House of Commons photo

Crucial Fact

  • Her favourite word was city.

Last in Parliament October 2015, as NDP MP for Québec (Québec)

Lost her last election, in 2015, with 27% of the vote.

Statements in the House

Quebec Bridge February 24th, 2015

Mr. Speaker, the minister claims she did her part when she put $75 million on the table to repaint the Quebec Bridge. The problem is that her offer is conditional on CN's participation, but CN is not responsible for painting the bridge because of the Liberals' negligence. The minister's $75 million is money that Quebec City will never see.

Is the Prime Minister gearing up for another election by promising to paint the bridge or will he finally keep his word and get on with it?

Housing February 18th, 2015

Mr. Speaker, the Conservatives' pigheaded determination to impose a new strategy to fight homelessness is causing chaos for 26 Quebec organizations.

In Quebec City, organizations such as Maison de Lauberivière, Maison Dauphine, Armée du Salut, Point de repères and others are operating with the sword of Damocles over their heads. RAIIQ member organizations believe that this is one of the biggest backward steps in years.

Why is the Conservative government not going with what works? Why impose a one-size-fits-all strategy on Quebec?

Housing February 18th, 2015

Mr. Speaker, the Conservatives' approach to homelessness does not meet the needs of the people involved.

By opting for a strategy based on housing, the minister is providing a very simplistic response to a complex problem. Organizations across Quebec believe that the best way to fight homelessness is to use varied approaches.

Why does the minister never consider prevention as a way to fight homelessness? Does she not believe that an ounce of prevention is worth a pound of cure?

“Passe Rondelle” Hockey Tournaments February 17th, 2015

Mr. Speaker, it is an honour for me to rise in the House on this Mardi Gras.

The Tournois “Passe Rondelle” are back in Quebec City, and atom, novice and pre-novice players will compete in a unique atmosphere for more than six weeks. There will be 2,800 young hockey players and their families at the Gaétan-Duchesne arena in the wonderful Les Saules neighbourhood. For Quebec City, the tournaments also generate almost half a million dollars in economic benefits for the region.

I would like to acknowledge the outstanding work done by president Paul-André Rousseau, who was awarded the Prix Méritas by the Revue Sportive 2015. My thanks go to the passionate young players, their dedicated coaches, their parents who support them, the spectators who cheer them on and, finally, all the organizers and volunteers who make this possible.

Come one, come all to Quebec City to encourage the next generation and enable our young players to live out their passion.

Quebec Bridge February 16th, 2015

Mr. Speaker, the Prime Minister should stop hiding behind CN to justify his failure to act.

Does the Prime Minister understand that nobody is interested in his signature at the bottom of a Valentine's day card? We want his signature on a cheque to repaint the Quebec Bridge like he promised.

Business of Supply February 5th, 2015

Mr. Speaker, I think it is important to remember that 94% of the inequality in this country was created under a previous Liberal government and it has continued under the Conservatives. That is why they are stuck today. There have been decades of dismantling when it comes to housing, which is a basic need.

They stopped providing funding for housing in 1994. After that, they stopped investing in bricks and mortar. They withdrew from housing completely. Then, they wonder why there is constantly growing inequality in a country that was once the best in the world, but is now—it must be said—taking a beating. That is because they have invested in nothing but oil. I find that vision unfortunate, as is the fact that they are still asking themselves this question.

There is so much wealth in this country. From one ocean to the other, there is so much wealth. That wealth is often found in creative ideas in a particular community. Someone has an idea, they put it to work, and they can conquer the world. That is what small businesses do. That is why we have to support our small businesses, so that then people will be talking about us around the world.

Business of Supply February 5th, 2015

Mr. Speaker, it is always a pleasure to hear a Conservative colleague consult me to find out how a New Democrat government would do things.

This is how: we would have a plan. That in itself is different from this government, which is not capable of producing a budget. We would have a plan in front of us. What is the plan? We would choose to invest in small businesses. We would certainly increase taxes on big businesses, but we would reduce taxes on small businesses, which are the ones that create jobs in this country.

I would prefer to give $100 to a small business, because I have a much better chance of seeing that money in the community and of having that money be reinvested. My father owned a small business. He often reinvested his profits in his business because he knew that would keep jobs in our community. That is the best protection you can have when you are in an economic recession, because you are shielded. That is what we would do.

Business of Supply February 5th, 2015

Mr. Speaker, the motion we are debating here today is very important.

The NDP plans to lower the small business tax rate from 11% to 9% in order to better support this sector of our economy, which is responsible for creating nearly half of all new jobs in Canada. We will begin with an immediate decrease from 11% to 10%, which will inject nearly $600 million into Canada's small businesses. We will then further lower the tax rate to 9%, as we indicated during our last campaign, as soon as the financial situation allows. Once that measure is fully implemented, taxes for small businesses will be reduced by nearly 20%. That is significant.

I would like to quote Martine Hébert, senior vice-president of the Canadian Federation of Independent Business:

Cutting the small business tax rate by nearly 20% will provide a big boot to business owners across the country and will help them create jobs.

Small businesses account for nearly 40% of Canada’s GDP and employ more than 7.7 million Canadians. They account for 78% of the new private sector jobs created over the last decade. Although small businesses are the engine of job creation in this country, rather than help them, the Conservative government has chosen to offer tens of billions of dollars to the most profitable corporations. Since 2006, the Conservatives have lowered the tax rate on big corporations from 22% to 15%, but they have reduced the tax rate on small businesses by only 1%, when they are the real job creators.

I have met with many business owners in my Quebec City constituency. I am also a member of three chambers of commerce. These business owners are unanimous: reducing taxes on small businesses will give them the leeway they need to hire and expand their business. A survey I did of companies in Quebec City revealed that our plan to reinvest nearly $1.2 billion in small businesses was the right one to help the business owners in my region. That is why we are calling on the House to give our motion firm support and immediately take measures to stimulate job creation and economic growth. The NDP has a plan and New Democrats are moving forward with concrete measures.

We want to reduce the small business tax rate from 11% to 9%, extend the accelerated capital cost allowance and introduce an innovation tax credit to support the manufacturing sector, which is an important sector for Quebec and Ontario. These measures can be introduced immediately. They will support the economic core of my region and show investors that a New Democratic government will usher in a new era of stability for small businesses.

It is important to take the pulse of small businesses right now as an indicator of the country's economic situation. This is from an article I was reading about all of the austerity measures that have been implemented:

Business and consumer confidence is probably the best indicator of how they perceive their economic and political context, and government decisions are part of that context.

Nobody needs a Ph.D. in economics to see that, when families are worried about the future, as they are now, when they buy less, and when companies do not make plans to invest or hire people, the economic outlook for the short and medium terms is anything but encouraging.

When I see this Conservative government investing absolutely everything in oil, it is a problem. We can see that. They are not coming up with a budget. Here we are in February, with March approaching, and they will evidently not have a budget before April. They are incapable of saying whether the deficit will drop to zero and they do not know how they are going to plan things.

Why? It is because they put all their eggs in one basket. That is beyond me, because we all have a mother who told us not to put all our eggs in one basket. However, that is exactly what is happening right now. They forgot to diversify our economy. Now that they are stuck, they can get out by investing in small and medium-sized businesses and in diversity.

In Quebec City, investing in our small businesses and diversifying our economy is precisely what we did when the cold wind hit during the recession of 2008-09. That is how we created a situation where everybody won.

Employment February 5th, 2015

Mr. Speaker, we know that the solution is here, in the NDP.

SMEs are the driving force behind job creation in Canada. They create, they innovate, they export and more importantly, they hire. They could do even more if we would give them the means.

That is why our leader has proposed a plan to help them immediately and permanently. Instead of helping large corporations, which are already profitable, we are proposing lowering taxes for small businesses.

Why do the Conservatives refuse to support the businesses that create good jobs for Canadians?

Opposition Motion—Job Creation February 5th, 2015

Mr. Speaker, I am pleased to rise in the House to support the NDP's opposition motion:

That the House call on the government to take immediate action to build a balanced economy, support the middle class and encourage manufacturing and small business job creation by: (a) extending the accelerated capital cost allowance by two years; (b) reducing the small business income tax rate from 11% to 10% immediately, and then to 9% when finances permit; and (c) introducing an Innovation Tax Credit to support investment in machinery, equipment and property to further innovation and increase productivity.

I am the deputy critic for small business, and I am pleased to present our plan to stimulate the economy and help create the next generation of jobs for the middle class.

Unfortunately, Canada's economic situation is precarious. Long-term unemployment is still close to its post-crisis peak, the average number of hours worked remains low, and the percentage of workers occupying part-time jobs remains high. The Canadian economy lost another 4,300 jobs in December, and the youth unemployment rate, at 13.5%, is more than double the national average.

A columnist with La Presse, Vincent Marissal, beautifully summed up the problem of the Conservatives' lack of economic vision. Recently he wrote:

Falling oil prices brilliantly demonstrate the lack of economic diversity in the Conservatives' policies. To some degree, Canada is now in a situation similar to those single-industry towns that are reduced to poverty and mass unemployment when the local mine, sawmill or plant shuts down....

Conservative policies also clearly show a total lack of imagination. Where are the innovation and research programs that are the hallmark of rich countries?

I could not have said it better myself. That is exactly where we are today. We need to make sure our economy is diversified, and not focus on just the traditional sectors, such as resource extraction. The Conservatives have been unable to build a balanced economy, and now Canada's middle-class families are paying the price. By failing to take action, the government has cost the manufacturing sector 400,000 jobs, which has been particularly harmful for Quebec and Ontario. Once again, I do not need to say this, since we all know it; we are all experiencing it in our ridings. Unfortunately, my riding, Québec, has not been spared by these cutbacks.

The Conservatives have also cut millions of dollars in financial assistance to businesses for research and development investments. Indeed, in addition to reducing the scientific research and experimental development tax credit, they have excluded capital expenditures. This puts sectors with high capital costs, like the manufacturing sector, at a huge disadvantage, which hinders economic activity in Canada.

The Conservatives have a less-than-stellar record on the economy. However, we must not forget that although the Liberals were in power for over 10 years, they did not reduce taxes for small businesses, not even once. They did not do anything either. The leader of the Liberal Party told 1.7 million Canadians working in the manufacturing sector that the Liberals see no future for them.

The New Democrats understand that if we want to get Canada back on the right track, we need to diversify the economy by taking advantage of new innovation and growth opportunities. The NDP is proposing concrete measures that could be adopted immediately to support the heart of Canada's economy and to show investors that a New Democrat government will bring in a new era of stability for the manufacturing sector. We want to create an innovation tax credit to encourage businesses to invest in machinery, equipment and goods to stimulate research and development. This will result in savings of nearly $40 million a year for Canadian manufacturers that make significant investments in research and development.

I would also like to quote Éric Tétrault, the president of Manufacturiers et exportateurs du Québec:

Canada's manufacturers will compete and grow only if they are able to keep pace with the new products, new technologies and new skills required in a modern, innovative and highly competitive economy. Renewal of the Accelerated Capital Cost Allowance for manufacturing and processing machinery and equipment will accelerate the adoption of new technologies. Tax credits for new product development and commercialization and for employee training are also key measures that support manufacturing success.