House of Commons photo

Crucial Fact

  • His favourite word was leader.

Last in Parliament May 2004, as Liberal MP for Saint-Maurice (Québec)

Won his last election, in 2000, with 54% of the vote.

Statements in the House

Points Of Order January 25th, 1994

Mr. Speaker, I rise on a point of order to set today's debate in context.

Today is the first of many debates to come. In recent years, governments have regarded Parliament as an afterthought in policy development or have neglected it completely.

I made a promise to the Canadian people during the last federal election that I would restore respect and relevance to the House of Commons. That is why today we are debating the role of Canadian peacekeeping and tomorrow, cruise missile testing.

Also, I would like to announce today that next week for the first time in Canadian history this Chamber will be used as a forum for pre-budget consultations with members of Parliament. This will be the first time members of Parliament will be able to discuss important budgetary issues before the budget is prepared.

Mr. Speaker, today's debate concerns the Bosnian issue. Tomorrow, we will be looking into cruise missile testing, into whether we should authorize Americans to test their missiles over Canadian soil. Next week, we will be discussing the budget.

As I was saying in this House, yesterday, we are trying out an entirely new political process. In the past, members were always asked to comment after the fact which meant, for someone in the opposition, to oppose a decision, once it was already too late to have a real influence on the government's decision. This procedure is without precedent. I hope members will try their very best to make it efficient in order to allow the expression of views, after which the government will decide. It has been said, by some, that no vote will be taking place in this kind of debate. Since its purpose is to make views known to government before a decision is taken, it is quite naturally so.

If opposition members or even members of my own party disagree with the decision taken, they can always, in the traditional way, make a motion of non-confidence against the government. I hope members will have, through this new

procedure, better opportunity to express their views and that debates will be more dispassionate and less partisan.

I take advantage of this opportunity to congratulate all members of the House. The press will have noted, and Canadians as well, I hope, that the atmosphere is much better than it used to be. All this evidently depends both on the opposition and, very much so, on the government. I have asked my ministers to restrain themselves since it is so easy, when one is the last to speak, to make that one last satisfying stab which is so upsetting to the members opposite.

The new discipline demonstrated by this House is therefore welcome, and I wish to congratulate all members on their attitude. I would invite them to express their views in all candor during the three coming debates concerning Canada's peacekeeping role, the cruise missile testing and, next week, the preliminary debate on the budget which is to be tabled in this House before the end of February.

Members Of Parliament Retiring Allowances January 24th, 1994

Mr. Speaker, as soon as the legislation is passed members who opt out will be reimbursed for the money they have contributed because the legislation will be retroactive to the beginning of this Parliament.

I am informed that the comptroller has to follow the law. But we will pay back the contribution and the member will not qualify any more. And, of course, the government will not pay its share of the contribution to the benefit of the members either.

Members Of Parliament Retiring Allowances January 24th, 1994

I said in this House that we will make sure that those who do not want to participate in the plan can opt out. In the past I have seen some members voting against increases and taking the increase after that. We will make sure this time they will have to put their money where their mouths are.

Parliamentary Reform January 24th, 1994

Of course, Mr. Speaker. Yes, a big yes. They were all elected by very good majorities in the last election.

Parliamentary Reform January 24th, 1994

Mr. Speaker, of course there will be more free votes. Tomorrow something will be done in this House that has not been done for a long time. Before the government makes a decision, every member of Parliament will be invited to express his or her views about the Bosnia situation. This will not be done after the fact as it was in the past but before so members will have input.

I hope the hon. member appreciates the way we want to operate. We will have some free votes. Of course we want to do this, but it is probably also better to do what we are doing and give a chance to everybody before we decide. Members can speak on Bosnia and there will be no confidence vote on that. There will be the views expressed by the members before the government reaches a decision.

Member For Markham-Whitchurch-Stouffville January 24th, 1994

Mr. Speaker, I do not think it is proper to continue to ask this question. There was a statement by the member in this House. There is a rule here that when a member explains it is his fault, it is not for the Liberal Party to decide if this gentleman should or should not be a member of the caucus.

We decided that everybody can make a mistake. He has apologized. There was no charge laid against him, no foundation. I explained earlier in French that some members are sometimes subject to actions in court and they still keep their seats in the House of Commons or even in their caucus. It depends on the nature of the offences and in this case there was none.

To reply to the specific question, I read it Friday morning in the Toronto Sun . However, I do not want to run away from my responsibilities. The party organization had been made aware of that after the candidate had been nominated. Since there was no criminal action they decided this was a man who had won the confidence of the party members in his riding. He had no record and he was acceptable.

National Defence January 24th, 1994

Look, surely no one used a slingshot. If gunshots had been fired at the helicopter, some marks would have been found, but none was. The army did not break the law, they landed as they were authorized to do.

National Defence January 24th, 1994

Mr. Speaker, the Canadian army acted properly in this matter. There was some concern about loss of life. They flew over the area and landed as they had the right to. Therefore, there was no incident.

Some people claimed to have fired some shots, but there is no evidence that this in fact occurred. The army landed-

The Senate January 24th, 1994

Mr. Speaker, the best way to gain the trust of the Canadian people is very simple.

It is not to vote against a constitutional proposition to have senators elected and then, on the first occasion the leader has a chance in this House of Commons, ask to do what he voted against only 12 or 15 months ago.

The Senate January 24th, 1994

Mr. Speaker, if the premier of Alberta is completely convinced that we need an elected Senate, he should convince his colleagues.

If the leader of the Reform Party is convinced that we need an elected Senate in Canada, why did he vote against the change to do that which was in the Charlottetown accord?