Crucial Fact

  • Her favourite word was quebec.

Last in Parliament May 2004, as Bloc MP for Jonquière (Québec)

Lost her last election, in 2004, with 6% of the vote.

Statements in the House

Employment Insurance October 24th, 1997

Madam Speaker, it is a pleasure to address the House today and join with my colleague from Kamouraska—Rivière-du-Loup—Témiscouata—Les Basques in demanding, as stated in his motion, that “the Government of Canada make major changes in the employment insurance system, particularly by lowering contributions and improving benefits for seasonal workers and workers who have joined the labour market only recently.”

During the last election campaign, we in the Bloc Quebecois made a commitment to press the government into dealing with these issues, and we will keep doing it through special initiatives.

I would like to remind you of a few figures, if I may. The EI recipient-unemployed worker ratio dropped from 77% in 1989 to below 41% in 1996. Under the Liberals, this ratio has fallen from 60% in 1993 to 36% in January 1997.

Since 1990, successive cuts have deprived thousands of people of EI benefits, and many of them are now on welfare. Under the current system, the unemployed in Quebec will receive $316 million less in 1997-98 and $534 million less in 2001-2002. As a matter of fact, this new employment insurance plan is a systematic impoverishment programm, and a hidden tax affecting many families in the Jonquière riding.

It looks like one of our initiatives will meet with great success in the Jonquière riding. Like my colleague from Kamouraska—Rivière-du-Loup—Témiscouata—Les Basques, I have mailed out to my constituents in Jonquière postcards they can send me back to indicate their support for changes to the employment insurance plan.

More specifically, we ask the federal government to stop unfairly penalizing seasonal workers and new entrants to the labour market by amending the Employment Insurance Act and lowering contributions significantly by 35 to 50 cents.

The people of Jonquière as well as the local community and labour organizations, which are sensitive to the situation of seasonal workers, reacted positively to our initiative. In several parishes of Jonquière the priests invited their parishioners to send back their cards on employment insurance to make the Liberal government aware of the very harmful effects of the present employment insurance system on the workers.

Many times during the last campaign, people from my riding told me they were outraged by the reduction in benefits while the premiums paid by workers allowed the government to collect around $5 billion a year in revenues that are not used to help the unemployed, but to reduce its deficit.

The people across the floor brag about this, but they should be ashamed of the mess they created. The federal government and the Minister of Finance may benefit from the cuts, but such is not the case for low income people.

It is now clear that it is the workers and the employers who make it possible for the Minister of Finance to artificially lower its deficit. But the Bloc is there to remind you of the interests of the men and women of Quebec. And believe me, we will constantly remind the government of the facts to bring it back to the people's true reality.

Together with the Government of Quebec, we are asking for changes to the EI system. Premier Lucien Bouchard, the head of the Government of Quebec, said that he will, at the next federal-provincial meeting, make a proposal to change the EI system for the benefit of both employers and workers.

He wants to put forward the following changes: reduced premiums for employers and workers and increased benefits, or a combination of both. We are in favour of such an initiative, which would improve the situation of Quebec workers. Mr. Bouchard said that these changes would allow seasonal workers to escape the terrible conditions they are living with now, and which increase welfare budgets.

In short, the Bloc Quebecois reiterates its proposal that the Liberal government substantially decrease the EI premium rate and at the same time improve the program, which has become too restrictive, particularly for seasonal workers and new entrants.

I hope the Minister of Human Resources Development will take action on this issue. He will shortly have to respond favourably to Quebec workers' demands and needs, because year 2000 is fast approaching and he might be unprepared for what is coming.

Madam Speaker, I move:

That the motion be deemed votable.

National Defence October 22nd, 1997

Mr. Speaker, my question is for the Minister of National Defence.

Rumours are still circulating regarding the possibility that the federal government will acquire British submarines for the Canadian Forces.

Given the magnitude of such expenditures and the fact that they are so hard to justify, will the minister tell us clearly, once and for all, whether there is still a possibility that submarines will be bought for the Canadian Forces?

Supply October 9th, 1997

Mr. Speaker, this is the first time that I comment on another member's speech in the House.

I was really stunned by what I heard today in the House. I believe the member across the way does not know how to read or has not seen the motion moved by the opposition. Either he has refused to read it, or he cannot read.

I did not come to the House of Commons to observe all the clowning around that has been going on in the House today. We are here to speak about the real issues. While people are unemployed, while young Canadians have no job, what are certain members doing? They are clowning around. They are making fun of issues that really must be raised. What I have seen here today is shameful.

The foundation of every democratic party is its financing, how it grows. Everything the members of the government said today is lies and foolishness. I am sorry, but the word is not strong enough.

I would like to ask our illustrious member across the way what he thinks of the real issue raised by the member for Laurier—Sainte-Marie. What does he think of the financing of federal political parties with the fund they have now? As for us, members of the Bloc, our fund is open to everyone, and our financing comes from simple voters.

Government Contracts October 9th, 1997

Mr. Speaker, will the minister admit that the fact that more than one third of all contracts are awarded without going to public tender is giving the business community the message that they better make generous donations to the ruling party if they hope to get a share of the pie?

Government Contracts October 9th, 1997

Mr. Speaker, my question is for the Minister of Public Works.

Last Friday, the Minister of Public Works admitted that more than 35% of government contracts, totalling some $3 billion, were untendered. The day before last, the Auditor General of Canada gave the example of a department that achieved a 40% saving by systematically going out to public tender.

Given the party financing practices at the federal level—

Supply October 9th, 1997

That is true.

Government Contracts October 3rd, 1997

Mr. Speaker, I have a supplementary.

Given that 37 percent of all federal contracts, totalling $3.2 billion in 1995, were untendered, does the minister not recognize that this approach opens the door to all sorts of abuse, including strong possibilities of influence peddling?

Government Contracts October 3rd, 1997

Mr. Speaker, my question is for the Minister of Public Works.

The issues raised by the ongoing investigation into allegations of influence peddling throws the whole federal government contract award process into question.

Can the public works minister give us the assurance, beyond all doubt, that he has taken every measure possible to prevent all influence peddling in the award of government contracts?

Canada Post Corporation September 26th, 1997

Mr. Speaker, in view of what the minister just said, will he pledge to take other measures to improve negotiations and make them successful?

Canada Post Corporation September 26th, 1997

Mr. Speaker, my question is for the Minister of Labour.

Collective bargaining talks between the Canada Post Corporation and the postal workers' union are breaking down, as was unfortunately hoped by the minister responsible for Canada Post.

Does the minister recognize that he must take action to restore at least some trust, a necessary ingredient in successful collective bargaining?