House of Commons photo

Track Élaine

Your Say

Elsewhere

Crucial Fact

  • Her favourite word is conservatives.

NDP MP for Portneuf—Jacques-Cartier (Québec)

Won her last election, in 2011, with 42.70% of the vote.

Statements in the House

International Development October 24th, 2014

Mr. Speaker, these measures are a good start, but we need to do more. We need to be quicker at delivering the goods and contributing more to the World Health Organization. We need to control this epidemic because soon it will be too late.

Does the government plan to strengthen our approach?

International Development October 24th, 2014

Mr. Speaker, the Ebola epidemic continues to threaten global health. Cases were reported yesterday for the first time in Mali and in New York.

Urgent global action is necessary to bring infection under control and save lives. What is the government doing to scale up Canada's Ebola response in West Africa?

Veterans October 21st, 2014

Mr. Speaker, when Lieutenant Shawna Rogers took her life in 2012, her parents wanted to understand what led her to commit such an act.

After gathering various documents, Rick and Ellen Rogers were asked by the Department of National Defence to turn over that information. What is worse, they are now being taken to court and facing prison time because they refused to do so.

Why is the government trying to punish veterans' families instead of dealing with its troops' mental health problems?

National Defence October 20th, 2014

Mr. Speaker, a very disturbing new report shows that one-third of Canadian Armed Forces members feel it can be a bad career move to seek mental health help. Many military personnel are afraid of being discharged for medical reasons and losing their pension.

Is the Minister of National Defence aware of this situation? Does he plan to do something to ensure that our soldiers have unencumbered access to the mental health services they are entitled to?

Veterans October 10th, 2014

Mr. Speaker, today, October 10, is World Mental Health Day. It is an excellent opportunity to promote healthy living and remind everyone of the importance of mental health to our overall health.

It is also an opportunity to remind people that no one is immune to psychological stress, and this is especially true of the brave men and women who have proudly served their country in the Canadian Forces and who often come back with psychological injuries that never fully heal.

The rate of post-traumatic stress disorder among members of the Canadian Forces has nearly doubled since 2002. The suffering experienced by our soldiers and their families is a real problem. Unfortunately, the resources available to help them are woefully inadequate. Worse still, those who are considered no longer fit for duty under the universality of service policy are being squeezed out, often with almost no resources and sometimes even no pension.

This situation is unacceptable. It is time for the government to show our soldiers and our veterans the respect they deserve, and for the government to ensure that they have all the assistance and all the resources they need.

Business of Supply October 9th, 2014

Mr. Speaker, the first thing I want to say is that I sure hope I have more than 50 years to live.

Frankly, when I hear statements like that, I feel the way I feel every day about this government. I think their policies are discouraging.

I do not yet have children, but I hope to. It leaves me speechless to see the state the Conservatives want to leave this country in. It is horrifying to see them do these things, to see them gut all of the environmental protection provisions we had and undermine Canada's international reputation.

I could go on about this for hours. For my generation and new generations to come, this is just discouraging.

Business of Supply October 9th, 2014

Mr. Speaker, I am astounded to hear such a thing from a Conservative government member who rises in the House day after day to attack the rights of workers. To be honest, I think it is shameful that this member is making such hypocritical comments.

The NDP is asking the government to create jobs so that families will have enough money to live on. We are not talking about creating part-time jobs, which is what the Conservatives have been doing from the outset.

Furthermore, they are attacking workers' rights and trying to destroy the labour movement here in Canada. Quite frankly, the Conservative government has nothing to teach us about how Canadian workers should be treated.

Business of Supply October 9th, 2014

Mr. Speaker, I find it rather unfortunate that I have to once again explain what the Leader of the Opposition said. He was very clear.

The NDP is in favour of shipping western Canadian oil to eastern Canada, where our refineries are located, in order to create jobs. That is the basic principle that we stand for. However, an oil port project such as the one in Gros-Cacouna threatens marine species that are already threatened and does not take into account the St. Lawrence River ecosystem.

We therefore cannot support such a project. That is the basis of our argument. Before we consider exporting value-added jobs and our natural resources, we need to take the time to develop projects that will benefit the Canadian economy.

That is not what we are seeing with the Gros-Cacouna oil port project.

Business of Supply October 9th, 2014

Mr. Speaker, I am pleased to speak to this debate on the excellent motion moved by my colleague from Drummond. I want to thank him for making it possible for us to have this debate in the House. This is a very important debate, because the bill on the Gros-Cacouna oil terminal is a controversial one. Quebeckers and Canadians who have an interest in the project have a lot of questions and concerns.

We have been trying to get answers from the government all along, without success, of course. The government refuses to share the scientific information and is desperately trying to hide the facts. Furthermore, we cannot even have a meaningful debate in this House.

For months, the NDP has been trying to get information and answers from the government about the potential environmental impact of the drilling and the geophysics work that was going on until the Superior Court of Quebec issued an injunction and put an end to that work.

My colleagues have asked a number of questions in the House, and motions were moved in the Standing Committee on the Environment and Sustainable Development and in the Standing Committee on Fisheries and Oceans, in order to force the government to consider the concerns of scientists and Quebeckers.

However, we always get the same old rhetoric and never get a real answer. The government does not seem in any way concerned that scientists are being muzzled and that there is no good information out there that would give us a real idea of the impact this project would have.

Even after the Superior Court of Quebec issued an injunction, the Conservatives refused to admit that they had made a mistake by not sending the information requested by the Government of Quebec. Furthermore, they refuse to provide the information that was requested. The battle continues.

Frankly, I think this government's attitude is deplorable. It claims to want co-operative federalism and claims to want to work with provincial and territorial premiers. That is not what we are seeing here. Honestly, co-operation and collaboration are nowhere to be seen in most files managed by the government. In a democracy like ours, that is really unfortunate.

When it comes to developing our natural resources, we must always keep in mind that any development must be based on the principles of sustainable development. These basic principles should be applied to every natural resource project in the country. There again, this does not seem to be of any concern to the government, which is very unfortunate.

The Cacouna oil terminal project aims to export crude oil. We will be exporting our raw natural resources abroad so that other governments and people can benefit from them. There are no plans to process or refine those resources here at home. We are potentially exporting many value-added jobs while jeopardizing a significant part of the economy in and around Cacouna, including the tourism and fishing industries. All of that would be jeopardized simply to promote the interests of the oil industry, that great friend of the Conservatives.

I do not understand that attitude. The Conservatives constantly claim to be champions of the economy, but have they genuinely looked at the project before us and its implications? What are the real benefits for the Canadian economy? I do not see any and neither do my NDP colleagues. I would be very surprised if the Conservatives were able to present any relevant or worthwhile arguments proving the economic viability and necessity of this project.

The Port of Gros-Cacouna, where they plan to build the oil terminal, is one of the worst spots on the St. Lawrence to do it. The St. Lawrence River is teeming with marine biodiversity. There are all sorts of species of marine mammals. Many people talk about the beluga because it is a true emblem of the river. Unfortunately, the beluga's numbers are declining. The survival of this species is in jeopardy. That does not seem to affect the Conservatives, but Quebeckers are very concerned about what will happen to this marine mammal. The animal is familiar to us all because each of us has had the opportunity to admire it at one time or another.

When I was younger, I had an opportunity to go and see the beluga whales in Tadoussac with my parents. This is a trip that many families in Quebec and elsewhere have probably taken to enjoy the natural resources the river has to offer.

Perhaps, quite simply, the Conservatives are ready to put all of this in danger because they are being pressured by their friends in the oil sector. There is no guarantee of any substantial benefits for the Canadian economy. People currently want to build an oil terminal in the very spot where female belugas give birth. There are only about 880 belugas left, and they want to make it even more difficult for the species to reproduce. The government does not care and continues to ignore the warnings from the experts we hear from regularly, the ones not connected with Fisheries and Oceans Canada, at least, who testify regularly to warn the government about the dangers of this initiative for a threatened species like the beluga whales.

Ten baby belugas have already been found dead this year. Unfortunately, their carcasses washed up on the banks. We know that the species is affected by noise. Developing the Cacouna oil terminal means years of drilling and dynamiting. We know that this will affect the beluga population. With that information in mind, I do not see how we can, in good conscience, move forward with a project like this. The government's attitude is completely unacceptable. It is closing its eyes and ignoring the scientific evidence that has been presented to it many times; it is even trying to hide that information from the Government of Quebec and Canadians.

I regularly hear the Conservatives criticize us for not attending the submission of the final project to the National Energy Board. Personally, I am wondering how a private company can get this government's approval for exploratory drilling before an environmental assessment worthy of its name could be completed or before the final project itself was submitted to the National Energy Board. I would like my Conservative colleagues to think about this. They have not considered all the data, either, or if they have, they quickly shelved it because it did not suit them.

I am especially disappointed in the Liberal Party's position on this. Just a month ago the Liberal Party leader said that we must move forward with the oil terminal project in Cacouna. Move forward. Earlier today, we heard the hon. member for Saint-Laurent—Cartierville try to interpret the member for Papineau's comments and convince us that he did not really say what he said. Canadians are not fools. They know where they stand with the Liberal Party. They know full well that they cannot trust the Liberals to protect the St. Lawrence and the belugas. I think that is really too bad.

However, I am very proud of the work that was accomplished by all my colleagues on the ground, the members of the region. I will not name their ridings, since the riding names in that region are rather long. A number of my colleagues met with various stakeholders and organized information sessions to ensure that municipal representatives and local residents could have good information that was neutral. They invited academics to inform the public about this issue. We can all agree that neither the government nor the company behind the project will try to provide neutral and objective information to Canadians.

Obviously, the proposal to set up an oil terminal in an ecosystem as fragile and invaluable as the St. Lawrence River, especially in an area that is so vital to marine mammals such as belugas, is totally unacceptable. The principles of sustainable development are being thrown out the window. The NDP simply cannot sign off on some project that includes plans to build an oil terminal in Cacouna. Protecting the environment and the interests of Quebeckers is more important to us than anything else.

Business of Supply October 9th, 2014

Mr. Speaker, I found one remark made by my colleague at the beginning of his speech a little strange. He said that the motion was somewhat premature. As my hon. colleague mentioned a little earlier, the leader of the Liberal Party outlined his position on the project a month ago. He did not say he was not against it; he said we should go ahead with it. That was very clear.

I have to wonder about the Liberals' real position. I hope my colleague from Saint-Laurent—Cartierville will be able to convince his leader that he has some work to do to clarify his position.

Aside from that, I want to come back to another point. In British Columbia in October 2012, the leader of the Liberal Party spoke out against the Enbridge pipeline. He talked about the precautionary principle and lamented the fact that the pipeline was to go through one of the most vulnerable and most beautiful ecosystems in the world.

Does he not think that the same is true of the Gulf of St. Lawrence? This is a rich resource that belongs to all Quebeckers. It belongs to all of us. I do not understand why the Liberals are so reluctant when it comes time to stand up in the House and defend this project.