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  • His favourite word is colleague.

NDP MP for Louis-Hébert (Québec)

Won his last election, in 2011, with 38.70% of the vote.

Statements in the House

New Democratic Party of Canada June 20th, 2014

Mr. Speaker, the parliamentary session is drawing to a close, and I am proud of the work accomplished for Louis-Hébert. Petitions, speeches, statements, comments, questions in the House and participation in committees allowed me to defend the interests of my constituents.

Think of such issues as the Quebec Bridge, funding for the ice oval, maintaining home mail delivery, public finances, public administration, basic research and CBC/Radio-Canada, to name just a few.

Throughout the session, my colleagues and I were here, but we did not neglect our work in the ridings, where we met with thousands of people, individually or in groups, from the community, educational institutions and businesses. We help them find solutions to their problems and realize their dreams.

I would also like to acknowledge the remarkable work done by my team, my colleagues in this place, who have diverse and exceptional talents, and also by our leader, who has shown that with solidarity and perseverance we can do politics differently by making people the priority.

Victims Bill of Rights June 20th, 2014

Mr. Speaker, I would like to thank the hon. member for Trois-Rivières for his question. His comments are always spot on.

We have no right to make victims cynical about this whole political process. We simply do not have that right. Each one of us wants a better support framework for victims. That is what everyone wants. We just cannot agree on how to do that.

The government has often talked about victims, and the members on this side of the House agree that we should be offering them better support. As I said in my speech, I think that this bill is just a starting point. We need to change this bill by listening to the needs of each and every victim and taking advantage of our desire to truly help them. If we do not take that approach, if we are short-sighted and choose to ignore entire parts of the solution, then the hon. member for Trois-Rivières will, unfortunately, be right. However, in this case, I hope he will be proven wrong.

Victims Bill of Rights June 20th, 2014

Mr. Speaker, Bill C-32, An Act to enact the Canadian Victims Bill of Rights and to amend certain Acts is an attempt—again, an attempt—to provide better support to victims. I am not a lawyer or a health specialist. Also, Mr. Speaker, allow me to stick to the principles. You will understand why a little later.

Support for victims should not be combined with revenge or vengeance. The judicial process is not just centred around the relationship between victim and criminal. I understand that there needs to be more room for victims in the judicial process, but settling for just that would be like having a body with no arms or legs. It is only part of the equation.

In fact, in my opinion, a victims bill must also support people who need assistance. That is the best thing we can do. We must take a holistic approach to supporting the victim. This bill, however, is only one piece of the puzzle.

Helping victims takes more than just using rhetoric to score political points, to look good, to have a photo op. That is not it at all. We must stop putting victims in the spotlight, in front of the cameras, and make room for people who need help in a process that, I repeat, is always painful. It is not a question of using fine words, but of taking action.

To cite a few examples to support that, on April 3, the Association québécoise plaidoyer-victimes said:

It is necessary to enhance victims' rights in criminal proceedings, but doing so must not overshadow their social rights, those that give them access to assistance, compensation and programs that help them deal with the multiple consequences of the crime.

This example from the Association québécoise plaidoyer-victimes alone illustrates the holistic approach I was talking about earlier.

I could also quote Sheldon Kennedy, the famous hockey player. He said:

[this is about] the process of trying to be better at the way we handle victims, not only through the court process, but really understanding the damage that happens to victims.

He also talked about how we could assist victims to overcome their pain and, if possible, helping them return to a healthy, normal life.

I want to share a quote from Andrew Swan, the Attorney General of Manitoba. He said this:

We don't want this to be an exercise where the federal government lays down some regulations, say they've done their job and then wash their hands of it.

That is how it seems, but anyway.

[I]f the government doesn't create a channel to make the bill enforceable—like Manitoba's support services office—then it is an empty gesture.

The point is that it is important to support victims throughout the legal process and to provide better assistance, but some thought also needs to be put into this. My colleague from Abitibi—Témiscamingue spoke about this in her speech. We need to support victims throughout a process that, we must admit, is a painful one. There is nothing pleasant about the process. What we are saying is that we should not make things worse; the focus should be on healing. That is what is important, and it is a huge part of this.

I am surprised that after all these years of talking about support for victims, the government did not give more consideration to how to provide support for victims outside the legal process. It has not gotten any further than that. My colleagues mentioned some necessary improvements with respect to support during the legal process.

I do not understand why the government has not assessed the issue of victim support more thoroughly after spending all these years talking about it.

Let us not forget that the federal government and the provinces, its key partners when it comes to justice issues, share jurisdiction on this. Everybody has to move in the same direction, meaning the federal and provincial governments have to take a collective and collaborative approach to supporting victims. I hope that the minister will address the issue from that perspective. If not, we will see a political party's agenda instead of a real political will to support victims.

Moreover, the consultation has to be as broad as possible. We must not go too fast; we need to get it right. It is important to allow everybody—victims, experts, health care professionals and the general public—to participate in this discussion, which will lead to a better framework for victim support.

If the government is willing to hold this broad consultation, this Parliament will have accomplished something noble. This is not a purely partisan debate where we and the government are on opposite sides. Fundamentally, the goal is to find out how we can best support people who have gone through a traumatic experience. That is the crux of the matter. Do we really want to work together to help these people in the best possible way?

I ask the government to consider conducting this broad consultation, so we can hear everyone with something to say and use their comments to improve the bill. The committee stage would be a good time to conduct the consultation and transform this first draft into legislation that really benefits victims. It is of the utmost importance.

When it comes to supporting people, principles are not enough. We need to invest money eventually. We cannot promise to help people and offer only goodwill. A number of volunteer organizations support these victims. We need to support the groups that offer support. It will take money to make things happen.

I would also like to see a commitment spelling out how we are planning to help these people. Would that be possible? How can we support this measure? That is key. If we do not spell out how the support and collaboration will occur, we will never reach a viable solution, and victims need viable solutions.

In closing, I think that the government and, by extension, this Parliament, has no right to disappoint victims with a faulty bill. We will support the bill at second reading because it really needs improvement. Despite what we have seen these past years, our side remains optimistic. We hope that we can all work together to improve this bill, for the benefit of victims.

Victims Bill of Rights June 20th, 2014

Mr. Speaker, I want to thank my colleague for her very precise speech. She really analyzed this bill.

She said one thing that really struck me, which was that more extensive consultation was needed throughout the process. She started describing how she envisioned this broader consultation, which would make the bill of rights more inclusive of victims.

Could she tell us a bit more about the study in committee and how she envisions support for victims?

Red Tape Reduction Act June 19th, 2014

Mr. Speaker, this is what I would like to ask my colleague.

Since the parliamentary secretary said earlier that the rule has been in place for two years, is this bill not just legislative red tape?

Red Tape Reduction Act June 19th, 2014

Mr. Speaker, I would like to thank my colleague for her speech. We could talk about it for a long time. She clearly outlined the problem of government support for SMEs. She rightly mentioned that one of the major problems brought to our attention was credit card fees, which directly reduce SMEs' liquidity.

I would like to know whether my colleague believes that the one-for-one rule is the ultimate panacea, as we heard in the previous speech. Are there not better ways to promote small business development?

Respect For Communities Act June 17th, 2014

Mr. Speaker, what does a 74th guillotine mean? It means that we have one half hour to talk as we are doing now—which is not productive—one half hour waiting for the bells and the actual vote. It means that almost 90 hours of debate did not take place in the House.

How many bills—if everyone had time to speak—would have gotten through had we made good use of those 90 hours?

I have the following question for the minister. Will he promise not to use the guillotine at committee and third reading stage?

Petitions June 16th, 2014

Mr. Speaker, I am honoured to present a petition from citizens who believe that the mandate of the Office of the Extractive Sector Corporate Social Responsibility Counsellor, which was created in 2009 to provide constructive solutions to conflicts between affected communities and Canadian mining companies operating abroad, is too weak to resolve conflicts and has not provided useful solutions to communities. The petitioners are asking the government to create a legislated extractive sector ombudsman mechanism in Canada.

Infrastructure June 16th, 2014

Mr. Speaker, construction of Quebec City's ice oval has been delayed.

The federal government promised to pay one third of the cost of this infrastructure, but the promised money from the building Canada fund may no longer be available. Last Friday, in response to our question, the Parliamentary Secretary to the Minister of Public Works and Government Services responded by talking about shipbuilding.

Can the Minister of Infrastructure, Communities and Intergovernmental Affairs take this more seriously and clearly indicate whether the federal government will keep its promise even if there are delays?

Strengthening Canadian Citizenship Act June 12th, 2014

Mr. Speaker, the minister often compares Canada to other NATO countries. That bothers me because I think that an independent country should do things its own way.

What does my colleague think of the fact that the government is trying to standardize our practices with those of other countries? Does he think that is the right thing to do?