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Crucial Fact

  • Her favourite word was languages.

Last in Parliament March 2011, as Liberal MP for LaSalle—Émard (Québec)

Lost her last election, in 2011, with 26.60% of the vote.

Statements in the House

The Budget March 24th, 2011

Mr. Speaker, I agree with my colleague when he says that seniors, or golden-agers as we call them back home, must be helped. When you meet with them, you realize that these folks are isolated because they do not have enough money for a decent quality of life.

I would like to ask my colleague the following question. Does he think that $1.20 a day is sufficient to pull these folks out of their isolation when it is not even enough to buy a coffee at Tim Hortons or a bus ticket to go somewhere? Does he really think that $1.20 will be enough to help these folks?

The Budget March 23rd, 2011

Mr. Speaker, the Prime Minister plotted to orchestrate an election with an out-of-touch budget that gives billions for stealth fighters, prisons and corporations, but only crumbs for families.

The finance minister has ruled out any compromise, and the Conservatives already have new attack ads on the air that prove they have wanted the budget to fail all along.

By hiding the cost of their prisons and stealth fighters from Parliament, the Conservatives have misled the House and all Canadians, which means we cannot trust their budget numbers.

The Prime Minister's inner circle has been charged with violating the Canada Elections Act and is also the subject of two RCMP investigations. Now, there is going to be an election to prevent the Auditor General from reviewing the $1 billion that the Conservatives wasted on G20 photo ops.

The Liberals can no longer support this government, which is out of control and out of touch and which is misleading Canadians and threatening our democracy.

The Prime Minister does not make the rules; Canadians do.

Questions Passed as Orders for Returns March 21st, 2011

With regard to the jobs created by the government's Economic Action Plan: (a) for each North American Industry Classification System (NAICS) designation used by Statistics Canada's Labour Force Survey, (i) how many full-time jobs were created, (ii) how many part-time jobs were created; and (b) by NAICS category, how many (i) full-time jobs were filled by women, (ii) part-time jobs were filled by women?

Aboriginal Affairs March 11th, 2011

Mr. Speaker, the Conservatives are giving over $500,000 to a former integrity commissioner just so she will resign quietly and go away. That $500,000 also could have been used to match the provincial contribution to the Native Women's Shelter of Montreal, which had to eliminate some essential positions in July 2010 because the Conservatives cut funding to that organization.

Or do the Conservatives believe deep down that, like the former commissioner, aboriginal women in distress should just be quiet and go away?

Evening of la Francophonie March 11th, 2011

Mr. Speaker, next Wednesday, March 16, the Club Richelieu LaSalle will present its fifth annual Soirée de la Francophonie, in co-operation with the borough of LaSalle.

This event has been gaining popularity since it began. It is always held as part of the Semaine de la Francophonie, with the goal of celebrating the French language and culture. The Club Richelieu LaSalle takes advantage of the opportunity to crown its “francophone personality of the year” and hand out awards to students in public speaking, dictation and poetry competitions.

I would like to take a moment to commend the magnificent work done by Gilles Dubien, chair of the organizing committee, who, for over five years now, has worked diligently to make each edition of the Soirée de la Francophonie a tremendous success.

On behalf of my constituents, I would like to sincerely congratulate him on this remarkable initiative, which helps to promote our beautiful French language.

International Women's Day March 8th, 2011

Mr. Speaker, today, March 8, marks the 100th anniversary of International Women's Day. It is only fitting that we should take a moment to think of the many pioneers who paved the way for this important annual celebration.

At the beginning of the 20th century, women began to rise up, demanding better working conditions and the right to vote. This social action undertaken by these courageous women is still paying off today in 2011.

Unfortunately, the reality here in Canada is quite sad. The Conservative government is not only ignoring the interests of Canadian women, but it has systematically and deliberately made choices that have reversed at least a decade of progress in terms of gender equality.

Furthermore, this government axed the Kelowna accord, which would have provided much-needed health and education funding for aboriginal women. It treats aboriginal women like second-class citizens, first by cutting the generous social programs that were included in the Kelowna accord, and then by refusing to launch a thorough investigation into the disappearance of young aboriginal women.

Unlike the Conservative Party, our party is convinced that Canada's federal government—

Business of Supply March 8th, 2011

Mr. Speaker, I thank my colleague for her excellent question. The Conservative government would not dare admit that it was caught red-handed. That is the problem. It cheated and violated the Canada Elections Act.

Business of Supply March 8th, 2011

Mr. Speaker, this is not a matter of who won or lost the election; it is a matter of election fraud. We are well off in Canada, and the Conservatives can thank the Liberal government that left them a huge surplus. That is why they are managing quite well. But despite all that, the deficit has reached $56 billion.

Business of Supply March 8th, 2011

Mr. Speaker, I thank my hon. colleague for his question. It tells us that the Conservative Party is still abusing its power and is still trying to circumvent the law. It still refuses to take responsibility for its actions. It even wants to appeal the court's decision. That shows that the party thinks it is above the law.

Business of Supply March 8th, 2011

Mr. Speaker, I hasten to support the hon. member for Beauséjour because, indeed, the electoral financing transfer scheme used by the Conservative Party of Canada constitutes electoral fraud and represents an assault on the democratic principles upon which Parliament and our electoral system are based. At the end of February, the Commissioner of Canada Elections filed four electoral fraud charges against the Conservative Party and four of the senior directors of its electoral fund, Conservative Fund Canada, including two senators. All were charged with knowingly violating the Canada Elections Act during the 2006 election.

The first charge is against Conservative Fund Canada, Senator Finley, Senator Gerstein, Michael Donison and Susan J. Kehoe and reads:

Between November 1st, 2005 and January 23rd, 2006, in the City of Ottawa, in the Province of Ontario and elsewhere in Canada, did wilfully incur election expenses in relation to the 39th federal general election that exceeded the maximum of $18, 278, 278.64 for the Conservative Party of Canada, contrary to Section 423 (1) of the Canada Elections Act and did thereby commit an offence punishable on summary conviction contrary to Sections 497 (3) (g) and 500 (5) (a) of the said Act.

The second charge is against the Conservative Party of Canada and reads:

Between November 1st, 2005 and January 23rd, 2006, in the City of Ottawa, in the Province of Ontario and elsewhere in Canada, being a registered party whose chief agent, the Conservative Fund Canada, did wilfully incur election expenses in relation to the 39th federal general election that exceeded the maximum of $18,278,278.64 for the Conservative Party of Canada, contrary to Sections 423(1) and 497(3)(g) of the Canada Elections Act is guilty of an offence punishable on summary conviction contrary to Section 507 of the said Act.

The third charge is against Conservative Fund Canada and Irving Gerstein and reads:

Between January 23rd, 2006 and December 18th, 2006, in the City of Ottawa, in the Province of Ontario, did provide the Chief Electoral Officer with a return on the general election expenses of the Conservative Party of Canada, in relation to the 39th federal general election, that they knew or ought reasonably to have known contained a materially false or misleading statement, namely that all election expenses in respect of the 39th federal general election had been properly recorded, contrary to Section 431(a) of the Canada Elections Act and did thereby commit an offence punishable on summary conviction contrary to Sections 497(3)(m)(ii) and 500(5)(a) of the said Act.

I want to point out that the party being named in these charges is the same party that claimed, in 2006, that it wanted to amend the Canada Elections Act in order to improve the integrity of the electoral process and instill complete confidence in the Canadian public. That is not what I call leading by example.

The fourth charge is against the Conservative Party of Canada:

Between January 23rd, 2006 and December 18th, 2006, in the City of Ottawa, in the Province of Ontario, being a registered party whose chief agent, the Conservative Fund Canada, did provide the Chief Electoral Officer with a return on its general election expenses, in relation to the 39th federal general election, that the Conservative Fund Canada knew or ought reasonably to have known contained a materially false or misleading statement, namely that all election expenses in respect of the 39th federal general election had been properly recorded, contrary to sections 431(a) and 497(3)(m)(ii) of the Canada Elections Act is guilty of an offence punishable on summary conviction contrary to section 507 of the said Act.

How can the Prime Minister claim that this is a difference of opinion? These charges clearly indicate that it is a question of bogus invoices, misleading statements made to Elections Canada and deliberate overspending. These offences could result in a $5,000 fine, five years in prison, or both.

This in and out scheme shows the Conservatives for what they truly are. They can talk all they like about an administrative dispute between their party and Elections Canada, but the Federal Court of Appeal unanimously sided with Elections Canada, which alleges that the Conservative Party deliberately spent more than the national campaign limit by having 67 candidates pay some of the party's advertising costs, to the tune of $1.3 million.

This is how the Conservative scheme worked. After the Conservative Party reached its $18.3 million spending limit, it decided to transfer $1.3 million to 67 ridings that had not reached their $80,000 limit. The ridings returned the same amount, claiming that the money had been used for local ads. The ads, however, were exactly the same as the national ones. The riding associations had no control over these transfers.

The Parliamentary Secretary to the Prime Minister can try to dismiss the facts and maintain that the matter is an administrative dispute, but it will be hard to fight the charges when so many candidates are now coming forward to tell their stories.

Inky Mark, who resigned his Manitoba seat last year, said that his staff was contacted by party officials during the 2006 election campaign. He said that Conservative Party officials asked if they could deposit several thousand dollars into his campaign account and withdraw it later to buy advertising. It did not make sense to him, so he refused.

Mark's former campaign manager said she recalls being asked to receive money and then have the funds withdrawn quickly afterward. She remembers the issue because it sounded similar to a case involving a Conservative cabinet minister from Manitoba who had to plead guilty and was convicted of electoral overspending.

Also, the independent Conservative MP for Simcoe—Grey, who was turfed from the Conservative caucus last year, said her campaign was approached and she rejected the plan.

There is also David Marler, a candidate in the Brome—Missisquoi riding in the Eastern Townships. In an interview with La Presse, he explained why he refused to sign a form in December 2006: the document would have authorized Conservative Party officials to transfer money to his account and then take it right back out again. David Marler declined the offer when an organizer was unable to explain to him the reason and purpose of this transaction. As a lawyer, he understood right away that this scheme was illegal.

The Conservative Party's behaviour during the 2005-06 election campaign, when it claimed to be the champion of public ethics, does not fall into the category of an administrative dispute but, rather, that of hypocrisy and abuse of power. The Conservative Party used a shell game to give the impression that it had complied with the national spending limit. The national organization distributed some $1.3 million to 67 candidates who were below their campaign spending limits.

The Conservatives can try to downplay what they did, but Canadians are well aware of their fraudulent tactics. The Canada Elections Act applies to all political parties. Creating a level playing field for everyone serves to promote a healthy democracy. There is no point in imposing a spending limit on political parties if they can circumvent that limit by moving money around to their local organizations.

The Prime Minister must order the immediate repayment of any and all illegally obtained electoral rebates that were paid out to candidates for the Conservative Party of Canada as a result of the in and out fraud and must remove all individuals facing charges for this fraud from any position of responsibility within government or the Conservative Party of Canada. The issue here is the integrity of the electoral process and thus of Canadian democracy.