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Crucial Fact

  • Her favourite word was colleague.

Last in Parliament October 2015, as NDP MP for Saint-Bruno—Saint-Hubert (Québec)

Lost her last election, in 2021, with 8% of the vote.

Statements in the House

Canada Post May 15th, 2015

Mr. Speaker, the frustration with Canada Post's decision to terminate door-to-door delivery continues to grow.

The mayors of Montreal, Longueuil, Laval, Westmount and 15 other surrounding municipalities are raising their voices. They are joining forces to take legal action against Canada Post, a first in Canada. In addition, they are calling for a moratorium on the end of home mail delivery.

Will the minister ever listen to Canadians and reverse this foolish decision?

Status of Women May 13th, 2015

Mr. Speaker, Sunday was Mother's Day.

Today, I want to acknowledge the remarkable work of those mothers who are making Canada the country it is today. My thoughts are also with all the mothers in developing countries who do not celebrate Mother's Day, women who are facing hardship and fighting oppression and inequality every day, women who are rising up to ensure that their children can live in equality in a democratic world.

I am proud to belong to a party that supports women and recognizes that in providing aid to those countries, Canada must also fund women's advocacy groups, and that includes committing funding for family planning and reproductive and sexual health.

The status of women is important to the NDP. It is something we feel strongly about and will promote outside our borders.

Digital Privacy Act May 12th, 2015

Mr. Speaker, I would like to respond to my colleague across the way with some facts and key figures.

In one year alone, the Conservatives made 1.2 million requests to telecommunications companies for Canadians' personal information. What is more, 70% of Canadians feel less protected than they did 10 years ago. That came from a 2013 survey of Canadians on privacy protection.

Some 97% of Canadians would like organizations to notify them in the event of a breach of security of their personal information. It has been proven that there is a directive that is not clear. It surprises me that there is no authorization, no consent, no judicial oversight.

Digital Privacy Act May 12th, 2015

Mr. Speaker, I thank my colleague from Beauport—Limoilou for his very relevant question.

As I said, since we have been here, since the beginning of the 41st Parliament, we have learned that this government prefers self-regulation. We have seen this in many areas, including rail safety, drug reporting—until we forced the government's hand—and personal information. Some 18 amendments were brought forward at committee. The commissioner also suggested that the bill be amended to reflect the Supreme Court ruling.

However, we know that privacy is a thorny issue and not a priority for the Conservatives. What, then, is their priority: getting personal information without authorization or income splitting?

Digital Privacy Act May 12th, 2015

Mr. Speaker, I am pleased to speak about a topic as important as privacy protection.

We need to amend the Personal Information Protection and Electronic Documents Act to bring it in line with the reality of the digital era. The bill seeks to impose new requirements for the collection, use and disclosure of personal information by a company or organization.

What really bothers me about this bill is the provision that would allow organizations to share personal information without a warrant—yes, I did say without a warrant—and without the consent of the individual concerned. That is a major problem.

Even though this bill is called the digital privacy act, it contains a provision that could really interfere with the protection of privacy. I find that deeply contradictory.

Once again, this Conservative government has proven that it spends more time coming up with grandiose titles than working on content. It is also extremely important to point out that between the drafting of this bill and today's debate, the Supreme Court ruled that information such as the data that Internet service providers have on users and clients—IP addresses, email addresses, names, telephone numbers, and so on—is considered personal information and cannot be obtained without a warrant. I am not the one saying that. It was a Supreme Court ruling.

I have some serious concerns about the constitutionality of this provision. The government must comply with the Supreme Court's ruling and remove all the provisions enabling the disclosure of personal information without a warrant.

During the study in committee, a number of witnesses expressed concerns about this very provision. For example, the Privacy Commissioner said the following in a submission:

Allowing such disclosures to prevent potential fraud may open the door to widespread disclosures and routine sharing of personal information among organizations on the grounds that this information might be useful to prevent future fraud.

We want to protect privacy, but it is questionable to allow access to personal information without a warrant, without consent, without any kind of judicial oversight and without transparency. The Conservatives have a poor record when it comes to protecting privacy, and Bill S-4 will not erase the past.

In one year alone, government agencies secretly made at least 1.2 million requests to telecommunications companies for personal information, without a warrant or proper oversight. Why did they ask for this information? We do not know.

The government should have taken advantage of Bill S-4 to close the loopholes in PIPEDA that allow this kind of information transfer without legal oversight, consent or transparency.

There is another provision in the bill that made my jaw drop. This bill would require companies to declare a data loss or breach if and only if it is reasonable to believe that the breach creates a real risk of harm. In other words, it is up to the company itself to determine whether or not it should notify the authorities in the event of data loss. That is crazy.

This measure will actually give companies less incentive to report data breaches by leaving it up to the company whose data were breached to decide whether the breach creates a real risk of significant harm to an individual.

This blatant conflict of interest is what really kills the purpose of this bill because a company will see no benefit to reporting a data breach and every benefit to hiding it. Deciding that a breach is benign will save the company money, damage to its reputation and inconvenience

It will also help the company avoid being put under the microscope by the Office of the Privacy Commissioner of Canada for an audit or investigation. It will create a culture of non-reporting because the commissioner would be nothing more than an observer.

In conclusion, the Conservatives say that their bill is balanced, but we can do much better. We are increasingly aware of the harm that data breaches can cause, so we cannot create a bill that will barely be useful.

We need a bill that will do an excellent job of giving Canadians better protection from data breaches. This bill has not been looked at carefully enough, and we need to fix it. Canadians deserve better.

Anti-terrorism Act, 2015 May 5th, 2015

Mr. Speaker, I listened carefully to what my Liberal colleague said. However, I am sorry to see that, even though the Liberal Party is saying that the bill is not good, it still plans to vote with the Conservatives. The Liberals need to get their story straight.

Next, let us talk about consultation with the other parties and about the amendments that the government should listen to. I said it in my speech: unfortunately, as usual, the Conservative government does not want to listen to experts, scientists or members of Parliament. What is more, the Conservatives are not giving us enough time to debate an issue as important as security.

When I say that terrorism has won, it is because these two parties are unfortunately playing on the fear of voters and saying that only they have the power to protect Canadians.

Anti-terrorism Act, 2015 May 5th, 2015

Mr. Speaker, I listened carefully to the preamble of my colleague's question. We are telling the truth. Forty-five witnesses commented on the bill, among them former prime ministers. We are not relaying misinformation, as my colleague claimed.

As for the Canadian Security Intelligence Service, in the past it misled its oversight body. In 2014, the Security Intelligence Review Committee stated: “This investigation also found that SIRC had been seriously misled by CSIS on this same point.”

It is right there in black and white. I am not making anything up, these things do happen. That is why we are asking for guidelines and safeguards to at least protect the collection of this information and to see what the agency is doing. Organizations always need oversight and monitoring.

Anti-terrorism Act, 2015 May 5th, 2015

Mr. Speaker, this week we are commemorating the 70th anniversary of the end of World War II, in which the allies fought to defend freedom and democracy. I cannot help but make a link to the bill we are debating, because it will reduce our hard-won freedoms. Did we learn nothing from those ordeals? Today, this government is showing all Canadians that it thumbs its nose at the central tenets of democracy. The government is muzzling the opposition by shortening debate on a bill about something as important as security.

The reason for this gag order is simple: in committee, 45 witnesses indicated that the bill as it now stands is flawed and should be amended. We are talking about 45 witnesses. That is a lot, particularly when we know that most of them were government witnesses. Given this testimony and such overwhelming opposition from civil society and experts, the Minister of Public Safety and Emergency Preparedness and the Prime Minister should have understood that Bill C-51 was not the best solution to the public safety issues we are facing. This bill was not developed in consultation with the other parties, all of which recognize the terrorist threat and support the adoption of effective, concrete measures to keep Canadians safe. That is not what Bill C-51 does. Instead, it violates our rights and freedoms, the fundamental rights of first nations and the right of various groups in civil society to protest, just to give a few examples.

When we received the budget, almost two months late, I was hoping to see a big envelope for the fight against terrorism. When I looked to see what was allocated in the budget I was surprised to see that the money was not there. For the Canada Border Services Agency, the Canadian Security Intelligence Service and the Royal Canadian Mounted Police, the envelope was a little less than $300 million over five years. Five years. Before 2017, these agencies will collectively receive less than $20 million to combat terrorism. That is a drop in the bucket and it is an insult to the work being done by our police services. These agencies are overburdened and are being forced to reassign staff to do the work they are being asked to do. This budget gives them nothing but crumbs to do their job.

When a government claims to want to protect our communities, our cities and our entire country, in order to serve Canadians and to protect our national security, it needs to put its money where its mouth is. It needs to allocate the money needed. The government needs to redirect money and ensure that our law enforcement agencies have the funding they need to take action. However, there is nothing to this effect in Bill C-51 or in the 2015 budget tabled by the Conservative government. I am extremely disappointed to see the lack of leadership from this government and its obvious failure to take seriously the fight against terrorism and radicalization. There are a lot of things missing in the Conservatives' botched approach. For example, it would have been nice to see the Conservatives propose ways to combat radicalization. Various stakeholders have spoken about this. This kind of work is being done in some of our regions and communities, as well as in the United States.

The language of the act is both extremely vague and extremely broad at the same time. It is so broad that any act of protest could be considered an act of terrorism.

The bill defines terrorism as:

...any activity...if it undermines the sovereignty, security or territorial integrity of Canada...interfere[s] with critical infrastructure...or the economic or financial stability of Canada.

At first glance, it is hard to see terrorism in there. This definition casts its net far too wide, so much so, that anyone in the House could be convicted of terrorism for opposing a pipeline. The problem is similar to the one with preventive detention. I have to hand it to them, the Conservatives know how to play with words.

More specifically, a judge could authorize preventive detention, and not just when he is absolutely certain that it is a matter of terrorism, because a suspicion will do: “believes on reasonable grounds that a terrorist activity may be carried out”. The judge can thereby order the arrest of a person if it “is likely to prevent the carrying out of the terrorist activity”.

Therefore, absolute certainty will no longer be needed to determine the action to be taken. Instead, that decision will be based on suspicions. That is not how the legislation is supposed to work. Intelligence on law-abiding citizens will be compiled and forwarded to the police. What we have here is the listing of people. People will be listed! One of the worst instruments of totalitarian regimes is indeed seeing the light of day here, in Canada. Big brother is watching us. What about the right to privacy set out in the Canadian Charter of Rights and Freedoms?

I am hearing members on the other side of the House argue that it is for the security of Canadians. However, who will provide strict control over this collection of information if no judge verifies the practices and if no mechanism or authority controls the agency's work? It is like having a fox guarding the henhouse. Countermeasures and safeguards need to be put in place to prevent any excesses and abuse.

With this bill, the Conservatives want us to believe that there is a conflict between security and freedom. They want Canadians to have to choose between their rights and their security, claiming that the two do not go together.

That is not the NDP's position. We feel there is no choice to be made. Both are possible. They always have been, and they always will be.

Ultimately, terrorism has won. By using fear, the Conservatives have succeeded in making us give up our freedom. If the Conservatives believe they are acting in the public interest, they are completely wrong. They are headed in the wrong direction, and it is our duty to take a stand against any measure that will be detrimental to our most fundamental principles.

More security, yes, but at what cost? The Conservative government is betraying this country's most fundamental commitments, betraying our historic values and betraying all Canadians.

What will we tell our children?

Criminal Code May 1st, 2015

Mr. Speaker, I rise today to speak out against a bill that will undermine the safety and security of Canadians. The Conservative government wants to simplify firearms storage and transportation regulations to ensure that low-velocity rifles and air guns are not considered as firearms. However, the NDP has the safety of Canadians at heart. That is why we refuse to support a bill that could compromise that safety.

More specifically, this bill will create even more dangerous working conditions for police officers. There could be confusion between ordinary firearms and air guns, which will make it harder for law enforcement agencies to do their job. This bill will result in more accidents and mistakes that will be front-page news and for which the government will be responsible.

The government must consult industry representatives instead of running the show on its own. These representatives will tell them what they told us: they do not understand this legislation, it is completely useless since the current system works well without any major problems, and they are especially concerned about the working conditions of police officers.

This is more doublespeak from the Conservatives, who claim to be ardent defenders of security. However, for 2014-15, they voted to reduce the operating budget of the Canada Border Services Agency, which led to the elimination of 1,351 positions. The same goes for the RCMP, which saw $32.5 million in cuts. These cuts greatly hinder the work of our security forces.

As usual, this government has a double standard. First, it scares Canadians by raising the spectre of crime for electioneering purposes. Then, it cuts the budgets of our police services and make it easier to transport weapons. Canadians are no fools and they absolutely do not want a bill that will threaten their safety. In the end, the Conservatives really do not care about the safety of Canadians; they always act too late.

They have proven this many times and in many areas: in health, by refusing to take into account Quebec's rapidly aging population when calculating health transfer amounts and by voting against my bill calling for the mandatory disclosure of drug shortages; in infrastructure, where they do not understand the urgent need to increase the number of inspectors to ensure rail safety; and in food safety, by stubbornly refusing to add more health inspectors. Now, it is weapons.

The NDP refuses to play games with the lives of Canadians. That is why we will vote against this bill. I urge the Conservatives to think about the consequences this bill will have.

Science and Technology May 1st, 2015

Mr. Speaker, the Canadian Space Agency continues to struggle. Despite the paltry amounts announced with great fanfare in the latest budget, the agency continues to suffer because of the Conservatives' draconian cuts. It used to be that the Canadian Space Agency was a jewel of the Canadian economy. Now, the agency is struggling to hold onto expertise as staff are laid off.

Will the government finally ensure that our Canadian Space Agency will remain one of our finest institutions?