Crucial Fact

  • Her favourite word was strategy.

Last in Parliament May 2004, as Liberal MP for Saint-Lambert (Québec)

Lost her last election, in 2004, with 37% of the vote.

Statements in the House

User Fees Act September 18th, 2003

Madam Speaker, I too am aware of the excellent work by my colleague, the member for Etobicoke North, who shed light on external charging, not only by introducing his bill, but also through the excellent work he has been doing for a very long time as a member of the Standing Committee on Finance.

That having been said, the external charging policy that the government has just published is based on the conclusions of a triennial review of the policy, during which external stakeholders were invited to give their impressions.

Comments were collected through a vast survey based on interviews of government users and an advisory group of experts in external charging.

These two mechanisms sought input from the members of the Business Coalition on Cost Recovery, a broad-based industrial group that represents the interests of companies that pay external charging.

The revised external charging policy, announced on September 3, 2003, contributes a great deal to many of the major themes addressed in Bill C-212, namely improving performance and increasing ministerial accountability to Parliament.

This policy, which replaces the cost recovery and charging policy of 1997, is not merely revised, it repeats and reinforces the fundamental principles of fairness, accountability and communication.

In its revised form, the external charging policy ensures stronger accountability, transparency and consultation with stakeholders regarding the implementation of external charges, and requires that monitoring and reporting be as detailed as possible.

Furthermore, the revised policy ensures that the application of external charging better respects the economic environment and overall government policies.

This policy confirms the government's intention and ability to implement external charging in the best interests of all Canadians. It includes the following main improvements:

The first improvement aims to provide more complete and in-depth reported information to parliamentarians, so that members are better informed and more actively involved. This is in line with commitments made in the 2003 budget to improve reporting of external charging.

The government has made great strides in getting ministers to provide information on external charging, particularly with regard to costs, services, performance results, consultations and conflict resolution.

The guidelines for preparing reports on plans and priorities, which will be published shortly, will contain similar reporting requirements.

The second improvement is to make it mandatory to establish realistic and appropriate service standards and to report on these standards, and to this end, to carry out consultations with stakeholders and discuss possible options, such as cutting the fees applicable in case of non-fulfillment of commitments.

The third improvement is aimed at increasing active monitoring to ensure compliance with the policy and consistency in its application throughout the government.

Finally, the fourth improvement gives stakeholders an advisory role in the departmental decision-making process regarding dispute management.

The policy is more balanced. Bill C-212 seems to deal only with issues that are known to touch a limited number of regulatory programs.

The provisions of Bill C-212 reduce flexibility and increase the costs and the workload associated with all programs involving external charging. For example, all departments could eventually be required to have an independent dispute management process, when the policy review shows that most departments settle disputes to the satisfaction of stakeholders.

The policy is more effective. It provides clear directions with regard to all aspects of its implementation.

In conclusion, with all due respect to the member for Etobicoke North, I am asking the House to vote with the government against Bill C-212.

Millennium Scholarships June 13th, 2003

Mr. Speaker, recently, the Millennium Scholarship Foundation selected 120 young Quebeckers to receive Excellence Awards.

I proudly bring to the House's attention that one of these prestigious awards went to Emmanuelle Denault-Lombart, a student from the riding of Saint-Lambert.

Receiving an award like this is a unique moment in a student's life. It is an excellent way to encourage and reward the academic accomplishments of our young people, the adults of tomorrow.

Again, bravo, Emmanuelle. Canada is rich in resources, including its young generation, of whom you are an outstanding member.

Nature-Action Québec June 9th, 2003

Mr. Speaker, today I wish to pay tribute to Nature-Action Québec, an organization located in the riding of Saint-Bruno—Saint-Hubert involved in improving the quality of life of its people and those living in neighbouring communities.

The mission of Nature-Action Québec is to act as a concrete influence on society by promoting new ways of doing things that are more harmonious with a healthy and sustainable environment, both now and in the future.

Recently, the Government of Canada awarded the organization $149,877 to finish the shoring up of the banks of the Lamarre ditch, thus preventing flooding caused by poor irrigation practices on Chambly farmland, as well as to construct a noise barrier in a park.

Initiatives such as these have a positive impact on the environment. That is why my colleagues join with me in congratulating the Nature-Action Québec team and encouraging them to keep up the good work.

Petitions June 6th, 2003

Mr. Speaker, the second petition, again from the riding of Notre-Dame-de-Grâce—Lachine, calls upon the government to declare that Canada objects to the United States national missile defence program and that Canada should play a leadership role in banning nuclear weapons and missile flight tests.

Petitions June 6th, 2003

Mr. Speaker, pursuant to Standing Order 36 I have the pleasure of introducing two petitions from the riding of Notre-Dame-de-Grâce—Lachine.

The first petition, which contains about 50 names, calls upon Parliament to freeze the budget of the Department of National Defence pending the public review of military spending priorities and public hearings on the role of the Canadian armed forces.

Foreign Affairs June 3rd, 2003

Mr. Speaker, my question is for the Parliamentary Secretary to the Minister of Foreign Affairs.

On February 23, 2002, Ingrid Bétancourt and Clara Rojas were kidnapped by the Revolutionary Armed Forces of Colombia. As is the case with several other hostages, they are still being detained and the President of Colombia refuses to enter into negotiations with the revolutionary forces.

Does the minister intend to play an active role and call on the Colombian government to start negotiating as soon as possible with FARC for the release of the hostages?

Supply May 27th, 2003

Mr. Chair, thank you for these few minutes. As I was saying when I was interrupted two hours ago, I want to quote from a paper on the cost of crime in Canada; the document was prepared last year by the Research and Statistics Division of the Department of Justice.

It is quite an interesting paper, because it outlines the context in which the government is investing in the fight against crime.

For example, it tells us that crime costs Canadians approximately $59 billion a year. That includes the actual expenditures of the federal, provincial and territorial governments, a total of $12 billion, and the cost of our security and insurance systems, which comes to $7.5 billion. However, the main component of those costs, $39 billion, goes to victims and pays for health services, compensation for damaged property and loss of production.

Aside from the financial burden, which is heavy enough by itself, there is the terrible loss of life. When we try to evaluate the cost of crime, we must take into account the devastating effects of crime on individuals, communities and society as a whole in Canada.

Crime and the fear of crime deprive us of our liberty, diminish our quality of life and undermine our communities' morale. That is why the government will continue to improve the security of the streets and homes in Canada.

Even though it is reassuring to know that our country is safer than it was 10 years ago, we are still determined to reduce crime. During his speech earlier tonight, the minister talked about the National Crime Prevention Strategy and the efforts that are being made to involve Canadians in the fight against crime and to favour, in terms of crime prevention, the adoption of an approach based on cooperation.

I can only support such an objective, and I would like to seize the opportunity to elaborate on the subject. The national strategy was launched nearly five years ago to help communities fight the root causes and the risk factors of crime and victimization.

Clearly, the traditional methods used to fight crime such as arrests, prosecutions, the incarceration of offenders, are useful. However, in order to prevent crime effectively, we need to fight the causes of crime as vigorously as we react to criminal acts. If we do that, we will be able, as the government has done, to establish a balanced public security program.

This means that no effort must be spared on the front lines. The goal is to improve the quality of life of individuals, families and communities and to promote positive attitudes or behaviour for individuals within their communities by influencing family life, life in general, education, employment, housing and recreation.

Communities share, perhaps, a number of challenges related to public security, but each has its own unique problems and must find the solutions best suited to its needs. One size does not fit all.

There is no miracle cure. Crime prevention through social development in its current form is a long-term tried but true process.

The national strategy is based on the principle that the surest way to reduce crime is to focus on the factors that put individuals at risk: factors like family violence, drug abuse and poverty.

No community in Canada is unaffected by these problems, which threaten us all, particularly youth. By targeting the risk factors for crime and victimization, and by cooperating with local communities, the national strategy helps Canadians develop effective solutions to specific problems.

With this in mind, communities were invited to develop solutions for the problems they face, and they responded to this invitation. Since its launch in 1998, the national strategy has supported over 3,200 projects in some 780 communities, of all shapes and sizes, across Canada, that are dealing with problems related to crime and victimization.

The purpose of the national strategy, through such programs, is to support these communities by establishing effective and innovative crime-prevention initiatives. The government is also committed, with regard to assessment and research of the strategy, to determine and demonstrate the effectiveness, cost-effectiveness and the viability of the overall initiative, as well as the projects it supports. The results of this work clearly show that the national strategy is reaching its objectives.

When the resources for the second phase of the national strategy were approved in 1998, a mid-term evaluation was requested. This evaluation was carried out in 2001 and a global evaluation was completed in November 2002. Beside these evaluations and the ones that were initiated after the expansion of the initiative two years ago, a number of studies were carried out in order to examine certain aspects of the national strategy.

I do not have enough time to give all the details of these studies, but I would like to mention some of the conclusions.

A study on the impact of these projects revealed that more than half—63 % to be precise—of the financed projects selected for the study had been maintained beyond the period financing had been provided under the national strategy. The high level of viability of the projects was attributed to the success of the community initiatives, the vitality of the partnerships created for the initial implementation of the project and the ability of the organizations to obtain permanent support from new sources.

The viability issue is of paramount importance. The purpose of the national strategy is still to initiate effective practices that will keep growing within society and in future.

For example, I would like to talk about the Healthy Families project—or Familles saines—that was initiated in Charlottetown, Prince Edward Island. Last November, with the help of the national strategy, the government of that province announced that it was implementing the program and that it would expand the selection, the evaluation and the family support for all the young parents of the province.

More recently, that is, last week, the Ontario government announced a $1.2 million investment to expand an online information service for battered women and their children.

In London, Ontario, an initiative known as Shelternet started up last year thanks primarily to the efforts of the national strategy and to a $50,000 grant.

In Quebec, a diagnostic tool for the analysis of resistance and risk factors in the educational setting, which had been initially supported by the national strategy, has also been supported by the Quebec government.

These success stories say much about the quality of these projects. They are also eloquent testimony to the merit of the partnerships on which they were built.

Since the activities of the national strategy are based in part on partnerships, and in an effort to better understand the roles and contributions of partnerships in the funding of the strategy, a study on this important issue was done in the spring of 2002.

Among other findings, the study showed that partnerships in the national strategy were firmly committed to help both public and private partners to reduce crime and victimization.

This means that the national strategy has been quite successful in building partnerships with organizations that previously felt that crime prevention was not part of their mandate or their activities.

The national strategy has been very successful in promoting crime prevention through social development. In fact, given its widespread adoption in communities across Canada, the distinctions between traditional and non-traditional partners are disappearing.

Finally, in insisting on the notion that partnerships be a key element of funding that is offered through the national strategy, almost all project sponsors have agreed to continue seeking out these types of partnerships in the future. And these are not empty promises.

As part of a study of projects from 1998-2000, the national crime prevention centre determined that for every dollar invested in a project, the strategy mobilized between $1.50 and $2.40 in funding from partners.

These conclusions were strengthened by the preliminary results from the general assessment over the last four years of the second stage of the national strategy. The results indicate that there is a growing interest in communities across Canada in reducing crime by dealing with the underlying causes. In reality, the projects allow for goals to be attained, for targets set by the national strategy to be supported, for innovative approaches to be developed, and for tools and resources to be produced and, as we mentioned, for community efforts to be sustained.

Generally speaking, the conclusions reveal that the national strategy is working as a pan-Canadian initiative. Beyond our borders, the Canadian model of crime prevention is being held up as an example. Canada is considered a leader in the international community for having managed to take a balanced approach to crime reduction.

Everything seems to indicate that the government has succeeded in promoting a proactive and long-term approach to crime prevention through social development. Knowing that this approach is progressive, which we suppose goes without saying, in the context of efforts being made to eliminate the individual social and economic factors that lead some people to commit crimes and others to be victimized by crime, how do these results really describe what is happening in our communities?

What is happening at the local level and what are the various projects achieving?

Right here, in Ottawa, the review of a community-based life skills program for children 6 to 12 years old who are living in social housing for the very needy showed that the number of calls to the police and the number of charges laid by the police has dropped by 50%. The program has also helped to improve the social behaviour of the participants and to increase their overall school success rate.

In the Northwest Territories, a cultural learning project outside the community which helps young aboriginals 6 to 12 years old to learn social skills is already yielding great results; the attendance rate has increased, the number of cases opened by the RCMP has decreased, and the relationship between RCMP officers and young aboriginals has improved.

These projects were developed to try and solve local problems, but, after reviewing them, the national strategy will try to duplicate them to guide the efforts being made in other communities throughout Canada facing the same issues. The blunt fact is that no community is totally immune from the problems these projects are trying to address.

Look at the problem with intimidation and violence in schools. I find it hard to accept that many places in Canada have not given this issue serious consideration. Whether they are students, parents or teachers, Canadians are worried about the violence and fights in classrooms and schoolyards.

In Whitby, Ontario, the national strategy supported the Durham District School Board in its “Together We Light the Way“ project. This local school intervention project was designed to help children, teachers and parents to respect their peers, their role-models and more importantly, to respect themselves. The project was launched as a pilot project in 1998 and its success has been remarkable. In one school, the number of fights decreased by more than 40%. In another institution, the project worked so well that not one case of intimidation was reported for several months in a row.

Even the students recognized the success of the program. They openly talked about controlling their emotions, increased security in the hallways and schoolyards, about learning respect for others and the importance of succeeding at school.

Of the hundred or so projects funded by the national strategy to deal with intimidation, this one will be used in schools in Nova Scotia and Manitoba.

Intimidation, which is a precursor to delinquency, should no longer be considered a normal phase of growth. The national strategy helps communities and schools together with students, parents, teachers and others, to focus on community initiatives to combat intimidation.

We are delighted with and encouraged by the results so far.

I have many more examples, but I see that my time has run out. I would like to conclude by saying that all this was made possible by the help from the National Crime Prevention Strategy.

Supply May 27th, 2003

Mr. Chair, before I address the House, could you tell me how much time I have left?

Supply May 27th, 2003

Mr. Chair, I am against the motion brought forward by the member opposite, because it would jeopardize one of the programs proposed by the Department of Justice, namely the National Crime Prevention Strategy, a very significant initiative for the people of Canada.

To preface my remarks, I would like to quote a document which was prepared last year by the Research and Statistics Division of the Department of Justice. It is quite an interesting paper because it puts in context the—

National Volunteer Week May 1st, 2003

Mr. Speaker, this week across the country we are celebrating National Volunteer Week.

On this day, I wish to express my appreciation and respect for these men and women who are only happy when others are.

Volunteers have had a major impact on almost all aspects of Canadian society. Quietly, they have helped shape our country and they will continue playing a major role in providing direction for the future. Their dedication and commitment are a real testimony to Canadian values and identity.

I take this opportunity to pay tribute to all the volunteers in my riding of Saint-Lambert, who give their time and talents in the service of others. These individuals make an invaluable contribution to strengthening the communities in my riding.