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Crucial Fact

  • Her favourite word was women.

Last in Parliament March 2011, as Bloc MP for Laval (Québec)

Lost her last election, in 2011, with 22.70% of the vote.

Statements in the House

Petitions March 25th, 2011

Madam Speaker, I am pleased to be presenting a petition in support of seniors signed by 122 people. They are calling on the government for real improvements in the guaranteed income supplement, the spouse's allowance and the survivor's allowance.

Status of Women March 24th, 2011

Mr. Speaker, the government’s budget proves that the Conservatives deny the existence of and challenges faced by over half of the population. There is nothing in the budget to improve women’s lives. In recent years, as well, the Conservatives have cut the budget of Status of Women Canada, cut funding for a number of women’s rights groups and allowed pay equity, a fundamental right, to become negotiable.

Does the Prime Minister realize that his government’s indifference to the needs of women in Quebec may provoke an election?

The Budget March 24th, 2011

Mr. Speaker, I am a little confused. Yesterday, when my colleague was on TV with the member for Lévis—Bellechasse, I thought I heard that a refundable tax credit would be issued to family caregivers.

Like my colleague from Kings—Hants, I know that it is unparliamentary to say in the House that a member lied. So I will not say that the member for Lévis—Bellechasse deliberately lied to the public when he appeared on television, but I would like my colleague to explain the difference between the claims that the member for Lévis—Bellechasse made and the reality for family caregivers, who are struggling and have no income.

Enhanced New Veterans Charter Act March 11th, 2011

Mr. Speaker, I will be brief. My colleague is quite right. It is time for us to choose to do things differently and to do more for our veterans. I repeat that we will be voting in favour of this bill because we believe it is a step in the right direction. However, it is not enough.

Enhanced New Veterans Charter Act March 11th, 2011

Mr. Speaker, I thank my colleague for the question. All of us appreciate the efforts of our troops on the front. When we oppose a measure that it wants to implement, this government says that we are against the troops. The opposite is true. That is a despicable response to questions about investments in Afghanistan and the F-35 fighter jets.

It is very nasty of the government to continue saying that we are against the soldiers because we want them to be treated better. It is not true.

Enhanced New Veterans Charter Act March 11th, 2011

Mr. Speaker, just because we made mistakes in the past, that does not mean we have to keep making them. That was a unanimous vote. The Conservatives, the Liberals, the Bloc and the NDP voted in favour because they thought that was best for the soldiers.

When we realize that a bill is no good, we change it. The hon. member forgot to mention something. I did not say that the Minister of Veterans Affairs was not doing a good job. I said the government could do more for our soldiers. I did not say that the government was doing nothing for our soldiers. I said it could do more and better, but that will cost more. If they can afford corporate tax cuts and tax gifts for the oil and gas companies, then they can afford to do more for our soldiers.

Enhanced New Veterans Charter Act March 11th, 2011

Mr. Speaker, I am pleased to rise in the House to debate Bill C-55. As the daughter of a soldier who served for six years in the last world war, I completely agree with the demands of our soldiers who return from the front. Their needs must be taken into consideration. When soldiers are at the front, everyone sings their praises and speaks about them with great enthusiasm. Everyone says how important their work is and how various countries would never achieve freedom if they were not there.

When our soldiers, both male and female, are at the front—there are more and more women enlisting—they are always being praised. However, when they return, we thank those who went to war for their efforts and then often we forget about them. But, their injuries are not just physical injuries; often they are injuries to the soul. These injuries may not be apparent, at least not when the soldiers first return from combat. Sometimes it takes them a number of years to discover just how much they have been affected by combat and the atrocities they witnessed on the ground. They do not want to talk to anyone about it because soldiers do not want to be seen as weak. Female soldiers have also been taught to be strong in order to defend people in various troubled countries.

My mother married my father in 1949. He was returning from war, where he fought from 1939 to 1945. He was a scout throughout the entire war. He participated in the campaigns in Italy, Poland, England and Africa. He slept in the trenches for six years, eating monkey meat, as he called it. He did that for six years—not six or eight months—before returning to Quebec, resting and returning to the front lines six months later. For six years non-stop, he was on the front lines. When he returned in 1949, he suffered from chronic bronchitis. He was told that it was not a result of the war and he was refused a pension.

My mother fought from 1949 to 1987 to for my father to receive something. It took 38 years for my father to finally get recognition from his country for what he had done. After 38 years, still today, we see men and women fighting to be recognized for what they have done for their country. They are not recognized. Now, the government will give $1,000 a month to wounded soldiers who cannot work for the rest of their lives, but that $1,000 is taxable. Big deal.

They will receive their lump sum payments, even though we know very well that when people get a lot of money all at once they spend it. Life is expensive. Soldiers return home from the war and their families are affected because these soldiers have gone to and from Afghanistan or other theatres of war several times. They see the most terrible things, such as seeing their fellow soldiers killed in front of them or blown up by a bomb. And we think that those scars are not permanent? Psychological wounds may not look as frightening, but they are permanent. And they are not adequately taken into account.

The people who evaluate returning soldiers work for the government. But the government wants to pay out as little as possible. That has been the case for years. They are giving less to our military personnel who are coming back from combat. Are they worth less because they are coming back from combat and are older? Is that it? When they are in combat, they are taken care of and are paid well, but as soon as they come back, it is a different story.

Of course, the Bloc Québécois will support this bill despite its lack of a broad approach to help soldiers regain what they deserve, like the lifetime pension, for example. How could the government have taken that away? The last survivor of the first world war died recently. They do not need to take care of them anymore.

My mother is 82, soon to be 83. Last year she became entitled to help, despite the fact that she had taken care of my father for many years and her health was failing. She did not want outside help because she said she was capable of doing it herself. It was her husband and her duty. She felt that she was capable.

In 1971, before my father received anything from the government, he was decorated by England, Poland and Italy. Three governments recognized the work he had done to free them. Our government did nothing, absolutely nothing for us. He got hearing aids. Hearing bombs and constant explosions will obviously affect your hearing eventually. He got his hearing aids a few months before he died. And that could not be blamed on the war either. He could not hear a thing, but that was normal deterioration.

I do not know what to say to make my colleagues across the floor understand that this bill must be improved, that we need to bring back the lifetime pension, that our soldiers deserve a lifetime pension, that when soldiers return home after fighting on the front lines, they deserve the respect of their fellow citizens, but more importantly, the respect of the government and MPs. I still hope that people will remember, that the government will correct the situation in order to give our soldiers as much support as possible and stop being tight-fisted. The government is not skimping on the F-35s. It is not skimping on money for arms. It is not skimping on money for Afghanistan. So it should stop skimping on the money it gives to our soldiers. They are entitled to that money. Our men and women in uniform fought for us. When they return home, they deserve a minimum of respect and they need to know that their efforts are appreciated.

I find it very unfortunate that we are still discussing this in 2011. I would have thought that the government would understand by now. Every year, we commemorate the armistice. We lay wreaths on Remembrance Day for our fallen soldiers. We lay wreaths, and then we go about our business for the rest of the day. The legion is the only organization that continues to care about our soldiers, and legions have fewer and fewer volunteers because people are dying. People are dying and those still with us are less enthusiastic than in the past and less able to defend their rights. And those who are returning from the mission in Afghanistan are also not able to defend themselves. It takes months and years to get over that.

I remember that my father never wanted to talk about the war. In 1978, McGill University asked him to do a series of interviews over a period of six months during which he talked about what he experienced in the war. These interviews were confidential. We were not allowed to attend and they remained confidential. The research has remained confidential. After his death, we tried to obtain copies in order to find out what happened. We never were able to get a copy, but I know that when he started talking about what he experienced during the war, he would cry every time he watched the armistice commemoration on television.

For our soldiers, I am calling on the House—

Business of Supply March 10th, 2011

Mr. Speaker, indeed, I did not understand the question, but I presume it had to do with the answers we are getting from the government.

I would say to the hon. member that I am not surprised that we are getting these answers from the government. We always get the same answers to the same questions.

Business of Supply March 10th, 2011

Mr. Speaker, I thank the hon. member for his question.

I think he should not be surprised by the government's reaction to the Speaker's ruling. As always, we are dealing with a government that does not respect Speaker's rulings. As we know, we are still waiting for certain documents to do with Afghan detainees and we are still waiting for documents to do with everything we are asking about in this House. Nonetheless, we never get an answer. I am not surprised.

Business of Supply March 10th, 2011

Mr. Speaker, I am pleased to answer the hon. member's question.

I would say to her that in a democracy, we are entitled to our opinions. I would add that if she cannot stand the heat, then she should stay out of the kitchen.