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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

Resumption of Debate on Address in Reply December 11th, 2015

Mr. Speaker, before I begin my speech, I would like to say that I will be sharing my time with the member for South Okanagan—West Kootenay.

Since this is my first speech in the House, I would like to take this opportunity to thank the people of Saint-Hyacinthe-Bagot for putting their trust in me on October 19. It is a great privilege to represent them in the House of Commons.

I will continue to work hard to deserve this honour and to give my constituents a voice. I would also like to thank all those who supported me and worked by my side during the election campaign: the volunteers, as well as my friends and family. Without the support they gave me every day, I would not be here today.

I am fortunate to represent an extraordinary riding and I invite my colleagues to discover it. It includes two RCMs, the RCM of Acton and that of Maskoutains, which are made up of 25 municipalities and three towns, namely Acton Vale, Saint-Pie, and of course, Saint-Hyacinthe. Saint-Hyacinthe is an innovative region, as demonstrated by the fact it won the title of Canada's Jobs Capital in 2015. We have also held the prestigious title of Agri-Food Capital of Québec for a long time.

I, along with many Canadians, listened closely to the throne speech. I was happy with a number of commitments this government made, but there were some omissions, and I was disappointed by other aspects.

Agriculture is a very strong economic driver in my riding. Saint-Hyacinthe is known around the world for being an agrifood technopole, in particular because it is home to educational institutions, such as the CEGEP, the Institut de technologie agroalimentaire, and the only French-language veterinary medicine faculty in North America. It is also home to research centres and a number of biotechnology innovation companies. Agriculture is the backbone of our economy back home.

On a daily basis, I hear from farmers who are worried about the trans-Pacific partnership. I am concerned that the Liberals still seem prepared to move forward with the Conservatives' trans-Pacific partnership agreement. This agreement will put our farmers at risk. In my riding, in the RCM of Les Maskoutains alone, more than 250 family businesses will be affected by this agreement.

Furthermore, although the Liberals made an election promise, I did not hear anything in the throne speech about holding public consultations anytime soon. There was also nothing about the compensation promised to the farmers who will suffer the consequences of this agreement. I must admit that people back home are very worried.

In my riding of Saint-Hyacinthe—Bagot, a number of major infrastructure projects are waiting for federal funding. This government promised Canadians change—rapid, urgent, and positive change—in how it does things. It promised to make massive investments in infrastructure, among other things.

In my riding, we need a rail overpass on Casavant Boulevard in Saint-Hyacinthe. This project is vital to the economic development of the city because it will open up the industrial park. We have been waiting for federal funding for this project for over 10 years. I am very familiar with this file as I was a municipal councillor in Saint-Hyacinthe for six years.

The City of Saint-Hyacinthe invested more than $20 million in a ring road, which is located in my area and presently leads to a dead end because of the rail line. Furthermore, negotiations between the city and CN are difficult, if not impossible, and the railway's demands account for most of the project's cost.

The Casavant Boulevard extension is necessary for the development and growth of Saint-Hyacinthe. It is critical that the federal government act quickly and decisively on this file so that we can build this road infrastructure.

Another major project is currently under way in Saint-Hyacinthe. In 2012, a shock wave went through the business tourism industry in my region with the closing of a large hotel complex.

Many jobs were lost, and many businesses felt the sting. Now we are all working together to help the sector recover. With support from the federal and provincial governments, the City of Saint-Hyacinthe hopes to build a brand-new convention centre adjacent to a new hotel.

This partnership would help revitalize Saint-Hyacinthe—Bagot's business tourism industry and create lots of good jobs while strengthening the city's business sector. This partnership includes the Société d'agriculture de Saint-Hyacinthe, which already has a fair centre. Together, the convention centre and the fair centre will make Saint-Hyacinthe the biggest destination for such events other than Montreal and Quebec City.

The city of Saint-Pie is working on making a new community centre proposal a reality. This infrastructure project connects recreational and community activities, schools and the municipal library. This is a good example of a community that is taking action to make the most of the available resources to truly improve life for families.

Once again, this is a major project that deserves the government's attention and shows how urgent it is to implement an infrastructure funding program that is both generous and flexible.

These major projects, to name a few, are very important to my riding. I expect the government to commit adequate funding to help the communities achieve their full economic development potential based on their own priorities.

I have the honour of being the NDP critic for families, children, and social development and the deputy critic for health. I am delighted at the prospect of working with my colleagues on these important areas of responsibility, and I offer my full co-operation.

I listened closely to the Speech from the Throne and the measures that relate to my responsibilities as critic. I am pleased to hear that the government is going to improve the Canada pension plan after so many years of Conservative inaction. However, I must admit that I was very disappointed to see that there was no mention in the Speech from the Throne of the fight against poverty here in Canada and no mention of a plan to fight poverty and reduce inequality in Canada.

I did not hear anything about the promise to improve the guaranteed income supplement to help lift seniors out of poverty or anything about cancelling the cuts to old age security.

I also did not hear the government announce any measures to change the retirement age back from 67 to 65. I did not hear it say that it will improve the employment insurance program by reversing the harmful changes made by the Conservatives. Those measures would serve to help our communities, reduce social inequality in a meaningful way, and help our seniors.

The Speech from the Throne states, and I quote:

...the Government believes that all Canadians should have a real and fair chance to succeed.

Yesterday I mentioned in the House that, unfortunately, some children are still going to school with empty bellies and some seniors are still living in poverty. That is happening right here in Canada in 2015 and that is unacceptable.

It is high time we fought poverty and created a national anti-poverty plan in order to ensure that everyone really does have a fair chance to succeed.

As the deputy health critic, I would have liked to see some concrete commitments to cancel the health care cuts made by the Conservative government. We need to invest in care for our seniors and in coverage for prescription drugs, and the government needs to take action to make it easier to access family doctors.

We hope that the Liberals will not try to backpedal on the commitments they made to Canadians. As the progressive opposition, we will continue to put pressure on the Liberal government to keep its promises.

Canadians must have the assurance that from now on this Parliament will fight for their jobs, their families, and their communities.

Housing December 11th, 2015

Mr. Speaker, during the election campaign, the Liberals promised to invest in social and affordable housing and to renew the long-term subsidy agreements.

If nothing is done by the end of the month, 5,200 households in Quebec are going to lose their subsidy. During the holiday season, it is unacceptable to cause these families so much anxiety.

Will the government tell us whether it plans to invest in social and affordable housing and renew the long-term subsidy agreements, as promised?

Business of Supply December 10th, 2015

Mr. Speaker, I congratulate my colleague on her election win.

I also thank her for sharing her experience in NATO. I can understand her respect for organizations like the United Nations and NATO, which we belong to because they help us protect Canadians. Since this mission does not have the backing of the UN or NATO, I would like her to draw on her experience in NATO to help us understand what would justify it.

What does she think of Canada's participation in a mission that is not under the aegis of the United Nations or NATO?

Taxation December 10th, 2015

Mr. Speaker, thousands of children go to school with empty bellies. Thousands of seniors live in poverty. They are the ones who would benefit from a new Canada child benefit or an enhanced guaranteed income supplement, promises this government made.

What is the government's priority though? Cutting taxes for people earning between $90,000 and $200,000. Can the minister explain why his government did not choose to make helping those who really need help a priority?

Health December 8th, 2015

Mr. Speaker, two reports confirm that too many Canadians are still waiting for health care in Canada.

Despite dire need, the Conservatives forced massive cuts amounting to $36 billion on the provinces. The government promised to negotiate a new agreement, but nobody knows if there will be any money.

Can the minister confirm that they will cancel the Conservatives' $36-billion health care cut?

Resumption of Debate on Address in Reply December 8th, 2015

Mr. Speaker, I would like to congratulate my colleague on getting elected and on his speech.

He spoke about the importance of making sure that every vote counts. With regard to electoral reform, the government has already indicated that it is leaning toward a preferential ballot system.

What does the member think of the fact that many Canadians who have studied this topic for many years, some of whom are members of organizations such as the Mouvement pour une démocratie nouvelle or Fair Vote Canada, believe that we should follow the example of many other countries and go with a mixed member proportional system? Such a system would truly ensure that every vote would count.

What does the member think about that?

Resumption of Debate on Address in Reply December 8th, 2015

Mr. Speaker, I would like to congratulate my colleague on his election and his speech.

Our communities are ready to welcome refugees. I represent the city of Saint-Hyacinthe, where the municipality, community welcome and employment organizations, and those in the health and education networks will welcome refugees. We know that the costs of accepting refugees will be much greater than what was announced.

Can my colleague guarantee stakeholders that these costs will be fully covered?

Resumption of Debate on Address in Reply December 8th, 2015

Madam Speaker, I am very proud to be able to say “Madam Speaker” and I applaud your appointment to the position. I would like to take a moment to thank the voters of Saint-Hyacinthe—Bagot for putting their trust in me. When you arrive in this honourable place, you realize what a privilege it is to be a member of the House of Commons and to represent them.

Speaking of the duty of representation, I want to thank my colleague for talking about the importance of the environment for our communities. Like my colleague, I also worked at the municipal level for six years. I was a city councillor in Saint-Hyacinthe and chair of the environmental advisory committee. My experience taught me that achieving positive environmental results requires a clear action plan.

I want to ask my colleague whether her government plans to set clear objectives to fight climate change.

Status of Women December 7th, 2015

Mr. Speaker, 26 years after the Polytechnique tragedy, too many women are still victims of violence simply because they are women.

According to Quebec's Fédération des maisons d'hébergement pour femmes, 10,000 women were turned away last year alone. When I worked at a shelter, I had to turn women away myself. Women who are victims of violence need to have access to this essential service.

Can the minister tell us when her government will invest in shelters?