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Crucial Fact

  • Her favourite word was liberals.

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

Border Crossings November 18th, 2011

Madam Speaker, I will continue asking the same questions.

The Conservatives have let the Americans impose a $5.50 entry fee on Canadians; the Conservatives are going to be losers in the secret agreement on border security; and they are closing border crossings. What is wrong with this picture?

With the reductions in border services and staff, there has been an increase in criminal activities along the border between Dundee and Franklin. Even RCMP officers have said that closing the Franklin border crossing puts public safety at risk.

Why are the Conservatives suddenly being soft on crime?

Border Crossings November 18th, 2011

Madam Speaker, once again, they are avoiding the question without answering it.

According to Canada Border Services Agency, “As part of its strategic review, the CBSA will be making some changes to its border operations...to ensure maximum efficiency and cost effectiveness.” Meanwhile, the Americans are investing in their border infrastructure. Closing these border crossings makes no sense in terms of economic development and tourism in Canada.

Do the Conservatives realize that they are not walking the talk when it comes to public safety and the economy?

Business of Supply November 17th, 2011

Mr. Speaker, everyone agrees that the issue of access to drinking water, social housing and the infrastructure to support all of that is a priority for Canada. However, several conditions created by the Liberals continue to undermine access to drinking water, as well as the health and dignity of first nations communities. For instance, the Liberals put a cap on federal spending for aboriginal communities, limiting it to a 2% annual increase. As we know, both inflation and aboriginal population growth are higher than 2%. The fact is, the 2% cap translates into declining investments.

Will my Liberal colleague and her party now support eliminating the cap that they themselves established when they were in power?

Business of Supply November 17th, 2011

Madam Speaker, I truly appreciate the concrete examples provided by my colleague. He always gives speeches that reflect his community. He said that governments do not acknowledge the importance of working with the Assembly of First Nations. In 2010, the Prime Minister abstained from the vote that would recognize the right to water and sanitation of the Assembly of First Nations. We are talking more about water quality. In addition to harming the health of first nations, the Conservative government's decisions also harm the environment. Environment Canada's budget was drastically cut this year, which will lead to less monitoring of drinking water quality, not to mention the impact of industrial infrastructure. How does my colleague feel about that?

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

Mr. Speaker, we are told that the budget measures in Bill C-13 will make life better for families.

I would like to know what my hon. colleague thinks of the cuts affecting children that have been made by the Conservative government over the past few weeks. Social services and community organizations are sounding the alarm because the government is taking child tax benefits away from the most vulnerable families. To verify whether these measures are justified, they are being asked to fill out a six-page questionnaire. Then it takes time to assess the questionnaire, while families are being deprived of money to pay the rent. This is cruel. What should we be doing instead to help them?

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

Mr. Speaker, I thank my NDP colleague.

It is important to invest in the community and in young people because they are the people who will build and continue to build our country. If we want to get people involved, we must first give them the opportunity to do so, to make a commitment and to find themselves. It would be a positive measure to give young people more opportunities and see where they can get involved.

Prevention is one aspect of health: if we are more active, we are healthier and more productive. Being healthy helps the economy. All of that is related, just like the economy and the environment. If we want to enjoy our environment, we must first take care of it. So we must invest in all areas, without leaving a single one out. Together they make a complete package.

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

Mr. Speaker, I would like to thank the member opposite for raising this issue.

It allows me to say that this measure does encourage doctors and nurses to move to the regions. However, if more health care professionals do not enter the system, how will it become more effective? If health care professionals simply move from urban to rural areas, there will be a problem in the urban areas. More money must therefore be invested in training, and not just in loans. Bursaries must also be given because, once people get into debt, that heavy financial burden does not help.

We must increase the number of doctors and nurses and we must improve infrastructure to encourage them to move to the regions.

There is no national public transit system. Improvements must be made in this regard in order to attract people to the regions and keep them there. We must not just give out loans. A comprehensive approach is needed and, in order for it to be effective, it must be incorporated in such a way that it brings together all these components. All these things must be done in conjunction with one another.

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

Mr. Speaker, I feel it is very important to rise today in the House to speak out against Bill C-13, which combines a myriad of proposals. If we could take the time to analyze them one by one, we would have the opportunity to debate a number of important issues. But these proposals are wrapped up in a single bill, which means we cannot debate them. That is an affront to democracy. We are not able to take the time needed to explain the details of each proposal in this bill to the Canadian people.

This bill is an empty shell. As my colleague from Marc-Aurèle-Fortin said earlier, the Conservatives make a great many extravagant announcements. They say they will be investing in a number of areas, but if we look at the details, we see these investments are superficial. There is no real, concrete, strategic plan for stimulating the economy and creating local, sustainable jobs. Jobs that do not pay enough and that keep people living below the poverty line are not helpful.

I would like to suggest some concrete ways to really help Canadian families. Consider the health care system. As we all know, thousands of families do not have access to family doctors and nurses at this time. There is a personnel shortage in the health care system. It is a problem everywhere, in all provinces and territories. Hospitals and clinics do not have enough human resources. The public health care system is particularly short-staffed. The Conservatives have not done much to prevent private services from taking a larger share of health care. The bigger the private sector becomes, the bigger the gap between the poor and the wealthy when it comes to access to health care, even though poorer people are the ones who need health care the most.

Earlier, my colleague from Abitibi—Témiscamingue explained, as have many others, that family caregivers need a great deal of help. The Conservatives are always telling us over and over about the tax credit for family caregivers; however, that tax credit can only benefit people who make enough money. Most family caregivers do not have enough income to benefit from tax credits. Why would the government not grant direct tax benefits instead, which would really help these people? That would put money directly into the pockets of people who help families who are in need because of health problems and other concerns. This would be a concrete, positive, constructive measure for family caregivers.

Still in the area of health, we have to invest in home care to allow people to maintain their independence and remain active. I am on the Standing Committee on Health and I am our deputy health critic. Every week since October, witnesses have been coming to the committee to tell us that, as far as chronic illnesses are concerned, the government must invest in creating a strategic plan for healthy eating and urban planning in order to allow people to have an active lifestyle. Simply improving the public's eating habits would help unburden the health care system. It would also create jobs.

There are already a number of farmers, growers and fresh food producers in our regions, in Canada, who could supply food to seniors living on very low incomes who do not have the means to buy fruit and vegetables. Fruit and vegetables should be a staple in our diet. A number of health experts who have come to testify at the Standing Committee on Health have said that seniors cannot afford to buy fruit and vegetables. That is appalling. There are plenty of farmers who want nothing more than to offer their products at local markets and grocery stores at affordable prices. This is basic nutrition. We could make use of it in schools and hospitals, but the government lacks leadership on the issue.

Another aspect of health is physical activity. The provinces are trying to promote physical activity and healthy living, but problems related to obesity and diabetes are on the rise. The federal government should invest more in helping the provinces and territories in their promotion and prevention efforts.

A number of people and organizations such as those that support seniors have managed to implement projects in more than 500 cities in Canada, including over 300 in Quebec. The purpose of these projects is to configure cities differently and adapt them to more active living. This may involve ensuring that sidewalks are safe for seniors and the children of young families and having more green space in neighbourhoods, which in turn encourages people to use local services, drive less, walk more and get together. In addition to making neighbourhoods livelier, it would encourage people to be physically active.

We have many suggestions just in the area of health. The Conservatives often say that the opposition makes few suggestions. I just provided five in the area of health. We can provide more. With regard to public safety, we could create more jobs, except that the Conservatives are once again being very contradictory.

They say that they want to promote local employment. I will repeat that, in my riding, an entire section of the border is not protected. RCMP officers told me last week that closing the Franklin border crossing has been and continues to be a nuisance for them. There has been a resurgence of smuggling and crime, and people can cross the border between official crossings because of the decrease in surveillance. The customs officers who worked at the former Franklin border crossing also provided security and surveillance. Now there is none, because of the Conservatives' decision.

I see my time is nearly up and I will move on to another matter. There is not much in the budget, Bill C-13, in terms of the environment. In my riding, the budget for the St. Francis Lake National Wildlife Area was cut by 56% even though it attracts more than 5,000 tourists every year. It is located in Dundee, a point of access to the United States and to the Akwesasne Mohawk Reserve.

We keep hearing that Canada is trying to encourage ties with first nations communities. Instead, the government is cutting funding and many people are losing their jobs. To make matters worse, the jobs that are being lost are green, sustainable and local. There are many small measures like this that are negatively affecting our local and national economy. In Quebec alone, the budgets of four other wildlife areas have been cut. Canada has a total of 51 national wildlife areas. Why does the government have to cut funding to a profitable area?

Bill C-13 does not promote the local economy and does even less for the national economy. I am asking the Conservatives to be open and accommodating and to include our proposals in their budget.

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

Madam Speaker, earlier, my colleague pointed out one contradiction in the Conservative budget, and I would like to point out a second. Lately, we have talked a lot about public safety. Just last week, in my riding office, I met with RCMP officers who are involved in a border pilot project. My riding borders the United States.

We are talking about creating jobs that, among other things, enhance public safety. My riding has been concerned about the closure of the Franklin border crossing for several months, if not years, now. The RCMP officer said that the closure of the border crossing is having a negative impact on the RCMP's police operations. There is also a portion of the riding that is not covered at all by the RCMP. As a result, contraband is on the rise and organized crime has moved into the area. Not only have jobs been lost, but violence is increasing and there is a lack of security in this area.

What can the members opposite say to defend themselves? They talk about how good the budget is but they are doing nothing at all for the people in my riding.

Questions Passed as Orders for Returns November 14th, 2011

With regard to the Lac Saint-François, Cap Tourmente, Baie de l’Île-Verte and Pointe-de-l’Est national wildlife areas: (a) did the fixed or firm prices of the service contracts between the non-governmental agencies of these areas and Environment Canada decrease between May 2010 and September 1, 2011; (b) what are the reasons for the reduced fixed prices for these areas; (c) are the general conditions of the service contracts for these areas different from those of previous years; (d) are the service contract statements of work for these areas different from those of previous years; (e) what is the financial allocation plan for these areas; (f) did Environment Canada hold consultations on the fixed prices or budgets of these areas; (g) who were the individuals consulted; (h) who made the decisions regarding the fixed prices for these areas; (i) was a value-for-money assessment conducted on Canada’s wildlife areas; and (j) are changes to the fixed or firm prices of other areas across the country being considered?