Crucial Fact

  • Her favourite word was justice.

Last in Parliament November 2005, as Liberal MP for Ahuntsic (Québec)

Lost her last election, in 2008, with 39% of the vote.

Statements in the House

Budget Implementation Act, 2005 May 18th, 2005

First of all, Madam Speaker, that figure of $10 billion is a figure that the hon. members are throwing around. We are talking about putting together a national system of early learning, and they keep forgetting the early learning part of it; it is early learning and child care.

As far as families are concerned, I did mention in my opening remarks that what those members are proposing is a $300 tax break when the cost of day care is $8,000. Second, I did underline the fact that there is a national tax benefit which benefits families with children, something that those hon. members always forget to mention whenever they are making their remarks.

Budget Implementation Act, 2005 May 18th, 2005

Madam Speaker, it is a good question. The hon. member might look at the announcement we made a few weeks ago. There were two parts to it: one concerns a fund and the other, pilot projects. The aim of the pilot projects is in fact to get new enterprises up and running.

Once again, congratulations go to Quebec. In social economics terms, it is in the lead. The social economy has existed there for 20 years. This is the first time the Canadian government has wanted to invest in a sector of economic development that is very important to Quebec's regional development. I am very proud we delivered that at Economic Development Canada.

I would like to know why the Bloc Québécois did not support the bill for Canada's economic development and why it is not supporting the budget, since they do have an interest in advancing the social economy?

Budget Implementation Act, 2005 May 18th, 2005

Madam Speaker, before I proceed I want to put it on the record that what the hon. member is referring to is a $300 tax break but he forgets that we also have a national child tax benefit that is provided to all families. The party seems to somehow forget that. In any case, I will get to that in my speech.

I also want to ask the hon. member, perhaps when he asks me a question, why the hon. member for Edmonton--Spruce Grove said that her party will honour all the agreements that we have signed with the five provinces.

I will begin my speech first by emphasizing this government's commitment to early learning and child care. We are not only talking about child care. We are talking about a national system of early learning, our commitment to seniors and our commitment to unpaid caregivers. Each has been identified as key priorities in the budget 2005.

We know that a healthy social and economic environment leads to healthy communities and ultimately to an improved quality of life. On this note, allow me to also outline our advances in the area of the social economy, which is my specific area of responsibility.

The social economy is made up of all entrepreneurs and non-profit corporations. These enterprises produce goods and services for the market economy, but they manage their operations with a view to redirecting their profits in pursuit of social and community goals; basically, they are reinvesting their surpluses in the community.

These businesses use their skills and services for social goals, whether it is protecting the environment, revitalizing neighbourhoods or helping disadvantaged groups reach their full potential.

The Government of Canada is determined to foster the social economy in all its diverse forms so that it becomes a key component of Canada's social policy tool kit. May I say that in Quebec, the province in which I was elected and in which I have spent most of my life, some of the day cares are run under the auspices of something called the social economy.

This government has made a commitment to inject $132 million over five years in the social economy, to support financial initiatives to increase lending to social economy enterprises, reinforce the capacity of community organizations involved in economic development, support community based research on the social economy, and improve the access of social enterprises to programs and services for small and medium-sized enterprises.

Just last month I announced, together with my colleague, the hon. Minister of the Economic Development Agency of Canada for the Regions of Quebec, the key measures that will be implemented in Quebec to promote the social economy and contribute to the success of the enterprises operating in Quebec. These measures will include $5.1 million over two years for capacity building, and $30 million over five years for the Social Economy Patient Capital Fund.

These measures will enable the social economy to reach its potential and they will benefit all Canadians. We must invest dollars now if we wish to secure a healthy social economy for Canada's future.

This government has always focused on the priorities that are important to all Canadians: our children, our youth, our cities and communities, and the health and well-being of all Canadians. Our record of balanced budgets proves this. The budget and its accompanying bill once again prove this. The Liberal government has always and will always put Canadians first, and it also puts a united Canada first.

I would just like to make it clear to certain members of this House in connection with this budget and the accompanying bill that it is good for Quebec, good for Canada, and good for all Canadians.

Our vision of Canada on this side of the House has always encompassed all the provinces, all the territories, all Canadians, and Quebec. We have always believed, and continue to believe, in a united Canada.

The Liberal government's record has always demonstrated our commitment to all Canadians. This budget and the accompanying bill reinforce that commitment. I see that in my own riding of Ahuntsic.

Human Resources and Skills Development has announced $215,000 for older worker pilot projects, which includes the textile and garment workers. There has been $275,000 from the Department of Labour for the supported communities partnership initiative, and another nearly $100,000 for three agencies in my riding of Ahuntsic from the Department of Public Safety and Emergency Preparedness.

The Liberal government has made a commitment to our children, our young people, our cities and communities, and we keep our commitments. This budget and the accompanying bill respect and reinforce our commitments. They deliver the goods to all Canadians.

I am sure we will all agree that our children are this country's most precious resource and that they deserve early learning experiences that will point them toward a positive and successful future.

I assure the House once again that this government's heart is in the right place when it comes to family. We actually give real choices to families. That is why the Government of Canada made children a priority in the budget. We cannot and must not let them down.

Budget 2005 will provide $5 billion over five years for an early learning and child care national program. The impact of this $5 billion will vary across the country depending on the priorities identified by each province and territory.

I am very proud to say that in the province of Quebec, as always on other important issues in the country, we already have a system in place. I want to tell the hon. member who preceded me that in fact I was also a working mother. When I was elected, my children were a year and a half and three and a half years old. They had nine months with their mother, two years with their grandmother and the rest of the time in day care until they entered kindergarten and school. I have known the benefits of all three systems. I still believe that for those working mothers there is a great need in this country to have an accessible universal day care and early learning system.

We already have agreements in principle with five provinces, Manitoba, Saskatchewan, Ontario, Newfoundland and Labrador, and Nova Scotia. Others are slated for signature with the other provinces and territories in coming weeks.

We must not confuse child tax deductions with child care, as did the hon. member who preceded me, along with other members of his party.

This government made a commitment to build a national early learning and child care system, one that will not in any way infringe on parental rights or choices. Rather, the goal of this initiative is to ensure consistency and quality in the delivery of early learning and child care.

Aboriginal children, too, will benefit from a national early learning and child care initiative. The Government of Canada already has committed $45 million over four years in the 2003-04 budget to enhance the established federal aboriginal head start on reserve program and first nations and Inuit child care programs.

Budget 2005 will provide an additional $100 million over four years to further enhance these programs, with an emphasis on quality early learning and child care for first nations children living on reserve.

Our government has not forgotten its commitment to seniors either. We want to give them an income supplement and care when these are needed. This is one of the ways the government plans to strengthen the social foundations of this country.

Budget 2005 contains a number of initiatives designed to address the needs of today's seniors and the aging population that will follow in their footsteps. To help address the immediate needs of low income seniors, the government will increase the guaranteed income supplement, the allowance and survivor's allowance by 7%.

Starting January 1, 2006, the guaranteed income supplement will increase by $18 a month for single recipients and by $29 a month for couples. Those rates will increase by the same amount again on January 1, 2007, putting an extra $432 a year in the pockets of single seniors and an extra $700 a year for couples. Over 1.6 million seniors who currently receive the GIS will benefit from this increase and up to 50,000 more seniors will qualify for partial GIS benefits.

The government also wants to help those seniors who are financially able to plan better for their future. Budget 2005 will raise the annual contribution limit for registered retirement savings plans to $22,000 by 2010 and will increase corresponding employer sponsored registered pension plans.

Although I have more to say, my time is up, but let me note that funding for the new horizons program for seniors, which I had the pleasure of announcing in my riding with the minister responsible, will grow to $10 million in 2006-07 and $15 million in 2007-08 and subsequent years, bringing the annual budget to $25 million.

I will conclude by saying there is nothing more important than the adoption of this budget. If the opposition members in fact care about children, seniors and our environment, then I encourage them to support Bill C-43.

Social Development May 16th, 2005

Mr. Speaker, I am very pleased to announce that we have signed an agreement with a fifth province. We are in negotiation with Quebec and the remaining provinces. We are quite confident that an agreement will be reached with the current government.

Government of Canada May 13th, 2005

Mr. Speaker, no one is afraid of facing the Canadian people. We did a year ago and in fact we are prepared to do it. The Prime Minister has said that on Thursday there will be a confidence vote.

Why are the opposition members not talking about the deal that we signed today with Newfoundland on the early learning and day care program? Why are they not talking about the other three? Why are they not talking about $5 billion we are putting into a national early learning and child care program? Because they do not care. They only want to give a tax break of $200 to parents.

Privilege May 11th, 2005

Mr. Speaker, I thank you for the ruling, but at the same time you did say at the end that we must caution hon. members in terms as to the extent. I would like to know if “in the public domain” means that any Canadian citizen's name appearing in any public domain forum in fact can be used in this House in the way that a name was used by certain hon. members in this House. They are not prepared to do it outside. There must be some limit in terms of the freedom of speech in this House.

Points of Order May 10th, 2005

Mr. Speaker, yesterday I rose and asked you to ask all hon. members to respect the limit to which freedom of speech is actually honoured in the House.

Today, two other members from the opposition party, the member for Simcoe—Grey and the member for Port Moody—Westwood—Port Coquitlam, referred to the same Canadian citizen, who actually does not sit in the House and requires the protection of the House.

You, as the presiding officer of the House, Mr. Speaker, did not rule yesterday on a question of privilege that I raised and on the limits of the freedom of speech of the hon. member for Calgary—Nose Hill. If we continue to allow this type of behaviour in the House, more Canadian citizens' reputations and names will in fact be slandered.

I ask, Mr. Speaker, that you do enforce that rule and that you do ask hon. members not to mention those Canadian citizens who do not have the protection of the House. If any hon. members on the opposition side would like to defame anybody, they should do it outside and not inside the House.

Privilege May 9th, 2005

Mr. Speaker, I believe if you were to check the blues you would see that it was not mentioning a member of this House. In fact, it was mentioning an assistant to a certain minister whose name I will not use in this House. The hon. member for Calgary--Nose Hill referred to members who are not members of this House. I believe you have ruled before on this question of privilege and the misuse of the freedom of speech by the hon. members of the opposition.

Privilege May 9th, 2005

Mr. Speaker, the hon. member for Calgary--Nose Hill made reference to a member who does not sit in this House and who cannot protect herself.

I draw the attention of the Speaker to pages 76, 77 and 78 of Marleau and Montpetit under “Misuse of Freedom of Speech”, which states:

Speaker Fraser urged Members to take the greatest care in framing questions concerning conflict of interest guidelines.

With regard to the privilege of immunity in this House, he goes on to state:

Such a privilege confers grave responsibilities on those who are protected by it. By that I mean specifically the Hon. Members of this place. The consequences of its abuse can be terrible. Innocent people could be slandered with no redress available to them. Reputations could be destroyed on the basis of false rumour. All Hon. Members are conscious of the care they must exercise in availing themselves of their absolute privilege of freedom of speech.

He went on to say that Speakers in the past have ruled that when a member's reputation is at stake but that member does not sit in this House, we should be very careful in referring to that member by name.

He also went on to say:

Specifically referring to individuals outside the Chamber, he agreed with a suggestion that the House consider constraining itself “ making comments about someone outside this Chamber which would in fact be defamatory under the laws of our country if made outside the Chamber....”

I would ask the hon. members of Her Majesty's official opposition, including the Bloc, but I am referring specifically to the hon. member for Calgary--Nose Hill, to refrain from making accusations and impugning motives and allegations on people who cannot defend themselves in the House.

Quarantine Act May 5th, 2005

Mr. Speaker, I am sure the hon. member will be paying close attention because we do talk about relevance in this place. As I said earlier, we are going to do things so much differently than the way they were done in the past. We will not even bother to comment on the relevancy of what just happened. I will continue with my riveting remarks.

It was in 1872 when the Quarantine Act was created. What we are trying to do with Bill C-12 is to make sure that it is a modernized Quarantine Act and it is designed to work in lockstep with provincial public health legislation to make sure that the legislation is an effective tool for the challenges we face today.

Bill C-12 offers enhanced protection at Canadian points of entry but outfits the minister with additional authorities to ensure rapid and decisive action to prevent the spread of disease, and as was said earlier, to take into the account the Charter of Rights and Freedoms. It will give the minister authority to issue emergency orders which is consistent with the Public Safety Act.

It will enable the minister to administer exit control measures, divert air carriers to alternate landing sites, restrict travel into Canada, or even close Canadian border points in the event of a public health emergency. It will also allow the minister to establish quarantine facilities at any location in Canada if it becomes necessary to isolate travellers infected and/or exposed to a serious communicable disease.

The proposed act lists many more communicable diseases for which Canadian officials can detain departing passengers. It ensures that the administration of quarantine powers is carried out by qualified professionals and that control measures are tailored to the present circumstances.

Bill C-12 will also clarify respective enforcement roles under quarantine powers and, as I and other speakers on this side of the House said earlier, guarantee that human rights are adequately protected. While the updated act authorizes the collection and sharing of personal health information, the authorization to do so is limited to what is required to protect the health and safety of Canadians in the name of public health.

Bill C-12 protects privacy rights and maintains an appropriate balance between individual liberties and the public good. The Public Health Agency of Canada has engaged many stakeholders in the development of a modern Quarantine Act. Bill C-12 also reflects the efforts and commitment of dedicated members of this House and the Senate.

During the examination process the Senate Standing Committee on Social Affairs, Science and Technology adopted an amendment to strengthen Bill C-12. The new amendment will enable members of the Senate to play a role in the making of quarantine regulations by requiring the tabling of regulations before both Houses. This seems to be a very reasonable amendment. Even the official opposition members agreed, after a little haggling on the procedural rules, with this piece of legislation.

Overall, this legislative renewal initiative reflects the government's commitment to strengthening Canada's public health system in addition to meeting our international obligations. In the spirit of collaboration, federal, provincial and local public health authorities have a significant role to play in protecting public health. Enhanced uniformity in public health legislation equipped with an array of modern tools and emergency measures will enable Canada to effectively prepare for and respond to the contemporary challenges in today's globalized world.

By introducing Bill C-12, the Government of Canada is responding to the call by public health experts and Canadians alike. Once enacted, the new Quarantine Act will ensure an effective response capacity in the event of our next public health crisis. This federal legislative tool is a critical piece in the establishment of a comprehensive public health system.

I will close by saying that it is our collective responsibility to pass this bill. it is our collective responsibility in terms of making sure that our citizens are protected from the spread of disease. As other members said earlier, I also would like to express my strong support for Bill C-12. I hope that all members of the House see the merit in this new health protection legislation and support this very important piece of legislation in terms of preventing the spread of communicable diseases in Canada.