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NDP MP for Terrebonne—Blainville (Québec)
Won her last election, in 2011, with 49.30% of the vote.
Statements in the House
Ethics December 9th, 2013
Mr. Speaker, I would like to go back to the emails that magically vanished and then reappeared.
The emails were initially frozen because of unrelated legal litigation, that is the legal action dealing with the privacy breach at Human Resources and Skills Development Canada. We know that the RCMP now has Perrin's emails and that the matter is moving forward.
However, what about the privacy breach at Human Resources and Skills Development Canada? What is happening and when will the people affected be given answers?
Privilege December 9th, 2013
Mr. Speaker, I rise today to raise a question of privilege regarding a letter I received on Friday, December 6, from Senator Dagenais, a letter that I consider insulting and, quite frankly, hostile.
My question of privilege follows a point of order already raised by my House leader, the hon. member for Skeena—Bulkley Valley.
Last Friday, Senator Dagenais decided to send a letter, not only to me but to all senators and all members of the House of Commons, as well as their assistants. That letter can only be described as a vicious personal attack against me.
In the letter, Mr. Dagenais is reacting to a document I sent to my constituents as part of the NDP's campaign to abolish the Senate, an unelected body that is not accountable to Canadians and is currently being investigated by the RCMP.
Mr. Speaker, I will spare you the exact content of the letter, because if I were to read it here, you would probably tell me that my language was unparliamentary. Let me simply say that the content of the letter is condescending and misogynistic.
The part that disgusts me the most is when Senator Dagenais suggests that I should go to the library and read a book, as though I were a little girl who does not take her work seriously. Nothing could be further from the truth. It is stunts like this that discourage young women from entering politics.
Again, for Senator Dagenais to suggest that I should go to the library and read a book or two is very insulting, as the overall tone of this letter suggests that I am simply a little girl who does not take her work seriously.
I will tell you, now, Mr. Speaker, this old-school mentality that appears to be entrenched in Senator Dagenais' political outlook is the exact type of barrier that young women face and struggle against when they make the decision to engage in political life.
I am particularly saddened today to see that political debate has reached a new low because of Senator Dagenais. I was elected by my constituents to have intelligent debates on facts, not to respond to cheap political and personal shots. That is why I am raising this issue today, in the hope that the necessary steps will be taken and that we will be able to move on and get back to debating important issues for Canadians.
I can say that abolishing the Senate is one of those important issues. In his letter, Senator Dagenais says that abolishing the Senate is not part of the NDP platform. Where has the senator been over the past few years? I would really like to know. The fact is that abolishing the Senate has been part of the NDP platform for decades.
This year alone, I have attended over 300 events in my riding. I have knocked on thousands of doors and I can say that many of the constituents I met said that they were disgusted by the Senate scandal and that they are concerned about the Senate not representing their interests.
I am certainly not going to apologize for sending out pamphlets that directly address the concerns of my constituents. Senator Dagenais in fact epitomizes the very Senate practices that we condemn. As we know, he ran and lost in the 2011 election in Saint-Hyacinthe—Bagot. However, just a year later, the Prime Minister rewarded him for his loyal services with a high paying job in the Senate, until he retires at age 75.
Since 2011, the Prime Minister, who promised not to appoint anyone to the Senate, has appointed 59 senators, including 10 defeated Conservative candidates.
Unlike Mr. Dagenais, I was democratically elected by the people in my riding, who are proud to be represented in the House of Commons by the NDP.
As opposed to Senator Dagenais, who was hand-picked for the Senate by the Prime Minister shortly after he failed to be elected in the 2011 federal election, my constituents democratically elected me to serve their interests in Ottawa. I am honoured to do so and they are proud to be represented in the House of Commons by the NDP.
We know that intimidation, obstruction and interference in the work of any member of Parliament are considered to be a breach of privilege against that member and are considered to be contempt of Parliament.
On pages 230 and 231 of Parliamentary Privilege in Canada, second edition, Maingot states:
Any form of intimidation…of a person for or on account of his behaviour during a proceeding in Parliament could amount to contempt.
The damage that Mr. Dagenais did to my reputation with this letter could undermine my work as a member of Parliament and therefore hurt my own constituents.
On page 111 of O'Brien and Bosc, the House of Commons Procedure and Practice, it states:
The unjust damaging of a Member’s good name might be seen as constituting an obstruction if the Member is prevented from performing his or her parliamentary functions. In 1987, Speaker Fraser stated:
The privileges of a Member are violated by any action which might impede him or her in the fulfilment of his or her duties and functions. It is obvious that the unjust damaging of a reputation could constitute such an impediment. The normal course of a Member who felt himself or herself to be defamed would be the same as that available to any other citizen, recourse to the courts under the laws of defamation with the possibility of damages to substitute for the harm that might be done. However, should the alleged defamation take place on the floor of the House, this recourse is not available.
I would also like to point out what O'Brien and Bosc has to say on pages 96 and 97 with respect to defamatory materials that may circulate about a member of Parliament, which is the case here:
Members also act at their peril when they transmit otherwise defamatory material for purposes unconnected with a parliamentary proceeding...Telecommunications, including technology such as electronic mail, facsimile machines and the Internet, should therefore not be used to transmit otherwise defamatory material.
That is exactly what happened. For that reason, I maintain that this incident represents a breach of my privileges and contempt of Parliament. A letter was sent that was defamatory, misogynistic and condescending to me, and to all my colleagues and to all senators. I believe that the senator acted in this way because he disagrees with the NDP policy that would defend Canadians by abolishing the unelected and unaccountable Senate.
If you find, as I do, that this is a question of privilege, I will move the appropriate motion to send this matter to the Standing Committee on Procedure and House Affairs.
In addition, I invite Senator Dagenais to do the right thing: resign right now and stand for election in my riding of Terrebonne—Blainville in 2015 so we can have a real debate. That is democracy.
Personal Information Protection and Electronic Documents Act December 5th, 2013
Mr. Speaker, it is not easy to speak after hearing the wonderful statements made by the Prime Minister, our leader and the member for Mount Royal. I would like to add my voice to theirs by saying that I am truly saddened by the death of Nelson Mandela. Today we lost a great man and a great symbol of hope.
Despite this, I will still speak to my bill. I am very pleased to close the debate today, although I would like to—and could—talk about it for years and years.
I want to thank all the members who contributed to this debate. Unfortunately, I have to point out that the Conservatives made several erroneous statements that undermined the real debate on Bill C-475. I want to go back to some of those statements today to set the record straight.
The government said it was committed to updating the Personal Information Protection and Electronic Documents Act. Unfortunately, the government did not even respect the provision of the act requiring a review of this legislation every five years to update it. This review should have been conducted two years ago. Moreover, the legislative amendments made during the first review in 2006-07, have yet to been implemented. The government is therefore not committed to updating the act.
It is shameful that the government is refusing to vote in favour of Bill C-475 and then has the gall to say it is concerned about Canadians' privacy.
As for the concerns about consultations and the provisions in Bill C-475, I would like to point out that we consulted 11 major companies and business organizations that would be affected by the bill and 15 consumer groups and rights and freedoms advocacy organizations from five provinces, including Alberta, British Columbia, Ontario and Quebec. We also consulted 15 of the most well-known and important academics in the domain and we heard from approximately 40 experts who shared their opinions about the implementation of the Personal Information Protection and Electronic Documents Act before the Standing Committee on Access to Information, Privacy and Ethics.
Another issue was the size of the monetary penalty companies would be liable to. There is no list of penalties. There is just one: a monetary penalty will be imposed if an organization fails to correct its non-compliant practices as ordered by the commissioner within the time limit. The bill is balanced because this penalty, which cannot exceed $500,000, will be imposed according to a list of criteria that assess the severity of the offence and the organization's ability to pay. I should point out that other countries, such as Germany, Australia and France, have much higher penalties.
My colleagues opposite talked about how the privacy commissioner's role would change and expressed concerns about the commissioner's ability to handle these new demands. Rapid changes in the digital world will change the role of moderators as well. What we are asking for in Bill C-475 is what the Office of the Privacy Commissioner of Canada told the Standing Committee on Access to Information, Privacy and Ethics it wanted to see.
With respect to the ability of the commissioner's office to deal with the new demands, the commissioner explained in committee, during the assessment of their financial statements, that having the power to issue orders and impose sanctions would produce better results that would be more timely and less expensive for Canadians. During that hearing, the commissioner's office proved without a doubt its ability to adapt its services based on economic constraints, while also increasing the office's efficiency.
However, I must say that suggesting that the commissioner's office is incapable of dealing with the provisions it proposed in committee, and without the benefit of any examination, amounts to completely baseless fearmongering.
Bill C-475 is a balanced bill. It proposes concrete measures to protect people's personal information in the digital age. It gives Canadians greater powers to protect themselves when their information is lost or stolen. It reassures Canadians regarding their engagement on the Internet, which is good for our economy.
Bill C-475 provides incentives to organizations for obeying the law. That it crucial to protecting the privacy of our constituents.
I wish to reiterate my desire to work with the members of all parties in order to make the necessary reforms to the Personal Information Protection and Electronic Documents Act. I appeal to the good judgment of all members to vote in favour of Bill C-475 on December 11.
Economic Action Plan 2013 Act No. 2 December 3rd, 2013
Mr. Speaker, I would like to congratulate my colleague on his excellent speech. At the end, he said that the Conservatives are allergic to facts. I agree with that.
The Conservatives are touting themselves as the best economic managers. I would like to share some facts about the economy specifically. These facts demonstrate that, in fact, the Conservatives are bad for the economy. There are things that should have been included in the budget bill but were not. They put everything in this bill, including the kitchen sink, but they forgot to include important economic measures.
I would like to talk about one issue in particular. Youth unemployment in Canada sits at 14.1%, or double the national average. There are a quarter of a million fewer youth in the workforce now than there were before the recession. Where is the Conservative strategy to promote jobs for youth? It is not in the bill. That is why we will be proud to vote against this bill.
Economic Action Plan 2013 Act No. 2 December 3rd, 2013
Mr. Speaker, there are some good things in this bill, but there are also a lot of problems.
One of the biggest problems is that it is another omnibus bill. It is impossible for the public to absorb and assess the content of this bill. It is even impossible for parliamentarians to do so, and that is our job. That is what we are elected to do.
Nevertheless, the Conservatives continue to move forward with their undemocratic ideology and introduce these massive bills.
I have a question for the member for Etobicoke Centre, who just spoke. Does he honestly think that this bill should contain a provision that takes away a pregnant woman's right to refuse work conditions that would be harmful to her baby?
Petitions December 2nd, 2013
Mr. Speaker, I wish to present a petition signed by many of my constituents. The petitioners are calling on all members of the House of Commons to support Bill C-475.
They are very worried about the fact that the Personal Information Protection and Electronic Documents Act has not been updated since 2000.
Given that technology has changed dramatically since then, the legislation no longer adequately protects Canadians against the risks that are present in the digital age.
Privacy December 2nd, 2013
Mr. Speaker, we recently learned that the Conservatives planned on spying on Canadians' Facebook and Twitter accounts 24/7.
These are the same Conservatives who refuse to give information on their budget spending, the same ones who refuse to answer our questions on the Senate scandal. We cannot know what they know, but they want to know what people are tweeting.
Is monitoring Facebook and Twitter accounts truly the best use of taxpayers' money?
Protecting Canadians from Online Crime Act November 28th, 2013
Mr. Speaker, the quotation cited by the member opposite does not really have anything to do with his question, since he said the commissioner was consulted.
Indeed, she made that comment in the Globe and Mail before she had time to read the bill. She had not yet read the bill.
As for my colleague's argument that the government cannot share the text of a bill, everyone in the House has the opportunity to draft a bill. I drafted a bill and I myself consulted the commissioner with the text of my bill in hand. That is definitely possible.
Protecting Canadians from Online Crime Act November 28th, 2013
Mr. Speaker, I thank my hon. colleague, who is from a neighbouring constituency, for the question. She also knows her portfolio really well.
To answer her question, yes, this shows a lack of respect. We all said we wanted to address cyberbullying and everyone in the House agreed to do so. This issue is too important, especially today, after tragedies involving people like Rehtaeh Parsons, Amanda Todd and many other young people who have been the victims of this kind of bullying.
This bill contains only three or four pages on cyberbullying. It does not even make up the larger part of the bill on cyberbullying. This is basically a bill on lawful access. If we compare the number of pages on cyberbullying to the number of pages on lawful access, it is pretty clear that this is a bill on lawful access.
We should be debating just cyberbullying. It is too important, and the victims deserve more.
Protecting Canadians from Online Crime Act November 28th, 2013
Mr. Speaker, I would like to clarify one small point. I believe that my colleague was talking about the Privacy Commissioner, not the Information Commissioner. I think that it was important for her to be consulted.
When drafting a bill that has the potential to have very negative implications for Canadians' privacy, it seems logical that the Privacy Commissioner would be consulted. That is what she is there for. She does an excellent job of protecting Canadians' privacy. That should have been part of the government's plan.
I would like to point out that Ontario's Privacy Commissioner has raised concerns about this bill. I would like to quote her as this raises an important point in this debate:
We can all agree that cyberbullying is an issue that needs immediate attention but it is very troubling to see the government once again trying to enact new surveillance powers under the guise of protecting children. Regrettably, the federal government is using this pressing social issue as an opportunity to resurrect much of its former surveillance legislation, Bill C-30.
A number of commissioners have raised concerns about Bill C-30. If my memory serves me well, the government even said that it would consult the commissioner when dealing with this issue. It did not.
In my opinion, this really shows that privacy is clearly not a priority for this government.