House of Commons photo


Crucial Fact

  • His favourite word was nations.

Last in Parliament March 2011, as Bloc MP for Abitibi—Témiscamingue (Québec)

Lost his last election, in 2011, with 32% of the vote.

Statements in the House

Supply November 16th, 2004

Mr. Chair, I agree with the hon. minister, but I have a serious problem.

Indeed, we will study, analyze, suggest, recommend, but the minister should be reminded that the next generation of Olympic athletes cannot wait for studies. You have the studies.

The hon. minister should know that for the past six years, studies have been carried out in Australia, in New Zealand and in all the Commonwealth countries, on performance and how to reach the highest levels. The minister has received these documents.

What guarantee do we have that the next budget will provide the necessary funds so that our athletes can reach these performance levels?

In closing, I would like an answer, since the minister has not given one, regarding the events, the hosting of events like world cups, world championships and other international events, in order to plan our athletes' quest for gold.

Supply November 16th, 2004

Mr. Chair, I like what I am hearing from the Minister of State for Sport. However, there is something I want to know, so allow me to ask him the following question. Do we have right now in Canada a policy to help our Olympic athletes achieve and maintain their top level of performance? I, for one, have already given up on Turin in 2006; it is already too late for Torino , we can all agree on that.

Let us talk about the 2008 Games, the 2010 Games in Vancouver-Whistler and those in 2012 because that is what we have to focus on. It takes 4 to 12 years to train an athlete to reach a high level.

I want to ask the minister the following: do we currently have a formal policy that will allow us to reach Olympic standards for 2008, 2010 and 2012?

Supply November 16th, 2004

Mr. Chair, let us move on to serious things. The way the government treats Canadian athletes is not serious. They deserve more respect than to be talked about once every four years.

I watch and I completely agree that Olympic athletes are an image of Canada, Quebec and all the other provinces. I have some questions for the minister of state for sport.

First, I would like to explain my knowledge of sport to the minister. I come from the world of sports. I climbed up the levels in mountain biking to become world president in 1991. From 1981 to 1992, I represented Canada as president of the Canadian Cycling Association. Thus, I know both elite and developmental sport, as well as the ministers who preceded this minister, including, of course, the hon. member for Outremont who is present in this House, and the minister, who was then the hon. member for Bourassa.

We succeeded in bringing the World Anti-Doping Agency and several world championships to Canada. I always asked myself why the government was so little involved with assisting athletes with potential.

Sport does not consist only of our elite athletes, certainly not. When I look at the elite athletes who just competed in Athens and who won medals, who took to the podium at the Paralympic and Olympic Games, very few of them have trouble attracting major financial sponsors who will help them continue until Beijing or wherever the summer Olympic games will be held in 2012.

I have some questions for the minister. I am looking at the document called Canadian Heritage: Estimates 2004-2005. I am on page 5; it is very precise. Under the heading “Development of excellence in the Canadian Sport System” $60 million has been budgeted for 2004-05. For 2005-06, this amount drops to $10 million. That is a $50 million hole in the funding for our athletes. Worse yet, in 2006-07, it remains at $10 million.

Thus, the $30 million the hon. minister has found for the athletes is non-renewable. That is very important. It is only a one shot deal. But, oops, as the hon. members opposite might say, what does the minister intend to do to restore the $50 million the athletes will lose? Unless, of course, the figures in the document before us are not correct.

Department of Public Safety and Emergency Preparedness Act November 16th, 2004

Mr. Speaker, it is my pleasure to rise in this House to speak on this bill.

Just to situate things, we in the Bloc Québécois support this bill and shall be voting in favour of it. Nevertheless, with your permission, I have one thing to say. Today we are discussing the amendment proposed by the Bloc and adopted by all the opposition parties, a majority in the committee, as the House now realizes. I shall read clause 6(1) as it was originally drafted:

In exercising his or her powers and in performing his or her duties and functions, the Minister may:

(a) initiate, recommend, coordinate, implement or promote policies, programs or projects relating to public safety and emergency preparedness;—

The hon. member for Marc-Aurèle-Fortin, who is on the committee, proposed an amendment to the beginning of clause 6(1), to read: “In exercising his or her powers and in performing his or her duties and functions and with due regard to the powers conferred on the provinces and territories, the Minister may—”

This amendment is essential to the adoption of this bill. We do not see any reason for our Liberal party colleagues opposite to object. It is a very important amendment because it directly affects provincial jurisdictions in certain sectors. If the proposed amendment were not adopted, it would enable the government to directly affect the jurisdictions of emergency preparedness, public health, the establishment, maintenance and administration of prisons and reformatories in the provinces, disasters that are usually local in nature, and the administration of justice.

In Quebec we have a public security program that has existed for many years and which is ably coordinated by the Department of Public Security. Emergency preparedness also exists and is also ably coordinated by the same department.

The government would like to add its presence. Federal help is appreciated, but must not be imposed. Quebec and the provinces must remain the primary contractors and must have the last word. When we talk about natural disasters, from floods to ice storms, we think it is important for this bill to be passed, if it respects provincial jurisdictions.

Quebec has set up its own organization to see to the public security of Quebeckers. It is working fine and the federal government might compromise its efficiency and effectiveness by duplicating it.

Those who can best manage public safety are local elected representatives, who are familiar with citizens' programs. The federal government conceives its intervention plans away from the site and from reality. If this amendment is not passed, the federal government could try to impose them, when they are less adapted and could well thwart efficient provincial plans

This is why we agree with the legislation. We have always said that it was an important bill, which should have been passed long ago. However, the federal government has been once more dragging its feet.

I repeat that the federal government invests 44% of its budget in provincial fields of jurisdiction.

Enough is enough. If the federal government wants to have a law on public safety, we agree. However, this bill must not infringe upon provincial fields of jurisdiction, and the federal government must work jointly with the provinces to create programs and, above all, cooperate with the provinces to implement them.

This is why we are asking all the members of the House to vote in favour of the amendment of the Bloc—reject the Liberal Party's motion—and to ensure that we go back to the bill as amended, where section 6(1) reads:

In exercising his or her powers and in performing his or her duties and functions and with due regard to the powers conferred on the provinces and territories, the Minister may—

We strongly believe in this bill and we will support it if this amendment is a part of it.

An Act to establish the Economic Development Agency of Canada for the Regions of Quebec November 15th, 2004

Madam Speaker, my question will be brief and straightforward. I will ask the member for Honoré-Mercier to append this $1.5 million grant to the Université du Québec en Abitibi—Témiscamingue over the next three years to the long list that the minister responsible came to announce.

My question is very specific. Does he not believe that it may be relevant to invest in the regions, but only following a regional consensus? It is all very fine and well to have CFDCs, but when they will not even communicate with local development centres, there is a problem. That is what is happening in all regions of the province of Quebec, specially in Abitibi—Témiscamingue.

I would ask the member for Honoré-Mercier to ask his neighbour if it would not be appropriate to work towards consensus on a regular basis, and, if need be, to organize working conferences to get the two bodies talking. That is the only way to achieve regional development, but this is not something the federal government acknowledges.

International Film Festival November 4th, 2004

Mr. Speaker, I would like to draw the attention of this House to the 23rd edition of the Abitibi—Témiscamingue international film festival, which finishes today. This well-attended festival is one of the most northerly celebrations of film from here and elsewhere, with a particular warm spot for Quebec productions.

The high quality of its organization, the originality and calibre of its programming, its special guests, the excellence of its media coverage, and the enthusiasm of its faithful audience make this festival a popular and respected event.

My thanks to the organizers, whose meticulous and imaginative preparations for this event make it an attraction every year for cinephiles and a source of pride for everyone in the region.

Congratulations and long life to the Festival du cinéma international en Abitibi—Témiscamingue.

Petitions November 4th, 2004

Mr. Speaker, it is my privilege this morning to table a petition bearing dozens of signatures from the riding of Abitibi—Témiscamingue.

The petitioners are calling for a raise in employment insurance benefits given the fact that many workers in my region are seasonal workers and they are currently going through an unprecedented crisis period in the softwood lumber industry, in particular. It is especially appropriate since the government keeps putting off fair reform of employment insurance in order to adequately support workers.

That is why, through this petition, we are calling on the federal government to end the transitional measures, raise benefits for workers and adopt a universal employment insurance plan.

Sports November 1st, 2004

Mr. Speaker, despite the new money the minister responsible for sport has announced, a top athlete not classified as elite but with serious potential for reaching the Olympic or Paralympic Games in Beijing, receives a measly $900 a month. This athlete has to train several hours a day to qualify among the best in his discipline, but unlike an elite athlete, has little chance of being sponsored.

Does the minister responsible for sport understand that this new developmental athlete assistance is still not enough to live on—

Canadian Heritage Act October 26th, 2004

Mr. Speaker, I have a question for my honourable colleague opposite. There is probably agreement in the Bloc on this issue. The environment critic of the Bloc will explain why our party will probably support this bill.

But here is my question for my colleague opposite: what guarantee do we have that, under Environment Canada, Parks Canada will no longer be an instrument of propaganda on Canadian unity in the hands of the federal government?

Back in 1996, the Auditor General mentioned his concern that sometimes, management plans gave more weight to economic and social factors than to ecological ones.

Can we have a guarantee that, once Parks Canada is under Environment Canada, the environment will be protected and Parks Canada will no longer be used just to promote Canadian unity?

Agriculture October 7th, 2004

Mr. Speaker, I have listened to the remarks of the hon. member and parliamentary secretary. I would like him to ask the Minister of Agriculture and Agri-Food, who seems to have travelled extensively in Canada, to visit Abitibi—Témiscamingue, which is not too far away, just to take stock of the catastrophic situation that has been caused these past few months.

The government has introduced five programs, none of which are working. Initially, the CAISP was supposed to be in place for a very short time, between six and twelve months perhaps, until the borders reopened. Unfortunately, it was not foreseen that the situation would continue, as it does to this day.

Ways must be found to adapt the programs to the regions, rather than adapt the regions to the programs. If the hon. parliamentary secretary could bring this matter to the minister and ask him to adapt the programs to the regions, and not the other way around, this would already go a very long way toward resolving the problem.