LEBLANC, The Right Hon. Roméo, P.C., C.C., C.M.M., O.N.B., C.D., B.A., B.Ed.

Personal Data

Westmorland--Kent (New Brunswick)
Birth Date
December 18, 1927
Deceased Date
June 24, 2009
correspondent, journalist, lecturer, teacher

Parliamentary Career

October 30, 1972 - May 9, 1974
  Westmorland--Kent (New Brunswick)
July 8, 1974 - March 26, 1979
  Westmorland--Kent (New Brunswick)
  • Minister of State (Fisheries) (August 8, 1974 - September 13, 1976)
  • Minister of the Environment (December 5, 1975 - January 21, 1976)
  • Minister of the Environment (July 1, 1976 - September 13, 1976)
  • Minister of the Environment (September 14, 1976 - April 1, 1979)
May 22, 1979 - December 14, 1979
  Westmorland--Kent (New Brunswick)
  • Minister of Fisheries and Oceans (April 2, 1979 - June 3, 1979)
February 18, 1980 - July 9, 1984
  Westmorland--Kent (New Brunswick)
  • Minister of Fisheries and Oceans (March 3, 1980 - September 29, 1982)
  • Minister responsible for Canada Mortgage and Housing Corporation (September 30, 1982 - June 29, 1984)
  • Minister of Public Works (September 30, 1982 - June 29, 1984)

Most Recent Speeches (Page 276 of 276)

October 4, 1974

Hon. Romeo LeBlanc (Minister of State (Fisheries)):

Mr. Speaker, of course I share my predecessor's view on this. This is a very serious matter.

I do not share the hon. member's view that the conference failed. I believe there is still some important and difficult work to be done, and I am very hopeful about the extension of our fisheries jurisdiction. There has been extraordinary progress. Over 100 nations seem to have accepted this view. I remind hon. members that even unilateral action will not protect an important source of wealth in this country, salmon. We must be very careful when we assume that unilateral action would solve all our problems.

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October 23, 1973

Mr. Romeo LeBlanc (Westmorland-Kent):

Mr. Speaker, I can understand the feelings which prompted the hon. member for Timiskaming (Mr. Peters) to introduce this bill but it seems to me that if he wants to protect journalists against some possible abuses, he also opens the door to dangers we cannot ignore.

As a former journalist, I take part in this debate for a few moments because I think that we deceive ourselves enormously if we think the quality of information can depend on some sensational leaks which can occur, by exception, and which would not be the outcome of continued, lasting work.

I think that in many cases information is available. It is sufficient that journalists work on it, that newspaper owners pay journalists well and give them enough leisure time to pursue the information work they want to do. I think that in many cases the judgments we give on some journalists should rather apply to the owners of newspapers who make them work too rapidly and in a way journalists could not accept if we want them to do careful and serious work.

Mr. Speaker, it seems to me that giving to a particular group the privilege claimed by the hon. member for Timiskaming (Mr. Peters) is creating a new category of citizens, and I do not know many professional journalists-and I emphasize the word "professional", because I feel that in that trade one must be professional-I do not know many professional journalists who do not prefer a system under which they have to defend what they write, rather than to take refuge behind some kind of shield known as legal privilege.

Mr. Speaker, that is why I cannot support this bill and I think that on reflection my hon. colleagues will do the same.

[ English]

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October 16, 1973

Mr. Romeo LeBlanc (Westmorland-Kent):

Mr. Speaker, there might be a good number of reasons to support Bill C-211. It could be of course to gain a political advantage but I think we should support it mainly because we established its beneficial effects for lower income families, that is to say the majority of my constituents and a good number of citizens in my province of New Brunswick.

You only have to visit the small fishing plants along the Northumberland Strait to understand why the housewives who work there are waiting for the increase proposed by the Minister of National Health and Welfare (Mr. Lalonde). They often get only the provincial minimum wages, or $1.50 an hour and often their husband does not do any better. However, the real needs are not lower in these regions. Those housewives describe what it costs to dress the teenagers who are going to school, particularly to regional schools. To those of us who lived through days when clothes had to be mended and when patches stood in testimony of mothers' skill and family poverty, no need to recall that things like television have on the youth a levelling effect and that there are no more really remote or isolated regions. Country and small town teenagers want to live like the people they see on television and want to follow the fashion and for that, they make a strong pressure on their family.

But if they wish to be like others, country and small town teenagers have few opportunities to get casual income. There are not many opportunities for newspaper boys, work in the corners store or babysitting. In other words, all the burden is on parents who desperately want to give their children the education they did not get themselves.

If I insist on the needs of teenagers it it because this group is often tempted to quit school prematurely to make a few dollars and it is at that age that one is most affected by the feeling of not keeping up with the rest. Instead of the standard $20 a month per child formula chosen by the province of New Brunswick, I would have preferred a formula that would put greater emphasis on teenagers and their parents.

Family Allowances

Mr. Speaker, the increase in family allowances contained in this bill was quite rightly biased in favor of low income families. They will thus receive substantial increases, roughly $114 net after taxes annually for every child in the province of New Brunswick, over $27 million a year for that province alone. Even if it is taxable, the greater majority of citizens in that province will keep nearly all the increase contained in this bill. I for one fully endorse the principle of giving more to those who need it most and I am glad to see that principle set out under the Income Tax Act. The Minister of National Health and Welfare stated in his speech yesterday that such a way of distributing family allowances represents a step in the direction of more equitable regional distribution of income. It seems to me that within an area that distribution will benefit those who live away from large centers, who do not want to move in those centers and who are prepared to make certain sacrifices to continue and live in their towns. If it is true that large amounts were spent on regional development it is also true that those monies were spent mainly in growth centers better equipped to draw the maximum out of them.

Some people see family allowances as a sort of supplement to a minimum vital income. Mr. Speaker, it must be hoped that in a great number of cases families will use those monies as a supplement that will also allow to improve the quality of life whether it is by improving the quality of food by going to the dentist, by paying for musical lessons and even by allowing the boys to attend hockey schools. All these things are considered as normal in more wealthy regions but they are often a luxury in disadvantaged areas.

One can hope, Mr. Speaker, that provincial authorities which provide only a strict minimum of services in schools and community life will not use this increase in family allowances to reduce or to slow down the progress in the improvement of services. The fall-out in taxation terms from this increase which, for example, in New Brunswick should result in an increase of 4.4 million dollars, would be well invested if it were reserved for improvement in dental care for children, in education for better nutrition, in kindergartens and in greater allowances for teenagers. Some provinces, including, I believe, Alberta, Quebec and Prince Edward Island, have already indicated clearly that they would favour increasing allowances for teenagers to beyond $20.

I also wish to say that I support the minister's statement that family allowances will continue to be sent by the federal government directly to families. If we are to have unity in this country it is important that citizens understand where their tax dollar is spent, and by whom. In fact, when I was in my riding last Friday I read with interest in the New Brunswick newspapers that "the provincial government has decided to distribute $20 a month-a child-under the federally financed family allowances program." The Saint John Telegraph Journal carried the headline, "New Brunswick plans to pay $20 a child allowance". One might say that the author of the headline had not read the story, or had not realized that three paragraphs below, the newspaper honestly reports that the federal government pays the whole amount of the


October 16, 1973

Family Allowances

family allowance. However, my experience with newspapers leads me to believe that the headline is important, and not the third paragraph. Nevertheless, one might say that the implication is left that it is the provincial government, which did not tax, which is spending.

Speaking as one who represents an area where income is low, where opportunities for employment are still limited and where school and health services are still modest, I rejoice that Bill C-211 is before this House and I congratulate the minister for bringing it forward.

[Trans la tion]

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February 20, 1973

Mr. Romeo LeBlanc (Westmorland-Kent):

Mr. Speaker, having been absent by reason of sickness, I seize this first opportunity to rise on a question of privilege.

I was informed yesterday that on Monday, February 12, a daily newspaper of the national capital indicated that some hon. members, myself included, had omitted to submit to the local election officer their statutory statements on election expenses.

Mr. Speaker, that article is misleading. My official agent did file, before the date provided, my statement of election expenses, and it has been published in my riding in both official languages.

I checked today at the office of the Chief Electoral Officer and it has been confirmed to me that the statement of expenses, concerning my candidature, had indeed been received.

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