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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

Infrastructure November 25th, 2010

Mr. Speaker, he is a real Houdini.

One-third of Quebec's projects risk going down the drain because of the Conservatives' lack of flexibility. In recent weeks, we have given many examples. The City of Quebec will have to assume the federal share of the cost of the Monique-Corriveau library. In Montreal, the 2-22 Ste. Catherine project and the expansion of Les Deux Mondes theatre are in jeopardy.

Will the government extend the March 31 deadline for all projects, yes or no?

Infrastructure November 25th, 2010

Mr. Speaker, the president of the Fédération québécoise des municipalités, Bernard Généreux, deplores the piecemeal approach of the Conservative government, which refuses to extend the March 31, 2011, deadline for all infrastructure projects. He expressed his extreme displeasure and criticized the fact that “the federal government has abandoned Quebec.”

Will the government finally listen to the call by Quebec municipalities to extend the March 31, 2011, deadline for all infrastructure projects?

Quebec City Arena November 23rd, 2010

Mr. Speaker, the Conservative government has been dragging its feet on the arena issue for months. The City of Quebec has promised $50 million, the Government of Quebec has promised $180 million and the private sector has raised at least $13 million through the J’ai ma place program. All that is missing is the federal contribution. For weeks now, Mayor Labeaume has been asking for a meeting with the Prime Minister. It seems as though the minister responsible for Quebec is unable to deliver the goods.

When will the Prime Minister meet with the Quebec City mayor?

Quebec City Arena November 23rd, 2010

Mr. Speaker, a new arena is a significant development tool for Quebec City. Without an arena, the city's economic growth is at risk of being compromised. Mayor Labeaume has said that he needs a firm commitment from the federal government by December 31 concerning the Quebec City arena. There are fewer than 40 days remaining until this deadline.

I am calling on the Prime Minister. Will he tell the truth to Mayor Labeaume and the people of Quebec, more than 60,000 of whom participated in the Blue March?

City of Lévis November 18th, 2010

Mr. Speaker, not only is he unable to convince his own government to invest in the Quebec City arena, but the chair of the Quebec Conservative caucus and the member for Lévis—Bellechasse is also unable to get justice for the city of Lévis, which was just designated as a cultural capital of Canada. While Vancouver got $1.75 million, Lévis will be entitled to only $1 million.

How does the Conservative government explain that Lévis will be entitled to less money than Vancouver to organize its celebrations in 2011?

Instead of engaging in dirty partisan tricks, the member for Lévis—Bellechasse should look after—

Quebec City Arena November 18th, 2010

Mr. Speaker, after the Blue March demonstration in which over 60,000 people participated, a number of companies contacted the mayor of Quebec City to express their desire to provide funding for a multi-purpose arena. Private businesses, Quebec City, the Government of Quebec and the public support this project. Only the support of the federal government is missing.

Will the government announce its financial support for the construction of a multi-purpose arena in Quebec City by December 31, as per the request of Mayor Régis Labeaume?

Petitions November 18th, 2010

Madam Speaker, I have the pleasure to present a petition signed by several hundred workers from various Air Canada bases in Mississauga, Montreal and Dorval, and there are even a few signatures from Winnipeg. This petition has also been signed by friends and family members who support the workers in their fight against Air Canada.

These workers are worried about the sale of the maintenance division to Aveos and fear that their jobs will be outsourced to El Salvador. They are also concerned about the aircraft repair safety measures in place in that country.

Free Public Transit for Seniors Act November 17th, 2010

Madam Speaker, the Bloc Québécois is opposed to Bill C-449, An Act regarding free public transit for seniors. I would like the member for Hull—Aylmer to know that it is an excellent initiative and a recognition of the role of seniors. However, the Bloc Québécois believes that his bill meddles in a provincial jurisdiction. The member is a fellow Quebecker. Like the members of the Bloc Québécois, he appreciates that the federal government must respect provincial jurisdictions.

This bill would establish a trust that would make payments to municipalities or the provinces, in accordance with the terms established by the federal government. I began by complimenting my colleague for Hull—Aylmer, but now comes the criticism. This bill interferes in two areas that are exclusively Quebec's responsibility—public transit and social policy.

I am disappointed in the member for Hull—Aylmer. Had the bill been introduced by a member from Saskatchewan or British Columbia, we might have said that they were not as familiar with the exclusive jurisdictions of the provinces. Municipalities in other Canadian provinces, as we saw with the infrastructure program, speak freely and directly with the federal government. However, in Quebec, infrastructure money must pass through the Government of Quebec so that Quebec's municipal affairs department is responsible.

For these reasons the Bloc Québécois is not in favour of this bill. I am asking everyone in the House to not play politics with this. I am convinced that my Liberal colleague from Hull—Aylmer knows that the Conservatives generally play that card when we oppose the law and order bills they propose time and again without respecting certain individual rights guaranteed by the Canadian Charter of Rights and Freedoms.

I am sure that my colleague from Hull—Aylmer is able to recognize that the Conservatives are being blithely demagogic. And I am sure that when my colleague from Hull—Aylmer comments, he will say that although the Bloc Québécois agrees with the principle, it is against this double intrusion and cannot support the bill for that reason.

Municipalities and cities are under the exclusive jurisdiction of Quebec and the provinces. What is more, social policy, which covers services provided directly to seniors, is under the jurisdiction of Quebec and the provinces. Under no circumstances does the federal government have the right to interfere in those areas of jurisdiction and impose conditions on fund allocation and the Government of Quebec's right to set its own priorities. We have always opposed that.

The Bloc Québécois agrees that the federal government should transfer funds, as long as they are provided to the Quebec government without any conditions because only the Government of Quebec knows and understands Quebeckers' priorities.

The federal government should not be barging in or imposing its Canada-wide or coast-to-coast-to-coast standards. That is something new; they added another “coast”. Here in Ottawa they realized that Nunavut—formerly known as the Northwest Territories—borders on the Arctic Ocean. That is why our anglophone colleagues so often use the phrase “coast to coast to coast”.

The Bloc Québécois does not think that the federal government should impose conditions because that money belongs to Quebeckers. My colleagues surely know that Quebeckers pay about $57 billion in taxes to Ottawa every year. I hope that no one here in the House or watching at home thinks that the federal government is doing us a favour when it invests money in Quebec. It is not a favour since it is our money.

Until we hear otherwise, and until we are a sovereign people, Quebeckers will continue to pay taxes to Ottawa. When the federal government invests money in Quebec, it is simply returning a portion of the taxes we have paid. That is why the Bloc Québécois thinks that the federal government cannot impose conditions. Imposing conditions means that the government will transfer the money on the condition that Quebec respect Canada-wide principles. That is why the Bloc Québécois cannot support the bill introduced by the member for Hull—Aylmer. Quebec is the only authority that can determine which priority projects would be most beneficial for Quebeckers.

The Bloc Québécois continues to denounce the practice of imposing conditions on federal transfers to Quebec. That said, if the federal government truly wants to help our poorest seniors, the Bloc Québécois thinks that there are other possibilities within its own areas of jurisdiction.

People of my generation are doing as well as they are today because our seniors worked hard and suffered through poverty. They raised large families on modest incomes, and the men worked hard outside the home. That was the way of life in the 1940s, 1950s and 1960s in Quebec. The men worked outside the home and the women worked inside the home. The couple worked together. Members may recall a monologue by Yvon Deschamps, in which he said that his mother did not have a job because she had too much work to do. We know that women worked very hard.

The Bloc Québécois suggested two measures. First of all, a tax credit for public transit users, which it had been calling for since 2001 and obtained in 2006. The government will go ahead with this measure. Also, if the federal government really wants to help seniors, especially those most vulnerable, those who receive the guaranteed income supplement, it must increase the GIS. The Bloc Québécois is calling for a monthly increase of $110. It must increase GIS benefits. Seniors who receive the guaranteed income supplement are those most vulnerable, those who must ask themselves if they should buy their medication or bread and butter to feed themselves.

That is the kind of dilemma facing our seniors. Yes, some seniors are living very comfortably. Some seniors are getting along just fine. However, by far, most seniors in Quebec are living below the poverty line.

In closing, I want to make sure that our position is clear: we are not against seniors. On the contrary, we fully support seniors.

Petitions November 15th, 2010

Mr. Speaker, I am pleased to present this petition signed by several hundred Air Canada employees, many of them employed at the Montreal maintenance centre, as well as some of their family members and friends. They are worried about the looming possibility that their jobs could be exported to places like El Salvador or South America.

Quebec City Arena November 4th, 2010

Mr. Speaker, the minister must have a selective memory because that is what she said when discussing the 400th anniversary of Quebec City.

For weeks we have been trying to find out when the Conservatives will make a decision about funding for the Quebec City arena. Mayor Labeaume's deadline is December 31, 2010. If the Conservative government has another deadline, it must say so in order to determine whether Quebec City's Olympic bid will be in jeopardy.

When will we get a real answer? More importantly, when will the government announce that it will provide funding for the construction of a multi-purpose arena in Quebec City?