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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

Tougher Penalties for Child Predators Act November 20th, 2014

Mr. Speaker, I would like to thank my Liberal colleague for asking such a relevant question.

I made that point in my speech when I said that the government should be supporting community organizations that help these people turn things around instead of just punishing the guilty. I therefore already answered his question about what the NDP is advocating.

When it comes to Conservative bills, the devil is always in the details. That is why we want experts to talk about how effective these proposed changes would be.

Tougher Penalties for Child Predators Act November 20th, 2014

Mr. Speaker, I would like to thank my colleague for his very pertinent question.

As I mentioned in my speech, I think that repressive measures in and of themselves have never been a solution. We must also allow these offenders to be rehabilitated and to be monitored, because repression alone will not make our communities safer. We must look into prevention and allow these people to be monitored, something that goes beyond punishment.

I will try to say this using a medical metaphor: instead of trying to put ointment on a sore and stop the oozing, it would be better to get to the root of the problem and prevent it from happening. Of course there have to be penalties. However, they must go hand in hand with prevention, reintegration and rehabilitation.

It is therefore important that the agencies providing assistance to these people have stable funding in order to help them.

Tougher Penalties for Child Predators Act November 20th, 2014

Mr. Speaker, I am honoured to speak on such a serious issue as the subject of Bill C-26.

This bill is a perfectly clear manifestation of the Conservatives' law and order ideology. It also demonstrates the Conservatives' failure to provide the law and order they talk so much about, since sexual offences against children have increased by 6% in the last two years.

We in the NDP have zero tolerance for sexual offences against children, while respecting jurisprudential principles and basic law, an area where the government too often expresses its disdain for judges by reducing their freedom of decision-making and imposing minimum sentences.

I would remind the House that we offered to speed the passage of the parts of former omnibus Bill C-10 that dealt with sexual offences against children. In those parts, the mandatory minimum sentences were more severe. However, today we are debating a bill that would increase the existing mandatory minimums and the maximum sentences for certain sexual offences against children.

This provision gives the impression that the Conservative government is trying to make up for its failures, but I would like the government to tell me how these new mandatory minimum and maximum sentences can succeed when they have failed in the past.

Like the other members of Parliament, I have read the statistics. The number of crimes committed has risen exponentially. As the mother of three children, I find the following figures rather frightening: in 2008, 54 people were charged with luring children by means of the Internet; in 2012 that number was 127; in 2008, 241 people were charged with sexual interference; in 2012 there were 916.

I wonder whether the problem lies with the sentences or with the services provided.

We know that our communities need more resources to combat the sexual abuse of children. The NDP has supported the program called Circles of Support and Accountability or CoSA.

The former federal ombudsman for victims of crime has revealed that funding for this program will end this fall. That is very sad because, like most community services for victims, the CoSA program is not very expensive. Its 700 volunteers across Canada meet with offenders after their release, help them find work and housing, and meet with them regularly over coffee. The former ombudsman said they were helping offenders remake their lives, avoid reoffending and take responsibility.

Harsher prison terms will probably not be enough.

I would like to raise another point I think is dicey in this bill: the creation of a publicly accessible database containing information with respect to persons who are found guilty of sexual offences against children.

A number of elements that need to be clarified come to mind when I read this bill. This database is likely to lead to a false sense of security, as it gives the impression that the threat comes only from strangers, from those sex offenders walking around in our communities and on our streets, even though the vast majority of child molesters are close to the family. The Fondation Marie-Vincent has determined that in 85% of cases of sexual abuse of children under the age of 12, the abuser is a person the child knows.

I am not saying that establishing this kind of database is a bad thing. I am saying that care must be taken and that the database should not be the only tool for making people safer. It has a role to play, of course, but it is not the main way to make our neighbourhoods safer.

There is another point that bothers me: this kind of registry has already been established in the United States, and we can see that the results are not very good. The Chicago-based Journal of Law and Economics conducted a study in 2011 that showed that the highest rates of sex crimes in the United States come from sex offenders who are listed in registries that are available to the public, simply because the offenders whose names are on these public lists have a tendency to hide and comply less with the law. They tend to live in secrecy. They will take longer to reintegrate into society and be rehabilitated. In other words, they will not be monitored as other offenders are by assistance services and they will be more likely to reoffend. I think this is something that should be examined in greater depth, and I am sure that my colleagues will try to raise all of these sensitive issues in committee.

Since 2006, the Conservative government has taken measures that it says are meant to protect children better. We have taken note of this, but considering that the numbers of sex offences against children continue to rise, the government’s repressive measures are clearly not sufficient.

We would like to see measures that will protect children in a tangible way and make our communities safer, not measures that are just intended to make the Conservatives look good in press conferences. We must also examine in depth whether certain of these measures—such as the high-risk child sex offender database, evidence from spouses of accused persons in child pornography cases and the imposition of consecutive sentences on offenders who have committed sexual offences against children—are in compliance with the Charter of Rights and Freedoms.

Finally, it is easy to see that the unilateral and essentially repressive approach by the Conservatives is unlikely to be enough in and of itself and that this strategy must be urgently reviewed in order to fight effectively against child sexual molestation.

Health November 20th, 2014

Mr. Speaker, NewLink Genetics did not honour its agreement with the Canadian scientists who invented a potential cure for Ebola.

The contract states that NewLink Genetics must do everything possible to develop and sell the vaccine quickly. However, as can be seen on its website, the company just hired a scientist to take over the file. That reeks of amateurism.

Why did the Conservatives sign a contract with NewLink Genetics when the company is clearly not ready to commercialize the vaccine that Africa so desperately needs?

Petitions November 19th, 2014

Mr. Speaker, I would like to inform you that I have a second petition that I am pleased to present in the House.

The petition is calling on the government to respect the rights of small family farms to keep, share and use their seeds. It was sent to me by Denise Brouillette who has gathered over 100 signatures from the people of my riding, Saint-Bruno—Saint-Hubert.

Petitions November 19th, 2014

Mr. Speaker, I am honoured to present a petition from dozens of citizens from Saint-Bruno—Saint-Hubert who oppose the reduction of Canada Post services.

Canada will be the only G8 country that no longer has home delivery. Thousands of Canadians from across the country have mobilized against this. I support their petition.

National Day of the Midwife Act November 18th, 2014

Mr. Speaker, all over the world maternal mortality has decreased by 50% in the past two decades. According to the World Health Organization, the WHO, the number of midwives grew by 15% over the same period, and two out of three births in the world are now attended by a qualified health professional.

Access to good-quality health care is a basic human right. However, every year nearly 40 million women give birth without a qualified attendant, which increases the risks of mortality and morbidity for both the mother and child.

Midwives do more than birth babies. A midwife is a trained health professional who takes complete responsibility for care and services for the mother and the infant during pregnancy, birth and the postnatal period. Midwifery plays an important role in society, and the bill introduced by the hon. member for Alfred-Pellan will raise public awareness of the contribution midwives make to the care and well-being of mothers, newborns and infants.

At present, only 2% to 5% of Canadian women have access to midwifery services. That means two things. First, it means that few Canadian women are aware of the existence of such a sexual and reproductive health service. Second, it means that Canadian women cannot have access to a midwife when they want to have such a person by their side throughout their pregnancy. There are 1,300 midwives in Canada, 136 of them in Quebec and 11 in Montérégie, where my riding is. That is not enough.

We must encourage the practice of this profession and the use of midwifery services, especially because we know that this Conservative government's budget cuts are putting more pressure on hospitals and that the same cuts are causing health care centres in our ridings to close. In my riding, in Saint-Bruno, two clinics have closed in three months, and a third is in critical condition.

The Conservative government is doing nothing to help improve and maintain good health care for the people of this country. The people do not know how to face such shortages. Soon there will be no clinic. It is a scandal. If, by encouraging the use of midwifery services, we can offer young mothers an alternative for their reproductive health, the government ought to support the creation of a national day of the midwife.

The International Day of the Midwife was first celebrated in 1991 and is sponsored by the WHO. Now, more than 50 countries celebrate this day. Here in the House, members help mark the day during members' statements. Why not go farther and make it a national day? It is not enough to honour the birth attendants who work all over the world. It is time to recognize our Canadian midwives, all over the country.

This national day of the midwife would honour all the dedicated midwives who go beyond the minimum required of them, who work in difficult circumstances and with limited resources to provide maternal and neonatal health care to women and girls across Canada. We in the NDP are affirming our commitment to supporting midwives across the country, and I invite all members of the House to do the same by supporting Bill C-608, as introduced by the hon. member for Alfred-Pellan.

National Day of the Midwife Act November 18th, 2014

Mr. Speaker, I would like to thank the hon. member for Alfred-Pellan for her valuable bill, Bill C-608, which is about raising public awareness about the contribution midwives make to the health of mothers, newborns and infants. Only 2% to 5% of Canadian women have access to midwifery services.

Could my colleague explain why so few Canadians have access to these services?

Health November 17th, 2014

Mr. Speaker, the Conservatives' inappropriate secrecy extends even to the Ebola crisis. They are refusing to reveal the details of their agreement with NewLink Genetics even though the agreement is available online. Thousands of people have fallen victim to the Ebola virus, but the Conservatives are more concerned about commercial gain than they are about the public good.

Why does the government not make the vaccine available for humanitarian reasons, as permitted under the act?

Energy Safety and Security Act November 7th, 2014

Mr. Speaker, I thank my colleague for her eloquent speech.

If the nuclear industry is truly mature, it should cover costs in accordance with the polluter pays principle. Unfortunately, this bill maintains subsidies to the industry and downloads the financial risk onto taxpayers for costs that exceed $1 billion.

Taxpayers are not the ones doing the polluting.

Does my colleague think that citizens deserve better protection if companies make a mess?