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

Port Saguenay Oil Handling Facility November 18th, 2005

Mr. Speaker, the construction of an oil facility at the port of Saguenay is a priority for our region and will lead to the future economic development of the Saguenay—Lac-Saint-Jean region.

To date, three partners, including the Quebec government, have confirmed their participation in this project. However, the federal government is still refusing to do its share, even to the point of refusing to allocate $420,000 for preliminary design studies.

The people of Saguenay—Lac-Saint-Jean are urging the Minister of Transport to be receptive and open-minded and announce today that his government will do its share and help fund these studies for this important project for this region.

First Nations Commercial and Industrial Development Act November 18th, 2005

Mr. Speaker, I would like to put a question to the hon. member for Saint-Maurice—Champlain, but first I want to congratulate him on his speech.

Of course, he mentioned that a number of claims had been made by aboriginal communities, including the one in de La Vérendrye Park and the one in his riding which, I believe, is located about 100 kilometres from La Tuque. All these claims go back several years, up to 20 years or so in some cases.

Could the hon. member explain why successive governments have been procrastinating on this issue, to the point where, 20 years later, no concrete action has been taken to meet the needs of these aboriginal communities?

Economic Development November 15th, 2005

Mr. Speaker, how could the regional economic development minister allow his colleague in finance to produce a mini budget with nothing for the regions? Is this not evidence of this minister's light weight in cabinet?

Economic Development November 15th, 2005

Mr. Speaker, this economic update is a smokescreen. It contains nothing for agriculture, softwood lumber, textiles, clothing or, yet again, the regions. There is no shortage of problems, or money.

How did the Minister of Finance manage to produce an economic update while totally ignoring the serious problems facing a number of regions?

Taxation November 14th, 2005

Mr. Speaker, since the cuts in 1994, the federal government has held Quebec and the provinces hostage. An agreement is needed to resolve the fiscal imbalance permanently, as occurred under Jean Lesage in the 1960s and was recommended by Yves Séguin.

When will the government settle the fiscal imbalance once and for all instead of helping itself to surpluses for its own electoral purposes?

Taxation November 14th, 2005

Mr. Speaker, the government has to understand that we have lost faith in its forecasts and that the minister's announcements year in and year out prove that he has enough money to resolve the fiscal imbalance.

Will the government acknowledge that it is time to sit down and finally resolve the fiscal imbalance, which benefits Ottawa and threatens the balancing of the budgets of Quebec and the provinces?

Older Workers October 26th, 2005

Mr. Speaker, on January 26, 2005, the paper mill in Port-Alfred ceased operations for good. Many people have seen their EI benefits run out in recent weeks and are now finding themselves without an income, which leaves them with no choice but to go on welfare.

What is the minister waiting for to tell these unemployed people who have paid EI premiums all their lives that she intends to implement an income support program for older workers who are the victims of layoffs?

Income Tax Act October 25th, 2005

Madam Speaker, it is a pleasure for me to speak today on Bill C-271, to extend the tuition credit and education credit to individuals who follow a formal course of instruction given by a qualified music teacher.

I want to congratulate the member for Westlock—St. Paul on his bill.

I also want to say that, although they do not get the same media coverage as government bills, many private members' bills have a significant impact on the lives of thousands of people. Bill C-271 is one such example.

As members of the House, it is our privilege to introduce bills. Most of the time, these bills are extremely important to the public. I intend to take advantage of this privilege in due course to benefit my riding and my constituents.

First, I want to say that the Bloc Québécois supports the principle of Bill C-271, an act to amend the Income Tax Act (tuition credit and education credit). This is an important bill because it will allow hundreds of music teachers to issue an income tax receipt to their students. Currently, tuition expenses cannot be claimed for courses provided outside post-secondary institutions, meaning universities and colleges.

Education has always been a priority for the Bloc Québécois, and Bill C-271 moves in that direction. How can we oppose an initiative that will allow more musicians to take upgrading courses by limiting their financial losses? Ultimately, this bill attests to the public's interest in music.

My riding is no exception. For example, in my riding of Chicoutimi—Le Fjord, the Chicoutimi school of music currently boasts 700 students, including some 100 in an integrated arts program. Such an initiative will have a direct impact on the wallets of some parents, who are paying hundreds of dollars a year.

The music field is a major strength of my region and the Saguenay. The many music schools, the Conservatoire de musique de Saguenay, the Festival de musique du Royaume, the Orchestre symphonique du Saguenay—Lac-Saint-Jean and the Société d'art lyrique, the many choirs and choral competitions are just a few examples of a region that hums to the beat of music.

This bill will be good, therefore, for a region like mine because people who decide to take music courses from a private teacher in order to acquire or perfect skills will be entitled to the same credit as people who go through the traditional education system.

On another note, the Bloc Québécois is concerned about federal government intrusion into an area under Quebec's jurisdiction. As we well know, the federal government has had a bad habit for years now, when it transfers money to the provinces, of dictating and demanding in return certain Canada-wide conditions and standards. We need only think of parental leave and the gas tax.

Quebec has to fight all the time to save and protect its jurisdictions such as health, education, municipalities, and so forth.

As a member of the Standing Committee on Finance, I can attest to that. I just returned from some consultations in Canada in the four western provinces. Also as a member of the Standing Committee on Finance, I have had the opportunity to meet many representatives of organizations that came to testify in committee.

Quite frankly, there are two visions in Canada, two ways of seeing things. In Quebec, we want our jurisdictions protected and respected. Outside Quebec, we see that people or many organizations and association representatives want national standards from sea to sea. Those are the two visions we have in Canada.

That is why we have this concern about the federal government becoming involved or intruding in the responsibilities of Quebec and the provinces. It is important, therefore, for the federal government not to erect any barriers or make any requirements in regard to music diplomas.

I would like to finish my remarks on the Bloc Québécois' support in principle for Bill C-271. In conclusion, I would like to congratulate the member on his initiative with this bill. I would like to ask him to provide a few specifics in regard to the concerns that I just raised, namely the fact that the federal government might be tempted to try to intrude on a jurisdiction belonging to Quebec and the provinces.

Softwood Lumber October 7th, 2005

Mr. Speaker, forestry and textile workers are not the only ones affected. Within days, several dozen former employees of the Port-Alfred plant in La Baie, in the Saguenay, will be left with no income, having exhausted all available resources.

What is the Minister of Human Resources and Skills Development waiting for to implement a new older worker income support program to help workers reeling from the effects of closures in a number of different sectors of the economy?

Highway Infrastructure September 30th, 2005

Mr. Speaker, the federal government has made a commitment, with the Government of Quebec, to assume half the costs of widening highway 175. When the Minister of Transport was in the region this past August, he said that the additional costs would come from a number of federal programs. Now that same Minister of Transport is reneging on his commitment and refusing to assume 50% of the total costs of widening highway 175.

Does the minister intend to honour his commitment and recognize the 50-50 principle as stated?