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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

Supply June 8th, 2000

Mr. Speaker, I think my colleague is mixing carrots with potatoes.

When departments want to give good news, announce projects or give out cheques, they do so through their ministers or other ministers or members. When the CIO organizes tours for Quebec ministers, it is for a different kind of activities.

The Canada Information Office is there to better inform Canadians about government policies, priorities, programs and services. However, once again, when the Government of Quebec does it, it is called information, but when the Government of Canada does the same thing, my colleague calls it propaganda.

It is not quite the same thing. The CIO provides information to Canadians.

Supply June 8th, 2000

Mr. Speaker, I thank my colleague for congratulating me and at the same time giving me the opportunity to give her more information.

I want to confirm that the Canada Information Office has also provided information to Canadians about their country by supporting key events such as the Canada Conference '99 to celebrate the 50th anniversary of Newfoundland joining Canada. The Canada Information Office worked with a number of federal government organizations to sponsor and assist in the co-ordination of Canada Conference '99 which helped create cross-Canada awareness of this historic anniversary.

In partnership with Veterans Affairs Canada, the CIO developed a veterans week media promotion campaign to develop greater awareness of the contribution of Canada and its veterans during World War I. Media coverage of veterans week in 1998 increased by 57% over the previous years. There are other examples.

Supply June 8th, 2000

Mr. Speaker, for some time now there has been a lot of talk about the Canada Information Office, the CIO. We have been seeing quite a disinformation campaign being conducted by the Bloc Quebecois, which is trying at all costs to discredit and distort the work done by the CIO, particularly as it relates to the organization of the Quebec ministerial tours.

It gives me great pleasure to rise today in the House to clear up a few matters, particularly in relation to the tours that the CIO has been organizing in the last few months.

First, I want to point out that the CIO's mandate is to assist in improving communications between the government of Canada and Canadian citizens. I would note in passing, with all due respect for the members opposite, that Quebecers have confirmed twice in fifteen years that they wish to remain Canadian citizens; accordingly, they have a right to expect that their government, the Government of Canada, will provide them with information about the programs and services that are available to them, and they are entitled to receive accurate information.

This is where the ministerial tours come in. This is a government initiative, prompted by the desire of Quebec ministers to ensure that Quebecers are better informed and by a willingness to listen to them and engage them in dialogue.

Communication is a two way street. The government must not only adopt approaches that will enable it to communicate better with the public, but it must also, to that end, adopt approaches that will enable it to listen to them, to talk with them, so that it can target its activities more effectively.

That is what the tour is. It is not a secret, it is not propaganda, it is not party politics. It is a vehicle of communication that has been designed to promote the exchange of information between citizens and their government.

For the 1999-2000 fiscal year, the tour provided a vehicle of communication that enabled 12 ministers and secretaries of state to visit 128 different cities in Quebec in 122 days, and to hold 340 activities, meetings or visits.

When we get right down to it, it is not surprising that the members of the Bloc would be worried about this kind of initiative. It has been about ten years since they started using the Canadian parliamentary system and taxpayers' money to push a secessionist agenda that a majority of Quebecers reject. And to help them sell their option, the members opposite are spreading half-truths and disinformation. And now that we have ministers making an end run around them to set the record straight, it is only natural that they are nervous.

But, in fact, what makes the Bloc most nervous is not the fact that the government is outflanking them and correcting the falsehoods they are spreading. What makes them most nervous is that the Quebecers the ministers are meeting on the tour, the mayors and leaders of community organizations, the chambers of commerce, the organizers and decision makers in the regions, are all too happy to be able to talk things over with a minister or a secretary of state.

They appreciate the opportunity this gives them to tell the ministers about their concerns and to get more information about the services and programs their government makes available to them.

This fact is reflected in an editorial published in Le Soleil on September 24, 1999, which stated:

The beginning of this new era of co-operation is promising, and conveys a welcome spirit of co-operation in the Quebec City region.

Last November, following a meeting with the President of the Treasury Board, the mayor of Sainte-Agathe des Monts, Pierre Circé, who knows the member for Laurentides well, said, and I quote:

The minister is now more familiar with our situation here, and we learned more about the programs that are available.

This is definitely something that would make the Bloquistes nervous.

It makes them nervous because it is clear that this kind of initiative, and the positive responses it is receiving, help strengthen Canadian unity. In spite of what members of the opposition would have us believe, there is nothing partisan in the government of Canada coordinating an initiative aimed at better explaining the advantages of Canada.

Yes, the ministers' tour in Quebec was financed with public funds and that is quite legitimate. The tour is one of the numerous information services that the Government of Canada provides to its citizens. It is a communication activity focused on a dialogue with local representatives, just as advertising campaigns, mass mailing or the 1-800-O-CANADA line are.

The government tour approach is not new. It is already well-known in Quebec, because it is an approach used by the Quebec government as well.

By the way, I cannot help but find it bizarre that Bloc members would call it information when the Quebec government goes on tour, but call it propaganda whenever Canada does the same thing.

As always, it is a double standard for our Bloc colleagues, and everybody knows why. The Bloc Quebecois absolutely wants to prevent the Canadian government from having visibility in Quebec, from being present in Quebec and from listening to Quebecers. It wants to deny Quebecers the benefits of their country, Canada.

In fact, both levels of governments have the right and the duty to inform Quebecers. Let me quote what my colleague, the president of the Privy Council and member for Saint-Laurent—Cartierville said during a recent symposium on the quiet revolution:

We can and we must have two serious governments, each with its own perspective, two governments exposed to different influences and which...learn from each other and from the other governments of our federation....This way, we give ourselves the best development opportunities.

We should not be surprised that Bloc members would criticize a Canadian government initiative which will show Quebecers that it is possible to talk to each other and to work together, that the Quebec government does not have a monopoly on “dialogue” and “joint action” and that their government is there to serve them and provide them with services that are useful in their day to day life.

In a way, all this hustle and bustle we have seen over the last few days is sort of flattering: it shows that the Government of Canada has found an effective and successful way to better communicate with the citizens of Quebec.

Oceans Day June 8th, 2000

Mr. Speaker, today is World Oceans Day.

The idea for oceans day dates back to 1992, at the earth summit in Rio de Janeiro. It quickly went on to become an event celebrated every year on June 8.

Canada is a maritime nation. Our oceans have shaped our history. We rely on them for transportation, fishing, tourism and recreation. They are as vulnerable as they are important, however, and their vulnerability makes us vulnerable as well if we do not take the necessary steps to preserve and protect them. Sustainable ocean management is an important international issue which requires international co-operation.

Oceans day is an opportunity to send our message the length and breadth of Canada, and to the entire world: we share one world, one ocean, one life. While Canadians everywhere are taking part in activities aimed at raising public awareness of the importance—

Francophone Games June 6th, 2000

Mr. Speaker, on May 26, we learned that all levels of government involved had confirmed their financial contributions for the next Francophone Games.

This is good news for the Ottawa-Hull area, because we are seeing an excellent example of co-operation and partnership to the benefit of the francophone population.

Let us remember that the 4th Francophone Games will be held in Hull and Ottawa in July 2001. The Government of Canada is contributing over $12 million for the event.

The organizing committee and the signatory governments are satisfied with the agreement concluded. This important step shows that, when efforts are united in one cause, great things can be achieved. The francophone and francophile population, as well as participating athletes, will be the beneficiaries.

We wish all participants in, as well as organizers of, the Francophone Games the best of luck.

Highway System May 17th, 2000

Mr. Speaker, last Monday the City of Hull received some good news about the Laramée Boulevard construction project and full completion of the McConnell-Laramée axial highway.

This project will be carried out with the financial participation of Transports Québec and Transport Canada. It consists in the construction of a four-lane boulevard, with a speed limit of 50 km/hr for heavy truck traffic in the residential area. The boulevard will have European-style traffic circles and another traffic circle will be built at the corner of Montcalm and St-Joseph.

This is excellent news, not only for the cities of Hull and Aylmer, but also for the overall economic development of the Outaouais region.

I wish to take this opportunity to point out that Canadian federalism is an effective way of ensuring the economic development of our regions. This project, in fact, will require the financial participation of both governments. The governments of Quebec and of Canada will provide equal funding for the project, whose cost is estimated at $35 million.

Infrastructure Program May 15th, 2000

Mr. Speaker, municipalities are keen to hear the good news about the great infrastructure program.

My question is for the President of the Treasury Board and Minister responsible for Infrastructure. Could she inform the House of the progress in the negotiations between the Government of Canada and the provincial and territorial governments on infrastructure?

Canada Health Day May 12th, 2000

Mr. Speaker, I am pleased to inform the House and all Canadians that May 12 is Canada Health Day.

Canada Health Day is held each year on the anniversary of the birth of Florence Nightingale and is jointly sponsored by the Canadian Public Health Association and the Canadian Health Care Association.

To draw attention to the celebrations in 2000, a new theme has been developed for the campaign “Healthy Beginnings: Child Health in the New Millennium”. This theme underscores the importance of the first five years of life in the development of healthy children.

Over the past decade, there has been an explosion of scientific information on what children need to get the best possible start in life. We now know that the first five years are crucial to the development of a child's ability to think, love, trust and develop a strong and positive self image.

Let us join together in wishing an excellent Canadian Health Day to the Canadian Public Health Association and the Canadian Healthcare Association.

Public Service Alliance Of Canada May 9th, 2000

Mr. Speaker, on Friday, Nycole Turmel was elected president of the Public Service Alliance of Canada to replace Darryl Bean, who is leaving the position after over 15 years of devoted service to his members.

With the support of a large majority of delegates to the triennial congress of the Alliance, Ms. Turmel is not only the first women to hold the position, but the first francophone as well. Before her election as president, Ms. Turmel had been the vice-president of the Alliance for nine years.

I would like today to congratulate Ms. Turmel on her election to the presidency of the Public Service Alliance of Canada and wish her every success in her new duties.

Regional Development May 5th, 2000

Mr. Speaker, on April 20, Economic Development Canada announced an investment that will benefit the entire Outaouais region: $9.3 million over the next five years to help develop three important components of its economy.

First, $6.8 million will go to the development of high tech companies.

Another $1.2 million will be invested in developing new tourist attractions. Our region abounds in natural and manmade spaces with the potential to interest people passing through our region.

Finally, $1.2 million will be allocated to stimulate the economy in rural areas, an area essential to the economic growth of our region.

Clearly, the strategy is tailored to the needs, strengths and assets of the Outaouais region, which is one of the loveliest in Quebec and in Canada.

This is additional proof that the Canadian government is working to improve the quality of life of regions in Quebec.