House of Commons photo


Crucial Fact

  • Her favourite word was riding.

Last in Parliament October 2019, as NDP MP for Saint-Hyacinthe—Bagot (Québec)

Lost her last election, in 2021, with 12% of the vote.

Statements in the House

Child Care April 3rd, 2019

Mr. Speaker, the Liberals go on and on about how they have lifted hundreds of thousands of children out of poverty thanks to the Canada child benefit, yet there are 1.4 million poor children in this country, which means there are also poor families. These are people who want to join the middle class but cannot. In many cases, that is because they are up against exorbitant child care costs.

It would have been nice if the Liberal poverty reduction strategy had included money for a national child care system, but it did not. This is an issue for families everywhere. Families in my riding and elsewhere spend around $40 per day per child in private care. That is a huge amount of money. Families that have two kids in care five days a week shell out $1,600 per month.

Even though Quebec has a subsidized child care program, spaces are in short supply and many families have no choice but to find private child care. Interestingly, only about 10% of Quebeckers use private child care compared to Ontario at over 30% and British Columbia and the maritime and prairie provinces at over 40%.

On average, parents in all of these provinces except Quebec are more likely to use private day care than subsidized day care. While the subsidized day care situation is already a real contributor to poverty in Quebec, it seems to be even worse in the rest of Canada. It is time to start working with the provinces.

I want to thank the Minister of Families for coming out Monday for the beginning of the panel organized by the Groupe femmes, politique et démocratie and the magazine L'actualité. At one point, the MPs on the panel were asked about day care and gender equality in the context of an MP's duties. I want to make it clear that government inaction on child care disproportionately harms women, whether they are single or have a partner. It is time to make sure that families, especially women, can choose to return to work instead of making sacrifices.

Access to affordable day care is a problem for all women, but it is also a problem for all minorities. Indigenous peoples, newcomers, rural residents and the most vulnerable segments of society are all aware of this issue. The federal government should be working in partnership with the provinces to help these people, who make up a large proportion of our population. Forty dollars per day, per child, in a country where 46% of the population is $200 away from insolvency at the end of each month is not sustainable.

The NDP wants to be an ally to Quebec, as we have always been when it comes to federal programs that involve provincial jurisdictions. If it wanted, Quebec could use the money to create more child care spaces to help Quebec families. The NDP has always been a partner to Quebec and always will be. Together we can expand child care coverage and reduce daily rates, acting in direct compliance with the priorities of the Government of Quebec.

I am therefore calling on the government to give young children the tools and parents the choice. If child care is easier to access, many parents, especially women, will be able to return to the workforce, which will promote job creation and a better quality of life for Canadians. Back home, child care will still be affordable, but more women and minorities will be able to rejoin the workforce, which will have a very positive impact on our economy, on family income, and on the financial independence of women in particular.

My question is simple. When will the Liberals keep the promise they made decades ago and implement affordable child care nationwide?

Indigenous Affairs April 1st, 2019

Mr. Speaker, they expect better. The members of Grassy Narrows First Nation are asking for justice after decades of mercury poisoning in their community.

Last week, the Prime Minister made fun of them as they were being escorted out of his fundraiser. That is not leadership. Leadership is engaging with people, going to Grassy Narrows and seeing what these families are going through and keeping one's promises. The Prime Minister's apologies are no longer enough.

Will he commit to visiting Grassy Narrows immediately?

Employment Insurance March 22nd, 2019

Mr. Speaker, the Liberals had a chance to take action to fix the spring gap problem for seasonal workers and address the labour shortage. Instead, they chose to keep plundering the EI fund.

Workers are sick and tired of broken promises, like the Liberals' promise to fix the spring gap problem, which affects thousands of families.

Will the Liberals finally admit that they would rather give handouts to the rich than actually help workers?

Employment Insurance March 20th, 2019

Mr. Speaker, with voices full of compassion, the Prime Minister and his Minister of Social Development indicated that they were going to enhance EI sickness benefits by the end of the year. That was in 2016.

There was nothing in the 2017 budget, nothing in the 2018 budget, and still nothing in the 2019 budget. This was the Liberals' last chance to keep their promise, but they decided to turn their backs on hundreds of thousands of sick people who need more than 15 weeks to recover.

Why did the Prime Minister betray them?

Pharmacare February 26th, 2019

Mr. Speaker, people across the country are struggling to afford their medications and struggling to make ends meet. Instead of helping these people, the Liberal government continues to tell them that they must wait.

Unions are in Ottawa this week to urge the government to work on creating a universal pharmacare program that is fully funded for everyone. People clearly need a single-payer universal pharmacare system that provides equal coverage to everyone.

When will this government take action?

Infrastructure February 25th, 2019

Madam Speaker, I would like to commend all those who worked on the magnificent Samuel de Champlain Bridge. I must admit that it looks very nice.

Two infrastructure and communities ministers appeared before the committee in the past year. With regard to the Champlain Bridge, I asked both of them how the world still has pyramids and why we cannot build a bridge that lasts more than 50 years.

I sincerely hope that the Samuel de Champlain Bridge will last more than 100 years. We need sustainable infrastructure, and I encourage the government to include sustainability criteria in all calls for tenders.

Infrastructure February 25th, 2019

Madam Speaker, in October 2018, I asked whether we were going to incur any penalties for the construction delays on the Champlain Bridge. These delays prove that P3s are not actually more effective.

I am not sure why, but at the time, the parliamentary secretary's answer was about safety. Today, I would therefore like to talk about sustainable infrastructure.

On February 12, 2019, I was in the village of Saint-Dominique in my riding, Saint-Hyacinthe—Bagot, where I held a press conference calling on the federal government to include criteria to promote sustainable infrastructure when awarding contracts.

I then had a discussion with the owners of a local family business, father and son Jacques and Frédéric Sylvestre, as well as project manager David Jodoin and R&D director Jean Dubrueil.

I was pleased to learn that this business from my riding supplied the concrete for the Champlain Bridge. Since it hopes to do the same for the REM and can guarantee its concrete for 125 years, I keep repeating that investing in sustainable infrastructure will pay off down the road. I do not understand why sustainability criteria are not taken into account when tenders are put out for federal government contracts.

A few weeks ago, the Liberals said that they were in infrastructure mode. It was high time. It is also time for them to be in sustainable infrastructure mode so that all the taxpayers' money is invested in high-quality, long-lasting infrastructure with little environmental impact. It is time for sustainable development to be included in requests for proposals.

It is important to acknowledge individual initiatives from companies in Saint-Hyacinthe—Bagot. Roller-compacted concrete by the Saint-Dominique quarry is a perfect example of sustainable innovation. Infrastructure developed with rolled concrete is an example of an innovative process that everyone should be on board with, including the federal government.

From now on, we must design and build all our infrastructure based on sustainable performance criteria for the lifetime of the infrastructure and that includes the environmental, economic, and social cost, as much as it includes the cost of maintenance, restoration, or partial replacement as needed.

Recently at the Standing Committee on Transport, I asked the Parliamentary Budget Officer, Yves Giroux, about including a sustainability criterion in federal government requests for proposals. He said:

In your example, this would ensure funding for projects that, at first glance, are a little more expensive but are more cost effective.

In light of this response, the NDP believes that the money required to build sustainable facilities must not be considered only as expenses. This money should be considered as sustainable investments that have significant economic spinoffs, that are environmentally sound and that minimize negative consequences for our communities.

Like my NDP colleague from Hochelaga, I think that we should ensure that the sustainable development criterion is applied when affordable and community housing is being built. Social housing is important for low-income Canadians. If the housing were to be built with sustainable materials, the upkeep would be cheaper and, again, it would undeniably be good for the environment.

In conclusion, the NDP and I believe that sustainable economic development is the future of infrastructure, public transit and social housing. It is clear that in the long term, a sustainable project makes financial and environmental sense.

Public Services and Procurement February 25th, 2019

Mr. Speaker, what a milestone. The Phoenix fiasco began three years ago, and the Liberal government still has yet to find a solution.

Public servants have been living this nightmare for three years, and the government refuses to say when this fiasco will be fixed. An internal government memo says it could take 10 years. Public servants continue to provide services every day, and they are still having problems getting paid properly.

The government has turned its back on these families. Public servants must get the money they are owed immediately.

When will the Liberals fix this, once and for all?

Saint-Hyacinthe—Bagot February 25th, 2019

Mr. Speaker, the people of Saint-Hyacinthe and Acton Vale are very involved in their community. They are selfless with their time and energy. I would like to acknowledge the contributions of some of these remarkable people from all walks of life, who are dedicated to improving community life.

We have many volunteers, but I would like to highlight the outstanding contributions of the following people: Micheline Bienvenue and Denis Hinse of the Optimist Club; Lynda Chambers and Denise Joyal of Harmonie vocale; Mélanie Lagacé, who is involved in agriculture; Céline Lussier-Cadieux of the Boisé-des-Douze nature reserve; Claude Marchesseault, a Saint-Hyacinthe community builder; Rosaire Martin, who is involved in all municipal affairs; Claude Millette, a world-renowned visual artist; Robert Pinsonneault of the Orchestre philharmonique de Saint-Hyacinthe; as well as Micheline Healy, Richard Standish, Jacques Tétreault and Annabelle Palardy, who work to protect and defend our environment.

Their involvement keeps our community's tradition of caring and support alive, and I thank them for it.

Standing Committee on Health February 25th, 2019

Mr. Speaker, I rise today to speak to Motion No. 206, which New Democrats will oppose even though we feel there is an urgent need to encourage Canadians to be more physically active and less sedentary.

The Liberals are doing the same thing here that they did with pharmacare. They want to study an issue that is already very well documented instead of taking steps that will really make a difference for people. If the sponsor of the motion had done his homework, he would have learned that the points he raised in his motion were already addressed in a joint report by federal, provincial and territorial ministers on May 31, 2018. Instead of duplicating a report that is barely 10 months old, the member should be pushing his government to act on the 46 recommendations in that report immediately.

The riding of Saint-Hyacinthe—Bagot is lucky to have extraordinary people who help our children learn and grow through sport. Dedicated volunteers spend countless hours nurturing our kids' love of sport and helping them excel.

People in my riding are passionate. Some have been involved in the sporting community for so long that they have inspired generations of locals. One person in particular, Louis Graveline, has devoted the past 50 years to judo students in Saint-Hyacinthe. What an honour it is to talk about Mr. Graveline in the House. Imagine spending 50 years sharing one's passion with several generations of students. That is quite an achievement. Former students describe him as passionate, persistent, firm and caring.

Another individual who comes to mind is Normand Ménard, from our athletic club, who has influenced generations of children who are now adults. Mr. Ménard has run the equivalent of the distance around the earth three times. Speaking of running, for 25 years now, Saint-Hyacinthe has been hosting the Défi Gérard-Côté, an event that brings together runners of all ages and all skill levels. It is a fun, not-to-be-missed event in Saint-Hyacinthe, with various categories including school, family, individual and corporate teams.

Acton Vale has had its own event for runners of all ages, the Défi des semelles d'Acton Vale, for six years now. Acton Vale has also been thrilled with the success of its baseball team, the Castors d'Acton Vale. I must acknowledge Michel Dorais for his volunteer work with the team, as well as the Fonds d'athlète de la MRC d'Acton, which supports the work of these exceptional athletes every year.

I could go on and on naming many other cheerleaders, everyone from the ProCheer club to André Cournoyer and Vincent Cournoyer from the Défi Futsal, as well as our two figure skating clubs, one in Acton Vale and one in Saint-Hyacinthe. For swimming fans, I would be remiss if I did not mention the Corporation aquatique maskoutaine and the remarkable athletes in both our swimming club and synchronized swimming club.

In both Acton Vale and Saint-Hyacinthe, we have the privilege of counting on volunteers who dedicate their time to our young people, getting them excited about our national sport, hockey. I am proud to announce to all my colleagues that Saint-Hyacinthe will host the Telus Cup in April 2020. This major sporting event is an opportunity for hockey players from the best teams in the country to show off their talent in a very competitive tournament.

We have some excellent hockey teams in Acton Vale and Saint-Hyacinthe, and I want to commend the volunteer boards of directors and coaches of these teams for their hard work. To name just a few, there is Lucien Beauregard, from the Saint-Hyacinthe pee-wee hockey tournament; Francis Morin, from the Saint-Hyacinthe minor hockey association; Christiane Lussier, Sylvie Carbonneau and the Festi-MAHG board of directors; the Acton Vale minor hockey association; DEK Hockey Saint-Hyacinthe; the Acton Vale provincial midget tournament; the Saint-Hyacinthe Gaulois team; and Noémie Marin, from Acton Vale, who was appointed head coach of the women's team that will represent Quebec at the 2019 Canada Games.

Did members know that a woman from my region was inducted into the Hockey Hall of Fame? Danielle Goyette, from Saint-Nazaire, was inducted in 2017. This was an honour for all of Quebec, since she was the first woman from Quebec and the fourth woman to be inducted into the Hockey Hall of Fame. The people of Saint-Hyacinthe and Acton Vale are talented, and they win medals everywhere they go.

Today, I am proud to tell members about the accomplishments of the high-performance athletes in my riding who are doing Quebec and Canada proud. Julien Pinsonneault from Saint-Hyacinthe is the Canadian snowshoe champion, and Béatrice Boucher from Saint-Dominique continues to impress the equestrian world. At last year's North American championships, this young woman was the top Canadian rider in dressage and won three medals. She also won the gold medal in the young riders division team event.

There is also Annie Moniqui from the La machine rouge weightlifting club, as well as the entire Darsigny family, which includes Olympian Yvan Darsigny and future Olympians Tali, Matt and Shad Darsigny. The club always wins all the medals in international competitions.

I am also thinking of Francis Charbonneau, the mixed martial arts champion, Jean-Sébastien Roy, the Canadian motocross champion who was inducted into the Canadian Motorcycle Hall of Fame in 2012, and sensei Guy Brodeur of the Guy Brodeur martial arts centre. In 1985, he became world karate champion, winning not one, but two medals. Mr. Brodeur was a pioneer in this discipline and has been passing on his love of karate to young people ever since.

Throughout their school years, kids can also count on experienced coaches to teach and guide them through their development. I am thinking about school clubs like the Patriotes at Saint-Joseph secondary school in Saint-Hyacinthe, the Drakkar at Hyacinthe-Delorme secondary school, the Titans at Robert-Ouimet secondary school, and the badminton club at Robert-Ouimet secondary school.

We are also fortunate to have organizations that look after the well-being of our young people. I am thinking about Jeunes en santé, an organization that promotes a healthy and active lifestyle and healthy living habits for children from infancy to age 17. I want to take a moment to recognize the new coordinator, Jézabel Legendre, who is taking over for Véronique Laramée, who worked with our young people for 15 years. I thank Véronique for her work and I welcome Ms. Legendre.

We can also rely on recreational facilities and those who run them. In every neighbourhood in Saint-Hyacinthe, every town and municipality in my riding, recreation coordinators, most of whom are women, work to keep our young people active all year long, especially through the various day camps that are run throughout the summer.

I am proud to represent these high-level athletes and these volunteers who are dedicated to sharing their passion and love of sport with these athletes. Congratulations to all of them. They are an inspiration to us all.

Our communities did not wait for a motion. We took matters into our own hands and got our kids moving.

Provinces and territories have been making all kinds of healthy living commitments for decades. Whether at the municipal, provincial or territorial level, communities want to get kids moving. All they are waiting for is support from the federal government. This support was well documented in a report from just 10 months ago. The report made 46 recommendations for the federal government to implement immediately. The time has passed for studying the importance of a healthy lifestyle and the importance of moving. Now it is time for action.

For all these reasons, we will be voting against the motion. We believe it is time for action.