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Crucial Fact

  • Her favourite word was conservatives.

Last in Parliament October 2015, as NDP MP for Charlesbourg—Haute-Saint-Charles (Québec)

Lost her last election, in 2015, with 20% of the vote.

Statements in the House

Petitions June 17th, 2015

Mr. Speaker, we collected thousands of signatures. The petitioners are opposed to the elimination of home delivery and the increase in fees. In particular, seniors, people with reduced mobility and small businesses are calling for this service to be restored as an essential public service.

Initiatives of the People of Charlesbourg—Haute-Saint-Charles June 16th, 2015

Mr. Speaker, last November, I had the honour of meeting with students from my riding who travelled to Ottawa. They were attending an important national event to fight the stigma of mental illness.

Last month, these students invited me to attend the first Quebec school summit on mental health and stigmatization. With the theme “head held high”, the mission of Saint-Jean Eudes school was to help young people break down the stigma associated with mental illness, raise awareness among young people and teach them how to respond appropriately in their personal and professional lives.

Last weekend I also had the opportunity to participate in an event put on by AQEPA, the Association du Québec pour enfants avec problèmes auditifs, which works to ensure that all children with hearing problems can achieve their full potential and are not subject to rejection or harassment, and that the parents have support for their children's education.

We can be proud of the initiatives of the people of Charlesbourg—Haute-Saint-Charles who, day after day, are committed to making this a better world.

Economic Action Plan 2015 Act, No. 1 June 15th, 2015

Mr. Speaker, our leader has promised not to raise taxes when we are in power. That is already good news.

With regard to accessibility, when I consider banking fees, the middle class is being overcharged and overtaxed for all sorts of things. The government wants to “lower taxes", but it was the government that raised the price of a package of cigarettes by 50¢. It was the government that increased the excise taxes charged at the border. The Conservatives may have lowered taxes, but they also increased general fees, such as the fees on cigarettes. Who are the biggest smokers in our society? If we still had the long form census, which provides real data, Statistics Canada would likely tell us that women and the poorest members of our society are the ones who smoke the most. Once again, the Conservatives are attacking the poorest members of our society in a roundabout way and they are increasing overall costs. That means that their much-touted tax cuts are nothing but a major contradiction, since I cannot use the word “lie”.

Economic Action Plan 2015 Act, No. 1 June 15th, 2015

Mr. Speaker, I must congratulate the member, who represents a stronghold in her region and is very much liked by her constituents.

First, I must thank the public servants because they do an excellent job. The Conservative government has cut more than 19,000 jobs, which has led to backlogs. It is essentially a logjam. The files pile up, a logjam forms, and staff have to try to provide more services with fewer people in a shorter period of time.

The problem we are seeing back home mostly has to do with access to Service Canada. It is not so much a problem with how files are processed, because the employees are professionals with unbelievable skills, and we have faith in them. The problem is with the speed and the longer wait times. Staff have been cut and the employees can no longer do the work as quickly as they could when there were twice as many of them.

Economic Action Plan 2015 Act, No. 1 June 15th, 2015

Mr. Speaker, I am very pleased that the member asked that question. I admire all of the work he does.

I could say that the government is shirking its responsibility with respect to what the crown corporation should receive. I will give the example of regional news. It does not make sense for people in Vancouver to hear news about the Champlain Bridge. It is of interest to me, as is the Quebec Bridge. However, it is important to stop making cuts so that relevant news is broadcast.

The CBC's mandate was to promote communities and let them have their own news service with which they could identify. In terms of culture, we know that the CBC was able to develop and strengthen Canadian culture across the country.

Economic Action Plan 2015 Act, No. 1 June 15th, 2015

Mr. Speaker, I will be sharing my time with the member for Scarborough Southwest.

Today, my speech is going to be very long. I already know that I will be cut short. I want to take the time to thank my constituents, the men and women who were active in my riding, who came to the office and to whom we provided services. I would also like to thank all the people who work in this place, from the pages to the maintenance workers who work through the night to all the food services people and you, Mr. Speaker, as well as the other two Speakers.

Today, I join my colleagues in speaking to the 2015 budget implementation bill. I have many concerns and questions about this bill that we are debating with just a few days left before the end of the parliamentary session. Recently, we have been going over the record of this past year, and I have been thinking about my record in my first term of office.

I want to digress for a moment and talk about how the government is using undemocratic processes to pass this bill. I got into politics because I care about our laws and our democratic process. I became a legislator in 2011 to serve the interests of the people of Charlesbourg—Haute-Saint-Charles. However, I have been on Parliament Hill for four years, and it has become clear that the party in power has no respect for this country's democratic processes.

For example, last week the Conservatives issued their 100th gag order since they took power, which is a Canadian record. This undermines the right of Canadians and their elected representatives to democratically debate important legislation.

In addition, we are now debating the seventh consecutive omnibus bill. As the election approaches, this government is trying to rush through hundreds of changes without subjecting them to studies or oversight. However, Canadians are not stupid. In other years this was done because as summer approached we reached the end of the sitting, but we get omnibus bills like this one every year.

The bill is 150 pages long and contains 270 provisions, many of which amend laws that have nothing to do with a budget. They give gifts to the government's friends and the wealthiest members of our society. When the bill was before committee, the government was unreasonable and ignored all of the opposition's amendments, including the very sensible amendments proposed by the NDP.

I would therefore like to say that I will be voting against Bill C-59 because of both its content and the undemocratic process that the Conservatives once again used to push this bill through Parliament. The people of Charlesbourg—Haute-Saint-Charles are fed up with this political manoeuvring. We can already tell that a desire for change is sweeping the country.

On a side note, I would like to tell a little story that I am sure my colleagues will find perplexing. It is a tradition in Canada for the finance minister to buy a new pair of shoes to wear when tabling the budget. This year, the minister chose to buy shoes that were made in the United States. That image calls to mind the thousands of jobs that have been lost in Canada's manufacturing sector. It is not surprising that the Canadian economy is in such bad shape when the Conservatives' symbol of job creation involves buying the product from another country instead of creating well-paid jobs in Canada.

Getting back to business, I would like to share with the House some of my concerns with this bill. I would like to talk about eight elements that the government has neglected but that matter very much to my constituents: the fact that the Conservatives have not done anything about excessive bank fees; the lack of consideration for the decline of French in minority communities outside Quebec; the dismemberment of CBC/Radio-Canada; the growing burden on families and women, particularly those without access to affordable daycare; the end of home mail delivery by Canada Post; the pillaging of employment insurance; poor statistics on employment in Canada; and the tax credit for labour-sponsored funds.

Coming back to the subject of bank fees, the government could have used budget 2015 as an opportunity to enhance protections for consumers and help families who are struggling with excessive bank fees. This is yet another missed opportunity. Canada currently has no regulations to limit bank fees. That is not right. The banks are raking in record profits, while Canadians are having a hard time making ends meet. There are numerous measures that could have been useful: guaranteeing free paper bills, capping credit card interest rates and putting an end to “pay-to-pay”, for example.

I encourage the Minister of Finance to carefully read my bill, Bill C-663, which proposes many positive measures for the pocketbooks of Canadians. For example, it proposes requiring banks to issue an annual report that shows all fees charged to customers, capping NSF fees, and giving customers a grace period before charging them for an NSF cheque. NSF fees give people bad credit ratings. The government has a duty to protect consumers through regulations and strong legislative measures.

When it comes to the Francophonie and the French language, I was extremely disappointed in this bill. In 2015 I became the official opposition Francophonie critic. I will take a moment to illustrate how disengaged this government is when it comes to its obligations under the Official Languages Act and the Canadian Constitution. The government does not seem to care that a number of francophone minority communities are at risk of losing more and more services provided in French by federal institutions. The Francophonie, linguistic duality and official languages are not even mentioned in the budget. How shameful.

We also see that there is nothing to protect the CBC, which is currently going through one of the biggest crises in its history. With the Conservatives making cuts to the tune of $115 million in three years, the effects are already being felt across Canada. There have been cuts to the length of the newscasts, the number of journalists abroad, sports coverage and documentaries. More important still is the death by a thousand cuts of the local productions that were extremely important to the francophone minority communities. The CBC's French service has been hard hit. Ten positions were cut in Acadia, 15 positions were cut in Ontario and 16 positions were cut in the western provinces.

The NDP is the only party that is promising to cancel the $115 million in cuts to our public broadcaster and give it stable, predictable, multi-year funding. We want to maintain the vitality and development of our francophone communities across the country.

With regard to the status of women, I am bringing my perspective to this debate as a mother and also as the former president of the Regroupement des groupes de femmes de la région de la Capitale-Nationale in Quebec City. I am disappointed that there are no measures in this bill to create new child care spaces. What happened to the child care spaces the Conservatives promised? They evaporated, much like the Conservatives' other promises. Many experts have said that the Conservatives' income splitting policy could encourage a disproportionate number of women to leave the workforce or not enter it at all. The NDP wants to promote employability, leadership and entrepreneurship among women, not return to the past.

I would like to close by saying that I condemn the government's tactic of dipping into the employment insurance fund to balance the budget. It does not make any sense that fewer and fewer people who contribute to the employment insurance fund are able to access it when they need it most. The NDP will immediately do away with the federal government's plan to raise the retirement age to 67. When it forms the next government, the NDP will reintroduce the tax credit for labour-sponsored funds, which was eliminated by this Conservative government.

Petitions June 11th, 2015

Mr. Speaker, I have the honour to rise today to present a petition on behalf of my constituents, who are calling on the government to respect the rights of small family farmers to store, trade and use seeds. They are calling on the government to adopt international aid policies that support small family farmers, especially women, and recognize their vital role in the struggle against poverty.

Economic Action Plan 2015 Act, No. 1 June 10th, 2015

Mr. Speaker, I congratulate the member for her speech. It is quite clear that her background is in health care. She put particular emphasis on benefits for people who take care of their loved ones and on the occupational health and safety of interns.

I have two questions. Why did the government cut $36 billion in health transfers to the provinces?

My second question has to do with interns. Why did the government not agree to the NDP's proposal to require that interns be paid?

Economic Action Plan 2015 Act, No. 1 June 10th, 2015

Mr. Speaker, I listened carefully to the member's speech and I was truly astonished by what I heard.

We know full well that the provinces will not be receiving $36 billion in health transfers. We also know that the government took $2 billion from the employment insurance fund, money that employers and employees paid out of their own pockets. Finally, we also know that a $3 billion reserve has disappeared because the government wanted to balance the budget. As for the TFSA, which is a disaster, the banks are even charging fees if people make several deposits or withdrawals in the same month.

Can the member elaborate on these points?

Canada Post June 10th, 2015

Mr. Speaker, Canada Post has announced that a number of post offices in Ontario, New Brunswick and Manitoba will no longer provide services in both official languages. There will now be even fewer services for francophones. The future of francophone minorities depends on having access to services in French. There have been nothing but setbacks for official language under the Conservatives.

What will the minister do to ensure that francophones continue to receive postal services in their language?