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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

Petitions November 4th, 2011

Mr. Speaker, I am pleased to present a petition signed by 2,000 of my constituents. These signatures were collected by Longueuil's Comité anti-pollution des avions. The petition is calling for a ban on training flights over residential areas. The petition is just one indication of the importance of this issue, which affects Saint-Bruno as much as it does Saint-Hubert.

I intend to demonstrate goodwill and work with all those affected to find a solution for the well-being of my constituents.

Firearms Registry November 4th, 2011

Mr. Speaker, Quebec's National Assembly unanimously agreed that the government should keep the gun registry data. The government is accountable to the chiefs of police who use it thousands of times a day, to victims of crime and to Quebec taxpayers, who have already paid for this registry.

Why is this government refusing to side with victims and give this data to the provinces?

Coptic Christians in Egypt October 27th, 2011

Mr. Chair, we are all here this evening to come up with things Canada can and should do in order to support the people of Egypt in their hopes for democracy.

I would like to know what things we should definitely do, and more importantly, what my colleague thinks we should absolutely avoid doing.

National Defence October 25th, 2011

Mr. Speaker, the Minister of National Defence refuses to reassure soldiers and their families who are worried about the closure of some Canadian armed forces bases. The military bases in Bagotville, Valcartier and Montreal support thousands of families and contribute to the economic success of these regions.

Will the minister assure us, here in this House, that these facilities, which are vital to our armed forces, employees and their families, will remain open?

Business of Supply October 25th, 2011

Mr. Speaker, I would like to thank the hon. member opposite for his question. I would like to say that it is true that the board was abolished after the first world war, but farmers fought back and filed a complaint and it was reinstated.

Business of Supply October 25th, 2011

Mr. Speaker, I would like to thank the hon. member for her question. I will be brief. We have repeatedly asked the government if a study has been done concerning the impact of eliminating the Canadian Wheat Board. Unfortunately, as always, the government is not answering our questions. We know that this will be disastrous for families and their communities.

Business of Supply October 25th, 2011

Mr. Speaker, I thank my colleague opposite for his comments. The Wheat Board was originally established and founded with the approval of farmers. I spoke about democracy today. I know what I am talking about. When we talk about democracy, we talk about choice. As a result, we defend the right of those involved to determine their own future. That is democracy. Here in the House, I am standing up for Ontario farmers. I am a member from Quebec, but I also fight for the interests of all Canadian farmers.

Business of Supply October 25th, 2011

Mr. Speaker, it is always an honour for me to rise in the House in order to defend principles. Today, I am pleased to defend democracy. My distinguished colleague from Churchill has moved a motion in the House to defend democracy and the right of farmers to determine their destiny.

The motion asks the government to do three things: consult, step back and accept. The government needs much more practice in order to excel at these activities. I hope it will start practising right now.

The motion asks this government to consult those affected by this ill-intentioned bill: the farmers. The Canadian Wheat Board is managed by the farmers, for the farmers. They control and direct the Wheat Board. Is the government telling us and telling farmers that farmers do not know how to manage their own business? Not only does it believe that the farmer-run board is not doing its job but, furthermore, it does not trust the farmers' ability to decide whether or not their Wheat Board should be dismantled. If the government would allow farmers to decide in a plebiscite, such as the one organized by Ontario farmers, we would be prepared, on this side of the House, to accept that decision.

I know that I am the hundredth person to raise the next point, but it is an important one. Farmers have already voted to keep the Wheat Board: 62% of wheat producers and 51% of barley producers voted to keep it. Certainly, 51% is a close result. However, because this government does not stop repeating that it was given a strong mandate with less than 40% of the votes in Canada, I find that its argument lacks credibility.

I am suggesting to the House that the government does not want to consult farmers because it is afraid of their decision. Farmers have done their homework. They know that if the Canadian Wheat Board disappears, they will suffer the same fate as their Australian colleagues, who saw a dramatic drop of 70% per tonne in wheat prices. This is an ideological decision. It does not respect the farmers, contrary to what is implied by the misleading title of the bill introduced by the Minister of Agriculture and Agri-Food.

This motion is not just about the Canadian Wheat Board. I was not joking when I said I was rising to defend democracy. In case the government has not noticed, people are currently demanding their right to speak. They want their voices to be heard. A stunt like this only fuels public cynicism about our respectable institutions. The government has to listen to reason and hear the voice of the people. It has to take a step back and accept the verdict handed down by the farmers.

This government has to stop showing contempt for the public. It has to stop looking down on those who do not share its views. Democracy is much more than just winning elections. Democracy is about holding ongoing discussions with the public. I do not mean it is about controlling the message, as the Prime Minister's Office does; it is about listening to the needs and opinions of the public.

Why is the government refusing to listen to the farmers? Why will the government not consult the farmers? Why does the government not follow Ontario's lead?

Yesterday I was listening to the speech by the hon. member for Acadie—Bathurst on Bill C-18. He spoke passionately about the situation with the fishers in his riding who struggle to earn a living from the fruits of their labour. What I gather is that sometimes there is a disparity between different producers in terms of the price they get for the same products. Has the government forgotten that the Canadian Wheat Board is responsible for marketing Canadian wheat?

The strength of the board is its ability to develop markets for our farmers. How do the Conservatives plan to replace the board in that role? It is not an insignificant role when we know that 80% of western wheat is exported overseas. What is the government doing about the role the board currently plays in terms of transporting the goods? Can the government guarantee that western Canadian farmers will have the same access to the railway? Can it guarantee the same favourable prices? No, obviously not. The government is playing with the lives of thousands of farmers. The government is having fun while our hard-working farmers are assuming all the risk.

I am afraid this government has abandoned family farms and small-scale farms. It is not surprising. This government has chosen to side with the multinationals and big oil companies by granting them huge tax breaks, to the detriment of small and medium-sized businesses, taxpayers and consumers. Now it is choosing to side with large agri-businesses at the expense of Canadian farmers, without thinking about the impact this bill will have on their lives, their families and their communities.

The Canadian Wheat Board is the farmers' union, their way of getting better prices. In unity, there is strength. Group insurance exists, which allows people to pay lower premiums than they would individually. Employees' unions allow them to negotiate with their employers for better salaries. Whether my colleagues across the floor like it or not, farmers will be the ones who lose, and they know it. That is why they voted to maintain the Canadian Wheat Board.

I am proud to rise in this House and defend the position they have taken. I am proud to stand up to the Conservative steamroller and defend the democratic rights of all Canadians. I am proud to stand here, alongside my NDP colleagues, and oppose the government's destructive policies. I am proud to do so on behalf of the people of Saint-Bruno—Saint-Hubert and on behalf of those who are overlooked by this government. We will proudly stand up to the government and oppose every bad bill it brings before this House.

The government's plan to eliminate the Canadian Wheat Board without the farmers' consent is just one more example in a list that is already too long.

Breast Density Awareness Act October 24th, 2011

Mr. Speaker, I would like to take this opportunity to congratulate the member for Barrie on his bill. October is Breast Cancer Awareness Month, and his bill's noble objectives are most appropriate.

On this side of the House, and I am sure on the other side as well, we recognize the impact that breast cancer has on the people of Quebec and Canada. This disease is unfortunately all too common. The statistics do not lie: one out of every nine women will suffer from breast cancer in her lifetime. What is even more tragic is that one out of every twenty-nine women will die from breast cancer. The considerable progress that has been made in recent years in research, treatment and screening has significantly lowered the breast cancer mortality rate.

Breast cancer is still too common among Canadian women. I should also point out to the House that, although it is less common, breast cancer can also affect men. An estimated 23,000 women will be affected by this type of cancer, not to mention the thousands of loved ones and caregivers who are also affected. The disease also has high social and economic costs. There are other human costs associated with this terrible disease: the loss of income can be devastating. Many couples do not survive these challenges, and loved ones become caregivers but receive little support from this government.

The bill introduced by my colleague opposite addresses a very particular issue: cancer in women with dense breast tissue. This is a real problem. Recent research has shown that dense breast tissue is a factor as important as age in the risk of breast cancer. Higher tissue density also makes breast cancer screening more difficult. During a mammogram, tumours and high-density masses in the breast both show up as white spots. It is much more difficult for women with dense breast tissue to get quick diagnoses with traditional equipment.

It is also important to bear in mind that problems linked to dense breast tissue are not likely to diminish; quite the opposite. Studies have shown a link between being overweight or obese and denser breast tissue. I do not need to remind this House that the issue of excess weight has reached epidemic proportions in Canada. We can only assume that an increasing number of women will have dense breast tissue in the near future and that this trend is on the rise.

Once again, I would like to say how much I appreciate that the member for Barrie has brought this issue forward so that we can discuss it today. Awareness is always a positive initiative. It makes women more vigilant and ensures that health care professionals are better informed. Everyone supports awareness—it is a noble objective and a just cause, but it is merely one element of treatment. In my mind, this bill is pointless. It does nothing concrete for women who have or will have breast cancer. It does not ensure better access to a health care system that is so desperately lacking in its current state.

I am a doctor myself. I decided to go into politics to make a difference. Many causes are important to me, such as the recognition of foreign credentials—which affects me personally—the status of women and immigration. But health is at the top of that list. I know that the people of Saint-Bruno—Saint-Hubert elected me because they believed in the NDP message that we will work for them. I am worried that this bill, while noble and having created the opportunity for debate, will not make a real difference in the lives of the people of Saint-Bruno—Saint-Hubert, Quebec and Canada.

One of the issues my constituents talk to me about is access to a family doctor. This bill has nothing to offer people who do not have a family doctor. This bill will not improve access to our health care system. We know that a timely diagnosis helps significantly increase the chances of survival. Without access to a doctor, many Canadians will not have access to this timely diagnosis. Wait times for mammograms are also far too long in many places in Quebec and Canada. Those are two significant factors that are not addressed in this bill that would help improve treatment, survival rates and quality of life for breast cancer survivors.

That is why the people of Saint-Bruno—Saint-Hubert voted for me. They want their daily lives to be better. They are demanding better access to health care, and rightfully so. Despite the good intentions of the hon. member for Barrie, this bill does nothing for the Canadian general public.

The hon. member for Barrie was right when he said in the preamble of his bill that the provinces are responsible for the delivery of health care. I agree with him, but I would like to remind him that he is wrong to think that his government has no responsibility in this. The federal government currently has a funding agreement with the provincial and territorial governments. Under that agreement, the different governments agreed to certain specific objectives.

This tool could be used to achieve the objectives of developing better breast cancer diagnostics and treatment for women with dense breast tissue. This is an agreement the provincial and territorial governments, including that of Quebec, signed on to. Why does the member opposite not encourage his government to get on board? We could achieve better concrete results that way.

Perhaps the member for Barrie does not believe that the 2004 health accord is the right tool to allow us to meet these objectives. If that is the case, the 2004 health accord gives his government certain tools to determine whether the accord's objectives have been met, whether the funds transferred are being used in the manner agreed upon by the federal, provincial and territorial governments, and whether the funding is achieving the expected results. It is important for his government to be able to tell Quebeckers and Canadians whether the health accord, which will expire in 2014, is delivering the promised results. Such an accountability exercise, one to which Canadians are entitled, would be the first step in determining needs and the model that will be negotiated in good faith and in partnership with the provincial and territorial governments, including the Government of Quebec, of course. I therefore invite the hon. member to exert pressure on his government to report back to Canadians on the results of this accord and to begin discussions in order to ensure funding for our health care system and for the objectives negotiated for the well-being of all Canadians.

I would also call on the members opposite to address the underlying causes of the problem. I mentioned earlier that women who are overweight or obese are more likely to have dense breast tissue. Women who smoke and who have low levels of physical activity are also at higher risk of developing breast cancer. The Canadian Institute for Health Information indicated in a report that socio-economic status and poverty are significant social determinants of obesity. The Canadian Council on Learning has confirmed that smoking and low levels of physical activity are related to poverty and a lower socio-economic status.

I therefore invite the hon. member for Barrie and this government to address the employment problems facing Canadians, to implement measures that will help the people of Canada to live in dignity, and to find ways to help families in our ridings so that they do not have to live paycheque to paycheque in order to be able to buy groceries.

Quebeckers and Canadians do not have better jobs than they did two years ago. In addition, young people are once again more affected by unemployment than the Canadian average. Furthermore, the number of children living in poverty is not decreasing, far from it. This government's lack of action in this regard is negatively affecting the health of young people. Action must be taken immediately.

I would like to close by saying that I support the principles of this bill. In order to help all Quebeckers and Canadians, we must find a way to improve access to doctors and reduce wait times for the diagnosis and treatment of various illnesses.

Marketing Freedom for Grain Farmers Act October 20th, 2011

Mr. Speaker, I listened to all the numbers and all the opportunities referred to by my colleague across the floor. I thank him for his efforts.

However, I have a question about the Canadian Wheat Board. I am not talking about a so-called analysis conducted by a group of non-government workers. I would like to know why the government refuses to take responsibility when it comes to managing taxpayers' money. This is a recurring theme with this government, whether we are talking about the cost of new prisons, F-35 fighter jets or the minister's pet projects in his riding.

Has the government done a cost analysis of the elimination of the Canadian Wheat Board? Yes or no? And if so, what were the results?