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Crucial Fact

  • His favourite word was workers.

Last in Parliament March 2011, as Conservative MP for Jonquière—Alma (Québec)

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

Statements in the House

Veterans March 25th, 2011

Mr. Speaker, I would like to talk about two things.

First of all, today, March 25, 2011, there are 685,000 seniors in our country who will remember that these three parties are joining together to prevent them from getting an additional $600 per year through the guaranteed income supplement. That is what the opposition is doing.

Second of all, is that there is good news for our veterans. The members of this party will be able to look our veterans in the eye and say that they have done something good for them. Yesterday, Bill C-55 received royal assent, and it will provide them with new support if they are wounded.

Veterans March 25th, 2011

Mr. Speaker, I repeat that we are currently working to identify veterans who are homeless. We have identified 76 veterans who were not receiving any services, since we did not know where they were. Now, thanks to our pilot projects in Toronto, Vancouver and Montreal, we are seeing results.

Today, I have good news to share with the members of this House and our veterans. Yesterday, Bill C-55, which will provide new services to our seriously wounded modern-day veterans, received royal assent. This will mean $2 billion for our veterans.

Veterans March 25th, 2011

Mr. Speaker, obviously, our department and the entire government are looking out for our homeless veterans. We have implemented three pilot projects in Montreal, Vancouver and Toronto to try to locate our veterans and to offer them the services they are entitled to. Our pilot project has helped identify 76 homeless veterans. They are now receiving the services they are entitled to. We will continue our work to help them.

The Budget March 23rd, 2011

Mr. Speaker, I would like to thank the hon. member for the great job he does and for his question.

Our budget clearly takes into account the everyday needs of Canadians. For example, a couple that has a child involved in arts activities will receive a tax credit. Volunteer firefighters will, too. As well, seniors who are not finding the guaranteed income supplement to be sufficient will receive an additional $600 per year. A number of measures have been added, without any tax increases. Our government is a responsible one.

Agriculture March 23rd, 2011

Mr. Speaker, which government announced in its budget that there would be no income tax hikes? The Conservative government. Which government said in its budget that there would be no tax increases? The Conservative government. Which government is investing $50 million in innovation to help farmers? This government.

We presented a budget that addresses what Canadians need in their everyday lives. We are supporting natural caregivers, families and volunteer firefighters. There are all kinds of assistance measures in our budget.

United Nations Security Council Resolution Concerning Libya March 21st, 2011

Mr. Chair, no one can predict how the situation might change over the upcoming days or weeks. We hope that President Gadhafi will leave the country quickly, stepping down and handing power back to the people, and that a democratic system will take root in Libya.

Having said that, Canada is a member of the United Nations, which will assess the situation as events unfurl. Our nation is a loyal partner of the United Nations, and it will live up to its responsibilities on the world stage when it comes to human rights and protecting the people of a nation that is currently being attacked by a president who is flouting every international rule in the book and violating human rights.

When an individual fires on his own people, the nations of the world must act to protect those people. And that is what Canada is currently doing with its six CF-18 fighter jets that have set off from Bagotville.

United Nations Security Council Resolution Concerning Libya March 21st, 2011

Mr. Chair, when such a situation arises in the world, in particular in Libya, everything we do is aimed at protecting not only the Libyan people but also any person or Canadian who finds himself there or the representatives of any allied nation who might be there. Like the other allied countries, Canada is doing what it can to provide the necessary assistance to protect its own citizens and all others who may be there.

It is quite unusual that the Security Council of the United Nations has adopted resolution 1973 in order to act quickly to protect the Libyan people. I would like to remind the House again of the importance of this decision. As a parliamentarian and part of a team of elected members, I am glad to see the United Nations assuming this responsibility and making decisions so quickly. We are on the right path to ensuring that neither President Gadhafi nor any future president can attack his own people in this way to keep himself in power.

United Nations Security Council Resolution Concerning Libya March 21st, 2011

Mr. Chair, I want to thank my colleague for his comments and question.

I think we all agree we should act and the United Nations, the countries of the world, could not allow President Gadhafi to continue massacring his own people like that and doing what he was doing. In voting for resolution 1973, the members of the United Nations assumed their responsibilities. When we see a country, a president like President Gadhafi, doing something wrong, action must be taken.

I would like to remind the House what this commitment is:

[The Security Council] demands the immediate establishment of a ceasefire and a complete end to violence and all attacks against, and abuses of, civilians;

Stresses the need to intensify efforts to find a solution to the crisis which responds to the legitimate demands of the Libyan people and notes the decisions of the Secretary-General to send his Special Envoy to Libya and of the Peace and Security Council of the African Union to send its ad hoc High-Level Committee to Libya with the aim of facilitating dialogue to lead to the political reforms necessary...

It is extremely serious to see a president doing such things to his own people. In this situation, Canada must stand with the United Nations and support the group of countries that are willing to protect the Libyan people from President Gadhafi.

United Nations Security Council Resolution Concerning Libya March 21st, 2011

Mr. Chair, I would like to join my colleagues and speak as part of this take note debate.

Canada is currently participating, with its allies and partners, in the military efforts deployed in support of the United Nations Security Council's resolution 1973. This resolution authorizes members of the United Nations to take the necessary measures, including imposing an arms embargo and no-fly zone, to protect the people of Libya.

Time was running out for all the Libyans who wanted to be rid of the unbearable burden of Gadhafi's dictatorship. As we saw over the past few days, Colonel Gadhafi's forces were regaining ground. We therefore feared the worst for all the courageous Libyans who had dared to defy the murderous authority of their current rulers. The actions taken by the Gadhafi regime in the past suggested that there could be massacres of opponents based in Benghazi, among other places. The situation required a rapid and determined response and, fortunately, the international community fully understood the urgent nature of the situation and responded.

Resolution 1973 opened the door for concrete action to help the Libyan people. And then 24 hours later, France convened a summit in Paris to bring together leaders of the international community, including the Prime Minister of Canada, who had resolved to take action to enforce resolution 1973—leaders of allied and friendly countries, the United States and Europe, and also the Arab world. The Prime Minister and his colleagues laid out the terms of their military engagement in Libya. The imposition of a no-fly zone will make it possible to put some limits on Colonel Gadhafi and reduce the violence raining down on the Libyan people.

This rapid and determined response also came from our Canadian Forces. In the last few days, the Canadian Forces have demonstrated an impressive state of readiness and speed of action. Even as the crisis began, in support of the efforts of the entire government, our military deployed two C-17 strategic lift aircraft and two Hercules C-130J tactical lift aircraft. Those planes were used to evacuate hundreds of Canadians and nationals of other countries who were fleeing the violence in Libya.

On March 1, the Prime Minister announced the deployment of the frigate Charlottetown to support efforts underway in the region, and barely 24 hours later it left the port of Halifax. On Friday, only a few hours after the Prime Minister made the announcement, six CF-18 fighter jets from the base at Bagotville were en route to Libya to support United Nations resolution 1973.

The Canadian Forces are ready to respond at any time, in all circumstances and with the speed and effectiveness that deserves our admiration. This is certainly not owing to chance. It is rather the result of exemplary dedication and true professionalism.

The men and women who wear the uniform of the Canadian Forces do so with pride, with enthusiasm and with passion. They ask for nothing more than to answer the call. They are among the best trained military personnel in the world.

Our military’s state of advanced readiness is also the result of the major investments the government has made in our Canadian Forces. The government is committed to modernizing the Canadian Forces to provide them with all the tools they need to perform the duties we entrust to them.

Almost three years ago, the Prime Minister and the Minister of National Defence announced the “Canada First” defence strategy, under which the government would allocate $490 billion to defence over 20 years. That long-term commitment to modernizing the Canadian Forces is already paying dividends. In recent years, we have announced a number of equipment purchases: transport aircraft and helicopters, new F-35 fighter planes, 24 of which are deployed at Bagotville, tanks, armoured vehicles, trucks and ground combat systems.

We have also invested heavily in defence infrastructure across Canada. Over the past year, the government has announced investments exceeding $750 million in the infrastructure of bases and wings from coast to coast, such as training areas, roads and a variety of other facilities that allow military bases to function as they should.

We have also made massive investments in the support of heath care services offered to members of the Canadian Forces: $140 million in a health information system that will help improve the care available to service personnel who need it, and $52.5 million to establish a legacy of care by delivering better support to seriously injured men and women coming home from Afghanistan.

These investments in equipment and infrastructure, as well as in support services and health care, have a considerable bearing on our military’s preparedness. For the members of the Canadian Forces in Gagetown, Edmonton, Esquimalt, Halifax, Trenton and Winnipeg, these investments mean more comfortable and more modern facilities, safer and more effective vehicles for the upcoming mission, enhanced care and perhaps even a speedier return to work. For the men and women based in Bagotville, the base our CF-18s took off from on Friday, these investments will have a tangible impact. The pilots and support staff who set off from Bagotville bound for Sicily and Libya have left a flourishing base behind them.

Over the last few years, our government has made major announcements regarding Bagotville. In 2007, we announced that the 2 Air Expeditionary Wing of the Canadian Forces would be based in Bagotville, thereby increasing the presence of the Canadian Forces back home. In 2008, I was with the Minister of National Defence when he announced that a $17 million contract had been awarded to rebuild one of the military base’s runways. Last fall, I once again accompanied the Minister of National Defence when he announced initiatives related to the establishment of the 2 Air Expeditionary Wing and the renovation of a section of the base’s health care centre, as well as the government’s decision to base the new F-35 fighter jets in Bagotville; excellent news that will guarantee the ongoing viability of the Bagotville military base for decades to come.

Finally, last month we announced the establishment of an integrated personnel support centre at Canadian Forces Base Bagotville.

A personnel support centre in Bagotville will link up with 24 other such canters across the nation in order to better respond to the needs of our military. The investments the government is making in Bagotville exemplify the investments it is making across the entire Canadian Forces. These investments provide our servicemen and women with comfortable amenities, support, modern work facilities, adequate tools and flexibility, all key elements in the rigorous preparation of a military force that must guarantee the rapid deployment of equipment and personnel, also crucial to the operational effectiveness of the Canadian Forces. The Canadian Forces members deployed in support of resolution 1973 can count on our government’s unconditional support. That is the very least we can give them; their mission will help save lives.

I would like to conclude by saying that our thoughts are with their family members. We all hope to see them back here in short order, and I hope to soon shake their hands on the tarmac at Bagotville.

Committees of the House March 21st, 2011

Mr. Speaker, pursuant to Standing Order 109, I would like to table, in both official languages, the government response to the seventh report of the Standing Committee on Agriculture and Agri-food entitled, “Young Farmers: The Future of Agriculture”, which was tabled in the House of Commons on November 19, 2010.