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

Strengthening Aviation Security Act February 2nd, 2011

Mr. Speaker, I am pleased to rise as transport critic for the Bloc Québécois to speak about Bill C-42. To begin with, I would like to mention that, in order to facilitate the passage of this bill, the Bloc Québécois will support the subamendment introduced by the Liberals even though our party had already proposed an amendment in committee.

As the hon. member just said, I too found that it was difficult to examine this bill in the Standing Committee on Transport, Infrastructure and Communities because there are two opposing philosophies or approaches. We heard from human rights and freedoms advocacy groups and from the Privacy Commissioner, Ms. Stoddart. Ms. Stoddart had serious reservations about this bill with regard to respect for civil liberties and privacy.

Previously, a similar provision referred to any aircraft making a stop at the end of a flight or making a stopover en route to another country. Now, Bill C-42 stipulates that certain personal information must be provided about the passengers on board any aircraft passing through U.S. air space. We do not see this as being a problem, if the Americans can guarantee that the information will be destroyed after a certain number of days and that it will be not be shared with other organizations that are indirectly involved.

But civil rights groups told us that up to 16 organizations could receive the information transferred to the Americans. That is why the Bloc Québécois called for reciprocity. If that is what the Americans want, then any American flight that is flying over Canadian territory should also provide a list of its passengers. Unfortunately, that suggestion was rejected by the Standing Committee on Transport, Infrastructure and Communities. As democrats, the members of the Bloc Québécois accept that decision. But it would have made sense. It could apply to a number of American flights originating in Europe, headed for New York, Washington or Dallas, that fly over the Queen Charlotte Islands, Greenland or Iceland. We had concerns; we heard them. That was our first concern.

The second had to do with the Americans' exclusive right to impose this measure. The typical American approach is based on a fear that the events of September 11, 2001, would happen again. That is an editorial comment. I am not sure that terrorists would follow the same pattern. The planes that hit the towers were American. The terrorist pilots who committed this terrible act were trained at flight schools in Miami, in the United States. Thousands of people died.

The administrative assistant working for Xerox Corporation on the 48th floor of Tower 1 of the World Trade Center, who was busy typing up a report, did not deserve to get hit by a plane. What happened was unspeakable, indescribable.

In other words, the Americans seem to think that if terrorists want to strike, they will use exactly the same pattern.

What is more, Americans are driven by fear. Nevertheless, a sovereign nation can impose any rules it wants to on its land. That is why we in the Bloc Québécois are sovereignists and we want a sovereign Quebec.

That was our second concern. We met with people from Air Transat, the largest charter airline in Canada and the pride of Quebec. Air Transat received help from the QFL Solidarity Fund to start up. I am not sure, but I think that is the case. Air Transat has its head office in Quebec. It provides thousands of jobs in Quebec. It is currently ranked first in the charter travel industry. We should talk about holiday travel, as opposed to business travel. Its current charters go south, but it also has flights to Europe, mostly during summer and fall. Air Transat is number one, and the people at Air Transat told us in committee that if we did not agree to comply with this American requirement to provide lists, Air Transat would be doomed to bankruptcy.

Allow me to explain. I want to address the members from central Canada. Air Transat would no longer be able to offer direct flights from Edmonton to Cancun or from Calgary to Mexico, to the islands, to Jamaica. These provinces are in central Canada. If we refuse to provide the list, we cannot use American airspace. A plane leaving Edmonton would have to go to Vancouver, a lateral flight, in order to take the Pacific route to then go south. This would run up incredible costs and increase the duration of the flight. I imagine that it currently takes three and a half or four hours to get from Calgary to Cancun. The other route would take eight hours. Air Transat could no longer continue to operate.

Air Transat flights that leave from Montreal, Toronto, Halifax and Vancouver can use the air corridors. However, there is another problem that was explained to me and that made sense. Air Transat has some large carriers like Airbus A330s, Airbus A310s and Airbus A320s. These planes land in Montreal. I see my colleague, the hon. member for Jeanne-Le Ber, who must hear planes landing at Dorval in his riding. Some of his constituents are even bothered by the noise at times. That is another issue being examined by the Standing Committee on Transport, Infrastructure and Communities. I do not know whether you are aware, Mr. Speaker, but an Airbus A330 needs more than 50 metres to land. It cannot stay in Canadian territory. If you have ever flown in that aircraft, you know that when it arrives from Europe or the south, it must fly over the American border in order to land, depending on the wind and whether it is on the north-south runway. The border is just a few kilometres from Montreal—50, 60 or 70 kilometres, I do not remember exactly. So, in order to turn to land, it must cross over into American airspace.

This also applies to Air Transat flights in the eastern market. In Vancouver, they have precisely the same problem because they have large carriers, which need a little more room to land and take off than a Cessna, for example. Can we all agree on that, Mr. Speaker? I know you are listening, for you keep nodding your head, which shows that you are paying attention.

In closing, the Bloc Québécois approved this bill in committee and will vote in favour of the amendment to the amendment proposed by the Liberal member.

Quebec City Arena January 31st, 2011

Mr. Speaker, the Government of Quebec has committed to financing up to 45% of a multi-purpose arena in Quebec City, up to a maximum of $175 million. Of course, the governments' share would decrease based on contributions from the private sector.

Now that the private sector has committed, as the Conservatives demanded, will the federal government commit to matching the Government of Quebec's funding? That is all that is missing.

Criminal Code December 15th, 2010

moved for leave to introduce Bill C-608, An Act to amend the Criminal Code (failure to inform).

Mr. Speaker, I am pleased to introduce this bill on behalf of all of my colleagues in the Bloc Québécois. This bill would amend the Criminal Code to make it an offence not to report physical or sexual abuse against a child to the proper authorities. It refers to minors under the age of 18. We hope to target cases in which someone witnesses such abuse in his or her immediate surroundings or someone in a position of authority within an organization, who, in order to protect that organization, refuses to report either physical or sexual abuse.

It is my hope that this bill will easily reach consensus in the House and that it will pass in order to protect children and the victims of physical and sexual abuse.

(Motions deemed adopted, bill read the first time and printed.)

Port of Quebec City December 14th, 2010

Mr. Speaker, two ferries that operate between Nova Scotia and Newfoundland and Labrador will be replaced. Rather than having the vessels built by a Quebec firm, such as the Davie shipyards in Lévis, the Conservative government chose to lease the vessels in Sweden and have them upgraded in Germany.

Why does the Conservative government prefer to create jobs in Germany and Sweden rather than in Lévis?

Port of Quebec City December 14th, 2010

Mr. Speaker, serious questions have been raised with respect to the appointment of the new president and CEO of the Quebec City port authority. The initial call for candidates required the prospective president and CEO to have a university degree. Somewhere along the line, this requirement mysteriously disappeared. The situation is of sufficient concern that one member of the board of directors has asked that the appointment be cancelled.

The minister is most definitely concerned because he personally wrote to the board of directors. Can he tell us what the board of directors of the Quebec City port authority had to say? Is he satisfied with their answers?

Petitions December 13th, 2010

Mr. Speaker, I have the honour to table a petition signed by 648 people who are primarily from the upper north shore, the region of Tadoussac and Forestville, as well as the north shore.

The signatories are calling for an increase to the spouse's allowance and the survivor's allowance and are asking that the federal guaranteed income supplement program be increased by $110 a month. Those living alone, particularly seniors, are living below the poverty line and are having to ask themselves if they should buy medication or food.

Unfortunately, far too many of our seniors are living in utter poverty.

Gateways and Border Crossings December 8th, 2010

Mr. Speaker, Quebec is not receiving its fair share of the gateways and border crossings fund. Only $10 million of the $1.6 billion allocated by Transport Canada was announced for Quebec. And yet, the needs are enormous. A few examples include the need to upgrade the coastal navigation infrastructure, the ports of Montreal and Quebec City and the border crossing infrastructure all along the American border.

How does the government explain the fact that Quebec received less than 1% of the gateways and border crossings fund?

Petitions December 7th, 2010

Madam Speaker, I am pleased to table a petition signed by several hundred workers who belong to local 1751 of the International Association of Machinists and Aerospace Workers, as well as other Air Canada employees. They are concerned about the future survival of Air Canada's operational and overhaul centres in Montreal, Mississauga and Winnipeg following their sale to Aveos, which owns a growing maintenance centre in El Salvador. They are worried that their jobs will be outsourced to El Salvador. They are therefore asking the government to ensure full compliance with the 1988 Air Canada Public Participation Act.

Infrastructure December 1st, 2010

Mr. Speaker, regarding the infrastructure program, the Government of Quebec, the National Assembly, the Union des municipalités du Québec and the Fédération québécoise des municipalités oppose piecemeal solutions. They are asking that the March 31, 2011, deadline be extended for all infrastructure projects because 353 projects are in danger. The municipalities could be stuck with an additional bill for over $200 million.

The minister keeps repeating that there will be an announcement soon. Will the government stop fueling the uncertainty and push back the March 31, 2011, deadline?

Laval University's Rouge et Or and the Montreal Alouettes November 29th, 2010

Mr. Speaker, Quebec was victorious in two football games in which two of its teams were playing this weekend.

On Saturday, in front of a hometown crowd, Laval University's Rouge et Or won quite convincingly, scoring 29 to 2 against the University of Calgary Dinos, whose offensive game fell short. The Rouge et Or capped off a perfect season by winning the Vanier Cup for the sixth time in six appearances at the grand finale of university football. Glen Constantin was named coach of the year.

And yesterday it was the Montreal Alouettes' turn to take the Grey Cup in back-to-back wins, something that had not happened since 1997. They defeated the Saskatchewan Roughriders 21 to 18 in a tight game where everything was on the line until Billy Parker's interception in the final minute.

We are very proud of these two victories by two teams from Quebec.

Congratulations to the Rouge et Or and to the Alouettes for their respective titles.