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

Mil Davie Shipyard May 10th, 1994

Mr. Speaker, could the Prime Minister tell us how many more people will have to be laid off before the government makes a decision on construction of the ferry at MIL Davie?

Mil Davie Shipyard May 10th, 1994

Mr. Speaker, my question is for the Prime Minister. In mid-June, the second to last frigate will be completed and 700 workers will be laid off at MIL Davie. In November, the frigate program will end and there will only be 80 employees left, who will maintain the shipyard. At best, if the Magdalen Islands ferry is built, construction would begin in February 1995 at the earliest. The government has everything it needs to make a decision, including MIL Davie's business plan.

Is the Prime Minister aware that his government's inexplicable slowness in making a decision on the islands ferry and the "smart" ship is doing serious harm to the Lauzon shipyard and making thousands of workers who are waiting for a decision lose all hope?

Pearson International Airport Agreements Act May 9th, 1994

Mr. Speaker, on May 3, the House of Commons rejected the amendment of the Reform member for Simcoe Centre.

Although my colleagues in this House made this decision, I will now try to convince them to pass the amendment proposed by the Leader of the Official Opposition, whereby a royal commission of inquiry would shed light on the circumstances surrounding the signing of the contract between the government and T1 T2 Limited Partnership.

As I pointed out in my last speech, Bill C-22 contains 12 clauses. We find it impossible to agree with one in particular, namely Clause 10(1) authorizing the Governor in Council to pay T1 T2 Limited Partnership such amounts as considered appropriate in connection with the coming into force of this act, subject to the terms and conditions considered appropriate.

When I say I cannot agree with clause 10(1), I am also confident that the people I represent would not agree with a party refusing to shed light on disturbing facts, when the Liberal Party of Canada claims to be transparent and to protect the interests of taxpayers.

The Liberal Party of Canada now in office made the decision to cancel the privatization of Pearson Airport because it knew the facts that led the former Conservative government to sign this agreement.

Most of these facts have been confirmed by the Nixon report. This government is also aware that it did not give the Nixon commission enough time to uncover all the facts behind this peculiar decision by the Conservative government.

They still uncovered enough to allow the current government to end the scandal and give back to the Canadian people an asset that belonged to them.

Why would the Liberal government now spoil things by granting an organization compensation for losses and damages that are not clearly identified? Why would it refuse the public the right to know how lobbyists acted, people who we rightly thought we were getting rid of along with the Conservative government? Why would it assume the right to distribute our tax money to an organization that may have no legal right to it?

Although the Prime Minister thinks that he is still popular, he can be sure that he will lose his popularity, what remains of it, if he takes this action that is fraught with consequences. We will not be shy about reminding the people that this government refused to allow a royal commission of inquiry in order to hide from the people the doings of the former Conservative government and perhaps of some lobbyists close to the Liberals now in power.

This is in order to protect the friends of the Conservative regime, which could lead people to believe that the two traditional parties have the same friends. We will not be shy either about letting the people know the reasons for which the Leader of the Official Opposition called for such an inquiry. They are numerous and I will give some:

First, the present government itself administers the Toronto airport through the Department of Transport, instead of entrusting it to a non-profit organization, as in Montreal, Calgary, Vancouver and Edmonton, where the managing authorities are made up of community representatives who are therefore able to defend their interests.

I give the Montreal airports authority as an example. It administers Montreal's two airports and its board is made up of seven representatives of the business community, who are also on the board of the corporation that promotes Montreal's airports, SOPRAM.

The eighth member is the chairman and chief executive officer of Montreal airport authorities. It is also interesting to note that SOPRAM is a non-profit organization, whose 21 members are appointed by the following: the City of Montreal, the City of Laval, the conference of suburban mayors, the Chambre de commerce du Montréal métropolitain, the Board of Trade of Metropolitan Montreal, the corporation for promoting Mirabel airport (COPAM), the Société montérégienne de développement (SMD), and the City of Longueuil. This representation ensures that the Montreal airport authorities have an approach which is sensitive to local interests, and which is deep-rooted in business.

Second, we are asking for a commission of inquiry because, on reviewing the Nixon report, we noted that the time frame for the call for tenders was surprisingly short, namely 90 days, which made it impossible for groups not already involved in the management of the airport, as Claridge and Paxport were, to come up with a competitive bid. That explains why only two bids were received. Indeed, Paxport had already submitted a privatization proposal in 1989, which it had had to withdraw, and Claridge was operating terminal 3.

Third, why was the contract signed on October 3, 1993, in the midst of the election campaign, and after the chief negotiator expressed reservations and demanded written instructions before signing?

Fourth, what was the precise role played by lobbyists, and whom did they approach? Fifth, how much did Canadians have to pay for this hasty decision, and who benefited from it? Sixth, why did the Conservative government want to privatize Pearson Airport considering that it is the most profitable airport in Canada?

Seventh, why did the government allocate T1 T2 Limited Partnership a rate of return of 24 per cent before taxes, and 14 per cent after taxes?

Eighth, why does the Nixon Report recommend no compensation for lost opportunities and lobbyists' fees? Did Mr. Nixon uncover even more irregularities than we know of?

Ninth, what was the role of some stakeholders with close ties either to the Conservative Party or to the Liberal Party of Canada?

Tenth and last reason-but more could be found-why this Liberal government did not include in Bill C-22 a clause authorizing the transfer of the Pearson Airport management to a non-profit corporation?

These are a few of the reasons why a royal commission of inquiry is required, to make an informed decision. It is essential that this commission show clearly the impact lobbyists have had in this matter. It will look into the costs to the public purse, employment implications in the greater Toronto area and impact on transportation in Canada in particular.

These are but a few of the reasons we will clearly set out to the people to make them realize this government should have allowed a royal commission of inquiry to be held if it was rejecting the amendment put forward by the Official Opposition.

The House will notice, based on the evidence provided, what a far-reaching decision the federal government has made in cancelling the privatization contract and putting back in the hands of the people of Canada the control of one of the means of transport essential to Canadian industry and economic development.

As I said earlier, and I am saying it again, let us not spoil the whole business by paying compensation to friends of the regime. Instead, let us invest that money in the transport industry, whether air, rail or water transport. And I am quoting examples of which the Minister of Transport will approve, I am sure.

The Jean Lesage International airport is in dire need of financial support to be international in more than name only. Over the last few months, our party has asked several times in this House that the radar control facility at the Quebec City airport remain in operation and serve as a back up for Montreal's system, in case of a breakdown. Moreover, Quebec City airport needs investments to improve its infrastructure and adequately serve our provincial capital which, we hope, will host the Winter Olympic Games in 2002.

The marine transport sector would also be pleased to receive the compensation which the government is about to pay to T1 T2 Partnerships and use it to have a safe ferry built by the best people in the trade, MIL Davie's employees, in Lauzon, for the proud Magdalen islanders. This compensation could also be used to build the so-called "smart ship", which would do so much for MIL Davie's recovery, while also helping Canada to fulfill its role in international peacekeeping missions.

Also, I cannot help but mention again what would be the greatest achievement, namely the construction of a high speed train line. Given the statement made by VIA Rail's president, I am convinced that he would gladly accept that compensation to launch this prestigious project. The Minister of Transport is delaying his answer by arguing that he is consulting with the provinces and that a report will be tabled in June. Does the minister intend to wait until the House recesses for the summer? It would be unacceptable if the elected representatives of this House did not make a decision on a project of that magnitude. We do hope that we misread the minister's intentions and that a bill will be tabled in early June.

I will conclude by discussing the amendment proposed by the Leader of the Opposition to Bill C-22, and by reminding hon. members of the importance of the vote which will be taken in a few hours. If we are to keep some level of credibility-and I do say "some" level of credibility, since Canadians are more and more losing confidence in their politicians, as I am told during the week-ends, while I am working in my riding, by my constituents who say that, from what they can see on television, the House of Commons proceedings are turning into a real circus and politicians are no longer credible-we must show that we are not afraid of transparency and do everything we can to make our work more transparent. What better than an unbiased royal commission of inquiry to do so? This is the kind of initiatives that will allow us to govern with the support of the people when we have tough choices to make.

Even with a majority in the House, the government cannot afford to dismiss the fair demands made by the Official Opposition, because its popularity rating outside Quebec could melt away like snow and turn into an angry outcry the Liberal government will remember for a long time.

Transport May 9th, 1994

Mr. Speaker, I have a supplementary question for the Prime Minister. Will the Prime Minister recognize, as his chief of staff who ran unsuccessfully for the Liberals in Quebec City did, that the sustainable recovery of MIL Davie depends on the development and construction of the multipurpose smart ship? What does his government intend to do about this high-technology project which would be suitable for exportation?

Transport May 9th, 1994

Mr. Speaker, my question is for the Prime Minister. Last Friday, the Minister of Transport said he delayed his decision concerning MIL Davie because he wanted to act in the best interest of Magdalen islanders and he needed MIL Davie's business plan. Yet, Magdalen islanders did say they wanted a new ferry and the federal government has had MIL Davie's business plan for a few weeks.

Now that MIL Davie has met all the conditions set by the federal government, does the Prime Minister intend to act and award the contract for building the ferry to MIL Davie, rather than consider buying a used ship as the daily Le Soleil reported this morning?

Railway Safety Act May 4th, 1994

Mr. Speaker, I just want to say that I do not think things will go as fast with Bill C-22 on the privatization of the Pearson airport.

(Motion agreed to, bill read the third time and passed.)

Railway Safety Act May 4th, 1994

Mr. Speaker, as transport critic for the Official Opposition I would like to make a few comments on that bill. The first purpose of this very short, but nevertheless important bill is to ensure equivalence between the French and English versions of the Railway Safety Act. The second is to prohibit unlawful access to line works.

I can tell you that I am doubly concerned about this bill. In my riding of Beauport-Montmorency-Orléans there is a rail line that people at CN call Murray Bay. It goes from Limoilou, in Quebec City, to Clermont, in Charlevoix, which means that it crosses the entire riding.

While I was preparing my notes and rereading the bill, I remembered two events that I would like to share with you. They are tragic events for the families involved. Some two or two and a half years ago, in July, a 72-year old person was hit by a CN train in front of the Basilica in Sainte-Anne-de-Beaupré, in my riding. I can tell you that in a community the size of Sainte-Anne-de-Beaupré, such an accident creates quite a commotion.

The second event, as the Parliamentary Secretary to the Minister of Transport just mentioned, involved a child. Last year, a six-year old boy, on his way home from school in Ville Vanier, in the Québec-Est riding, was hit by a Via Rail train which was going through a residential area at high speed. There was a coroner's inquest. We are still waiting for his conclusions. I can tell you that listening to the testimony of the father, who was deeply affected, was heart-rending-I do not mean that the mother was not affected-but the testimony of the father left me with extremely painful memories. I can tell you that, as the father of two children, I was shaken.

Having said this, I will refrain from saying that this is a good bill even if I would like to. I do not know if I am becoming a seasoned parliamentarian, but I do not dare say this was a good decision because when one does, there are usually ministers, whose good faith can be questioned, who are only too happy to mention in response to our questions: "But you said the government had made a good decision in this bill". So I will refrain from saying it. It is unfortunate that the rules of the British parliamentary system, and our friends opposite's vision of it, prevent me from saying this is a good bill, although I am tempted to say so.

I can tell you why I consider this bill important. By the way, short lines are referred to as C.F.I.L. in French. Perhaps I should take this opportunity to enlighten my francophone colleagues from other provinces. Instead of using the expression "short lines" in French, we should say C.F.I.L., which stands for chemin de fer à intérêt local . We know that railway companies, whether it is CN or CP, are more interested in selling lines.

I think that if we have local operators trying to make a profit with their line, it would be unfortunate to see railroad safety adversely affected. I feel that this bill, which guarantees a level of firmness regarding the implementation of certain safety standards, is a good piece of legislation. And as regards short lines, we, parliamentarians, will have to be watchful and ensure that operators comply with a minimum of safety rules.

To conclude, I want to say that the Bloc Quebecois did not object at all to the grouping together of all three reading stages. We support this bill, which is primarily aimed at increasing railroad safety.

I forgot to mention recreational use of land on which a railway line is situated. For example, in my riding, as in several others, snowmobiles make increasing use of that land. To some extent, this bill is to protect from themselves such people, who take unwarranted risks. As you know, the snowmobile was invented by a Quebecer, Mr. Bombardier. Its usefulness has been demonstrated and this invention has had an impact across Canada and throughout the world.

In conclusion, we support this bill.

Railway Safety Act May 4th, 1994

Mr. Speaker, on behalf of the Official Opposition, I can confirm that there is such a consent.

Mil Davie Shipyard May 4th, 1994

Mr. Speaker, this answer is exactly the one I was given last January 18.

Now that the Minister of Transport is in possession of MIL Davie's business plan, as the Minister of Industry said Monday in this House, will he recognize that the two contracts for the "smart ship" and the ferry are essential to MIL Davie's survival, and when can we hope to get an answer regarding these two issues?

Mil Davie Shipyard May 4th, 1994

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

Yesterday, the Quebec Minister of Industry and Commerce had a secret meeting with the federal ministers of Industry and Transport. According to the daily Le Droit , the review of drug patent legislation, the high-speed train issue and the construction of the Magdalen Islands ferry were on the agenda.

Can the Minister of Transport tell us if, during that meeting, he gave a positive reply to the Quebec Minister of Industry regarding the awarding to MIL Davie of the contract for the construction of the Magdalen Islands ferry and the multipurpose smart ship?