House of Commons photo

Crucial Fact

  • His favourite word was colleague.

Last in Parliament March 2011, as Conservative MP for Pontiac (Québec)

Lost his last election, in 2011, with 30% of the vote.

Statements in the House

Official Languages May 9th, 2006

Mr. Speaker, I want to thank my colleague for his question. Obviously we take the comments in the Commissioner of Official Languages's report seriously. I should mention that the Commissioner had raised the same issues a few years ago when she tabled two other reports that indicated the same thing. In fact, in the end my predecessor hastily tabled a bill that died on the Order Paper.

The Budget May 9th, 2006

Mr. Speaker, I will be brief. The COMRIF program has been renewed. All other problems that stem from the COMRIF program obviously come from the former government and the work it had committed. Not only am I open to listening to suggestions that will be made by my hon. colleague, but certainly I think that we must be open-minded to any other kinds of issues we find in regions such as the one he represents and, for sure, open-minded to those people in northern Ontario.

The Budget May 9th, 2006

Mr. Speaker, I understand your indulgence with my colleague.

The question raised is an extremely important one. It will be recalled that, at the time of the Speech from the Throne, my colleague’s political party proposed an amendment designed to develop some strategies, particularly to help workers, both those living in the regions and those about to leave their jobs, or forced to do so.

The Minister of Finance has already answered this question. He said that his colleague who is responsible for the file and he were open to considering different strategies. We will have to wait and see what direction my two colleagues plan to take in this file in the coming weeks.

The Budget May 9th, 2006

I am struck, Mr. Speaker, by my hon. colleague's position, in which she basically indicates that it is a bipartisan issue. She is absolutely right. When it comes to the health of Canadians, we are basically all in agreement on that issue.

Fundamentally what we have put forward in our budget is the amounts of money, and of course an action plan will be developed shortly, but this involves all provinces. As everyone might know, our colleague, the minister responsible, has already engaged in discussions on this issue, and certainly within the very near future we will have some sort of agreement that will satisfy not only my hon. colleague but surely all Canadians.

The Budget May 9th, 2006

Mr. Speaker, I will be sharing my time with the hon. member for Peace River.

I am proud to rise in my place today to give my wholehearted support for this budget. It has been a long hard journey to get here. Thomas Edison once said that opportunity can be missed by some people because it is dressed in overalls and looks like work. This government has worked hard to have the opportunity to propose this budget and we will work even harder to make it a reality.

I have been in politics for a very long time. I have municipal, provincial, and now federal experience.

Since the Prime Minister entrusted me with this portfolio, I have had the opportunity to meet with Canadians from all across the country. After meeting with people from the Pacific to the Atlantic, there is one thing I am hearing constantly, something which has stayed in my mind. And that is what these people want their government to stand up for, namely the priorities. They want it to do great things, in a clear and targeted fashion. That is exactly what this budget does.

The budget highlights five priorities, the same five priorities we campaigned on last winter, and the same priorities to which Canadians will hold us accountable. Those priorities are to: clean up government through the accountability act; cut taxes beginning with the GST; tackle crime; give parents a choice in child care; and work with the provinces and territories to shorten waiting times for health care.

Those are the five priorities of the government’s overall agenda.

The Minister of Finance has also presented the measures that will allow us to improve the competitiveness of the Canadian economy on global markets and to support a better quality of life for what Canadians call home, that is, their communities.

A country with a burgeoning economy is equipped to act on priorities such as those I have just described to you. Our competitiveness and our quality of life are closely related to the way that we integrate a great many of these factors.

When the Prime Minister assigned me responsibility for transport, infrastructure and communities, he created a powerful portfolio with a variety of tools for overcoming interrelated challenges. In very concrete terms, the integration of these three components reflects our approach to certain major issues, and provides us with a better framework for introducing the type of policies we will need to move this country forward.

This budget is our guide in that direction. Over the next four years, the government will be providing unprecedented support for initiatives designed to improve our infrastructure and our transportation network.

The present budget provides for the renewal of federal agreements on infrastructure and the funding of new infrastructure initiatives. Those initiatives include a new permanent fund for highway and border infrastructure, which will make available $2.4 billion over the next five years.

This new fund will gradually replace the border infrastructure fund. We have also added $400 million to the $2 billion already promised in last winter’s election platform.

The new highway and border infrastructure fund will serve to finance not only the core national highway system, but also improvements to Canada-U.S. border crossings.

Let me point out some of the other key investments included in the budget. There is an additional $2 billion to renew the Canada strategic infrastructure fund. Recognizing the needs of smaller municipalities, the budget allocates $2.2 billion over the next five years to renew the municipal rural infrastructure fund. There is $591 million over the next eight years for investments in the Pacific gateway initiative, which is the responsibility of my colleague, the Minister of International Trade and Minister for the Pacific Gateway and the Vancouver-Whistler Olympics.

We know that public transit plays an important role in easing traffic congestion in urban areas, reducing carbon dioxide and other emissions and making communities more liveable. In the budget we accelerated investments in public transit. This includes $400 million in funding to be provided through agreements with the provinces and territories. Nine agreements have already been finalized and these jurisdictions now have these funds. However, the other four jurisdictions will not lose out as the budget confirms that those provinces and territories that did not sign agreements before the end of 2005-06 will receive their allocation in 2006-07.

The Government of Canada will also provide a one time payment of $900 million to the provinces and territories to be paid into a third party trust contingent on sufficient funds being available from the 2005-06 surplus in excess of $2 billion. The public transit capital trust will support capital investments in public transit infrastructure, including rapid transit, transit buses, intelligent transportation systems and other investments, including high occupancy vehicles and bicycle lanes.

The budget backs those investments in public transit with $370 million in tax credits for people who buy monthly passes. We are investing heavily in public transit and we are giving people a direct financial incentive to get out of their cars. No other government has ever done as much to encourage public transit.

I would also point out that the budget maintains the gas tax funding commitment under the new deals for cities and communities. Hon. members will recall that when this initiative is fully implemented in 2009-10, it will transfer the equivalent of up to 5¢ per litre of gasoline excise tax or $2 billion. In total, federal support for provincial, territorial and municipal infrastructure will reach $16.5 billion over the next four years. This is an extraordinary investment in public transportation.

In any budget it is sometimes easy to lose the sense of the numbers when we are talking in terms of billions and millions of dollars, but it is always important to keep in mind the people we serve.

I served as president of the Société de transport de l'Outaouais.

I was in a position to see the importance of public transit in a growing community, as well as the urgency of ensuring that transit was stable and predictable in terms of financing.

For a good many Canadians, going to work or somewhere else and then coming back home is a concern, and represents a good share of their personal budget. While it is true that people want to save on their travel from one place to another, they also want to do this in complete security. In that regard, the budget provides funding for security—in fact, nearly $303 million in measures to improve the security of persons and goods.

This includes $133 million to support the Canadian Air Transport Security Authority operations and $95 million for new measures to enhance the security of passenger rail and urban transit.

It also provides $26 million over two years to design and test the security measures to ensure air cargo security throughout the supply chain, as well as the evaluation of screening technologies.

These are very impressive numbers, and all of this, of course, is in the budget, but we must never forget that the decisions we take have a direct effect on the quality of life of those who have elected us to the House.

In my case, I never forget how many people in the Pontiac, who live just a few kilometres from here, do not enjoy the same opportunities or services as most Canadians. Similarly, all ministers of the House work to better serve their fellow Canadians. This budget reflects that. It is a budget for all Canadians.

UNESCO May 8th, 2006

No, Mr. Speaker.

UNESCO May 8th, 2006

Mr. Speaker, I thank the hon. member for her question, which give us an opportunity to clarify this matter.

What is involved is an agreement between two levels of government, between the Quebec government, duly elected and represented by the current government, of course, and the party in power here. This agreement is obviously the product of those discussions.

We believe--and this is also the Quebec government's position--that the agreement is excellent for everyone.

UNESCO May 8th, 2006

Mr. Speaker, I invite my honourable colleague to reread the agreement carefully. In doing so, like us on this side of the House, he will see that, contrary to his statements to the effect that we have weakened Quebec, we have been able to strengthen Quebec, within Canada and within its delegation.

UNESCO May 8th, 2006

The members of the Bloc Québécois can laugh. But we seem to be watching the disintegration of the sovereignist movement.

UNESCO May 8th, 2006

Mr. Speaker, obviously I would have liked the Bloc Québécois members to congratulate us on this excellent work and excellent negotiation. Even Louise Beaudoin, the former colleague of the member who has just asked the question, found that it was an excellent agreement. Pierre Curzi, of the Union des artistes, also found that it was. And even another former colleague of the member, Claude Morin, found that this was a good agreement.