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  • Her favourite word is conservatives.

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

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

Statements in the House

Intergovernmental Relations December 12th, 2014

Mr. Speaker, when the Conservatives were elected, they promised anyone who would listen a flexible federalism where the provinces would be respected. For Quebec, the blind cuts to employment insurance have resulted in an increase in welfare claims. The unilateral reform of health transfers represents a net loss of $36 billion. Once again, the provinces have to foot the bill.

Is that what the Conservatives meant by flexible federalism?

Petitions December 10th, 2014

Mr. Speaker, the second petition has to do with veterans and is for the Minister of Veterans Affairs and the Minister of National Defence.

We are asking them to take immediate measures to expand mental health services for members of the Canadian Forces and the RCMP.

Petitions December 10th, 2014

Mr. Speaker, today, I am presenting two petitions.

The first calls on the government to work with Canadian National to put an end to the legal proceedings, protect the public when it comes to rail transportation and assess the condition of the Quebec City bridge.

Petitions December 8th, 2014

Mr. Speaker, the second petition, which I support, calls for Remembrance Day to be recognized as a national statutory holiday.

Petitions December 8th, 2014

Mr. Speaker, I have the honour to present two petitions on behalf of my constituents.

The first pertains to the creation of a social responsibility ombudsman for Canadian extractive companies. It calls for the respect of human rights, the environment and the economy.

Economic Action Plan 2014 Act, No. 2 December 5th, 2014

Mr. Speaker, regarding the changes to the eligibility of refugee protection claimants, Ms. Jimenez, who came to Canada as a refugee, said that she did not know where she would be now if she had not had access to that money. She probably would have had to resort to food banks and begging on the street.

Economic Action Plan 2014 Act, No. 2 December 5th, 2014

Mr. Speaker, I thank the hon. member.

His question is extremely relevant, especially since I was responsible for the employment insurance file last year. To answer my colleague's question, I would first like to quote a witness, David Macdonald, a senior economist with the Canadian Centre for Policy Alternatives:

The credit is received by all small businesses, irrespective of action. Whether they hire employees, fire employees, or remain at the same employment levels, they still get the credit.

It is particularly shameful that the Conservatives are taking money away from businesses and workers who pay into EI. It is becoming increasingly difficult for workers to access the program, especially when they do seasonal work and they have to apply for EI over and over again.

Furthermore, the Conservatives claim they are going to create jobs with that money, but that is also false. They use rhetoric that appears positive to Canadians, but this measure will not create jobs. It will create about 800 jobs, but for businesses that owe taxes to the government, the taxes will come first. This means taking money out of taxpayers' pockets to pay the taxes of the offending companies.

Economic Action Plan 2014 Act, No. 2 December 5th, 2014

Mr. Speaker, I do know the difference between the two.

I might ask the member if she knows the difference between an omnibus bill and a budget bill.

The budget should never be an omnibus bill. It is important to make that distinction and do things properly, which means introducing a budget bill, not an omnibus bill.

Economic Action Plan 2014 Act, No. 2 December 5th, 2014

Mr. Speaker, I am in the House today to talk about this weighty legislative measure. I use the word “weighty” in the sense of heavy and massive. This is a kitchen-sink bill. The Conservatives might need a vocabulary lesson or two.

For example, in the Canadian Oxford Dictionary, the word “budget” is defined as:

a periodic (especially annual) estimate of the revenue and expenditure of a country, organization, etc.

Perhaps I should have given them this vocabulary lesson sooner because this is not the first time they have introduced a budget within an omnibus bill. Since winning a majority, they have presented us with 2,190 pages of bills like this one. This time, we are looking at 400 clauses and 460 pages.

Last month, we had just a few hours to attend a budget information session. Naturally, no ministers were at the meeting to answer our questions. They always do the same thing. They use very competent officials to make decisions and those people have to handle the pressure in their stead.

I have to say that the NDP had a lot of questions, but the answers we got were not always satisfactory. I would be remiss if I did not mention the questions that my colleagues from Rimouski-Neigette—Témiscouata—Les Basques and Skeena—Bulkley Valley asked during that meeting.

One of the most offensive divisions of the bill has to do with refugees. When we asked whom the Conservatives had consulted on that division, we were told that they consulted only one province. That is extremely shocking. This is just one more tactic that proves how out of touch they are in their ivory tower.

The bills they introduce, which are clearly meant only to appease their supporters, reek of electioneering and politicking. It is nothing but a smokescreen. The provinces do not want this measure.

The Canadian Council for Refugees is also worried about this division, which infringes on the rights of refugees and does not meet Canada's legal obligations. It even deprives refugees of the right to appeal a decision before an independent tribunal.

Will the Conservatives again have to go through the Supreme Court test, which costs Canadian taxpayers millions of dollars? The Conservatives have not been very lucky so far when it comes to Supreme Court challenges of their legislative measures.

This bill does have the odd worthwhile proposal. We are pleased that the Conservatives have finally adopted one of the NDP's proposals. Canadians will no longer have to pay to receive a paper copy of their invoices through the mail. We have been asking the Conservatives about these pay-to-pay fees for a while now.

In that regard the question was as follows: What will the Conservatives do to ensure that telecommunications and television broadcasting companies do not hide billing fees by increasing the total amount of the invoice? They were unable to answer because no mechanism has been put in place to prevent that from happening. It is shameful. Furthermore, once again, they only used one half of a good idea. They are not keeping their promise to put an end to exorbitant bank fees.

Let us come back to the definition of the word “budget”. Once again the Conservatives have managed to include a multitude of items that are not related to the budget. They are authorizing the amendment of dozens of laws. Like a magician pulling a rabbit out of a hat, the government is adding various measures that were never mentioned in a budget speech. It is magic.

Instead of talking about a bill to implement hundreds of budget provisions, we should give it a name that is more representative of the reality.

What I am really dying to ask is why they are resorting to an omnibus bill. I have my own thoughts on that. I believe that the Conservatives like to be able to hide provisions that are so controversial that the public would not accept them if they were the subject of a single bill. The Conservatives like to bury these measures amongst all the omnibus provisions. They like to give more discretionary authority to their ministers without making it too obvious. They like to ignore or sidestep studies, oversight mechanisms and public consultations.

However, they can count on the NDP to be there and to stand up to all this nonsense. This bill shows that the Conservatives do not respect the democratic process of the House. Several recent examples attest to that, such as a member reading a newspaper in the House, the refusal of certain members to appear before committees and so forth.

Just yesterday, the hon. member for Abitibi—Baie-James—Nunavik—Eeyou asked a very important question about the nutrition north Canada program. The Minister of Aboriginal Affairs and Northern Development called the hon. member a socialist in a suit and tie. It takes some nerve. What lack of respect. I cannot get over it.

I have also seen one of the biggest contradictions in my mandate as the member for Charlesbourg—Haute-Saint-Charles. The Minister of Finance is asking the opposition parties for suggestions for budget 2015, while we are here in the process of debating this omnibus bill. Are they really open to our suggestions? Do they really consider our amendments or is this just another facade?

Whatever the case may be, I want to take this opportunity to make some suggestions to the Minister of Finance. First, he has to forget about income splitting because it benefits only the well off. In any case, the former finance minister, God rest his soul, wanted none of it. We know that it benefits the rich more than the poor. An individual can get a $3,000 tax credit if he earns a lot and maybe $200 if he earns less. An individual who is not entitled to the tax credit gets nothing.

The government also has to stop making cuts to employment insurance. The Conservatives are helping themselves to $550 million from the employment insurance fund. The program created through this bill would generate 800 jobs at most; however, according to economists such as Mike Moffatt, it could encourage businesses to fire people rather than hire them. It is important to remember that there is no evidence to show that this will benefit businesses. Businesses could benefit from the existing tax credit, whether they hire new staff or not. We know that businesses will have to give back part of the $550 million in federal taxes. The government needs to stop making cuts, as it is doing with CBC/Radio-Canada and Canada Post. It must stop cutting well-paying jobs. Canada will become the only OECD country that no longer offers home mail delivery. Finally, the government must stop making cuts to funding for women's groups, change the retirement age back to 65 and put forward a real plan to combat tax evasion.

The NDP wants to implement practical measures to make life more affordable for Canadian families.

I would also like to point out that the Conservative government should phase out subsidies for the oil and gas sectors. The money from those subsidies, which amounts to over $1 billion, could be invested in affordable child care programs, which will have more long-term economic benefits.

As usual, the Conservatives continue to ignore what the provinces, the municipalities, the Parliamentary Budget Officer and the opposition have to say about creating fair, sustainable prosperity in this country.

The New Democrats have consistently opposed the Conservatives' omnibus bills, just as we opposed Paul Martin's omnibus bills in the 1990s.

With this sixth consecutive omnibus budget bill, the Conservatives continue to use bad processes. Canadians deserve better.

Questions on the Order Paper December 5th, 2014

With respect to a bid submitted to the Canada School of Public Service (Bid – ADRM Technology Consulting Group Corp., reference number CSPS-RFP-1112-JS-014): (a) what is the full name of the director of the branch where the bid has been issued; (b) what communication has been sent from the Canada School of Public Service to ADRM Technology Consulting Group Corp. relating to the bid; (c) on what date was the bid awarded to Hassiba Kherif; (d) what communication method has been used to inform ADRM Technology Consulting Group Corp. of the contract reward; (e) on what date was the bid cancelled; (f) for what reason was the bid cancelled; (g) what communication method was used to inform ADRM Consulting Technology Group Corp. of the contract cancellation; (h) if the cancellation bid was communicated through a phone call, has the telephone conversation been documented; (i) what are the details of other bids that have been cancelled between January 2012 and December 2012 at the Canada School of Public Service; and (j) for each cancelled bid referred in (i), what was the communication method used to inform the supplier of the cancellation?