House of Commons photo

Crucial Fact

  • His favourite word was quebec.

Last in Parliament March 2011, as Liberal MP for Hull—Aylmer (Québec)

Lost his last election, in 2011, with 20% of the vote.

Statements in the House

Canadian Airline Industry October 1st, 2001

Madam Chairman, following the horrible events of September 11, Transport Canada worked together with the airline industry to help them adapt to the new operational realities in the transportation sector. The Minister of Transport and his department, Transport Canada, must be congratulated for the way they are managing the current crisis.

The layoffs announced by Air Canada last week are not related to commitments made by the airline, which were incorporated into Bill C-26 regarding the merger with Canadian Airlines. It is worth acknowledging that these circumstances are not unique to Canada or North America. Airlines around the world have been forced to reduce their number of flights, and have announced layoffs.

Air Canada announced that it would be reducing its workforce by 9,000 employees. Four thousand of these layoffs were already announced in August. Eight thousand positions will be cut from the main airline and 1,000 more are to be cut from the regional carriers. Air Canada has also announced that it will be reducing service by some 20%.

Clearly, our priority for the airlines right now must be to help them until business returns to normal, and all of our efforts must be concentrated on achieving this.

I do not support opening Canada's airspace to foreign carriers. I feel that foreign airlines operating in our country would only be interested in the major routes, leaving smaller Canadian communities without service. Therefore, it is appropriate and even essential that the federal government take the time to review all the issues relating to the airline industry.

If compensation is provided to the airline industry, it should only be for financial losses directly related to the closing of the airspace following the events of September 11. Any federal compensation program should include the whole industry.

Let us not forget that there are other airlines operating in Canada and that if we provide some kind of assistance, they must all be treated fairly since they are all equally affected by the events of September 11.

In fact, the Minister of Transport said on September 27 that whatever form this assistance may take, it will be costly. It will cost a lot of money. The Minister of Transport is currently assessing the financial situation of not only Air Canada, but of all the other airlines.

This federal assistance should in no way be used to solve some Canadian airline companies' major financial problems that are not related to the events of September 11.

Any financial assistance provided to Air Canada should not give it more resources to maintain its seemingly anti-competitive behaviour and should not allow it to pursue what seems to be a fight for total domination of the market.

However, the issue deserves to be considered from a different angle. Of course, the tragic events of September 11 have had a terrible impact on air carriers. Unfortunately, the whole transportation industry is affected by this crisis. Be it trucking, shipping or transportation of manufactured goods, the whole industry is weakened by this crisis.

The Minister of Transport referred to this in the House on September 19, when he said there was a need to assess the degree of the dislocation and the damage, and there was no doubt that there had been a lot of it. He added that the airline industry is just one aspect of the transportation industry.

We must ensure that any compensation provided is fair and equitable. For that, we must also look at the other components of the transportation industry and not only focus on the airline industry.

On the issue of safety, Transport Canada is committed to maintaining and increasing the safety of passengers. In fact, safety measures in place in Canada's aviation industry meet and even exceed International Civil Aviation Organization standards.

However, to excel even more, the Canadian government has taken extra safety measures. These measures deal with the presence of dangerous substances and sharp objects aboard an aircraft. They also deal with access to aircraft by airport workers, security personnel training, ID photos, improving infiltration testing and reinforcing cockpit doors.

In closing, the Government of Canada must reexamine its policy with regard to the protection of sensitive and highly populated areas such as downtown cores, sites where major cultural or sporting events are held and very tall buildings.

For example, it is unthinkable and ridiculous that all kinds of aircraft are allowed to get close to the Peace Tower for tourism or for recreational purposes.

In conclusion, passenger safety must remain the priority of the Government of Canada.

Wireless technology September 27th, 2001

Mr. Speaker, this week marks the 100th anniversary of the first wireless transatlantic transmission by Marconi.

Will the Parliamentary Secretary to the Minister of Industry tell us what the government is doing to celebrate this historic event?

Sir John A. Macdonald and the Sir Wilfrid Laurier Day Act September 24th, 2001

Mr. Speaker, a few days ago, we witnessed the tragic and horrible events that took place in the United States, and we were all profoundly shocked. It was a painful nightmare for each one of us.

It is not my intention to speak about the terrorists' attacks and their repercussions. However, this recent terrible tragedy brought home to us only too vividly that which we hold most dear: our country, our freedoms, and our values as Canadians, our way of life.

In moments of tragedy, the values we cherish shine the brightest, and our desire to preserve those values and see them grow takes on a new urgency.

It is our pride in being Canadians that underlies the bill before us today.

Bill S-14 pays tribute to two of our great prime ministers: Sir John A. Macdonald and Sir Wilfrid Laurier. This bill will enable us to remain proud of our past and mindful of our heritage.

Some will perhaps wonder what we have to gain by setting aside the birthdays of these two men as special days. The answer is a simple one.

If there is one thing that we have learned from the tragic events of recent days, it is that as Canadians we cannot and must not take for granted everything that we have.

If we pass Bill S-14, we will send a message to all, to current and future generations of Canadians, that we keep in our collective mind the memory of Canada's first Prime Minister and first French speaking Prime Minister.

We will thus show our commitment to celebrate their contributions to Canada, as well as the values and principles on which these contributions are based. We will also show that we are not prepared to take our heritage for granted.

In a world that is increasingly based on global trade, technology and communications, we are constantly at risk of losing sight of our Canadian identity. And this risk will be even greater as we face the challenges of the 21st century. In trying to meet these challenges, we can build on the examples of Sir John A. Macdonald and Sir Wilfrid Laurier, who were men of great value.

At times we may think that our problems are insurmountable and we may also be tempted to lose faith in our ability as a nation to overcome the obstacles before us.

But we could certainly put things in perspective by pointing out the innumerable difficulties faced by John A. Macdonald, Wilfrid Laurier and the other Fathers of Confederation when they were trying to turn a beautiful dream into reality, that is to build a country, to build Canada.

It is also important to remember some of the other great achievements of John A. Macdonald, this great Canadian, including the building of Canada's first national railway, the Intercolonial Railway.This monumental project helped build the infrastructure required to settle the western Canada, develop our economy and strengthen our national identity.

Sir Wilfrid Laurier's contributions were different, but just as important. His immigration policy helped create and define our current society.

A staunch protector of national unity, he believed that both founding cultures could not only coexist, but also forge together a stronger and more prosperous nation, a nation that would serve as a model to the whole world.

Sir John A. Macdonald and Sir Wilfrid Laurier had long term vision and their leadership helped Canada grow, evolve and prosper.

Over the past 134 years, we have been put to the test many times. We have experienced wars and the great depression, and we have witnessed major social and technological changes. In fact, we are being put to the test now.

One of the most potent forces that equips us to meet the challenges of our time is the memory of what those who came before us have contributed and accomplished. That is what lies behind this bill's creation.

I join with other hon. members in congratulating the hon. colleague who introduced this bill. It was a most laudable initiative on his part. In addition, he has given us an opportunity to perpetuate in memory the accomplishments of these two great Canadians. We must seize that opportunity. Let us not miss out on it.

Our role as parliamentarians has a number of different dimensions. We pay attention to the interests of those whom we represent, and we do our utmost to represent them well. We take part in this fundamental activity of legislating, of fine tuning as it were, the rules that govern our society.

Our responsibility as parliamentarians includes another dimension as well. We set an example for other Canadians each time we rise to speak in this House, each time that we vote, each time we take a position on matters of importance that influence the daily lives of each and every Canadian.

Today we have the opportunity to speak out on an important issue. By voting in support of Bill S-14 , we will be reminding Canadians of part of their heritage and of the strength we can derive from it as we trace our path through this new century and this new millennium we are just entering.

I would therefore invite all hon. members to reflect seriously on the substance of this bill and to give it their support, for it means not only paying tribute to two great man—Sir John A. Macdonald and Sir Wilfrid Laurier—a noble goal in itself, but also forging more solid ties between our past and our future.

Supply June 12th, 2001

Madam Speaker, my colleague is right in stating that I am a member of the subcommittee. He is also right in stating that there are two Liberals among the membership of the committee. He is also very right in assuming that it is not a situation where Liberal members dominate the committee. It is the contrary in the sense that there are two Liberals and four non-Liberals.

I am not at liberty to divulge details of how we deliberate in camera at the subcommittee. However I do not think anyone needs much knowledge in mathematics to realize that two versus four does not win very strongly.

Supply June 12th, 2001

Madam Speaker, I should point out to begin with that I will be sharing my time with the hon. member for Scarborough East.

I rise to speak to the official opposition motion:

That the Standing Committee on Procedure and House Affairs be instructed to draft, and report to this House no later than November 1, 2001, changes to the Standing Orders improving procedures for the consideration of Private Members' Business, including a workable proposal allowing for all items to be votable.

Since the beginning of this parliament six months ago, close to 200 private members' motions or bills have been introduced in the House, which is evidence of the importance MPs attach to these initiatives. As we are all aware, the private members' business subcommittee selects at random 30 of these items, which are then entered on the list of priorities for debate in the House. At the present time, the standing orders allow a maximum of ten of these to be votable.

Let us point out that contrary to what people might think the work of the subcommittee is carried out in a totally independent manner and the government is not in any way involved.

To have all proposals votable presents certain advantages. The vote enables members to officially support or not support a proposal. This way any doubts members may have on the objectivity of the members of the private members' business subcommittee are eliminated. To some members, this could increase parliament's usefulness in the eyes of the public and give it a more democratic face.

As only ten proposals can be voted on, excellent proposals may be left by the wayside. While the simple fact of raising a question is enough in certain cases, members more often want the House to decide. That way we know more clearly what the House thinks of a question.

There are many disadvantages, however. The number of motions and bills put before the House must manifestly be reduced, unless other changes are made to reduce the number of hours spent in debate. The effect could be to reduce the importance given to each, so that the more important ones currently voted on could receive less attention.

In the opinion of the McGrath committee, mandating a committee of MPs to choose votable motions and bills was a fair and just way to proceed. If all proposals are voted on, members will lose the latitude they enjoy at the moment. They may in some cases want the House to debate a matter without holding a vote. They will not have this option anymore.

In my opinion, the way the House manages private members' business is based on two broad principles. First, members themselves run the process; the government is not involved in it in any way. Second, the members are free to manage their business as they see fit.

I agree with the members who feel that the vote is important, but does the best solution consist in making all items votable? Such a measure would ultimately create other problems for members.

Today, the opposition is suggesting that the Standing Committee on Procedure and House Affairs take a closer look at these issues and submit its report no later than November 1, 2001, including a workable proposal allowing for all items to be votable. This suggestion is perfectly appropriate.

The committee has been reviewing these issues for many years, thus making it the guarantor of the fairness of the rules relating to private members' business, which are always very complex, and giving it a great deal of expertise in this area.

In recent years, the committee has made numerous recommendations to improve the management of private members' business and strengthen the rules that serve members of parliament.

I expect the committee to determine whether all items should be votable and to look at alternatives, such as increasing the number of votable items, allowing a larger number of bills to be referred to a committee, or proposing other means to allow members to submit to the House issues that are of interest to their constituents and to themselves.

I fully support today's motion and I am anxiously awaiting the report of the Standing Committee on Procedure and House Affairs.

Bloc Quebecois June 8th, 2001

Mr. Speaker, this weekend, the Bloc Quebecois is organizing a big party to celebrate its tenth anniversary.

The Bloc Quebecois is ten years old. Ten years is a long time for a party that was supposed to be there for just a short time.

I clearly remember Lucien Bouchard, the founder of the Bloc Quebecois, saying that the success of his party would be measured by the shortness of its mandate.

Ten years later, the Bloc Quebecois must admit defeat and recognize that it has failed.

The fact that the great sovereignist leaders Lucien Bouchard and Jacques Parizeau will not attend the anniversary evening clearly shows that the movement is running out of steam.

By being so bent on destroying Canada, the Bloc Quebecois is weakening Quebecers. By refusing to listen to Quebecers and to comply with their wishes, it only blocks the development of our society.

Maison Mathieu Froment Savoie June 6th, 2001

Mr. Speaker, since 1993, the Maison Mathieu Froment Savoie has been bringing support and comfort to patients and their families.

The mission of this non-profit community organization is to provide accommodation and comfort to residents of the Outaouais who are terminally ill. Over 200 people have benefited from its services since the palliative care centre was opened in January 1999.

I would like to pay tribute today to the wonderful work being done by the employees and volunteers of this organization, who provide a warm family atmosphere to terminally ill people in the Outaouais.

My best wishes for a long life to the Maison Froment Savoie, executive director Suzanne Fitzback, spokesperson Françoise Boivin, and president Robert Gendron.

Transportation June 4th, 2001

Mr. Speaker, last Saturday was National Transportation Day, which marked the start of National Transportation Week.

On this special occasion, I think it important to pay tribute to Canadians working in the transportation field and helping to keep the network safe and efficient. They number nearly one million persons.

This is the thrust of the Government of Canada's initiative to create a policy framework to define a type of network for the next decade. It is time Canada had the best highway network in the world.

This framework would be based, among other things, on the work of the Canada Transportation Act Review Panel, the Transportation Climate Change Table and the discussions held at the Millennium Transportation Conference.

Our network must be safe, efficient, affordable, accessible and sustainable. The measures taken will help develop trade and stimulate competition, productivity and technological innovation.

Highway Infrastructure May 18th, 2001

Mr. Speaker, my question is for the Minister of Transport or his parliamentary secretary.

The Government of Quebec recently announced construction work on highway 50, in western Quebec. Does the Government of Canada intend to get financially involved in this project?

Grands Prix Du Tourisme Québécois May 16th, 2001

Mr. Speaker, last Friday evening, the 16th award ceremony for the Grands prix du tourisme québécois was held in Montreal. Four Outaouais area businesses distinguished themselves at this event, and I am extremely proud to pay tribute to them today.

Café Henry Burger of Hull carried off the “Gold” award in the category “restaurant development”.

A “Bronze” went to les Grands Feux du Casino de Hull, in the category “events with a budget in excess of $1 million”.

In the “tourism services” category, the National Capital Commission was awarded “Gold” for the Gatineau Park Visitor Centre, while Réservation-Outaouais was awarded a “Gold” in the “transportation and travel” category.

The Outaouis region has made a name for itself as far as Quebec tourism is concerned. Congratulations and best wishes for continuing success to our four Quebec tourism award winners, and to all those who work day in and day out to make the time tourists spend in the Outaouais memorable.