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Track Charmaine

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Crucial Fact

  • Her favourite word is data.

NDP MP for Terrebonne—Blainville (Québec)

Won her last election, in 2011, with 49.30% of the vote.

Statements in the House

Telecommunications February 23rd, 2015

Mr. Speaker, they have had four years to act and protect consumers, and they have failed.

All of the major Internet service providers now use usage-based billing.

The Conservatives' empty rhetoric against this kind of billing remains just that: empty rhetoric. Canadians, who keep paying more and more for their Internet service want more than just talk; they want action.

What is the minister doing to protect consumers and to ensure that the Internet remains accessible at a reasonable price?

Petitions February 16th, 2015

Mr. Speaker, today I present a petition on behalf of many people in my own riding and nearby ridings. These people are calling on the Government of Canada to do more in the Middle East. They are calling on the government to provide emergency care and reconstruction assistance and to make it easier for refugees to come to Canada.

Privacy January 29th, 2015

Mr. Speaker, yesterday we learned that every day the Communications Security Establishment Canada examines up to 15 million documents shared online without a warrant or the consent of Internet users. Even though the government refuses to admit it, yesterday's revelations show that, since 2012, the surveillance program has spied on Canadians. That is clearly prohibited by law.

However in 2013, the Minister of National Defence said, here in the House, “I would point him, again, to the fact that CSE does not target the communications of Canadians.”

The minister mislead Canadians. The NDP believes that tighter security and safety should not impinge on the right to privacy. We must find the right balance and security agencies must be accountable to Canadians.

One thing is clear: Canadians can trust the NDP to protect their country while protecting their right to privacy.

Business of Supply January 27th, 2015

Mr. Speaker, I would also like to thank my colleague for her fine speech about her riding's economy.

It is vital that we have an economic update based on the economic facts before us. That is what we are asking for today. The government has put all its eggs in one basket. It is always about oil and when that does not work, it hides under the covers and waits for the storm to pass. That is not the solution we need right now.

The NDP is proud of its real solutions for the middle class, which will help the families in my riding and that of my colleague. I would like her to elaborate on that because there is good news for Canadians.

Questions on the Order Paper January 26th, 2015

With regard to property No. 06872 in the Directory of Federal Real Property, also known as the Old St-Maurice Firing Range: (a) has the Department of National Defence estimated the total cost of decontaminating site No. 00008471 in the Federal Contaminated Sites Inventory; and (b) how much is the total cost of decontaminating the site identified in (a)?

Economic Action Plan 2014 Act, No. 2 December 9th, 2014

Mr. Speaker, there are a number of things missing from this budget. I would like to thank my colleague for his question.

As I explained, the budget has no real strategy for creating jobs, especially for young people. It does not contain any measures to encourage employers to hire young workers. The youth unemployment rate is 13.4%, which is very worrisome. I think everyone is concerned about that, including parents who see their children struggling to find work.

I would also like to have seen the age of eligibility for old age security lowered, because 67 is not realistic, especially for sectors in which people do manual labour. That is hard work. Forcing people to continue to work until the age of 67 is an attack on the most vulnerable members of society and people whose health is already compromised.

There are all kinds of other things. There is no real plan to help families and make life more affordable, such as targeting ATM fees, for example. There are many things the government should have done to give families some help, as they struggle more and more. That is where the Conservatives fell short.

Economic Action Plan 2014 Act, No. 2 December 9th, 2014

Mr. Speaker, I think that the Liberal member may have misunderstood. Yes, it is good to develop trade with other countries, but only when there are clear advantages and benefits for Canada. That is what I was saying earlier.

At present, the net benefit remains very elusive. We are not going to give other countries a blank cheque when we sign an agreement. We are not going to say that we support all free trade agreements and sign blank cheques all around without ensuring that this trade will really be beneficial for Canadians. We need to make sure that it will create jobs here and strengthen our economic sectors. That is crucial. It is also imperative that we know what sort of government we are doing business with when we sign a free trade agreement. There was a free trade agreement with Honduras, which has an extremely dubious human rights record.

We have to look at the details and assess all the proposals and make sure that there will be real benefits for Canada. In the case of the free trade agreement with Europe, some points have been raised but we have not yet seen the full text. I am sorry, but I do not feel comfortable signing a blank cheque without knowing the details of the agreement.

Economic Action Plan 2014 Act, No. 2 December 9th, 2014

Mr. Speaker, it is always very difficult to speak after my colleague from Acadie—Bathurst, but someone must do it, so I will look upon the task as a challenge.

I am pleased to be able to speak about this bill, but another gag order has been imposed, and we only have one day to debate the bill at this stage, which is very disappointing.

This is another omnibus budget implementation bill. This is the fifth time that an omnibus budget bill has been introduced. The first time, we thought that it was outrageous to put so many things in a huge document that was very difficult for my constituents and people in general to understand. Everything must be considered at the same time. We hoped that it would never happen again in Parliament.

Unfortunately, this is the fifth time that an omnibus budget implementation bill has been introduced. I would like to point out that Parliament has been forced to deal with a total of 2,190 pages of omnibus bills because of the Conservatives’ disregard for the legislative process. This omnibus bill is 460 pages long and contains over 400 clauses. It amends a dozen laws, and the debate is being rushed.

I dare any Canadian who is well versed in politics to try and follow what is going on in Parliament and every law that is being amended. In a large 460-page document, it is very difficult for people to see what is being done. There is so much content.

We have found that it is part of a Conservative ploy to hide a lot of changes in a huge document and then say afterwards that we voted against them. In fact, we vote against them because this enormous document contains too much. There may be good things in it, but the good things are packed in with a lot of bad things. The way they operate is therefore highly problematic.

On that note, let us get to the heart of the matter and talk about the content. Employment is an extremely important aspect of the economy. All members of the House will admit that it is probably the priority; we must create jobs in Canada and ensure that people are not unemployed.

However, 300,000 people have become unemployed since the last recession, and we need to find jobs to replace the 400,000 manufacturing jobs lost. That is huge. That is 700,000 people without a job. I am very concerned about this. Last summer, I did a lot of door-to-door campaigning, and I was shocked to see how many people in their late fifties and early sixties had lost their jobs in manufacturing. Unfortunately, no one wanted to hire them. Even when they had training in another field, they had applied for jobs and they were willing to accept almost any job, they were unable to find work and they had exhausted their retirement fund. What is in store for them?

In addition, the age of eligibility for Old Age Security is about to be raised to 67. I think we are headed in the wrong direction, and several of my constituents agree. The fact that they cannot find work despite their best efforts is very worrisome for these people who are sitting at home, about to lose their homes.

In this omnibus bill, the Conservatives proposed a tax credit as a solution, which the Parliamentary Budget Officer deemed a huge expense and a waste of resources. He did not have nice things to say about this. The employment tax credit will cost the government $550 million, which will be drawn from the employment insurance fund to create 800 jobs. It does not take a rocket scientist to understand that this is a huge expense for very little return.

To add insult to injury, the Minister of Finance did not even analyze the program before going ahead with it. This is unacceptable. The Minister of Finance is there for a reason.

He is supposed to scrutinize spending and to assess the programs the government wants to implement. An assessment must be carried out. It is the least we can expect. We are about to vote on a bill that has not even been properly assessed by the Minister of Finance. I think Canadians have a major problem with that, especially since we know that only 800 jobs will be created at a cost of $550 million.

What we have to do is address recurring youth unemployment and structural youth underemployment. The unemployment rate for young people who are looking for jobs but unable to find one is 13.4%. This is a really high unemployment rate for this important segment of the population. These are people who want to work and who have a great deal of knowledge, but unfortunately are unable to find a job. However, at the same time, they are being told to donate their time as interns.

That is not what we can call a real economic plan. A real economic plan, a real budget, would provide for measures to put young people to work. A real economic plan would make proposals like those of the NDP to create a tax credit that will specifically encourage employers to hire young workers. These are the types of projects that will truly make a difference.

There are many other elements missing from this bill. The Conservatives claim to want to help consumers; they have said it over and over again. They eliminated the $2 fee for receiving paper invoices from telecommunications companies, but they neglected to include bank statements. Does this measure really include all of the bills that people receive? Definitely not. The government also ignored the question of establishing regulations governing ATMs, which sometimes charge $4 to $5 per transaction. That is money that could be in the pockets of Canadian families. Considering that Canadian household debt is at 166% of their income, we should all be working together to lower expenses for families on little things like this. The government needs to establish a regulatory framework that is not just voluntary but mandatory, so that it can deal with these fees, which are hurting families. There is nothing about that in this bill.

As my colleagues mentioned, the government decided to go forward with its plan to increase the retirement age to 67, despite strong public outcry. There is nothing about this in the bill.

We would also like clarification of the concept of net benefit to Canada. We are often faced with this concept, but the definition is very vague. Important trade deals with foreign companies that want to buy our Canadian resources or companies have been approved, but the concept of net benefit remains vague. Why not work on clarifying what net benefit to Canada means? We have seen situations where it was not clear at all. If we want to ensure that there will be economic benefits or spinoffs for Canadians and the economy, it is important to clarify what a net benefit is. However, the government is not doing that.

A number of my colleagues and I participated in the fundraising drive on the weekend. The need is truly great. Use of food banks in Canada has increased by 25%. People need help. They are turning to their government for help. What is it doing? It is attacking the most vulnerable people in our society. Instead of giving them a hand, it is cutting programs that help them and turning its back on them. The government is pretending that they do not exist and is not helping them.

That is not why I was elected. I was elected to make a difference and to help these people. That is what I will do by voting against Bill C-43.

Access to Information December 8th, 2014

Mr. Speaker, on the one hand, the Conservatives are boasting about their open government policy, but on the other they want to restrict access to information and take even more money out of users' pockets. The Information Commissioner has suggested eliminating access-to-information fees completely, not increasing fees for journalists to $200 per request, as the Conservatives are proposing.

If the Conservatives are serious about their so-called open government policy, why do they want to restrict access to information?

Canada Post November 19th, 2014

Mr. Speaker, pretty soon the people of Blainville will be the ones to lose their home mail delivery service. I have held public consultations on the matter and I know for a fact that the people of my riding will not accept this loss.

Furthermore, now private companies are offering to take over home mail delivery from Canada Post for $30 a month. It makes no sense.

Did the Conservatives put an end to home mail delivery as part of a scheme to privatize Canada Post?