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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

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

Mr. Speaker, I thank the member for her very interesting speech on health, among other things.

Five million Canadians do not have access to a family doctor and 73% of Canadians without a family doctor depend on emergency rooms or walk-in clinics for front-line health care. Canada is ranked 26th out of 30 industrialized countries when it comes to the number of doctors per capita. Could the hon. member tell us about their plan to address this situation?

Quebec Student Football Championship November 15th, 2011

Mr. Speaker, on November 12, 2011, I had the pleasure of attending the 36th annual Bol d'or, a major high school and college football event that was held in Charlesbourg—Haute-Saint-Charles for the very first time.

First of all, congratulations to the winners of the championship: the Collège Notre-Dame Cactus, the Collège François-Xavier Garneau Élans, the Campus Notre-Dame-de-Foy Notre-Dames—winning the first Bol d'or in the school's history—and the Collège André-Grasset Phénix. You are all true champions and should be proud of your achievements.

This major football event was organized by the Cégep Limoilou, the Collège Saint-Jean-Eudes and the Réseau du sport étudiant du Québec.

I would like to sincerely thank the event organizers and volunteers and all the young athletes who helped make this day a true success, to the delight of football fans across the Quebec City region.

Business of Supply October 31st, 2011

Mr. Speaker, I want to thank the hon. member for her question.

NDP MPs met with asbestos workers in early September. For now, it is the older workers who remain. There are roughly 300 or 400 jobs in the asbestos industry at present. What these workers want is an honourable transition for the time they have left before retirement. There are very few young people and some workers are even being redirected to other jobs, in the commercial sector for example. Between 25% and 30% of the population already works outside Thetford Mines and Asbestos.

Business of Supply October 31st, 2011

Mr. Speaker, among the 10,918 workers in the asbestos mines and mills in Quebec and in an asbestos products plant whose mortality was studied up to 1992, there were 38 deaths from mesothelioma. A few years later, between 1988 and 2003, 59 cases of mesothelioma were recognized as occupational pulmonary diseases in workers at the asbestos mines and mills in Quebec. Forty-three of them had died between 1993 and 2003 and they were born after the people who were included in the 10,918 workers, thus doubling the number of mesothelioma cases reported in this industry. As well, between 1988 and 2003, there were 198 cases of asbestosis and 203 cases of lung cancer in addition to the mesothelioma cases. That is why we have to ban sending these products to developing countries, where people do not know how to use them properly.

Business of Supply October 31st, 2011

Mr. Speaker, unfortunately, the Rotterdam listings are determined by consensus, and if some countries object, the potentially hazardous substance may not be listed. Canada thus has a negative impact on the effectiveness of the list by being an obstacle to it, when the list advocates better international health through better control over exports of toxic substances. The NDP would like to urge that asbestos be included in the Rotterdam Convention list, which will force exporters like Canada to warn importing countries of any health risk. Those countries could then refuse to import asbestos if they did not think they could handle the product safely.

As well, a motion like this one today does not mean that we have to abandon the asbestos mine workers. On the contrary, support from the federal government is essential to assist the workers affected, who have given their time, effort and health to this ailing industry. The government must also implement urgent measures to revitalize the economy in these entire regions, which have already suffered for too long.

The NDP is suggesting concrete actions that will enable these workers to re-enter the labour market and other measures for older workers that will protect their well-being and their retirement. We all know that when a mine closes in a single-industry town, the entire community feels the effects. It is not just the mine that closes; the small business that provides goods and services to the mine also closes, along with businesses in the municipality, such as car dealerships, grocery stores, travel agencies, and so on.

No jobs, no goods and services consumed. To counteract those effects and protect the people living in the regions affected, the NDP recommends that the workers and communities affected be consulted and investments be made in the economic development of the communities affected by the mine closure. For workers approaching retirement, it recommends that a transitional period be provided to allow them to end their careers with dignity and that an early retirement benefit be implemented. For younger workers, it proposes that training measures and labour market re-entry measures be implemented. That is the fair and long-term solution proposed by the NDP, a solution that respects families, the economy, the health of our fellow Canadians, and also our international reputation, which must be allowed to shine again.

Business of Supply October 31st, 2011

Mr. Speaker, like my colleagues who have just spoken brilliantly on the subject, I would also like to speak in favour of the motion.

The NDP is a party that cares about the health and welfare of Canadians, and the present use and export of Canadian chrysotile asbestos runs directly counter to the health of our population. In addition, asbestos endangers the lives of the workers who are dangerously exposed to it in developing countries. To rectify this alarming situation, our party urges concrete measures such as are proposed by the NDP in the motion today.

First, it is important, and this must be the priority, to ban the use of this dangerous substance that leads to the development of fatal illnesses. It is important to know that all forms of asbestos disintegrate into finer and finer fibres that are invisible to the naked eye. When these fibres are inhaled by a human being, they can cause many fatal illnesses such as asbestosis and lung cancer. And there are facts to prove the extremely dangerous nature of this product.

In this country, more Canadians die because of asbestos than all other occupational and industrial causes combined, while in Quebec, where the mines are mainly located, asbestos is responsible for half of all work-related deaths.

Another concrete example is found in a study done in 2009. The study concluded that the concentration of asbestos in the outside air in Thetford Mines, Quebec, is 215 times higher than samples taken in the United States and elsewhere in Canada. The death rate associated with lung cancer and mesothelioma is 17 times higher there than in the general population.

Experts from various fields have also spoken out on the question of the toxicity of chrysotile asbestos, but the government does not seem to be interested in hearing them, let alone in acknowledging their expertise. Internal Health Canada documents show that, back in 2006, officials refuted the Conservatives’ assertion that chrysotile asbestos was safe but the Conservatives preferred to close their eyes.

The Confederation of National Trade Unions, or CSN, has supported ending asbestos mining in the province, but the Conservative government has not heard it.

At the international level, the World Health Organization and the International Labour Organization agree that there is no safe level of exposure to asbestos. But the Conservative government continues to outrageously tarnish our international reputation, a reputation we have worked so hard to build in recent decades.

Asbestos is a hazardous material, and asbestos mining has decreased significantly since the late 1990s. This sector is just not profitable any more, and an economic transition plan similar to the one for the tobacco industry is urgently needed. In 1991, Quebec asbestos mines employed 1,000 workers. Today, only 350 people work three to four months per year in Thetford Mines. LAB Chrysotile Inc. has entered bankruptcy protection and plans on closing its doors next November.

Instead of reviewing the dangers inherent in this economic sector and supporting miners' families, the government has chosen the criminal approach of subsidizing 160 trade delegations to 60 countries to promote asbestos exports abroad.

Using taxpayers' money, these delegations have promoted our supposedly safe asbestos in order to score big sales, primarily in developing countries that do not have the safe handling practices that we have in Canada.

In terms of our miners' health costs, a study of disability claims for 691 workers suffering from asbestos-related illnesses indicates that these costs topped $66 million in 2000 alone.

Canada cannot afford to gamble with workers' health or taxpayers' money, money that the government continues to misallocate. The NDP has been asking for a ban on asbestos exports for a long time because asbestos is causing serious illnesses and death in developing countries.

In Canada, the use of asbestos is now strictly regulated under the Hazardous Products Act.

That is not the case in a number of developing countries, where legislation on hazardous products has not yet come into effect or where the regulatory bodies do not yet have the resources to deal with lawbreakers.

It is estimated that asbestos causes more than 100,000 deaths a year worldwide. Workers in the developing countries to which Canada exports its asbestos are not usually aware of the safety measures for handling asbestos, and they do not receive any training in that regard, either.

Indonesia, India and the Philippines are currently the main buyers of our asbestos and we all know that their workers do not have basic health and safety protection. While asbestos is banned in more than 50 countries, including the most developed countries, Canada continues to export its asbestos without warning labels about its toxicity. Worse yet, the government has even tried to dissuade Thailand and North Korea from issuing a toxicity warning on the bags of asbestos they receive. The government considered that these warning measures, which would show a skull and crossbones, were excessive.

The NDP believes we should support international efforts in favour of adding chrysotile asbestos to the list of hazardous chemical products under the Rotterdam Convention. Since 2006, the government has obstructed international efforts to add asbestos to the United Nations' list of hazardous products three times so far. We absolutely must rectify this situation that embarrasses and shames us in the eyes of the international community.

Ending the Long-gun Registry Act October 27th, 2011

Mr. Speaker, I will not congratulate the party opposite on the speech I just heard. If Pinocchio were standing in her place, his nose would be so long it would touch the bench across the way. First, the hon. member talked about myths, and she suggested that police officers do not use the registry. I invite the hon. member to read the article in today's issue of Le Devoir, which says: “This data is useful to police officers—who consult it thousands of times a day—and was paid for by taxpayers”, and it should go back to the provinces. It was the Fraternité des policiers et policières de Montréal who said that. They know what they are talking about.

I would like to talk to the hon. member opposite about violence against women. The mother of a friend of mine was killed by my friend's father with a shotgun. Okay. It is important to have gun control. I would like the hon. member to talk about safety. If we are talking about safety, a firearm is a firearm. Firearms kill. That is not to say that everyone who has a firearm kills, but someone might get killed. We have to be careful what we say.

Ending the Long-gun Registry Act October 27th, 2011

Madam Speaker, thank you for giving me the floor. I would like to make a quick comment. There is a registry that everyone is familiar with—the driver's licence registry. It is not a catastrophe. Everyone is registered and no one makes a fuss about it. It makes sense. When you drive a car, you think about safety and you have to register. The registry allows us to know where people live, where they are. There is nothing catastrophic about it.

This is a fundamental issue. Quebec has spoken with a strong voice. The National Assembly unanimously voted to keep the registry. I would like to ask the hon. member how the government will defend this position.

Criminal Code October 25th, 2011

Mr. Speaker, I would like to thank the hon. member for introducing this bill. Does she have any idea how many Canadians are affected by this bill?

Business of Supply October 25th, 2011

Mr. Speaker, I thank the hon. member for Saskatoon—Humboldt for his speech. I learned a lot about his family and I know him a little better, which is very interesting.

According to the results of the plebiscite conducted by the Canadian Wheat Board, 62% of those who participated voted to maintain the board. If the board had not existed when the member's father was a small farmer, would his father have been able to succeed and would the member even have had the opportunity to come here to the House?