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Crucial Fact

  • Her favourite word was elections.

Last in Parliament October 2015, as NDP MP for Louis-Saint-Laurent (Québec)

Won her last election, in 2011, with 40% of the vote.

Statements in the House

Canada Post April 24th, 2015

Mr. Speaker, the government keeps repeating that Canada Post is an organization that makes its own decisions and that the government has nothing to do with it, but that is false. The government has a responsibility to listen to Canadians.

Canada Post based its decision on an erroneous report. More than 500 municipalities are asking it to start over. Seniors, people with reduced mobility and SMEs are losing access to essential services.

When will the minister assume her responsibilities and stop this plan that makes no sense?

Tougher Penalties for Child Predators Act March 27th, 2015

Mr. Speaker, I would like to thank our colleague for her speech. I find it very touching that she shared her own experiences from her previous career with us. I think that she has clearly understood the importance of protecting the people who have been victimized by such terrible crimes.

I would like to know whether she agrees with the basic principle. We wholeheartedly agree with tougher sentences for such horrific crimes. However, when it comes right down to it, there is a victim for every crime, and I believe that we can do more to prevent these children from being victimized by such horrific crimes.

Would it be possible to commit to doing more in terms of prevention and work harder to ensure that these crimes are not committed in the first place? I want to thank my colleague again.

Tougher Penalties for Child Predators Act March 25th, 2015

Mr. Speaker, I want to sincerely thank my colleague from Vaudreuil-Soulanges for his speech.

I think it is important to commend the courage it took to deliver such a speech. Everyone agrees that in our society, people who sexually abuse children are among the most ostracized, and everyone also agrees that these offences are the ones we try the hardest to combat, and rightly so. However, there was one really important point in his speech that he repeated several times. Yes, of course, we must put those people in prison and the penalties must be very stiff; we do need to send a clear message. At the same time, however, every time we send someone to prison, that means a child was abused somewhere. If there is something we can do to prevent it from happening in the first place, instead of patting ourselves on the back for sending someone to prison, then that is really important.

I wonder if the member could come back to that for the few seconds he has left.

Conservative Party of Canada March 13th, 2015

Mr. Speaker, debating ideas and bills is a healthy activity in any democracy, even if the different parties do not necessarily share the same opinions. However, ethics should generally be something that everyone agrees on. We owe that to Canadians.

The Conservatives would not stop talking about an ethics overhaul before they came to power, but their ethics record this week has been terrible. We have lost count of how many people from the Prime Minister's Office will have to testify at the Duffy trial. The former public works minister was found guilty of patronage and conflict of interest. We learned that Nigel Wright and the Conservatives are punishing the people of Maniwaki because they turfed out Lawrence Cannon in the last election. Furthermore, this week we learned that the RCMP is trying to get more information on 150 fraudulent invoices submitted by Conservative Senator Pamela Wallin.

It is no wonder that Canadians cannot wait to get rid of this government in the upcoming election. This fall, they will have the option of voting for an honest, progressive government that will look after everyone, not just its own friends.

Pipeline Safety Act March 9th, 2015

Mr. Speaker, I thank my colleague from Beauport—Limoilou for his comments.

There is something that our government often forgets: as legislators, we are responsible for passing bills that are not simply drawn up to get rid of problems that might occur. As members of Parliament, we are responsible for protecting the public and protecting our society as best we can with the tools we have.

At present, problems with oil transportation have absolutely disastrous consequences. Should that prevent us from moving oil at all? Of course not. That is not realistic in our current society. However, as members of the House, can we pass the best bills possible to ensure the utmost safety when oil is transported? I believe that is our responsibility and that is really what we must do.

Pipeline Safety Act March 9th, 2015

Mr. Speaker, I must admit that I did not fully understand my colleague's question.

Clearly, however, science should be at the core of any initiatives like this one. I do believe it is possible to have safe pipelines. I do not think that is what we are talking about here. One thing I do not believe is that this government will bring in any regulations that really make sense, or that it will listen to the scientists who are telling us that measures must be put in place to ensure that our pipelines are as safe as possible.

I sincerely believe that if the Conservatives are faced with the fact that the company has to pay more, and the company tries to convince them that, in the end, safety measures are not all that important, they will not necessarily pay much attention to the scientific opinion at that point.

I completely agree that we need to listen to scientists who can explain the safest ways to build pipelines and move oil. That seems obvious to me.

Pipeline Safety Act March 9th, 2015

Mr. Speaker, I am very pleased to be able to debate Bill C-46 today.

I am delighted because for once, this is a bill that has some good elements. Also, we cannot deny that oil transportation is a major issue and among those that most concern the public. People are worried and they have reason to be.

The figures given here speak for themselves and reiterate what I have heard before in many conversations. The public’s confidence in the methods of oil transportation is very low: 71% of people believe that rail transport is dangerous. After what happened again in Gogoma on the weekend, that opinion may become more entrenched.

In addition, 63% of Canadians believe that shipping oil by sea is too risky. Quebeckers are terrified at the idea that a tanker might capsize in the St. Lawrence. An incident like that would cause widespread and irreparable harm to Quebec, since the river is such a unique and fragile environment, and of such crucial importance to us all. Pipelines are seen by the public as the least dangerous method, with 47% support.

Overall, nobody is really happy. People fear the worst. They are right to be worried, if we consider that the consequences of an accident are catastrophic and irreversible. The number of barrels of oil per day that travel by pipeline is enormous. When we talk about huge figures like billions of barrels a day, it is to be expected that the idea of a spill would immediately take on incomprehensible and terrifying dimensions.

Canada is first and foremost a country with natural resources that can be exploited. This has always been the source of our well-being and our affluence. The diversity of our common resources positions Canada and its provinces on a number of economic fronts at the same time. It is also the source of our tremendous technical knowledge, built over decades in response to the needs associated with resource development, for which we are internationally renowned.

In short, we are blessed with incredible good fortune, and that fortune belongs to all Canadians. This is our real national treasure. However, while it is certainly a blessing, that treasure sometimes looks like a curse. Tragic events have happened in the past. The risks of inadequate regulation of the oil shipment methods are clear. The Lac Mégantic disaster is so serious and so clearly connected with the federal government’s complacency that I am surprised at how lax the legislative initiatives are.

In fact, the public has little faith in the government when it comes to its ability or desire to regulate the energy sector. If not the government, who should do it? The industry itself? Of course not. What we are seeing is a very serious legitimacy deficit. Canadians do not believe that the Government of Canada is going to protect them, or wants to protect them. That hurts.

I believe the people of Canada are entitled to expect that members of Parliament will make not just good decisions about pipelines, but the best possible decisions. All of us here have a duty to think about public safety, the sustainability of resource development and the resilience of the environment. Development of our natural resources that is responsible and scientific, the Conservatives’ favourite adjective, is what will guarantee our survival as an affluent society. Of course, we have to assume that everyone here wants our society to survive and does not imagine that the world is going to end next week with the second coming of the Saviour. That remains to be seen, however.

I am well aware that we must not expect too much. The government has now taken a step toward a polluter pays scheme, which is encouraging. Holding the industry accountable is essential. It comes a quarter-century late and it was not very difficult to put forward, but we will take what we can get.

Bill C-46 introduces absolute liability for all pipelines overseen by the National Energy Board. This is a good initiative and it is the reason behind our support. Absolute liability in the case of fault or negligence means that the operator will have unlimited liability.

In the case of any other incident, the operator is liable up to a maximum of $1 billion. By taking that approach, the government is clearly thinking only of physical damage and the repair costs that may be incurred. This initiative seems to be valid, but there are two points in Bill C-46 that are still vague. It is important that the public know that they might easily have to make a financial contribution in the event of a disaster.

First, if the case could not be made for negligence or fault, the government might have to absorb the costs. In addition, if the costs incurred exceed $1 billion, we will have to pay anything above that amount. In some cases, the bill adds up very quickly and can easily exceed that limit. As several of my colleagues have done already, I would also like to refer to the accident caused by Enbridge in Kalamazoo, Michigan, which has cost nearly $1.2 billion.

Second, as we suspected, environmental damage is not really part of the calculation.

In the end, the potential irreparable damage to the very fabric of our country, which is priceless, will not be worth it.

What the government is counting on can be easily explained: considering Canada's size, the government hopes that accidents will happen in the middle of nowhere, where environmental oversight has already been eliminated by budget cuts, and that the public will quickly forget contamination of the hinterland. Out of sight, out of mind.

Although this may be an ideological government, it certainly is not a sentimental one. Bill C-46 strengthens some of the powers of the National Energy Board to ensure that the transport of oil by pipeline meets certain standards and that the public is protected. However, the operator will still have a say and the bill leaves room for backroom arrangements. Ultimately, cabinet will decide whether there should be sanctions.

If the operator does not comply with the NEB orders, the board will not have the powers needed to take action, unless it is dealing with an abandoned pipeline. We will all agree that an empty pipeline is rather safe.

I would like to reassure those who thought that the Conservatives had suddenly discovered the merits of environmentalism. Bill C-46 is all about the economy. Accidents are expensive and it is unfair for the public to pay for the negligence of corporations. Naturally, we agree.

Because the “teeth” that Bill C-46 gives the National Energy Board are merely molars, if the government does not see fit to crack down on an operator, the only thing the board can do is chew on its reprimands.

The government began reviewing its liability regimes for oil and natural gas development last year. Bill C-46 is a first step that we find acceptable even though we would like the regulation to go much further. We want to protect the environment because we believe that the ecosystem is non-negotiable. Other countries do this and are more prosperous than we are.

The government refused to consider it and brought forward legislation that might not even serve the purpose if evidence of fault is lacking or if the government decides to act in favour of the operator.

Is it any surprise that public confidence is so low under the circumstances?

In addition, as we might have expected, this bill did not involve in-depth consultation with the members of Confederation or first nations. This is yet another example of the omniscience we see so regularly in the Langevin Block.

I am fascinated by the Prime Minister's telescopic vision, his effortless ability to see and understand everything across the country. That sense of direction is amazing—superhuman, even. The only thing the Prime Minister needs to complete his image is a central Asian republic.

At the end of the day, what people want is strict, guaranteed regulations. People want pipelines to be extra safe—no loopholes, no risky measures—as well as responsible, environmentally sound and sustainable management.

What Canadians want is for us to act like adults, not teenagers.

I can therefore guarantee that the best environment minister Quebec has ever had will not accept any “ifs” and “maybes” when he considers approving pipelines once he becomes prime minister of Canada.

Missing and Murdered Aboriginal Women February 25th, 2015

Mr. Speaker, a round table on the Canada-wide tragedy of murdered and missing aboriginal women will be held this Friday in Ottawa. The Prime Minister has no intention of attending.

Some 1,200 Canadian women are missing; Canada has forsaken even the memory of these young, magnificent women who have gone missing or been murdered. The victims' families have the right to expect that the federal government protect all citizens equally.

Canadians have a right to know what sort of evil is lurking in the night. We need to understand who is committing these horrors, why and how.

There is a glaring inconsistency here. The Conservative government keeps going on about protecting victims, but it seems that aboriginal women do not count.

I wish to ask forgiveness from all my aboriginal sisters, forgiveness for the government that has abandoned them and that, by inaction, is complicit with these crimes.

As a woman, I urge the Prime Minister to act like a national leader and protect all women in Canada.

Citizen Voting Act February 3rd, 2015

Mr. Speaker, I listened carefully to the speech by my colleague, who is also my neighbour, near Quebec City, Quebec. I would like to ask him a question.

I have been working on the issue of democratic reform for a long time. He mentioned how many changes his government has proposed to the Canada Elections Act to date. We know that the main changes were in Bill C-23, which was introduced last year and amended a number of things. With a lot of pressure from the official opposition, from our party, the Conservatives ultimately backed down on several fairly major points in Bill C-23, in particular vouching.

In the case of this bill as well, I would like to know whether he would be open to changing some elements of the bill to make it as effective as possible, in particular to improve access to the vote for Canadians living outside Canada, rather than restricting it as is being done here. Voting is being made more difficult for all Canadians, not just for those who have been outside Canada for more than five years. Could we find ways of facilitating it as much as possible, rather than making it more difficult?

Business of Supply January 27th, 2015

Mr. Speaker, I wish to thank my colleague for her speech and congratulate her on the first part, which she presented entirely in French. That is very impressive and I want to thank her.

Given that she referred to income splitting, I would like to ask her a question about the status of women in relation to that measure. The member said that this measure would not benefit couples that have similar incomes, but rather it would be most beneficial to couples with a wide gap in their earnings. Of course, it is often the man who earns most of the income, while the woman either does not work or earns a much lower salary.

Would my colleague not agree that such a measure would undermine the status of women and hinder the advancement of women in the workplace?