House of Commons photo


Crucial Fact

  • His favourite word was quebec.

Last in Parliament March 2011, as Bloc MP for Gatineau (Québec)

Lost his last election, in 2011, with 15% of the vote.

Statements in the House

Louis Riel February 18th, 2011

Mr. Speaker, the third Monday in February is devoted to the memory of Louis Riel, who was hanged by the Conservative government of John A. Macdonald following the North-West rebellion of the Métis.

The struggle by Riel and the Métis resulted in the founding of Manitoba. Defending the rights of his people cost Riel his life. The day after Riel's hanging, Honoré Mercier, future nationalist Premier of Quebec, said, “Riel, our brother, is dead, victim of his devotion to the cause of the Métis of which he was leader; ... victim of the fanatism of Sir John and of some other friends of his; for the blood on their hands will forever signify their cowardice and tarnish their legacy.”

Today the Bloc Québécois is honouring the memory of Riel and the battle fought by the Métis for the advent of democracy in French Canada.

Thank you, Louis Riel.

Business of Supply February 10th, 2011

Mr. Speaker, I thank the member for Rivière-des-Mille-Îles for his question.

This is a heartfelt appeal. We must acknowledge the horrible act that took place and apologize to the people who have suffered.

These people saw all kinds of things happen: their homes, land, lives, communities and even their cemetery were taken away. There was no respect. All that for whose benefit? For Jean Chrétien, who was a minister under Pierre Elliott Trudeau, and who desperately wanted a park in Gaspésie, in Quebec. He was prepared to do anything to get his name in the history books. His name is in the books, but now we want it erased.

The House of Commons could do that by offering a clear, official apology to the people of Forillon Park. These people were living in their village, their region, their community, their bit of land, and they were simply uprooted, removed, torn away, kicked out of their region. For whose benefit? For a minister who desperately wanted a national park in Quebec, a federal park to boast about how beautiful and powerful Canada is.

We destroyed these people and put them through hell. The Canadian government needs to go through purgatory, and the way to do so is to issue an official apology. I know that people understand that language.

Business of Supply February 10th, 2011

Mr. Speaker, the answer to my NDP colleague's question is simple: governments represent the Canadian federal state.

Governments need to answer for decisions that were made, no matter what colour tie the party in power was wearing when the decisions were made.

That is why today we are asking all 308 representatives in the House of Commons to stand and apologize for what the government at the time did in the name of the Canadian state. The government was responsible for the decisions of the Canadian state concerning the Forillon expropriations.

That is why we are asking the members of the House to act humanely and make sure their hearts are in the right place.

Business of Supply February 10th, 2011

Mr. Speaker, today, the Bloc Québécois is making a very simple request: that the federal government issue a formal apology to the people expropriated from Forillon Park.

My colleague, the member for Argenteuil—Papineau—Mirabel, just mentioned Sainte-Scholastique. Let us remember Kouchibouguac in New Brunswick and the saga the Vautour family had to endure. Here, in the Outaouais region, the National Capital Commission expropriated the people of Lac Philippe to create Gatineau Park. It is important to note that it was francophones who were living in that area. They were all expropriated. The people who were living in the Meech Lake area were all anglophones who were more well off and who were well connected with the Liberal government that was in power at the time. They were not affected. It is not that they deserved to be expropriated, but the people from the Lac Philippe area are still suffering as a result of this incident.

There are other stories, like the story of Hull, for example. Why were federal buildings put up in Hull, just across the bridge, where the people of Hull lived? Why were they not built on the outskirts of the city to let those people stay in their homes and their community? No, they were cavalierly expropriated. They had to leave and go live somewhere else, like Baron or Pointe-Gatineau. They were expropriated and paid peanuts for their houses. Some of them still live in trailers today because they were not given enough money to build houses like they had in Hull.

At that time, Hull's social fabric was destroyed just so that the federal buildings would not be too far from Ottawa, from the capital, from Parliament. Once again, Liberals, Liberals, Liberals; Trudeau, Trudeau, Trudeau. That is what the federal government did to those people then. They really suffered.

Are the Conservatives like a bunch of Trudeaus? Will they take on the mantle of Pierre Elliott Trudeau and follow in the Liberals' footsteps by not apologizing? That is what we are hearing today. The Conservatives' silence is deafening. They did not rise to say that they were going to apologize to the people of Forillon because the government put them through hell.

The government did the same thing to the Métis. After Louis Riel was hanged, the Métis became corner people or road allowance people. They were not even recognized as human beings. In places in Manitoba and Saskatchewan, the way to evict them was to burn down their peat moss houses, because they did not pay municipal taxes. That was another form of expropriation by the federal government. It is time for us to come back down to earth and show some humanity.

Consider the deportation of the Acadians. Of course, that was under British rule, before Canada. Consider what happened to them. They were separated and sent to New England, the Falklands and Europe. On some ships, far out at sea, children were thrown overboard so that the Acadians would have no descendants.

Canada has a very dark history when it comes to expropriation. We took people's property; we uprooted them from land that belonged to them. Forillon is another example of this.

I will not go into detail about the hell the people of Forillon went through and are still going through today. They are still alive and they are watching us today. They are hoping to see something other than a bunch of little Trudeaus who continue to perpetuate the insult against them. I see the serious look on your face, Mr. Speaker, and I am convinced that you are going to talk to the people in your caucus so that they stand up and acknowledge the horror and hell that we made the people of Forillon go through.

There are testimonies. We expropriated these people and burned their houses down right in front of them. When they wanted to go back to their community later to visit one of the three cemeteries in Forillon Park and pray at the graves of their loved ones, we made them pay because they were entering a Canadian national park. Nice!

Is that what Canada is about? Will the caring federalists who so love their big country stand up one day? Will they stand up one day and say that they did something wrong, admit their mistake and present the people of Forillon with tangible, official apologies from the House of Commons? Elderly people had to dig around in their wallets to find change so they could go and pray at their child's or spouse's grave inside Forillon Park. It is one example, but I hope that it raises their awareness and that they will not ask how much it is going to cost the Canadian treasury. If the government members are human beings, they will show it. This is a golden opportunity.

“The government sent a subpoena to my father telling him that his house now belonged to the Queen. He never would have believed that they would come to take him out of there. Well, the RCMP forcibly turned him out of his home”, remembers Charles Bouchard, the son of one of the expropriated residents. His father, Édouard, or Eddy, who is deceased, was the last person expropriated to leave his house on the Anse-Au-Griffon trail, one of the areas ceded to the federal government. “He did not want to leave, but he had to resign himself to it. To force him out, the Liberal Government of Canada cut off his telephone and other services.”

Charles Bouchard remembers receiving $1,400 for his 50-acre parcel of land. And his father was given the meagre amount of $20,000 for the house, other buildings, land and two sugar bushes he owned. That gives us an idea of what transpired, and it did not take place in 1622, but in the 1970s. Few members of this House had not yet been born in 1970. About one hundred of those expropriated rebelled against the paltry compensation from Pierre Elliott Trudeau's Liberal government, and they went to court. They managed to get a little bit more.

Jérémie Dunn has provided another account of the events. The program Enquête will be featuring a story about this tonight at 8 p.m. on Radio-Canada. My colleagues should watch it as they will learn a few things. The Radio-Canada program Tout le monde en parlait recently discussed the 225 Gaspé families that were expropriated. The program showed the houses before the expropriation and as they were burning. The houses were burnt down.

We understand the situation. It would be very easy to offer a sincere apology. In fact, we are sincere. We must promote all forms of respect, and our sense of humanity must inspire us when dealing with these people who suffered and continue to suffer—and who have suffered enough—because of the horrible act perpetrated by the Liberal Government of Canada against the people expropriated to create Forillon Park.

Mr. Speaker, I am counting on you to convince your people to rectify the situation.

Business of Supply February 10th, 2011

Mr. Speaker, I would like to know what the hon. member thinks about the position taken by the Conservatives, who do not have the courage to recognize that the people of Forillon lived through hell. They must be familiar with the word “hell” since it describes their strategy, their view of the world, their way of managing everything, and all of their policies. The people of Forillon were made to go through hell. There have been three or four Conservative speakers in this debate today and we still do not know what their position is on this important issue of respect. Perhaps, further to the wise words of my colleague, the word “humanity” will elicit more of a reaction from them.

Youth Suicide February 8th, 2011

Mr. Speaker, today, Luke Richardson, the assistant coach of the Ottawa Senators, and his wife Stephanie should have been celebrating their daughter Daron's 15th birthday.

However, tragically, Daron recently committed suicide. Like too many families, the Richardsons are living with the grief of losing a child. That is why they decided to speak out about suicide, the second leading cause of death among young people aged 15 to 24. It is of the utmost importance that the public be made aware of this issue.

Given that last week was Suicide Prevention Week in Quebec, the Bloc Québécois joins the members of the other parties in supporting the Richardson family's initiative by participating in “Do It for Daron Purple Pledge Day”.

Let us help our youth to stop suffering in silence by encouraging them to ask for the help they need.

Official Languages February 2nd, 2011

Mr. Speaker, whether we are talking about the bilingualism of judges, the use of French as a language of work in federal institutions, or the use of French at the Vancouver Olympic Games, the bottom line is that, for this government, French is a second-class language.

What is the minister waiting for to rein in the Department of Canadian Heritage and remind it of its obligations to francophone communities?

Official Languages February 2nd, 2011

Mr. Speaker, the Department of Canadian Heritage is once again being taken to task by the Commissioner of Official Languages for the length of time it takes to provide funding to organizations in francophone communities. The processing of funding applications is so chaotic that some organizations have had to use their credit cards to pay their employees. The commissioner says that these chronic delays have resulted in Canadian Heritage failing to fulfill its obligations to these communities.

What does the Minister of Canadian Heritage and Official Languages intend to do to correct this situation?

Operation Red Nose December 10th, 2010

Mr. Speaker, this year, I am co-president of Operation Red Nose 2010 with my parliamentary colleague from Hull—Aylmer.

We encourage people to volunteer to drive home others who have been caught up in the “joy” of the holiday season.

If anyone wants to volunteer to help with Operation Red Nose, they should go to Operation Red Nose headquarters at 120 Charlevoix Street around 9 p.m. on December 10, 11, 16, 17, 18, 22, 23, 30 or 31.

To have Operation Red Nose drive you home, you simply need to call 771-2886. Donations from clients will be given to Loisir Sport Outaouais for amateur sports.

Hats off to Lise Waters and Jean-Marc Purenne as well as to all the volunteers who make Operation Red Nose possible.

Thanks to Operation Red Nose for helping to save lives.

I hope we will see many people out there.

Census December 3rd, 2010

Mr. Speaker, the minister should know that we cannot improve what we cannot measure.

Is the minister aware that eliminating the long form census will have harmful effects in a host of areas, such as transfer payments to the provinces, employment insurance, labour mobility, health programs, housing and economic development?