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Crucial Fact

  • Her favourite word was dairy.

Last in Parliament November 2005, as Bloc MP for Châteauguay—Saint-Constant (Québec)

Won her last election, in 2004, with 57% of the vote.

Statements in the House

Agriculture May 10th, 2005

Mr. Speaker, the representatives of farm producers are expressing concern at the Government of Canada's attitude in its defence of supply management in the negotiations taking place at the WTO.

In view of the concerns of the producers over the real intentions of the government, could the minister reassure them and confirm his intention to vigorously defend the retention of supply management and order his team of negotiators to do likewise?

Request for Emergency Debate May 3rd, 2005

Mr. Speaker, I ask you to consider the request by the Bloc Québécois to hold an emergency debate on the critical situation faced by dairy producers in Quebec and Canada.

Last week, the Quebec federation of dairy producers launched a vast information campaign among Quebec MPs on the import of subsidized artificially modified milk ingredients.

Each MP in turn received a visit from local dairy producers calling for pressure to be exerted on the government to staunch the industry hemorrhage.

Need we recall the urgency of the situation? Imported artificial ingredients are costing Quebec producers $70 million and Canada's producers altogether $175 million. If nothing is done, 30% of Canada's dairy production will be replaced by milk substitutes.

The Government of Canada must respond decisively and quickly to this foreign intrusion by invoking article XXVIII of the GATT. It must do so before Quebec's and Canada's dairy industry, already hard hit by the mad cow crisis, disappears completely from our economic landscape in the next few months.

Agriculture May 2nd, 2005

Madam Speaker, on April 29, Quebec's dairy producers gave 25 kilos of milk powder to each Quebec federal member of Parliament to condemn the Liberal government's inaction regarding imports of modified milk products and butter oil.

The import of such products results in annual losses estimated at $175 million for dairy producers in Canada, including $70 million in Quebec alone. Moreover, these imports, which are highly subsidized by certain foreign governments, are contributing to the deterioration of the quality of Canadian and Quebec dairy products.

The Bloc Québécois strongly supports this action and urges the federal government to act quickly to stop the silent erosion of the supply management system, by imposing tariff quotas on imports of modified milk products and butter oil, under article XXVIII of the GATT.

Soil Conservation Week April 22nd, 2005

Mr. Speaker, I want to acknowledge the 20th anniversary of Soil Conservation Week, observed from April 17 to 23.

Let us use this week to reflect on the importance of protecting this critical resource, our soil. This conservation effort aims not only to protect the soil as the foundation for a sustainable agricultural industry, but also to promote its environmental role as a natural tool for reducing greenhouse gases.

Healthy soil can act as a natural carbon sink and, as such, may contribute to providing at least 20% of the solution in mitigating greenhouse gases.

If it is true that from the soil comes life, then the sustainability of our planet relies greatly on the health of this fragile veneer. May National Soil Conservation Week be an opportunity to live up to these forward-looking ideals and to recognize all those who give back to the earth to keep the soil healthy and productive for future generations

Committees of the House April 21st, 2005

Madam Speaker, as I said, the Bloc Québécois supports the first recommendation, which I will read again:

That an independent commission of inquiry be struck with the mandate to investigate the 2004 avian influenza outbreak in British Columbia. To prevent the reoccurrence of outbreaks, the commission must review the effectiveness of the emergency preparedness and implementation strategies that were deployed in British Columbia, regarding zoonotic diseases.

The Bloc Québécois supports this recommendation.

Committees of the House April 21st, 2005

Madam Speaker, I believe the committee report states that there will be a review of compensation costs, since this has not been done. I think the committee will address that at another time. There will surely be a review in order to determine a fair and equitable share for this crop.

Committees of the House April 21st, 2005

Madam Speaker, I think that human health cannot come with a price tag.

As I have said, the Bloc Québécois supports the recommendations in question.

Committees of the House April 21st, 2005

Madam Speaker, I will take a moment this morning to outline the position of my party, the Bloc Québécois, on the report of the Standing Committee on Agriculture and Agri-Food on the avian flu outbreak in B.C. last year. The Bloc Québécois welcomes this report for several reasons.

First, a general comment. What happened in British Columbia in 2004 was a very sad thing for the poultry industry and poultry farmers. We have to learn a lesson from this; we cannot just go on as if nothing happened. For the past to be a guide for the future, we have to learn from our mistakes and ensure they are never repeated, be it here or anywhere else.

In that context, the Bloc Québécois wants to support the committee's recommendations concerning the avian flu episode while reiterating some of its positions on human and animal health.

This experience with the avian flu outbreak must make Quebeckers and Canadians realize how crucial it is for the provinces and the federal government to implement effective animal health policies. While some would like the free market to work some magic and resolve all problems in the area of animal and human health, we have to seriously consider the advisability of implementing policies and regulations to at the very least contain such problems, if not prevent them.

This is why the Bloc Québécois made sure that the recommendations contained in the report recognize the essential role of those provinces which, like Quebec, have field expertise in dealing with animal health. Need I repeat that Quebec has a traceability system and its own food inspection and animal health agency—the Centre québécois d'inspection des aliments et de santé animale, or CQIASA—which is the envy of everyone the committee heard during its study of Bill C-27?

Of course, prevention in animal and human health comes at a price, as some people have quite rightly pointed out. That is why the Bloc Québécois thinks that such public health policies and preventive measures, in order to be fair, stable and equitable, cannot rely on either the free market or agricultural producers.

They cannot rely on the free market, of course, because it has a regrettable tendency to value potential profits above public or animal health. Such policies cannot rely only on producers either because producers are already financially overburdened as a result of disastrous harvests, the closing of borders to their livestock, and the steep decline in world prices for agricultural products.

Therefore, it falls to the government, that is, the citizenry as a whole, to assume the duty and responsibility of covering the inevitable costs of ensuring the quality of the meat, fruit and vegetables that all of us, in Quebec and Canada, find on our plates.

Quebec provides a telling example in this regard: for those who criticize our high tax levels, here is another argument demonstrating the wisdom of this approach. Quebec takes the health of its people very seriously and hopes that the other provinces will follow suit. We must remember, at a time when trade among the various countries is increasing, that it is essential for the public health authorities of our various trade partners, both provinces and countries, be agreed on the best possible practices and policies. We cannot make any mistakes when it comes to human health.

Let us return briefly to the avian influenza report. I would like to inform the House that the Bloc Québécois is especially pleased with some of the recommendations here.

Recommendations 1, 2 and 3 perfectly reflect the concerns of the Bloc Québécois, particularly by wanting to give the public more responsibility for the crisis that occurred and coming out in favour of adequate prevention of such crises in the future.

I will read the recommendations.

The first recommendation states that an independent commission of inquiry should be struck with the mandate to investigate the 2004 avian influenza outbreak in British Columbia.

To prevent the reoccurrence of outbreaks, the commission must review the effectiveness of the emergency preparedness and implementation strategies that were deployed in British Columbia, regarding zoonotic diseases.

The second recommendation says that the Auditor General of Canada should be asked to audit the effectiveness of various emergency preparedness strategies related to animal diseases, studying first the 2004 avian influenza outbreak in British Columbia, with an emphasis on strategies related to zoonotic diseases

The third recommendation is that the Canadian Food Inspection Agency establish a “Special Animal Disease Response Team,” comprising CFIA, provincial and local experts, that can be quickly deployed with appropriate equipment, and that is responsible for overseeing practices of emergency preparedness plans and procedures.

The seventh recommendation is that any industry recommendations or actions for a pre-emptive cull to limit the potential spread of an outbreak of animal disease must be submitted to the Canadian Food Inspection Agency. The agency, in consultation with the affected provinces and industries, must be proactive and responsible for authorizing and supervising any such pre-emptive cull.

Recommendations 3 and 7, which I have just read, emphasize that the federal government cannot go it alone and must call on the expertise of the provinces and the industry.

Dairy Industry April 15th, 2005

Mr. Speaker, the Bloc Québécois has introduced a motion to strengthen the three pillars of supply management. The government has a duty to support it with concrete action.

What is the minister waiting for to limit the import of butter oil and other products designed specifically to get around trade barriers?

Dairy Industry April 15th, 2005

Mr. Speaker, farmers have long been aware that despite rules to ensure the proper functioning of the supply management system, control of imports can easily be gotten around by all sorts of products specially designed by the industry. Imports of butter oil and milk proteins account for $70 million a year in losses for dairy farmers in Quebec.

What is the government waiting for to take action?