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  • Her favourite word is colleague.

NDP MP for Saint-Bruno—Saint-Hubert (Québec)

Won her last election, in 2011, with 44.60% of the vote.

Statements in the House

Taxation February 25th, 2015

Mr. Speaker, there are fewer and fewer volunteers to help Canadians with their taxes. The Conservatives are adding to the red tape burden and reducing training opportunities for volunteers. Also, believe it or not, in 2016 the Conservative are even going to make these volunteers submit to fingerprinting. It seems the Conservatives are doing everything they can to complicate the lives of honest citizens.

Will the minister give the volunteers what they need to help Canadian families prepare their tax returns?

Parliamentary Precinct Security February 16th, 2015

Mr. Speaker, I listened carefully to the speech given by my colleague opposite.

Let me just say that I find our government's response to this attack absolutely shocking. The government is going to put our security services in the hands of those who failed that day—I recognize the work of the RCMP, but that day, the RCMP failed in its duty. The government is going to give the RCMP jurisdiction over the security force that managed to stop the individual, our House of Commons security service.

I would also like to point out that the motion, which uses the October 22 attack as an exercise or an excuse to give the RCMP more power, is an insult to the brave men and women who protected us so well that day.

My question for my colleague is clear: does he not think that the purpose of this motion is to take control over security in this precinct away from our Speaker and our parliamentary security services and give that power to the RCMP, which, as we we know, is controlled by the government?

Petitions February 16th, 2015

Mr. Speaker, I am presenting a petition today signed by hundreds of my constituents regarding CBC/Radio-Canada. Budget cuts to CBC/Radio-Canada are undermining the strength of our public broadcaster. A self-respecting democracy needs a public broadcaster that is independent from the government, so that it can conduct nuanced analyses of political, economic and social issues in the country.

The petitioners are calling on the government to stop making cuts and to provide adequate funding to ensure that all regions across the country receive quality service.

Mental Health February 5th, 2015

Mr. Speaker, this is suicide prevention week in Quebec, and I would like to acknowledge the exceptional work done by the stakeholders in my riding of Saint-Bruno—Saint-Hubert, as well as all the work done in the greater Longueuil area.

On November 11, 2014, I invited some mental health professionals to a round table in order to identify best practices for suicide prevention.

Today I am very pleased to act as a spokesperson for those stakeholders and call on the government to grant mental health organizations the resources they need to create a network of significant, positive and constructive support.

We have to work even harder to ensure that mental illness is not ignored. It is time to invest in the psychological health and well-being of Canadians.

Red Tape Reduction Act February 3rd, 2015

Mr. Speaker, I thank my colleague and almost-neighbour from Chambly—Borduas.

I know that he works hard, since I have seen him first-hand, and I thank him for his relevant and logical speech.

In their 2014 budget, the Conservatives acknowledged that the transaction fees imposed on Canadian businesses were among the highest in the world and they promised to take action.

The result is that credit card companies only have to take measures on a voluntary basis. We have learned over the years that the Conservatives love self-regulation and allowing businesses to implement their own measures.

This shows that the Conservatives do not plan on standing up for SMEs and Canadian consumers when it could be detrimental to Bay Street interests.

The NDP called for the creation of an ombudsman to regulate the credit card fees that card issuers charge merchants.

Why does my colleague think that the Conservatives will not accept that suggestion?

Red Tape Reduction Act February 3rd, 2015

Mr. Speaker, I listened carefully to my colleague on the other side of the House, but I did not hear him talk about anything relevant to small and medium-sized businesses.

I visited SMEs in my riding of Saint-Bruno—Saint-Hubert, and business owners all agree that unnecessary red tape hurts them financially and causes them to lose valuable time.

Why do the Conservatives not eliminate regulations that are not in the public interest, unless it is because these regulations serve their own interests? I would like a straight answer from my colleague on the other side of the House.

Railway Safety Act January 27th, 2015

Mr. Speaker, it is my pleasure to speak on behalf of the residents of Saint-Bruno—Saint-Hubert on a matter as important as railway safety. I have met with them on numerous occasions to hear what they had to say about this issue. I can say that they are very worried and they are calling for more stringent regulations to be put in place and, most importantly, to be enforced.

It is true that additional safety measures have been taken since the terrible accident in Lac-Mégantic in July 2013 in relation to the transportation of dangerous goods, but we can do more and we have to do better.

Bill C-627, which we are debating today, would give the Minister of Transport and railway safety inspectors the power to order a railway company or the owners of a crossing to do certain work, not only where railway safety is threatened, but also where the safety of persons and property is threatened. For example, the bill would allow the minister to issue an order requiring that a company take corrective measures in a case where barriers continued to malfunction on a track.

As a result, if I am interpreting this bill correctly, this implies that the minister is going to have each section of track inspected and that she could require the companies to take measures to improve safety.

On paper, this bill would meet the expectations of the people calling for more pedestrian crossings and more investment in making those crossings safe. However, it does not answer all the essential questions, such as how frequently these inspections will be done, and with what resources.

The railway safety budget was cut by $5 million between 2012 and last year. This means that every year, there is a reduction in the railway safety budget. In addition, this bill talks about level crossings. The government already has a program for level crossings, but the money allocated to it is not being spent. There is apparently $3 million intended for improving level crossings left over.

My colleague from Brossard—La Prairie went to meet with the people of Verchères, next to my riding. The municipal councillors told him about something interesting. The municipality of Verchères applied for a grant from the grade crossing improvement program in 2010, to put up a safety barrier. Well, to date, it is still on a waiting list.

Now, they would have us believe that this bill will change things, and starting today, the Conservative government is going to listen to Canadians and provide them with safe level crossings? The government had money to invest in level crossings, but it has still done nothing. They must think we are fools.

The second clause of the bill caught my attention. The bill would give railway inspectors the power to forbid the use of railway works or equipment if it poses a threat to the safety of persons or property.

The Auditor General and the Transportation Safety Board of Canada have clearly said that the department does not have enough resources. The department itself is refusing to say how many qualified inspectors can conduct these audits.

We know that Transport Canada’s Rail Safety Directorate is underfunded. It does not have enough staff and the employees it does have do not have enough training.

According to the Auditor General's fall 2013 report, Transport Canada needs about 20 system inspectors to audit each of the federal railway companies every three years. Right now, the department does not have that many qualified inspectors to conduct those audits. That is not very reassuring in terms of enforcing this bill.

There are still too many deaths and serious accidents at level crossings. Protecting the public and the environment basic government responsibilities. Self-regulation and self-inspection are not working. The government must address the lack of oversight and inadequate audits. In 2009, there were 19 deaths related to level crossing accidents. In 2013, that number rose to 31.

In my riding, there was a serious accident in 2013 because there was no pedestrian crossing. How many similar cases are there in other ridings?

The NDP has long called for the federal government to tighten the grade crossing regulations and implement the TSB’s recommendations. The private member’s bill contains some good elements. The government—and I do in fact mean the government—must undertake a complete review of the railway safety regulations and how they are enforced and find ways to improve them, rather than depending on private members’ bills.

Obviously, I intend to vote in favour of measures that can improve level crossing safety or railway safety in general, but the government cannot shirk its duties. It has to take full responsibility for railway safety. A rigorous evaluation of the state of railway safety in the country is needed and we need to make that happen.

Red Tape Reduction Act January 26th, 2015

Mr. Speaker, I too would like to wish you and all of my colleagues in the House a happy new year. I would also like to say that I was very pleased to hear the speech by my colleague, the critic for this portfolio.

As the member for Saint-Bruno—Saint-Hubert, I have had the distinct pleasure of visiting small and medium-sized businesses in my riding twice, and it is exactly as my colleague described. These small and medium-sized businesses need real measures that will make a difference to them and how they operate. I asked one small business owner what he wanted from the federal government. He said that nothing happening in the House was of any interest to him because he feels like a tax collector for the federal government these days.

I also had the opportunity to meet someone who owns a little supermarket. He runs it together with his family and some employees. He told me that he has had it with all the paperwork that makes their lives such a pain because he has to ask his spouse, who is supposed to be there to work in the store, to take care of the paperwork. Those are real situations that we observed on the ground.

The bill before us today, Bill C-21, is just smoke and mirrors as far as small and medium-sized businesses are concerned. As my colleague pointed out, we know that the average small or medium-sized business does not have more than 20 to 25 employees. That may even be true of most of them. As a result, this bill will not affect everyone. Unfortunately, this is one of the Conservative government's usual tactics for pleasing its electoral base.

I would like my colleague to say more about the measures in this bill in terms of their real impact on people on the ground.

Preservation of our Natural Environment January 26th, 2015

Mr. Speaker, my riding of Saint-Bruno—Saint-Hubert is in a forest corridor with 4,000 wetlands and 18 exceptional forest ecosystems. It is also home to no fewer than 84 endangered species.

Today, I would like to recognize Nature-Action Québec, the Fondation du Mont-Saint-Bruno, the City of Saint-Bruno and all of the people who work to preserve our natural environment.

Because of their commitment, our region is rich in biodiversity. Too often, the personal interests of certain members of the other chamber threaten these areas that we hold dear.

That is why I am inviting my constituents to join the many conservation projects of Nature-Action Québec, the Fondation du Mont-Saint-Bruno and the City of Saint-Bruno, so that we can continue to enjoy a healthy environment.

Protection of Canada from Terrorists Act December 8th, 2014

Mr. Speaker, I thank my colleague for his eloquent speech and his knowledge of the matter.

We know that the public feels it is the government’s duty to protect both public security and civil liberties.

However, we see that, in terms of this bill, the government has chosen to ignore all of the amendments that the official opposition put forward in order to improve the bill and to prevent costly legal wrangling. I would like to hear my colleague’s views on this issue.