House of Commons photo

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

Employment Insurance November 30th, 2011

Mr. Speaker, this government is desperately trying to justify its bad decisions. A thousand Service Canada agents who process employment insurance claims have been laid off since the spring. Frustrated unemployed workers have to wait weeks before they are able speak to a representative. The minister is now accusing employees of purposely slowing down the work.

Will this government finally recognize that its cuts at Service Canada are responsible for the distress of unemployed workers' families?

Safe Streets and Communities Act November 29th, 2011

Mr. Speaker, the member spoke primarily about the part of the bill that deals with drugs. He spoke at length about marijuana and the fight against drug lords. There are many drug lords in Canada. First of all, these drug lords come from other countries. Also, this omnibus crime bill, which has absolutely nothing to do with drugs, is all over the board. The Conservatives want to criminalize anyone who has at least six marijuana plants for the purpose of sale. Those are minor offenders, not drug lords. Drug lords traffic in cocaine and drugs that are a lot harder than marijuana. The members opposite should not get carried away.

Safe Streets and Communities Act November 29th, 2011

Mr. Speaker, the Canadian Bar Association joined its voice to that of the NDP MPs in September when it issued a press release on its concerns about a number of aspects of the bill introduced by the government, including mandatory minimum sentences, overreliance on incarceration, and constraints on judges. Does the government have any intention of listening to the Canadian Bar Association?

Safe Streets and Communities Act November 29th, 2011

Madam Speaker, I thank the hon. member for St. John's East. Quebec and some of the other provinces do not want this bill. People have been protesting in a number of provinces, to indicate their opposition to the bill. Building expensive megaprisons will not make our streets safer. What are my colleagues thoughts on that?

Marketing Freedom for Grain Farmers Act November 18th, 2011

Mr. Speaker, to use a term that is floating around a lot right now, I want to say that there are many people who are outraged. The people involved in the occupy movements in Toronto, Montreal and Wall Street are all outraged. And there are members here who are outraged at this obvious mockery of democracy. A law exists and the government is not above the law. It must consult with farmers; that is the law. Once the law changes, if it is no longer obliged to consult farmers, then it will not have to do so. But right now, it must comply with the current law and it must consult them.

Marketing Freedom for Grain Farmers Act November 18th, 2011

Mr. Speaker, I personally believe that the small producers will suffer the most from this bill when it comes into force. Companies like Cargill will benefit from the legislation.

Earlier, the hon. member spoke about improving infrastructure—ports and railways. Why not do this for other existing infrastructure that is in dire need?

Marketing Freedom for Grain Farmers Act November 18th, 2011

Mr. Speaker, I thank the member for his question.

We firmly believe that in unity, there is strength. That is a principle of economics 101. As soon as a bill like this is introduced, it becomes dangerous. If the framework is dismantled, small producers lose the ability to work together to get a better price. The same thing will happen to maple syrup and eggs with the supply management bill. In the end, families and small farmers in the west will pay the price. And in Quebec, our farmers will soon pay the price.

Marketing Freedom for Grain Farmers Act November 18th, 2011

Mr. Speaker, I thank my colleagues for their excellent speeches, and I want to join them in defending the interests of farmers in western Canada.

After all the discussion we have heard so far on Bill C-18, I am sad to see that the government is undermining the principle of democracy by not honouring its commitments. The government was clear: it would not attempt to dismantle the Canadian Wheat Board without first consulting its members.

To respect the democratic process, we must ensure that members of the Canadian Wheat Board have the right to decide their own destiny through a referendum. Excessive political interference has no place in a democratic country like Canada. Unfortunately, I am no longer surprised to see that every day, the Conservative government uses misinformation to get what it wants. In fact, in its own press release on the bill to dismantle the Canadian Wheat Board, the government said that it had consulted with stakeholders from across the value chain before making a decision. Does this mean that farmers, including all those who want to keep the board, are not part of the value chain for their own products, since they were not consulted?

If western farmers are part of this value chain, why did the government not listen to the majority that spoke out during the plebiscite? Why is it turning a deaf ear? I am sure that western farmers will be shocked to hear that this government has excluded them altogether from the value chain for the products they have produced by the sweat of their brow and that it does not want to hear their opinion.

Also in the news release, the government explains that, and I quote:

[it] has listened to individual farmers who just want the chance to succeed by being able to sell their wheat, durum and barley at the time and to the buyer of their choice.

But what about those who want to sell their wheat, durum and barley through the Wheat Board desk? Were they also heard, or were they deliberately kept out of the discussions because their wishes were at odds with the government's intentions? The government is ignoring these people and, meanwhile, is outrageously continuing to impose its ideology, erode democracy and misinform the public.

I would also like to use my time to discuss the idea of majority, which has already been widely discussed in relation to this bill. I want to make sure that the hon. members across the way understand the concept.

Indeed, they appear to have a good grasp of the concept here in the House, ever since May 2, but the meaning of respecting the principle of a majority seems to become a little fuzzy when it comes time to talk about the issues they want to tackle. To set the record straight, I think we need to take a closer look at the numbers together: 22,764 wheat farmers voted to maintain the board as is, compared to 14,059 farmers who voted to end the monopoly. That works out to a majority of 62% against 38%.

People who respect a majority decision respect the principles of democracy, an example that this government could learn from. In an open letter, the Conservative government, in the person of the Minister of Agriculture, explained that the vote in last May's federal election gave the necessary legitimacy to advocates of change. Can someone explain to me how a federal election can legitimately interfere politically in an organization that is managed, controlled and funded entirely by western farmers, one that is not a crown corporation? Since when do election results legitimize and govern any unilateral actions the government wants to take without any consultation or impact studies and without listening to the people, even though we live in a democracy?

Is it because they have a majority? Oh, yes; they respect that majority scrupulously. It is the same old story: another double standard.

In addition to this so-called legitimacy, the other point that should be mentioned here is the lawfulness of the act itself.

The laws currently in effect require Ottawa to consult the directors of the Canadian Wheat Board before amending the act that created the board. The potential dismantling of the board without prior consultation is a direct violation of this act.

I am very sorry to see that we have before us a government that legitimizes its actions, which are not based on any valid foundation or democratic principle.

In the speech he gave several weeks ago now, the Parliamentary Secretary to the Minister of Natural Resources and for the Canadian Wheat Board even went so far as to say that it was time to put an end to the tyranny of the Canadian Wheat Board.

On this side of the House—the NDP side—we maintain that, instead, it is time to put an end to the tyranny of the government, which went so far as to outrageously cut off the necessary debate on this bill, as it has been constantly doing since the beginning of this session of Parliament.

I am the member for the riding of Charlesbourg—Haute-Saint-Charles. The members opposite may be wondering why a member from Quebec would stand up for the interests of people who are so far from her riding. To that, I say that one would have to be pretty gullible not to understand that the mechanisms of the world economy are felt from one end of the country to the other and throughout the world.

Any bad economic decisions that are made for western Canadian agriculture will affect the entire country. The negotiating power lost with the dismantling of the Canadian Wheat Board will weaken the position of western farmers on the world market.

This weak negotiating power to sell our Canadian wheat at the best possible price on the market will eliminate the smallest producers to the benefit of the large multinational grain companies. Less negotiating power for the sale of Canadian wheat means our wheat will be sold at a lower price. Selling at a lower price means less income for our families and farmers. This vulnerability will be felt throughout Canada, not just in the west.

Canada's economic health is an issue we must deal with together so that all Canadian households get what they deserve—a prosperous future.

In conclusion, the NDP is demanding no less of the government than respect for the democratic process so that western farmers can have an independent say when it comes to their own future and their own destiny.

The NDP will proudly stand up for farming families in western Canada and will listen to what they have to say, demanding nothing short of abandoning Bill C-18, which does not address the needs of the public and which is completely out of touch with Canada's current economic reality.

And closer to home, the Quebec families I represent today will unanimously support the families in western Canada in their fight to protect their income, their retirement and, ultimately, Canada's economy.

Poverty November 18th, 2011

Madam Speaker, these same old lines the government keeps using will not help children. The Conservatives can pat themselves on the back, but the reality is that the number of children living in poverty has not changed.

Twenty years ago, the House unanimously passed a motion presented by then-NDP leader, Ed Broadbent, to put an end to child poverty in Canada. At least the government at that time was concerned about children.

Why is the current government indifferent towards children, especially children living in poverty?

Keeping Canada's Economy and Jobs Growing Act November 15th, 2011

Mr. Speaker, earlier, the Minister of State for Transport spoke to us about economic recovery and now the hon. member is talking about maintaining the economy. However, under this same government, during its reign from 2008 to 2011, between the two elections, Canada's debt increased by $10 billion.

The International Monetary Fund predicts that the rate of unemployment will increase in 2012 and, I believe from my reading, Scotiabank recently questioned the rosy economic predictions made by the United States and Canada last year.

How can the hon. member tell us there will be economic growth and job growth?