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Crucial Fact

  • His favourite word was quebec.

Last in Parliament February 2017, as Liberal MP for Saint-Laurent (Québec)

Won his last election, in 2015, with 62% of the vote.

Statements in the House

Distinct Society April 17th, 1996

Mr. Speaker, I am delighted to finally be able to express the truth about the status and the role of the people of Quebec, because it is not being expressed by the opposition and never will be.

The people of Quebec enjoy the greatest possible autonomy within Canada as regards their own institutions. Of all the federations in the world, it would be difficult to find one more decentralized than Canada. Canada's provinces have a higher status than American states, Swiss cantons or German l«nder. This is what Quebecers enjoy. They also enjoy Canada.

We are not saying that everything is perfect. Things have to be improved. The reality of Quebec in Canada and in North America must be recognized, but to move from that fact to endlessly describing Quebec as suffering to the point where only such an extreme solution as secession will suffice is stretching the truth to the breaking point.

Distinct Society April 17th, 1996

Mr. Speaker, the Leader of the Opposition, whom I thank for his questions, seems, surprisingly enough, not to understand one thing.

It is an extraordinary opportunity in today's world to be born a Quebecer and a Canadian. I am a Quebecer and a Canadian and I would fight with every means democracy puts at my disposal anyone who tried to take away my Canadian identity.

Distinct Society April 17th, 1996

Mr. Speaker, the official opposition seems to want to play dictionary games. What counts, and I have been saying this since I arrived in this House, is substance. Substance is what counts.

And the substance that Quebecers want to keep for the most part is a Quebec identity and a Canadian identity; a Quebec pride and a Canadian pride; a Quebec solidarity and a Canadian solidarity.

Distinct Society April 16th, 1996

Mr. Speaker, I have little to say on that, except perhaps that this is wishful thinking on the part of the hon. member.

Distinct Society April 16th, 1996

Mr. Speaker, I have been wondering since yesterday whether or not the hon. member can read or hear. It is stated in the resolution-and I want to put it on the record, because the Prime Minister himself pointed it out yesterday-that the Liberal Party of Canada supports the enshrinement in the Constitution of the principles recognized in the parliamentary resolution passed in December 1995 defining the distinct society.

Distinct Society April 16th, 1996

Mr. Speaker, what is this I hear? Acknowledging Quebec's difference would be meaningless? What the opposition fears is that we might manage to reconcile Quebecers and Canadians so that they

may join together in the same country to face the formidable challenges of the 21st century.

Distinct Society April 16th, 1996

Mr. Speaker, to take more of an overview, for 30 years now Canada has been trying to survive the threat of secession. We are the only democracy that has been faced with this problem for 30 years, yet the same values are shared by Canadians in all provinces and in Quebec; they share a desire to live together. Those in Quebec do not want to have to choose between their Quebec identity and their Canadian identity. They want to remain both Quebecers and Canadians, and that is what they will do.

Distinct Society April 16th, 1996

Mr. Speaker, what is this backtracking the Leader of the Opposition is referring to? It is very clear that Quebec is a distinct society within Canada. It is very clear that the Government of Canada intends to recognize that reality by all necessary means.

The Government of Canada will make every effort to convince Canadians to reconcile, for there is indeed an element in this English speaking North America, in this bilingual Canada, that is called Quebec, an admirable society which is able to affirm itself as a great reality, a reality which Canadians wish to keep as part of their country.

The Constitution April 15th, 1996

Mr. Speaker, bilingual or trilingual democracies have measures to ensure that their language communities will live together in harmony. It is what we have in Canada. We are very proud of it.

The Constitution April 15th, 1996

Mr. Speaker, we must state the facts.

Since the beginning, since 1988, the intent to put in the Constitution the recognition of Quebec has never been a device to change the distribution of powers in the Constitution of Canada.

Never. Some politicians who do not want to reconcile Quebecers and Canadians may say that but it is not the truth. I will give you what was written in 1987, the first draft the first ministers accepted in order to keep Quebec as a distinct society, or any other term you want to use within Canada.

"Nothing in this section derogates from the powers, rights or privileges of Parliament or the Government of Canada or the legislatures of the governments of the provinces, including any powers, rights or privileges relating to language". This is why it would be a lie to say that it may change the distribution of powers. It is an interpretative clause. It is necessary but it does not change the basic Constitution.