- On the Parliament site
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
Federal-Provincial Fiscal Arrangements Act October 30th, 2003
Mr. Speaker, I would like to congratulate my colleague, the member for Argenteuil—Papineau—Mirabel, who explained this very complex issue of equalization in the little time he had. I hope that people listening have understood, because I think he is a born teacher.
We are wondering why the government is presenting this bill at the very last minute, in a panic. Ever since we resumed sitting after the summer break, we have been wondering. What is going on in Parliament?
The government proposes measures, then backs off, moves forward and then no longer makes any decisions and everything stops. Why is it so and why is the Bloc Quebecois against the principle? We are not against equalization, we are against the principle.
Within the time allocated to him, could my colleague elaborate?
Criminal Code October 30th, 2003
Mr. Speaker, I thank my colleague for giving me another opportunity, perhaps the last one, to comment on this bill.
I want to take this opportunity to thank Roch Gilbert, a local police officer who made these tables possible, in co-operation with the Maison des jeunes, SOS Jeunesse and all the community stakeholders.
I congratulate Roch Gilbert for his visits to the schools. When he enters a classroom, he does not stand in front of the students but sits down with them. He explains his background and asks young people to give their opinion and tell him what they would like him to be with them. This approach is quite different from everything we have ever seen.
When I was young, I would not go near a police officer because I was so afraid. He had a gun and uniform, and he looked very strict. Mr. Gilbert has a new approach. He is the deadpan type. He speaks about tragic situations in a way young people can relate to and with humour.
Humour helps to get messages across. We should have more humour in this House to play down the heavy topics we have to deal with. Bill C-32 deals with very complex and serious issues, like serious situations in aircrafts and the use of traps.
We do not dare make light of it because we think it would sometimes be unparliamentary. But we should use more humour in a way that is acceptable in Parliament. Maybe we would not need an official poet, then, because we would all be poets.
Criminal Code October 30th, 2003
Mr. Speaker, I want to thank my hon. colleague for this opportunity to speak about Jonquière. Everyone knows how proud I am of the people of Jonquière. I am very happy every time my colleagues or bills give me the opportunity to discuss, compare and talk about the people of my area.
For several years now, police officers in Jonquière have become people whom others, particularly young people, can talk to. The officers really meet the kids on their level. They are partners in helping youth. This is extraordinary.
In my riding, there is a lieutenant who leads a round table for youth. Last year, I held a big party to celebrate International Women's Day on May 8. I invited about 500 women to brunch. Mr. Gilbert, the Lieutenant, spoke.
He talked to the women, who were so interested that question period had to be extended. Mr. Gilbert was given additional time, because everyone wanted to hear more about this wonderful round table with the young people, the police, community organizations and the schools, as well as municipal councillors.
People always say that these police officers are also members of community organizations. They are there. They do not tell the young people, “You should do this”. No, they tell young people, “What do you think we should do in this instance? Share your ideas with us. If you were in charge, how would you make things better?”
It is fascinating to see how good this makes the young people feel, just because the police ask them this question.
This is the purpose of a round table. Being united and working together helps prevent crime, because when things are disorganized, anyone can break our ranks. Consequently, being united means working together. By working together, we become strong. By being strong, we take a stand and we speak for our communities.
Criminal Code October 30th, 2003
Mr. Speaker, I am pleased to have this opportunity to speak today on Bill C-32.
Before I begin my speech, I would like to congratulate my three colleagues. Congratulations are in order when people make excellent contributions. Throughout the process around this bill, they have had positive contributions to make.
I wish to congratulate my colleague, the hon. member for Saint-Hyacinthe—Bagot. As we know, about six years ago there was a lot of criminal activity in his area. Pot was being planted in cornfields. Our colleague denounced the authors of this crime publicly, and was a target of personal threats afterward. He did not back down, however, and continued his efforts, to the benefit of the population, the various levels of government, and the law enforcement agencies, who were at a disadvantage because there was no law that contained provisions to help them under these circumstances.
My colleague was greatly worried about the activities of the criminal community, but his activities were also a great worry to them. Thanks to his actions, society started to ask questions. As a result, the parliamentarians, who need to heed what their constituents want, could not do otherwise than to examine their consciences and decide that the law needed to be changed, in order to beef up the sentences for such crimes.
So I congratulate my colleague. In his region, as in all other regions of Quebec, we still need to invest a great deal of energy in the battle against the criminal element, with its multitude of ways to get around the law and get rid of people they do not want around.
I congratulate him and ask him to keep up his work with the people in his area, so that all parts of Quebec can draw on their experience and start up their own programs to deal with what is going in their area.
I also congratulate the hon. member for Joliette, whose speech was excellent. He has told us that this bill was going to have more teeth because of the proposed amendment to the Criminal Code. Unfortunately, the Canadian government has submitted a proposal to the Solicitor General to do away with RCMP detachments in certain specific regions of Quebec, and if this were acted on, it would be most regrettable.
We must think of all the energy that has been expended by the Quebec provincial police, the RCMP, the municipal police forces, the municipal and school board officials, specific schools and the general public. They have sat down together to pool their efforts in order to get a clear idea of the situation in their region, as well as to make the battle against crime more effective.
The RCMP is a very important institution. As all these offences come under the Criminal Code, the RCMP is mandated to intervene in these cases. By not having these stakeholders at the table, we have just impacted on the work done in the areas concerned.
That is not what I call listening to taxpayers. All of us here pay taxes. And Quebec and the other provinces pay taxes to the federal government.
I would ask the Solicitor General to reconsider his decision because this is very important. Organized crime generates a lot of money, and there is certainly no shortage of money to keep them busy. I do not know where they get all this money from, but there is an abundance of it. As far as we are concerned, most of the time it is volunteers, people who are not paid, who help us in our efforts to fight the reprehensible acts committed by the criminal world. The Solicitor General must act to meet the needs of the nine regions in Quebec, including Lanaudière, that will be affected by the elimination or closure of the RCMP detachments.
I also want to commend my colleague from Repentigny, who represents the region of Lanaudière and is affected by this. He told us how important it is.
In my riding, we have many police officers who get involved and who are no longer just coercive. They sit down to talk with young people and the community. They are partners in preventing crime. They talk to young people and parents. We have an association of parents of teenagers that works closely with the police. They talk with young people and ask what needs to be done to make our society better in the future.
People always say that society has become complacent. That is not true. There are community organizations and they need funds to be able to fight crime. They are succeeding because they have the support of the RCMP and the Sûreté du Québec, which have the money and the training to fight crime.
Giving such a signal to these people indicates that we are not interested in them. These people want to improve social conditions for everyone. We must not forget that when such criminals set traps in a field, it is not only the farmer who may get hurt. There are hikers in the woods and near the farmers' fields. There are children who play there. These people may have accidents, even fatal ones.
By informing people, we can fight crime. However, without some funding and some experts with the means to intervene, we are putting handcuffs on our constituents' goodwill.
Therefore, the Bloc Quebecois will support this bill. As my colleague from Repentigny said, we are not here just to say no. We are here to make progress on issues that affect each and every one of our constituents. When there is something positive and the time has come to act, and the government opens the door for us, we are there to examine the legislation. When a bill, like Bill C-32, provides solutions to the problems of all Quebeckers and Canadians, we will not oppose it.
We must, however, watch carefully as this legislation is implemented, since nothing is perfect. When enforcement guidelines are issued, sore points sometimes develop. The Bloc Quebecois will be very attentive, because this bill can improve society. I think we must support all measures that can improve society and we must say so aloud.
This bill makes interesting amendments to the Criminal Code, particularly with respect to the new offence concerning traps.
Earlier, I said that in my riding as well, there are many farmers' fields being targeted by organized crime. Pot has begun to grow in those fields. These criminals have a lot of money at stake. Consequently, they protect themselves by installing many traps around their crops, to safeguard their pot of gold. These people are organized.
By including in this bill a stiffer penalty for setting traps, we are finally doing something positive.
It has to be done. The underworld puts coercive pressure on people. Therefore, our legislation must put coercive pressure on the underworld, on organized crime. These criminals must be stopped.
Most of the time, all these substances, like marijuana, are targeted to a young clientele. We see that in schoolyards. These people are very well organized. They always have drug dealers working for them. And they recruit young kids. In most cases, these young kids will agree to do it because of the money they can make. I met a young boy who was no more than eight or nine years old and he was making up to $300 or $400 a week by selling pot. People of any age can be attracted by the prospect of making easy money.
We need coercive measures, issue tables and laws that enable us to take action. In the past, police forces were more than willing to do their part, but the Criminal Code did not provide them with the necessary tools. This bill changes that.
This bill also allows the use of reasonable force on board aircraft. This was mentioned earlier. All my colleagues who spoke to Bill C-32 talked about it. They referred to what we saw on September 11. People returning from trips by plane often have stories to tell about incidents that happened on board the aircraft. Sometimes, some people drink too much too fast and do regrettable things.
This bill will clarify the fact that any person on board an aircraft can intervene to contain on overly enthusiastic passenger. This is a positive measure. Moreover, when people engage in reprehensible behaviour on board an aircraft, it causes harm.
Some people have psychological problems. Some do not like to fly but they have to. If something happens on board, it can be very disturbing for them. I think that these provisions will reassure those who are afraid to fly. They will know that people will no longer be allowed to do whatever they want on board an aircraft.
The bill also modifies the provision dealing with the provision of information on oath in relation to weapons. It also creates an exemption to the offence of intercepting private communications in order to protect computer systems. That was a key point I was concerned about when we heard about this new bill. Indeed, we all know that with the emergence of the Internet just about anybody can surf the net. Accessing data banks is easy. We can talk to anybody we want around the planet. My colleague behind me often uses his laptop in the House. He often does research on the Internet. If my colleague can do it, many others can do it too.
The bill contains provisions to make sure the wording of clauses is consistent with the Charter of Rights and Freedoms. We know that today our protection ends where somebody else's protection starts. Without the Canadian Charter of Rights and Freedoms and the Quebec Charter of Rights and Freedoms, I believe there would be abuses. We have that protection.
We must use it and protect privacy.
It is in the bill. However, the Bloc Quebecois said during the clause by clause review of the bill that the wording of that clause was not clear. We will ensure the Charter of Rights and Freedoms is respected.
One of the clauses mentions that a peace officer must have reasonable grounds to apply for a warrant. This is a real problem. In my family there are a number of lawyers, police officers, peace officers and paramedics. I have a very large family where just about every profession is represented. We get together quite often. We are a tight-knit family. When we are gathered around the table we quite often talk about these topics. Whenever someone mentions an issue, someone else says that such or such a bill is inadequate. We talk a lot about justice issues in my family.
The bill we are dealing with right now will add some fuel to the discussion we had last year during the Christmas holidays. My relatives will be able to say that Bill C-32 improves the means we have to deal with criminal offences and the negative impact of organized crime's activities on society in Canada and Quebec.
With all it did, the Bloc Quebecois has been very active in improving this bill. The Bloc Quebecois pointed out that this was a first step but that we had to go further. This is important. Sometimes, legislators are lagging behind instead of taking the lead.
We all know that when a bill is passed, it is not reviewed annually. Bill C-32 is currently relevant, but it lacks elements for the future. Tomorrow is already here. Numerous amendments should have been adopted. However, life is not perfect, particularly when we are dealing with the criminal world. Those who operate in the criminal world are quite sharp and they always succeed in circumventing the law.
The central elements of this bill allow us to ensure security through new offences with regard to placing traps. Other provisions deal with the use of force on aircraft. The Bloc Quebecois had also requested new measures on the anti-gang legislation.
An anti-gang bill was introduced a few years ago. The situation did get better, but the bill did not go far enough. We hope that the government will listen to us and will act promptly to adopt stronger anti-gang legislation.
Criminal Code October 30th, 2003
Mr. Speaker, I want to congratulate my colleague, the member for Repentigny, and tell him how much his speech proves to all those listening that the Bloc Quebecois does not put up opposition just for the sake of doing so. It can support bills when they are important for the betterment of Canada and Quebec. We are very much in agreement with this bill. It still contains a few irritants, but we will be there on the alert when it is enforced.
Following the comments by our colleague, the member for Joliette, whose riding is in the same region as mine, the Lanaudière region, I would like him to tell the viewers in his riding what the result of the RCMP leaving will be. What kind of problems will that create?
Given all the measures that were put in place in his region to set out guidelines for the fight against organized crime, what will be missing and what should the Canadian government do to compensate if its withdraws the Royal Canadian Mounted Police from the region? Should the funds be transferred to the Sûreté du Québec?
Criminal Code October 30th, 2003
Mr. Speaker, I am very pleased to ask a question of my colleague from Joliette. I congratulate him on the excellent speech he gave yesterday in this House. I would have liked every government member and every Canadian Alliance member to be here.
In his speech, our colleague from Joliette mentioned that the Liberal government is cutting positions at the RCMP detachment located in his area. As we know, this bill will create new offences and new penalties targeting organized crime.
I would like our colleague from Joliette to describe what is going on in his area with regard to the dwindling number of RCMP officers there.
Highway Infrastructure October 30th, 2003
Mr. Speaker, two days ago, I questioned the Minister of Transport about the expansion of highway 175. The minister remained vague and simply played on words. This is a simple question. If Ottawa is prepared to pay 50% of the cost of constructing the highway, it must also be prepared to pay 50% of cost overruns.
Does Ottawa's commitment include paying 50% of cost overruns?
That is what we want to know, and that is what is preventing this project from moving forward.
Highway Infrastructure October 28th, 2003
Mr. Speaker, Quebec's Liberal minister, Françoise Gauthier, confirms that the only thing blocking the agreement now is that the federal government refuses to accept responsibility for its share of cost overruns.
Will the Minister of Transport confirm that the Canadian government's commitment to paying 50% of the highway costs also means it will share 50-50 with Quebec on any cost overruns? If he will not make that commitment, it puts the whole agreement at risk.
Highway Infrastructure October 28th, 2003
Mr. Speaker, since the construction of highway 175 was announced 14 months ago, nothing has been done in the Saguenay. The member for Chicoutimi—Le Fjord blames the delay on Quebec provincial officials.
Can the Minister of Transport tell us whether or not his government is prepared to take on 50% of the cost of building highway 175, as well as 50% of cost overruns, if any?
Agriculture October 24th, 2003
Mr. Speaker, just as the SARS crisis was important to people in Toronto, the mad cow crisis is important to cattle farmers in my region and throughout Quebec.
When will the minister understand that he has an obligation to help them, that the Quebec government appears to be running out of resources and that the federal government must now do its share?