House of Commons photo


Crucial Fact

  • His favourite word was liberal.

Last in Parliament March 2011, as Bloc MP for Montmorency—Charlevoix—Haute-Côte-Nord (Québec)

Lost his last election, in 2011, with 35% of the vote.

Statements in the House

Marine Transportation Security Act June 14th, 1994

Mr. Speaker, on June 7, the government tabled in the House of Commons a bill to provide for the security of marine transportation, further to the security measures for cruise ships and ports prepared by the International Maritime Organization.

Although the implementation of such measures was not compulsory, in 1993, the previous government ratified the IMO Convention and Protocol, following the drafting of an international convention and protocol on unlawful threats to marine transportation.

Such action had become necessary as a result of acts of terrorism that occurred in the mid-eighties. Hon. members will recall what happened to the Achille Lauro and the City of Porros in the Mediterranean.

This bill provides for a number of positive measures. First of all, it confers powers similar to those that apply to air and rail transportation; it reinforces the security of passengers and the marine transportation industry; and it gives the minister the authority to call for stricter security measures when circumstances warrant.

Better security will above all help to keep the industry competitive with other countries that have taken similar measures. That is the strong point of this bill. As you know, we must make sure we remain competitive. Today, the United States has full authority over marine transportation security, and this year, it will implement IMO measures for cruise ships.

We all know that the United States has the authority to issue advisories indicating that foreign ports are dangerous. It has very active inspection program abroad. Since 85 per cent of cruise ship passengers are U.S. citizens, we must ensure that these tourists are treated according to the same standards in Canada as they are in the United States. The Port of Vancouver, for instance, has an interest in developing its tourist industry as does the Port of Quebec City, which receives increasing numbers of foreign tourists.

We cannot run the risk of losing money in an industry that is worth $500 million today. An interesting point is that this legislation will cover ships, ports and marine facilities in Canada and ships registered in Canada anywhere else in the world.

Perhaps this would be a good time to urge Canadian shipowners to register their ships in Canada and to fly the Canadian flag. Above all, the Government of Canada which owns Marine Atlantic, among other things, must be called to order and it must display its pride by flying the Canadian flag and hiring Canadian

sailors. This would mean work for many sailors and would help us to ease the tax burden of our citizens.

It is interesting to note that the scope of Bill C-38 extends to drilling facilities and platforms.

Several provisions in this bill give the government the authority to develop measures respecting the security of maritime transportation. The enactment also provides, when the regulations are contravened, for large fines and imprisonment in the case of an individual and for hefty fines in the case of a corporation.

It should be noted that the cost to the industry of implementing these provisions is acceptable. Vessels and ports which already comply with IMO measures will incur no costs in respect of this enactment, while those not already in compliance with these measures will incur costs of roughly $150,000. The cost to the government of implementing security and inspection measures and of enforcing the regulations will also be negligible since inspection resources currently handling transportation security will be reassigned.

While I did say that the costs involved were acceptable to the industry, I would like to temper my remarks somewhat. Pursuant to the new rules, this bill will be referred to a committee and I hope that my colleague and chairman of the transport committee, the hon. member for Hamilton West, will have the presence of mind to invite representatives of the industry to appear so that they can reassure us that this bill poses no major inconveniences or does not impede the development of ports in Quebec or in Canada as far as the cruise ship industry is concerned. Therefore, when I say that the costs involved are acceptable, I mean they are, subject to review by the parties concerned.

If the legislation passes, as I hope it will, the government will first have to ensure that the regulations provided for in the bill are drafted as soon as possible, taking care to duly consult with the industry and government departments. Many have already voiced their support for this bill and want to participate in the drafting of the regulations to ensure that they are consistent with the high standards of their members.

Second, it is important that the government move to have the legislation take effect as soon as possible. Failure to do so could result in the following problems: a lack of appropriate regulatory authority, a vulnerable transportation system and adverse effects on competition.

For this reason, our party supports the fast-track approach and agrees with the spirit of the bill.

In conclusion, as I mentioned, the official opposition supports the bill, on condition that regulations are adopted after the interested parties have been consulted and that the legislation and regulations take effect as soon as possible.

Pearson International Airport Agreements Act June 14th, 1994

Mr. Speaker, the chairman of the Standing Committee on Transport presented the committee's report to the House, following its consideration of Bill C-22. You will agree that the amendments proposed to this House hardly deal with the questions we have raised since the bill was tabled for first reading on April 13.

What the report proposes to hon. members of this House boils down to three short recommendations. The first one is on Clause 11, where we are asked to strike out line 36 on page 3 and substitute the following therefor: "The Governor in Council may, etc." The second recommendation is to add, immediately after line 2, on page 4, the following: "An order made by the Governor in Council under sub-section (1) shall be laid before the House of Commons not later than the fifth sitting day of the House of Commons after it is made". And the third brief recommendation: "A copy of the Minutes of Proceedings and Evidence, relating to this Bill-Issues 7, 8, 9 and 10-is tabled".

After the many hours we have spent working in the House of Commons and the Transport Committee, it is astonishing to read these recommendations by the committee of which I am a member, although a dissident one. Let me explain. On June 11, the Ottawa Citizen gave a good summary of the drawbacks of this legislation and the problems encountered by the transport committee, except that it mistakenly reported, and I quote:

Gouk for instance tried to have key Pearson players subpoenaed to testify before the committee after only seven witnesses showed up out of the 17 who were invited to appear. The Liberals killed that move.

With respect, the Ottawa Citizen was wrong. It was the Bloc Quebecois member who made that request-in fact, yours truly-and I think the hon. member will agree that the attribution was erroneous. However, the Ottawa Citizen was right when it said that the Liberals turned down my request. I submitted a list of 17 witnesses, 13 of whom declined to appear. I asked for three people to be subpoenaed: Otto Jelinek, Peter Couglin and Senator Leo Kolber. This motion was also defeated, thanks to the Liberal majority on the committee. These witnesses would have clarified the issues for the committee and, in that case, the report to the House would not have been the same.

It was not a frivolous request on my part. These three people were closely linked to the process that awarded the contract to Pearson Development Corporation. In fact, Peter Couglin was president of Pearson Development Corporation, and he was not heard. Liberal Senator Leo Kolber, was, according to the Financial Post Directory of Directors , a director of Claridge. Canadians will recall that during the last election campaign, at his residence in Westmount, this valiant senator entertained guests such as Charles Bronfman, who is linked to the project, at a $1,000-a-plate dinner to hear the present Prime Minister who was then trying to get elected.

I had also asked that Mr. Otto Jelinek, former Conservative minister, who now heads the Matthews Group branch responsible for Asia, be subpoenaed.

Why did the Liberal members on the transport committee refuse my request? What were they afraid of? Why did 13 of the 17 witnesses on the list presented by the Bloc Quebecois refuse to appear in front of the transport committee?

Since the bill was introduced in the House on April 13 last, the opposition parties have been suggesting numerous amendments, making many requests, and demanding a royal commission of inquiry to get to the bottom of dealings the Prime Minister himself denounced during the election campaign. And yet, his Liberal government is turning down all our requests, either in committee or in the House of Commons. Democracy is all fine and good, Mr. Speaker, but the Liberal version of it is you talk and we decide.

There is a limit to people's patience. I said it many times here, Canadians were expecting transparency from this government and all they have seen so far is scheming. The Conservatives and the Liberals are cast from the same mold.

I am getting repetitive, you will say. Unfortunately people in Beauport-Montmorency-Orléans, whom I am proud to represent, and I have lost faith in the present system.

All the parties in this House are aware that the Pearson airport contract was awarded to the Pearson Development Corporation to benefit friends of the Conservative Party. The proof is that before the elections, the present Prime Minister promised to cancel the deal for the reasons I just mentioned. And yet, today, he refuses to get to the bottom of things and introduces a bill to compensate friends of the former regime. Could it be that he has the same friends and the same financial backers? I do not know, but it makes me wonder.

We cannot allow the minister, with the approval of the Governor in Council, pursuant to clause 10 of the bill, to enter into agreements on behalf of Her Majesty to provide for the payment of such amounts as the minister considers appropriate in connection with the coming into force of the act, subject to the terms and conditions that the minister considers appropriate. As you can see, I quoted clause 10, which we find contentious. We cannot agree to that as long as this House does not have all the facts and does not know exactly how much the cancellation of the contract awarded to the Pearson Development Corporation to manage Pearson airport will cost taxpayers.

Nor can we authorize the Governor in Council to enter into an agreement and simply lay it before the House not later than five days following the entering into the agreement. First of all, we have to know the truth. Considering that requests have been made and rejected, I feel compelled to propose a motion.

I propose the following motion:

That Bill C-22 be amended by deleting Clause 10.

There is a good reason for this motion. Given that, in committee, the minister told us that compensation could be nil, zero dollars, I tell you that, having played an active role in the work of the committee, I am not in a position to determine whether compensation, if granted, will be reasonable. With respect, I ask my colleagues in this House to support this motion and refuse to give the Minister of Transport a blank cheque.

Pearson International Airport Agreements Act June 14th, 1994


That Bill C-22 be amended by deleting Clause 10.

Mil Davie June 13th, 1994

Mr. Speaker, with all due respect, I must tell you that William Shakespeare was not on the list of ministers I addressed my questions to.

Can the minister tell us where his government stands on the multifunctional smart ship project that could contribute to MIL Davie's long-term recovery and maintain thousands of jobs in the Quebec City region?

Mil Davie June 13th, 1994

Mr. Speaker, my question is for the Prime Minister, the Deputy Prime Minister, the minister politically responsible for Quebec, the Minister of Transport, the Parliamentary Secretary to the Minister of Transport, the minister responsible for Quebec's economic development and the Minister of Finance.

Quebec has already done more than its share to rationalize Canadian shipyards and MIL Davie has also done its duty by submitting a new business plan. Yet its order book remains empty and the federal government is still slow to make clear its intentions regarding the contract to build a new ferry for the Magdalen Islands. The government is always talking about putting Canadians back to work. We have here a concrete project that is ready to start.

My question is this: When will the government finally make a decision regarding the construction of a new ferry for the Magdalen Islands, thus giving a little renewed hope to the Quebec City region and the MIL Davie workers?

Ships Under Foreign Flags June 9th, 1994

Mr. Speaker, I withdraw that remark.

How does the minister explain that, according to the 1993-94 Lloyds Register of Ships , these two ships belonging to Marine Atlantic are registered in the Bahamas with Nassau as home port?

Ships Under Foreign Flags June 9th, 1994

Mr. Speaker, I withdraw the word "pirate" but I simply wanted to point out that the minister is behaving like a pirate.

Ships Under Foreign Flags June 9th, 1994

Mr. Speaker, the Minister of Fisheries, who claims to be pursuing pirates everywhere on the seas, should perhaps start pursuing his colleague, the Minister of Transport, who is himself a pirate.

Ships Under Foreign Flags June 9th, 1994

Mr. Speaker, my question is for the Minister of Transport.

The practice of foreign-flagging Canadian ships to bypass Canadian legislation has deprived Canadian sailors of jobs and the public treasury of revenues. The Minister of Finance will surely agree. Although this practice hurts Canada, some Canadian shipowners resort to it.

My question is this: How can the Minister of Transport justify the fact that two ships, the Bluenose and the Atlantic Freighter , which belong to Marine Atlantic, a company wholly owned by the Government of Canada, operate under the Bahamian flag?

The Late Raymond Gravel May 31st, 1994

Mr. Speaker, on May 18, Quebec and the people of Beauport-Montmorency-Orléans lost a man of great merit.

Raymond Gravel, former MNA for the Parti Québécois in Limoilou-Beauport from 1976 to 1984, died of cancer on that day. Mr. Gravel was unassuming and always ready to listen to his constituents. Born to a working-class family, through dedication and hard work he became a prominent member of the Quebec National Assembly in the first sovereigntist government in Quebec.

On behalf of the Bloc Quebecois and the people of Quebec, we wish to extend our sincere condolences to his wife Juliette and the family. We can assure them that the political struggle for the sovereignty of Quebec, of which Mr. Gravel was a part, will continue. Goodbye, Raymond!