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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

Riding of Saint-Bruno—Saint-Hubert October 19th, 2011

Mr. Speaker, I would like to talk about a great man who visited my riding. Gilbert Gilles Boulanger, a gunner in the Second World War, was in my riding to lend his support to the Fondation Aérovision de Saint-Hubert. Mr. Boulanger piloted a CF-18 at the age of 88 and overcame cancer. At the age of 90, he is still passionate about flying.

I am also pleased to rise in the House to congratulate the 800 students at the Pensionnat des Sacrés-Coeurs de Saint-Bruno who celebrated the International Day of Peace in their own special way. They gave me a box of letters and drawings to give to the Prime Minister.

I would like to congratulate the students, teachers and leaders for taking the time and the initiative to promote peace. I would like to share with the House the message that they sent to me: “Peace, peace, we want peace! Here, there, now!”

Status of Women September 28th, 2011

Mr. Speaker, 90 years ago, Canadian women obtained the right to vote. Close to 80 years ago, they were legally recognized as persons.

The last election marked another achievement: the NDP ran a record number of female candidates. Thanks to the support of the Canadian public, women make up 40% of the NDP caucus. I am very proud to have been a part of this historic moment. I am also very proud of these women, whom I admire and respect, and who elected me chair of the NDP's women's caucus. I thank them for their support.

The evolution of the status of women in the western world has created a domino effect that can still be seen today around the world. The fact that Saudi Arabian women obtained the right to vote in municipal elections shows that the path forged by Canadian women is still guiding the evolution of many societies.

We must continue on this path and not downplay the importance of our actions today for the future of billions of women around the world.

Restoring Mail Delivery for Canadians Act June 25th, 2011

Mr. Speaker, as both hon. members indicated, I am a new member of Parliament. The NDP has done a little but I a assume that we will have amendments to make later. For now, we are trying to discuss this bill, which we find unacceptable and unfair for workers.

Restoring Mail Delivery for Canadians Act June 25th, 2011

Mr. Speaker, could the hon. member please repeat the end of his question? I did not hear what he said.

Restoring Mail Delivery for Canadians Act June 25th, 2011

Mr. Speaker, I would also like to respond to the member opposite. She is a surgeon and I am a family doctor.

A C-section is performed when a person is in pain. Agreed? When a C-section is performed, it is done to alleviate pain, not simply for the joy of cutting.

I am telling the hon. member that I carefully read her bill, and I do not think she understands what it means. This bill means that, in the future, when there are other disputes involving companies other than Canada Post, the government will systematically intervene.

Restoring Mail Delivery for Canadians Act June 25th, 2011

Mr. Speaker, the Conservative government tells us that we should accept this bill because the proposed agreement includes salary increases. That is irrelevant. If the government is waiting for us to approve this bill based on that argument alone, it is going to be waiting a long time.

I even wonder if the government has read its own bill. If it had, it would have realized that we are not rejecting this bill because of a single aspect.

If we cannot make ourselves understood by the government, if it refuses to hear us because it believes it is above everything that happens in the House, let us try something else. Let us try to make the government understand that we are refusing to approve this bill because Canada Post workers are asking us to do so, and not only are they asking us to do so, but they are explaining why.

Here is an example a Canada Post worker sent me. He points out that one of the issues with the collective agreement that Canada Post is trying to force upon them is very important for future postal workers, and that is the shortage of workers and the demographics of the new workforce that we will see in the future.

First of all, the new contract would reduce the salaries of new employees from $24 per hour to $18 per hour. He explains that the new workers available for hire will be Aboriginal people and newcomers to Canada. These new workers will work for lower wages and reduced benefits, making them a separate class of workers and citizens. Once again, it is an insult to see co-workers being treated as second-class citizens.

There will also be retirees, and young men and women trying to support their families. They deserve a decent salary, the one that Canada Post already pays for the same work. Equal pay for work of equal value.

The many issues also include, as he points out, preserving sick leave and other benefits. In his letter this worker begs us not to let Canada Post cut their sick leave. For nearly 40 years, Canada Post has included sick leave in its offers, and the cost of this measure has not prevented Canada Post from making profits during the past 16 years.

Moreover, although the figures vary depending on the source, from 10,000 to 20,000 positions would be eliminated over the next 10 years. That means that Canada Post would have less vacation leave and other costs to pay. This worker cannot believe that, with these savings, Canada Post executives could no longer afford to provide sick leave for those whose jobs will not be cut. These sick days are a form of insurance. Some workers use them and others do not, so they are not a heavy burden on the system, as suggested by the executives.

His letter also mentions the high workplace injury rate and the many employees dealing with chronic physical ailments.

The union members are also affected by high rates of depression and mental illness, most of which are due to the high level of stress in the workplace, something that even the Canada Post executives have confirmed.

They even declared themselves to be champions of mental health. Despite this, they tried to cut sick leave instead of leaving current programs in place to help employees. Canada Post is saying that it wants to make the corporation a model employer, but its actions do not match its words.

Canada Post is saying that revenues are down, but it has done everything possible to shoot itself in the foot in terms of customer service. It is as though the company were purposely trying to fail on this front. It has cut the number of service counters and staff, both in rural municipalities and in large cities. How can Canada Post make money if it has no employees behind the counter to sell products and services?

There are long line-ups and not enough employees to serve customers. In the post office where this postal worker works, there used to be two customer service staff. Canada Post got rid of them a few years ago. Needless to say, sales have dropped significantly. The other service employees are trying to serve customers, but they do not have the necessary time or training, so there are no performance guarantees.

In addition, management is not available to respond to clients' needs. Clients are referred to a 1-800 number, which is now run by a private company. The employees are also required to fill out all of the paperwork required by management, which further reduces the time they have available to help customers. Customers must fill out forms themselves. High error rates slow down processing and create a lot of dissatisfaction.

The range of services needs to be increased, particularly for small and medium-sized businesses. It should not get harder for them to send parcels. Many of the problems at Canada Post have nothing to do with the work or wages of employees.

Restoring Mail Delivery for Canadians Act June 24th, 2011

Madam Speaker, I would like to thank my colleague for her question.

I think Canada Post has been posturing since the beginning so the government would introduce this bill that we have been debating since yesterday. Canada Post had started making offers to the union but now the Conservative government is interfering and coming between the employer and its employees

Restoring Mail Delivery for Canadians Act June 24th, 2011

Madam Speaker, I thank my colleague from the other side for his question.

First, I would like to say that the situation has gotten worse since the lockout. The rotating strikes did not disrupt mail distribution for seniors and for all members of society. I want to point out that this happened when Canada Post locked out its employees. There is no point trying to blame the workers. The workers are proud of what they do. The workers are prepared to return to work if we unlock the doors at Canada Post.

Restoring Mail Delivery for Canadians Act June 24th, 2011

Madam Speaker, I would have preferred to make my first speech in the House under more positive circumstances, but the government chose otherwise.

As the saying goes, it helps to sleep on it. But in my case, sleeping on it has raised some questions. I was anxious to return to the House to share my concerns. I must admit that after the election, I was worried about our country's progressive values. I was worried that we take a step backwards with the social gains that Canadian society worked brilliantly at great cost to earn over the course of our history.

I never thought that the Conservative government could threaten the structures of Canada's economic success themselves. I must admit that I was surprised about that. I see that this is the reality today, and I wonder why and what the government's goal is.

The public must understand that the Conservative government is trying to create a precedent. The Conservative government never hid its intentions. The Minister of Labour recently reiterated that the government's priority was to support economic growth, and that it would intervene in any labour dispute that could jeopardize that.

Any labour dispute? What does that mean? It is now very clear that the government will jump in indiscriminately. It is one thing to support development, to support businesses that create jobs, but it is an entirely different thing to systematically attack workers.

The New Democratic Party is in an interesting position, since we must remind the Conservative government of some fundamental principles of our economy. Simple principles. In our economy, the workers are also consumers. They are customers who use their incomes to keep the economy rolling.

One concept is fundamental to our economy: offer better wages to employees and they will buy more cars; offer better wages to employees and they will buy houses, consumer goods and services. But if you lower wages and cut employee benefits, you are attacking the very foundation of the modern economy.

The Conservative government is proposing a single formula: support economic development by reducing the purchasing power of workers. The government is adding insult to injury by simultaneously suggesting that Canadians reduce their debt levels. Workers who have supported Canada's economic growth for years, by going into debt of over 140% of their income, are now forced to accept that the government is making their debt level even worse by decreasing their disposable income. In what economic dream world is the government living?

The Conservative government is getting all worked up about the economic impact of the delays in mail delivery. It is condemning the temporary pressure tactics used by the workers, who are trying to preserve their purchasing power. And what does it do to resolve this temporary problem? It permanently reduces the income available to workers to support economic growth. What are we to take from this lack of logic? Do we just accept the excuse that the government continues to repeat, that its intervention is necessary to ensure economic development?

The answer is no. Instead, we need to unmask this government, which claims to be a champion of the economy but is flouting economic principles for ideological reasons. The Conservative government is interfering in the market economy and in the bargaining process between workers and their employer. Let the government suffer the consequences of its own lack of rigour.

If the NDP has to remind the government, citizens and especially the Minister of Labour that the Canadian economy is based on principles that have made us member of the G20 and an economic success worldwide, they can count on us. We will not allow the Conservatives to attack our economic prosperity. We will not allow the Conservatives to reduce the purchasing power of Canadians and further increase their level of debt. But above all, if the government insists on systematically interfering in negotiations between workers and employers, the NDP will systematically stand up to protect the Canadian economy and the principles that have made it so strong.

Now let us talk about the sense of urgency we see in the government. Not only has it rushed into this matter, not only has it gotten involved in a process that is none of its business, but it is also trying to force the adoption of a bill that will create a precedent that the government intends to systematically repeat, according to the very words of the Minister of Labour.

What is the urgency the government is referring to? Let us be clear. It was never the intention of Canada Post employees to undermine Canada's economic stability. This accusation on the part of the Conservative government, this bugaboo that it has been unleashing on the House for several days now, is not convincing anyone. Canada Post workers are much more sensitive to the importance of the service they provide than the Conservatives are letting on. The government is forgetting that Canada Post's clients are the neighbours, family members, colleagues and friends of the crown corporations's employees. Accusing them of taking Canadians hostage is absurd.

Under an agreement reached before the dispute, Canada Post workers had already committed to delivering government cheques, such as welfare, old age security and family support payments. According to the union, nearly 9,000 members would have helped sort and deliver over 2 million cheques a month. But the lockout changed everything. That excessive measure is what interrupted mail service to Canadians. The scolding emails only started coming in after the lockout was imposed, the same emails that the government is now citing to justify its bill. I hope the government will keep those emails as a reminder of the harmful effects of its precipitous action. We will also send them all the emails from citizens who are disappointed by this government's actions.

Lastly, I would like to send greetings to all of my friends and constituents in the riding of Saint-Bruno—Saint-Hubert who were expecting me today for our national holiday celebrations. Since moving to Quebec, I have come to enjoy this beautiful celebration. The national holiday has allowed me not only to celebrate the history of my new home province, but also to develop a sense of belonging. How I would have liked to be among my constituents to thank them for the incredible welcome they have extended to me. I would have liked to show my profound gratitude for the honour they have bestowed upon me by voting for change in Ottawa. I will simply have to put it off to another time.

In the meantime, I am here to do the job entrusted to me. I will remain here to represent the interests of the people of Saint-Bruno—Saint-Hubert. And, if need be, I will stay here with my colleagues until Canada Day.

June 23rd, 2011

Mr. Speaker, I have a question for the minister. Why is the government in such a hurry to impose back-to-work legislation? We know that Canada Post officials were the ones who imposed the lockout. The Conservatives talk about the best interests of Canadians, but are the workers not Canadians? Are those workers not part of Canada? Why do the Conservatives always want to protect employers' rights while abandoning the workers?

Why are they trying to violate workers' rights and open the door to privatization through this government's insidious actions?