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Crucial Fact

  • Her favourite word was quebec.

Last in Parliament September 2008, as Bloc MP for Longueuil—Pierre-Boucher (Québec)

Won her last election, in 2006, with 55% of the vote.

Statements in the House

Order of the Daughters of Isabella October 18th, 2007

Mr. Speaker, it is my pleasure to rise in this House to mark the 20th anniversary of the founding of the Order of the Daughters of Isabella, Marie-Marguerite circle No. 1351 in Longueuil, which will celebrate this event on October 20 with a mass and a dinner.

Through their various civic and charitable activities, the Daughters of Isabella work in unity, friendship and charity. The objectives of the group, for the women who are members, are to get to know one another better, broaden their circle of friends and pool resources so that they are better able to help one another.

On behalf of the people I have the honour of representing, I would like to recognize their spirit of mutual support, their commitment and their dedication within the Church, society and the family. I would like today to thank all these women for their involvement in the Longueuil community, and particularly to thank the regent of the order, Marie-Claire Brazeau, for her many years of dedication to its members.

Foreign Affairs June 18th, 2007

Mr. Speaker, just a few months ago, the government refused to meet with a Palestinian minister who was visiting Canada and who was not linked to Hamas.

Now that the minister has changed his position on the Palestinian Authority, can he assure us that in future, Palestinian ministers visiting Canada will be received by this government?

Foreign Affairs June 18th, 2007

Mr. Speaker, yesterday, Canada greeted the new emergency Palestinian government sworn in by President Mahmoud Abbas, who said that his primary objective was to have the embargo lifted on international aid.

Yesterday, the minister promised to respond to the humanitarian needs of the Palestinians. Does he intend to put his money where his mouth is and reinstate financial assistance directly from Canada to the Palestinian Authority?

Pearson Peacekeeping Centre June 18th, 2007

Mr. Speaker, the motion that was introduced by our Liberal colleague from West Nova and is before us today is very positive, in my opinion. The proposal that the federal government fully fund the Pearson Peacekeeping Centre does not seem like a whim to me, because the centre's mission is fully in line with the Bloc Québécois position on foreign development assistance.

As you know, political, geographical and religious conflicts cause serious harm to people, and even one conflict is one too many. The Pearson Peacekeeping Centre was created at the federal government's request in 1994, when a number of countries bordering Germany and Russia were in a rather unstable and fragile state after the fall of the eastern bloc. The centre's mission is to train civilians, military personnel and police officers for peacekeeping missions and to promote research in order to guide public policy debate.

The increasing demands of conflict prevention and resolution, and the growing scope of Canada's involvement in all aspects of peace operations required the creation of a focal point for education, training, and research activities. The teaching environment needed to be multidisciplinary and international, providing a location where persons from different professional, cultural and national backgrounds could learn together. This diversity reflects actual field conditions. The Pearson Peacekeeping Centre was established in Nova Scotia in 1995 and expanded in 1999, opening an office in Montreal to better serve the international francophone community. In November 2003, recognizing the importance of having a presence close to the seat of government, the centre opened a liaison office in Ottawa. Most of the centre's official courses are given abroad, in Africa, eastern Europe and Latin America.

Unfortunately, the centre has always had funding problems. When it was created in 1994, it was supposed to be financially self-sufficient by 1999. It has proven to be difficult for a peacekeeping training centre to be self-sufficient. The Bloc Québécois thinks it is important for the federal government to subsidize this centre. In March, the Bloc Québécois was pleased with the Conservative government's decision to give the Pearson Centre $13.8 million over three years, from March 2007 to March 2010. This funding was for the basic infrastructure of the centre: salaries, rent, equipment, etc. The funding does not cover the projects and courses offered by the centre. It is piecemeal. For example, CIDA is responsible for funding conferences in Canada and abroad.

Until recently, the Department of National Defence funded training courses on peacekeeping missions at the Cornwallis office in Nova Scotia. Located outside major centres in a small community, the advantage of this site is that simulations for the purposes of exercises can be held without disturbing people in the surrounding areas.

The Department of National Defence has decided to stop funding the training courses at the Cornwallis office, saying that National Defence will provide training itself at the base in Kingston.

The only purpose of the Cornwallis office was to provide training. Without federal funding for these courses, the Cornwallis office may have to close its doors. Training is at the very heart of the Pearson Peacekeeping Centre's mandate. The Cornwallis section is very important and the upheaval that will result from closing this section could be very damaging to the centre.

The importance of the Pearson Peacekeeping Centre should not be underestimated. The training and policy directions there are directly related to the policy Canada has been developing since the days of Pearson, whose goal it was in the 1950s to devote 0.7% of gross domestic product to development assistance—an objective I would point out has still not been met, unfortunately.

The development assistance envelope has not stopped shrinking, going from a little less than 0.5% in 1991-92 to 0.45% in 1993 and 0.25% in 2000.

The decrease was particularly significant when the Liberals were in power, but the Conservatives have not managed to do much better.

Through the debate on the motion, I want to reiterate today that the Bloc Québécois is committed to having the federal government implement a realistic and concrete plan to achieve the UN target of 0.7% of GDP for international assistance by 2015. To reach this, the Conservatives must start increasing development assistance budgets now, at an average rate of 12% to 15% per year.

The Bloc Québécois' desire to see this happen is genuine , since we have worked long and hard to improve Bill C-293 to make the development assistance objectives as clear and effective as possible, by proposing that the federal government make all bilateral assistance dependent on respecting fundamental human rights, but also ensure that the money is not diverted from its original purpose.

The Bloc Québécois believes that, given the importance of the Pearson Centre, the government should work with it to ensure a seamless transition from DND funding of training courses to other funding. The federal government should provide full funding temporarily, until the Centre can find new clients to fund its training courses. The federal government has the means to fund this Centre.

Under no circumstances should the Conservative government reverse its decision to fund the basic infrastructure of the Pearson Peacekeeping Centre.

Because the Bloc Québécois has always supported initiatives aimed at resolving conflicts through dialogue and mediation, the Bloc Québécois supports Motion M-311.

Longueuil's 350th Anniversary June 14th, 2007

Mr. Speaker, Longueuil is celebrating its 350th anniversary. It was founded by Sieur Charles Le Moyne, who named his new seigneury after a village in his native Normandy.

Throughout 2007, Longueuil's history will be celebrated in style by citizens, organizations and municipal authorities who have come together to offer people a variety of festive events and highly original activities.

Longueuil is now Quebec's fifth largest city. Now that we are just days away from adjourning the work of Parliament and from celebrating Quebec's national holiday, I would like to highlight this event of national historical significance and offer the people of Longueuil my best wishes for a wonderful summer. I invite them all to take part in the activities commemorating Longueuil's 350th anniversary.

Africa June 11th, 2007

Mr. Speaker, despite the minister's remarks, there is still a long way to go. According to Oxfam Canada, Canada spends less on AIDS than the average of the other countries, in relation to the size of our economy. We are talking about people who really need our help.

Will the federal government keep its word and reach the targeted 0.7% of its GDP in international assistance, as it promised for the achievement of the millennium development goals?

Africa June 11th, 2007

Mr. Speaker, as with the Kyoto protocol, the Prime Minister is repudiating Canada's signature by not honouring the commitments made for humanitarian aid in Africa.

The Prime Minister may boast that his government is on track towards keeping its promises, but we know that Canada's contribution for 2010 should double the current amounts, which means it should be $2 billion instead of $1 billion. Oxfam Canada said this is just not enough, and so have all international observers.

Will the Prime Minister honour the commitments he has already made concerning aid to Africa?

International Cooperation June 6th, 2007

Mr. Speaker, allow me to remind the minister about the former Secretary General of the UN's statement that developed countries had to allocate 0.7% of their GDP in order to achieve the eight millennium objectives by 2015.

Will the minister shake off her inertia to present a plan that will meet this target and thereby really help Africa?

International Cooperation June 6th, 2007

Mr. Speaker, during the 2005 G-8 summit in Scotland, member nations, including Canada, promised to increase development aid to Africa by $25 billion. Recently, the World Bank criticized the G-8 for failing to keep that promise.

Does the Minister of International Cooperation realize that the budget for development assistance must be increased by a lot more than the 8% per year that her government has allocated?

Speech and Hearing Awareness Month May 30th, 2007

Mr. Speaker, May is Speech and Hearing Awareness Month, and even through it is almost over, as is my habit, I want to draw members' attention to a very important cause: defending the rights of the deaf and hearing impaired, who represent more than 10% of the population.

There is much cause for celebration this year. First, on May 17, the CRTC finally handed down a decision requiring all English and French language broadcasters to caption all programs. I should also mention the success of the new CRIM software, which is a major advance in closed captioning. Starting in September 2007, CPAC will finally offer live captioning in French of question period. This is a wonderful innovation, because from now on, the broadcast will be in real time thanks to voice recognition.

I have championed this cause for a number of years, and today I am happy to celebrate these victories with the deaf and hearing impaired community. I will be closely monitoring the work of the round table to check the quality of the captioning.