House of Commons photo

Crucial Fact

  • His favourite word was workers.

Last in Parliament March 2011, as Bloc MP for Chicoutimi—Le Fjord (Québec)

Lost his last election, in 2011, with 29% of the vote.

Statements in the House

Softwood Lumber Products Export Charge Act, 2006 September 26th, 2006

Mr. Speaker, I would like to thank the member for his presentation.

The member praises the agreement that Ottawa and Washington have just signed. He certainly does not mention offsetting measures, assistance for the forestry industry and workers. The Bloc Québécois is proposing an action plan, a POWA and improvements to employment insurance.

I would ask the member to briefly comment on the serious repercussions of not having measures to help the forestry industry, and of the absence of a plan to help softwood lumber sawmills and workers. Can he explain what he believes are the repercussions of all this on communities, workers and the industry?

Canada Revenue Agency September 25th, 2006

Mr. Speaker, since April 30, 2006, people have not been able to get answers to their tax questions from Canada Revenue Agency staff without first making an appointment. For the past few months, the agency has been undergoing restructuring in order to assess the assisted self-service and appointment services at the service kiosks.

The kiosk services were already limited to cities with tax service offices, so this change only makes services even less accessible to taxpayers. Canada Revenue Agency's concept of service now consists of setting up kiosks in offices and ensuring that the service agents show clients how to use them.

If the Canada Revenue Agency slogan is still, “More Ways to Serve You”, the minister should explain how Quebeckers and Canadians are getting more out of fewer services at the agency.

Afghanistan September 18th, 2006

Mr. Speaker, the Bloc Québécois deplores the deaths of four soldiers killed this morning in a suicide bombing that hit a NATO patrol in Kandahar province.

This tragedy reminds us yet again of the danger and the difficult conditions to which soldiers and diplomats working to establish peace, social justice and democracy in Afghanistan are exposed. I hope that their sacrifices will not have been in vain.

On behalf of myself and the Bloc Québécois, I wish to offer my condolences to their families, friends and colleagues in the Armed Forces.

National Revenue June 22nd, 2006

Mr. Speaker, the Government of Quebec made a decision in the Norbourg affair in order to help swindled investors. Ottawa is not following our lead in renouncing taxes not paid by Vincent Lacroix and redistributing the money to hundreds of small investors.

The Minister of National Revenue can say that she cannot comment on this matter for reasons of confidentiality under the Income Tax Act but what she is really doing is letting the dust settle and hoping that the end of the session and the arrival of summer will calm investors.

In Chicoutimi—Le Fjord and Saguenay—Lac Saint-Jean some 370 investors lost almost $6 million in the Norbourg affair.

The citizens in my area and the population of Quebec are asking the minister to hear their demands and to announce her government's decision before the end of this session.

Claude Villeneuve June 16th, 2006

Mr. Speaker, Claude Villeneuve, a university professor and head of the ECO-conseil program at the Université du Québec à Chicoutimi, was honoured with a 2006 Canadian Environment Award at a gala ceremony on June 5, 2006, in Vancouver.

A biologist by training, he earned a silver prize in the “climate change” category. I must underscore that Mr. Villeneuve has earned several honours in the past, including scientist of the year in 2001, awarded by CBC.

In addition to being a leader in environmental matters in Quebec, Claude Villeneuve also acts as a consultant for UNESCO and the United Nations Development Programme.

The Bloc Québécois would like to congratulate this brilliant environmentalist, whose work and international acclaim are a credit to the Saguenay—Lac-Saint-Jean area and to all of Quebec.

Canada Labour Code June 6th, 2006

Mr. Speaker, I am pleased to speak on this anti-strikebreaking bill, but at the same time, it makes me somewhat uncomfortable to have to address this issue once again. This is not the first time that the Bloc Québécois brings in a bill to protect the rights of workers. As far as I am concerned, that issue should have been resolved years ago.

I will clarify one point for the benefit of the labour minister. First, the Minister of Labour is from a riding with the greatest number of unionized workers in Canada, if I am not mistaken. I would just like to respond briefly to the minister. The studies cited by the minister were commissioned by right-wing organizations. Any study by the Montreal Economic Institute or the Fraser Institute invariably tends to support the interests of management and to back the employers. Also, the study on the duration of labour disputes was based on figures from 1967 to 1993. Talk about old figures. These were provided by very large corporations, but no SMEs. As we know, however, Quebec's economy is more SME based. In a word, these studies have to be taken with a grain of salt.

At this point, I would also like to introduce some statistics. The average number of work days lost in Quebec, between 1992 and 2002, by workers governed by the Quebec Labour Code was 15.9 days. The average for those governed by the Canada Labour Code was 31.1 days, or almost double.

Between 1992 and 2002—these are recent figures—in Quebec, the number of days lost per 1,000 employees governed by the Quebec Labour Code was 121.3 days; for those governed by the Canada Labour Code, 266.3 days were lost. That is substantial.

Therefore, all arguments are in favour of adopting this bill as soon as possible.

This anti-scab legislation will prohibit the use of strikebreakers or replacement workers during a labour dispute. The objective of the bill is to harmonize the provisions of the Canada Labour Code and the Quebec Labour Code.

We know that Quebec has had anti-scab legislation since 1977. There is no question that Quebec's legislation has helped Quebec move forward in terms of labour relations, in addition to reducing the duration of labour disputes, curbing violence during strikes and lockouts and, particularly, improving the working environment. It is not easy going through a strike or lockout. I will not add any other arguments as they were presented by my colleague from Gatineau.

The adoption of anti-scab measures will put an end to the existence of two categories of workers: workers falling under Quebec jurisdiction and workers in companies under federal jurisdiction.

At present, federal regulations are inadequate. Everyone agrees. The very vague provisions of the Canada Labour Code limit the use of strikebreakers, but this is by no means enough. The Bloc Québécois tabled a petition with over 46,000 signatures supporting the position of workers and calling on the government to adopt measures that will prohibit the use of replacement workers.

At the moment, only British Columbia and Quebec have legislative measures preventing the use of strikebreakers. Four provinces, including Ontario, have had anti-strikebreaking measures in their respective labour codes.

However, there was a strong consensus among the various unions about anti-strikebreaking measures, in the case of employees under provincial jurisdiction and for those under federal jurisdiction.

Anti-strikebreaking legislation is essential in the work world of today because it truly recognizes the workers' right to strike and establishes a better balance between employees and employers.

In New Brunswick, the union leaders have for awhile been calling for additional anti-strikebreaking measures in their provincial labour code. The same thing is happening in Manitoba and Saskatchewan, where the unions are trying to convince their governments to adopt such measures.

In recent years, certain strikes and lockouts have led to an upsurge in violence by employees facing replacement workers. We need only think of the 2,200 Vidéotron workers, who, after replacement workers were hired in a dispute in 2002, committed acts of vandalism against Vidéotron facilities.

All of these disputes—for there have been many of them—have several points in common. In all cases, they were long disputes in sectors where the workers are governed by the Canada Labour Code and where the use of strikebreakers is permitted.

The Vidéotron dispute lasted over 10 months; the Sécur dispute, three months; and the Cargill dispute, 38 months. Finally, at Radio-Nord work stopped for 20 months.

Half of these labour disputes were marked by acts of vandalism and violence. I want to be clear that recourse to violence and vandalism is never justified, and must be condemned by workers’ representatives in no uncertain terms. However, the feeling of being powerless and of not seeing the end of the strike or lockout inevitably drives some workers to reprehensible and illegal acts. For the Bloc Québécois, this is a worrisome situation which finds its solution in the measure proposed today, this anti-strikebreaker bill.

Since 1995, the Bloc Québécois has been trying to get a bill passed that would prevent the hiring of individuals to replace striking or locked out employees in companies governed by the Canada Labour Code and striking employees in the federal public service. If the Bloc Québécois, supported by the largest labour federations in Quebec and Canada, continues to fight for the passage of such a bill, it is because action is urgently needed to amend the federal labour code as quickly as possible and mitigate all the negative effects of a strike or lockout.

In conclusion, I will recall a few figures of which I spoke earlier. We have seen there is a very high average in the case of employees governed by the Canada Labour Code, and a much lower average in the case of employees governed by the Quebec Labour Code.

I will close by saying that this bill would put an end to two categories of workers: those governed by the Quebec Labour Code and those governed by the Canada Labour Code.

National Revenue June 6th, 2006

Mr. Speaker, the minister is refusing to answer the question because she wants this session to end before giving a straight answer to the people who were defrauded in the Norbourg affair.

On behalf of those citizens, I ask her again to tell us why the federal government will not do as the Quebec government did to help the Norbourg victims. It is her duty to answer us and to tell us her government's position as soon as possible. Instead of hiding the answer, she must reply.

National Revenue June 6th, 2006

Mr. Speaker, the Government of Quebec made a decision in the Norbourg case to help investors. It decided not to claim Vincent Lacroix's unpaid income taxes so that the money could be distributed to the victims of the fraud.

Why is the Minister of National Revenue refusing to tell us whether her government will do the same?

National Revenue June 2nd, 2006

Mr. Speaker, yesterday, we asked the Minister of National Revenue whether the federal government would follow the example of Quebec, which just relinquished $24 million in taxes owed by Vincent Lacroix of Norbourg. Judging by her answer, the minister clearly did not understand the question.

I ask her again: will the government follow Quebec's lead and redistribute the $12 million Vincent Lacroix owes the government to the people he defrauded?

Taxation May 19th, 2006

Mr. Speaker, on October 4, the Standing Committee on Finance passed a motion presented by the Conservatives asking the government to repeal the notice of assessment whereby it wrongly refused to refund GST to school boards in Quebec and Ontario.

Now that it is in power, what is the Conservative government waiting for to abide by the Tax Court of Canada's decision and repay the Quebec and Ontario school boards the $18 million it owes them?