- Her favourite word was quebec.
Last in Parliament March 2011, as Bloc MP for Saint-Bruno—Saint-Hubert (Québec)
Lost her last election, in 2011, with 28% of the vote.
Statements in the House
The Budget March 24th, 2011
Mr. Speaker, the Conservative budget does not meet Quebec’s needs as far as cultural development is concerned. The budget does not contain any direct assistance to increase artists’ incomes, nor is there any new money for Quebec's film industry. The Conservatives have demonstrated that they have no intention of restoring the international touring grant programs. Moreover, arts and culture program spending was cut by 7% in the last fiscal year.
Does the Minister of Canadian Heritage realize that his government’s indifference when it comes to Quebec and its culture may end up triggering an election?
Petitions March 24th, 2011
Mr. Speaker, I would like to present a petition from the people of the south shore and Baie-Comeau. It is another petition against Bill C-32, one that is modelled after the Culture équitable petition and that calls for the House to revise this bill to amend the Copyright Act. We must return to the spirit of the Copyright Act, copyright, and not shift to the right to copy, and we must restore the legitimate rights and, naturally, the compensation of creators. I am extremely pleased to add this petition to all the others that have already been presented in the House.
Mr. Speaker, I am not at all ashamed and I find that statement completely ridiculous. Furthermore, if there is anyone here who does not understand, it certainly is not me. What I do understand, however, is that the Parliamentary Secretary to the Minister of Canadian Heritage thinks that by making these false statements, he will make them come true. He said that the Department of Canadian Heritage has been given an unprecedented budget. That may be true, but he needs to prove that to us.
However, the Department of Canadian Heritage is about more than just arts and culture. Status of women, amateur sport and the pensions of former lieutenant governors all come out of the Canadian Heritage budget. As for the budget for arts and culture, the deputy minister of Canadian Heritage himself tabled that before the Standing Committee on Canadian Heritage at my request. He had to make a chart. The numbers never lie. In 2009-10, Canadian Heritage had $424,889,014 for arts and culture alone, and in 2010-11, it had $397,783,000. As we can see—
Mr. Speaker, the announcement you just made regarding Bill C-59 is a great response to the question that the Minister of Foreign Affairs asked today about the Bloc's achievements. That bill is one of the Bloc's achievements. The Bloc Québécois inspired and brought forward the bill to abolish parole after one-sixth of the sentence is served.
During this adjournment debate, I would like to discuss the question I asked on November 25 regarding arts and culture. Several of the people who promote our artists abroad noted that abolishing the programs for artists touring abroad had adversely affected the competitiveness of our artists and the dissemination of Quebec and, obviously, Canadian culture. It was a very bad idea, both from the cultural and economic points of view, for the Minister of Canadian Heritage to decide to abolish the programs for cultural tours.
At that time, the minister told me that the real issue was when would the Bloc vote in favour of their budget, which provided unprecedented funds to assist our artists on the international scene. I must say that the minister misled the House because a deputy minister from the Department of Canadian Heritage has officially submitted a document to the Standing Committee on Canadian Heritage, revealing that in 2010-2011 there was a 7% or $27 million cut to the budget for arts and culture. It is therefore completely false to say that the government's budget gives unprecedented funds to help artists on the international scene. It is even a bit ridiculous.
Nevertheless, the Minister of Canadian Heritage always comes back to the same thing: the Bloc voted against the budget. This is untrue. The Bloc Québécois votes in favour of motions when they are good for Quebec and votes against them when they are not. The Bloc Québécois voted in favour of the 2006 and 2007 budgets when fewer cuts were being made by the Conservative government.
We are raising the issue of the International Exchange for the Performing Arts, CINARS, again this week. The request this organization made to the Department of Canadian Heritage last April for $77,500 in funding for an important arts and culture activity that it holds year after year was refused. In the past, CINARS has always received funding for its activities, which consist of a forum and a training seminar, which began in 1993 and 1999.
The eligibility criteria for the program have not changed over the past few years. Nothing has changed. It is the same program, the same applicant and the same activity. The organization even asked for approximately the same amount of funding—$77,500. Yet, all of a sudden, a new element appeared: a “no”.
Was it the office of the Minister of Canadian Heritage or was it the Minister himself who said “no” and vetoed this request for funding that had no reason to be denied, much as the Minister of International Cooperation did before him?
Democratic Representation Act March 22nd, 2011
Madam Speaker, it is a great pleasure to rise on this somewhat eventful afternoon. In a few minutes, the Minister of Finance will deliver his budget speech. I hope all members will have the opportunity to listen to what I have to tell them, because the message that the Bloc Québécois wants to convey about Bill C-12 is very important.
Madam Speaker, I see that you are concerned. Sure, you can call members to order and tell them to listen to me. Go ahead, that is fine with me.
Bill C-12, An Act to amend the Constitution Act, 1867 (Democratic representation), is a bill that reduces Quebec's political weight within Canada. Unlike the Liberal member who just spoke, I do not think that is acceptable. Reducing Quebec's weight within Canada is yet another attack by this government—and the previous Liberal government—against Quebec.
The Bloc Québécois, which stands up for Quebec's interests, cannot accept this legislation, and it is asking the House to refuse to give second reading to Bill C-12, An Act to amend the Constitution Act, 1867 (Democratic representation), because it would reduce in an unacceptable fashion the political weight of the Quebec nation in the House of Commons.
In the Charlottetown accord of 1992, all the partners of the Canadian federation had agreed to guarantee Quebec 25% of the seats in the House of Commons. Even though the accord was rejected through a referendum, the specific needs of Quebec, the only province with a francophone majority, were highlighted. That specific issue had been recognized by all the partners of the Canadian federation. Not only was the issue recognized, a solution had also been found. Indeed, Quebec was guaranteed 25% of the seats in the House of Commons.
A few years later, after the referendum was lost, people began to say that this was a minor issue, that it was not important and that what really mattered was that elected members should express their views in the House.
Last Sunday, I watched a television program on Radio-Canada. I know that 75% of the members of this House do not listen to Radio-Canada on a Sunday evening, but that program is watched by over one million people in Quebec, somewhere around 1,2 million, 1.3 million or 1.5 million, depending on who the guests are. The ratings for last Sunday have not yet been released, but the TV show Tout le monde en parle is very popular in Quebec.
Jean Lapointe used to be a Liberal senator. Do you know what he said? He was reminiscing about his experiences as a senator and he was clearly not too proud of himself or of what he had seen and heard. He said this: “Since I left the Senate, the federalist in me has died a bit. I am not yet a separatist or a sovereignist, but it would not take a very big push to make me one.” Of course, he said that in his own characteristic manner. We understand that to mean that federalists who come here to Ottawa to this House or the other one and who see all the injustices against Quebec and all the attacks by Quebec and who care about Quebeckers are a lot less federalist when they leave here or the other place. As Jean Lapointe said, “it would not take a very big push” for them to become sovereignists.
But do not worry, Madam Speaker, the Bloc Québécois will give him that little push. As a senator, Mr. Lapointe witnessed many injustices against Quebec. He saw those injustices up close and he saw Canada attack Quebec, try to take away its place, try to impose its values on Quebec and ignore its needs, as is the case with Bill C-12. That bill is a good example of an injustice against Quebec. It shows once more that Quebec and Canada are two distinct countries in one, two solitudes. We do not talk to each other or if we do talk, we do not say much. Anyway, the conversations are often difficult because we do not speak the same language. When we talk to each other, we do not understand each other. Bill C-12 is proof of this.
Quebec federalists arrive in Ottawa with a romantic image of Canada as a great bilingual country with beautiful Rocky Mountains. The reality in Ottawa is quite different; the reality is Bill C-12, and there is nothing romantic about it.
This Conservative government is multiplying its injustices, aggressions and attacks. Yesterday morning, I was speaking to someone in my riding I did not know at all. She was determined to talk to me. She could not understand why the Conservative government is so aggressive towards Quebec. She wanted to know why the government was rejecting tax harmonization and refusing to pay the $2.2 billion it owes Quebec. It would only be fair since it paid compensation to Ontario, British Columbia and the maritime provinces, but not to Quebec. We have been pushing for this for years. For the past year, we have been asking questions every week and demanding that the government pay Quebec $2.2 billion as compensation for the sales tax harmonization it implemented several years ago, but the government is not responding. It is not giving us the real reasons. If we knew the real reasons, perhaps we could do it. Is it a matter of negotiation? Do they think we do not deserve it? We are not getting any answer. Once more, this is an unjustified attack against Quebec. Quebeckers do not understand why this government is always attacking Quebec.
While the Bloc Québécois is defending Quebec's interests, the Conservative government is attacking Quebec. Quebeckers cannot understand why this is happening, and yet there have been countless attacks. We can try to understand the government's attitude, but it is beyond comprehension. In November 2007, this House recognized Quebec as a nation, which was only fair since it is indeed a nation. In French, we call this a lapalissade, which means stating the obvious. La Palice was a man who used to say obvious things. For instance, he would say that a man was dead because he was not living any more. This is a lapalissade. For those who are watching, I am very pleased to enrich their vocabulary with this word. Recognizing Quebec as a nation was therefore a lapalissade, a truism. Yet Quebec's numerous claims remain unanswered.
Quebec has been asking for a long time that the responsibility for arts, culture and communications be transferred. Even the Conservative Minister of Foreign Affairs, when he was the Liberal Minister of Communications in the Quebec government, asked that the responsibility for telecommunications be transferred to the Quebec government. On March 23, 2009, Quebec Minister of Culture Christine Saint-Pierre asked the Minister of Canadian Heritage to set up a negotiating committee to transfer the responsibility for communications, arts and culture.
On June 19, 2010, Claude Béchard, the former Minister responsible for Canadian Intergovernmental Affairs who is now deceased, said to the daily Le Devoir:
... we are working on “a new approach” to conduct successful bilateral negotiations with the federal government in order to obtain certain constitutional amendments...These amendments would deal with “culture and communications”...“It might also be interesting to include the whole issue of the nation in the constitutional talks.”
Those words are from Claude Béchard, the former Quebec Minister of Canadian Intergovernmental Affairs and MNA for Rivière-du-Loup, who is now deceased. He was stating, on behalf of the Quebec government, his intention to continue to ask for the responsibility over arts and culture, because it is normal, because we are a nation, because those are our values, because in Quebec we respect our artists, our culture and particularly—because these days this is very important—we respect the value of the work done by artists. In its Bill C-32, this government did not add insult to injury, it added contempt to injury by depriving artists from $126 million in copyright revenues annually.
We are not talking about subsidies but copyrights. This is money that artists deserve. It is their salary. However, the bill introduced by the Minister of Industry and the Minister of Canadian Heritage and Official Languages is going to deprive artists of $126 million every year. Such an attitude is totally mind-boggling. As I said, it is not an insult to artists. To deprive people who earn an average of $23,000 annually of the money that they used to get is showing contempt towards them. Bill C-32 is totally unacceptable. It is another attack on Quebec, as is Bill C-12.
In conclusion, Bill C-12, which is against a fair representation for Quebec in the House of Commons, should be withdrawn.
Petitions March 11th, 2011
Mr. Speaker, I want to present a petition from my riding. Denise Chartrand brought me this petition signed by more than 100 people calling on the Government of Canada to make the necessary public investment to enable the Société d'habitation du Québec to complete its low-income housing renovation plan and to cover the accumulated maintenance deficit.
On behalf of Denise Chartrand, it is my great pleasure to present this petition in the hope that the Canadian government will take it into account.
Quebec Film Industry March 11th, 2011
Mr. Speaker, yesterday, at the Genie Awards, the Quebec film industry was once again at the forefront. Denis Villeneuve's film Incendies, which had already been nominated for an Oscar, cleaned up. It won eight Genie Awards, the most prestigious of which were best director, best picture, best actress for Lubna Azabal and best adapted screenplay. The artists of two other Quebec movies filmed in Montreal, Barney's Version and The Trotsky, also received their share of recognition.
A celebration of Quebec cinema, the Jutra awards, will take place Sunday evening. The films 10½, Les amours imaginaires, Incendies, Les signes vitaux and Curling will compete for best picture. Denis Villeneuve—Incendies, Podz—10½, Xavier Dolan—Les amours imaginaires, Kim Nguyen—La cité and Denis Côté—Curling will compete for best director. The Jutra-Hommage tribute will be awarded to Jean Lapointe.
Through its quality and creativity, the Quebec film industry has made a name for itself by obtaining its fair share of nominations and awards at these film industry celebrations.
Jeanne Mance March 8th, 2011
Mr. Speaker, on the 100th anniversary of International Women's Day, I would like to speak about the City of Montreal's decision to recognize Jeanne Mance as the co-founder of Montreal, Quebec's metropolis, alongside Paul de Chomedey de Maisonneuve.
Arriving in Montreal at the same time as Maisonneuve, on May 17, 1642, this amazing woman founded the Hôtel-Dieu hospital, which still exists today. She was also the driving force behind the colonization effort known as the “great recruitment,” which brought about 100 new colonists to the area when New France's survival was in jeopardy.
Very few cities founded during that time can say that they were founded by a woman. The City of Montreal hopes to correct this historical inaccuracy in time for its 375th anniversary in 2017.
The Bloc Québécois would like to honour the great contribution this pioneer made to founding the “city of 100 steeples.”
Points of Order March 2nd, 2011
Mr. Speaker, having asked a question in the House and heard the response from the Minister of Canadian Heritage concerning arts and culture funding, which keeps decreasing, I would like to seek unanimous consent to table a document given to the Standing Committee on Canadian Heritage by the Deputy Minister of Canadian Heritage. This document shows that arts and culture funding dropped by $2.7 million, or 7%, in 2010-11. I would like unanimous consent to table the document that backs up what I am saying.