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NDP MP for Portneuf—Jacques-Cartier (Québec)

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

Statements in the House

Quebec City Cable Co-operative April 9th, 2014

Mr. Speaker, I am proud to rise in the House to commend the excellent work done by the Coopérative de câblodistribution de l'arrière-pays in the Jacques-Cartier RCM.

This co-operative, which provides local television programming, has been nominated in four categories at the national level for the “I heart local cable” awards.

These awards, presented by the Canadian Cable Systems Alliance, celebrate excellence in cable television, community spirit and the development of national content.

By showcasing the region's culture, history and heritage, while providing access to high-quality local information, the Coopérative de câblodistribution de l'arrière-pays has distinguished itself and put the Jacques-Cartier RCM on the map.

I would especially like to commend Chloé Patry-Robitaille for her nomination in the “best local cable personality” category for her program, On parle de vous. Over the past few months, I have seen how seriously Chloé takes her work and how much energy she puts into it. This nomination is certainly well deserved.

Once again, I wish to congratulate the entire team at the Coopérative de câblodistribution de l'arrière-pays on their four nominations and on their outstanding commitment to the community in the Jacques-Cartier region.

National Hunting, Trapping and Fishing Heritage Day Act April 4th, 2014

Mr. Speaker, I am pleased to rise to speak to Bill C-501, An Act respecting a National Hunting, Trapping and Fishing Heritage Day. I have already had the opportunity to speak in favour of this bill at second reading, but I wanted to reiterate my support.

In my riding of Portneuf—Jacques-Cartier, hunting, fishing and trapping are a major part of my region's economy. In fact, I invite people to visit my region if they have never been there.

In the past, some preeminent people, including Theodore Roosevelt and Winston Churchill, were lucky enough to come to my riding to go fishing, hunting and trapping. There are some absolutely magnificent pictures on the Internet of Theodore Roosevelt with a rather large moose carcass, hunted in my home town of Saint-Raymond in Portneuf. I am very proud to mention that in the House.

The tradition of hunting clubs has existed for hundreds of years in my riding. At one time, these clubs were reserved for the Anglo-Saxon elite. Nonetheless, we were lucky. Access to these hunting clubs opened up over the years. Today, Canadians, Quebeckers and tourists can come take advantage of our hunting grounds and explore our magnificent region. Obviously, our many lakes and rivers are also great places to discover.

Every year, I try to participate in the fishing days that take place in Quebec. I think my colleague's initiative, which seeks to institute a similar day across the country in order to truly celebrate this important part of our heritage, is worthwhile.

My family is not big on hunting. However, my father went fishing many times when I was a child, and I went with him once. Fishing is not really my thing, but I did my part for the conservation effort by stocking one of the rivers in my riding with trout recently.

This type of activity made me truly aware of the importance that our hunters and fishers place on nature conservation and the protection of our wildlife.

I have only one negative thing to say in my speech today. Although this bill celebrates an important part of our heritage and draws attention to the importance that Canadians who participate in these activities place on environmental protection and sustainable development, I find it ironic that the government is making decisions that are completely contrary to these values. I sometimes get the impression that they take hunters, fishers and trappers for granted. That is unfortunate.

Efforts made in our respective ridings to conserve and protect nature are impressive. For example, in Portneuf—Jacques-Cartier, the hunting season for wild turkey will again open in the spring.

A few years ago, the Fédération québécoise des chasseurs et pêcheurs reintroduced wild turkeys into Canada. We are starting to see the results of this initiative. People can now hunt for turkey, something they had not been able to do for a very long time. In my riding, I regularly see wild turkeys along Highway 138, the Chemin du Roy. It is rather amazing to see how successful this initiative has been. Some species of fish are also being reintroduced into the Jacques-Cartier River, among others.

The Conservative government should copy all these programs. Considering the importance of the diversity of our fauna, it should not be impeding Canadians' efforts. We are spoiled in Canada because our biodiversity is quite impressive.

The Conservatives' decision to reduce protection for our lakes and rivers does not make any sense. Now there are only 99 lakes and rivers in our entire country that are protected. These kinds of decisions will increasingly limit access to lakes, rivers and wilderness areas for our hunters, fishers and trappers. That is really unfortunate.

Nevertheless, I hope that establishing a national hunting, trapping and fishing heritage day will raise the Conservatives' awareness of the importance of protecting nature and our wildlife. It is a step in the right direction, and I am pleased to see this bill before us. I am proud to support it, but I hope that we will broaden our thinking and adopt concrete measures to ensure that these traditional activities continue in Canada for hundreds of years and generation after generation.

Economic Action Plan 2014 Act, No. 1 April 4th, 2014

Mr. Speaker, I have a hard time believing the Conservatives. They are always talking about the economy and all the jobs they have created. Most of those jobs are part-time, but they do not mention that. I suspect that they also got that information from Kijiji. I am therefore having a really hard time answering these questions, because I do not believe that this is coming from a credible source.

Any credible source of information that could help this government make informed decisions has been cut or pushed aside completely, because the Conservatives did not like the message they were hearing. Statistics Canada is just one example.

I have a hard time listening to my colleague's economic argument when we know very well that this government is misrepresenting itself regarding its economic competence.

Economic Action Plan 2014 Act, No. 1 April 4th, 2014

Mr. Speaker, I thank my hon. colleague for the question, and yes, the Valcartier military base is in my riding of Portneuf—Jacques-Cartier.

However, in addition to that, I am the daughter of soldiers. Both of my parents are in the forces, and my grandfather is a Korean War veteran. For me, how we treat our military personnel and our veterans is therefore very important.

I am very proud to be a member of a political party that recognizes the social contract that unites us with our veterans, unlike this government, which is trying to use this absolutely appalling argument as a legal defence in Canada and set a precedent in that regard. It is absolutely inconceivable.

I am having a really hard time answering my colleague. I do not know why there is no compensation for our veterans in the bill. I cannot understand it. Actually, I would like the government to answer that, because it is completely unacceptable.

Economic Action Plan 2014 Act, No. 1 April 4th, 2014

Mr. Speaker, I can understand why the member for Lotbinière—Chutes-de-la-Chaudière might not really like it when I talk about the process.

The Conservatives want to convince Canadians that it is not important. They do not seem to think it is very important to let opposition members talk and express the interests and concerns of the people they represent. They want to persuade us that we should let them do as they please now that they have been elected and Canadians have given them a mandate.

Frankly, nobody buys that, and it is not up to me to mouth Conservative propaganda. We know that this budget does absolutely nothing to help Canadian families or create jobs. It is just more propaganda. It is not up to me to elaborate on it.

Economic Action Plan 2014 Act, No. 1 April 4th, 2014

Mr. Speaker, I want to begin by congratulating my colleague from Pontiac on his excellent speech and his excellent presentation. He did a fine job explaining the NDP's concerns over the new budget implementation bill currently before us. I often see him rise in the House and stand up for the interests of his constituents. I want to commend him on his excellent work.

I am proud to join my voice to those of my colleagues to firmly oppose this new omnibus bill. This should come as no surprise from the Conservatives. They do not seem to know how to work any other way. This is the fifth time we are dealing with a such a massive bill and this underhanded approach to avoiding parliamentary oversight. The fact is, everyone here was elected for the same reason. Canadians sent us here to represent them and to stand up for their interests. When we look at the actions of this government and the bills it introduces, we see that it seems to be taking into account only the small percentage of Canadians who voted the Conservatives into power. Unfortunately, our system is designed in such a way that we have a Conservative majority government, but that does not mean that the majority of Canadians voted for the Conservatives. I would say that the majority of Canadians are rather disgusted with the abuse of trust and abuse of power committed by the government. The Conservatives are supposed to be working for Canadians in the best interest of the country. However, that is not what we are seeing.

The Conservatives try to hide their regressive agenda from Canadians on a regular basis. Today, we barely heard one speech, and it was a Conservative speech that was far from objective. After 25 minutes, the Leader of the Government in the House of Commons rose and introduced another time allocation motion. Once again, he could not even get through one half hour of debate. He managed to listen to one of my official position colleagues for barely five minutes and then he said that that was enough, that he knew very well that we would just blame them and shine a spotlight on all the problems with Bill C-31. For that reason, we are once again facing closure, which quite frankly is an abuse of the House. I no longer know how many time allocation motions have been imposed, but I can guarantee you that it is a considerable number.

As I was saying, Bill C-31 is another omnibus bill. It is a massive document with more than 350 pages and over 500 clauses that will amend dozens of laws. Furthermore, the bill would impose a number of measures that were not included in the budget.

Canadians must start learning the cues. The Conservatives use the same arguments with each new budget because it is the same principle every time. They tell us that there is nothing new in there, that everything was in the budget, and so on. They really take Canadians for fools. No one in this country believes them. I do not know who they are trying to convince, perhaps themselves, by repeating the same arguments that are not very convincing. However, quite honestly, no one trusts them.

Canadians also understand that it is impossible for MPs to do a proper job in the short period of time allocated by the Conservatives. I mentioned the size and content of this bill. We have just a few hours to debate it, raise issues and ask the government questions. We rarely get answers but, as MPs, it is part of our job to ask questions and try to get answers. After that, the procedure in committee is rather complicated. Even there, there is very little the members can do.

In any case, it is a known fact that the government does not listen. The opposition could propose an excellent amendment that would remedy problems with this document. Obviously, there are some mistakes in the 350 pages that were hastily thrown together on anything and everything. It takes the government some time. The government will think about it for several months. Time and time again, the opposition will raise the various problems inherent in the government's bills.

Eventually, someone will say—perhaps in a whisper—that the opposition was right and there is a problem with the bill. The Conservatives are a prime example of this. When they decided to charge GST and HST on the parking revenue of hospitals, the NDP objected. It did not make sense to take that money at the expense of people who are already vulnerable, who are going through difficult times and whose loved ones are suffering in the hospital. The Conservatives told themselves that there was no better way to fill the government coffers and deepen human misery than to take money from the pockets of people who are visiting their loved ones in the hospital.

A few months later, the Conservatives realized that the NDP was right and decided to backpedal. However, it took time. Had they listened to us from the outset, had they been more open-minded and had they not been so uncompromising and demagogic, we would not be where we are today. I would not be wasting my time pointing these things out.

Although Canadians were aware of the problem caused by this government, the government did nothing for months until it could no longer stand the pressure. These are the types of situations created by omnibus bills, massive documents filled with regressive propaganda. I urge all Canadians to flip through this bill. They are in for some nasty surprises. The Conservatives are cutting short debate so that Canadians find out as little as possible about what is in the bill. The Conservatives are preparing for the election in 2015 and they are seeing their poll support plummet across the country.

It is not just in Quebec that Canadians are starting to push the Conservatives aside and realize that they are not a viable option for ensuring the well-being of our country and equal opportunity for all Canadians. Canada is welcoming fewer and fewer people in need and refugees because of this government's incomprehensible decisions. We are losing our identity bit by bit, an identity that people abroad appreciated and respected, because of measures that the government is hiding in various omnibus bills. That is unfortunate.

I would like to have the opportunity to consult with Conservative members to see if they know what they are voting on. I am certain that the vast majority of them have absolutely no idea what is in Bill C-31. It is more than 350 pages long, so I doubt that they have read the entire thing. It is easy for them because the Prime Minister's Office feeds them lines and then they regurgitate them in public. They have done a great job so far.

We in the NDP are insisting on our right to debate in the House and raise our constituents' concerns. We want to do the work that Canadians sent us here to do. The Conservatives are becoming increasingly complacent and do not seem to be taking that aspect of our work seriously anymore. I think it is abusive.

Earlier this week, we moved a motion that clearly criticized the Conservatives' systematic abuse of public funds, specifically in relation to the use of Challenger jets. That is another ethical problem that proves that the Conservatives do not care about the real interests of Canadians.

This budget does not contain a single measure to create new jobs. What is worse, it eliminates the small business hiring tax credit that was proposed by the NDP. In my riding, Portneuf—Jacques-Cartier, there are a lot of small businesses. Once again, the government is eliminating a good idea that was proposed by the NDP. It is very easy for the Conservatives to say that we vote against all of their measures. Offering a small gift here and there in an inherently insulting document does not mean that the opposition will vote for the bill. It is outrageous. If I were the Conservatives, I would be embarrassed to use that type of argument to try and discredit the opposition.

Veterans Affairs April 4th, 2014

Mr. Speaker, yesterday, the late Corporal Leona MacEachern's husband sent a strong message to the Conservatives who would like to turn their backs on veterans.

He revealed that his wife had not received help from any specialist for her post-traumatic stress disorder and that she had to fight with Veterans Affairs to obtain help. This is a tragic story that, unfortunately, is not an isolated case.

When will the minister stop shortchanging veterans and start providing the services they need?

Search and Rescue April 4th, 2014

Mr. Speaker, an internal memo states that the Canadian Forces do not have the equipment required to successfully conduct search and rescue operations. They cannot afford to make mistakes in such operations, which are highly dependent on the equipment available. Lives are at stake. The Conservatives continue to repeat that they have put an end to the Liberals' decade of darkness, but the situation has not improved.

Why have the Conservatives not been able to correct the Liberals' mistakes? Why have they allowed the situation to deteriorate to this extent?

Search and Rescue April 2nd, 2014

Mr. Speaker, in 2007, Transport Canada recommended new mandatory digital beacons, but the Conservatives have done nothing since that time. It is not enough to simply accept the recommendations when a report is tabled. They then have to be implemented.

The Conservatives are wasting time with useless studies when we already know the solution. The fact that search and rescue equipment is not available to respond to real emergencies is putting people's lives in danger.

What does the government intend to do to address this problem once and for all, before a tragedy occurs?

Business of Supply April 1st, 2014

Mr. Speaker, the Liberal Party is trying to tell the NDP what issues are important to Canadians and how we should be doing our jobs.

Throughout this debate, instead of talking about the issue at hand, the Conservatives have gone off track, taking their time. They are praising our military, but they are completely out of touch with the debate. My colleagues in the other parties do not seem to see a problem with the abuse of Canadians' trust and taxpayers' dollars. That does not seem to be an issue or a priority.

Can my NDP colleague elaborate on why we in the NDP feel that the abuse of trust and the waste of public funds for the benefit of the Prime Minister's friends is an important issue to Canadians?