André-Gilles FORTIN

FORTIN, André-Gilles, B.A., B.Ped., Br.A.

Personal Data

Party
Social Credit
Constituency
Lotbinière (Quebec)
Birth Date
November 13, 1943
Deceased Date
June 24, 1977
Website
http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/André-Gilles_Fortin
PARLINFO
http://www.parl.gc.ca/parlinfo/Files/Parliamentarian.aspx?Item=62c671a6-e471-4999-aee1-17376a7ee1b2&Language=E&Section=ALL
Profession
professor

Parliamentary Career

June 25, 1968 - March 31, 1971
RA
  Lotbinière (Quebec)
April 1, 1971 - September 1, 1972
SC
  Lotbinière (Quebec)
October 30, 1972 - May 9, 1974
SC
  Lotbinière (Quebec)
July 8, 1974 - March 26, 1979
SC
  Lotbinière (Quebec)
  • Social Credit Party House Leader (January 1, 1976 - January 1, 1976)

Most Recent Speeches (Page 5 of 450)


June 20, 1977

Mr. Fortin:

Mr. Speaker, 1 was expecting this position as I was sufficiently aware of the rules, but 1 wanted to demonstrate that the opposition has in fact no chance to cast light on the past activities of solicitors general as they often move to another position and as the present Solicitor General admits on page 4 of his statement, that people in this position do not know anything about their letters and their inquiries from the RCMP. Consequently, I direct my question to the right hon. Prime Minister. Considering the unbelievable recognition by the present Solicitor General that it is customary for ministers not to inquire about investigations or claims made against the RCMP nor about the letters to be signed, can the Prime Minister tell us whether there is any direction from cabinet to put an end to this unusual practice where a responsible minister is eventually irresponsible?

Topic:   ORAL QUESTION PERIOD
Subtopic:   BREAK-IN AT L'AGENCE DE PRESSE LIBRE-REQUEST FOR STATEMENT BY MINISTER OF SUPPLY AND SERVICES
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June 20, 1977

Mr. Fortin:

Mr. Speaker, I would like to ask a supplementary question.

I am sure the Prime Minister realizes how difficult it is for opposition members to address questions on activities arising from an old responsibility of the former solicitor general. So, given the difficulties that arise from questions which opposition members are entitled to ask on behalf of the Canadian people, would the Prime Minister, since all opposition parties are unanimous, agree to review his decision and allow such an inquiry so we might question the former solicitor general and have the matter cleared up?

Topic:   ORAL QUESTION PERIOD
Subtopic:   BREAK-IN AT L'AGENCE DE PRESSE LIBRE-REQUEST FOR STATEMENT BY MINISTER OF SUPPLY AND SERVICES
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June 20, 1977

Mr. Andre Fortin (Lotbiniere):

Mr. Speaker, with your leave, I would put my question to the present Minister of Supply and Services.

In view of his responsibilities when he was Solicitor General in 1972, in view also of the serious allegations now made because of this inquiry and the court's decisions, and in view of the importance given by the present Solicitor General in his statement of June 17 as to the role the present Minister of Supply and Services played in this matter, and to clarify and give more dynamism and power to his present position, could the minister tell the House whether he intends to make a statement in the near future on his position as to the conduct of a complete inquiry on this matter, either before the House of Commons or before a parliamentary committee? If so, when?

Topic:   ORAL QUESTION PERIOD
Subtopic:   BREAK-IN AT L'AGENCE DE PRESSE LIBRE-REQUEST FOR STATEMENT BY MINISTER OF SUPPLY AND SERVICES
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June 15, 1977

Mr. Andre Fortin (Lotbiniere):

Mr. Speaker, during the few minutes allotted to me I would like to make a few comments on the motion moved today by my colleagues of the New Democratic Party on the relevance of a royal commission on organized crime in Canada. It is not a matter which can be easily solved. I heard the speech made by the mover (Mr. COMMONS DEBATES

Leggatt) as well as that of the Solicitor General (Mr. Fox) and I was surprised to note that with sometimes plausible arguments the proposition has been lightly dismissed.

Mr. Speaker, due to the complexity and the importance of the matter, I do not believe that we should merely dismiss a proposal for the establishment of a royal commission on organized crime. Besides, the minister recalled that government action can be summed up in about 27 years of history, more precisely, it goes back to 1968, when various police forces started a cooperative movement to try and stamp out organized crime.

Mr. Speaker, our country is still young, but we must admit that crime is not marginal, it is organized. It is made up of men, women and young people, it is everywhere in Canada, not only in Quebec or Ontario, it is found in all provinces and in all major cities. It has its own financial means, and they are tremendous, its own leaders; in short, it is organized. Mr. Speaker, I would even say it is a parallel organization which works within the state and had tentacles gradually reaching some officials and certain departments. Of course, they have their inside quarrels. Sometimes it gives the impression of so-called political scandals, but we know it exists.

Mr. Speaker, I ask myself this question briefly but seriously to answer the motion of the New Democratic Party. We know, on the one hand, that organized crime exists in Canada, that it has its tentacles, that it is well organized and that more often than not it thwarts the police forces of the country. On the other hand, we in Quebec, particularly in Montreal, have had the experience of the Commission of Inquiry into Organized Crime, and I am tempted to say like the Solicitor General (Mr. Fox) that that commission only succeeded, in the end, in damaging the reputation of a number of simple people whose picture we saw on television. It provided money and paid judges and lawyers. It was, all in all, a source of amusement for a great many people. But if we consider the number of proceedings which were instituted as a result of this inquiry into organized crime, we can wonder to what extent such a commission can effectively fight against organized crime.

On the other hand, Mr. Speaker, the point of the mover was that a royal commission would cause every Canadian, every Quebecer, every Ontarian to wonder seriously about this, to increase his awareness of organized crime and to change his attitude as to the co-operation he should offer our police forces, something we are all seeking. Then, Mr. Speaker, the Solicitor General argued that a royal commission would not be effective against crime, whereas the mover emphasized that it would increase the awareness of the Canadian public, open to the public a number of files, force various police corps to come clean, in a positive sense, and review their methods. Mr. Speaker, then, I think that that argument nullifies the Solicitor General's argument, and is valid as far as we are concerned.

We have heard in the House, at least since I first came here in 1968, great speeches occasionally from solicitors general- and we have had many of them since 1968-or indeed from ministers of justice about how serious the government was in

Organized Crime

its fight against crime. I might recall for example the famous omnibus bill, and the government proposals regarding the use of wiretapping in this country; I might also recall several questions raised in this House, and positions stated by various ministers on the role of the Royal Canadian Mounted Police. I might also recall a government proposal for gun control in this country.

All that is part of the means of action this government has to fight against organized crime of all kinds.

Just as you did, Mr. Speaker, I heard that controlling firearms in Canada, controlling their circulation, sale, distribution and use would have the direct effect of controlling organized crime or facing up to it. However, it is becoming ever more obvious that we control the firearms of law-abiding citizens. The firearms of the so-called criminals or bandits are not better controlled. As if a gangster will have his weapon registered. We would be very naive to believe this. I can hardly understand why the minister and his predecessors put forward this kind of arguments to say that the government is serious about this control.

I believe the minister said earlier that over 2,168 people are employed in the fight against organized crime. So there should be some action, some fight. What has the government to conceal about their methods? On the one hand the government is serious about controlling organized crime, they have the means, the methods, the men and, on the other hand, there is more and more uncertainty, fear, dissatisfaction among the public in Canada as far as the administration of justice in general is concerned. Therefore why not reconcile those two common and converging goals and set up a public inquiry on organized crime so as to stir up public opinion and reconsider methods used by the RCMP and other police forces.

Mr. Speaker, when I happen to think about it I wonder sometime if society itself is really committed to fighting crime. Not long ago-and I am sure that members from Quebec will remember that event-important demonstrations were being held in Quebec, not by anybody but by our law enforcement agents, our policemen, who merely wanted to pair up in police cruisers. They stated in a very clear, efficient and strong manner the reasons for this request. Of course, this does not come under federal government jurisdiction but it is part of the same society, the same approach. This request allowed for a remarkable debate. Public opinion supported our policemen's request. I did too because I thought it was normal that our policemen be not only well organized and equipped but that they could work in a way not to serve as targets for criminals and be in a position to defend themselves. How often have I intervened in the House, since 1968, asking the government to invest more money in crime prevention and juvenile delinquency! When I was a member of the Standing Committee on Justice and Legal Affairs, we looked into the matter. It is absolutely unbelievable that it should take so long to act on it. One need but consult the figures published by Statistics Canada, and repeated by the Solicitor General and again by

June 15, 1977

Organized Crime

many other hon. members, to realize that with regard to crime in this country we are somewhat like fire brigades: quite content to put out fires whenever they occur. We do not prevent crime. In any event, the methods the government claims to apply have clearly proved to be inefficient to fight against crime at its source.

Our judicial system is weak in many regards. When one knows how judges are appointed, one wonders about the quality of their decisions, since appointments to the bench are political in nature. Is it any wonder then that at times people lose faith in the administration of justice? I say that is serious, because when the day comes when citizens lose confidence in the administration of justice, one of the three fundamental powers in our country, the executive, the legislative and the judiciary, we reach the point where concern about the future becomes acute. The mechanism for the appointment of judges should also be revised.

Our crime prevention methods will have to be re-assessed. It is not enough to say that a royal inquiry will be carried out: most of all, we will have to know exactly what will be investigated, what powers the commission will have. I think we have to know. For the experience to be valuable, to be more than the mere public display of ruffians connected with organized crime, we will have, Mr. Speaker, to take that opportunity to re-assess our methods for preventing crime, juvenile delinquency, to know how delinquents are dealt with, how much money is invested.

Mr. Speaker, we will have to ask ourselves what crime is, and here I thank the mover of the New Democratic Party for making the House aware of that issue and giving us the opportunity to speak. They say they will fight organized crime. Some call for the establishment of a public inquiry. So, what is a crime? Is it, Mr. Speaker, when somebody is deprived of certain rights? Is it somebody's action which deprives ofthers and society of their rights? Just what is a crime? Is it strictly a question of murder? In that case, we will have to speak particularly of crime, of its commercial aspect and this is a point which I find highly interesting.

Mr. Speaker, the Social Crediters have spoken about it long ago and I am sure that the minister is going to find it amusing and is going to say that Social Credit members always manage to talk about the Bank Act, even when debating a motion on organized crime. But from our point of view, Mr. Speaker, the bank system is very close to organized crime. I see that the minister finds it amusing. If he wants to find it amusing, there will be two of us to be amused. Here is a list of about 700 to 800 workers from my riding who are threatened with the loss of their holiday pay because plants will be closing and because the creditors will act under section 88 of the Bank Act.

That, Mr. Speaker, is a direct theft which will be made on the workers' back. The closing of those plants will take place on July 1 if nothing is done to stop it in the meantime and if the government does not intervene. These plants, Mr. Speaker, are not typical of our area, as one finds them throughout Quebec. They make furniture. It is not a final decision, but according to our information, and we have every reason to

believe it is accurate, the holiday pay will not be paid to these employees because the creditors are hiding behind the famous section 88 of the Bank Act. Who pays for these holidays? It is a deduction from the worker's pay to pay him holidays when the time comes. He earns this money by the sweat of his brow, by the long working hours which he has worked. It is not a theft, it is a right. This holiday pay belongs to him. On top of losing his job, Mr. Speaker, when he has been working in a factory for 10, 15 or 20 years, he is about to lose his holiday pay, currently known as the 4 per cent. This is commercial fraud. This is not part of organized crime for the government. Banks can act and behave just as they want, there is no problem-

Topic:   GOVERNMENT ORDERS
Subtopic:   BUSINESS OF SUPPLY
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June 15, 1977

Mr. Fortin:

As my colleague, the member for Roberval (Mr. Gauthier) suggests, it is a legal theft. Mr. Speaker, the worst bandits are not necessarily people who got locked up by the police. There are a good number of them who are still at large and who, under the cover of law, as civil servants or as presidents of banks, think nothing of exploiting others. Regarding loansharking, for example, the government says that it is going to introduce a bill against loansharking-

Topic:   GOVERNMENT ORDERS
Subtopic:   BUSINESS OF SUPPLY
Full View Permalink