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Crucial Fact

  • His favourite word was going.

Last in Parliament October 2015, as Independent MP for Saint-Léonard—Saint-Michel (Québec)

Won his last election, in 2011, with 42% of the vote.

Statements in the House

Stanley Cup Playoffs May 8th, 2003

Mr. Speaker, in these uncertain times I would like to draw your attention to something that unites all Canadian fans from coast to coast. Of course what I am referring to is hockey.

With the spirit of both the men's and women's Olympic victories still fresh in our minds, I think it is very appropriate that we take a moment to wish the Vancouver Canucks the best of luck in tonight's game.

With my glorious Habs and the Flames not having made the playoffs and with the Oilers and Leafs making an early exit from this year's playoffs, it is with impatience that all Canadians keep their fingers crossed in order to continue the quest to have an all Canadian Stanley Cup final.

What a great series it would be to see the Vancouver Canucks and our local Ottawa Senators facing each other in the finals. Such a series would truly grab the attention of all Canadians.

Riding of Saint-Léonard—Saint-Michel May 1st, 2003

Mr. Speaker, on Saturday, April 5, I had the honour of attending a reception held in my riding of Saint-Léonard—Saint-Michel to celebrate the national day of Senegal.

There were many cultural presentations, such as dances, poetry, a display of traditional fashions, and a multimedia presentation promoting African and Senegalese culture.

In attendance that evening were their Excellencies, Amadou Diallo, Ambassador of Senegal, Francis Loko, Ambassador of the Republic of Benin, and Amara Joubar Soumah, Ambassador of the Republic of Guinea, as well as members of the Italian and Haitian communities.

Once again, Saint-Léonard—Saint-Michel has demonstrated that the traditions and beliefs of its residents from different cultural backgrounds are not only respected but also celebrated, and can serve as a model for everyone in our beautiful country.

It is a place where young people from various continents live together in harmony, forming a cultural mosaic that has become the pride of those who live there—a picture of Canada at its best.

Airline Industry April 1st, 2003

Mr. Speaker, I have just been informed that Air Canada has in fact filed for protection under CCAA.

Could the Minister of Transport please advise the House with further details?

World Fencing Cup April 1st, 2003

Mr. Speaker, the finals of the Montreal World Fencing Cup were held in my riding, Saint-Léonard—Saint-Michel, at the Leonardo da Vinci community centre, with the cooperation of Sport Canada, the Canadian Fencing Federation, and the sponsors, including Saputo and Divco.

This competition was enormously successful. I would like to congratulate the approximately 200 fencers from 30 different countries who participated all week in this tournament's 14th edition.

On Saturday, March 22, 2003, the finalists, including gold medal winner Fabrice Jeannet, from France, demonstrated their true championship skills, in the finest sporting and humanitarian spirit.

Multiculturalism March 26th, 2003

Mr. Speaker, on Friday, March 21, 2003, the students of Laurier MacDonald High School, situated in my riding of Saint-Léonard—Saint-Michel, organized a one day celebration of multiculturalism entitled “One people, one destiny”.

The day's events included speeches from leaders of various community groups, as well as song and dance performers emphasizing the importance of respecting differences and sharing among all the cultural, ethnic and religious groups that together make up this great country.

Although recognition and appreciation of all cultures is important, it is imperative to partake and to actively promote culture acceptance in order for Canada to distinguish itself as a truly great nation.

I extend my congratulations, not only to the staff and administration of Laurier MacDonald High School, but also to the student members of the Multicultural Society who, under the guidance of their professor, Mr. Sookhdeo, have actively sought to promote acceptance and respect within their school and, in so doing, have modelled the very essence of what defines Canada.

Community Access Centres February 5th, 2003

Mr. Speaker, I am very pleased to rise in the House today to highlight the opening of three community access centres within the Haitian community of Saint-Léonard and Saint-Michel.

In recent weeks, I had the honour of giving, on behalf of the Government of Canada, a total of $51,000 to three organizations: the Association des citoyens d'origine haïtienne au Canada, the Association haïtiano-canado-québécoise d'aide aux démunis and the Centre d'action communautaire et d'insertion sociale multiculturel.

This program is establishing public Internet access centres. It gives Canadians opportunities for innovative learning, skills development and access to government services.

Several centres in the Saint-Léonard—Saint-Michel riding have benefited from this program, which represents an investment of over $510,000.

Madonna della Defesa Church December 11th, 2002

Mr. Speaker, I rise in this House to draw attention to an unprecedented historic event for the entire Italian Canadian community.

On November 30, 2002, the Madonna della Defesa church in Montreal's Little Italy was designated a national historic site by the Minister of Canadian Heritage.

This recognition speaks not only to the importance of the role of this church for the entire community, but also to the contribution of Italian immigrants to the growth of our country. Despite all the difficulties and problems encountered, the community can be proud to have preserved this heritage for all Canadians.

Madonna della Defesa is the oldest church erected for the Italian community in Montreal. It was the gateway and the foothold for many Italians who settled in Canada.

In conclusion, designating this church a national historic site will help keep its riches in Canada and preserve the history of Italian immigrants for future generations.

Speech from the Throne September 30th, 2002

Mr. Speaker, I wish to thank the voters of Saint-Léonard—Saint-Michel for putting their trust in me by electing me to represent them in the House of Commons.

Born, raised and residing all my life in the riding of Saint-Léonard--Saint-Michel, I am moved by this honour which the voters of Saint-Léonard--Saint-Michel have bestowed upon me.

I intend to serve my constituents to the best of my abilities and to work alongside my colleagues to address the issues which confront us today and which will challenge us in the future.

I want to pay tribute my predecessor, the hon. Alfonso Gagliano. I thank him for his dedicated efforts in serving his constituents and all Canadians for close to 20 years. I wish him a great deal of success as Canada's ambassador to Denmark.

I would like to express my infinite gratitude to my family and friends without whose untiring commitment and support I would not be here today. In particular, I want to thank my wife Danielle for her patience, my mother Mimma for her encouragement and my father Alessandro, himself a city councillor for 18 years, for instilling in me the sense that politics is a public service in which one can partake to make our community and our world a better place.

I began my political life government as a school trustee, a responsibility that allowed me to witness firsthand the obstacles faced by parents and children, students and professionals, entrepreneurs and workers, and young and not so young Canadians.

The riding of Saint-Léonard—Saint-Michel was successively represented by ministers, including the hon. Alfonso Gagliano, and his predecessor, the hon. Monique Bégin. Over the past thirty years, the population of the riding has increased and become more diversified. The challenges that now face the residents of Saint-Léonard—Saint-Michel are similar to those that confront Canadians across the country. However, the riding that I represent is very different from the other regions of the country.

It is easy to say that my riding is one of the best in the country, simply because of the people. Culturally diverse, Saint-Léonard--Saint-Michel is not a stranger to the sound of residents casually carrying out a conversation, intermingling two or three languages, giving rise to our own particular forms of expression. English and Italian are spoken there as commonly as French. Italians form the single largest ethnic group. The riding is home to the highest concentration of Canadians of Italian origin in the country. More recently, Saint-Léonard--Saint-Michel has welcomed the influx of Haitians, Latin Americans, Asians, Arabs and many other cultures.

Home to older as well as more recent immigrants, Saint-Léonard--Saint-Michel is a proud example of the harmonious integration between the official language groups and the post-war immigrant wave and their children. This convergence of cultures is benefiting our community in very real ways; tangible proof that tolerance fosters cooperation, which in turn favours economic development.

My riding has a very diversified industrial and commercial base. Heavy industry and high technology share space with service industries. Small family businesses are located next door to companies distributing national and international brands such as Saputo and Peerless.

The recently completed 125,000 square foot Leonardo Da Vinci cultural and community centre, with its 600 seat theatre, exhibition hall, chapel, gymnasium, educational centre, indoor soccer field and bistro, is a real gem. It has become a meeting place for community organizations, business leaders, athletes, artists, actors and their public.

This project is a testament to what can be achieved when all levels of government and the community work together. It is a wonderful example of the new partnership between our government and citizens, which was so eloquently expressed in the Speech from the Throne.

Yet we, like many other areas of the country, are not immune to the threats to our universal health care system, the challenges facing children and families, the decline of urban infrastructures and risks to our environment.

As a fundamental concern to the residents of my riding, as to all Canadians, the health care issue must be resolved once and for all. The ideas outlined in today's Speech from the Throne will reassure Canadians that they will not lose the high quality of universal health care to which they have become accustomed.

Saint-Léonard--Saint-Michel is home to many working class Canadians and I am sensitive to the issues surrounding children and their families. As a former school trustee, I am well acquainted with the obstacles young families have to face. The Speech from the Throne proposes solid measures to continue to build on plans which allow all children to start life on an equal footing and give them a fair chance of succeeding in school.

The riding of Saint-Léonard—Saint-Michel is made up of two former municipalities, now districts, in Greater Montreal. It is physically cut in two by boulevard Métropolitain, an elevated, narrow, outmoded and dangerous stretch of road which is part of the Trans-Canada Highway.

The problem of neglected or non-existent roads is not limited to my riding. It is a problem throughout the country. A strategy such as the one outlined in the throne speech to promote the renewal and development of our road system is vital to the rapid and safe movement of people and goods and to the economic future of our country.

I am delighted to see that today's throne speech strengthens our government's previous commitments of addressing these critical social issues.

I remain firm in the conviction that governments must take the lead in addressing fundamental social issues, such as assisting children and families in need, guaranteeing equal access to quality education, safeguarding our universal health care system for all Canadians, pursuing a plan to sustain our cities and ensuring that the environment in which we work, live, play, grow our food and raise our families is free from the threat of contaminants. The proposed solutions laid out in today's Speech from the Throne are in line with core values which will benefit all Canadians in the short and long term.

I am pleased to see that our government has taken the fiscally responsible approach by putting forward these proposals rather than falling into the trap of believing that the only way to improve the system is by increasing spending. Through this approach, we are able to respect a balanced budget by adapting current legislation.

Against expectations that are contrary to other nations, our economy continues to be strong. Yet we cannot allow ourselves to be led into a false sense of security. We must continue our course to reduce taxes and reduce the national debt. In doing so we will be an even wealthier nation tomorrow for today's sacrifices.

I move, seconded by the hon. member for Winnipeg South Centre, that the following motion be presented to Her Excellency the Governour General of Canada:

To Her Excellency the Right Honourable Adrienne Clarkson, Chancellor and Principal Companion of the Order of Canada, Chancellor and Commander of the Order of Military Merit, Governor General and Commander-in-Chief of Canada.

May it please Your Excellency:

We, Her Majesty's most loyal and dutiful subjects, the House of Commons of Canada, in parliament assembled, beg leave to offer our humble thanks to Your Excellency for the gracious Speech which Your Excellency has addressed to both Houses of Parliament.

Speech from the Throne September 30th, 2002

Mr. Speaker, after spending the summer apprehensively contemplating my first speech before the House, I am honoured and privileged to move the motion on the Address in Reply to the Speech from the Throne.

I would like to pay my humble respects to Her Excellency the Governor General and thank Her Excellency for delivering the speech today.

I also thank the Right Hon. Prime Minister for this honour to my riding, the riding of Saint-Léonard—Saint-Michel, and to its member, by authorizing me to make this motion.

I congratulate the Prime Minister on his many accomplishments throughout the past nine years as head of our government and leader of our party, as well as on his remarkable career in politics, which started some 40 years ago, just about the same time I came into the world. His devotion to our country, his determination, his leadership on the national and world level are a model for us all.

I would also like to congratulate the members of Parliament elected along with myself in the byelection of May 13, 2002: John Efford, Liza Frulla, Raymond Simard, Rex Barnes, Brian Masse and the hon.--

Research and Development June 10th, 2002

Mr. Speaker, Canada is a world leader in the field of biotechnology. In 2001 Canada was home to the second largest number of biotechnology companies in the world, with over 400 biotechnology firms. This burgeoning sector of the economy has obvious benefits for our knowledge based economy.

Could the Parliamentary Secretary to the Minister of Industry tell the House what the government is doing to encourage the growth of this innovative biotechnology sector?