House of Commons photo

Crucial Fact

  • His favourite word was conservative.

Last in Parliament March 2011, as Liberal MP for Madawaska—Restigouche (New Brunswick)

Lost his last election, in 2011, with 35% of the vote.

Statements in the House

Migratory Birds Convention Act, 1994 November 2nd, 2004

Mr. Speaker, as we know, the shipping industry in the Atlantic Ocean off Canada's coast is a vital component of our economy. It moves our goods to market, carries our imports, provides jobs in our harbours and connects us to the world. This activity is essential and has been since the Europeans first settled in Canada.

But we also must acknowledge that the oceans are essential to the survival of life on the planet, and that we have an obligation to protect them now, and for the future.

When we say that the movement of these big ships along our shorelines is important to the economy, we must not forget that these same vessels shares the ocean waters with the whales, seals, seabirds and many other forms of marine life that are also a vital component of Canada--its biodiversity.

Yet we have a major challenge to that biodiversity every winter as some 300,000 seabirds die from the pollution discharged by many of these ships. This is a conservative estimate. It could be higher.

Discharging oily waste by ships at sea is against the law. But that does not stop the practice.

We need to take action to address the tragedy that is the yearly slaughter of the murres, puffins, gulls and dovekies off our coastline.

The proposal before us involves strengthening our major environmental laws so that we can get tougher on those who ignore those laws. This is not new policy. This is working with existing legislation so that we can act.

With amendments to the Migratory Birds Convention Act and the Canadian Environmental Protection Act, we can ensure that we have the right tools for enforcement. We can bring forward the people and technologies needed to find violators of our laws and bring them to justice.

I support the bill that will bring in these amendments. They would put the prohibitions into place against discharging oil within the limits of the exclusive economic zone and cover illegal dumping by Canadians and foreign nationals.

Further, these amendments would make sure that reasonable care was taken to prevent unlawful discharges of oil. These changes will also hold corporations and directors of companies accountable and prohibit the falsification of records.

Also important in these changes is that our approach will be better harmonized with that of the United States. Prosecutions in the area in the U.S. are becoming high profile and carrying stiff penalties. This means Canada runs the risk of becoming a safe haven for illegal discharges. We do not want that. We cannot afford that.

Finally, the amendments that come into force with this bill will provide for the redirection of vessels to Canadian posts for inspection—and for clear search and seizure powers.

With these actions, Canadian agencies will no longer have to be concerned with interpretation of the law as to where the inspection and prosecution should take place. We have had such situations, and the result—I regret to report—is that a polluter has gone free.

I urge support of these measures and swift passage so that the winter of 2005 does not bring another kill of hundreds of thousands of birds and untold damage to our marine environment.

Small Business Week October 29th, 2004

Mr. Speaker, I am very pleased to take this opportunity to recognize the contribution of the people who received awards last week, as part of Small Business Week, in the Restigouche region.

First, I want to congratulate Irène Doyle, from the region of Campbellton, who received an award as an exceptional individual in the Restigouche. Needless to say, people like Mrs. Doyle are making a significant contribution to our communities.

Finally, I want to congratulate Alain and Adrien Arseneault, of the Adrien Arseneault sawmill, who received the 2004 entrepreneurship award for the Restigouche. Their business, in the Balmoral region, is making a great contribution to the economic development of the riding, and this award is well-deserved by these business people and their team.

Financial Administration Act October 27th, 2004

Mr. Speaker, I have a question about official languages for my hon. colleague. As you know, I come from New Brunswick, where there are many francophones. Often people do not realize it, but close to 35% of New Brunswick's population is francophone. So, when it comes to official languages, God knows we are well aware of the situation.

I have a question for my hon. colleague. Perhaps she could comment on the following point. Is she aware of the current situation, whereby francophone and anglophone families are increasingly encouraging their children to learn the other language—French or English? This is happening more frequently. I would ask my colleague to respond to this.

Leader of the Opposition October 21st, 2004

Mr. Speaker, I would like to thank the Leader of the Opposition for keeping the hon. members of this House in a good mood. His humour is greatly appreciated.

The Leader of the Opposition has taken a leaf from the book of the leader of the Action démocratique du Québec, Mario Dumont, who suggests changing the name of Quebec to the Independent State of Quebec. Mr. Dumont also suggests that Quebec should have its own constitution, collect all taxes itself and then decide what the federal government's share will be.

Mr. Dumont's proposals provoked a burst of laughter in the National Assembly and across Quebec. Everyone heard in it an echo of Yvon Deschamps' joke about wanting an independent Quebec in a united Canada.

Allow me again to praise the sense of humour of the Leader of the Opposition who thought, rightfully so, that if the members of the National Assembly could get a kick out of this good joke, then the members of this House should not be left out.

Resumption of Debate on Address in Reply October 19th, 2004

Mr. Speaker, I will be sharing my time with the member for Etobicoke Centre.

I am very proud to deliver my maiden speech today in this House as the member for Madawaska—Restigouche. Allow me first to thank the people of this New Brunswick riding for electing me on June 28. It is a golden opportunity. Being elected to represent a region and its citizens is quite a privilege.

This privilege is not a given. We are at the service of people whose interests we must represent to the best of our knowledge. It is not up to any of us to decide in this House whether we will keep our position or not. It is up to the voters to decide whether we will be elected from one election to the next. That is the privilege of democracy.

I am really proud to be standing here today as the member of Parliament for Madawaska—Restigouche in New Brunswick. I would like to thank the population of my riding for the confidence they showed in me in the last election. It is clearly a privilege to be standing here, and I will definitely do my best to represent the people of Madawaska—Restigouche.

I hope throughout my mandate to contribute as much as possible to the debates in this House, but also to be able to introduce new ideas.

Over the past few months since I was elected, I have had the opportunity to tour my riding many times. I have met with the provincial and municipal elected representatives, citizens who are very involved in the community, and businesspeople who want to contribute to the success of the beautiful region of Madawaska—Restigouche. One of the things that struck me the most was the dedication of the public to ensuring the success of our communities.

I have gone to festivals, galas and cultural activities where I have met many volunteers who contribute to the success of a broad range of events and to the vitality of their town, village or community.

Today in this House, I want to recognize all the volunteers who contribute to a cause, an event or an organization. Without volunteerism, our communities would not be able to provide certain services or activities. By further contributing to the dynamism and creativity of our communities, we will be giving a much needed helping hand to the thousands of volunteers who, through their volunteerism, contribute to the growth of every community.

The Speech from the Throne expresses the wish to enable our cities and communities to serve their populations well. In February, hon. members will recall, this government reimbursed Canadian municipalities for their entire goods and services tax payments. This was extremely well received by the municipalities, as it enabled them to deliver more services to their populations.

In this Speech from the Throne, the government commits to making available a portion of the federal gas tax to the municipalities. This reimbursement, which will grow over the next five years, will enable municipalities to make the long-term financial commitments needed to finance sustainable infrastructure projects. As we know , municipalities provide such indispensable services as drinking water. Through this initiative, the Canadian government is helping to lighten the burden on our municipalities.

We must never lose sight of the contribution made by those who came before us in the work force. They have helped build this magnificent country and so every effort must be made to show them as much respect as possible. The desire to enable our seniors to continue to enjoy a full and challenging life, particularly through the New Horizons program, is set out clearly in the Speech from the Throne. As well, it is important that they be able to benefit from the support of family members when they need them most

As hon. members know, the family is one of this government's priorities. Young families need support in order to enjoy quality of life. It is therefore very important to adopt a truly national system of early learning and child care. This will provide young families with more flexibility, and their children with real opportunities to learn.

For young families like the ones in my riding, a national early learning and child care system is a priority. Progress is needed and people to bring it about. This government wants to make things better for its citizens, and this is something of which we all must be proud.

The Speech from the Throne, which opened this 38th Parliament, is a clear illustration of the government's desire to follow up on its commitments to the people of Canada. Whether the economy, health, our children, our seniors, Aboriginal people, cities and communities, the environment, or our international role, the Speech from the Throne represents a total program for Canadians.

The environment is an important issue for all Canadians and does not make an exception in Atlantic Canada. Surely the development of our economy is important, but should never be put before the respect of our environment in our priorities.

The Speech from the Throne clearly shows the commitment of the government to ensure respect of our environment. We are committed to respect our commitment regarding the Kyoto accord on climate change.

The situation of seasonal workers is of great concern to the population of Madawaska—Restigouche. I am happy to see that the Speech from the Throne emphasizes the importance of ensuring that the employment insurance system meets the needs of Canadian workers.

These days, we must constantly improve ourselves because everything that relates to society or the economy changes so rapidly that we must ensure the necessary changes are made quickly, so that the families in our areas can have the quality of life they deserve.

The population of Madawaska—Restigouche, and from all over Atlantic Canada, are proud people. They not only wish that their region can maximize its development, but they also want to contribute to that development. Regional development is a means to ensure that Atlantic Canada can be a part of the world economy.

This means that the tools for regional development are very important to the people of Atlantic Canada. Funds such as the Atlantic Innovation Fund are important regional development tools and I congratulate the government on giving them particular attention in the throne speech.

Like all Canadians, people from Atlantic Canada want a strong and growing economy. They want a government that balances its books, pays down debt and has a plan to build an even stronger globally competitive and sustainable economy. The vitality of our economy largely depends on our small and medium businesses. Those businesses are definitely leading the way in tomorrow's economy by their strong leadership and precise management.

It is clear that many sensational ideas emerge from small and medium enterprise. The economy of Atlantic Canada largely depends on the success of its small and medium enterprises and their future development. Therefore, it is getting more important to make the capital required by our small and medium businesses available. The plan to ensure venture capital for early stage businesses is good news for the growing number of entrepreneurs in Atlantic Canada starting new enterprises and needing capital to take their good ideas to market.

Health continues to be an issue of primary importance for the Canadian people, as it should. The federal-provincial conference on health care was an opportunity to negotiate a 10-year agreement worth $41 billion. I would like to recognize both the remarkable effort the government has made in the negotiations leading to this agreement, and the cooperation of the provinces and territories toward improving the quality of life of our people.

For the region of Atlantic Canada, this means an additional transfer of $2.5 billion over the next 10 years, in addition to a share in the $5.5 billion allocated through the wait times reduction fund.

This new agreement means a lot for a riding like Madawaska—Restigouche, with its aging population and recent serious cuts in certain services. I dare to hope that this agreement will being a breath of fresh air to the current situation in my riding with respect to health care. Many people have blamed the federal government for problems with health care. Today we can be proud; we have shown that we want to improve the level of health care services provided to all Canadians.

In conclusion, I want to emphasize the importance of our role as parliamentarians in ensuring that our constituents enjoy an improved quality of life. I also want to point out the remarkable work of this government which is presenting a vision in its throne speech that will make it possible to achieve tangible results for all Canadians.

The Environment October 6th, 2004

Mr. Speaker, first of all, I am extremely proud to have this opportunity to ask my first question as the member for Madawaska—Restigouche.

I am pleased to see that the Minister of the Environment has decided to appeal the Federal Court decision concerning the Belledune incinerator, and I congratulate him on that.

Can he tell us when the people of Belledune and of Restigouche will see an environmental assessment process put in place?