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Crucial Fact

  • Her favourite word was children.

Last in Parliament November 2005, as Liberal MP for Moncton—Riverview—Dieppe (New Brunswick)

Won her last election, in 2004, with 59% of the vote.

Statements in the House

Supply February 10th, 1998

Mr. Speaker, I believe the answer to my friend is on two occasions Quebeckers clearly stated that yes they wanted to still be part of our great country and remain Quebeckers as well as Canadians.

Supply February 10th, 1998

Mr. Speaker, I would like to thank the member for calling me his Acadian friend. It is true that as Acadians we are friends of Quebeckers. However, I would like to relate my version of the evening of the referendum.

I was sitting in my kitchen with my children, my husband and some friends, because my friends wanted to be with us on the evening of the referendum. They came to our place for supper, and we watched the referendum together on television. I can tell you we were anxious during the voting because we wanted Quebeckers to know how those of us outside Quebec were feeling.

I intend to answer your question. I will say that my children and my friends agree with me that the question in the last referendum was not clear and specific.

I do not think it was the same question. I have to say that we talked that night and we felt that the question did not make it clear to those voting with the separatists that they would separate from Canada. For that reason it was not clear. I think the book Mr. Parizeau wrote after the referendum made it clear that they would have voted for separation.

Supply February 10th, 1998

Mr. Speaker, our country is respected around the globe for its commitment to individual freedom and democratic values and the rule of law that sustains them.

Indeed, as Argentine President Carlos Menem said today, Canada is a nation that has grown to symbolize perseverance, democracy, solidarity and tolerance.

Canada is a remarkable country. I believe in the 21st century it will be an even stronger and more united one. Why? Because I think Quebeckers will continue to chose to remain part of a country that they have done so much to build.

Most Quebeckers are proud of both their Quebec and Canadian identities and do not wish to have to choose between them. However, if Quebeckers should ever choose to leave Canada, I would want them to make this choice, as I am sure they would wish clearly and unequivocally. I would not want Quebeckers to break the bonds of solidarity with their fellow Canadian citizens in an atmosphere of confusion where no mutually acceptable ground rules were in place.

I firmly believe that Quebeckers will choose to remain Canadians because Quebec benefits from being part of Canada and is an essential component of our nation. The province prospered in Canada, particularly since the Quiet Revolution. The Quebec economy includes thriving high tech industries, such as aerospace, biotechnology and the pharmaceutical industry.

The federal government did its share to help those industries which, in turn, help all of Canada face international competition. For example, tools like R & D tax credit and the Export Development Corporation helped the high technology industries to develop, and the federal government's major strategic investments continue to produce the kind of growth that stimulates the creation of well paid jobs for young Quebeckers.

Quebec within Canada also has a dynamic, living and unique culture. There are more than 100 theatre companies, 100 publishers, 20 dance companies and 25 orchestras and choirs in the province, and many of them receive federal assistance so that they can perform in Canada and abroad.

Quebec is flourishing within Canada and Canada is flourishing because of Quebec, but there are always new challenges to be addressed. In many instances this commitment has seen the prime minister working side by side with the premiers. As the minister of intergovernmental affairs has often said, what Canadians need today are strong provinces, a strong federal government and strong relationship between them.

I could name a great many policy initiatives on which the different orders of government have co-operated recently. I will content myself with mentioning two, the Canada child tax benefit and the new partnership on labour market training.

According to statistics, one in five children lives in poverty in Canada. That is just unacceptable. As Lutheran theologian Dietrich Bonhoeffer put it, a society's morality is judged by the way it treats its children. Our children are our future. When a child has to go to school on an empty stomach, we all lose out.

In May 1996 the federal government offered its provincial and territorial partners the opportunity either to assume full responsibility for job training measures, funded through the employment insurance account, or to develop a new core management partnership.

The Canada-Quebec job training agreement, in the words of the prime minister, demonstrated that the governments of Canada and Quebec could work together to find practical solutions that are adapted to the real problem of Quebeckers. As an executive of the Quebec business organization, the Conseil du patronat, was quick to observe, the agreement shows that it is possible to conclude administrative agreements in key areas without having to amend the Canadian constitution.

In fact, the manpower training agreements and the new national child benefit show what can be accomplished, within the scope of administrative agreements and through the exercise or non-exercise of powers without having to change one iota of the Constitution.

However, that does not mean that our Constitution is or should be immutable. Our Constitution is not a straitjacket preventing us from changing it. Rather, it is a framework allowing for orderly and timely changes. It reflects our evolving identity as Canadians.

We have seen recently how our Constitution can adapt to the evolving needs of Canadians with the passage of a constitutional amendment requested by the Quebec government to set up the province's school boards along linguistic rather than denominational lines. Everybody in Quebec agreed that denominational school boards reflected the reality in Quebec in 1867. Today, however, linguistic school boards are more in line with the values and sociological realities of Quebeckers. The Parliament and the National Assembly combined their efforts at the appropriate time and invoked Section 83 of the 1982 Constitution Act to proceed with a bilateral amendment.

I am sure the constitutional amendment will enable Quebec to flourish further within Canada. It will enable Quebeckers to have a stronger school system that responds more closely to their needs.

Indeed it was seen as such a positive step by the Government of Quebec that the minister of education, Pauline Marois, was moved to praise the federal minister of intergovernmental affairs for having «livrer la marchandise».

I am confident the government of Prime Minister Chrétien will continue to deliver the goods for Quebeckers and for all Canadians. All these changes, both constitutional and non-constitutional, show that our federation is capable of responding to the needs of Quebeckers.

Of course we have our challenges. Which country does not? Our challenges are ones that can be resolved through negotiations and a long tradition of accommodation. We must put our difficulties into perspective.

We face serious challenges but they are nonetheless the problems of a prosperous country with strong, democratic institutions and a thriving civil society. None of these challenges should lead to a break-up of our country. In fact thousands of people from other countries apply to share our problems every year.

We must not lose sight of the fact that there have been debates and discussions on the Canadian identity since the beginnings of the federation. The debate has, of course, become particularly lively in the past few decades, but the consolidation of national unity is an ongoing task.

To those who choose to wallow in past humiliations, real or imagined, chewing them over and over, we offer our vision of the future, a future in which Canada will continue to be a source of influence for the world, a source of pride for its people.

International Development Week February 6th, 1998

Mr. Speaker, International Development Week is a great opportunity to raise public awareness of the many facets of international development: how it benefits people in developing countries and how it benefits Canadians.

It is important that Canadians have the opportunity to make themselves aware of their contribution to development co-operation. International Development Week is one way to do this.

We are very proud that this week was paid for not only by the government but also by the private sector.

Ice Storm February 3rd, 1998

Mr. Speaker, I rise in the House today to pay tribute to the people of the greater Moncton area for donating over 5,000 tonnes of supplies destined for St. Hubert, Quebec, a town badly hit by the devastating ice storm.

Many people in the area came together to collect these donations. They also contacted the Quebec volunteer bureau to let them know that thirty or so people from the greater Moncton area were prepared to travel to the areas affected by the storm.

I would also like to thank Radio Canada/CBC, the Times and Transcript , Geldart Warehouse and Cartage Ltd. and the Moncton Headstart for helping gather and deliver supplies to St. Hubert.

I am very proud that the people of the greater Moncton area came together to help a community in need. Private enterprise, the media, individuals and school children banded together and demonstrated the strong commitment to community that exists in our area.

Once again, thank you very much. Un gros merci à tous.

Tribute To Soeur Lorette Gallant December 11th, 1997

Mr. Speaker, I am pleased to rise today to pay tribute to Soeur Lorette Gallant.

For the past 40 years, Soeur Lorette has been directing Les Jeunes Chanteurs de l'Acadie, a choir of young people from the Greater Moncton area. Soeur Lorette started this choir in 1957 at Beauséjour school.

Over the years, the choir became more community based. Les Jeunes Chanteurs de l'Acadie have won several provincial, national and international awards. The choir has provided many young people the opportunity to travel across Canada as well as abroad.

In 1996, Soeur Lorette was made a member of the Order of Canada in recognition of her dedication to young people and to her community.

Soeur Lorette is a remarkable person who dedicated herself to children in her community. She has helped many children over the years build a sense of respect and commitment. We are all very grateful to her for this. She is our idol.

Somalia December 4th, 1997

Mr. Speaker, we will be contributing $250,000 to the International Committee of the Red Cross for emergency assistance to the victims of flooding in Somalia.

Canada provided more than $40 million in food and other humanitarian assistance to Somalia since 1991. We are also very concerned about the ongoing violence in Somalia.

Canada is working with the international community to determine what role we can play in support of the regional peace process which is essential to Somalia's long-term development.

La Francofête December 2nd, 1997

Mr. Speaker, I would like to congratulate the organizers of La Francofête, a festival that took place in Moncton from November 13 to 16, 1997. The Francofête was a real success. It featured Acadian musicians and performers. It was also the first time that a francophone festival was organized to pay tribute to Acadian musicians, a bit in the tradition of the East Coast Music Awards. This festival gave the people of the maritime provinces the opportunity to share their Acadian heritage with pride.

I would also like to thank Acadian artists such as Antonine Maillet and Edith Butler, who have led the way in ensuring that Acadians can work and prosper in the maritimes. We are all proud to see the Acadian culture continue to thrive.

Supply November 25th, 1997

Not at all, Mr. Speaker. I was trying to tell the hon. member that Quebeckers want the Quebec government to sit at the table, with the federal government and with the other provincial governments, to take part in the decisions being made. Major decisions will be made over the next five years at the federal and provincial levels. My message was that Quebeckers surely want their provincial government to sit at the table with the other provinces.

Supply November 25th, 1997

Mr. Speaker, as the Minister of Human Resources Development has said repeatedly, reform in under way and the provinces will be able to make their own decisions. That is what we are doing.

The Prime Minister said he wanted to make youth a priority and that, in the next millennium, the federal government, on this side, will be the one making decisions about grants. That is all right, that is what we wanted it to do.

But this does not make a bit of difference: it seems that, whatever we do, the Bloc always wants more, but not everyone in Quebec agrees. Many people in Quebec tell us they want a federal presence there, they want us there.

In spite of the fact that we give them responsibilities and take major decisions, people in Quebec tell us: “We want you too, we want the federal government as well”.

While listening to my friend opposite, I was reminded of Pierre Roy. Every morning for the past 21 months, he has been raising the Canadian flag with some veteran comrades of his. The message Pierre Roy is sending is that he knows what a divided country is like, because he fought for such countries on behalf of Canada.

My hon. friend must understand that the provinces are requesting that we share. They are asking that we have discussions with them and make decisions together.

Things are going will very well with the provinces. Many programs were developed in co-operation with other provinces. But as you all know, it is difficult to get the Bloc Quebecois or Lucien Bouchard to sit down with us so we can work together.