CHARBONNEAU, The Hon. Yvon, P.C., B.A., M.A., L.Ped.

Personal Data

Anjou--Rivière-des-Prairies (Quebec)
Birth Date
July 11, 1940
administrator, ambassador, consultant, professor, unionist

Parliamentary Career

June 2, 1997 - October 22, 2000
  Anjou--Rivière-des-Prairies (Quebec)
  • Parliamentary Secretary to the Minister of Health (September 1, 1999 - September 12, 2001)
November 27, 2000 - May 23, 2004
  Anjou--Rivière-des-Prairies (Quebec)
  • Parliamentary Secretary to the Minister of Health (September 1, 1999 - September 12, 2001)
  • Parliamentary Secretary to the Deputy Prime Minister and Minister of Public Safety and Emergency Preparedness with special emphasis on Emergency Preparedness (December 12, 2003 - July 19, 2004)

Most Recent Speeches (Page 5 of 52)

November 6, 2003

Mr. Yvon Charbonneau (Anjou—Rivière-des-Prairies, Lib.)

Mr. Speaker, in a few days we will be marking Remembrance Day and will be paying tribute to the thousands of men and women who served our country and defended the cause of world peace and freedom in both times of war and times of peace.

Veterans all like to talk about their memories of service in Europe, Korea or elsewhere. Those I have met this week are no exception.

One in particular, Sergeant Fernand Trépanier, remembers the landings in Sicily, which took place 60 years ago—an operation that lasted 32 days and cost 560 lives—the landings at Reggio di Calabria in mainland Italy, the battle of Casa Berardi, and the battle of Ortona, which, despite the Allied victory, remains one of the deadliest battles of the World War II.

These oft-ignored engagements by the Royal 22nd Regiment contributed as early as 1943 to wearing down the enemy and preparing for the Normandy landings a few months later.

To all these brave veterans, thank you and long may you live.

Topic:   Statements By Members
Subtopic:   Remembrance Day
Full View Permalink

October 29, 2003

Mr. Yvon Charbonneau (Anjou—Rivière-des-Prairies, Lib.)

Mr. Speaker, I would like to express my appreciation to the young people and the representatives of the organizations that work with them in my riding, who recently took part in a round table on “Youth in our society”.

Our young people are looking to us for assistance. Our young people are perceptive. They are aware that demographic trends are not in their favour and that the family is no longer the reliable support it once was. Their motivation and their feeling of belonging to the community cannot be taken for granted.

They have high expectations of school and work. In particular, they would like community organizations to have more resources with which to complement school activities, especially for the more disadvantaged.

They would like governments to fund community organizations or public-private partnerships in order to provide enriching experiences and cooperation opportunities for young people, such as discovery courses at home or abroad.

Finally, they would like governments and municipalities to provide recreational and cultural infrastructures that meet the new needs of the young people in their neighbourhoods.

Will we be able to live up to their expectations? Can we meet the challenge they have set us?

Topic:   Statements By Members
Subtopic:   Youth in our Society
Full View Permalink

October 23, 2003

Mr. Yvon Charbonneau (Anjou—Rivière-des-Prairies, Lib.)

Mr. Speaker, I am pleased to announce in this House that UNESCO and the Inter-Parliamentary Union, or IPU, have launched an international network of parliamentarians to support UNESCO's mission and activities.

This network was officially launched on October 6, in Paris, during UNESCO's General Conference. The IPU will appeal to its 140 national branches to each designate a member to act as a focal point with UNESCO and its national commissions in 190 countries.

This international network will allow parliamentarians around the world to become more familiar with UNESCO and to better publicize this essential UN organization dedicated to the promotion of education, culture and science, and to humanizing globalization.

This network is totally consistent with the wishes of our own UNESCO Friendship Group of Parliamentarians and the Ottawa Declaration that closed the conference held here in June.

I am very pleased with the step that has been taken. Parliamentarians around the world will be able to contribute more to debates on current issues at UNESCO, such as the protection of cultural diversity, ethics and genetics, and the information and knowledge based society.

Topic:   Statements By Members
Subtopic:   Unesco
Full View Permalink

June 12, 2003

Mr. Yvon Charbonneau (Anjou—Rivière-des-Prairies, Lib.)

Mr. Speaker, on behalf of the Friendship Group of Parliamentarians for UNESCO, I would like to point out that tomorrow and the day after, Ottawa will be hosting an international conference of parliamentarians on strengthening relations between UNESCO and the parliaments of the world.

In addition to its primary mission, which is to promote education, science and culture, UNESCO has been given several broad mandates, such as the promotion of a culture of peace, dialogue of cultures and civilizations, and protection of cultural diversity. In a word, UNESCO has taken on the duty of humanizing globalization, which constitutes an essential reference point.

There is considerable overlap between what parliamentarians and UNESCO do.

The Ottawa conference is sponsored by UNESCO and the Department of Foreign Affairs. It will lay the foundation for an international network of parliamentarians for UNESCO which, in conjunction with the Inter-Parliamentary Union, will help parliamentarians familiarize themselves with UNESCO and contribute to its policy direction and programs.

Topic:   Statements By Members
Subtopic:   Unesco
Full View Permalink

May 15, 2003

Mr. Yvon Charbonneau (Anjou—Rivière-des-Prairies, Lib.)

Madam Speaker, first, I want to commend the Bloc Quebecois for having raised in the House the issue of the American proposal asking Canada to take part in the U.S. missile defence plan.

I also congratulate them on following up on the Prime Minister's suggestion that this be a public debate, because it could well have been limited to a few parties within Parliament. After this opposition day, many Canadians will be paying closer attention to these very serious questions.

I also wish to recognize the very careful work of the hon. member for Yukon, who chaired the committee of our national caucus on these questions, whose report was tabled in the House earlier. This is a very balanced report, which reflects the differing and totally legitimate points of view we hear when we embark on this kind of a debate.

In our parliamentary system, it is incumbent on the government to make decisions in these matters. But the government bases its decisions on debates within the Canadian public, in Parliament and within its own ranks; it has done so and is doing so now.

Personally, I am totally comfortable with the positions taken by the Standing Committee on Procedure and House Affairs, as set out previously by our party, against the militarization of space. In other debates, we have stressed the importance of mobilizing against terrorism. We also strongly support mobilization against the doctrine of pre-emptive war inspired by unilateralism, which the government of our neighbours to the south is promoting.

What we want to know is this: how useful will the missile defence system contemplated be against hostile countries, or rogue states as they are called, terrorism in all its forms and weapons of mass destruction? Can one seriously claim that this system can be used and have some degree of effectiveness against these threats? Some paint the world in terms of good states and evil states. Could missile defence be of any use in this context?

I think that there is a great deal of confusion between defence and security. We say that we want to achieve security through increasingly sophisticated technological defence systems. In my opinion, there is a certain imbalance in the debate that has to be emphasized at this point.

We are saying, “Will this work? Will there be so many missiles of such and such a category? Since when have they been around? Approximately how much will that cost? What are the advantages and the disadvantages?” We are fixated on technical considerations when the issue is much more important than that. It is a matter of security. And it is a matter of security not only for the United States and the northern part of the North American continent that includes Canada and United States, but for humanity.

In my opinion, it is not through the building up and the escalation of technologies, however sophisticated they may be, that we will achieve greater security in Canada, in North America or on planet earth. It is not through such escalation that we can reduce the gap between good states and evil states. I do not think that building a fortress here in North America will solve these sorts of issues, which are vital to the long-term security of humanity.

We are in a situation similar to the one in which those people living behind barricades and in fortresses find themselves. Sometimes, when we visit certain countries, we realize that rich people have beautiful residences that cannot be seen from the street because they are hidden behind high walls. Are these people really safe behind those high walls? They claim they are. And when things get bad, they simply add a few more rows of blocks and make the wall higher.

Then they install barbed wire, control towers and radar to watch over everything. But when they leave their fortress, are they safe? They have to be escorted by armed guards to get to an airport to travel. They have to be escorted for their own safety to get to their offices downtown. Are they safe? They can defend themselves as long as they are inside their fortress. Once they leave, real life is waiting for them.

The same thing is true on an international level. It is possible to build a system where you are almost invulnerable as long as you stay inside your own walls. As soon as you leave, real life is waiting for you. Is it really any good to have a fortress in which we see ourselves as invulnerable? If, in the future, we run out of water, if the land around becomes a desert, if disease devastates the entire country and other continents, where is the security in that?

Some people, some countries and some elite groups can believe they are safe, but this does not move the planet forward. In my opinion, we are all in the same boat. As earthlings, we are on a space ship. The survival of one means the survival of all. We will all live or we will all die.

All the escalating and ruinously expensive technologies will not help us one bit in this regard. Instead, it will take international cooperation, the development of multilateral tools, rebuilding the UN and the Security Council, a better balance between the haves and the have nots and between the continents and the superpowers. The creation of new tools will put us on the road to achieving this security, which is much more important and encompassing than the stockpile of defence weapons that only temporarily protect our own fortress.

There are battles ahead. The battle for a clean environment and for sustainable development around the world, for the eradication of poverty afflicting pockets on each continent, for access to water, food, shelter, physical security, and education. These measures are the ones that ensure security in the middle and long term.

Canada should send this message to the U.S., international public opinion and UN forums. It should send the message that this is our first choice. Those are the terms of this debate, in my opinion.

Topic:   Government Orders
Subtopic:   Supply
Full View Permalink