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

Equalization Payments February 14th, 1994

Mr. Speaker, at the last finance ministers' conference, the Quebec minister stated that he was somewhat satisfied with the equalization payments granted to Quebec.

I would like to point out that, in 1994-95, Quebec will receive only $540 per capita, compared to $1,655 for Newfoundland. However, the poverty rate is higher in Quebec, at 16.2 per cent, than in Newfoundland, at 15.8 per cent.

It is also important to mention that Quebec will only benefit from a 2 per cent increase, while equalization payments will increase on average by 5 per cent. There are inconsistencies in the equalization system, and we would like Quebec to enjoy a level-playing field, at least until Quebecers democratically decide to become a sovereign nation.

Social And Co-Operative Housing February 7th, 1994

Mr. Speaker, the unilateral cuts to social and co-operative housing that were applied in the last Conservative budgets had very severe repercussions.

In Quebec City and particularly in the lower town, housing needs are great. Today at least 1,200 households are on waiting lists to get low cost housing in the area and 600 more are looking for co-operative housing.

Quebec City wants the CMHC to be given enough funds to reactivate the Canada-Quebec agreement on social housing.

It is time for the Liberal government to act and the Minister of Finance should take these problems into account in his upcoming budget.

Shipyard In Lauzon February 2nd, 1994

Mr. Speaker, I am appealing to the solidarity of the Magdalen Islands people so that they support right now the ferry building project of the MIL Davie shipyard.

The shipyard is capable of responding to the needs of the Magdalen Islands people and of providing a comfortable, reliable and secure ship that will be able to move through the ice in the St. Laurent Gulf. The Bloc Quebecois is convinced that the Magdalen Islands people will see the opportunity of reconciling these needs with the urgency of maintaining 10,000 direct and indirect jobs in the greater area of Quebec City.

Why should we pay for the importation of a ferry from Europe or elsewhere when we have the manpower and the facilities necessary to built it ourselves? In these difficult economic times, it is vital that the decisions that we make reinforce Quebec's economic activity in the interests of all Quebecers.

The Magdalen Islands people are proud and self-supporting. They are well capable of taking charge of their own economic, social and cultural destiny.

Pre-Budget Consultations February 1st, 1994

Mr. Speaker, I would have been surprised if that issue had not been raised in this debate.

First of all, we must set things in the proper context. Every year, Quebec taxpayers pay Ottawa $28 billion in taxes. I hope that no one is operating under the illusion that, when the federal government invests in projects in Quebec, it is out of sheer benevolence. Benevolence it is not; they are simply giving us back some of our money. So, let us just be clear about that.

So, until further notice, until the people of Quebec have democratically decided whether to have a country of their own-and we are sure they will-until then, there is no reason not to go ahead with projects such as the high-speed train and I do not see why this train could not travel across two countries, as is the case in Europe and many other countries. The train would travel across Quebec, for the portion of the line between Quebec City and Rigaud, then from Rigaud to the border with the neighbouring country, Canada, in the province of Ontario. From the border to Windsor, it would travel across another country. I do not think that the future of Quebec lies in the feasibility of the HST project. I think that arrangements could be made, as they were in Europe.

Pre-Budget Consultations February 1st, 1994

So, Mr. Speaker, the federal deficit is the result of a structural problem as well as of particular economic conditions. I will concentrate on this aspect.

The deficit resulting from economic conditions is enormous. It represents roughly half of the federal deficit. We must react right now if we do not want to jeopardize the future of our children. We must invest in projects which will foster permanent employment, as well as in promising sectors which will put our creativity to full use. We must take advantage of our expertise and of the relative lead which we were able to develop over the last few decades. We must promote projects which will give Quebec and Canada an international prestige that will allow them to export their technologies.

Economic recovery is based on projects geared to the industrial sectors which hold the most promise for the future. The Bloc Quebecois proposes a project which meets those two criteria: the development of a high speed link along the Quebec-Windsor corridor.

The Liberal government is aware of how important it is to invest in infrastructure programs in order to foster growth and employment. The Bloc Quebecois is also of that opinion. However, our concept of infrastructures is wider than that of the Liberal government which seems content with upgrading the road system. We recognize the importance of maintaining and repairing roads everywhere in Canada and in Quebec. Canada is a vast territory and it is absolutely necessary for it to have a quality road network to reduce transportation costs.

However, the upgrading of the road system will be totally insufficient to sustain economic recovery. Road maintenance does not generate permanent employment. The high-speed train or HST is an example of the type of investment needed.

A high-speed link along the Quebec-Windsor corridor would cost close to $7.5 billion over ten years. It would be financed at 70 per cent by the private sector, while the remaining 30 per cent, or approximately $2.3 billion, would be provided by the Quebec, Ontario and federal governments. By getting involved in the HST project, the government will help generate a $5.3 billion investment from the private sector in the Canadian economy, not to mention the indirect benefits of the project.

During the construction period, tax revenue generated by the project would reach $1.8 billion. This means that the financing of the project would be quickly made up for. This federal

investment would not increase the national debt and would allow us to make VIA Rail a profitable venture. The HST would create close to 120,000 person-years employment, of which 80,000 would directly be generated by the construction of the link and related equipment. Moreover, there would be 40,000 new jobs upstream and downstream of the project.

In 1991, the task force on a high-speed train linking Quebec and Ontario, which was co-chaired by the hon. Rémi Bujold, the former Liberal member for Bonaventure-Îles-de-la-Madeleine, made an important pre-feasibility study. Wide public consultation revealed that the communities affected by such a project support this initiative.

The crucial impact of the development of such a corridor on the national economy was mentioned on several occasions, as well as the need to make the cities in that corridor more efficient so that they can succeed in a competitive market.

The Bloc Quebecois proposes the development of an environment-friendly technology. Even at 300 km/h, the HST burns almost half as much energy per passenger as an automobile, and four times less than a jet used to transport people.

The use of a high-speed train would reduce government expenditures. A high-speed train would be a much cheaper way of providing inter-city passenger service than would the expansion of the country's road or air network. Rationalizing government spending is a critical factor in the economic recovery.

In a country as vast as Canada, the government must have an efficient public transportation policy. At a time when the government is thinking about dismantling the rail system in Canada, it cannot get around replacing it by a technology better suited to the challenges of our society.

The spin-offs of the high-speed rail project will help drive local economies. The European experience has shown that a high-speed rail venture stimulates job creation and economic recovery. High-speed rail attracts hotels, office buildings, convention centres, restaurants and other commercial or tourism operations.

During the election campaign, the current Minister of Finance acknowledged Montreal's inadequate industrial infrastructure and pledged to focus on ways of remedying the situation. The Minister of Finance diagnosed the problem as follows: Montreal's industrial infrastructure is outmoded and fragile and is not being replaced by new, dynamic and technologically advanced manufacturing firms. What is the government waiting for to follow through on its diagnosis? The Minister of Finance

is now in a position to perform the surgery that can cure the patient.

The government must respect the public's priorities. It must reduce the defence budget by at least 25 per cent and invest some of this money in projects that will be useful to society. The end of the cold war and the crisis in public finances do not justify directing funds to the military.

The $12.3 billion defence budget for 1993-94 represents a 3 per cent increase over 1992-93 levels. Is the federal government prepared to make a commitment to the people that it will slash the defence budget substantially and redirect the money to high-tech civilian projects? Is the government prepared to help companies such as MIL Davie in Lauzon become less dependant on military projects and convert their operations to civilian ship building projects?

The high-speed train represents a major industrial investment for Canada and Quebec. Our standard of living and our competitive position depend on decisions that are being made right now. We cannot mortgage our future by postponing the introduction of the high-speed train. The clock is ticking and time is not on our side. If governments take immediate action, we will have a strategic head start on the North American high-speed rail market. Twenty similar projects are in the development stages in the United States, where the market is estimated at more than $200 billion over the next 15 to 20 years. If we are the first ones in this market, our companies will be the ones to benefit from exports of this technology.

The Canadian government must demonstrate that it has vision and it must get the economy working again by implementing innovative projects.

Pre-Budget Consultations February 1st, 1994

Mr. Speaker, as my colleagues have pointed out, the current economic situation in Quebec and Canada is far from encouraging. The unemployment rate exceeds 11 per cent and the federal deficit is growing steadily. These figures reflect an increasingly unacceptable reality: poverty has got its claws into the middle class now and there is no doubt that action is urgently needed.

In a context of scarse financial resources however, government action must be carefully targeted to achieve maximum effect.

As my colleagues said, the federal deficit results both from a structural problem and a-

Mr. Speaker, could you ask the hon. member for Kingston and the Islands to go and sleep it off somewhere else. For a member-

Quebec City Airport February 1st, 1994

Mr. Speaker, why then does the Minister of Transport not apply the same reasoning to the Ottawa airport, which is located less than 90 air miles from the Montreal airport? Is it because people do not want to come and work in a French environment in Montreal? Is that the real answer?

Quebec City Airport February 1st, 1994

Mr. Speaker, my question is for the Minister of Transport. Last Friday, the minister answered a question asked by the hon. member for Louis-Hébert concerning the criteria which led to the closure of the radar control facility at the Quebec City airport. The Minister of Transport said that the review process was being applied to the country's entire air traffic control system. He said, and I quote: "I can assure my hon. colleague that the

same criteria will be applied, whether it be in Quebec City, Calgary, Moncton or Vancouver."

Was proximity the determining factor in the decision to transfer the radar control facility from Quebec City to Montreal, since it is located 120 air miles from the control centre in Montreal?

Social Security System January 31st, 1994

Mr. Speaker, I simply want to tell the hon. member for Portneuf that I greatly appreciated his remarks, particularly with regard to the health care system.

I would like to ask my colleague, the hon. member for Portneuf, to tell me if it is fair to say that, if the federal government cuts its transfers to the provinces for health care, the provinces could encounter serious difficulties, which in turn could threaten the universality of health care. The danger is that we could revert to the way things were in the 1950s, when there were two health care systems: one for the rich and one for the poor. Illness can strike anybody regardless of their ethnic origin or their financial status. Therein lies the danger in reducing transfer payments for health care, and I would like to know the views of my colleague, the hon. member for Portneuf, on this matter.

High-Speed Train January 27th, 1994

I assume the Deputy Prime Minister's answer means that she does not endorse what was said by the Minister of Transport, who said last week that establishing a rapid train service was not one of his priorities.