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NDP MP for Jeanne-Le Ber (Québec)
Won his last election, in 2011, with 44.70% of the vote.
Statements in the House
Economic Action Plan 2013 Act, No. 1 May 2nd, 2013
Mr. Speaker, I would like to ask my hon. colleague if she could offer her comments in regard to the ham-fisted nature in which the government has interfered with the collective bargaining process of crown corporations.
Through the last two years, we have heard the government say that Canada Post and VIA Rail are arm's-length organizations and it cannot do anything about certain situations, yet it feels it is able to interfere in their collective bargaining processes.
Could the member comment on that?
Language Skills Act May 1st, 2013
Mr. Speaker, I would like to congratulate my colleague from Louis-Saint-Laurent for the vision she conveyed through Bill C-419. She identified a flaw in our laws with respect to the importance of Canada's linguistic duality, and she came up with a bill to address the issue.
I would also like to thank the government for supporting this bill, despite dissecting it a bit. Nonetheless, what the bill clearly states is that officers of the Parliament of Canada are required to be bilingual at the time of their appointment. That is very clear and important.
This private member's bill was born out of a diplomatic miscalculation on the government's part by engaging a unilingual Auditor General.
I had the pleasure of meeting Mr. Ferguson in my second week of my immersion class in Saint-Jean-sur-Richelieu. He was starting his class. I found him to be a very nice gentleman and he has proven to be a very capable gentleman. The issue is that to serve Parliament and the Canadian public, he needs to be able to speak French and to understand it as a second language. Despite his honest attempts to do so, he is not yet at that point. This is an issue, because the government should have engaged someone at the very beginning who was able to communicate in both official languages as an agent of Parliament.
When I say both official languages, it is not a choice and it should not be a choice. Canada's character as a bilingual country was set many years ago. Many people and grassroots organizations go to great lengths to try not only to promote their language and their culture, but, in many cases, to make it survive.
We have various organizations in the Acadian community and the Franco-Canadian community that work on a daily basis trying to promote and show the importance of their culture and their language outside Quebec.
It is really difficult. At the Standing Committee on Official Languages, we often hear about the challenges facing organizations when it comes to financial support and the types of programs that are available. In western Canada, we see how important immersion schools are, but not enough teachers go to teach French there.
It is very important for the survival of French across Canada. We, as leaders in our country, have to set an example. We, as leaders in our country, in particular the government, have to set the example that both official languages are important.
It is not simply a question of the “coolness” of being able to speak two languages. It is important to the search for jobs in this country. It is important to the preservation of both our cultures, the anglophone community in Quebec and the francophone community outside Quebec. We have to be leaders by setting examples. Hiring a unilingual parliamentary agent does not send the right message.
I asked my colleague a little while earlier about the importance of our young people learning a second language. Again, it is not about the “coolness” of speaking two languages. It is about their future. It is about those young lawyers, accountants and business people who might one day hope to share their talents with this place as an auditor general, a privacy commissioner or as a higher-up in the government hierarchy. It is important to send the message that they should start learning that second language now; in other words, if they are francophone, learning English, if they are anglophone, learning French. They should study in both official languages so that as they grow and excel in their career, they are open to those opportunities to serve Canadians in both official languages.
When Bill C-419 went in it was a strong bill. It was very well thought out. Unfortunately, as I alluded to earlier, there was a bit of dissection going on, and in many cases it was hard to understand why. This bill set out to create clarity in the hiring of 10 specific agents of Parliament.
In article 2, the need to understand both official languages without the aid of an interpreter or an interpretation device was again, to be diplomatic, misconstrued as not being able to get counsel on the meaning of a word.
As an actor I spent two years at Stratford performing Shakespeare, and also did so outside of Stratford. I adore the English language. Every now and then I have to pick up a dictionary or ask somebody the meaning of a word. That is not what the intention of article 2 was. It was to make sure that when these agents of Parliament are not in a room that has simultaneous interpretation, they have the ability to go out among the members of the public and listen to their concerns in both official languages.
Article 3, which allowed for the Governor in Council to add to or adjust the list in particular ways, was simply meant as a means of expediting the creation of a new position for an agent of Parliament.
The importance of article 4, to have the interim individual able to continue the work of the agent of Parliament while looking for a permanent replacement, is paramount because it prevents that work from coming to a halt.
In conclusion, I would like to again congratulate my hon. colleague for her work. I applaud the government for supporting this bill. It is an important bill. We hope that the importance of hiring a government agent who is bilingual at the time of his or her hiring is clear.
Language Skills Act May 1st, 2013
Mr. Speaker, I would like to ask my colleague and neighbour to comment on the message that this bill sends to young Canadians who might be considering enrolling in immersion schools in the future.
Disabled Sports Challenge April 30th, 2013
Mr. Speaker, I would like to highlight the remarkable accomplishments of AlterGo, an organization in my riding. It just welcomed more than 4,000 athletes from over 20 countries for the 30th edition of its Défi sportif, which was held in Montreal.
The objective of Défi sportif is to put on events for high-level athletes and promote the development of in-school sports for youth with disabilities. More than 10% of Montrealers have a functional limitation. Défi sportif AlterGo showcases the triumphs of athletes with all types of functional limitations and reinforces the importance of universal accessibility.
On the occasion of its 30th anniversary, I would like to congratulate Défi sportif and thank all the athletes, organizations and partners and the thousands of volunteers.
Immigration April 26th, 2013
Mr. Speaker, immigration is an important issue for the vitality of our French-speaking and Acadian communities outside Quebec.
It is essential that the Minister of Citizenship, Immigration and Multiculturalism consult with those communities.
The Fédération des communautés francophones et acadienne du Canada has been trying to have a meeting with the minister for over a year, but the minister has put it off three times.
Can the Minister commit to meeting with the federation as soon as possible?
Not Criminally Responsible Reform Act April 26th, 2013
Mr. Speaker, my colleague was talking about the concept of justice. I would like to take a closer look at that concept, compared to the concept of vengeance. It sometimes seems as though bills introduced by this government focus more on vengeance than justice, but is justice not what victims of crime want?
Points of Order March 21st, 2013
Mr. Speaker, I want to point out that integration may not be fully resolved, but it would only happen if we actually practise it. Even though I understand what the member's intent was by separating those of African decent from the main list, it sends a message that they are not included.
Inclusion is what we need. Inclusion will build integration.
Points of Order March 21st, 2013
Mr. Speaker, I rise on a point of order regarding a statement made yesterday by the member for Essex during statements by members. He stated:
—to mark the end of the Queen's Diamond Jubilee year, I awarded medals to 30 outstanding Canadians from Windsor-Essex...
The member then went on to list some 26 names. Then the member stated:
As well, I awarded the medal to four distinguished Canadian blacks...
I stand on this point of order to highlight that exclusion is one of the subtle tools of institutionalized racism. It slides by us, very often unnoticed, but it affected me deeply, viscerally and immediately.
I waited to stand today because I wanted to verify in Hansard that these were the words spoken. They were. I stand in this place and ask my hon. colleague from Essex to withdraw those remarks to demonstrate his belief that these individuals are not separate from those other outstanding Canadians.
Employment Insurance March 8th, 2013
Mr. Speaker, we are feeling the effects of employment insurance reform at home.
For over 30 years, Robert Devaney, from my riding, has been a teacher, for at least 12 of those years, a supply teacher. Between placements he sometimes has to rely on EI, a program he has paid into for decades.
The Conservatives' new rules mean he is no longer eligible. He may even have to turn to social assistance. Is this the kind of common sense they are talking about?
Why are Conservatives making life harder for our teachers?
International Women's Day March 8th, 2013
Mr. Speaker, in 1663, Canada welcomed the first 36 “Filles du Roy”.
Three hundred and fifty years later, I must point out the important role they played in building the city of Montreal, and also the import role of women in Canada's history.
On this International Women's Day, I would like to pay tribute to all the women working in my riding: Madeleine Juneau, who promotes Maison Saint-Gabriel; Anne-Marie and Johanne of Auberge communautaire du Sud-Ouest who have been supporting homeless youth for 25 years; and all those working at Madame prend congé, which I will be visiting this evening.
The first “Filles du Roy” arrived 350 years ago. It was just the beginning of a long, great and moving story for all Quebeckers and Canadians.