House of Commons photo

Track Anne-Marie

Your Say

Elsewhere

Crucial Fact

  • Her favourite word is women.

NDP MP for Charlesbourg—Haute-Saint-Charles (Québec)

Won her last election, in 2011, with 45.00% of the vote.

Statements in the House

Red Tape Reduction Act June 19th, 2014

Mr. Speaker, unfortunately I will not have a lot of time to respond to that. I will certainly have an opportunity to talk about it with the member in the lobby.

There is administrative red tape and we have to reduce it. That is this government's objective, and that is why we will support this bill.

Red Tape Reduction Act June 19th, 2014

Mr. Speaker, I am sure that the hon. member misspoke when she said I should look at what the provinces are doing because the provincial and federal jurisdictions are quite separate and we do not mix jurisdictions.

However, I know full well that when businesses increase production and engage in research and development activities, they become more competitive. As such, they have competitive advantages that help them contribute to the development of this country.

As far as consultation is concerned—perhaps the hon. member does not know this—I was the director of a chamber of commerce. We held a lot of consultations with small businesses, very small businesses, medium businesses and big businesses, including paper mills. According to these consultations, one of the biggest problems was red tape.

Red Tape Reduction Act June 19th, 2014

Mr. Speaker, I am very pleased to be able to speak on behalf of my constituents and especially to be able to provide them with information on this bill. It is important that the government stop preventing members from speaking. We are now at our 75th time allocation motion. All members of Parliament must be allowed to express their opinions on bills.

First of all, I am going to talk about my vision of sustainable development. Sustainable development involves three aspects: social, economic and environmental. Those three elements cannot be separated from each other. We can no longer talk about a pure economy if we do not think about the environmental costs. We cannot talk about the economy and ecology if we do not think about the social aspects and the people involved, for example, how the first nations and the people in western Canada will be affected by Enbridge's proposed development. Ignoring these aspects causes us a lot of problems.

The government must change its way of thinking and its ideology. We are no longer dealing with a no man's land where we can say “the economy or bust” and sweep everything else before us. We know full well that, when we build a pipeline or start a new industry in the far north, for example, we have to take into account that there will be implications. We may move the pipes a little further from caribou routes. We will also try to get consent from the local population so that no one is harmed.

Canada is a large country, the second largest in the world in surface area, but our population is only 35 million, compared to 330 million, I believe, in the United States. Canada is not a densely populated country; we have the space and we are able to make quality choices environmentally, economically and socially. We must never bypass those three criteria when we are working on economic development.

There are many young entrepreneurs and family businesses in my riding. That is one of its features. These entrepreneurs are trying to make their businesses work as well as possible. Obviously, their problem is the famous red tape. The Conservative government was elected in 2006 and, since then, it has had many opportunities to regulate and even cut the red tape that harms businesses. Small family businesses have very few employees, and time is money. They must optimize their production since they are in business. They do not have time to deal with all of this red tape.

Bill C-21 claims to cut the administrative hassle for businesses. However, that means that the President of the Treasury Board becomes an arbiter in eliminating the regulations. This trend that the government has of giving a minister these decision-making powers concerns me greatly. There is always a minister who must decide and choose. Without going so far as calling it a “dictatorship”, because that is a little strong, the government is minimizing the role of people who can make decisions within the system. A lot of power is being put in the hands of a few of our ministers, in a country as vast as ours.

Our local businesses are dynamic and innovative. Bombardier is one that comes to mind. Bombardier began developing products in a small garage and is now a multinational company. I am also thinking of multimedia businesses, which are becoming more and more renowned. There is also the optics sector in the Quebec City area. It has significant value internationally and also came from modest beginnings, with industrial clusters. It is now internationally recognized.

I am also concerned about the one-for-one rule. The government wants to cut red tape, but it is removing a regulation in order to add one. I do not think this resolves much. One plus one, or one minus one, does not equal much. One minus one equals zero, and one plus one equals two. If we create one regulation and it replaces one other, we still have one regulation.

Red tape has therefore not been reduced. There are many entrepreneurs and small businesses in my riding and they are always telling me that there is no end to the paperwork that they have to fill out, whether it is for the GST, the QST or quarterly remittances. That is a major problem for them. If they have the misfortune of making a mistake, it is even worse, Then they have to go back through everything, which requires a lot of time that they do not have.

The NDP is open to ways of helping small businesses by eliminating unnecessary red tape, and letting them focus on what they do best: growing their businesses and creating jobs. SMEs create the most jobs.

Regulations that are in the public interest should be maintained. It is not just a question of managing the number of regulations on the books, but of focusing on real measures to help small business owners grow their business, rather than on half measures through a gimmicky bill. That is extremely important because our businesses need that help. Many chambers of commerce and economic development businesses serve as a liaison to help our businesses and entrepreneurs.

Bill C-21 implements a promise the government made in 2006. It has taken quite a long time. The one-for-one rule was adopted by the government in April 2012 as a result of the work of the Red Tape Reduction Commission. In 2011, the commission consulted the public and businesses to identify what was working, what was not, and what were the so-called “red tape irritants” that had negative impacts on growth and innovation for small businesses, so that these things could be eliminated or improved. The government adopted a red tape reduction action plan that outlined 90 actions and six systemic reforms, including the implementation of the one-for-one rule.

Giving the president of the Treasury Board greater powers is definitely not sound public administration. That power needs to broader and we need more stakeholders who can help our businesses. The New Democrats want to reduce the administrative burden on SMEs. Young entrepreneurs and family businesses are important because they are key to a prosperous economic future for Canada. Often businesses are handed down from father to daughter, mother to son or vice versa.

If the Conservatives truly wanted to help small businesses, then they would not have gotten rid of the hiring tax credit for small businesses in budget 2014. This was very unfortunate. The NDP platform would support small businesses by giving them this tax credit.

The Conservatives claim to want to reduce red tape, but they are doing quite the opposite when it comes to the building Canada fund. Instead of helping municipalities and SMEs to start infrastructure projects in a reasonable timeframe, the Conservatives set up a long and cumbersome bureaucratic process for every project over $100 million.

The hiring credit for small businesses gave employers tax relief on their employment premiums. It is important to take care of employment insurance. The Canadian Federation of Independent Business agrees with the NDP on this. It estimates that entrepreneurs pay roughly $30 billion in hidden taxes in time and money spent on filling out forms and meeting various government requirements.

In closing, I would say that if the Conservatives really wanted to help SMEs they would have supported the NDP's idea to have an ombudsman to control credit card fees, among other things. Businesses pay a lot of fees. There has to be a ceiling. This would give them the room to manoeuvre that they need to grow.

Drug-Free Prisons Act June 17th, 2014

Mr. Speaker, I would like to ask the member a question about something that is of interest to me.

It is odd because there is a provincial prison in my riding and it is the Orsainville prison that is in the news these days. When I was a young girl, my parents and our neighbours called it “the sieve”. Unfortunately, not much has changed.

We know that a lot of drug traffickers are sent to prison. They end up in prison. When it comes to drugs, there is no prison system that almost totally prevents contact with the outside world. A lot of drugs find their way into prison.

Can my colleague talk more about the fact that the Conservatives are increasing prison time, depriving individuals of their rights and increasing minimum sentences when we know that this does not address any of the problems?

Respect for Communities Act June 17th, 2014

Mr. Speaker, a minister of state for economic development should be a little more serious.

We know full well that parents prefer that addicts in need of help end up at supervised injection sites instead of on the streets. That way, they will not vandalize houses and attack their children. They are supervised by medical staff, which is excellent. The minister might want to take this more seriously.

I thank the hon. member for Drummond for his speech and for raising these many concerns. It will help the people of Charlesbourg—Haute-Saint-Charles understand the debate on this important bill. We currently do not have supervised injection sites in Quebec, but it is something that the health services are looking into. Indeed, it is preferable for people in need to be at a supervised and specialized site that can respond to their needs.

The Supreme Court explained that, in accordance with the charter, the minister must consider whether denying an exemption would cause deprivations of life and security of the person.

Can my colleague explain that?

Prohibiting Cluster Munitions Act June 16th, 2014

Mr. Speaker, I seriously think that the Conservatives no longer want to govern. They are all simply fed up because this is the 73rd time they are putting a time limit on debate.

I heard the minister say that this was part of a discussion in committee. How many members are in committee? There may be a dozen or so, five or six from the Conservative side and four or five from the opposition. That is not a lot of MPs discussing this famous bill. We can hardly call that democratic.

What is more, we know how things operate in committee. When it is time to vote, the debate is not adjourned. Instead, the committee goes in camera and the vote is held. Then, since the Conservatives have the majority, we cannot talk about what happened in committee or about the bill in question.

There is a word to describe that type of behaviour, but I will not use it out of respect for Canadian society. However, minimizing interventions is the not the right thing to do; neither is going directly to a vote. We have seen this formula 73 times.

Where does democracy fit into all this?

Agricultural Growth Act June 16th, 2014

Mr. Speaker, I would like to talk to the member about the licensing and registration system. This could require additional funding since measures will be implemented.

Do we have those additional funds? Could there be delays in granting licences and registrations to facilities because those funds are not available?

Agricultural Growth Act June 16th, 2014

Mr. Speaker, Quebec is basically self-sufficient in that regard. The crops remain in the province. There are very few exports. If, on occasion, these products are shipped, they are sent to various parts of Canada. That is not a problem for Quebec.

Agricultural Growth Act June 16th, 2014

Mr. Speaker, that is why I spoke about some of the social, environmental and economic aspects of this issue. We are wondering where the bees are. Without them, there will be no fertilization and farming will suffer. Apple growers will suffer. Clearly, we have to find a way to successfully manage the environmental, economic, social and sustainable development aspects of this issue. It is extremely important to the future of our society.

Agricultural Growth Act June 16th, 2014

Mr. Speaker, I am disappointed that the member is no longer part of our party, but we cannot change the past.

In Quebec, the UPA has spoken out about the social, environmental and development aspects of this bill. We must all ensure that we consider what impact and consequences this bill will have on sustainable development.

As the member pointed out, there are some good parts in this bill. That is what I wanted to focus on this morning.