House of Commons photo

Crucial Fact

  • His favourite word was position.

Last in Parliament October 2000, as Progressive Conservative MP for Sherbrooke (Québec)

Won his last election, in 1997, with 60% of the vote.

Statements in the House

Infrastructure Program January 25th, 1994

I am directing my question to the Prime Minister, Mr. Speaker.

The minister responsible for the infrastructure program recognized before this House last week that the program was vulnerable to political influences, with regard to the Congress Center program in particular.

I have since come across a secret memo to the Prime Minister stating-and this is the clerk of the Privy Council writing to the Prime Minister-that his Minister of Human Resources Development and his Minister of Public Works have requested more direct control over the infrastructure program, and this, a mere ten days into this government's term of office.

The same secret memo written to the Prime Minister goes on to say-

Points Of Order January 25th, 1994

Mr. Speaker, I wish to join my colleague from Yukon, the Leader of the Reform Party and the Prime Minister in saying what an excellent idea it is to allow such debates in Parliament, so much the better if they contribute to more constructive exchanges in this House. For that matter, this purpose coincides well with the sentiments expressed by the government in the Throne Speech.

This being said, while we are on the subject of the way this Parliament operates, I would like to add a comment.


Since we are reflecting on how this Parliament works I do want to say that we welcome this opportunity to participate in debate and will participate actively and open up the House of Commons.

I do, though, want to take this opportunity on the issue of the workings of this Parliament to restate our concern that even though the independent members in this place are considered independent by the Chair and number only 12, we represent 25 per cent of the vote that was cast in the general election.

There is still an outstanding concern that I raised with you on a question of privilege that really deals with two issues. One is what place will be left to these members of Parliament to speak in this House.

It is a very fundamental issue because the Prime Minister and I think a lot of members who have joined with him have said that in this place we want to offer all members an opportunity to participate in a different type of debate.

For that to happen it requires that members be able to first participate. If that is the spirit of this new House I welcome it. But I must voice some concern.

I will leave you with one last note. On the element of the matter just dealt with by the House with unanimous consent, there was no consultation. I did not object because I do not want to be in this chair objecting constantly to what is coming forth but for me that is an example of things that do come forth that in more normal circumstances would require, if this is a new House and a new way to operate, some consultation.

The Late Hon. Steven Paproski January 20th, 1994

Mr. Speaker, I have not consulted with anyone but given the eulogies and the kind words for our friend, Steve Paproski, could I suggest to the Speaker that with unanimous consent of the House we include in our proceedings today the remarks made by His Excellency the Governor General at the funeral service for our friend Steve Paproski.

They were very close friends and I think it would be appropriate that Canadians have the opportunity of reading his words as he spoke of a person who was not only a friend but at one point in time a colleague.

The Late Hon. Steven Paproski January 20th, 1994

Mr. Speaker, I speak today on behalf of colleagues who have had an opportunity to sit with Steve Paproski in the same House. I also speak on behalf of a political party that quite frankly was privileged to have had the opportunity to have Steve Paproski as a candidate and as a member of Parliament representing us and also at one point in time a cabinet minister.

In the end, Mr. Speaker, as you will know, he reached the highest office of all. It is the one that in this place is recognized as a tribute to any of us. It is the privilege to sit in the chair you are sitting in today as one of the Deputy Speakers.

Steve Paproski, as a Canadian, had a great opportunity not only to sit here and make a contribution in the political field, but also, as was mentioned, as an athlete. There are few things that are not as well known about his career. One is that he studied at the University of Arizona on a scholarship.

I should also say something which I found out while listening to a eulogy delivered by His Excellency the Governor General. What he shared with us at the time is that during those days of his scholarship, given the fact that he had very little means, he supplemented his revenue by acting from time to time as an amateur wrestler. He was known because of his amateur status. He became known as the Masked Marvel. He would from time to time wrestle against a gentleman named Gene Kiniski. Of course Gene would win on one day and Steve, if you can believe the coincidence, would always win the next day and so on it would go. In some matches they in fact became a tag team. I should say that it sounds like quite an appropriate preparation for life in this place as I recognize my tag team member here today.

What was also remarkable about Steve Paproski was the love and understanding that he had for this place. I remember arriving here in 1984 and having the privilege of being one of the Deputy Speakers. Because we had other work to do and accomplish and because I was the youngest of the group I was often asked to sit on Fridays and often went to Steve to ask him whether he would or would not replace me. In his way he would sit in the chair and say: "What is it again, kid? What is it that you want?" to each and every one of us who had the privilege of knowing him. He would grumble but would always say yes. In that way I was more often than not one of the great beneficiaries of his great generosity.

I think we would all want to remember Steve for his joie de vivre and the fact that he always recognized that this country was a country of privilege. A small anecdote about Steve's life is that he would, as often as he could, bring people by the store that his father had opened in Edmonton. He had been born in Poland. I read the first speech he gave in the House of Commons and the references he made to his experience as a young Canadian born in another country where freedom was not what we experience here and what we take for granted. He had come to Canada, grew up here and took his place not only in this House but as a minister of the Crown. That says volumes about our country and about Steve Paproski.

In concluding I also want to offer our condolences to Betty and to his children and also a word and a smile because Steve Paproski had a million dollar smile. He will leave with us great, great memories.

Privilege January 19th, 1994

Mr. Speaker, it is my understanding that the point I raised is an issue that is ultimately to be decided by the Speaker and not by any other House or management committee. That is my understanding of the rules and the practices in this place. I am happy to co-operate with all members in this House in assisting you in making that decision.

My point of privilege is the following. I am sorry to have to raise it on this the very first day of question period. However, I could not help but notice that as we started question period you gave the House a temporary ruling on how this place would work for question period and for the statements we make before question period. I do not want to quarrel with the content of your ruling, maybe not at this point, but I want to question the process that led to this ruling.

Let me point out that your ruling directly affects my rights and privileges and those of 12 other people in this place. I understand that neither I nor any of the other 12 members referred to in the ruling were consulted. This is my understanding unless someone else has spoken with you.

It is my understanding that you informed us as you gave us the ruling that you had spoken with the whips of the other official parties who represented a point of view.

The point I want to raise with you and the reason I feel it is critically important that we raise it at this time is that if you are going to make rulings as you are called upon to do every day concerning the rights and privileges of members of Parliament and how this place works, then it seems only fair on the principle of natural justice that all members in this place have an opportunity to be heard before such rulings are made.

Points Of Order January 19th, 1994

Mr. Speaker, it is but I understand that my colleague from the Reform Party also has a point of order on the same subject I have just broached. I would be more than willing to enable him to say what he has to say and follow that up with a different point of privilege.

Points Of Order January 19th, 1994

No, I have a point of privilege.

Points Of Order January 19th, 1994

If I may be allowed to finish what I have to say.

The point that I want to make today is that as the leader of my own party I intend to bring this matter forward to you first, Mr. Speaker, on an informal basis and with the other political parties in this House so that we can discuss what opportunities there will be for us in this House of Commons in respect to the statement made in the speech from the throne, in respect to the statements already made by our friends in the Reform Party or our friends in the Bloc Quebecois in regard to the opportunities that we will have to speak on behalf of the two million Canadians who offered us their support in the last election campaign.

That is the point that I wanted to make on this day so that at the very first opportunity when this House sits and when question period is happening you know, Mr. Speaker, and all members of this House know that we intend to argue this point and at least have the opportunity to be heard. This is so that we can deal with such matters as my hon. colleague and friend from Saint John sitting at one end of the aisle and I am sitting at the other end.

Furthermore, if I may, I have a question of privilege.

Points Of Order January 19th, 1994

Mr. Speaker, I rise on a point of order.

Allow me first of all to convey my respects and my congratulations to you on your election. For reasons that I will not mention, I was not in the House at the time when you were elected to this office. Needless to say, I am proud to extend to you, on behalf of the Conservative caucus in this House, our support and, above all, to wish you all the best for the coming Parliament.

I have chosen and asked to speak today on an issue which will impact on our rights and privileges during this Parliament. Part of yesterday's Throne Speech reads as follows:

The Government is committed to enhancing the credibility of Parliament. Changes will be proposed to the rules of the House of Commons to provide Members of Parliament a greater opportunity to contribute to the development of public policy and legislation.

Mr. Speaker, on behalf of my caucus and my Party, let me tell all the members of this House that we fully endorse such a statement and that we intend to support the government in this regard.

In respect to the statement made by the government in the speech from the throne, I want to take advantage of the fact that on the very first day that we sit we have very deep and very real preoccupations relating to our rights and privileges in this House.

I am rising on a point of order today not because I am asking for a ruling from the House, but I want to attract your attention, Mr. Speaker, and the attention of members to a few facts relating to our position on this side.

Even though the election campaign rendered a result that was quite clear in regard to the previous government, the results, if examined objectively for what they yielded for us on an electoral basis, were such that the Reform Party that sits with us in this House obtained approximately 19 per cent of the vote and has a representation of 52 members.

The Official Opposition with 14 per cent of the vote has 54 members. The Progressive Conservative Party of Canada with 16 per cent of the vote has only two members. Our colleagues in the New Democratic Party, who I think have approximately 9 per cent of the vote, have nine members.

This, Mr. Speaker, as you know, creates a situation where-