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  • Her favourite word is colleague.

NDP MP for Alfred-Pellan (Québec)

Won her last election, in 2011, with 42.10% of the vote.

Statements in the House

Questions on the Order Paper January 26th, 2015

With regard to transactions respecting Leclerc penitentiary in Laval between the federal government and the Government of Quebec: (a) what was the total cost of the penitentiary transaction; (b) for how much was the kitchen equipment sold; (c) for how much was the laundry equipment sold; and (d) was the heating equipment including in the transaction, and if so, what are the details of the service contract for sharing the heating equipment with the rest of the complex, which includes other federal penitentiaries?

Petitions January 26th, 2015

Mr. Speaker, I am pleased to rise in the House to present a petition signed by several dozen people from the north shore and Laval. They are asking the government to support my Bill C-608 to designate a national day of the midwife.

Canada Post December 12th, 2014

Mr. Speaker, most residents of Laval will lose their home mail delivery service in the coming months.

Like thousands of Canadians, the people of Alfred-Pellan refuse to let their mail delivery disappear for ideological reasons. The Conservative government is well aware that seniors and people with reduced mobility are the primary victims of these measures.

Why then is the Conservative government supporting these cuts and doing nothing to restore postal services in Laval?

Public Safety December 11th, 2014

Mr. Speaker, the $687 million in cuts to public safety are having a serious impact on Canadians' safety. The Conservative government is getting ready to abolish the intensive supervision program for offenders at high risk of reoffending. We are talking about preventing sex offenders, bikers and mobsters from being released back into society without strict supervision.

The program is to come to an end on December 31, which is completely unacceptable. This is a program that has proven to be very effective.

Will the minister recognize his mistake and reconsider his decision?

Nááts’ihch’oh National Park Reserve Act December 11th, 2014

Mr. Speaker, I thank my colleague from Winnipeg North for his comments about the need for this government to allocate the resources required to put in place the right protections.

It is great to designate a national park. We can be proud to have great national parks across the country. However, resources must be allocated to protect the species.

We are not just talking about one species. We often focus on part of the problem in these situations. We must consider the biodiversity as a whole. These extremely complex issues require the involvement of a number of scientists. We must have the necessary resources on the ground.

Like most of my colleagues, I am very pleased to know that this national park will be created. However, the necessary resources have to be in place so as not to cause any harm or worse yet, not do anything at all.

Nááts’ihch’oh National Park Reserve Act December 11th, 2014

Mr. Speaker, I thank my colleague for her excellent question. She has touched on a sensitive issue in talking about the importance of having the necessary funds to protect species. It is much more important than many people realize.

In my work with Quebec's natural resources, wildlife and parks department, I saw the benefits of protecting our lakes and rivers in the north. For instance, we need to make sure that fish can spawn properly. If we create a national park with a road that goes over several lakes and rivers, we will have to build culverts so the fish can continue to swim around.

Often this is done too quickly, and with the freeze-thaw cycle we have, things shift. If the funds are not available to go back and look at those culverts to ensure that fish can spawn, this has a tremendous impact on wildlife.

In this case, fish might not be able to reproduce and animals would then have less food. That is a simple example among many others that should put things in perspective and demonstrate the potential significant impact that we need to be aware of.

Resources are crucial for our national parks.

Nááts’ihch’oh National Park Reserve Act December 11th, 2014

Mr. Speaker, I am very pleased to rise in the House today to speak to Bill S-5, which seeks to create the Nááts’ihch’oh national park.

Before I continue, I would like to say that I will be sharing my time with the charming member for La Pointe-de-l'Île, my colleague from the other side of the Rivière des Prairies. I look forward to hearing her speech.

I am always extremely concerned about any issues that affect the protection of Canada's land and wildlife. In the past, I had the opportunity to study environmental geography at the University of Montreal and then work for Quebec's ministry of natural resources and wildlife in Mont-Laurier. I carried out a number of tasks, for example, work related to fishing in the experimental lakes. I also travelled the province and visited its wildlife reserves. I noticed the impact that taking care of our protected areas and ensuring that we have good protected areas had on different communities for a variety of reasons.

In this case, the Nááts’ihch’oh reserve is very pleased to see that a park is finally going to be created after seven years of negotiations. However, unfortunately, the Conservative government has chosen to support the demands of the mining industry, creating a park which excludes vital wildlife areas and still allows mining development in those areas. That is unfortunate. The government often excludes specific areas that are extremely important for biodiversity when creating protected areas, national parks and wildlife reserves. I was able to see how important such protections are for wildlife when I was working for Quebec's ministry of natural resources and wildlife. For example, logging occurs in the more northern areas of Quebec. That is part of Quebec's economy. It is extremely important. However, logging is done in consultation with employees of Quebec's ministry of natural resources and wildlife. When I worked there, we had to create a multi-resource forest inventory to ensure that logging was done in a environmentally responsible manner. It is a very complex issue. We had to verify whether the logging would affect sensitive ecosystems and whether threatened species were present in the area. It is always very difficult to put these things in perspective.

I am pleased that a national park is being created in a region where natural resource development is on the rise. That is very important. I hope that the protection of the land and the resources in the proposed park will be clearly defined.

I really want to stress my disappointment with the fact that the bill does not include vital wildlife areas and that the government is favouring the existing mines. There is support for mining to the detriment of the flora and fauna. We know that there are often many threatened species or species at risk in these areas. We must provide adequate protection for our land.

This is not my area of expertise. I read the documents outlining what is happening. I saw that consultations were held and I must congratulate the government for that. It is often criticized for not properly consulting Canadians. By all accounts, ideas presented during consultations were more or less taken into consideration, and at least different options were put forward.

Three options for the size of this national park were presented. I do not have the exact figures here, but one option was about 7,000 square kilometres, another was closer to 6,000 square kilometres and the last one was closer to 5,000 square kilometres. The smallest area was the option chosen for the park. We try to have the best protection in a country that is vast and has very sensitive areas, especially as a result of climate change. Consequently, it may have been preferable to have a larger area.

I also looked at what happened in committee when it studied the bill at third reading stage. A number of people, especially aboriginal chiefs, people from first nations communities or remote areas in this sector mentioned that they were very pleased that a national park was being created.

However, they were hoping for more space for their traditional activities, wildlife and plants, as well as respect for aboriginal communities. Still, I believe that everyone, both here in the House and elsewhere, including the witnesses, agrees that there should be a national park there.

To me, issues related to protecting our spaces are extremely sensitive for another reason. I represent the region of Laval, which is an island in the Montreal suburbs. Many people think it is a big suburb with big highways, but that is not all it is.

We are lucky to have some beautiful parks on the island of Laval, but they are not well known. The island lies between Rivière des Mille Îles and Rivière des Prairies. Currently, many residents are mobilizing to create a park. Their organization is called Sauvons nos trois grandes îles. There are several islands in Rivière des Mille Îles with extremely fragile ecosystems. People are taking action to make the three largest islands, Île Saint-Joseph, Île aux Vaches and Île Saint-Pierre, into ecological sanctuaries.

These islands are in the eastern part of Laval, very close to my riding. I am very lucky to represent eastern Laval because we still have a lot of green space. About 80% of the land is agricultural, and everyone can enjoy our very beautiful spaces, including forests.

There is also another very interesting park, Bois de l'Équerre, which we call Laval's lungs. This is a sensitive issue because Laval is a very diverse city with a steadily growing population. We are trying to protect our green spaces. Bois de l'Équerre is probably the largest park on the island of Laval that is protected to a degree. My hat is off to that group because I know that it is very active in protecting its spaces.

The people of Laval are very aware of the challenges of protecting land. In the past, many protected green spaces were used to build new shopping centres even though they should not have been used for anything else. Things were built where they should not have been. The people of Laval are fighting to keep their green spaces and land protected. I am proud that the people of northern Canada are fighting and, after seven years of consultations, have been given the opportunity to have a national park on their land.

I am very interested in House procedure, especially when it comes to bills. Unfortunately, the government often uses time allocation motions and limits debate in committees. However, I am pleased that debate on this issue has not been cut short and that the process was followed at committee stage. I am pleased to see that the House stands united on this question. I want to tell my colleagues opposite that I hope we can repeat this fine example of teamwork. I hope they will stop muzzling the opposition and imposing the government's approach.

I do not have a lot of time left to talk about our position and how we would address national parks as the first federal NDP government. Hopefully I will get some questions about that because it is of great interest to me.

In the meantime, the holidays are fast approaching and everyone in the House has worked extremely hard. I would like to thank all of the employees of the House of Commons, the pages who work with us every day and all of my colleagues in the House. I wish them happy holidays. I would also like to wish the people of Alfred-Pellan, whom I represent, a joyous holiday season. I hope to see them very soon over the holidays.

Nááts’ihch’oh National Park Reserve Act December 11th, 2014

Mr. Speaker, it is always a pleasure to listen to the speeches by my colleague from Newton—North Delta. She shares her experiences in the House and that is greatly appreciated.

I am not an expert and I did not sit on the committee that studied this bill, but I am very interested in everything to do with protected areas in Canada. I know that my colleague is from British Columbia, where they hope that consultations will be held on the possibility of transporting oil through some very sensitive areas on the west coast.

What does she think of the government's approach to protecting significant wildlife areas in Canada? What does she think of the Conservatives' approach to the environment and sustainable development?

Nááts’ihch’oh National Park Reserve Act December 11th, 2014

Mr. Speaker, I thank my colleague for his brief but very interesting speech.

I think everyone in the House is very pleased to support Bill S-5. Although it is not perfect, just to have a reserve is nevertheless a good idea and we very much appreciate it.

My question is very simple. The government's plans had proposed three possible surface areas for this national park. The smallest area of land was the one selected, which is somewhat sad.

Why does my colleague think the Conservatives chose the smallest area of land?

Status of Women December 10th, 2014

Mr. Speaker, violence against Inuit women and girls is 14 times higher than the national average.

Despite that, the Conservatives are spending less than 1% of their so-called action plan on this scourge. Rebecca Kudloo, president of Pauktuutit Inuit Women of Canada, said that these paltry sums are simply offensive and discriminatory. You know what, Mr. Speaker? She is quite right.

How can the Conservatives justify that their action plan completely ignores the pressing needs that exist in our northern communities?