- Her favourite word was quebec.
Last in Parliament March 2011, as Bloc MP for Châteauguay—Saint-Constant (Québec)
Lost her last election, in 2011, with 27% of the vote.
Statements in the House
Petitions March 24th, 2011
Mr. Speaker, today I am presenting petitions that were circulated by the FADOQ network and signed by more than 2,000 Quebeckers. They are calling for an increase to the guaranteed income supplement monthly benefits, which the budget did not provide. The government offered mere crumbs.
I am presenting this petition because the Bloc has been calling for these measures for nearly 10 years and we believe that this is the only way to allow the most vulnerable people in our society to live in dignity. It is a question of dignity and social justice.
Guaranteed Income Supplement March 23rd, 2011
Mr. Speaker, with budget 2011, the Conservatives have failed in their duty to ensure a better life for our vulnerable seniors. The funding announced is only half of what seniors need to reach the low income threshold.
The Conservatives are proposing a guaranteed income supplement top-up benefit of up to $600 a year for singles with an income under $4,400 and up to $840 for couples with an income under $7,360 a year. That is woefully inadequate.
Only one in three GIS recipients will benefit from this measure. Thus, the government has rejected the demands of the Bloc Québécois and seniors' advocacy groups, including FADOQ, which are still calling for the GIS to be increased by $110 a month. Furthermore, the budget does not include any retroactive GIS payments or automatic registration for the estimated 40,000 eligible seniors in Quebec.
The Conservatives have some nerve, trying to save a few pennies at the expense of our most vulnerable seniors. How shameful.
Access to Information March 22nd, 2011
Mr. Speaker, on another issue, the Information Commissioner found that the Privy Council Office violated the Access to Information Act by obstructing a Canadian Press journalist who was trying to obtain documents on the listeriosis crisis.
If the Prime Minister will let his own department show such contempt for the law, why should we be surprised that obstruction, political interference and secrecy are so rampant within the Conservative government?
Access to Information March 22nd, 2011
Mr. Speaker, in a damning report, the Information Commissioner has found the office of the former public works minister guilty of political obstruction and interference under the Access to Information Act. Her finding was unequivocal: the minister's political office tried to block the disclosure of an embarrassing document. The file has been referred to the RCMP.
How does the current Minister of Natural Resources expect us to believe that he did not sanction this illegal activity, when obstruction and political interference were common within his office?
Ethics March 21st, 2011
Mr. Speaker, on the heels of the Jaffer affair, here is another instance of illegal lobbying by one of the Conservatives' close associates. The Prime Minister promised that he would not allow individuals to use their time in government as a stepping stone to private lobbying. Nevertheless, that is what his former caucus chair and his advisor did.
Do these two examples not show that the Prime Minister has proven that he is incapable of controlling the greed of friends of the Conservative regime?
Ethics March 21st, 2011
Mr. Speaker, a long-time aide to the Prime Minister, Bruce Carson, is under investigation by the RCMP because he allegedly engaged in illegal lobbying activities. In return for a 20% commission for his girlfriend, an escort, he promised to provide full access to the Conservatives. The Prime Minister said that he was surprised. Nevertheless, his aide was sentenced to 18 months in prison for fraud.
How can the Prime Minister be surprised by Bruce Carson's illegal practices when he tolerated this individual with a shady past as a member of his entourage for so long?
Business of Supply March 10th, 2011
Madam Speaker, the expression “I am the State” says it all. We are no longer in the British parliamentary system as we know it. We have become a kind of royalty. Someone suddenly decided here that he would be a king. We must call to order all elected members, and particularly Conservative members, and remind them that we are in a democratic parliamentary system. All elected members have the right to speak, particularly in a minority government. The Conservatives should recognize their status and they should work with their fellow members in a diligent and proactive fashion.
Business of Supply March 10th, 2011
Madam Speaker, I would like to thank the hon. member for his question and for the information he provided. Before answering, I would like to also thank the NDP members here today who spoke so loudly during my speech that I had a hard time hearing myself. I would like to thank them for listening; it was very kind. Madam Speaker, it would have been kind of you to call the members to order.
I will now respond to the very interesting question about in and out schemes and the fact that the Bloc Québécois was the creator of such schemes. I would like to remind the hon. member of the Conservative Party that, had the Bloc Québécois been guilty of wrongdoing of this sort, the Conservatives would have been the first to complain and to send the RCMP to investigate and check all of our ridings' books. That did not happen. The only party that was investigated, that had its books checked and that was charged in a case that was brought before the Federal Court and the Federal Court of Appeal is the Conservative Party and no other.
The bottom line is that, despite the fact that they have been abusing democracy for many years, they are no longer even capable of admitting their mistakes, which are now recognized by the courts.
I do not know if they will have the gall to take this as far as the Supreme Court at the public's expense, but it is shameful to circumvent the most fundamental democratic rules of a parliamentary system in such a manner. Circumventing the electoral laws to divert money for unnecessary advertising is a crime. If another party had behaved in such a manner, rest assured that it would have already been subject to a search. The Conservatives are the only guilty ones and they must take the blame.
Business of Supply March 10th, 2011
Madam Speaker, the current Conservative government is hands down the most undemocratic government we have ever seen in Ottawa. Personally, I have been a member of the Standing Committee on Access to Information, Privacy and Ethics since 2008, and I have lost track of how many files have been submitted to this committee concerning undemocratic behaviour by Conservative government members.
The Bloc Québécois felt it was important to present the motion we are discussing in the House today because the Bloc is the vigilant party here in Ottawa. Since it arrived on the federal scene, the Bloc has never looked back and it has been committed to keeping watch over the federal government, no matter which party is in power.
In its day, the sponsorship scandal was the most significant breach of the rules of democracy that the Bloc had ever uncovered on Parliament Hill. Today the Liberals may be outraged and cry foul about the Conservative Party's undemocratic behaviour, but no one has forgotten that the Gomery commission proved that for years the Liberal Party of Canada also successfully trampled the basic rules of democracy to ensure that it remained in power in Ottawa.
The day after their minority government was elected in January 2006, the Conservatives wrapped themselves in a cloak of integrity and transparency. We had hoped that they had learned a lesson and would keep their promises, but it was all just smoke and mirrors. In fact, over the past five years, this minority government has continued to develop slick schemes, each more unacceptable than the last, to ensure that it would keep control of power and act as though it were a majority. This government rivals the Liberals in the art of misleading parliamentarians and the people they represent.
The Bloc Québécois is presenting this motion today simply because it believes there is an urgent need to unmask the Conservatives' undemocratic behaviour and denounce them loud and clear in this Parliament, which is the most tangible symbol of democracy in our society.
In our parliamentary system, Parliament is the ultimate representation of democracy, freely expressed during an official election. The government that takes office must serve Parliament and the public and ensure that all elected members can fully represent their constituents. We are dealing with a minority government that, since taking office in January 2006, has been playing hide-and-seek with Parliament and constantly tries to obstruct Parliament's rules. This attitude weakens democracy, provokes crises that breed cynicism and destroys the average citizen's trust in politicians.
The Bloc Québécois has always been committed to fighting against any attacks on democratic institutions, any abuse of power by the government, any affront to the autonomy of independent institutions, any undue restrictions on access to information, and any hindrance preventing elected representatives of the people from fully representing their constituents.
Since January 2006, there has been overwhelming evidence to show that the Conservative Party does not want to abide by democratic rules. Allow me to name just a few instances of that: prorogation of Parliament on two occasions despite the wishes of the majority of the elected representatives; control over information delivered to the media on the decisions and activities of Parliament; the in and out process used during the 2005-06 election campaign to establish a national ad campaign paid for by local candidates, a process deemed illegal by Elections Canada; boycotting of certain parliamentary committees, specifically the Standing Committee on Access to Information, Privacy and Ethics, on which I sit, through multiple absences, refusals to provide required documents and filibusters to block the work of the committee; the control by the Privy Council Office over sensitive access to information requests addressed to the government, an attitude we also see in the departments. For example, an employee at the Department of Public Works ordered officials to unduly delay publication of documents that were comprising to the government.
Let us not forget the scandalous imposition, by the Prime Minister, of a directive to his employees and employees of all ministers prohibiting them from appearing before parliamentary committees, specifically the Standing Committee on Access to Information, Privacy and Ethics, which was investigating the control exerted by the offices of Conservative ministers over access to information requests.
With regard to controlling access to information requests, the Information Commissioner is currently conducting a formal investigation of three ministers, and we are still waiting for the results.
All these facts clearly show that the people can no longer trust the Conservatives to restore access to information. The Conservative government demonstrated the extent of its culture of secrecy during the last parliamentary session, when the Speaker of the House had to demand that it produce the documents on allegations of torture in Afghanistan.
The most recent misstep in terms of respect for democratic rules was made by the Minister of Citizenship, Immigration and Multiculturalism, who showed a clear lack of judgment as the person responsible for immigration in Canada. As a number of my colleagues have already pointed out, he participated in a partisan activity involving cultural communities and newcomers, even though he is responsible for ensuring that everyone is treated equally. He acted more like a Conservative minister of propaganda for ethnocultural communities. That is the true nature of this Conservative government, which claims to be transparent and responsible. It is a government of propaganda that has proven to be very good at manipulating information and voters.
Being ethical and transparent is a question of will. No rule can take the place of political will and vigilance. The best example to date of the excesses of Conservative propaganda is the unbelievable directive that was sent to public servants late last year stating that, in federal communications, the words “Government of Canada” should be replaced by the Prime Minister's name followed by Government. The directive was from the Prime Minister's office.
We checked and found that, since December, the expression “Name That Cannot Be Said In The House Government” has spread like wildfire in public departmental communications. You practically do not see “Government of Canada” any more. But the “Name-that cannot be said-in-the-House Government” now oversees us. Must we all be transformed into Harry Potter to defeat He Who Must Not Be Named? Stay tuned.
This directive turns out to be the best piece of political propaganda from the Conservative Government of Canada. Today, the Bloc Québécois wishes to warn citizens and have them truly understand the dangerous drift that has threatened our democracy since the Conservatives came to power in Ottawa.
Imagine if this Conservative government won a majority in the next election. I cannot envisage it without shuddering. Action is urgently needed. Our democracy is in jeopardy.
Come next election time, Quebeckers will know that they can no longer count on the government of the person who I cannot name in the House if I wish to abide by the essential rules of any effective democracy.
Business of Supply March 8th, 2011
Madam Speaker, what an honour it is to hear this question from the Conservative Party member.
Barely five minutes ago, he put the same question to my colleague from Argenteuil—Papineau—Mirabel, who is our party's election organizer. My colleague explained the details of this question at some length.
I would like to know why he repeated the question. Perhaps he needs to reread his notes. We have answered the question eloquently and there is no reason to go over it again and again.