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

Government Spending September 20th, 2010

Mr. Speaker, the minister did not answer the question I just asked.

I will give another example. In 2001, Paul Martin and the current Minister of Finance, who was finance minister at Queen's Park at the time, each gave the City of Toronto $500 million to support its bid for the 2008 Olympic and Paralympic Games, which failed. That is a double standard.

Why is the government refusing to invest in an important multi-purpose project like the Quebec City amphitheatre? This project has received the support of not only Quebec City, but also the Government of Quebec.

Government Spending September 20th, 2010

Mr. Speaker, the Conservative government says that before investing any money in Quebec City's bid for the Olympic Games, the city must have confirmation that its bid has been selected for the games.

My question is simple: is this still the government's position?

Business of Supply June 17th, 2010

Madam Speaker, I would like to take this opportunity to congratulate my young colleague from Repentigny—the youngest member of this House, who fulfills his duties admirably—on his earnestness and credibility.

He is quite right on one point: a government speaks through its laws and motions, just as a municipal council speaks through its resolutions and bylaws.

The main purpose of a Parliament is to pass legislation. It is the democratic legislative entity par excellence. The government says it has worked very hard, but its work consisted of putting up a smoke screen. I do not know if it is because I am party whip, but I received a rather thick tome showing all the travels of ministers during prorogation. Maybe all members received this document, which would have us believe that while they were not in Parliament, the Conservatives were on the ground and working hard, making all their partisan announcements. They refuse to invite opposition members when they make such announcements, because they are afraid of seeing them.

I encourage all members of this House, when the Conservatives make announcements in their ridings, to attend those events—through their connections to journalists—and to crash their party, given that they refuse to invite us democratically.

I have several complaints to make about the Liberals. I have been a member of this House since 1993, and as I recall, Liberal ministers usually invited us when they were making announcements, and I hope they will continue to do so if they return to power. At the time, at an event at the Quebec City airport, David Collenette even invited me to speak first. Now that is democracy. We knew that the Conservatives had problems, but now we have proof that they have problems with democracy.

Business of Supply June 17th, 2010

Madam Speaker, I would like to thank my colleague from Newfoundland for refreshing my memory because that is something I wanted to mention.

Before the last prorogation, the House was supposed to resume business on January 25. Because of the prorogation, we did not get back to work until March 5. At that time, we were in the middle of an economic crisis with job losses and cuts.

I believe that my colleague is from the Grand Falls region. I worked for Abitibi-Price. There was a plant in Grand Falls that I visited several times. It closed its doors. There were unbelievable cuts in Canada's pulp and paper industry, but especially in Quebec, and Parliament was not sitting.

We were supposed to come back to work on January 25. We were ready to work, to do our jobs, but the Prime Minister decided on a lock-out. We were locked out. The boss closed up shop on December 30 even though we were ready to work. We could have been productive, passed bills, dealt with the economic crisis and the job losses affecting individuals and families. Women and children are still suffering from the effect of this crisis because the government did not want to do the responsible thing and resume Parliament on January 25.

Business of Supply June 17th, 2010

Madam Speaker, my colleague just talked about my passion for Quebec and said that I should show the same kind of passion and love for Canada. I know I am going to disappoint him. My loyalty is to Quebec, Quebeckers and the regions of Quebec. I want to tell my colleagues in the House that regardless of their party or region, they were elected democratically. People have no choice but to accept the democratic results of an election.

I feel that every member of every party here was legitimately elected. I know that my colleague did not question my legitimacy, but he said I should show the same kind of passion for Canada as for Quebec. I do not know whether my colleague realizes it, but I am a sovereignist; I want out of Canada. When Quebeckers say yes to sovereignty, we will form a country. We have nothing against the rest of Canada; we will always be neighbours. I want to tell my colleague that being a sovereignist does not mean being anti-Canada; it means being pro-Quebec.

That was my response to my colleague's opening comments. As for the Liberal motion, it is not worded the way I would have liked it to be. It could result in the creation of another special committee. If the motion is adopted and implemented by the government, we could compare what we did at the Standing Committee on Procedure and House Affairs.

It seems clear to me that the members of the Standing Committee on Procedure and House Affairs spent a lot of meetings talking about this issue and heard from a lot of witnesses. If this motion is passed, and if the government agrees to form a special committee, the documents and witness statements will be transferred. I hope that the committee will not have to hear from the witnesses again.

That being said, the Bloc Québécois members support our Liberal colleagues' motion as amended.

Business of Supply June 17th, 2010

Madam Speaker, first of all, I would like to congratulate the Liberal Party for its motion today on this opposition day. However, with praise comes criticism. I am in complete agreement with the member for Elgin—Middlesex—London, the chair of the Standing Committee on Procedure and House Affairs. Furthermore, as the deputy chair of that same committee, when I read this motion I wondered what difference another special committee would make to the whole issue of prorogation.

At the Liberals' suggestion, we have been studying this issue in committee for a number of weeks. We have heard 16 witnesses: academics, select and well-known people. We are in the last hours of this parliamentary session, but I am convinced, if it is the will of the committee—committees are masters of their own proceedings—that a report on prorogation will be prepared by the Standing Committee on Procedure and House Affairs.

The subject is interesting but the suggestion of establishing a special committee does not strike me as being the right approach. Once again, the Liberals are masters of their own proceedings and they must make their own decisions.

As for prorogation, I would point out that the Conservatives have indeed used this parliamentary tool excessively, specifically, twice in the past two years, once at the end of 2008 and again at the end of 2009. Furthermore, it is becoming clear that the Conservative Prime Minister uses prorogation as soon as things heat up or get out of hand, as soon as he thinks his minority could be overturned.

Two events in particular have convinced me. I would remind the House of the coalition talks that were taking place at the end of 2008. It would have been a coalition between the Liberal Party and the New Democratic Party, supported by the Bloc. Incidentally, I want to set the record straight: the Bloc was not part of the coalition; it merely supported the Liberal-NDP coalition.

What was the Prime Minister's reaction? Instead of facing a vote of confidence on his lack of leadership, he suddenly decided to use prorogation. That was the first event. A year later, almost to the day, this government felt caught in a ever-tightening vise, and did not want to face the consequences of the fact that it knew about the allegations of torture in Afghan prisons and that it had clearly violated various international conventions, including the Geneva convention. This government refused to hand over documents and once again refused to face the music, so it decided to use prorogation again on December 30, 2009. What is interesting is that it announced prorogation the very next day on all the television and radio stations, and in all the newspapers.

As we all know, December 30 is the day before New Year's Eve and all of its festivities in Quebec and Canada. Let us look at what the Conservative government did on December 30, when the public was busy preparing for their New Year's Eve parties, doing their shopping or calling family members to make sure everyone would be there to ring in the New Year. On December 30, like hypocrites, the Conservatives prorogued Parliament yet again.

Who was the spokesperson we saw all over the news? Dimitri Soudas. He was a press secretary at the time; his work had not yet gotten him promoted to the Prime Minister's communications director. This is the same Dimitri Soudas who is literally hiding and refuses to account for his decisions before the Standing Committee on Access to Information, Privacy and Ethics, where my colleague from Châteauguay—Saint-Constant does an excellent job on behalf of the Bloc Québécois. All of the committee members do a good job, except the Conservatives.

Dimitri Soudas is hiding and refuses to face the music. A bailiff has tried to serve him with an order to appear—a subpoena—before the Standing Committee on Access to Information, Privacy and Ethics, but he is nowhere to be found. He is somewhere in the Langevin Building, on the other side of Wellington. The bailiff knows he is there, but he is well hidden. They make calls to see if he is there, and he is, but he refuses to come out for his subpoena. In Ontario, subpoenas must be delivered by hand, but that is not the case in Quebec, where an adult can sign the acknowledgment of receipt for the subpoena.

This same Dimitri Soudas was not hiding on December 30. He was proud to announce prorogation on behalf of the Prime Minister. We must not forget the real reason for the prorogation. The Conservatives did not want to face the music and release the secret Afghan detainee documents. The Speaker had to issue a ruling to force the parties to negotiate an agreement, which was reached after seven weeks of negotiations. The process was difficult, but three parties came to an agreement. The NDP decided not to participate, and too bad for them. They will not have access to any documents and will not see any documents.

What does the Conservative government do when it feels threatened, when it feels that it could lose power or that the opposition agrees on certain principles? The opposition parties have different view, and that is the beauty of democracy. We have different opinions, but we can agree on principles. Democracy, openness and transparency are principles the opposition parties share, despite their differences. I do not expect the Liberals to like me as a parliamentarian, but I do expect them to respect me. That is the difference. These are matters of principle on which we have agreed.

When the Conservatives were in opposition in the days of the Paul Martin and Jean Chrétien governments, they used to brag. I have been a member of the House since 1993. The Reformers, who became Alliance members, then Conservatives, used to say they were the champions of transparency, the Mr. Cleans of transparency. But the Conservative government excels at hiding things and being hypocritical.

That is why we think this is a good topic, even though the motion was the wrong vehicle for raising it. The rules on prorogation need to be tightened so that prorogation is not used willy-nilly, for every possible reason. The only way to do that is to develop mechanisms that would prevent the Prime Minister from doing whatever he wants. We have to set guidelines. That is all I have to say for the time being.

Points of Order June 17th, 2010

Mr. Speaker, I rise on a point of order.

First, I would like to apologize for almost interrupting you earlier when you were beginning to read your second ruling.

On behalf of the chair of the Standing Committee on Government Operations and Estimates, the member for Don Valley East, I request the unanimous consent of the House for permission to table a report from this committee.

Education for All June 17th, 2010

Mr. Speaker, in 2000, 189 countries signed the Dakar Declaration and committed to achieving education for all by 2015. Taking advantage of this year's World Cup, UNESCO, supported by FIFA, has launched a campaign to rally public opinion on the importance of education.

In Quebec, the Montreal Impact and the Institut de coopération pour l'éducation des adultes are running the 1GOAL: Education for All campaign. People all over the world must have access to education, which is why it is so important for the federal government to achieve its target of 0.7% of GDP for official development assistance. That is why I urge the people of Quebec to sign the petition: “Sign your name for those who can't”.

I would also like to highlight the remarkable contribution of Pierre Martin, who passed away earlier this week. Mr. Martin took on a number of roles in Quebec's education department under Paul Gérin-Lajoie, and helped create Quebec's university network, which was designed to improve access to a university education.

Business of the House June 10th, 2010

Mr. Speaker, there were consultations among all parties and I believe you will find unanimous consent for the following motion:

That, at the conclusion of today's debate on the opposition motion in the name of the Member for Hochelaga, all questions necessary to dispose of the motion be deemed put and a recorded division deemed requested and deferred to Monday, June 14, 2010, at the expiry of the time provided for Government Orders.

Committees of the House June 9th, 2010

Mr. Speaker, the Bloc Québécois will also be voting in favour of this motion.