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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

Social Development March 21st, 2016

Madam Speaker, I am pleased to hear that the minister wants to implement all of the recommendations in the Auditor General's report, but we are talking about vulnerable people who are currently waiting for months.

How can these people be helped now? I am rather sick of hearing that the government will help them. That is what the government keeps telling me, but what I want to know is how these people who are waiting will be helped tomorrow.

Social Development March 21st, 2016

Madam Speaker, I rose in the House on February 2, 2016, in order to ask the minister what he planned to do to fix the internal errors made by the Social Security Tribunal of Canada. I asked my question in response to the Auditor General's report, which was released that same day. Although the minister said that he was going to do whatever it took to fix the problem, the Auditor General's report indicates that there are numerous internal deficiencies.

Nevertheless, there is one problem that really stands out, and that is the mismanagement of the Social Security Tribunal. According to the Auditor General's report, wait times at the tribunal have reached 900 days. That is nearly three years. That is twice as long as the wait times identified in the Auditor General's 2015 report. I would like to remind members that the Social Security Tribunal was created to make the appeal process faster and more efficient. How ironic. The reality is quite the opposite with wait times of three years.

The tribunal is making things more complicated and difficult for people. I hear the same comments every week in my riding. Since the Social Security Tribunal was created, unemployed workers in my region have been forced to jump through many hoops. It is not uncommon for people to have to wait several months before their case is heard before the general division of the Social Security Tribunal. If the tribunal does not rule in their favour, the process begins again. Unemployed workers have to file an appeal before the tribunal's appeal division, and we are once again talking about a wait time of several months before their case is heard, and that is the best-case scenario.

The wait times are long, much too long. Meanwhile, unemployed workers are not getting any employment insurance benefits. None. How can people in my riding and other ridings across the country feed their families under such circumstances? It is impossible and even unthinkable.

However, the Social Security Tribunal is not the only one at fault. The department is to blame too. The bureaucracy within the tribunal is massive. Applications are needlessly complex and can take months to complete. As a result, people keep waiting and waiting. People who are disabled or seriously ill and in urgent need of financial help are kept waiting while their files are processed. Once again, administrative and management problems are having a negative impact on society's most vulnerable people.

This is an alarming crisis for the federal government. Many Quebeckers and Canadians suffer every day because of this. People are tired and fed up, and they simply no longer trust the federal government. The government must find a solution to regain the trust of Quebeckers and Canadians. The Social Security Tribunal is a major fiasco.

Although the Prime Minister announced a new approach for appointments, for the time being, we have no guarantee that service standards will be met in the future. I remind members that during the election campaign, the current Prime Minister promised to expand access and lower premiums if he was elected, and he said that workers would pay more than they did under the previous government but would receive more services in return. That is not what we are seeing. We are calling on this government to quickly process Canadians' applications.

Employment Insurance March 21st, 2016

Mr. Speaker, workers are waiting far too long to find out whether they are entitled to employment insurance benefits. They have to wait an average of 39 days, and it is practically impossible to get in touch with anyone at Service Canada. It is stressful enough to lose your job without the government adding to that stress with interminable wait times. Unemployed workers do not have the luxury of waiting.

Will the government quickly hire staff to reduce wait times?

Business of Supply March 21st, 2016

Madam Speaker, I hope that the decision my colleague mentioned will not result in a hierarchy of different rights, as was the case with the Office of Religious Freedom. I would like to thank my colleague for his speech and for highlighting his commitment to all human rights. I would like him to tell us whether he believes, as I do, that there should not be a hierarchy, that is, that certain rights, such as religious rights, should not take precedence over other rights, and whether this will be reflected in the decision on the renewal of the office, which will be announced shortly.

Housing March 10th, 2016

Mr. Speaker, although we share some of the same concerns and agree on certain issues, I invite the parliamentary secretary to take note of some of the constructive bills that the NDP has introduced to help people gain access to safe and affordable housing.

I am talking about Bill C-241, which seeks to recognize an individual's right to proper housing at a reasonable cost, and Bill C-400, which seeks to ensure secure, adequate, accessible, and affordable housing.

Having been the head of a community housing organization for more than 10 years, I am well aware of the different roles of municipal, provincial, and federal governments. I worked in the world of social housing for more than 10 years. I expect great things from the federal government when it comes to social housing. I saw thousands of young people benefit from social housing and saw how it gave them what they needed to get ahead in life.

Housing March 10th, 2016

Mr. Speaker, on December 11, 2015, I asked the minister whether the government planned to reinvest in social housing and renew the long-term subsidy agreements that were set to expire on December 31. I would like to point out that this matter was urgent three months ago.

In Canada, over 620,000 social housing units, including 127,000 in Quebec, were provided through long-term agreements between the Canada Mortgage and Housing Corporation and community-based housing providers. The federal government has been granting subsidies to thousands of low-income families through these agreements for nearly 30 years.

Unfortunately, now that the subsidy agreements have expired, 5,200 families in Quebec have to pay nearly all of their housing costs. Their share of the rent represents up to 88% of their income, which is three times more than before. Eighty-eight per cent. That is unbelievable. How can a family buy groceries and pay other expenses with so little disposable income? In 2016, no one should have to choose between paying rent and buying groceries. These rent subsidies mainly helped seniors, families, and people with disabilities. The expiry of these agreements therefore affects the most vulnerable members of our communities. Having a roof over your head is the basis for everything. It keeps people safe and healthy and is crucial to the stability and progression of disadvantaged people. Seniors, people with disabilities, and low-income families should not have to live in fear of losing their home.

The lack of social housing in my riding of Saint-Hyacinthe—Bagot is a problem that has still not been solved. There are only 653 social housing units. The demand far exceeds the supply. In the city of Saint-Hyacinthe itself, there are 200 families on the waiting list for the low-rental housing units managed by the municipal housing bureau.

These figures do not even reflect the reality. When I speak to organizations that work on a daily basis with families and people looking for social housing, they tell me that many have given up. These people have asked to have their names removed from the list, since the wait times are too long and there is too much red tape. These people are facing never-ending wait times. We are talking about two to five years. The situation is critical now.

This government committed to helping people in need of housing. It signed the International Covenant on Economic, Social and Cultural Rights. Article 11 of the covenant states that parties must recognize the right of everyone to housing. Having affordable housing is not a luxury; it is a right. The NDP is calling on the government to maintain the total funding of $1.7 billion a year currently dedicated to long-term agreements. We have long been proposing concrete solutions that are easy to implement. We are now facing a situation that is beyond critical. Without federal support, the people living in these units will simply have no other housing options.

In this time of crisis, we are calling on the government to take meaningful action by massively reinvesting in social and affordable housing for the good of our communities.

The federal budget will be tabled in two weeks. The government has an opportunity to improve the lives of our communities in a very real way by investing in housing. Now is the time to take responsibility and show some leadership on this.

Citizenship Act March 10th, 2016

Mr. Speaker, I congratulate my colleague on her defence of diversity and inclusion.

The fees associated with citizenship applications went up significantly under the Conservative regime, despite the poor service provided by the department.

I would have liked Bill C-6 to go even further. I have no doubt that my colleague has a great deal of compassion for the families who go through financial difficulties after they first arrive in Canada.

Does the member intend to ask the government to go even further with Bill C-6 and bring down these fees, which can easily surpass $1,000 per family, as well as the other fees related to documentation?

Citizenship Act March 10th, 2016

Mr. Speaker, I will support the bill, which repeals many of the discriminatory and unconstitutional changes that the previous government made to the Canadian Citizenship Act. However, like my colleagues, I am disappointed that Bill C-6 does not go further.

After hearing her eloquent remarks in support of the Canadian Charter of Rights and Freedoms, I would like to ask my colleague from Scarborough Centre whether she intends to press the minister not to revoke anyone's citizenship without giving that person the opportunity to participate in a court hearing.

The Environment March 10th, 2016

Mr. Speaker, today, the Prime Minister announced an agreement with the Americans to reduce methane emissions. We are pleased that the United States is finally recognizing the need to act, but this is nothing new for Canada. The provinces already made a commitment in this regard.

It is time to take the fight against climate change seriously.

Will the government stop doing just the bare minimum and finally present clear targets for reducing CO2 emissions?

Health March 9th, 2016

Madam Speaker, I am very pleased to hear that the parliamentary secretary supports the principle that I put forward and that she is concerned about the well-being of Canadians. However, Quebeckers do not have access right now to the health care they need because they cannot afford to pay the fees.

I am very proud to be a member of the party that created medicare. We will continue to be its strongest defenders. We must tirelessly promote the improvements to be made and act quickly. Yes, we must co-operate with the provinces in order to deal with this situation. However, we must act quickly on ancillary fees in Quebec. I can see the faces of those people who, even today, cannot afford these fees.