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Crucial Fact

  • His favourite word was farmers.

Last in Parliament October 2015, as Conservative MP for Glengarry—Prescott—Russell (Ontario)

Lost his last election, in 2019, with 36% of the vote.

Statements in the House

Marriage December 6th, 2006

Mr. Speaker, I am honoured to rise today on behalf of the people of Glengarry—Prescott—Russell to speak on this important motion regarding marriage.

I highlight that since having become an MP, I have never received so much correspondence as I have on this extremely important issue. My constituents are overwhelmingly asking me to vote in support of the traditional definition of marriage.

When I say traditional marriage, I mean the union of one man and one woman to the exclusion of all others. It is important to note that marriage is an institution dating back to the dawn of humanity that has existed in all civilizations. This institution predates even the existence of the state, and this House's efforts to change the traditional definition of marriage are damaging not only to Canadian society but to all societies, especially those for whom Canada is a role model.

As one of my colleagues noted, by changing the definition of marriage, the previous Liberal government undertook a radical social experiment whose consequences for children, for social stability, for freedom of religion and for civil society are completely unknown.

In June 1999 Parliament overwhelmingly voted in favour of the sanctity of marriage as being the union of one man and one women to the exclusion of all others. The then Liberal justice minister, Anne McLellan, stated:

The definition of marriage is already clear in law. It is not found in statute, but then not all law exists in the statutes, and the law is no less binding and no less the law because it is found in the common law instead of in a statute.

Marriage is unique in its essence; that is, its opposite sex nature. Through this essence, marriage embodies the complementarity of the two human sexes, playing a fundamental role in Canadian society.

“Let me state again for the record that the government has no intention of changing the definition of marriage or of legislating same sex marriages”. Those were the exact words of the Liberal justice minister during the 1999 debate.

Canadians have now seen that the last Liberal prime minister and justice minister double-crossed them. In 2005 the Liberal justice minister tabled a bill to change the traditional definition of marriage against the will of Canadians. He, with the previous prime minister, rammed it through committee, were antagonistic toward committee witnesses favouring traditional marriage, cut short debate and then forced their cabinet ministers and parliamentary secretaries to vote in favour of their bill, with no regard to the personal consciences of these MPs or to the will of their constituents.

Only one cabinet minister broke ranks, resigned from cabinet and voted to defend traditional marriage, the member for Thunder Bay—Superior North. I salute him for his integrity, his courage and for the example he has given other MPs to always do what is right, no matter the consequences.

I also salute all the other MPs who stood to vote in defence of traditional marriage that day. May we work and vote together on this particular motion that is before us this week.

In my experience, Canadians from all walks of life know that marriage is fundamentally important and that it means the union of one man and one woman to the exclusion of all others. People from other countries know it too.

I also believe that people know that the institution of marriage exists to secure, protect and promote the union of a man and a woman, not just for the sake of the man and a woman themselves but also for any children born of this union.

Marriage concerns not only adults. Marriage concerns families and families concern children. Children need a stable environment in which to grow and mature. A healthy family founded on the traditional definition of marriage provides just this environment.

Marriage is the nucleus of the family and the family is the main means by which society sustains itself, perpetuates itself and grows.

I will now speak on the impact of marriage on the most valuable and yet the most vulnerable members of our society, our children. I believe children thrive in families and families are based on marriage. While the essence of this debate concerns adult relationships, we must recognize that the debate on marriage has a direct impact on the welfare of our children.

As it is the goal of the government to protect its citizens, particularly its most vulnerable citizens, it is, indeed, appalling that the previous government turned its back on the most important and fundamental component of our country, our children.

To be clear, defending the traditional definition of marriage is also about defending the rights of children and of defending their best interests. Our children are entitled to the best possible circumstances in which to be raised. Studies have demonstrated that this best possible circumstance is the family, consisting of a mother and a father in a continuous and stable relationship.

When the Canadian Parliament voted to change the definition of marriage, I believe it did so without giving any consideration whatsoever to the rights of children. There is no mention of children in the Liberal government's reference to the Supreme Court and none in the reply. The rights of children and the impact of changing the definition of marriage on children were completely ignored.

The UN Convention on the Rights of the Child, which Canada signed in 1991, states that every child has the right to know and be raised by his natural mother and father whenever possible. Article 3 of the same UN Convention states:

In all actions concerning children, whether undertaken by...courts of law...or legislative bodies, the best interests of the child shall be a primary consideration.

In addition, the Universal Declaration of Human Rights specifically states that the rights of children must take the priority over the rights of adults because children are more vulnerable and require the support of the state.

By failing to recognize the special nature of marriage as a union based on mutual commitment between a man and a woman, which is the only relationship that can produce a child and protect that child's right to know its mother and father, Canada is putting the rights of adults ahead of the rights of children. That is unacceptable.

Children have been ignored within this debate. We have focused on adults to live as they so choose, but we have forgotten our children.

The children of same sex couples are deprived of the right to be raised by both a mother and a father. They do not have role models in the home to teach them and to show them how to be wives and mothers, husbands and fathers and they do not have the opportunity to experience how a man and a woman live out their married life.

I believe that defending traditional marriage is about doing what is right, what is good and what is best for our children. Therefore, marriage between a male and a female must hold the priority of place for the raising of children and must be maintained in order to safeguard the rights of children.

It is interesting to note that France's parliament recently undertook a thorough study of same-sex marriage and published a report on the subject in January 2006.

A French commission studied the impact of same-sex marriage on children and found that the best interest of the child must supersede the freedoms of the adult, including parents' lifestyle choices.

In order to protect the rights of children, France's parliament chose to support the traditional definition of marriage.

As I mentioned, I am honoured to stand in the House today to defend and promote the traditional definition of marriage. I am also a Roman Catholic and the church in its wisdom teaches that:

The intimate community of life and love which constitutes the married state has been established by the Creator and endowed by him with its own proper laws...God himself is the author of marriage.

The church also teaches unchangingly that marriage is a covenant in which husband and wife express their mutual love and join with God in the creation of a new human person destined for eternal life.

A major good of marriage between a man and a woman is procreation, that of bringing new life into the world. It is through marriage that the children of that union are best cared for and nurtured. Our children are our future and they must be protected. This issue of marriage must be revisited.

I also remind my fellow MPs that our time as an MP is short, even when we think it is long, and when we cease to be MPs, sadly, we will likely be forgotten by our fellow man, but not by God, who knows each of us intimately.

If God himself is truly the author of marriage, then let us be able to give a good account of ourselves when we stand before Him as we must all stand before Him.

I will be voting in favour of the traditional definition of marriage for us, for my children and for the children of our country. I ask all MPs in the House to join me in voting to defend and promote the traditional definition of marriage.

I shall conclude my speech as follows, “Almighty God, protector of all families, guide us in our efforts to defend the holy sacrament of marriage as the union between a man and a woman. I ask You this in the name of our Lord Jesus Christ. Amen”.

Canada Map Office November 28th, 2006

Mr. Speaker, recently, Canadians' right of access to paper topographic maps was protected by the Minister of Natural Resources because the former government was caught napping on mapping.

Canada has a distinguished history in map making and is a world leader in geomatics. Our country is currently world renowned for its innovative geospatial technology, grounded in what is probably the country's most historical profession, land exploration.

As soon as the minister was made aware of the former government's decision to close the Canada Map Office, he sprung into action and saved the program. In doing so, not only has our minister ensured continued access to maps, but he has increased awareness of the importance of maps to rural and remote communities, sovereignty, infrastructure, tourism, education, national defence and many more areas.

Maps are important. They are not only an integral part of our heritage but also of our current and future economy.

This House applauds and thanks the minister and Canada's new government for keeping Canada on the map.

The Québécois November 24th, 2006

Mr. Speaker, as you know, I am a Franco-Ontarian member, but I would also like to explain or point out that my roots are in Quebec.

My grandfather and my father were born in Quebec City, and my father's family, with the same last name, also lives in Quebec.

As a family, we are very proud of our contribution to our country. We are also very proud of our heritage. My colleague here lives in Quebec. He comes from Quebec and his constituents live in Quebec as well.

I would like to know whether he can share with the House his constituents' feelings and views about our motion.

Business of Supply November 23rd, 2006

Mr. Speaker, the member's question follows up on a theme about being Québécois and being proud to be Québécois, proud of our culture and of our contributions to Canada and wanting to remain in Canada.

My grandfather, also Pierre Lemieux, was born in Quebec City. My father was born in Quebec City. My father's family lives in the province of Quebec. We are not only proud of our culture and of our heritage, but we are proud Canadians as well. What this government is offering to Quebeckers is that they can be proud of their culture and their contributions, but they can be proud Canadians as well.

Quebeckers realize this. Quebeckers have fully participated in the founding of Canada. They have supported Canada, knowing full well that their unique heritage would be respected by this country. The vast majority of Quebeckers are rightly proud of their Quebec identity.

Business of Supply November 23rd, 2006

Mr. Speaker, what I do understand is that the Bloc Québécois refuses to acknowledge the truth. The truth is that Canada is a federation that works. It works because of our heritage, the heritage of a decentralized country, the heritage of a federation that recognizes the realities and specificities of our provincial and federal partners.

What we are saying to Quebec is that we want Quebec to have vitality as a province, but within Canada. We recognize the Québécois as a nation, but within a united Canada. We are offering them open federalism.

Business of Supply November 23rd, 2006

Mr. Speaker, I have the pleasure of taking part in the debate on the motion tabled by the leader of the Bloc Québécois, which reads as follows:

That this House recognize that Quebeckers form a nation.

I do not have any difficulty in recognizing that Quebeckers constitute a nation within a united Canada. Where my speech will no doubt depart from those of the Bloc Québécois members is that I am certain that this same nation can develop and flourish within a united country called Canada. The proof is in our history.

It is impossible not to be struck by the major transformations experienced by Quebec in recent years, since that critical period that the historians quickly named the Quiet Revolution. It was with the team of Premier Jean Lesage that the Quebec of the early 1960s opened up to the realities of the contemporary world, making up in the space of a few years for a delay it had suffered in a large number of areas of activity, compared to other states and governments, which had already met the challenge of modernity. Quebec managed to achieve, in the space of a few decades—notably as far as the creation of development tools is concerned—what some countries and nations spent generations doing.

Today, Quebec is a modern state that, in the words of former premier Bernard Landry, would be the envy of the world. Indeed, Mr. Landry wrote in the newspaper La Presse, on October 27:

Our nation-state, even without full sovereignty, is even more powerful in some respects than many nation-states that are formally sovereign. Our state already possesses important legal and financial means to support crucial actions for our society in the fields of culture, education, social solidarity, the economy, the environment, justice, international relations and many others.

I have the feeling that this quotation will no doubt be used during this debate, and for an excellent reason. In seeking to demonstrate the merits of the sovereignist theory, Mr. Landry has proved that Quebec possesses the tools necessary for its development and its growth while operating within the Canadian federation.

In other words, Quebec, a modern society open to other peoples and proud to welcome them into its territory, profits from the benefits that result from its integration into the Canadian federation. At the individual level, Quebeckers, while forming a nation, enjoy the benefits that flow from possession of a double identity.

This state of affairs results from the flexibility of our federation, which recognizes the distinct character of Quebec. For example, education which is of critical importance for Quebec is an area of exclusive provincial jurisdiction. The Quebec civil code, which is different from the common law that prevails in the other provinces, is protected by sections 94 and 98 of the Constitution. The use of French, as well as English, is guaranteed in our Parliament as well as in the courts of Canada. While the Parliament of Canada can establish retirement pensions and supplementary benefits, this power is subject to provincial primacy, as a result of which the provinces are predominant, and which represents the constitutional basis for the Quebec Pension Plan and protects it.

In addition, other subjects related to the distinct character of Quebec fall exclusively within provincial jurisdiction, in particular, civil rights and property; the administration of justice and municipal institutions.

The constitutional protection that Quebec enjoys in terms of its identity extends to many other sectors, especially those relating to language, which are enshrined in the Constitution Act, 1982. Let us remember, however, that this uniqueness of Quebec is reinforced by the practice of a federalism that takes into account respect for other levels of jurisdiction and places an emphasis on intergovernmental cooperation.

These are objectives that our government intends to continue pursuing in the future.

There is no denying the prominent role that Quebec has played in building Canada and no one would even try in all good faith; it is equally true, though, that Quebeckers like all Canadians, have benefited from the advantages of being Canadian: a quality of life among the highest in the world and constitutional guarantees of respect for human rights.

Quebeckers have demonstrated after 139 years within the Canadian federation that the legislative and institutional tools at their disposal have enabled their language and culture to flourish and will continue to do so. The Charter of Rights and Freedoms secures the cultural future of Quebeckers by guaranteeing the linguistic rights of francophones at the federal level. The charter also guarantees that French and English are the two official languages of Canada and that they can be used in Parliament, before the courts, and in federal organizations. Furthermore, the right of francophones to an education in their own language is guaranteed everywhere in Canada, as is the right of anglophones in Quebec.

Quebeckers form a nation, but it must be specified that this nation is within a united country called Canada. Quebec’s distinctiveness is recognized and respected within the Canadian federation, and Quebeckers can be themselves within a country that they have helped build, from generation to generation, side by side with their fellow citizens in the rest of Canada.

In the open letter that he sent to our Prime Minister last October 27, the former Premier of Quebec, Bernard Landry, concluded by saying:

You must know in all honesty that you will then be confronted with the following question: why should the Quebec nation content itself with the status of a province in another nation and renounce its equality with your nation and all the others? That is still and forever a question of truth and elementary logic.

Truth and logic are on the side of history, and history reminds us of this reality: Quebeckers form a nation within a united country called Canada.

Lebanon November 21st, 2006

Mr. Speaker, we were shocked to learn this morning that the Lebanese industry minister, Pierre Gemayel, had been assassinated near Beirut.

What is Canada's reaction to this terrible assassination? Is the government prepared to condemn those responsible?

Federal Accountability Act November 21st, 2006

Mr. Speaker, I listened to my Liberal colleague speak about the federal accountability act. One of his key points was that the bill somehow was moved on too quickly. He implied that we should have taken longer, that we should have taken our time and perhaps even dragged things on a bit.

I would state here that there is a sense of urgency among Canadians with respect to federal accountability. Long before the election, but also during the election, Canadians saw and tasted corruption and they did not like it. They witnessed the culture of entitlement that existed within the Liberal Party. David Dingwall put it so well when he expressed the viewpoint of the Liberal Party, “I am entitled to my entitlements”. Canadians did not like that either. Canadians want change and they want it now.

When the Prime Minister finally announced the federal accountability act, Canadians cheered. Finally, there is a Prime Minister and a government that will restore accountability to government, that will bring an end to the culture of entitlement.

The point I want to make is that the House of Commons took roughly 70 days to pass that legislation. It was a priority for this House to move the legislation along. The Liberal dominated Senate took over 140 days to deal with this piece of legislation, twice as long. Canadians want accountability now, not in 2008.

How is it that my colleague justifies a Liberal dominated Senate taking over 140 days to deal with an issue that is so important to the government, to all MPs in the House and particularly to Canadians?

Hazardous Materials Information Review Act November 1st, 2006

Mr. Speaker, I would like to thank my colleague for her speech on Bill S-2.

As we know in the House the Hazardous Materials Information Review Commission is part of WHMIS which is the Workplace Hazardous Materials Information System. This is a communications system which provides workers with information on the safe handling of hazardous materials used in the workplace.

I noted that since 1988 the commission has registered a total of just over 5,200 claims and that presently there are 1,450 active claims. To help rectify this matter the council of governors has put forward some legislative proposals such as, first, allowing claimants to declare that the information for which an exemption is sought is confidential business information and that full justification is available and will be provided on request; second, allowing claimants to enter into undertakings with the commission to voluntarily correct health and safety information when it is found non-compliant with applicable legislation; and third, allowing the commission to provide factual information to independent appeal boards.

I would like to put a question to my colleague. In her dealings with business and industry, and in her dealings with workers, what sort of feedback has she received from those two different groups with respect to Bill S-2 and these amendments that we would like to bring forward on WHMIS?

Criminal Code November 1st, 2006

Mr. Speaker, while I thank the hon. member for her comments and thoughts, particularly on how this bill applies to our first nations people, my concern is that this particular bill is for all Canadians. While I do understand her concerns and I thank her for having voiced them here in the House, this particular bill is to get tough on crime for all Canadians.

I am a father of five children. I was reading through some of the offences that were gutted from the bill in committee. Quite frankly, it is shocking. I will read some of them now in the House for members.

For example, there is impaired driving causing bodily harm. What if I am walking down the street and someone has decided to drive while impaired and they hit my child? It is house arrest for that person.

Next is assault with a weapon. We are talking about a weapon and assaulting a fellow Canadian. Again it is house arrest.

Kidnapping and forcible confinement are next. Once again, I am concerned for my family and my children. I do not think I stand here alone. I believe I am speaking for Canadians who are worried about crime.

Next is abduction of persons under the age of 14. Four of my children are under the age of 14. This concerns me greatly.

Next is breaking and entering with intent. Here I would ask people to imagine themselves in their home when someone breaks in and enters their home. They have invaded our privacy. They have invaded our sanctuary. They may have assaulted us with a weapon at the same time. They are going to get house arrest.

Putting party politics aside, how do Canadians feel about these crimes? How do my colleagues feel about these crimes and this idea of house arrest for serious crimes such as these?

I have a question for my colleague. I understand my colleague's concerns, but how does she respond when the bill applies to all Canadians and to their concerns about family safety and their own personal safety within Canada?