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Crucial Fact

  • His favourite word was situation.

Last in Parliament March 2011, as Bloc MP for Gaspésie—Îles-de-la-Madeleine (Québec)

Won his last election, in 2008, with 40% of the vote.

Statements in the House

Normand Roussy April 27th, 2010

Mr. Speaker, we were saddened to learn of the tragic death this week of a lobster fisher, 62-year-old Mr. Normand Roussy. Mr. Roussy had gone out into Chaleur Bay, early Saturday morning, together with other members of his crew. Unfortunately, while fishing, Mr. Roussy lost his balance and fell off his boat into the water.

The Sûreté du Québec were called at around 9:45 a.m. and went to the dock where his fellow fishers had taken Mr. Roussy. He was taken to the Centre hospitalier de Chandler, where he was pronounced dead.

This is another tragic event that reminds us of the dangers of fishers' work and the courage required of the thousands of workers who take to the sea every morning to earn a living.

The members of the Bloc Québécois and I wish to extend our sincere condolences to his family and friends, as well as to the entire community that has been touched by this tragedy.

Canada-Columbia Free Trade Agreement Implementation Act April 19th, 2010

Mr. Speaker, I appreciate the Liberal member's heartfelt comments, but I do not agree with her walls versus windows analogy. Another possibility would be to build different windows. Colombia has an embassy in Canada and Canada has an embassy in Colombia. There are many ways this debate could move forward.

I have to wonder about the progress made in that country since President Uribe came to power in 2002, as the member mentioned. Are fewer people being killed and imprisoned? Is that progress?

It is strange to hear such arguments. I would like the member to talk about the argument that alternative solutions already exist. However, we must not go from putting up a wall that is a trade barrier to putting up a wall of misunderstanding that would only encourage a government that completely denies civil liberties.

Canada-Columbia Free Trade Agreement Implementation Act April 19th, 2010

Mr. Speaker, it all becomes clear. The Conservative-Liberal coalition, or the Liberal-Conservative coalition, is taking shape. Never mind principles; money and investments are being protected and that protection has nothing to do with the free trade agreement with Colombia.

They simply want to protect investments. I totally understand the hon. member who just spoke and quite handily avoided talking about this, but we get the impression that investments in mining are being protected and that this has nothing to do with free trade with another country.

I also understand that other people are talking while I am, even though they are not allowed to do so, but that is another story.

I would like to know what the hon. member has to say about being so quick to abandon his principles regarding what is going on in Colombia in order to protect investments.

Jobs and Economic Growth Act April 13th, 2010

Mr. Speaker, speaking of coalitions, let us talk about the coalition between the Conservative Party and the oil companies. That is a coalition. And what about the one between the Conservative Party, big business and the banks? That is also a sort of coalition.

If a political party wants to defend the poor and the people who need help the most, I see no problem supporting it or forming a coalition with it.

The Bloc Québécois has supported a Conservative budget in the past. I humbly remind the House that was the case in 2006 and 2007. At the time, there were useful measures concerning the fiscal imbalance.

I also remember that the current Prime Minister, before he became Prime Minister and while he was in opposition, was fully prepared to form a coalition with us.

What is the problem with a coalition? Why are they trying to turn it into a scandal? It makes perfect sense to form a coalition in order to respond to real needs.

Jobs and Economic Growth Act April 13th, 2010

Mr. Speaker, I thank the NDP member for his comments. I must say that it is very hard to defend the indefensible. Sometimes it is so frustrating that there is no point. I think that is what is happening with the Conservative Party: it is defending the indefensible.

I remember it used to be that when a bank was bringing in $1 billion in profits a year, that was a lot of money. I think that was the case not too long ago. Now, we do not talk about $1 billion in profits a year, but $1 billion in profits in a quarter, in a three-month period.

Furthermore, it is clear that these banks also take advantage of tax havens, which enables them to make even more profits and to provide more assistance to the people who also benefit from tax havens. It is a vicious circle.

The mini-measures announced are a smokescreen, a cover. They are a bunch of nonsense.

Jobs and Economic Growth Act April 13th, 2010

Mr. Speaker, we are discussing the implementation of a budget that never would have passed if the Liberals had not been so complicit or passive. Some showed up in the House to vote against the budget, as did the hon. member for Madawaska—Restigouche in New Brunswick, but there were not enough of them. That was a form of complicity, which is why we are here today talking about the budget implementation bill.

Before I get to the heart of the matter, I must say, I am concerned about several current issues, particularly what is happening in the crab industry in Gaspésie—Îles-de-la-Madeleine, the riding I represent.

Earlier there was discussion about employment insurance measures that are missing from the budget. If the budget had truly met the needs of the public, the impact of the crab fishery crisis on the people of Gaspésie—Îles-de-la-Madeleine would not have been as great. They would have felt supported by a government that has their best interests at heart during such a difficult time. Some 1,000 jobs in Gaspésie—Îles-de-la-Madeleine and 2,500 jobs in New Brunswick are at stake.

To give hon. members an idea of what that means, 1,000 jobs in Gaspésie—Îles-de-la-Madeleine is equivalent to roughly 20,000 jobs in Montreal and even more in Toronto. If it were a matter of losing several thousand jobs in Montreal, Toronto or Vancouver, there would probably be an emergency debate held today.

We have to take the time think about these people who are in difficulty as a result of mismanagement by the Department of Fisheries and Oceans, which has reduced the crab quota by 63% this year. Such a reduction will have an impact: less money will circulate in the economy.

We heard today that Michel Chartrand died. I had the chance to meet and get to know Mr. Chartrand. If he were to deliver a speech today, his language would undoubtedly be quite colourful. If I were to describe the budget using the names of symbolic objects generally found in a church, I would be called to order. As hon. members know, tabernacles, chalices and hosts are found in a church.

In addition to his rather colourful use of language, Mr. Chartrand was a passionate man. He defended people in difficulty, like the workers in the crab fishery who are in crisis right now. That is why it is important to pay tribute to him today.

I know that the people in my party will be paying tribute to him later on during question period and members' statements, but I think it is important to take the time to acknowledge him right now.

In any case, we have a budget and an implementation bill. We are examining some aspects of the budget implementation bill, but we must also look at items that, unfortunately, are not mentioned in the budget, especially tax havens and employment insurance.

I would like to talk about tax havens. What does this budget actually do?

It ignores the fact that, if we changed the laissez-faire approach to tax havens, we could stop the budget hemorrhaging, which will fatten companies and individuals who no longer know what to do with their money. They go to the Bahamas or elsewhere and put their money in the banks' vaults to avoid paying Canadian or Quebec taxes. That hurts because this is not done by just a few.

I was listening to some supposedly distinguished economists who have done major studies and concluded that taxing the rich will not change much. Excuse me, but it will yield many millions, even billions. And remember, one billion is 1,000 million. We could recover billions of dollars if we truly tackled the problem of tax havens and tax loopholes. That is what should be highlighted and considered when presenting a budget. In fact, measures have been introduced but there are other measures that have been forgotten, relegated, ignored, clearly set aside, and that could help to balance the budget, even just a little, and result in interventions that more closely meet needs.

Speaking of needs, I wish to linger a little longer on the employment insurance issue. It is frightful what is going on there. It started some time ago with the Liberals and the Conservatives of the period, when they used to call themselves Progressive Conservatives.

On this issue I think in particular of Gaétan Cousineau, of the Mouvement Action Chômage Pabok. This is a person who has always been dedicated to the cause of employment insurance and the injustices in that field. I remember working with him and others when I was waging the employment insurance battle in community and union organizations.

That battle continues for me as a member, but at the same time, there have been what one might call “mini-measures” on employment insurance announced right and left by the Conservative government and by the previous Liberal government. I say “mini-measures” because one’s final impression, if I may be permitted some colourful language, is that of a drop of justice in an ocean of injustice. That is really what is happening.

The regions of Gaspé and Îles-de-la-Madeleine, like other regions in Quebec and Canada, have had to absorb cuts and to suffer them at the same time, for those cuts have impacts. When this sort of decision is made to cut employment insurance, to slash benefits, to arrange that fewer EI benefits are provided or that eligibility is made more difficult, the money is recovered somewhere, but there is an impact that can be felt across many regions.

Such an impact affects individuals as well as communities. Yes, it can affect individuals. I heard someone talk about people who earned their living at the minimum wage. Consider, for example, a wage of $9 an hour for someone in the tourism industry who has to work as a cleaning lady,or in a restaurant or elsewhere. These people work split shifts for the minimum wage. This is not a job where you work 40 hours a week and everything is fine. On the contrary, there are situations where people have to work 20 hours during the week. Other times it is 35 hours or 60 hours a week, depending on what is happening in the tourism industry. These people must be available to work seven days a week during tourist season. That is why it is important to consider this issue.

Fisheries April 12th, 2010

Mr. Speaker, the Department of Fisheries and Oceans has announced a 63% cut in snow crab quotas for area 12 for 2010. This decision jeopardizes hundreds of jobs in the Gaspé and Îles-de-la-Madeleine, and it creates serious uncertainty for many families who depend on this industry.

Will the Minister of Fisheries and Oceans undertake to develop an emergency assistance plan to alleviate the stress these families are suffering?

Canada-Colombia Free Trade Agreement Implementation Act March 30th, 2010

Madam Speaker, this gives me the opportunity to note that the speech we just heard was inspired by experience, but at the same time, it was also very inspiring.

I do not believe it is because of a lack of understanding on their part. The Liberals, like the Conservatives, know very well what this is all about. The question I would like to ask is an extension of his speech.

Ultimately, when it comes to supporting this free trade agreement with Colombia, is that not simply encouraging and supporting the fact that there are people in that country who use their power to completely ignore human rights? That is the situation before us.

What my colleague from Chambly—Borduas experienced when he went to Colombia—I did not have the opportunity or privilege of going—is what allows him to dot the i's and cross the t's. He was there for several weeks, so he was able to see the situation first hand. That is very inspiring. I think our Liberal and Conservative colleagues should also draw inspiration from him when it comes time to vote on this.

I would like him to comment further on the fact that supporting such a treaty would be tantamount to encouraging the violation of human rights.

Canada-Colombia Free Trade Agreement Implementation Act March 30th, 2010

Madam Speaker, along the same lines, the hon. member's answer is inspiring and I would like to know more. I am relatively new and his experience is helpful for us. I feel that it can be helpful for the people who are listening to us right now. We get the impression that we are increasingly faced with the phenomenon that is only too clear, that being Liberal or Conservative is one and the same thing. Could the hon. member provide me with additional information or clarification?

Canada-Colombia Free Trade Agreement Implementation Act March 30th, 2010

Madam Speaker, with the current Conservative government, principles have been tossed out the window at a staggering rate over the past five years. Indeed, the very least that a government should do when preparing to sign a free trade agreement with another country is to ensure that human rights will be respected. That includes not only labour rights, but also the humane treatment of all members of the human race.

This is a situation where a country and certain interests are casting that aside. That is why, yet again, we must say loud and clear that we oppose the Canada-Colombia free trade agreement.