House of Commons photo

Crucial Fact

  • His favourite word was region.

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

National Defence May 5th, 2006

Mr. Speaker, the military base in Bagotville plays a major economic role in the Saguenay—Lac-Saint-Jean region. Some facilities, including several F-18 and helicopter hangars, need to be replaced quickly because of how rundown they are.

Will the Minister of National Defence give the people of my riding and my region the assurance that new money will be allocated to the military base in Bagotville to revitalize the infrastructure and confirm the base's role in the long term?

Transport April 28th, 2006

Mr. Speaker, the citizens of Saguenay—Lac Saint-Jean are reeling in uncertainty. To date, the federal government has announced only $262.5 million to expand Highway 175. However, during the election campaign, the Conservative candidates in the area reiterated the government's commitment to assume 50% of the total cost of the project, including cost overruns.

Can the Minister of Transport confirm that this promise will be kept in its entirety?

Federal Accountability Act April 26th, 2006

Mr. Speaker, I want to thank the hon. member for her speech. The Bloc Québécois supports the accountability act in principle.

The Bloc is happy to see that the bill includes a number of proposals that were made.

This afternoon, a number of members who took the floor seemed to be saying that we should move quickly and pass the bill at this stage, before the summer holidays. The Conservative government seems to be in a hurry to pass this bill.

Can the member appreciate that we need to take the time to examine the bill in detail? It is an important bill that affects a number of acts.

Income Tax Act April 6th, 2006

moved for leave to introduce Bill C-207, An Act to amend the Income Tax Act (tax credit for new graduates working in designated regions).

Mr. Speaker, I am very pleased to present my first bill in this House. Its purpose is to amend the Income Tax Act to provide a tax credit for new graduates working in designated regions.

The purpose of this bill is to encourage new graduates to settle in regions experiencing economic difficulties, thereby curbing the exodus of young people. This bill will provide graduates of vocational schools, colleges and universities with a maximum tax credit of 40% of their earnings, up to $8,000.

I am proud to be tabling a bill that will enable thousands of young people in my riding, Chicoutimi—Le Fjord, in my region Saguenay—Lac-Saint-Jean, in several regions in Quebec and throughout the country to work where they grew up.

In closing, I would like to thank my colleague from Saint-Hyacinthe—Bagot , the Bloc Québécois finance critic, for his support and advice while preparing this bill.

(Motions deemed adopted, bill read the first time and printed)

Agriculture April 5th, 2006

Mr. Speaker, some one hundred farmers came to Parliament Hill today from the Saguenay--Lac-St-Jean region to protest the Conservative government's inaction in the farm income crisis and in the case of supply management.

The decision by the Federal Court of Appeal to open the door to imports of milk protein concentrate will no doubt mean a significant loss of markets for dairy producers. This in turn will threaten thousands of jobs, not only in the Saguenay--Lac-St-Jean region, but throughout Quebec. I would remind you that Quebec produces nearly 40% of Canada's milk.

The riding of Chicoutimi—Le Fjord, like the entire Saguenay--Lac-St-Jean region, has already been hit hard by the softwood lumber crisis and by plant closures.

I urge the federal government to act quickly to avoid another crisis that could hurt thousands of farm producers and their families.

Olivier Soapery November 25th, 2005

Mr. Speaker, I want to congratulate Isabel Gagné and Pierre Pelletier, who officially opened their second soapery in the old Saint-Alexis rectory in La Baie. The Olivier Soapery is a therapeutic and tourist operation providing biodegradable and environmentally-friendly products.

The company's rapid success and constant growth have prompted its owners to settle in the riding of Chicoutimi—Le Fjord, in the home town of the company's founder and president, Isabel Gagné.

This unique tourism initiative is not only creating jobs but also teaching our young and not so young people about our history.

We are all extremely proud to welcome back Ms. Gagné, so that she can get in touch with her roots and create her local products in Quebec.

Petitions November 23rd, 2005

Mr. Speaker, it is my pleasure this afternoon to present a petition on behalf of constituents of my riding of Chicoutimi—Le Fjord who are concerned about the closure of post offices in small towns and cities in our region and in rural regions, in spite of the moratorium at Canada Post. These petitioners call on the Canadian government to instruct Canada Post to maintain, expand and improve its public post offices.

Supply November 22nd, 2005

Mr. Speaker, I thank my colleague for his question.

The government ought indeed to issue firm instructions to its negotiators to the WTO meeting in Hong Kong this December, mandating them to keep the supply management system intact. Those are the instructions the government ought to give to our negotiating team for the next round of negotiations in Hong Kong.

Supply November 22nd, 2005

Mr. Speaker, I see that the member agrees with me, since he supports supply management. He made an interesting and valuable point on egg production, which is supply managed.

I also think that we must have customs duties that are high enough to protect our egg producers.

The supply management system is based on three things: price determination, quantity and quantity control, and, of course, exports and the imposition of customs duties to allow our producers to maintain their prices and to know at the beginning of a year what their income will be during that year.

Supply November 22nd, 2005

Mr. Speaker, I will be splitting my time with the hon. member for Lotbinière—Chutes-de-la-Chaudière.

I am pleased to speak today on agricultural supply management. I will also give a brief overview of the situation for farmers in my riding of Chicoutimi—Le Fjord, and in my region.

My congratulations to the hon. member for Richmond—Arthabaska for his excellent work for our party on this issue for which he is the critic: agriculture.

The context at this time is a difficult one. A number of Quebec farmers and producers are concerned with the federal government's attitude at the WTO. We sense a certain lack of resolve to defend supply management. The federal government needs to instruct its negotiators to adopt a firm position and to indicate that supply management is untouchable.

Given this lack of will on the part of the federal government, one can sense that the farmers and producers of Quebec are extremely worried about the future of our supply managed sectors.

In Quebec there are 14,600 men and women engaged in milk, egg and poultry operations generating an economic activity of $8.75 billion. This is not a trifling amount and the government needs to do everything it can to protect the agricultural sector.

For the Bloc Québécois, supply management is a fair model for agriculture, and one that it is important to maintain. The government must defend the people of this country.

Providing consumers with local products is vital. It allows us to preserve our heritage and our unique nature while employing locals. Agriculture is an inherent part of our values and our customs, to the same extent that language and culture are. That is why the Government of Canada must firmly reiterate its support for supply management, which we believe is an essential and equitable agricultural model.

Canada's agricultural supply management policy is essentially based on two main types of intervention by the state in the market. First, it involves the implementation of planning and administrative control over pricing, marketing, and the quantity of agricultural products available, particularly through quotas. Second, it is based on the existence of customs tariffs high enough to prevent imports of foreign products. With such measures, the state ultimately ensures a loyal clientele for Canadian and Quebec farmers.

I want to take this opportunity to talk about the problem facing the agricultural industry in Saguenay—Lac-Saint-Jean and give a brief overview of job cuts in other sectors of the economy.

Coming from a region where numerous producers and farmers are concerned about this, I can understand the importance of protecting supply management.

If the Government of Canada is willing to compromise on supply management during the upcoming negotiations, there will be significant job losses in my region and my riding. Already, there have been too many jobs lost in my region. Businesses have closed over the past year. There was the Port-Alfred plant, and Produits forestiers Saguenay closed in La Baie recently. In my region, too, Alcan closed a smelter and is threatening to cut more jobs in the short term. Jobs cuts throughout the forestry and softwood lumber industry are also hurting the Saguenay—Lac-Saint-Jean region.

In my region alone, one in eight people works in agriculture. To be more specific, 15,800 people work in the bio-food industry. This is 12% of all jobs in the region.

Furthermore, the main livestock operations in the region are, in order, milk, beef, eggs and poultry. With the exception of beef, three of them are supply-managed sectors.

It goes without saying that the region would be greatly affected by a change in supply management. We cannot take any more. We have had enough of job losses in my region.

I would like to point out that the Saguenay—Lac-Saint-Jean region has a very large agricultural area. In August 2003, there were 1,222 farms with 135,673 hectares under cultivation that brought in $182 million in gross agricultural sales.

Take milk production, which is the mainstay. There are 420 farms with 23,000 milk cows producing 15,917 kilograms of milk a day, which generates $95 million in sales.

The government must therefore protect agriculture in the regions because it is a key social good and a major economic engine in many regions of Quebec and even of Canada.

Agriculture is a critical sector that cannot be subjected to the uncertainties of the pure free market. Supply management is a system that has proved itself, and the Government of Canada must not make any concessions on supply managed sectors.

The government must understand that fairer agriculture will have obvious effects on the development and vitality of agricultural regions.

Farmers are waiting. Some fear that the WTO's next international meeting in Hong Kong in December could result in compromises that undercut the supply management system in Quebec and Canada.

The federal government must stand up for our agriculture. The government is aware of the dangers that lower tariff barriers could pose to our farmers. It would be very difficult then for our farmers to compete with the heavily subsidized products from other countries, especially the United States.

For example, Quebec and Canadian producers of milk, poultry and eggs do not receive any income-support subsidies. If we had the American policies for our farmers, the average milk producer in Quebec would receive $76,000 in subsidies, while in France he or she would receive $54,000 in financial assistance under the new common agricultural policy. Our farmers in Quebec and Canada are not asking for subsidies. All they want is that we keep the supply management system.

The government must know that milk, poultry and egg producers create more than 60,000 jobs and account for nearly 40% of agricultural income in Quebec. They can be found everywhere in Quebec and contribute to the economic vitality of the region.

All groups in Quebec are united in saying that it is important to have a strong agricultural sector and a prosperous food industry. For this to happen, it is essential to keep the supply management system.

I am therefore asking the federal government to confirm as soon as possible a resolution unconditionally supporting supply management in order to reassure farmers in Quebec and Saguenay—Lac-Saint-Jean.