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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

Celebration of the Saint-François Brotherhood September 16th, 2014

Mr. Speaker, on September 14, hundreds of people gathered for the 7th annual celebration of the Fraternité de Saint-François in the Saint-Noël-Chabanel parish in my riding.

Residents eagerly await this annual celebration that brings together the many cultural communities in the eastern part of Laval.

Over 40 countries were represented during the parade of flags. The event also included music, a talent show, booths for artisans and local organizations, and the blessing of school backpacks.

Many people worked hard to make this event possible. I would like to thank Father Gérald Dionne, the Fabre council of the Knights of Columbus and the entire organizing committee. Your dedication makes the celebration of the Fraternité de Saint-François a huge success every year.

In Saint-François, our diversity is part of our wealth. Let us continue to celebrate it and show our pride in it every day.

Employment June 20th, 2014

Mr. Speaker, it is not just the Canadian workers who have been replaced by cheap labour that are the victims of the current program. Temporary foreign workers have been exploited and abused. Some of them have had part of their pay withheld by unscrupulous employers. Others have had to work in conditions that were hazardous to their health and safety.

Will the Minister of Employment commit to releasing not only the list of employers using the program but also the job descriptions and the wages associated with those positions?

Combating Counterfeit Products Act June 19th, 2014

Mr. Speaker, I want to thank the hon. member for Saint-Jean for his excellent speech.

He raised issues I certainly would not have thought about.

I want to go back to the aerospace industry. I found it very relevant that he mentioned the counterfeiting of highly technical parts in the aerospace industry.

My mother works at Bombardier Aerospace, at the finishing facility located in Dorval. I am thinking about all these highly specialized jobs in the manufacturing of private aircraft or bigger jets such as Boeings. It worries me to know that highly specialized parts can be counterfeited.

Could the hon. member elaborate on this issue and tell us what it could mean for jobs in the Montreal area? Could he comment on that?

Combating Counterfeit Products Act June 19th, 2014

Mr. Speaker, I would like to thank my colleague from Rosemont—La Petite-Patrie for his excellent speech on Bill C-8.

Although he said the official opposition would be supporting this bill, he pointed to some significant deficiencies. The first one that comes to mind is the lack of funding despite the government’s good intentions. I am trying to imagine how such a bill could be implemented when the Conservatives cut $143 million from the Canada Border Services Agency’s budget last year.

I know my colleague closely monitored the last Conservative budget and saw that many budget cuts were made to numerous services, which affected various departments. Now, once again, we have been presented with a bill that is inconsistent with the budget envelopes and the cuts made by the Conservatives. I would therefore like to know how my colleague from Rosemont—La Petite-Patrie feels about that.

Privacy June 19th, 2014

Mr. Speaker, the Minister of Justice has resorted to making up facts to justify his badly written, unconstitutional bill on cyberbullying.

The Supreme Court clearly said no to access to personal information without a warrant. The Privacy Commissioner, whom the Conservatives say is an authority on the subject, has stated that this ruling invalidates the principles underlying Bill C-13. The bill must be split to stop cyberbullying and maintain the right to privacy.

Will the minister abide by the Supreme Court's ruling or not?

Drug-Free Prisons Act June 18th, 2014

Mr. Speaker, my colleague from Vaudreuil—Soulanges made a very relevant comment, especially since once you read Bill C-12 you can see that it has nothing to do with its title, which would have us believe that it is making our prisons drug free. No prisoner or would-be criminal is going to refrain from using drugs for fear of losing their freedom. That is not how it works.

The government is sticking its head in the sand and is giving us this dog and pony show with something that already exists.

Drug-Free Prisons Act June 17th, 2014

Mr. Speaker, the hon. member for Charlesbourg—Haute-Saint-Charles goes to the heart of the problem. The Conservatives would have us believe they are tough on crime, but their war on drugs is not working at all.

In recent weeks, my colleague witnessed the unrest that followed the events at Orsainville. This is another illustration of the Conservatives' laissez-faire attitude. They should have acted a long time ago on the issue of flying zones above provincial institutions. This is unfortunate.

As for federal prisons, several correctional officers told me that since the new provisions were passed, our prisons are increasingly overcrowded, double-bunking is frequent, and budgets and personnel have been cut. This is turning our prisons into schools for crime.

It is unacceptable. It complicates the rehabilitation of inmates, at a time when we seek to make our communities safer.

Drug-Free Prisons Act June 17th, 2014

Mr. Speaker, I hope that the hon. member for Vaudreuil-Soulanges will understand and that he will be able to give his excellent speech after mine, whenever he sees fit.

It is truly an honour for me, as the official opposition's deputy public safety critic, to speak to Bill C-12, and there are many reasons for that.

To begin, I would like to mention that members on this side of the House will be supporting Bill C-12 at second reading. I think it will be interesting to see what happens in committee. I am looking forward to inviting various witnesses to come and discuss the different provisions included in Bill C-12.

We can summarize this bill quite easily. It is designed to add a provision to the Corrections and Conditional Release Act confirming that, when deciding whether someone is eligible for parole, the parole board may take into account the fact that the offender tested positive in a urinalysis or refused to provide a urine sample for a drug test. The parole board already uses this practice, which we support.

The board already takes into account the results of drug screening tests when it holds hearings and determines the inmates' eligibility for parole. That is why I think a title like “drug-free prisons act” is a little too much. Indeed, nothing in Bill C-12 will make prisons drug-free because the provisions for that are simply not there.

Correctional Service Canada has serious problems. In my riding, Alfred-Pellan, there were until very recently three federal correctional facilities on the property of Saint-Vincent-de-Paul. There was Leclerc Institution—which was closed as a result of what I thought was a very unfair decision by the Conservative government—and we still have Montée Saint-François Institution and the Federal Training Centre.

Since my election, I often visit the correctional facilities in my riding in order to understand the reality of the correctional system, as well as what the staff has to go through every day in that system. I can tell you that their work is not easy.

I invite my colleagues in the House to visit the federal correctional facilities in or near their ridings to see and understand the reality of our correctional workers.

Right now, there is a lot going on. They are very worried about the decisions made by the Conservatives regarding the correctional system. I will mention a few. First, double-bunking in our prisons is a glaring problem. It is difficult for correctional officers to do their job properly. Many do not have the means to their job properly. It is harder for them to ensure activities within our institutions are properly carried, and this is very unfortunate. Their health and safety are compromised because of these decisions. We see more and more double-bunking, and even triple-bunking, which is very unfortunate. Correctional staff also condemns this situation.

They also condemn another measure that goes directly against Bill C-12, namely the cuts to Correctional Service Canada. Over the past two years, the budget has been reduced by 10%. This affects many programs within Correctional Service Canada. That is also being condemned by the Union of Canadian Correctional Officers, because the officers see the inmates' reality daily in these facilities. They see the deteriorating quality of life, and they see that these individuals will be reintegrated into society without having the necessary tools to avoid reoffending. This shows the importance of our programs.

Many programs deal with the detoxification of inmates. Let us not forget that two thirds of people who commit a crime are under the influence of alcohol or drugs. It is estimated that four out of five inmates in our prisons have substance abuse problems. This is a very serious problem that needs to be addressed.

I heard Conservative members ask questions about the $122 million investment in technology to detect drugs inside our prisons.

Unfortunately, this investment did not work. It is very sad. It is also sad to see the other side tell us there should be zero drugs in our prisons. In a perfect world, it would be great if we did not have any drugs in prisons, and if everyone was clean.

However, it is impossible and I am not the only saying that. Correctional officer Howard Sapers, also says it. So does the John Howard Society. Moreover, the Union of Canadian Correctional Officers, which works really hard, also tells us it is impossible and we must implement measures to tackle this issue.

I reiterate my support to the hard-working personnel in prisons. We on this side can say that we support them every day in their work. Like them, we want to propose real solutions, so that inmates do not return to society without having had access to rehabilitation and anti-drug programs.

In our prisons, addiction is also related to mental health, unfortunately. It is sad to say, but we have to face reality. The government has not only made cuts to addictions programs, but also to programs that address mental health problems. Both are closely linked. We must pay attention to that. In recent months, the case of Ashley Smith has resurfaced and shown that people working in our prisons are not equipped to deal with serious problems such as mental health problems.

I hope we can have a productive discussion in committee about the best solution for dealing with addiction problems full force. My colleague from Sherbrooke mentioned this in his speech when we began talking about this. It is a question of doing intake assessments, as correctional investigator Howard Sapers is calling for, and ensuring that inmates have access to all the necessary programs for overcoming their drug or alcohol problems.

Keeping our communities safe is important to all members in the House, as is reducing recidivism rates as much as possible and giving people the tools they need to reintegrate into society. Let us not bury our heads in the sand and suggest that we can round all these people up somewhere, lock the door and throw away the key. They will eventually be released. If we want them to become good citizens and if we want fewer victims in Canada, we must give people the right tools.

The numbers back me up. When people have the tools they need and reintegration works, recidivism rates drop. We need to ensure that rehabilitation is done properly, and we need to come up with some real solutions. We are sick and tired of hearing that mandatory minimums will miraculously turn everything around. Mandatory minimum sentences have nothing to do with the issue at hand.

In closing, I would like to say that we intend to support the bill. I hope we will have the opportunity to discuss it further and make some real changes to it to tackle the issue of drug use in our prisons. I would be happy to keep discussing the issue if anyone has any questions.

Drug-Free Prisons Act June 17th, 2014

Mr. Speaker, I would like to thank my colleagues, the House Leader of the Official Opposition and the Minister of Foreign Affairs. I am very appreciative of the fact that we are discussing Bill C-12 today. I appreciate how enthusiastic the members are about my speech, at 11:45 p.m.

To begin, I would like to say that I will be sharing my time with the hon. member for Vaudreuil-Soulanges. I am sure that his speech will be excellent.

Drug-Free Prisons Act June 17th, 2014

Mr. Speaker, I listened to what my colleague had to say a moment ago regarding the InSite project.

When reading Bill C-12—which seeks to address the drug problem in our prisons—I cannot help but compare it to Bill C-2, which was the subject of discussion just a few short hours ago.

I would like to ask my honourable colleague from the third party what he thinks about the war that the Conservatives are currently waging against all things drug-related. Does he think that their approach is working, or that they are way off track at this point?