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Crucial Fact

  • His favourite word was quebec.

Last in Parliament March 2011, as Bloc MP for Jeanne-Le Ber (Québec)

Lost his last election, in 2011, with 24% of the vote.

Statements in the House

Budget Implementation Act, 2006 May 18th, 2006

Mr. Speaker, the Bloc Québécois has already made known that it intends to vote for this budget.

As the hon. members know, one reason is that the Conservative Party promised in writing to correct the fiscal imbalance. We will make sure that it keeps its promise to Quebeckers.

We are particularly concerned because late last week, in the media, the Prime Minister was already backtracking, and his commitments seemed less firm. We hope that this was simply a moment of weakness and that he will keep his promises.

The Bloc Québécois had been proposing a number of other measures for quite some time, and we worked hard to get them. We got $1 billion for post-secondary education, $800 million for affordable housing, assistance for farmers and a tax exemption on bursaries. The Bloc Québécois had been calling for that for a long time, and we are glad to have obtained that gain for Quebec. As well, we obtained a tax credit for public transit users, something we had also long been calling for in this House. We are happy to have gotten the excise tax lifted from jewellery and to have obtained a tax credit for tools and a reduction of the tax on the landing fee. While we would have preferred that this tax be completely eliminated, this is a step in the right direction.

That said, the budget includes several negative measures that we do not agree with. I have already spoken in this House about all the government's continued and new intrusions into the jurisdictions of the provinces and Quebec. The $1,200 child care allowance is one example. We had suggested a refundable tax credit, which would have respected the provincial and federal jurisdictions, but the government did not want this.

The budget talks about creating a Canadian securities commission. Again, the Government of Quebec has always refused to allow any interference in its exclusive jurisdictions.

The annex on the fiscal imbalance cites notions of accountability, of Canada-wide standards. They say they are driven by considerations of the social union, but Quebec has always been opposed. As far as the fiscal imbalance is concerned, it is simple. All we need is an unconditional transfer of tax fields to Quebec.

This budget also talks about new research foundations, which is yet another overlap. It talks about a cancer strategy, which already exists in Quebec. The money should have been transferred. In connection with immigration the issue of refugee credentials is another good example. The government is interfering in something that is none of its concern. This area is one of Quebec's jurisdictions. Furthermore, when it comes to looking after its own jurisdiction and setting up a Refugee Appeal Division, which would require only $10 million, the federal government is not assuming its responsibilities. It is quite sad and I have seen the impact this has had in my riding.

As hon. members know, Abdelkader Belaouni is currently in a presbytery in Pointe-Saint-Charles. He did not have the opportunity to appeal the arbitrary decision made by a commissioner. All Quebeckers are allowed to appeal decisions they disagree with, but new arrivals are not allowed to do so.

This budget still contains far too many encroachments on jurisdictions of the provinces and Quebec.

In addition to being an interference, the allowance for child care services is very unfair in its proposed format because it will be taxed based on the lowest income and not on the family income.

I have two examples to illustrate this point. In a family of four, only one person works and earns an annual income of $213,500—a federal minister, for example. The other adult stays home with the two children. The tax on the allowance will apply on the lowest income, which is zero dollars in this case. This family will receive the entire initial sum and will not pay any tax on it.

On the other hand, the head of a single-parent family who earns $28,000 will have to pay an additional $800 in income tax whether in Quebec City or in Ottawa.

Our proposal was to solve this problem by introducing an income tax credit based on family income and a decreasing contribution based on income. The cost would be the same. Frankly, we have a hard time understanding why the government did not consider our proposal. This still has not been explained.

It surprises me that during the debates we have held in this House, not a single Conservative has ever explained what is wrong with our proposal. They are always trying to avoid the issue, always handing us the same old lines. They talk about choice, but what about Quebeckers' choice?

Quebeckers have chosen to have child care services that they pay for through their income taxes. But then they are penalized because when they fill our their federal tax return, they declare lower child care costs on line 214 than other Canadians. That means the federal government saves money every year because Quebeckers chose to set up their own system. The government is $250 million a year to the good on the backs of Quebec parents, who are paying for these daycares with their income tax dollars that go to the rest of Canada.

If the federal government really wants to respect the choices made by parents and by Quebec society, it will give the $250 million it is saving thanks to Quebeckers back to the Government of Quebec.

As far as older workers are concerned, we have often asked for an assistance program to be set up for older workers who lose their employment following a mass lay-off . Sometimes this affects two people from the same household who have worked for the same company for 20 or 30 years. The day the company closes, these people have difficulty qualifying for other jobs. They end up having to spend all their savings and going on welfare until their retirement at age 65. What a sad way for them to end their career after being contributing members of society their entire lives.

This program was not expensive. We know what we would be getting into since it already existed. The federal government did not include it in its budget, but opened the door to it in the Speech from the Throne. We hope this will be a done deal as soon as possible.

There is nothing in this budget on the Kyoto protocol. We understood why last Tuesday. It is because this government is against the Kyoto protocol. What were this government's arguments? It said it was unable to keep this commitment. Rarely have we seen a government cite its own incompetence for not moving forward. Essentially what the Conservatives are saying is that they are not competent enough to do the job.

The argument that our reduction goal of 35% would mean shutting down the transport sector, simply does not hold. That would be like a person who lives a lavish lifestyle drinking alcohol and partying being asked by his accountant to cut his expenses by 35%. That person could retort that this would cut into his rent and that he would end up on the street. Of course, everyone would tell him to cut from his excesses. The same goes for the federal government.

This government has not met Quebeckers' expectations. In the case of the Kyoto protocol, it chose the oil industry over the interests of Quebeckers. We will be watching this government over the next year.

Barbados May 15th, 2006

Mr. Speaker, we are not talking about free trade. We are talking about tax avoidance. The Auditor General has said five times now that these tax treaties are harming Canada's tax base.

How can the government tolerate billions of dollars disappearing from Canada when everyone in this House is concerned about the rising cost of health care, paying down the debt, and resolving the fiscal imbalance?

Barbados May 15th, 2006

Mr. Speaker, an increasing number of Canadian businesses are taking advantage of tax provisions and the tax treaty between Canada and Barbados to avoid paying their taxes in Canada. Canadian businesses alone have assets there worth $25 billion, which is a 500% increase in 10 years.

Can this government, which denounced these treaties when it was in opposition, now tell us what it intends to do to axe these laws and regulations that cause Canada to lose hundreds of millions of dollars in taxes a year?

Budget Implementation Act, 2006 May 15th, 2006

Mr. Speaker, I have three simple questions for the minister on this budget.

First, since he seems to be quite familiar with figures in this budget, I would like to know what in terms of equalization will be the amount per capita that will be allocated to Quebec compared to the maritime provinces. It would be interesting to see whether the additional amount will correct the existing imbalance.

As far as the fiscal imbalance in general is concerned, this government promised to resolve it. I would like the minister to tell us how much we are talking about, how much it should cost—without going into details about the final negotiated sum. What can we expect from this government? We have already seen the Prime Minister go back on this issue over the weekend and that concerns us.

My last question has to do with the productivity of businesses. This is what I would like to know: for businesses that are currently having great difficulty, the manufacturing sector in particular where there are companies that are not making profits or paying taxes—what is in this budget to help them?

Business of Supply May 11th, 2006

Mr. Speaker, I would like to read the motion for the benefit of my colleague from Lévis—Bellechasse who did not have the opportunity to read it before coming to the House. In part b), we ask to:

publish, by October 15, 2006, an effective and equitable plan for complying with the Kyoto Protocol that includes a system of emission objectives for large emitters along with an exchange of emission rights accompanied by a bilateral agreement with Quebec and the provinces that want it, which could be based on a territorial approach.

There is no reference to “napkins” or any other document. We ask the government do come up with a plan and to meet the commitment it made in Kyoto to the international community. We also mentioned what a former Conservative government did in the past. That was before the Alliance and, at that time, members from Quebec stood up and took a stand. They did not cave in to the pressures of the oil lobby or others.

What I wanted to ask the hon. member is if he will ponder the issue over the week-end, take a stand, listen to and work for Quebecers who want to see Kyoto implemented and if he will vote with us next Tuesday.

Business of Supply May 11th, 2006

Mr. Speaker, in his speech the parliamentary secretary referred to my political opinions. I may be a sovereignist, but it is not my party that is going to cover Canada in shame on the international scene by reneging on its commitments. Canada signed the Kyoto protocol, which was ratified in this House. Today, by refusing to vote in favour of the Bloc motion, it is the objectives of the Kyoto protocol, and by extension, the protocol itself, that this government is refusing to implement.

It is also going to make Canada look even more ridiculous by keeping the Minister of the Environment as the chair of the Bonn conference, when the other countries will all see that the chair only wants to sabotage the protocol.

That is appalling, but what is even worse is the reason they give us for not wanting to implement the Kyoto protocol. The government says that it will be incapable of complying with the agreement. What an admission of incompetence. This is the first time that I have seen a government justify itself by saying that it will be incapable.

I have a question for the parliamentary secretary. It is true that the Liberal government was incapable of complying with the agreement. Does the only difference between this government and the previous one lie in the fact that the current government knows that it will be incapable?

The Budget May 8th, 2006

Mr. Speaker, in his speech, the hon. member talked about parents' child care choices. I would also like us to talk about the choice Quebeckers have made regarding child care.

For years, the federal government has been saving money at Quebeckers' expense. Quebeckers have chosen to make child care available for $7 rather than paying higher fees, as in the rest of Canada. So the government is saving $250 million because Quebeckers have chosen to use tax dollars to subsidize child care fees.

Does this government intend to return the money it is saving at Quebeckers' expense to the Government of Quebec?

The Budget May 8th, 2006

Mr. Speaker, the Bloc Québécois insists on discussing the fiscal imbalance because it knows that this creates a social imbalance in Quebec. In fact, the government does not have the means to work for people in communities. Furthermore, in terms of unemployment, the previous government's performance was pretty dismal. I am not particularly surprised that they are voting against this budget, since they have never even admitted that a fiscal imbalance exists.

The Budget May 8th, 2006

Mr. Speaker, the Bloc Québécois already pointed out that it was very concerned about correcting the fiscal imbalance. It already pointed out that there did not seem to be enough money to address this issue.

In 2006-07, the surplus, including the contingency reserve, is $3.6 billion. In 2007, it is $2.8 billion. We are therefore talking about $6.4 billion. This is far less than is needed, since post-secondary education alone requires $4.9 billion a year. The federal government must leave Quebec its jurisdictions and look after its own in order to address this issue. We support the government on this. It promised Quebeckers it would do this. It also made this commitment in a budget document. We will see what the government does and will be there to monitor its actions.

The Budget May 8th, 2006

Mr. Speaker, the fact that my colleague for Lévis—Bellechasse has asked the question shows that he does not understand what respect for Quebec's jurisdiction means.

Municipalities fall under Quebec's jurisdiction. These decisions will be made in Quebec. It is not up to the federal government to preach to the Government of Quebec. That is what it means to respect Quebec's jurisdiction.

That said, the government can invest in community infrastructure. The Bloc Québécois has asked it to do so. In fact, there is quite a lot of infrastructure in and around Quebec City that the federal government should contribute to. There is nothing in the current budget for those people. I find that unfortunate. The government should take care of that rather than tell Quebec how to run its municipalities.