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Track Maria

Your Say


Crucial Fact

  • Her favourite word is prostitution.

Independent MP for Ahuntsic (Québec)

Won her last election, in 2011, with 31.80% of the vote.

Statements in the House

Citizenship and Immigration June 12th, 2014

Mr. Speaker, a few days ago, I personally witnessed the magnitude of the humanitarian tragedy caused by the presence of more than one million Syrian refugees in Lebanon. In northern Lebanon, I saw improvised camps and many children by the roadside, in the suffocating heat and dust, selling the little they have in order to survive.

In July 2013, Canada promised to accept 1,300 Syrian refugees.

As of today, what is the exact number of Syrian refugees who have arrived in Canada?

Protection of Communities and Exploited Persons Act June 12th, 2014

Mr. Speaker, I would like to thank my colleague for her speech and all the work she has been able to do.

I think it would be important to add a few things. I listened to my opposition colleagues, and after analyzing the Bedford decision and the bill from start to finish, I think that it would hold up constitutionally. I will explain why.

The Bedford decision states that in the current legal context, we cannot criminalize the practice of prostitution. The decision also tells legislators to decide on the legal context that will be put in place to deal with prostitution. The government decided to declare prostitution illegal.

In doing so, the government has established its right to criminalize certain players as pimps and johns. In addition, the government gave immunity to prostitutes. In my opinion, this approach is the fairest for Canada. It presents a Canadian model and, on that point, I hand it to them.

However, I disagree with criminalizing prostitutes in a public place. When immunity is adopted, it must be provided across the board, be it in massage parlours or in public places.

I would encourage the government to reconsider its position because criminalizing johns acting in public view is enough. Criminalizing pimps acting in public view is enough.

There is no need to criminalize prostitutes working in public places. This is how we can give these women, the most vulnerable people on the streets, the opportunity to report the people who assault them.

I would like to propose a friendly amendment.

Public Safety June 6th, 2014

Mr. Speaker, in accordance with its statutory authority, the RCMP ruled that semi-automatic weapons, including various models of the CZ858, are prohibited because they can quickly be transformed into automatic weapons.

However, the Minister of Public Safety and Emergency Preparedness not only gave a two-year amnesty to the owners of these weapons, but also assured them that the RCMP's decision would be urgently reviewed.

How does the Minister of Public Safety and Emergency Preparedness expect to protect Canadians if he is going to undermine the RCMP and fail to maintain effective gun control?

Status of Women June 4th, 2014

Mr. Speaker, women's groups across the country are urging the government to introduce a bill that will make it illegal to purchase sexual services. They are also worried that this government is not doing anything to help prostitutes.

Can the government reassure these women's groups and announce that it will invest money, in collaboration with the provinces, to help prostitutes get out of prostitution?

Air Transportation May 16th, 2014

Mr. Speaker, on May 13, Jacques Roy, director of the Academic Department of Logistics and Operations Management at HEC Montréal said that the Aéroports de Montréal, ADM, should be placed under the purview of a federal control agency.

He maintains that:

Ottawa did not properly negotiate its 1992. was a free for all with projects carried out without any studies or transparency...Who is monitoring ADM's investment decisions? Its charges for airport improvement fees?

There is a real problem with governance. Will the Minister of Transport at least undertake to have ADM subject to review by the Auditor General?

Privacy May 5th, 2014

Mr. Speaker, the police may have grounds to make an urgent request to an Internet service provider in order to save a life or an abused child.

However, it is legitimate to ask who made 1.2 million requests for information and processed the 800,000 transfers in 2011 and how much taxpayers paid for this information.

Does the government realize that its lack of transparency undermines the public's confidence in our institutions and jeopardizes public safety?

Air Transportation April 29th, 2014

Mr. Speaker, Aéroports de Montréal, ADM, manages facilities that are of strategic importance to the economic development of the greater Montreal area. ADM manages billions of dollars' worth of contracts in a given five-year period. Security management is not supervised the same way there as it is in other sensitive facilities belonging to and controlled by the Canadian government.

To ensure transparent, accountable and secure management with a high level of integrity, will the government subject ADM to a review by the Auditor General?

Citizenship and Immigration April 28th, 2014

Mr. Speaker, I would like to point something out to my colleague. He may have missed it and I can understand that.

During the 2006 Israeli-Lebanese conflict, the Canadian government—the same one that is in power today—ensured that Canadian children—not Lebanese, but Canadian children—could return to Canada with both their parents, even if the parents were not Canadian. We had the same program for Haiti.

We do not have this program for Syria. Why? I identified 15 children—there are surely more than that—who cannot return to Canada at this time because one or both of their parents are not Canadians. Why this double standard?

With regard to refugees, the former immigration minister announced the arrival of 1,300 refugees in 2013. How many of these 1,300 have come to Canada to date? There are perhaps a dozen, one hundred, or not even that. What is happening? The refugee camps are overflowing. There are one million refugees in Lebanon, which has a population of 4.3 million.

What are we waiting for to do our part and what is the Canadian government waiting for to do its part in this terrible humanitarian crisis?

Citizenship and Immigration April 28th, 2014

Mr. Speaker, during the humanitarian crisis associated with the Israeli-Lebanese conflict in the summer of 2006, and following the earthquake in Haiti in 2009, our country allowed Canadian children to return accompanied by both their parents, even if they were not Canadian.

That is currently not the case for Canadian children in Syria, which has been at war since 2011. Why this double standard?

The only concession the government is making in theory—again, in theory—is that these children can be accompanied by one non-Canadian parent. Families are being separated.

Out of the 14 cases of Canadian children that I identified in Syria, only one family agreed to make such an application and to live with the separation imposed by the government. Even in that case, the mother's visa was denied. That is why I say “in theory” because in fact, the Conservative government is doing nothing for these Canadian children stuck in Syria.

The question is: what is the situation in Syria? It is a terrible humanitarian crisis. On January 10, 2014, the United Nations announced that it would no longer update the death toll, which it estimated had gone well beyond 100,000. In April 2014, the death toll is estimated at more than 150,000, according to Le Monde. The situation for the children is catastrophic and despicable. We are talking about hundreds of thousands of orphans.

On March 13, 2014, the Special Representative of the UN Secretary-General for Children and Armed Conflict said that the number of children affected by conflict had doubled in one year and that Syria has become one of the most dangerous places on earth for children. Three million Syrian children are being deprived of an education.

In March 2014, the United Nations estimated that 9 million Syrians had left their homes because of the violence and that 2.5 million of them had taken refuge in neighbouring countries. Half of them are children.

Lebanon, which has a population of 4.8 million, has reportedly taken in a million refugees. Turkey and Jordan have reportedly taken in nearly 600,000 refugees each. Iraq has reportedly taken in nearly 220,000 refugees and Egypt just over 133,000.

During the summer of 2013, the government announced that it wanted to welcome 1,300 refugees here in Canada by the end of 2014 but that only 200 of those would be resettled by the government. The others would be the responsibility of individuals.

While the demand for asylum increased by 28% throughout the world in 2013, Canada became known for reducing the number of asylum seekers it accepted by nearly 50%. That is appalling.

We are all members of the same big human family, and we should be sharing the burden of others' suffering. Like Canadian children, Syrian children are our children. We need to open our hearts and oppose the violence that these children are experiencing.

Unfortunately, what I am seeing today is that this government lacks compassion and humanity when it comes to this unthinkable situation. I find that extremely sad.

Robotics Competitions April 10th, 2014

Mr. Speaker, Canada has been enriched economically, culturally and socially by the contributions of citizens from all walks of life.

Today I would like to acknowledge the presence of representatives and members of Quebec's Canadian-Lebanese Chamber of Commerce and Industry, Ottawa's Canadian-Lebanese Chamber of Commerce and Industry and the Lebanese association of Montreal taxi workers.

I am also proud to highlight the achievement of a group of grade five students from Saint-Gérard school who recently won the Robotique FIRST Québec tournament. The school, whose catchment area extends into my riding, will be one of two Canadian teams participating in the FLL robotics world festival in St. Louis, Missouri, on April 23 and 24.

Congratulations, kids, we are proud of you.