Bernard BIGRAS

BIGRAS, Bernard

Personal Data

Party
Bloc Québécois
Constituency
Rosemont--La Petite-Patrie (Quebec)
Birth Date
June 4, 1969
Website
http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Bernard_Bigras
PARLINFO
http://www.parl.gc.ca/parlinfo/Files/Parliamentarian.aspx?Item=b423ba61-95aa-4b51-8b1c-1543eac4f01f&Language=E&Section=ALL
Profession
economist, political adviser

Parliamentary Career

June 2, 1997 - October 22, 2000
BQ
  Rosemont (Quebec)
  • Bloc Québécois Caucus Chair (June 17, 1998 - January 1, 2000)
November 27, 2000 - May 23, 2004
BQ
  Rosemont--Petite-Patrie (Quebec)
June 28, 2004 - November 29, 2005
BQ
  Rosemont--La Petite-Patrie (Quebec)
January 23, 2006 - September 7, 2008
BQ
  Rosemont--La Petite-Patrie (Quebec)
October 14, 2008 - March 26, 2011
BQ
  Rosemont--La Petite-Patrie (Quebec)

Most Recent Speeches (Page 5 of 282)


November 29, 2010

Mr. Bernard Bigras (Rosemont—La Petite-Patrie, BQ)

Mr. Speaker, against the advice of Environment Canada officials, the Conservative government lobbied intensely to ensure that certain provisions of the American Energy Independence and Security Act, passed in 2007, would not apply to the oil sands. The Conservative government was afraid that the American legislation would hurt exports of dirty oil to the United States.

Do these revelations not prove, once again, that this government has but one political motivation: to protect the interests of Alberta oil companies?

Topic:   Oral Questions
Subtopic:   The Environment
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November 29, 2010

Mr. Bernard Bigras (Rosemont—La Petite-Patrie, BQ)

Mr. Speaker, such an attitude on the part of the government does not bode well for the Cancun summit. While the European Union and the African Union have both announced their positions, we are still waiting to hear where the Conservative government stands.

Does the minister realize that if he goes to Cancun without a road map, he will be regarded not as an environment minister, but rather as a lobbyist for big oil?

Topic:   Oral Questions
Subtopic:   The Environment
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November 29, 2010

Mr. Bernard Bigras (Rosemont—La Petite-Patrie, BQ)

Mr. Speaker, I am very pleased to speak today to Bill S-210, which we will naturally support, along with all the other parties in this House. This essentially administrative bill was presented in the Senate on April 30, 2010, and it would amend two acts: the Federal Sustainable Development Act and the Auditor General Act. It would ensure that when the environment commissioner provides a report on the progress of sustainable development, this report is tabled in both the House of Commons and the Senate. That is the first amendment.

The second amendment would give the environment commissioner more latitude to decide when it is necessary to table reports on sustainable development. The Federal Sustainable Development Act, which is in its infant stages, since it was just recently passed, was the result of a bill introduced by one of our former colleagues, John Godfrey. He thought it was very important for Canada, and more specifically the federal government, to have a sustainable development strategy. I will come back to this shortly.

Mr. Godfrey worked with all of the parties to ensure that Bill C-474 would be passed. The Bloc Québécois did not like the bill in its original form because it proposed only a national sustainable development strategy. In addition, this bill interfered significantly in the provinces' areas of jurisdiction, such as agriculture and recycling. It was a national, coast-to-coast strategy that would not have produced results at the end of the day.

Following talks, the parties have decided that it is important for Canada to have a federal sustainable development strategy that falls within its own areas of jurisdiction. Thus, Canada will be able to meet the Rio targets and truly put in place a sustainable development plan using resources that already exist in its various departments. This strategy would also aim to increase greening of public services and provide Canada with the means to reach its international environmental goals.

That is how Bill S-210 was introduced. It will ensure that the commissioner has more flexibility in reaching the set targets. We need greater accountability and the environment commissioner must be able to report more frequently. Over the past weeks and months, we have come to realize that the environmental strategy presented by the federal government in order to comply with Bill C-474 contained targets that were vague, weak and insufficient.

Clearly, the government was just paying lip service to the ideas of reducing greenhouse gas emissions and protecting ecosystems and oceanographic resources. We need a transparent sustainable development strategy with clear goals. However, that is what was missing from the strategy that has been developed.

The commissioner will be responsible for assessing whether the government has met those targets. The targets are inadequate, so, naturally, the commissioner will have a hard time in the coming years figuring out whether Canada is keeping the promises made to Parliament.

We need more transparency, more accountability and greater responsibility to ensure that the government is reaching its international targets. That is almost certainly what Parliament has been lacking these past 10 or 14 years. The government was unable to achieve its environmental targets at the international level because there was no oversight and no accountability with respect to Canada's commitments.

The best example of this is the fight against climate change. Since 1997, successive governments have introduced greenhouse gas reduction plans that were supposed to be in line with Canada's greenhouse gas reduction targets. But we are a long way from reaching those targets.

In 1997, Canada promised to reduce greenhouse gas emissions to 6% below 1990 levels by 2012. Where do we stand now? Our greenhouse gas emissions have risen by more than 25%.

Why have we failed to reach our targets? One of the main reasons is that there have been no progress reports. There has been no way to determine whether the measures, plans, policies and programs implemented are taking us in the right direction. The government can set greenhouse gas reduction targets, but without the right plans, policies and programs in place, those targets will not be achieved. The environment commissioner needs more power to present more frequent reports. That is one of the goals of this bill.

We have already given the environment commissioner a greater role. A few years ago, the Liberal Party's Bill C-288 gave the environment commissioner more power with respect to accountability for reduction targets.

We support this bill. We believe that the environment commissioner must play a greater role in efforts to reach the targets set by Canada and the federal government by focusing on three basic objectives: transparency, accountability and responsibility.

Topic:   Private Members' Business
Subtopic:   Federal Sustainable Development Act
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November 25, 2010

Mr. Bernard Bigras (Rosemont—La Petite-Patrie, BQ)

Madam Speaker, I am trying to understand the position taken today by the Liberal member, who made a sober speech. I remind him of today's motion. What does it say? It calls on the government to respect two commitments. The first is the commitment made in May 2006 that any extension of Canada's mission in Afghanistan would be put to a vote in Parliament. The second is the commitment to ensure that if the mission were to continue after 2011 that it would be a civilian one. That commitment was reiterated in January 2010.

My question for the Liberal member is simple. Why is the Liberal Party refusing to demand that any extension of Canada's mission in Afghanistan be put to a vote in Parliament, as the government committed?

Topic:   Government Orders
Subtopic:   Business of Supply
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November 24, 2010

Mr. Bernard Bigras (Rosemont—La Petite-Patrie, BQ)

Mr. Speaker, since they want to head to Cancun to undermine the climate change negotiations and since the Conservatives have nothing constructive to offer, more and more observers think that the Minister of the Environment should stay home.

We want to know whether the minister will be a spokesperson for the oil companies in Cancun or whether he will defend the interests of Quebec, which wants to see an effective plan for reducing greenhouse gases.

When will we see this plan?

Topic:   Oral Questions
Subtopic:   The Environment
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