Crucial Fact

  • Her favourite word was heritage.

Last in Parliament May 2004, as Liberal MP for Laval East (Québec)

Lost her last election, in 2004, with 40% of the vote.

Statements in the House

Canadian Television Fund April 7th, 2003

Mr. Speaker, when the Canadian Television Fund was created, the projections were for it to be maintained at around $200 million annually. With the government's contribution this year of $75 million, the total will be $232 million. That is why we maintain that there is no problem; this government needs to support other sectors of the cultural industry also.

Canadian Television Fund April 7th, 2003

Mr. Speaker, the reason we are saying this is that it is true. The cable and satellite TV industry has greatly increased its contribution to the fund. At its inception in 1996, the participation by the Government of Canada was to be $100 million. This year, the government has decided to maintain its contribution at $75 million, thus ensuring that the fund will have $232 million available again this year. That is not a figure to be sneezed at.

Automotive Pollution Reduction Act April 3rd, 2003

Mr. Speaker, the remarks of my colleague do not impress me. This is why the Liberal government is on this side of the House and has been in power for a long time. My colleague is implying that Canadians do not believe in special treatment for aboriginals. We on this side of the House believe that we should care for aboriginals. He does not; we do.

Automotive Pollution Reduction Act April 3rd, 2003

Mr. Speaker, I thank the member for Saskatoon—Humboldt for the opportunity to answer his question.

The government is a strong supporter of equality and fairness for all Canadians. For the first time, Parliament set out the purpose and principles of sentencing in 1996.

One of the new principles found in section 718.2(e) of the Criminal Code is that all available sanctions other than imprisonment that are reasonable in the circumstances should be considered for all offenders with particular attention to the circumstances of aboriginal offenders.

The need to consider restraint has been given increased importance as a result of Canada's high rate of incarceration when compared with many other industrialized nations and especially among aboriginal Canadians.

While codified for the first time in Bill C-41 in 1996, the idea of encouraging restraint in the use of incarceration is not new. A white paper was published under the authority of the Minister of Justice in 1982. It stated that restraint in the use of imprisonment have been endorsed by numerous other commissions and in various law reform reports.

There is a longstanding concern by this government and the Parliament of Canada with the overrepresentation of aboriginal people in the criminal justice system who are overrepresented in virtually all aspects, not just with respect to crime rates. Rates of offending, charging, incarceration and victimization are higher for them than for the non-aboriginal population. However the causes of this overrepresentation involve complex social and economic factors of poverty, addictions and disadvantage. They are also historical and not easily dealt with.

The purpose of including a specific reference to aboriginal offenders in the Criminal Code, 1996 and more recently in the Youth Criminal Justice Act, 2002 was to signal Parliament's concern over the especially high aboriginal incarceration rate and the socio-economic factors that contribute to this. It was to require sentencing judges to be sensitive to these matters. It was also for judges to consider the appropriate use of alternative sentencing processes including restorative, culturally sensitive approaches such as sentencing circles, healing circles and victim-offenders mediation.

In the process leading up to the passage of the Youth Criminal Justice Act in February 2002, Parliament carefully considered and agreed that young persons should have the benefit of subsection 718.2(e) of the Criminal Code that applies to aboriginal adults. The Senate refused to pass the Youth Criminal Justice Act without a similar provision for aboriginal young persons. The Minister of Justice agreed with the amendment.

After debate in the House, the Youth Criminal Justice Act, including the amendment, was passed. It should be noted that these provisions do not necessarily mean lighter sentencing. Sometimes being dealt with by a restorative justice program may even be more difficult, not just for the offender but also for the victim, family members and other community members.

The government is also focusing on programs that address the whole continuum of crime and aboriginal peoples so that long term changes will result, for example, funding of programs for aboriginal peoples through the national crime prevention program, the aboriginal justice strategy, the native court worker program, and youth justice. The government is committed to working with aboriginal peoples to ensure that changes result.

Parthenon Marbles April 1st, 2003

Madam Speaker, it is an honour for me to rise today to speak in the House on a topic that is of such importance to the member for Scarborough Centre. He moved a motion to return from the United Kingdom, where they are currently located, to Greece, the series of sculptures from the ornamental frieze of the Parthenon, before the Games of the 28th Olympiad, which will be held in Athens in 2004.

I understand very well the emotions that the member feels, because I myself felt very strong emotions when I saw this magnificent temple for the first time during a trip to Athens. So, I can say that I understand why my colleague would want to restore the integrity of this temple.

Given the tremendous historic and symbolic importance of the ideals that the Parthenon marbles represent for the people of Greece and the world over, I would invite my hon. colleagues in the House to support this motion.

The Parthenon was built in the fifth century BC. It is the main temple of the Acropolis in Athens and one of the greatest masterpieces from the Classical Greek period.

Obviously, the subject we are discussing today is of particular interest to Greece and the United Kingdom and their citizens. However, it is also of interest to Canada, which, like many other countries, is concerned about the fundamental role that culture plays in the expression of peoples' identities and in the enrichment of all nations.

Since 1999, Greece and the U.K. have been involved in discussions over the Parthenon marbles and have been pooling their experience in order to better protect and preserve these architectural and historic treasures.

We remain subject to the authorities from international organizations such as the Intergovernmental Committee for Promoting the Return of Cultural Property to its Countries of Origin or its Restitution in Case of Illicit Appropriation. This is a committee struck by UNESCO in 1978. UNESCO mandated the committee to research ways and means to promote bilateral negotiations in cases of disputes over returning cultural goods to their country of origin.

Since 1989, Canada has supported the recommendations of the intergovernmental committee on five occasions, recommendations to encourage Greece and the U.K. to resolve their dispute amicably. What better conclusion could there be for Olympic Games in 2004?

By supporting this committee's recommendations, Canada reiterates its trust in the mandate of international organizations such UNESCO, whose actions and efforts favour negotiations as a way to resolve differences.

Between 1983 and 2001, Canada had the opportunity to act as an elected member of the intergovernmental council for several mandates. We also had the honour of chairing this committee from January 1999 to March 2001.

Although the Government of Canada reiterated its trust in the mechanisms put in place by UNESCO to settle disputes of this kind, it supports individuals and groups lobbying to have the Parthenon marbles returned to Greece before the 2004 Olympiad.

In view of the major historical and symbolical importance of the Parthenon marbles, and the democratic ideals they embody, I believe we must in this particular case stray from our traditionally neutral position and support the motion by the member for Scarborough Centre.

Therefore, I ask this House to urge the United Kingdom to return the Parthenon marbles to Greece before the 2004 Olympiad.

All this to say that when the eyes of whole world are focused on Greece, humanity as a whole will be able to fully appreciate these magnificent marbles in the glory their builders had envisioned in the first place.

Art Thompson April 1st, 2003

Mr. Speaker, it is with great sadness that I announce the passing of Art Thompson, the renowned aboriginal artist from the west coast of Canada.

He earned international recognition for a particular form of aboriginal art. Thompson is known for drawing attention to the free-spirited style of artists of the west coast of Vancouver Island, through his attention to detail and mastery of technique. Of a generous nature, he shared samples of his work and gave technical demonstrations, which also helped this form of art gain recognition.

A member of the Nitinaht first nation, Thompson actively supported the aboriginal people, dedicating time and energy to this cause and denouncing the treatment he received in residential schools.

He was one of our great west coast artists. Our deepest sympathies.

Canada Transportation Act March 28th, 2003

Madam Speaker, I am pleased today to speak to Bill C-314, to amend the Canada Transportation Act to make it more difficult for adults and parents who do not have custody to abduct children by means of air transportation and requiring all adult passengers travelling with young persons to produce written proof of the consent of their parents or of other persons who have lawful custody over them.

Unfortunately, while I support fully the intent of the bill and its objective of trying to reduce the incidence of child abduction and kidnapping, I cannot support the proposed amendment to the Canada Transportation Act.

It is a far too sweeping and heavy-handed amendment that would impose onerous obligations on Canadian airline carriers and be extremely difficult, if not impossible, to effectively implement. The effect could be that anyone attempting to travel with a child, even a parent in an intact family travelling with their own child, would be required to provide written proof of consent and prevented from getting on the plane if this is not produced. To someone unaware of this requirement, a planned trip at Christmas with their child to visit out of town family could end up being a nightmare.

This is a bill that is trying to accomplish something that the government takes very seriously. Unfortunately, sometimes children are taken by a parent, relative or caregiver without the consent or permission of the other parent. This can occur in the context of a divorce or separation, for example, and may be done for a variety of reasons, including revenge or a legitimate concern about the child's safety.

The 2001 annual report on Canada's missing children indicates that in 2001 there were 387 parental abductions. In some of these cases where the children are reported missing they are only missing temporarily because a parent is late in returning the child from an access visit. In other cases children remain missing for many years. Although children are rarely physically harmed by their parent, there is no doubt that these actions have a detrimental effect on the well-being of the children involved and, in some cases, are extremely traumatic for the child.

This government is strongly committed to protecting children from all forms of abduction and kidnapping. The “Our Missing Children” program is a key example of this commitment. Five government departments—the RCMP, the Canada Customs and Revenue Agency, Citizenship and Immigration Canada, the Department of Foreign Affairs and International Trade and Justice Canada work in partnership to prevent adudctions, locate and recover missing children.

Although each department has its own function, the “Our Missing Children” program operates as one unit. The National Missing Children Services is Canada’s clearinghouse for reports of missing children and provides investigative services. It is linked to all Canadian police and related agencies through the Canadian Police Information Centre, and most foreign police agencies through Interpol.

These connections allow investigators to link and trace quickly and expeditiously the whereabouts of an abductor or missing child. In addition, the Canada Customs and Revenue Agency places border alerts and detects and recovers missing children at international airports and border crossings.

The program also provides a photo-aging service, as well as investigative research and ongoing development and distribution of information related to missing children for parents, children and police. It has connections with not for profit search agencies and collectively provides a unique and powerful program to prevent, locate and recover missing children.

I mention all this to reinforce the point that the government is already doing many things to address the problem of child abduction and kidnapping; important things that are well planned, well coordinated and effectively assist in protecting children from abduction and kidnapping.

As I said, unfortunately, while I support fully the intent of the bill and its objectives, I cannot support the proposed amendment. One of the problems is that the provision is too vague and is directed to the airline companies that hold a licence to operate a domestic air service. The bill does not provide any guidelines about how this should or could be done. It does not explain what form written proof of consent should take. It does not indicate how this provision should be practically enforced. In fact, each licensed air carrier could implement this requirement differently.

Many different questions arise about the bill. What proof of consent would be required if one parent is deceased? What costs would be associated with implementing this requirement and who would bear those costs? Would there be a liability associated with not doing so? This statutory amendment only impacts on domestic air carriers and it might not in fact even prevent a true abduction. The abductor could simply choose a different non-Canadian airline.

Reasonable measures to protect children from abduction are already in place. The Canadian passport system, for example, already imposes specific requirements respecting the issuing of passports for children, to respond to concerns about parental child abductions.

The “Our Missing Children” program that I mentioned earlier provides many examples of law enforcement measures, programs and tools that can and do work to address the problem of child abduction.

Our missing children program, which I mentioned earlier, provides many examples of law enforcement measures, programs and tools that can and do work to address the problem of child abductions. I do not think, however, that amending the Canada Transportation Act is the right response. I cannot support Bill C-314.

Lawrence Adams March 28th, 2003

Mr. Speaker, it is with sadness that I announce the passing of Lawrence Adams, a former principal at the National Ballet of Canada, publisher and passionate champion of dance and dancers.

Lawrence Adams danced for the National Ballet of Canada and the Grands Ballets canadiens de Montréal. Admired for his vibrant personality and talent, he built his reputation on interpreting several classical roles.

He was on the board of directors of the Dance of Canada Association. He and his wife, Miriam Weinstein, established Dance Collection Danse, a not for profit publishing house dedicated to conserving dance heritage.

Canada has lost a generous man who contributed greatly to the advancement and preservation of dance in Canada.

We offer our condolences to his family.

Arts and Culture March 21st, 2003

Mr. Speaker, I would like to reassure the House that the Government of Canada is very concerned about Canadian content on television.

However, the CRTC is an independent body that operates according to its own rules, therefore it is not up to us to interfere with its decisions.

Prix Montfort March 21st, 2003

Mr. Speaker, yesterday evening, the first Prix Montfort gala was held to honour outstanding contributions to the Francophonie. All the award winners deserve our thanks.

The Canadian Francophonie can certainly point to a remarkable trail of achievements. Consider the winner of the Prix Montfort for cultural diversity, Rwandan-born singer Corneille, who fled the genocide, who reminded us how war destroys the dreams of thousands of children.

Consider Antonine Maillet, winner of the Prix Montfort for literature, who constantly nurtures our hope for a better Canada.

The creator of the Festival Juste pour rire , Gilbert Rozon, who won the Prix Montfort for event of the year, expressed his great admiration for all of humanity in these troubled times.

And what about the mayor of Moncton, winner of the Montfort of the Year award. He reminded us of our ability to meet the challenges of bilingualism.

I want to thank all the artists who helped make this evening a success.