- His favourite word was quebec.
Last in Parliament March 2011, as Bloc MP for Repentigny (Québec)
Lost his last election, in 2011, with 31% of the vote.
Statements in the House
Firearms Registry May 28th, 2010
Mr. Speaker, I think he confused me with the Liberals. Let me start over.
The government's ideological and stubborn desire to eliminate the firearms registry is exasperating. The Conservatives stubbornly refuse to listen to public safety experts and police officers, who are saying that the registry saves lives.
How can the Conservative members from Quebec remain silent, thereby condoning the government as it scorns the consensus of the Quebec nation, unanimously expressed by the National Assembly?
Firearms Registry May 28th, 2010
Mr. Speaker, despite studies showing that the firearms registry saves lives, the government is determined to eliminate it. Quebec's public safety minister appeared before the committee to argue that this valuable tool should be maintained. He was accompanied by a large delegation of family members of the victims of the Dawson College and École Polytechnique tragedies, as well as municipal police officers, police chiefs, representatives of the Fraternité des policiers et policières de Montréal and the Chief Firearms Officer of Quebec.
Why does this government, which claims to care about victims of crime, want to eliminate such an effective tool that is universally supported in Quebec?
Committees of the House May 26th, 2010
Mr. Speaker, my question relates to what my colleague said at the end of her remarks. I cannot help but feel surprised when the Conservatives, the member for Saint Boniface in particular, tell us that the government is proactive with respect to official languages and francophone-anglophone duality.
They have one argument for Air Canada and another for Supreme Court justices. Not that I intend to get into this debate, but on the subject of Supreme Court justices, the Conservatives argue that we need competent people, as though there were no such thing as competent people who speak both languages. I wonder if the same line of reasoning will apply to flight attendants. Perhaps they will argue that there are no flight attendants in Canada who can provide bilingual service. The Conservatives are going to give us the same argument because they lack imagination. Their line of reasoning is pathetic.
I would like my colleague to comment on the member for Saint Boniface's position that the government is extremely proactive when we know that has not been the case with issues like the Olympic Games and Supreme Court justices.
Control of Information May 26th, 2010
Mr. Speaker, once again last week the Conservative government demonstrated just what it is capable of in terms of controlling the message and giving it a distinctly Conservative flavour.
Hundreds of young people were invited to a meeting to discuss issues related to the G8 and G20, providing what should have been an opportunity for them to ask the Prime Minister some questions. Some of those young people have said that the Prime Minister's staff changed and even discarded some of their questions in order to avoid any controversial or potentially embarrassing topics for the Conservatives.
Any questions related to abortion in their policy on maternal health in developing countries were discarded. Any questions related to the environment were discarded.
There was nothing transparent about the question and answer session, which was led by Senator Mike Duffy, a good Conservative. The Prime Minister's Office managed to turn the whole affair into a partisan exercise.
The Conservative government should be ashamed of itself for its obsession with controlling the message and for muzzling these young people in the context of what was supposed to be a democratic exercise.
Health Care System May 13th, 2010
Mr. Speaker, I would like to thank the member for moving this motion. As I said earlier, she does wonderful work on the Standing Committee on Health. Unfortunately, this motion demonstrates that we do not share the same opinion on how Canada's health system should be managed.
What scares me is that we have the Conservatives on one side, and they are the first to say that they want to limit and structure the federal government's actions and respect exclusively provincial jurisdictions. On the other side we have the Liberal Party, whom we know very well, and they encroach on jurisdictions with so many national strategies in every area that they have no idea what to do anymore.
I am very surprised to see the Conservatives acting exactly like the Liberal Party. In committee, we see the Liberals propose national strategies on everything that may or may not exist. The Conservatives are starting to do exactly the same thing. It makes one wonder if being in power too long wears a party down and makes it lose sight of the objectives it originally sought. Of course I could list a number of files where the Conservatives have not followed their initial train of thought, but this example of health is particularly interesting.
The motion says:
That, in the opinion of the House, the government should encourage and assist provincial and territorial governments, the medical community and other groups to lessen the burden on Canada's health care system...
The words “assist provincial and territorial governments” frighten me. The federal government always starts with minimal assistance, which leads to regulations and then to a national strategy. And it ends with us losing our power. That is the sad part.
As I said at the outset, when I asked my colleague a question, I am not against the primary purpose of the motion. We all want better access to technological innovations. We all want to recognize that health professionals' roles are changing, as are people's needs. We all want to focus on injury prevention strategies. We are not against the purpose of the motion, but we do not support the plan for achieving that purpose.
Earlier, I talked about the Quebec clause in the federal-provincial agreement signed by the Liberals when Paul Martin was in power. The clause stated that Quebec's health care system is not like the other systems and that the Government of Quebec should have the power to make its own decisions and not have anything imposed on it by the rest of Canada.
There are several examples of encroachment. Bloc Québécois members oppose the member's motion for constitutional reasons. When the Bloc Québécois resorts to defending the Canadian Constitution and using it to ensure that its areas of jurisdiction are respected, that is serious.
Under sections 92(7) and 92(16) of the Constitution Act, 1867, health care and social services fall within the exclusive jurisdiction of Quebec and the provinces. Since 1919, Ottawa has encroached on those areas repeatedly.
I can see that my colleagues would really like me to give some examples. Here we go: the creation of the Department of Health in 1919 despite the fact that it was not a matter under federal jurisdiction; the adoption of the Hospital Insurance and Diagnostic Services Act in 1957; the adoption of the Medical Care Act in 1966; and the adoption of the Canada Health Act in 1987.
As we have seen, the federal government's good intentions can quickly take a turn for the worse and become problematic. Duplication is the fundamental reason I am a sovereignist. Duplication includes departments that should not exist, and the Conservatives should agree with me on that. The Conservatives and I are all in favour of limiting the federal government's power.
We support the idea that the federal government should spend less and less. Of course, ultimately, we hope to separate from Canada. We have nothing against them. It is for us. We have different outlooks, as seen in this issue, which demonstrates our difference of opinion on how the health care system should work. We have several other divergent opinions, including the AMF and defending our economic sector.
The Conservative government should listen to the provinces. That is what it promised us. It should agree with the fact that the provinces should have as much breathing room as possible in their own jurisdictions. Yet the Conservatives seem to have the same strategy as the Liberals.
I understand that the Liberals were in favour of more centralization, but the Conservatives promised us something different. They promised us openness. Unfortunately, they started out with good intentions, but they slowly and gradually began nibbling away at Quebec's powers. Our powers are becoming increasingly limited. At some point, this will be fatal for the Quebec nation.
I will give the member a few examples of Quebec's demands in terms of health care. If she had moved a motion addressing any of the demands I am about to mention, we would have gladly supported it.
Maurice Duplessis' second government asked that the following areas come under the exclusive jurisdiction of the provinces: natural resources; the establishment, funding and management of hospitals, asylums and charitable institutions; education at every level, including universities; regulation of the liberal professions, including admission criteria for the practice of medicine and relations between physicians and clients; social security; health; and public health.
The government of Daniel Johnson Sr. said that Quebec wanted to make its own decisions in certain areas, including “development of its human resources (i.e. every aspect of education, social security and health)”. I could also mention economic affirmation, cultural expression and the influence of the Quebec community. These are the traditional requests of the Bloc Québécois. And the members opposite wonder why we are sovereignists.
The second government of Robert Bourassa, who was not a great sovereignist, said:
Under the Canadian Constitution, social affairs and health are irrefutably matters of exclusive provincial jurisdiction. Over the past 25 years [in Mr. Bourassa's day, of course], the Government of Quebec has carried out its responsibilities in a remarkable fashion and has provided quality administration in the sectors of health and social affairs. These successes are eloquent proof, and the people of Quebec are convinced of it, that Quebec society [back in the days of Meech Lake, it was called a society] would gain nothing from a new way of sharing jurisdiction in these sectors. Up to now, they have been under exclusive provincial jurisdiction and it is in the best interest of Quebeckers for them to remain so.
I was quoting Robert Bourassa, who was Quebec's premier from June 22, 1990, to January 11, 1994. These demands did not come from the sovereignist movement. They came from Quebec. All we want is for the government to respect the areas of jurisdiction established when the founding fathers signed the Canadian Constitution. We are not asking much. Maybe sovereignists are not so bad after all. I could mention others, but I do not have enough time.
I just want to say that Jean Charest's Liberal government wants the Government of Canada to respect the Government of Quebec with regard to health care. We just have a different vision. We see that every day in the Standing Committee on Health. Our problems are not the same as the rest of Canada's. We do not do things the same way as the rest of Canada. We just want to be respected.
Health Care System May 13th, 2010
Mr. Speaker, I want to thank the hon. member. We have the privilege of sitting together in the Standing Committee on Health. I know that her work is very meticulous. Nonetheless, I have a problem with the motion as a whole, although its purpose is indeed commendable. The problem is political. This issue should be debated in the National Assembly of Quebec, the only assembly that represents the nation of Quebec.
When the Conservatives, like the Liberals, only propose national strategies, I have a problem with that. I take issue with it because this Conservative government, which claims to want to limit government involvement as much as possible, has said in every election campaign that it would respect provincial jurisdictions. It is doing exactly the opposite. I find that rather surprising.
I would love to see these hon. members go back to their grassroots and explain that they want more federal government intervention. I would also like to hear what this government thinks of the Quebec clause in the federal-provincial agreement signed in 2004, which confirmed that Quebec's health system is different and different policies must apply. I want to remind the government that this is a provincial jurisdiction.
New Book on Sovereignty May 12th, 2010
Mr. Speaker, today I want to acknowledge the release of the book Souveraineté: nouvelle génération by the Forum jeunesse du Bloc québécois. Twenty years after the failure of the Meech Lake accord, young people throughout Quebec have expressed what sovereignty means to them. These young people between the ages of 16 and 30 represent the passion and creativity of my generation.
Once again, I am proud to recognize the maturity of the new generation of Quebec separatists, who defend Quebec's independence with talent and rigour. With this book, these young Quebeckers are clearly showing that the next generation of separatists is alive and well.
It is often said that the culture of a people is expressed through its youth. The nation of Quebec can be proud of this group of young people who, through their words, are contributing to making Quebec a country.
On behalf of myself and all the hon. members from the Bloc Québécois, I want to express my heartfelt congratulations to those who contributed to the book Souveraineté: nouvelle génération, and I encourage them to continue their activism.
Paralympic Athletes May 7th, 2010
Mr. Speaker, when it is time for a photo-op with Paralympic athletes, Conservative MPs are veritable sprinters. However, when the time comes to treat Paralympic athletes fairly, the government drags its feet.
How does the government explain that Paralympic athletes do not receive the same bursaries that Olympic athletes receive for winning a medal?
Red Cross May 6th, 2010
Mr. Speaker, today we are acknowledging World Red Cross Red Crescent Day, which will be celebrated on May 8.
I would like to take this opportunity to commend the work of some 100,000 volunteers in Quebec's chapter of the Red Cross who, every day, carry out the organization's mission to help people cope with situations that are threatening their survival and safety, their well being and their human dignity.
The Quebec chapter works together with other members of the movement in order to provide assistance during international disasters such as the recent earthquake in Haiti, where the people affected received help and emergency care. A fundraising campaign was organized in the wake of this terrible earthquake. Like the International Red Cross, the Quebec chapter espouses international humanitarian law and values in everything that it does.
My colleagues in the Bloc Québécois join me in commending these people who devote themselves day after day to providing comfort, help and care to people in need here and elsewhere.
Repentigny International Junior Tennis Open April 23rd, 2010
Mr. Speaker, the Repentigny International Junior Tennis Open is a symbol of pride and excellence in the region and it is back again this year. We are celebrating the 25th anniversary of this tournament, the second oldest tournament in Canada after the Rogers Cup and one of the top 10 most prestigious junior tennis tournaments around.
Starting tomorrow straight through until the end of the tournament on September 4, a series of events will be organized for people to help mark the 25th anniversary of the International Tennis Open.
I invite everyone in Quebec to take part in the various activities the organizing committee has planned for the coming months. I also invite everyone to come and cheer on the best junior tennis players in the world, who will be competing from August 27 to September 4.
I would be remiss if I did not acknowledge the exceptional work of all the volunteers and the organizing committee, who make this tournament such a success year after year.