Elsewhere

Last in Parliament May 2004, as Bloc MP for Jonquière (Québec)

Lost her last election, in 2004, with 5.97% of the vote.

Statements in the House

Criminal Code November 3rd, 2003

Mr. Speaker, I always address you with great respect. All through my speech I addressed you. Just now, however, someone I am very fond of called out to me. So, through you, I say hello to him.

Let us return to Bill C-46. With respect to revealing information that is inherently private, the Bloc Quebecois has questions concerning the extent to which this breach of privacy and human rights is necessary in order to achieve the objective of this bill.

This is an extremely important point. Even if this were the only point at issue, we would have to vote against the bill, because respect for privacy is important. We live in a country where we cultivate liberty. Every aspect of private life ought to be essentially confidential.

The involvement of federal prosecutors is something we have particular difficulty with. The regulation of financial markets comes under the jurisdiction of Quebec and the provinces. I hope that the government will finally take this in and understand that anything having to do with financial markets comes under the jurisdiction of Quebec and the provinces. The same is true for the administration of justice.

We cannot agree to these new provisions. In fact, to us they appear to confirm the federal government's new determination to encroach on the field of securities, which nevertheless comes under the jurisdiction of Quebec and the provinces.

For all these reasons and many others, as my colleagues, the hon. member for Charlesbourg—Jacques-Cartier and the hon. member for Joliette have said, the Bloc Quebecois is opposed to this bill. There are good elements in it, but it is missing many more that should have been included. Moreover, the government ought to have respected provincial jurisdiction and ought also to have respected the Quebec securities commission. We have such a commission and it does its work well.

I am opposed to the creation of a Canadian securities commission. In Quebec we are distinct and I hope that this government will finally understand that. We are a nation and we have acquired the tools we need to develop in a manner consistent with our identity. Never, never would Quebeckers, who have their own distinct character, ever want that used against the other provinces. We respect the other provinces. We ask the government to respect the guidelines, the tools and the jurisdiction that Quebec has developed over the years.

In regard to this bill, it does not. For that reason, the Bloc does not agree and therefore we will vote against Bill C-46.

Criminal Code November 3rd, 2003

Greetings to the Minister of Justice. How are you doing?

I am sorry, Mr. Speaker, but it was because he spoke to me. So I answered him. It is habit. When someone greets me, I greet them. It is a friendly exchange.

Criminal Code November 3rd, 2003

Mr. Speaker, I am pleased to rise in the House today to speak on Bill C-46. As my colleague from Charlesbourg—Jacques-Cartier has said, even though the Bloc Quebecois supported this bill at second reading, we must now state that we will be voting against it at this stage.

Why is the Bloc Quebecois going to vote against the bill? As the member for Charlesbourg—Jacques-Cartier and the member for Joliette and Bloc Quebecois public finance critic have said, they have been calling for amendments to the bill throughout the entire parliamentary process. There is no denying that the intent behind the bill was a good one. The Bloc Quebecois has suggested amendments in some very specific areas throughout the process, in order to provide the bill with more teeth in certain very specific situations.

The Bloc Quebecois is also categorically opposed to Canadian government interference in areas that fall under Quebec's jurisdiction over the regulation of financial markets. We have trouble understanding why this bill gives the Attorney General of Canada authority to prosecute certain Criminal Code offences relating to financial market fraud.

This is all the more a concern because the federal government has openly talked about creating a Canadian securities commission. Really now. We already have a securities commission in Quebec which works very well. The Bloc Quebecois is of the opinion that the regulation of securities clearly falls under the jurisdiction of the Government of Quebec, and we therefore disagree with what the federal government has in mind.

Since my election in 1997, I have been hearing about how the federal government should respect provincial areas of jurisdiction. Yet at every opportunity it enacts legislation to trample thoroughly over those areas of jurisdiction. It talks about cooperation, but we know what it means by that. Particularly at present, its idea of cooperation is to invade all possible areas of provincial jurisdiction so it can say “We are the boss, and you are going to have to go along with whatever we decide”.

Right from the word go, the Bloc Quebecois has been opposed to any kind of interference by the federal government in areas of provincial jurisdiction. We will continue that opposition as long as we draw breath.

We also oppose this bill because not a single amendment we proposed in committee has been accepted. Under these circumstances, the Bloc Quebecois cannot agree with the bill.

For the benefit of those who are watching us, I would like to read the summary of the bill:

This enactment amends the Criminal Code by creating a new offence of prohibited insider trading and creating a new offence to prohibit threatening or retaliating against employees for disclosing unlawful conduct. The enactment increases the maximum penalties and codifies aggravating and non-mitigating sentencing factors for fraud and certain related offences and provides for concurrent jurisdiction for the Attorney General of Canada to prosecute those offences.

The enactment also creates a new procedural mechanism by which persons will be required to produce documents, data or information in specific circumstances.

This bill was originally introduced by this government because of the recent financial scandals in the United States. Several hon. members have already talked about this, but it is important to reiterate because that is truly where this all started. These scandals were a wake-up call.

They made us aware of how fragile our financial system was and of our dependence on it.

At first glance, we might think that only major investors are affected by financial market crises, but that is not so. The biggest players on the stock market are those who manage pension funds. Consequently, if a pension fund suffers major losses, it is small investors who might lose their life's savings and watch their retirement plans go up in smoke.

I would like to give some figures from 1998 on Canadian trusteed pension funds. At the time, these funds held assets of more than $500 billion. Of this amount, about $115 billion was invested in Canadian stocks and some $57 billion in foreign stocks. Four million Canadian workers actively contributed to these funds. Only financial assets of the chartered banks exceeded the capital held by the pension funds.

In addition, based on the above-mentioned figures, we can see that a financial crisis in Canada would have a direct impact on the retirement income of millions of households. Those households are the ones we have a duty to protect. Fortunately, Canadian stock markets have so far been relatively free of wrongdoing, with the exception of the Nortel and CINAR affairs.

However, the Bloc Quebecois feels that despite the fact that our securities regulation systems are, in the opinion of many experts, much more comprehensive than what existed in the United States before the financial crisis, it is nonetheless important to send a clear message that financial wrongdoing constitutes a serious crime that is not acceptable in our society.

These reasons and many others prompted the Bloc Quebecois, in the fall of 2002, to call for major changes to the Criminal Code in order to provide the appropriate authorities with better tools to fight financial crimes.

The Bloc Quebecois called repeatedly for the amendments we had put forward in the fall of the previous year and these would have made things better in many respects. First, we proposed adding a section to the Criminal Code to make insider trading a criminal offence. My hon. colleague from Charlesbourg—Jacques-Cartier described earlier for our benefit what insider trading is all about. This proposal was designed to send a clear message to company executives that the use of confidential information obtained in the performance of their duties for the purpose of making profits or avoiding losses would not be tolerated.

Making profits or avoiding losses in this manner impacts negatively on other investors who do not have access to the same privileged information. We can see this regularly. It has happened in the U.S. and pretty much everywhere. It is important to strengthen this aspect of the Criminal Code.

The Bloc Quebecois also proposed that a new offence of securities fraud be created. This offence, patterned on the measure adopted in the United States, would now carry a 10 year prison sentence and would prohibit fraud when selling or buying securities.

These provisions dealing with insider trading and employment related threats or retaliation are very important. Employees who blow the whistle on fraud in financial markets, or assist law enforcement officials in the investigation of such situations also need protection against employment related intimidation.

In fact, when it comes to money, people sometimes forget that, when fraud occurs, it is not the people who will be reported, but rather the situation.

When this kind of situation is reported, the individuals or employees reporting the crime should be protected. They are just doing their duty. They are being honest. They should not have a sword of Damocles hanging over their heads so that, if they report the crime, they will be subject to retaliation.

Protecting them is extremely important, because honesty must permeate every level of society. Where dishonesty exists, we must recognize the efforts of individuals working to openly and publically report it. These individuals must be congratulated and told that there is legislation to protect them.

Also, section 487.013 allows banks to disclose confidential information. I am perplexed by this section, and the Bloc Quebecois is also very perplexed in this regard.

This section allows banks to disclose confidential information such as a person's account number, status and type of account, the date on which it was opened and closed, the account holder's date of birth, and current or previous address.

First, this information is inherently private.

I would not like others to know all my personal information. This is confidential information. The Charter of Rights and Freedoms must protect this information.

So, when others ask for this information, this necessarily violates individual rights and privacy.

Criminal Code November 3rd, 2003

Mr. Speaker, I want to congratulate my hon. colleague from Charlesbourg—Jacques-Cartier on his excellent speech.

With all the details he has provided, I understand now why the Bloc Quebecois is opposed to this bill. I wonder if my hon. colleague would elaborate on the impact of insider trading.

Much reference is made in this bill to insider trading. Since the hon. member is a lawyer and a legal expert, I would appreciate it if he could provide those listening with information about what constitutes insider trading.

The Environment November 3rd, 2003

Mr. Speaker, I would like to acknowledge the initiative of the Conseil régional de l'environnement et du développement durable du Saguenay-Lac-Saint-Jean and the Quebec department of transport, which have set up a car pooling service in my region in an effort to reduce greenhouse gas emissions.

Each year, the transportation sector generates 38% of these emissions. By reducing the number of cars on our roads, we help meet our Kyoto commitments, and in fact that is the purpose of my Bill C-400, which grants a tax credit to public transportation users.

I congratulate the Conseil régional de l'environnement et du développement durable du Saguenay-Lac-Saint-Jean and the Quebec department of transport on their great initiative. I encourage all the people in my region to use this new car pooling service.

The well-being of all generations is at stake.

Highway Infrastructure October 31st, 2003

Oh, oh.

Highway Infrastructure October 31st, 2003

Mr. Speaker, I have questioned the Minister of Transport and his parliamentary secretary, and both have confirmed to me that the government is prepared to pay 50% of the cost of building highway 175. The government's intentions with respect to cost overruns are not quite as clear.

Again, as part of its commitment concerning highway 175, does the government also intend to pay 50% of cost overruns? And when will the agreement be signed?

Criminal Code October 30th, 2003

Madam Speaker, it is my pleasure to rise today to speak on Bill C-338, which was introduced by the hon. member for Surrey North.

I want to congratulate my colleague from the Canadian Alliance and the hon. member from his party who just made an excellent speech. I think she really raised all the questions we must ask ourselves concerning this excellent bill.

You know, we are wives, mothers and sometimes even grandmothers. We care about our young, and we care about providing a quiet and peaceful environment for the young and for the old. This bill, introduced by the hon. member from the Canadian Alliance, will provide security. At the same time, it will help us show respect to our young people. We have all been young and, as young people, we have all had access to a car. We have all done some speeding, even though it was not allowed.

Today, with these luxury machines with no speed limit, it seems to be exponential. These are toys. They should not be driven, except on race tracks. The competition is fierce between dealerships, automobile manufacturers and suppliers. The cars' performance is never good enough. Most of the time, these cars are driven by young people who speed. Speed is exhilarating. Limits are necessary on public roadways.

If there had been no abuse, we would not be discussing such a bill in this place. Unfortunately, there has been abuse. To protect the driving public, speed limits must be set. We live in a civilized society. We cannot let anyone jeopardize the lives of other users of public roads because they are racing on those roads.

Our freedom stops where that of others begins. This bill does not concern only young people. I know of men their forties who love their fast cars and who race.

As my hon. colleague from the Canadian Alliance said, there have been terrible accidents and people have been killed. This cannot continue. One person dead is one too many. This is a timely bill, since it comes before the situation worsens and our highways become closed circuits, like the Gilles Villeneuve circuit.

We can agree. This bill makes a great deal of sense. I hope that the government side will pay attention to this. No doubt, there have been similar events or accidents caused by peoples racing in the streets in the ridings of the members opposite.

Street racing is not an offence under the Criminal Code, because it has not been around long. I saw it once on television, and it was kind of scary. The race took place at night in the Quebec City area. Young people lined up their cars and then took off. It was frightening. It was shown on TV. And this is an example for younger kids to follow? This has to stop.

We belong to a society. I do not know of any civilized society that permits anarchy. By allowing young people to do whatever they want on public roads, they endanger the lives of others. This sends the wrong message to the uninitiated, who turn those young people into idols.

These days, our kids grow up with idols. Enough is enough. Legislation is needed. This bill will serve our purpose. It will also help prevent accidents.

We all drive and, when we use the roads or highways, there is already a great deal of traffic. There is always someone who wants to pass and who never wants to drive behind anyone else. Other people feel the same way but they respect the speed limit. During street races, there is no speed limit. The drivers put the pedal to the floor and go. This has to stop.

I congratulate my hon. colleague. The Bloc Quebecois is able to congratulate its colleagues in the Canadian Alliance. This is a good bill. In the future, I would like to see more common sense legislation so we can resolve the problems affecting us all.

I hope that all the members of the House will support our hon. colleague from the Canadian Alliance, as the Bloc Quebecois commits to doing today.

Federal-Provincial Fiscal Arrangements Act October 30th, 2003

Mr. Speaker, I am pleased to rise to speak about Bill C-54. I congratulate all my colleagues who spoke before me.

Where is democracy heading in Canada? That is a question I would like to ask every member in this House, and all those who are listening to us or watching us on TV. More and more, we wonder where democracy is heading in Canada.

The current Parliamentary Secretary to the Minister of Finance has been asking ambiguous questions since the beginning of our exchanges on Bill C-54. The Bloc Quebecois is against the principle of Bill C-54 and its position did not come out of a magician's hat. We will try to have the bill amended so that, should there be an agreement between the provinces and the federal government on a new formula by March 31, 2004, such an agreement would take precedence with regard to payments to the provinces.

The Bloc Quebecois' position is based on the consensus of the provinces. I did not come up with that consensus since I am not here representing provincial governments. The provinces do not want to have an equalization formula, one that no longer reflects the current realities of their citizens, rammed down their throats

The provinces agreed to sing from the same songbook as the Government of Quebec to present their demands to this government. As you know, there was a general election in Quebec and the nasty separatists are no longer in power. A Liberal government is now at the helm in Quebec. Will the Parliamentary Secretary to the Minister of Finance understand that? They are his people.

The Liberal MNAs are opposed to the approach of this government, their federal big brother. We have always been told that the Bloc was a branch of the Parti Quebecois. Now the government's provincial brothers are opposed to what it is doing on the issue of equalization.

The Bloc takes as a basis the fact that the provinces are demanding that the formula be modified to take into account the fiscal capacity of all 10 provinces of Canada. I do not know whether the parliamentary secretary knows what fiscal capacity means. I am not talking about Quebec only, I am talking about a consensus among the provinces on the formula proposed by Quebec. The provinces want this to be factored in.

Such a measure would cost the federal government $3 billion more a year. The federal government is opposed to it, because it does not have the money.

A few days ago, and all the members of his party applauded, the Minister of Finance told us there was a surplus of $7 billion, yet when he tabled his estimates, he talked about a $3 billion surplus.

We are not talking about a few coins in his piggy bank. I doubt you have a piggy bank large enough to contain $7 billion, Mr. Speaker. If so, you would be an exception to the rule.

The Minister of Finance said there was a $7 billion surplus. The current equalization formula needs to be reviewed and adjusted to the current reality.

This is done for the next five years and has to be adjusted to the reality in the provinces.

My colleague from Laurentides talked about how her area had been hard hit when the Boisbriand plant closed. My are has been suffering from the softwood lumber crisis. The Sherbrooke area has other problems. In my riding, Alcan has just become the top aluminum producer in the world, but we have the highest unemployment rate in Canada. Why? What do we do with our raw materials? We ship them off elsewhere; we do not process anything.

The same scenario is found in all the regions in Quebec. That said, the provinces are saying, “Enough is enough. You base your statistics on the rich provinces, but we are no longer rich. We want to renegotiate with you and come to the table. We have the time”.

March 31, 2004 is five months away, after all. I do not know what the member for LaSalle—Émard is up to behind the curtain of the House of Commons or behind his desk with his friends, the big contributors to his campaign fund.

If thre is good will, everyone can sit down in five months, particularly since there is consensus among the provinces. They will not arrive with the intention of squabbling. No, they have informed the government of their conditions.

I congratulate them, because they always describe federal-provincial discussions as constantly having one participant who is not in agreement. But this time they all reached agreement in advance and have told the feds, “It is your turn now to listen to us”.

We are part of that consensus, and we are telling the federal government, “Sit down and negotiate instead of having the pipe dream that everything is fine, that this is the greatest place in the world”.

No, there are regional and provincial inequities. This applies regardless of what is concerned, poverty for instance. Let them stop pretending otherwise: we have the highest percentage of children living in poverty, according to UN statistics. When I heard that, I thought of our present prime minster boasting about how we were the richest country in the OECD.

This then is the consensus, and we will support it. The parliamentary secretary, the present PM, the member for LaSalle—Émard and future PM behind the curtain, the present Minister of Finance, all want to shove something down our throats that we will not swallow. We are going to oppose it, because doing so makes sense.

During the election campaign, we do not want to hear them talking about “the Bloc Quebecois members who were against it”. They did that in 2000, claiming we were opposed to the infrastructure program. This is not true. What we said was that it was not big enough.

That is the situation. Let them negotiate. Afterward, if things go well, we will vote in favour.

Federal-Provincial Fiscal Arrangements Act October 30th, 2003

We will show them.