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Crucial Fact

  • Her favourite word was health.

Last in Parliament October 2019, as NDP MP for Salaberry—Suroît (Québec)

Won her last election, in 2015, with 30% of the vote.

Statements in the House

Business of Supply June 18th, 2019

Mr. Speaker, I thank my colleague for saying that he believes in climate change. We can no longer deny this phenomenon.

Young people from across Canada have taken to the streets to demand that the federal government take much stronger action than what the Liberals are doing. However, in their motion today, the Conservatives are not proposing any sort of plan to combat climate change. They will be presenting their plan tomorrow, but they are not proposing anything right now.

That is not very constructive, particularly since we know that the Conservatives were unable to meet their own targets during the 10 years they were in office. They regulated the sectors, one by one, to try to reduce greenhouse gas emissions, but they never regulated the largest polluter, the oil and gas industry.

What is more, they never dared to eliminate the fossil fuel subsidies. It is therefore somewhat hard to believe that the Conservatives have a credible plan, and it is even harder to believe their criticisms of the Liberal government, because they are not bringing any alternative solutions to the table to debate today.

What does the Conservative Party have to offer on climate change? We know that there is a climate emergency. We are working to make sure future generations have a planet worthy of the name, where they can breathe, drink water, go swimming and continue to work the land.

Business of Supply June 10th, 2019

Mr. Speaker, the member opposite keeps repeating that there are new investments in budget 2019, but has he really read the budget 2019 announcements? There is no requirement for big companies to serve rural areas, which means that rural areas do not have high-speed Internet access. Sixty-three percent of rural municipalities do not have this service. This is a problem, which is why we moved this motion today to address it.

Business of Supply June 10th, 2019

Mr. Speaker, I thank my colleague from Sherbrooke for his very informative speech and for calling out Liberal members when they are being disingenuous about omnibus budget implementation bills.

These days, in 2019, rural communities are extremely under-serviced. With all due respect to my colleague opposite, 14 municipalities in my riding have written us to say how hard it is for them to get high-speed Internet. Sometimes it is impossible. That is what Bianka Dupaul, director of Coop CSUR, told us. That co-op was born out of a need for Internet access in a rural region and the fact that corporations did not want to provide services in areas with sparse populations.

Thanks to Coop CSUR, 100 kilometres of fibre-optic cable was deployed in four municipalities in my riding. However, CRTC rules, which always favour corporations, make it very hard for Coop CSUR and other co-ops to have access to aerial infrastructure. Since that infrastructure is owned by the corporations it is hard for the smaller co-ops to access it. They have to negotiate with the corporations. The costs are exorbitant and the wait times for accessing the infrastructure are endless. As a result, the small co-ops cannot get off the ground, even though they do not seek to make a profit.

How could today's motion help small co-ops like Coop CSUR, which is run by Bianka Dupaul?

Business of Supply June 10th, 2019

Madam Speaker, I do not see what the government has to brag about, given that we know 63% of rural regions do not have access to high-speed Internet. This has been a source of frustration for years. Internet service is becoming a must for farmers, students and all rural business owners. Economies depend on it.

Fourteen municipalities in Salaberry—Suroît have written to us to say that the situation is untenable. High-speed Internet is available in the village cores, but further out in the country, service is intermittent, inaccessible or too slow. In Franklin, an Internet connection costs $90, and the big companies are under no obligation to serve rural residents.

In the 2019 budget, the government promises to invest millions of dollars until 2030, but it fails to require the big companies to serve small rural regions. Furthermore, co-ops like Coop CSUR get no regulatory assistance from the CRTC to deliver their services. Co-ops are motivated not by profit, but by a desire to help people. However, no one is helping them. The government has been aware of this situation for years, but it is not doing a single thing to fix it.

Suroît Beer Festival June 6th, 2019

Mr. Speaker, the association for people with intellectual disabilities in Suroît, known as APDIS, is hosting the 5th annual Festi-Bières festival, which will be held at Delpha-Sauvé park in Salaberry-de-Valleyfield from June 7 to 9. Festival-goers will be able to taste beers, ciders and other drinks, as well as enjoy live music, all for a good cause.

The money raised at this event will fund the Défis-Logis project to build an eight-unit building for people with intellectual disabilities. The Défis-Logis is a new solution designed to create a stable, permanent living environment for residents that more than meets their need for privacy and socialization, all under respectful supervision. APDIS hopes to raise $45,000 at the event, which is not to be missed.

I thank the organizers, Greg McKenna and Johanne Noël, as well as their volunteers, who have put so much energy and love into this project. I will see you starting tomorrow, June 7, at Delpha-Sauvé park.

Happy Festi-Bières to everyone.

Budget Implementation Act, 2019, No. 1 June 6th, 2019

Mr. Speaker, in my opinion, and that of many young people across Canada, the most important issue is the environmental crisis.

The government recognized that there is a climate emergency. Today, a group of young people called ENvironnement JEUnesse is in Montreal to launch a lawsuit against the federal government for its failure to respect the environmental rights of young people. This group is made up of youth aged 35 and under who want to file a complaint in court.

Even with budget 2019, we have not succeeded in reducing our greenhouse gas emissions. On the contrary, they have increased by 12 million tonnes. According to the government itself, we will not meet our 2030 targets for 200 years. We are falling far short, and there is a lack of vision and leadership. We need to take action to reduce our greenhouse gas emissions by 45% by 2030.

Budget Implementation Act, 2019, No. 1 June 6th, 2019

Mr. Speaker, I thank my colleague from Longueuil—Saint-Hubert for defending this cause so passionately and articulately all these years.

I would like to hear what he has to say about the impact on jobs in the regions. There is a lot of talk nowadays about information democracy. In the regions, it is especially important to have independent media outlets that are treated the same as web giants, so they can stay in business. God knows the regions are grappling with a labour shortage.

Could my colleague tell us about the repercussions on jobs in the regions and on young people hoping to get into journalism?

Petitions June 6th, 2019

Mr. Speaker, I have here a petition initiated by the Elizabeth Fry Society that calls on the Government of Canada to respect the United Nations Convention on the Rights of the Child and recognize that some children are being excluded.

These children are facing discrimination with regard to child benefits because their parents are homeless, incarcerated or grappling with addictions or other problems, for example. These children may live with different families and move around a lot. The petitioners are calling on the Government of Canada to ensure that these children are also protected.

The petition was signed by many people from New Brunswick.

Members Not Seeking Re-Election to the 43rd Parliament June 5th, 2019

Mr. Speaker, I was first elected on May 2, 2011, as part of the famous orange wave. It came as a shock, but it was also an honour and a privilege to represent the people of my riding and stand up for my values in this honourable House.

I would like to thank the people of Beauharnois—Salaberry for giving me that first opportunity to dive into politics and have this fabulous, intense, enriching and altogether human life experience. It has been a pleasure to serve them.

My first speech in the House was on a topic that was as dear to my labour activist heart then as it is now. On June 24, 2011, Quebec's national holiday, I spoke out against the Canada Post bill. The NDP stood up to the Conservative government of the day for three days in a row so that unionized postal workers could negotiate their working conditions with the Crown corporation executives. That was my first ever three-day Thursday.

My second speech was just as emotional and powerful. In September 2011 we were debating Bill C-4, a Conservative government bill on boat people. This brought about a two-hour conversation with my mother on how my family came to Canada after fleeing persecution in the wake of the Vietnam War. She recounted their escape, the attacks by pirates, their fight to survive, their life at the refugee camp, their arrival in Salaberry-de-Valleyfield and the welcome they received. This is the Canada I know, a Canada that gives a family of refugees the opportunity to prosper and that allows their daughter to become a two-term member of Parliament.

As one of the few members of Parliament of Vietnamese origin, I had the opportunity to meet with diverse Vietnamese communities in Canada and to work with them to acknowledge how much the Vietnamese have contributed to the diverse Québécois and Canadian culture and to fight for human rights in Vietnam, in particular. During my eight years in the NDP, I was mentored by some formidable and passionate members of Parliament, colleagues with whom I grew up and with whom I learned to be more self-assured. Most of all, I laughed a lot in all of our battles here in Parliament. It takes a healthy dose of humour and self-deprecation to alleviate the stress of this frenzied political life.

My first challenge was to discover my riding. It took time and effort to understand the challenges of the different regions and also to discuss subjects that I knew little or nothing about: the world of agriculture ever present in the riding, the business world, which scared me to death, the Mohawk Nation at Akwesasne.

After the riding boundary was changed, the region of Soulanges was another area to be studied and understood. I travelled around the RCMs by bike, on foot and by car. I thank the 400 community organizations who work hard with limited means. I thank the mayors of the 31 municipalities who are the foundation of our democratic fabric and without whom nothing works, and the entrepreneurs, whom I found so intimidating at the beginning. I thank them all for giving me material for my speeches, for advising me, often at the last minute, when I was drafting my bills, or for turning my attention to the issues they were concerned about.

I thank all the constituents who attended the countless public consultations or sent comments on my work by responding to the monthly mailings. Their contribution was invaluable to democracy and my ability to represent them in House of Commons every day. I hope they will continue to be as active and involved with the next MP. I thank them for placing their trust in me a second time in the 2015 election. To me that second election was an acknowledgement of my ability to stand up for the interests of the riding.

When it comes to agriculture, I fought tooth and nail with my NDP colleagues to protect supply management in its entirety and ensure that dairy farmers received compensation every time they were sacrificed in the signing of free trade agreements. We worked hard with my colleague from Berthier—Maskinongé and others and used pressure tactics against diafiltered milk. Unfortunately, this could come up again because of the treaty negotiation with the United States and Mexico.

One of my personal victories is the agriculture investment announced in the last budget. My team came up with the slogan: at the federal level, we eat locally. For more than six years now, I have been fighting to get a local foods procurement policy. I introduced two bills on this and in the March 2019 budget, we finally see investments to buy local food in schools and to develop and support distribution channels such as public markets. Through the support of many organizations, nearly 3,000 signatures on my petition, and emails of support, we were able to put enough pressure on the government to agree to include these measures in its recent budget.

This is a step in the right direction, but I still dream of seeing a buy local policy take shape someday.

Lastly, an important aspect of my work has been solving problems, whether it is a constituent not getting a service they were entitled to or an issue like the Kathryn Spirit, which was a problem 114 metres long and weighing 12,300 tonnes. My office has handled over 1,500 constituent cases, problems involving the Canada Revenue Agency, old age security or the guaranteed income supplement, and temporary foreign worker files. More and more Canadians are calling their MPs for help when they are unable to get a response through the usual channels. After all the public service cutbacks, that is the unfortunate reality.

One major case was the Kathryn Spirit, my region's biggest headache. This huge wreck had been towed into Lake Saint-Louis in 2011 without proper authorization by the company Groupe St-Pierre. This was blatant proof that corporate self-regulation does not work. The wreck was resold to a Mexican company and then abandoned. This case also highlighted the limits of the federal government, which declined to get involved every time, up until the very last second. At the end of the day, the polluter won. The company that had brought in the vessel ended up with at least $11 million of public money in its pockets. As they said on Infoman, this is like someone dumping trash in the neighbour's yard and then getting paid to take care of the mess they made. All in all, this incompetence and mismanagement of public funds cost taxpayers $24 million. Fortunately, thanks to the efforts of Canadians, elected officials and local journalists, this problem is now behind us.

Now, let's talk about struggles and victories in Ottawa. As a young woman who has served in the House since 2011, I know what a challenge it was to get people to take women and young people seriously.

In 2014, four NDP female colleagues and I had to fight to have the right to bring our children inside Parliament and breastfeed them until the age of 18 months. We won that fight.

The next fight was to get a family room in Parliament. We won that one too. I would like to thank my colleagues, including Nycole Turmel, the former whip, for fighting alongside us and not only making this room a reality, but also creating better conditions for mothers who want to go into politics.

I am also proud to have launched the women in the lead event, which, since 2016, has welcomed 80 to 150 women every year to share what they have experienced in decision-making positions and talk about female leadership. There is still a lot of work to do to attract more women to politics, especially in terms of work-life balance. It is hard when we must vote or sit until midnight, like we do at the end of each session. There has been some progress, but we need to keep going.

It is also important to highlight my efforts to promote the French language. I am proud to have debated in French in committee and in the House of Commons over the past eight years. I am also proud of having created the Réseau des jeunes parlementaires de la Francophonie.

I would be remiss if I did not talk about youth and their passionate commitment to a number of issues. It is often said that young people are the segment of the population that is the most active and involved in the community right now. That is true, and we need to listen to them, because they challenge our ways of thinking and doing things. However, our decision-making structures are still lacking in young voices. That is why I introduced a bill in the House of Commons to create a commissioner for young persons.

I also want the government's youth policy to include an action plan, instead of just paying lip service. I want the Prime Minister's Youth Council to let young people say what is going well and what is not without having to go through the Prime Minister's communications office.

Lastly, I want to talk about the environment, an issue that is of vital importance to young people. This issue has no colour. It is not green, red, blue or orange. It really is everyone's responsibility. I think the work that the NDP did by unveiling its green platform last week is very ambitious and worth exploring.

I am very proud to have started the first forum on clean energy and industry in 2014 with my colleagues from New Westminster—Burnaby, Drummond and Edmonton Strathcona.

In closing, I am honoured to have served as the member for Beauharnois—Salaberry and Salaberry—Suroît for eight years. I am going to get very emotional when I leave this place in a few weeks. I could never have done this work without the invaluable help of the dedicated assistants I have had the pleasure and privilege of working with over the past eight years.

I want to thank my current staff, Edith Gariépy, Glen Cyr, Amélie Leduc, Jean-Marc Fagelson and Katherine Massam.

I also want to thank everyone who has worked for me over the past eight years, including the assistants, volunteers and interns who made my work look good every day, in good times and bad. I also want to thank the teams in the House leader's office and the whip's office, who work behind the scenes and look after us so well every day. I will miss them, but I will see them again.

I will close by thanking my friends, my family and my in-laws for supporting me throughout this wonderful adventure. I will be eternally grateful to my love, my beloved, my sidekick, my poet, my confidant, Mathieu, who agreed to be a stay-at-home dad for the past five years so I could thrive as a woman, an MP and a mother. I want to thank my daughter, Mila, who often had to share me and did not always understand why, if I was my own boss, I was not staying at home to play with her instead of going to work. Mila, I will be home soon.

Budget Implementation Act, 2019, No. 1 June 4th, 2019

Mr. Speaker, I have a question for my colleague, who is also a young MP.

Does he think the government is doing enough on the environment? The government boasts that it is going to meet its targets, yet all the reports released to date, including one from Environment and Climate Change Canada, say that Canada is not on track to meet its targets, even though they were set by the Harper government.

Our greenhouse gas emissions went up by 12 megatonnes over last year. It would take Canada 200 years to meet its reduction targets. The government is still subsidizing the fossil fuel sector. It has no overall plan for moving jobs to renewable energy sectors. There is ample proof that six to eight times more jobs could be created in renewable energy than in fossil fuels.