Crucial Fact

  • Her favourite word was quebec.

Last in Parliament October 2000, as Bloc MP for Louis-Hébert (Québec)

Lost her last election, in 2000, with 37% of the vote.

Statements in the House

Canadian Institutes Of Health Research Act February 24th, 2000

Mr. Speaker, I am pleased to rise in the House to speak to Bill C-13 at report stage. We are dealing with the first group of amendments.

This bill is aimed at officially creating Canadian institutes of health research to organize, co-ordinate and fund health research at the federal level. These institutes will replace the Medical Research Council and will receive additional funding totalling $65 million for the 1999 fiscal year and about $500 million until 2002.

What will the institutes of health research do? They will promote new ways of conducting research on biomedical themes and also on issues more directly related to social sciences, which is something totally new.

Moreover, these institutes will be virtual, since they will allow researchers in universities, hospitals and other research centres in Canada, as well as university students, to communicate with each other and to share information electronically.

The institutes will have various themes on which they will be able to focus their research, including ageing, arthritis, musculoskeletal development, cancer, molecular biology—a new area of research—the health of children and their mothers and the relationship between the two, clinical assessments, technology assessments, heart disease, and many more. They should also look at new genetic and reproductive technologies. These themes will be studied from a social perspective.

The mandate of these institutes also includes other interesting and innovative elements. Ethical issues are to be taken into consideration.

I am always surprised when this issue is raised, because the feeling is that, in the scientific community, ethics are at the forefront. It seems however that, with the new developments in science, this issue will become more pressing.

Emphasis will also be placed on the need for integrated health research with the co-operation of several groups: various organizations, women's groups and governments currently involved in research. This will be an important element in the future. The approach is clearly multidisciplinary.

Moreover, the institutes will not be dedicated, which will allow them to be more flexible and to alter their priorities to adapt quickly to the changing nature of society and the fast-paced developments in the research field. This is in response to the OECD, which has been urging Canada since 1993 to increase its investment in R and D.

It is expected that the health research institutes governing council might start its activities as early as April 2000, in keeping with the wishes of the government and the scientists who are insisting on this timeline.

The Bloc Quebecois, whose support for increased R and D funding is unwavering, salutes the efforts of the scientists who were involved in the drafting of the bill to ensure they would have access to innovative tools to improve the dissemination of health information and facilitate the development of cutting edge technologies in this area.

However—and this is significant—in its present form, Bill C-13 might encroach on provincial jurisdiction over health. The Bloc Quebecois cannot support the bill as it is currently worded. The problem is not the creation of the institutes per se. R and D falls under residual powers and, as such, is theoretically subject to federal jurisdiction. The problem comes from the possibility of direct encroachment on provincial jurisdiction in the area of public health care, without any prior earnest consultation with the provinces.

This is why the Bloc Quebecois is proposing a series of amendments mainly designed to highlight the importance of respecting and sharing jurisdictions, and to reaffirm the primacy of provincial jurisdiction in the area of health.

In addition, the Bloc Quebecois supports increased investment in health research, and it is vital Quebec receive its fair share of federal research and development funds, especially since, historically, Quebec has received only 14% of federal spending on research and development on infrastructures.

It is particularly noteworthy, however, that we receive about 30% of funding for researchers awarded on the basis of an evaluation by their peers, because this funding is awarded on the basis of merit. This means, therefore, that our researchers are productive in Quebec and excel in such fields as mental health, cancer research, genome research and biotechnology.

Although the multidisciplinary vision of Bill C-13 is commendable, it is unacceptable that the provinces were not given a major role. Respect for Quebec's jurisdisction should be at the heart of any intervention in the field of health. This is why we must oppose the bill, if our amendments are defeated.

The government is doing a good thing by investing more money in research now, but there is no need to lose sight of the need to reinstate the transfer payments to the provinces. In fiscal year 1999-2000, the shortfall in social transfers to Quebec is estimated to be nearly $1.7 billion. Of this amount, Quebec is denied nearly $850 million annually in the area of health.

We supported the principle of Bill C-13, we support the flexible and multidisciplinary structure, the increased funding to research and development, which could make researchers feel more secure and slow down the brain drain. However, our basic conditions are that the government re-establish transfer payments and respect provincial jurisdictions.

Given the events we have witnessed of late, Bill C-20, which denies Quebecers' basic rights, and the number of gag orders we face with the clarity bill and the concerns we have about the democratic process with regard to this bill, I move:

That the House do now adjourn.

Points Of Order February 24th, 2000

Madam Speaker, following the introduction by the Minister of Intergovernmental Affairs of a bill denying Quebecers their fundamental rights, I ask for the unanimous consent of the House to table a document published in the February 17 issue of Le Devoir , which says “Appearing before the committee studying the federal bill—”

Point Of Order February 23rd, 2000

Mr. Speaker, following the introduction by the Minister of Intergovernmental Affairs of a bill denying Quebecers their fundamental rights, I ask for the unanimous consent of the House to table a document which will enlighten it.

It is an article published in La Presse canadienne , on February 21, 2000, entitled “Ottawa Wants to Neutralize Quebec on the International Scene”, and I quote:

Anthropologist Claude Bariteau, of Laval University, joined a group of intellectuals and unionists brought together by the Société nationale des Québécois to protest against Bill C-20. According to him, this bill limits Quebecers in their freedom of choice about their future by subjecting them to the approval of the House of Commons.

Among other people supporting the initiative of the SNQ, there are Louis Balthazar, Henri Brun, Louis O'Neill as well as Nathalie Leclerc, the daughter of the late Félix Leclerc, the author, composer and interpreter Jacques Michel, unionists Robert Caron and Ann Gingras and a representative of Action Chômage, Jeanne Lalanne.

I would like to continue. It is very interesting. May I go on?

Bill C-20 February 22nd, 2000

Mr. Speaker, the heavy-handed and ill-advised Bill C-20 perpetuates the confrontation between Ottawa and Quebec City and establishes a veritable trusteeship for Quebec. It was in such clear terms that Claude Ryan, the former leader of the Liberal Party in Quebec, former head of the No camp during the 1980 referendum and avowed federalist, commented on Bill C-20 yesterday.

Mr. Ryan added furthermore that, by wanting to make parliament the arbiter of clarity in the referendum question and result, contrary to the prerogatives of the National Assembly, the Liberal government was contravening the very principles of democracy. The decision must be made by the National Assembly, and, once made, it must be implemented without interference.

This call joins the long list of democrats demanding the withdrawal of Bill C-20.

Like Mr. Ryan, we repeat the message to the government: Have faith in Quebec democracy.

Committees Of The House February 22nd, 2000

Mr. Speaker, there is one management problem among those enumerated that has been glossed over. I am thinking of the action taken to ensure the best possible health conditions for our soldiers when they are on peacekeeping missions.

We have seen soldiers return from missions in ill health; there are problems determining exactly what they are suffering from. What I am talking about this morning is not Viagra. I am talking about real illnesses that our soldiers are suffering from when they return home.

Point Of Order February 22nd, 2000

Mr. Speaker, since the Minister of Intergovernmental Affairs has introduced a bill denying Quebecers their fundamental rights, I ask the unanimous consent of the House to table a document that will enlighten it.

It is a short history of monetary unions between independent states; it deals with states where monetary union failed and others where it succeeded. There are very good examples, such as Belgium, Luxembourg, Switzerland, France, Italy, the United States, Panama and Liberia. I believe this document could enlighten the House.

Human Resources Development February 18th, 2000

Mr. Speaker, yesterday the Standing Committee on Human Resources Development and the Status of Persons with Disabilities made short work of the Prime Minister's simplistic line about the financial problem at Human Resources Development Canada being limited to $250.

Why then did the Liberal majority not go along with the opposition parties' suggestions to call as witnesses Mel Cappe, the Clerk of the Privy Council; the President of the Treasury Board; Denis Desautels, the Auditor General of Canada; John Reid, the Commissioner of Access to Information; and Mr. Martin, the Director of Internal Audit at Human Resources Development Canada?

Members of the committee were unanimous that there should be an in-depth investigation into all grant programs at Human Resources Development Canada. Quite a comedown for the Prime Minister, who is irresponsibly suggesting that the crisis involves nothing more than a few small amounts.

It is a shame that the Liberal majority refused to follow through on its logic and rejected the Bloc Quebecois proposal to call the Minister for International Trade and the Prime Minister as witnesses. The biggest culprits are being allowed to wash their hands of the scandal for which they are responsible.

Petitions February 17th, 2000

Mr. Speaker, I am pleased to rise, pursuant to Standing Order 36, to present a petition signed by 1,581 constituents from my riding.

The petitioners call on Parliament to move quickly in order to pass legislation making mandatory the labelling of all foods that are wholly or partially genetically modified.

This is one more in a series of similar petitions signed by thousands in my riding and in the ridings of a number of other members who have presented similar petitions in the House.

Labelling Of Transgenic Foods February 16th, 2000

Mr. Speaker, on January 29, a protocol on biosafety was adopted in Montreal.

Despite the efforts of Canada and its buddies in the Miami group to limit the scope of this protocol, it now allows a country to ban importation of a genetically modified product if it feels there is not sufficient scientific proof of its safety. It also sets rules for shipping, requiring cargoes containing GMOs to be identified. The protocol left the issue of labelling of transgenic foods unresolved, however.

The Canadian government cannot continue to do nothing on this issue until the protocol is ratified and implemented. It must respect the rights and wishes of consumers to know what they are eating and to choose accordingly, by moving quickly to require the labelling of all foods containing genetically modified organisms.

Points Of Order February 15th, 2000

Madam Speaker, following the introduction by the Minister of Intergovernmental Affairs of a bill that denies the fundamental rights of Quebecers, I ask for the unanimous consent of the House to table a document that will enlighten it.

It is a document entitled “Quebec Today”. On the front page is a picture of the beautiful city of—