is complicated and we will not take a position regarding this commercial transaction. It is the responsibility of the CRTC, an agency that operates at arm's length from the government , to regulate so as to ensure that the objectives of the legislation are met.

Our government is committed to ensuring a strong Canadian broadcasting system, a strong production sector and the creation of quality Canadian content that is accessible to everyone.

It is typical that a Liberal member would suggest interfering in CRTC decisions, something we would not do, but I am happy to listen to my colleague here today. That is why I feel I must remind the House that the CRTC plays a quasi-judicial role and we must let it do its job.

Despite undeniable progress in communications and information technology, communities basically remain attached to a given geographical area. We have a large country, and the communities at the heart of our nation are scattered across this vast land.

The Canadian broadcasting system is probably one of this country's greatest achievements. Broadcasting helps define who we are and who we want to be. Broadcasting is a tool that enables us to: find out about current issues; share and discuss our ideas and dreams; innovate and take advantage of our entrepreneurial spirit; give our children the opportunity to discover our world; and give families a chance to spend time together and be entertained.

More importantly, broadcasting provides some of the greatest support for our democracy by helping citizens become better informed. It is a forum for exploration, discussion and awareness.

There are many ways of reflecting a regional reality. Maintaining a “locally or regionally produced news service” is certainly one of them, but one must not overlook the contribution of public and educational broadcasters, which reflect regional realities through various means.

This brings me to the key part of my speech, namely the contribution of broadcasting, and public broadcasting in particular, to the development of a free, democratic and economically strong society, which builds on the strengths of its regional components.

Let us start by our national public broadcaster, whose current mandate is set out in the 1991 Broadcasting Act. Section 3(1)(m)(ii) states that the programming provided by the CBC should reflect Canada and its regions to national and regional audiences, while serving the special needs of those regions.

This goes to show that, at the very heart of the corporation's mandate, there is the idea that the national public broadcaster has to be rooted in the daily reality of Canadian communities. This mandate was recently ratified by the Standing Committee on Canadian Heritage, of which the hon. member for Bourassa is a member, in its report on the CBC/Radio-Canada.

There are many ways to reflect a country's regional diversity. Maintaining a “locally or regionally produced news service” is not the only way. For example, it seems that region-network interaction preceded the current move toward platform integration that characterizes existing CBC Radio-Canada programming. As part of his testimony during licence renewal hearings for CBTV-TV (Quebec) in 2004, CBC Radio-Canada's executive vice-president of French television at the time commented on what had been happening with Cogeco-affiliated stations since the newsrooms were separated in 2002.

He described how program segments broadcast across the network had been incorporating more and more reports produced by regional stations. He also said that integrating the newsrooms had resulted in greater interaction between network headquarters and the regions and had increased collaboration.

In francophone markets, our national public broadcaster produces local news programs, and also reflects regional realities on a larger scale through locally produced programming broadcast nationwide, thereby proving that local vitality need not be confined exclusively to local communities.

The national public broadcaster is not the only one offering a regional perspective in its programming. There are six provincial educational broadcasters in Canada. These services fall within the purview of provincial educational authorities that determine their mandate and provide part of their funding. They are still subject to the provisions of the Broadcasting Act.

These services must be distributed free of charge as part of basic packages by cable distributors in their province of origin. These services are included in satellite distribution lists and are provided by satellite distribution companies. They may be provided by cable distributors outside of their province of origin, but distribution conditions may vary.

These networks are dedicated first and foremost to education. They play a significant role in their home provinces and communities.

When it renewed their licences in 2001, the CRTC praised educational television services, such as TVO and TFO in Ontario.

The regulatory body stated that they “provide programming distinctly different from that which is generally available to the public. The Commission fully supports the unique and valuable role they play in the Canadian broadcasting system”.

Networks like these provide rich and diverse programming.

For example, from Monday to Thursday, TFO, Ontario's French-language educational television network, broadcasts PANORAMA the only live public affairs program for Ontario francophones. TFO also broadcasts magazines and documentaries.

In Quebec, one of the objectives of Télé-Québec is to “reflect regional realities and the diversity of Quebec society”, which it does without a newsroom and by broadcasting documentaries and current affairs programs on society, science and culture.

Michèle Fortin, President and CEO of Télé-Québec had this to say in the 2006-2007 annual report:

Originality, openness to the world, freedom of thought—Télé-Québec has been able to retain, and even refine, its unique and vital signature in the Quebec television scene...adding episodes of the magazine Méchant contraste, a program completely produced in the regions and a voice for all of Quebec.

According to Télé-Québec, it broadcasts “programs that have sought to reflect the reality of the regions as a whole and individually.”

In western Canada, the Saskatchewan Communication Network, the public educational television network in Saskatchewan, has the mandate of providing cultural, information and educational programming. SCN rebroadcasts CBC regional and provincial news broadcasts. SCN also broadcasts local news from the Southwest TV News network and other programs that it places in the broader category of news.

In the end, there is no doubt that the underlying spirit of the motion moved today by the member from Bourassa is motivated by a deep commitment to the social, economic and democratic vitality of communities throughout the country. It is this spirit that we support today by standing behind regional and local programming.

TV5 May 1st, 2008

Mr. Speaker, a few months ago, the President of France announced proposed changes to TV5. Given the importance of this television network to the francophone community in Canada, the Minister of Canadian Heritage, Status of Women and Official Languages has gone to great lengths to ensure that our concerns are taken into consideration.

Could the minister tell us what progress she and her international partners have made?

Economy April 30th, 2008

Mr. Speaker, there are times in the life of nations when the word leadership should mean something. Three budgets and two economic updates later, Canadians now know what this government is made of.

While other countries are experiencing economic problems, our Prime Minister and our government are the epitome of responsible management.

Canadians were convinced of this last week in Laval. In a speech that was a model of clarity, the Prime Minister emphasized the balanced approach of the government's fiscal policy and explained how a responsible government must address economic challenges and plan for long-term prosperity for the entire country.

The Liberals have promised spending that would be irresponsible and would increase Canada's debt, while the Bloc Québécois recognizes that the economy is their albatross.

With a Conservative government, Canadians are confident that their affairs are in the right hands.

Supply Management April 15th, 2008

Mr. Speaker, it may seem unbelievable and unlikely—even crazy—but once again, people are trying to cast doubt on our desire to stand up for supply management at the WTO. That is even crazier in light of the fact that the Bloc, which voted against supply management in the Speech from the Throne, is not present at the WTO. The Bloc is absent from power; the Bloc is not there for Quebec.

Can the Secretary of State (Agriculture) tell us for the hundredth time that our Conservative government is standing up for supply management at the WTO?

Hockeyville 2008 April 9th, 2008

Mr. Speaker, yesterday, the town of Roberval became the first town in Quebec to claim the title of Hockeyville in Canada.

This contest, organized by Kraft and the CBC, recognizes the country's best hockey town every year.

I would first like to congratulate the four other finalists and their organizing committees. But I would especially like to commend the town of Roberval, the wonderful team involved in the town on ice, the promoter of the town's bid, and all the volunteers.

Thanks to these remarkable men and women, who were undaunted by any challenges and unstinting with their time, the town on ice was successful in creating a sense of belonging and pride in community.

This is also a victory for the people of the Roberval—Lac-Saint-Jean riding—my riding—and the entire Saguenay—Lac-Saint-Jean area. Thank you to everyone who voted for the town on ice.

I am proud that Roberval is now part of Canadian hockey history.

Hockeyville 2008 April 9th, 2008

Mr. Speaker, the town of Roberval became the—