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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

Pay Equity June 13th, 2012

Mr. Speaker, as chair of the NDP women's caucus, today, I would like to express our deep indignation over the disastrous consequences that Bill C-38, a real Trojan Horse, will have in many areas of gender equality in Canada.

Cuts to old age security and employment insurance and the elimination of the Canadian Women's Health Network and the National Aboriginal Health Organization will have a greater impact on women than on men.

Equality is not a priority for this government. Clause 602 of Bill C-38 eliminates federal contractors' obligation to respect pay equity. This will have serious consequences for women's access to employment.

I am proud that the NDP continues to work for Canadian women so that gender equality is not just wishful thinking but a reality.

Jobs, Growth and Long-term Prosperity Act June 12th, 2012

Mr. Speaker, I would like to thank my colleague, who is also a member of the Standing Committee on Health, for his question. I really appreciate it.

His question demonstrates that the NDP is very concerned about the unilateral decision taken by the government without consulting the provinces and territories. As he said, our health care system is already in critical condition. It is on life support. The government's decision to reduce transfers could put the whole system in a coma—

Jobs, Growth and Long-term Prosperity Act June 12th, 2012

Mr. Speaker, I thank my Liberal colleague.

I had the opportunity to work with her on the Standing Committee on Health and I noticed that we have the same concerns about Canadians' health. I will repeat what she said at the end of her question.

Everyone knows that living longer leads to many problems, including dementia, as my colleague mentioned. Unfortunately, our colleagues opposite do not trust scientists or statistics. They simply apply their ideology.

Jobs, Growth and Long-term Prosperity Act June 12th, 2012

Mr. Speaker, I thank my colleague opposite for the question.

We work together on the Standing Committee on Health. He knows very well that, starting in 2016, his government's increase will not be applied in the same way it is today.

As for the math, I would say to him that the Conservatives did the calculations and are not giving the real figures. Afterwards, there will be a difference because transfers will be based on GDP.

We know that our health care system is already fragile. If we factor in Canadians' longevity, the burden will be even greater. The government should think about that now instead of making cuts.

Jobs, Growth and Long-term Prosperity Act June 12th, 2012

Mr. Speaker, today, I want to express the opposition of the people of Saint-Bruno—Saint-Hubert to the Conservatives' Trojan Horse bill.

Since the budget and this bill were introduced, I have received dozens, if not hundreds, of messages opposing Bill C-38 and asking me to pass along their messages. I had the opportunity to participate in consultations organized by the official opposition in Ottawa and Regina, where I heard from many groups, including the Canadian Medical Association, the Fédération interprofessionnelle de la santé du Québec, researchers, university professors and citizens, who are opposed to both the form and substance of the bill.

Let us talk about the form of Bill C-38. This bill is supposed to be a budget implementation bill. But it includes a number of reforms that were never mentioned in the latest budget. The government is using the budget implementation as a pretext for implementing its ill-advised reforms, for which it was never elected.

Many of my colleagues have pointed out that increasing the age of eligibility for old age security from 65 to 67 was not proposed to Canadians during the last election campaign. This government even promised not to touch pensions.

When the Minister of Finance said today that old age security and pensions are different, he was getting into semantics. Canadians did not have the opportunity to debate this issue during the election campaign, even though there were discussions between the minister and the Department of Human Resources and Skills Development before the last Parliament was dissolved. As such, this situation is an affront to democracy.

The other problem with this bill is its omnibus form. Including so many reforms that affect the environment and the fisheries and that will have such a great impact on communities without consulting those communities or experts is dangerous. Quickly throwing together an employment insurance reform is also problematic, particularly when the minister cannot name a single person or group that she consulted. These actions all constitute a significant abuse of democracy.

This bill will also affect women. The first thing that comes to mind is that women will be especially affected by the increase in the age of eligibility for old age security. Women depend on this program more than men, and this measure condemns thousands of seniors to a life of poverty.

It is estimated that this measure will triple the poverty rate among female seniors. This bill also amends the Employment Equity Act so that it no longer applies to federal contracts, which will affect a number of groups, including women. I will never understand the logic behind this measure. Do I understand correctly that profit is now more important than equality?

Such reasoning is shameful. We need to put people first. That is what motivates me to question the cuts that will have an impact on food safety. This bill will make a number of changes, including decreasing the number of food inspector positions to the same level as before the listeriosis crisis in 2008. What is more, this bill also amends the Seeds Act to give the president of the Canada Food Inspection Agency the power to issue licences to persons authorizing them to perform activities related to controlling or assuring the quality of seeds or seed crops.

Again, this part of the bill is problematic.

These changes were made without any studies and without any serious consultation. Food inspection and food safety for Canadians should be a sector where public interest comes first.

The statistics and the many witnesses who appeared before the Standing Committee on Health are clear: countless diseases and deaths are linked to food. Sometimes, they result from direct poisoning—salmonella, for example—but it is mostly because of what the food contains.

Bill C-38 also includes changes whereby the nutritional value listed on the labels will no longer be verified. The government is not giving Canadians the tools and ability to make informed choices in terms of health.

Health is another theme of this bill. One of the aspects of the budget that has people talking—and that also shocked the provincial and territorial governments—is the unilateral decision by the federal government to reduce health transfers starting in 2016. The Prime Minister himself had promised, during the leaders debate, not to reduce health transfers below the current 6% level.

After 50 years of public health insurance, our system is facing a number of challenges. Now we have to deal with an epidemic of chronic illnesses and conditions that require follow-up. We have to ensure that our health care system meets the public's needs today.

The government's decision is equivalent to eliminating the deficit at the expense of the provinces and depriving them of $31 billion, according to the Parliamentary Budget Officer.

What is more, this government is being inconsistent. On one hand, it is saying that we have to control health costs. On the other hand, it is refusing to legislate to reduce the level of sodium and trans fats in food and it is cutting food inspection and monitoring. Those are decisions that are going to cost our health care system billions of dollars in the long run.

Let us be serious and let us be consistent. We do not have to penalize the public and the patients in order to reduce health care expenses. Let us work on prevention. Let us regulate the amount of sodium and trans fats in food, in order to make it easier for people to get healthy food. Let us work with the provincial and territorial governments to make home care available and to make prescription drugs accessible for everyone. If we want to control health care costs, we must also ensure that the money is well managed and well spent.

That is why I am surprised that this government has decided that the Auditor General should no longer have the authority to audit the spending of the Canadian Institutes of Health Research. We collectively invest a billion dollars every year in research, through the Canadian Institutes of Health Research. That is a significant amount of money that the Auditor General should look at if he deems it necessary.

Lastly, increasing the age of eligibility for old age security will have consequences for health care. Dr. John Haggie, president of the Canadian Medical Association, said:

We are greatly concerned about the move to raise the age of eligibility for Old Age Security. Many seniors have low incomes and delaying this relatively modest payment by two years is certain to have a negative impact...Gnawing away at Canada’s social safety net will no doubt force hard choices on some of tomorrow’s seniors... the choice between whether to buy groceries or to buy their medicine...People who skip their meds, or lack a nutritious diet or enough heat in their homes, will be sicker. In the end, this will put a greater burden on our health care system.

This is a bad bill. It implements a budget that is bad for the Canadian economy and workers. It is bad for women. It is bad for democracy. It is mediocre for the health of Canadians and for the public health care system.

That is why I am going to vote against this bill. That is why it should have been split and examined more carefully.

Jobs, Growth and Long-term Prosperity Act June 12th, 2012

Mr. Speaker, I listened closely to my colleague opposite.

He wants to know what the NDP would have done in the past. In my opinion, the members opposite are completely out of touch with reality.

I listened carefully as he praised Canada. As a Canadian, I too am very proud of Canada and its international reputation. However, I am skeptical when my colleague talks about modernization and being at the cutting edge of research.

Bill C-38 trims the Auditor General's oversight powers, eliminating mandatory audits of the financial statements of a dozen agencies, including the Canadian Food Inspection Agency, the Canadian Transportation Accident Investigation and Safety Board and the Canadian Institutes of Health Research.

I would like to know what my colleague opposite has to say about these issues.

International Trade June 4th, 2012

Mr. Speaker, the provinces would not have written to Ottawa if the situation were not urgent. With the cost of prescription drugs rising, it seems that the government has no problem passing on an even higher bill. That makes no sense.

If the Conservatives give in to Europe's demands and allow patent extensions, will they at least compensate the provinces for the rising cost of drugs?

Continuation and Resumption of Rail Service Operations Legislation May 29th, 2012

Mr. Speaker, we have become accustomed to this government's gag orders and strong-arm tactics. Once again, as always, the Minister of Labour wants to use another strong-arm tactic. Here is my question. How far will they go in acting this way?

During the Canada Post negotiations, the government's proposals were well below the salary levels discussed. Tomorrow, by passing the legislation, the minister is going to introduce her own right to strike or lock out.

What is this country coming to? Where is our democracy? Where are the workers' rights?

Canada–Panama Economic Growth and Prosperity Act May 28th, 2012

Mr. Speaker, I would like to thank my colleague for her eloquent speech and clear explanations. There are no doubts.

I would like my colleague to comment on the current scenario. From the beginning, the Conservative government has used the muzzle and the bayonet. Now, it will find itself with a trade agreement with a country that is a poor student and a tax haven.

I would like to know what impact this will have on workers' rights, on the right to association and the right to strike. Unfortunately, these rights are not in the Canada-Panama free trade agreement.

National Volunteer Week May 4th, 2012

Madam Speaker, April 15 to 21 was National Volunteer Week. I would like to commend the dedication of two people in particular from Saint-Bruno—Saint-Hubert.

For the past 20 years, Alice Daigle has been a dedicated volunteer at the Laflèche seniors' club in Saint-Hubert. She began spending time there before she was even a senior herself, as she went with her husband.

Also, for over 34 years, Roger Jolin has been volunteering at the Saint-Bruno horticultural and ecological society, and for over 18 years as a member of the Saint-Bruno beautification committee and at the Charles LeMoyne Hospital.

I would like to thank Ms. Daigle and Mr. Jolin for their commitment. I would also like to congratulate all volunteers in Saint-Bruno—Saint-Hubert on their efforts to make the world a better place.