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

National Defence January 30th, 2015

Mr. Speaker, the Prime Minister solemnly told Canadians that our soldiers' mandate was to advise and assist, not accompany, Iraqi troops.

We now know that that is false. Yesterday, the government gave us a lesson in semantics to explain to Canadians that, in fact, they are the ones who have misunderstood. The government is saying that the mission has simply evolved.

Now that the government acknowledges that the mission has changed, will the Prime Minister at least ask for the opinion of the House on what comes next?

National Defence January 29th, 2015

Mr. Speaker, our soldiers have been in Iraq for months now, and we still do not know the exact nature of the mission. The Chief of the Defence Staff said today in committee that, for now, there are very few Canadian Forces members on the ground.

Does that mean that the government plans to send more combat troops to Iraq?

Privacy January 28th, 2015

Mr. Speaker, we all support having the Communications Security Establishment closely monitor downloads connected to terrorist activities. However, 10 million to 15 million downloads a day being monitored sounds like an awful lot to me.

Is the government ensuring that Canadians' personal activities are not being monitored—or should I say spied on? How is the government ensuring that Canadians are safe but that their privacy is respected?

National Defence January 28th, 2015

Mr. Speaker, I am not sure that the minister understood my colleague's question, which was actually quite simple. Have the Kurds asked for armoured vehicles, yes or no?

Why are we hearing about this from Kurdish news sources instead of from the Prime Minister here, in the House?

National Defence January 27th, 2015

Mr. Speaker, contrary to what the Conservatives promised, Canadian soldiers are presently on the front lines in Iraq in a combat role.

Furthermore, according to the defence department, only Canada has put itself in this situation.

The real question here is not whether our soldiers should return fire, but why the Conservatives have put our soldiers in this position without informing Canadians of the true nature of the mission in Iraq.

Business of Supply January 27th, 2015

Mr. Speaker, I want to thank my colleague for his question. He has just given another example of the Conservatives' disastrous decisions.

Frankly, I am running out of words to describe to what extent the government's decisions have had a negative impact on families in my riding of Portneuf—Jacques-Cartier. I know my colleague from Beauport—Limoilou is seeing the same thing in his riding.

The October 2015 election cannot come soon enough. Let us hope for a new government, an NDP government that really cares about the middle class and Canadian families.

Business of Supply January 27th, 2015

Mr. Speaker, I would like to thank my colleague for his question and compliment him on his mastery of Molière's language. I really appreciate the effort, and I am very impressed.

Let us get back to the crux of the matter, the problem that we are currently facing. The budget has been postponed. They say they will table it in April, but what do we know about it? We know nothing because the government is refusing to give us any information. When the Minister of Finance talks to journalists, he says it is exasperating to have to keep answering the same questions. If he actually bothered to give a clear answer, then maybe we would stop asking him those questions, but that seems to be a pretty complicated concept. That is where we are. Nobody has any idea what kind of budget we are in for.

The other especially negative consequence is that very tough choices will have to be made. What cuts will the government make to balance the books? If the government really believes that that is the goal it wants to achieve, fine. However, how will they achieve it? They have already closed Veterans Affairs Canada offices and raised the retirement age to 67. Plenty of decisions like that are being made, and they will have a direct negative impact on Canadian families. That is what the Conservatives' incompetence has wrought, and that is a real shame.

Business of Supply January 27th, 2015

Mr. Speaker, I thank my colleague for his question. He seems to have paid attention to my speech, because I went into great detail about how income splitting was not a valid measure. It does not help Canadian families, and the NDP has already committed to reversing that decision.

I do not understand the Conservatives' obsession. Actually, I do understand. There is an election coming up. They are trying to woo a small elite to try to win a few more votes. They are not providing tangible assistance for the majority of middle-class families.

What I would have liked—and the day is not over, so there is still time—is to hear what the member for Papineau thinks. I still have not heard his thoughts on this topic. He has made some contradictory statements recently. In London, Ontario, he said that we should transition away from the manufacturing sector. The following day, in Windsor, he told workers that we should invest in the automotive sector. That is a little confusing.

The Conservatives seem to be confused, but the Liberals are too. I would have liked to hear the member for Papineau clarify. I am still holding out hope, since the day is not over yet.

Business of Supply January 27th, 2015

Mr. Speaker, I am very proud to rise in the House today to join my colleagues in supporting the motion moved by my hon. colleague from Skeena—Bulkley Valley.

Before I begin my speech, I would like to mention that I will be sharing my time with my colleague from Compton—Stanstead, and I look forward to hearing his presentation.

The motion is very simple. What the NDP wants is quite clear. I will nevertheless tell the government once again what we are looking for, because sometimes we talk but the message does not get through. I will therefore try again.

First of all, we are calling on the government to present a fiscal and economic update to Parliament in order to inform both parliamentarians and Canadians about the real state of our public finances. We do not want any bogus projections from the Conservatives, as we have seen recently. We want an update on the state of our public finances.

Furthermore, we are also calling on the government to commit to presenting a budget that includes measures to help the middle class and create good-quality jobs. Frankly, that would be a refreshing change. What we are asking for is not unreasonable; quite the contrary.

From the minute we started debating this motion today, the Conservatives have refused to answer our questions and be transparent with Canadians. They keep giving us spin. They would have us believe that they are excellent managers, but everyone knows that this is not true. I can understand them wanting to bury their heads in the sand because reality is far from being in their favour. The current situation in Canada very clearly illustrates this Conservative government's incompetence. As I was saying, the Conservatives would have us believe that they are good managers and that we should trust them to lead our economy and help middle-class families. However, Canadians know better.

The NDP has repeatedly talked about the Conservatives' obsession with developing natural resources at the expense of other sectors of the Canadian economy and the possible consequences of not diversifying the country's economy. We are facing those consequences today. The Conservatives have denied the facts and tried to discredit the NDP for various reasons. Today, we are facing a problematic situation with the current price of oil.

The price of a barrel of oil is plummeting. Recently, TD Economics announced that because of the rapid drop in oil prices, it would be difficult, if not impossible, for the Canadian government to balance the books for 2015-16, as promised. It is not likely to happen until 2017-18, and even that is pretty optimistic.

TD Bank seems to think that oil prices will recover, but other economists are much more pessimistic. A balanced budget could come even later than 2017-18 if conditions remain as they are.

I would like to quote from an article written by Alain Dubuc and published in La Presse yesterday. Nobody would accuse Mr. Dubuc of being a closet New Democrat. Nevertheless, he accurately portrayed the Conservatives' incompetence when it comes to the economy. He wrote:

The Canadian formula had less to do with Conservative genius than a fortuitous advantage—oil—over which they had no control. Canada's success—or rather the illusion of success based on oil-doped numbers—relied too heavily on burgeoning investment in oil and growth in the west, and not heavily enough on modernizing and diversifying the Canadian economy. That has led to significant environmental consequences and high costs for Quebec and Ontario. The government is therefore partly to blame for this turmoil.

As I was saying, Mr. Dubuc sums up the situation very well, and highlights the problem caused by the Conservatives when they decided to put all their eggs in one basket, and concentrate exclusively, or almost so, on the natural resources extraction sector to the detriment of other sectors of the economy. I am referring to the manufacturing sector, which has suffered huge losses in recent years.

We are now confronting job losses and the bankruptcy of big companies, as is now the case with Sony and Mexx, to mention only those two. Suncor is also announcing job cuts. Even the extractive sector is now suffering, because the price of oil is much too low.

Economists estimate that every $5 drop in the price of a barrel of oil costs our government nearly one billion dollars. We can thus imagine that if the price of oil stays as low as $45 U.S. a barrel, as it is today, that could represent a revenue loss of nearly $6 billion in a year for the Canadian government. Yet the Conservative government was relying on that revenue to generate a surplus and make election promises to its cronies. We thus have a problem on our hands. Apart from not necessarily being able to help Canadian families, we may find ourselves facing other cuts. The government’s choices are in fact fairly limited. That is why the NDP is now asking for an economic and financial update. It wants a real-world picture of the situation in order to be able to make the most appropriate choices for Canadian families.

Looking at the situation, I can certainly believe that the government is panicking, and wants to delay the tabling of its budget until April. However, crossing your fingers and hoping that the price of oil will stabilize or increase is not a valid economic strategy. I hope the Conservatives will realize this fairly quickly.

The Conservatives maintain that they will balance the budget, whatever it takes, but how are they going to achieve such a result? Are they going to cut services to Canadians even more than they have already done? Are they going to dip into the contingency reserve that should be used in emergencies, and not to fill gaps in the budget that the Conservatives were not able to foresee? Neither of these two choices represents a real solution that will benefit Canadian families. People are looking to the government for help.

A few months ago, we saw the Conservatives postponing $3 billion worth of military procurement because, there again, they saw that they would not be able to achieve their balanced budget. They cut in areas that directly affected frontline services to veterans, people that this government is constantly trying to make use of for electoral purposes. They claim to be big defenders of our military and our veterans, when we know very well that this is absolutely false. We will be facing agonizing choices because the Conservative government is quite simply incompetent in matters of economic management, and has not been able to prepare forecasts for the budget.

In fact, it chose instead to give election goodies to its buddies. Did it suggest the possibility of not implementing the expensive and inefficient income-splitting arrangement? Not at all. On the contrary, I believe it would look rather bad in this election year. However, the arrangement in question has been criticized by many experts and many economists. In addition to offering nothing to over 85% of Canadian families—which is huge—there are clear indications that setting up such a scheme would push the government into deficit. We are therefore in a difficult situation already, but the government is considering dipping into reserves that should be used in the case of floods or natural disasters, and unforeseen events of that kind. The government is out to win points in specific constituencies with a particular elite that the Conservatives are trying to win over, and it continues to push forward such a plan.

I clearly recall that the new Minister of Veterans Affairs was quite proud to announce to Canadians, to his Conservative supporters, that this tax measure introduced by his government would result in a tax credit of nearly $3,500 for his family. That is magic. Thank goodness there are limits on tax credits. I cannot imagine what he might get with his new minister's salary. What will this measure do for 85% of Canadian families? Absolutely nothing. Once again, the Conservatives hope to buy the vote of the wealthy with this gift.

What we are asking for today is very simple. We want the government to stop burying its head in the sand and be honest and transparent with Canadians for once. We want the government to present the actual economic situation. The NDP has proposed measures that could help Canadian families, such as our affordable national child care plan. When Quebec implemented its child care program, 70,000 women entered the labour market. This is a practical measure that will stimulate the economy and create jobs. I do not hear the government making such proposals. What we want to see today is a commitment from the government that it will present a budget that includes measures to help Canadian families and provide an economic update. It is very simple.

Petitions January 26th, 2015

Mr. Speaker, I would like to present four petitions from my constituents in Portneuf—Jacques-Cartier.

The petitioners are calling on the government to create a legal mechanism to establish a Canadian extractive sector ombudsman for responsible mining.