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Crucial Fact

  • Her favourite word was women.

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

February 28th, 2012

Mr. Speaker, I would like to begin by thanking the member who will be answering my question.

Child poverty in Canada should be a top priority for this government if we want to maintain a healthy, well-educated and prosperous society.

When I pointed out to this House that a motion had been adopted unanimously to put an end to child poverty in Canada, I also asked the government—which, let us not forget, is accountable for its commitments to Canadians—what it had done to improve the plight of all those children who still live in poverty.

The answer I received was that thanks to the Conservatives, the average Canadian family now spends $3,000 less per year in taxes. However, everybody knows that the poorest families in Canada already pay virtually no tax. One cannot but conclude therefore that these tax measures proposed by the government are not reaching their targets, because they are not serving the clientele that is in the greatest need.

Moreover, to obtain some tax credits, one must be able to cover costs in advance in order to receive a credit for the fiscal year. But who—especially the poor—can wait a year to receive a tax refund, when thousands of Canadian families barely have enough to feed their children at the end of the month?

The most recent figures on child poverty are damning. Approximately one Canadian child in 10 and their families live in poverty. 2010 was a record year for the number of users of food banks in Canada since 1997, and 38% of food bank clients were children although children only account for 22% of the population. According to a report by UNICEF, Canada is a poor performer among OECD countries when it comes to infant mortality rates and is ranked 22nd out of 31 countries. In total, approximately 640,000 children still live in poverty in Canada. The child poverty rate among aboriginals, immigrants and visible minorities is more than twice the general average.

In light of these data, one can be forgiven for wondering why the government does not take concrete and immediate steps to ensure the healthy development of the next generation of Canadians. In my opinion, what is still more worrisome is the incidence of poverty among children.

Despite the hard work of thousands of community groups that often work with limited financial resources, we are currently observing developmental delays, health problems, more stays with foster families, more unsanitary housing conditions, an increased dropout rate, mental health problems among parents, sexual abuse, verbal and physical abuse, and other problems. Poor children are more likely to experience these unacceptable situations than other children.

Child poverty creates a series of societal problems that undermine the health and well-being of the population, and have an extremely harmful effect on the country's economy.

Many experts throughout the world agree—as does the NDP—that the solution to a chronic problem of this magnitude is found close to the source, and we strongly believe that properly introduced measures could end child poverty in Canada.

First, a national child poverty reduction strategy that includes specific objectives must be put in place. A thorough review of all allocations and tax measures for the development and well-being of children must also be conducted to ensure that these measures meet the needs of the population, including families with low and very low incomes.

Other assistance and programs must be provided to give additional support to households that need it most. Finally, concrete measures that stimulate the creation of decent jobs must be put in place. Parents who are in the workforce and who have decent, stable jobs will be able to help their children escape poverty.

In 1989, Canada promised to end child poverty before the year 2000, but failed miserably in its task.

Can the government provide a clear answer with regard to its strategy and the measures it intends to implement to end child poverty in a country as rich as Canada?

Energy Efficiency February 15th, 2012

Mr. Speaker, I love talking about jobs and job creation, but this government is continuing its fight against the environment and against jobs since the eco-energy retrofit program is ending earlier than planned. Roughly 1,000 businesses that specialize in energy efficiency might have to close their doors if the program is not renewed. Thousands of households will not be entitled to these subsidies. No work done, therefore no jobs and no energy savings.

Will the government renew this program that is beneficial to the environment and employment?

Firearms Registry February 15th, 2012

Mr. Speaker, unfortunately, we are a few hours away from the abolition of the long gun registry that taxpayers have worked hard to pay for. The NDP has been saying loud and clear: this registry is useful. The police use it 17,000 times a day on average, and it costs taxpayers only $4 million a year to maintain it.

I want to acknowledge the exceptional work of dozens of groups and associations that have fought on behalf of women and children who are victims of violence. I have tremendous admiration for the committee known as Ensemble contre la violence faite aux femmes, which has dedicated time and resources in the national capital region to ensuring that the voices of those wanting to keep the registry were heard. I want all the courageous women who vehemently opposed the abolition of the long gun registry to know that there is still hope. The NDP is fighting to defend the interests of women. We are working tirelessly to build a Canada that is safer, more sensible and more humane.

Ending the Long-Gun Registry Act February 13th, 2012

Mr. Speaker, I am trying to understand the various Conservative members who have already spoken. We just heard once again that a gun owner must take a course—or perhaps this was said by a previous speaker—and obtain a permit to use a gun. When these two requirements are fulfilled, the owner is registered somewhere.

It is like buying a car: we are registered right away and we are in the registry. It could be very easy to create this registry, it could be very easy to develop it and very easy to maintain it, if there were goodwill. Could the member comment on this?

Ending the Long-Gun Registry Act February 13th, 2012

I will therefore take his name out of the letter. I did not write it, obviously. I will continue reading:

Mr. [Prime Minister]: You have the power to maintain the firearms registry and even broaden its scope. Mr. Prime Minister, you have a duty to ensure public safety. You also have a duty to consider my requests, which support those made by a social movement that is concerned about the safety of women. As a Canadian, I am writing to ask you to keep the firearms registry.

Ending the Long-Gun Registry Act February 13th, 2012

I said the name of the Prime Minister, Mr. Speaker. Would it be okay if I said “Mr. Prime Minister” instead?

Ending the Long-Gun Registry Act February 13th, 2012

Mr. Speaker, I have here several letters that I may share with the House later. For now, I will simply read the last part of one of these letters. I am addressing my remarks to the members opposite, and to the Speaker, obviously. The letter reads as follows:

Mr. Harper: You have the power to maintain the firearms registry and even broaden—

Ending the Long-Gun Registry Act February 13th, 2012

Mr. Speaker, on December 6, 2011, which is the National Day of Remembrance and Action on Violence Against Women, a committee called “Ensemble contre la violence faite aux femmes” was established in the Quebec City region. It includes four groups of women from that region: the Centre de ressources pour femmes de Beauport, the Centre femmes d'aujourd'hui, Violence Info and Viol Secours.

What does the hon. member think of that committee, which says that destroying the registry poses a direct threat to women and public safety?

Second Chance Hockey Tournament in Charlesbourg February 13th, 2012

Mr. Speaker, last Sunday, I had the honour of attending an important sporting event that took place in my riding. For the past 10 years, Charlesbourg has hosted the second chance tournament in conjunction with the international peewee tournament that is currently being held in Quebec City.

In total, over 2,000 young hockey players are taking part. Eight Canadian provinces and about 15 other countries are represented. The second chance tournament allows the teams that lose their first games in the main tournament to compete, in order to return for the final round. This is a unique way to encourage determination and team spirit among the young players.

I would like to congratulate all the participants, who are pouring their hearts and souls into the competition, as well as the organizers of both tournaments: Michel Plante, president of the Quebec international peewee hockey tournament, and Nicole Villeneuve, manager of the second chance tournament and president of the Association du hockey mineur de Charlesbourg.

Thanks to dedicated volunteers like them, Charlesbourg has a chance to show its enthusiasm for our national sport every February.

Ending the Long-gun Registry Act February 13th, 2012

Mr. Speaker, I thank the hon. member for his speech. He might think that the firearms registry does not save lives, but we disagree. The Government of Quebec has unanimously spoken: all MNAs voted to preserve the data and have it transferred to the provinces. Why does this government refuse to accept the political consensus to preserve the data in the registry and transfer it to the provinces?