House of Commons photo


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

National Day of the Midwife Act November 18th, 2014

Mr. Speaker, all over the world maternal mortality has decreased by 50% in the past two decades. According to the World Health Organization, the WHO, the number of midwives grew by 15% over the same period, and two out of three births in the world are now attended by a qualified health professional.

Access to good-quality health care is a basic human right. However, every year nearly 40 million women give birth without a qualified attendant, which increases the risks of mortality and morbidity for both the mother and child.

Midwives do more than birth babies. A midwife is a trained health professional who takes complete responsibility for care and services for the mother and the infant during pregnancy, birth and the postnatal period. Midwifery plays an important role in society, and the bill introduced by the hon. member for Alfred-Pellan will raise public awareness of the contribution midwives make to the care and well-being of mothers, newborns and infants.

At present, only 2% to 5% of Canadian women have access to midwifery services. That means two things. First, it means that few Canadian women are aware of the existence of such a sexual and reproductive health service. Second, it means that Canadian women cannot have access to a midwife when they want to have such a person by their side throughout their pregnancy. There are 1,300 midwives in Canada, 136 of them in Quebec and 11 in Montérégie, where my riding is. That is not enough.

We must encourage the practice of this profession and the use of midwifery services, especially because we know that this Conservative government's budget cuts are putting more pressure on hospitals and that the same cuts are causing health care centres in our ridings to close. In my riding, in Saint-Bruno, two clinics have closed in three months, and a third is in critical condition.

The Conservative government is doing nothing to help improve and maintain good health care for the people of this country. The people do not know how to face such shortages. Soon there will be no clinic. It is a scandal. If, by encouraging the use of midwifery services, we can offer young mothers an alternative for their reproductive health, the government ought to support the creation of a national day of the midwife.

The International Day of the Midwife was first celebrated in 1991 and is sponsored by the WHO. Now, more than 50 countries celebrate this day. Here in the House, members help mark the day during members' statements. Why not go farther and make it a national day? It is not enough to honour the birth attendants who work all over the world. It is time to recognize our Canadian midwives, all over the country.

This national day of the midwife would honour all the dedicated midwives who go beyond the minimum required of them, who work in difficult circumstances and with limited resources to provide maternal and neonatal health care to women and girls across Canada. We in the NDP are affirming our commitment to supporting midwives across the country, and I invite all members of the House to do the same by supporting Bill C-608, as introduced by the hon. member for Alfred-Pellan.

National Day of the Midwife Act November 18th, 2014

Mr. Speaker, I would like to thank the hon. member for Alfred-Pellan for her valuable bill, Bill C-608, which is about raising public awareness about the contribution midwives make to the health of mothers, newborns and infants. Only 2% to 5% of Canadian women have access to midwifery services.

Could my colleague explain why so few Canadians have access to these services?

Health November 17th, 2014

Mr. Speaker, the Conservatives' inappropriate secrecy extends even to the Ebola crisis. They are refusing to reveal the details of their agreement with NewLink Genetics even though the agreement is available online. Thousands of people have fallen victim to the Ebola virus, but the Conservatives are more concerned about commercial gain than they are about the public good.

Why does the government not make the vaccine available for humanitarian reasons, as permitted under the act?

Energy Safety and Security Act November 7th, 2014

Mr. Speaker, I thank my colleague for her eloquent speech.

If the nuclear industry is truly mature, it should cover costs in accordance with the polluter pays principle. Unfortunately, this bill maintains subsidies to the industry and downloads the financial risk onto taxpayers for costs that exceed $1 billion.

Taxpayers are not the ones doing the polluting.

Does my colleague think that citizens deserve better protection if companies make a mess?

Champlain Bridge November 7th, 2014

Mr. Speaker, La Presse is reporting that the toll on the Champlain Bridge continues to poison relations with the Quebec government and the cities in the metropolitan area.

The Quebec government is saying that a toll cannot be charged and people who do not pay cannot be prosecuted unless it is involved.

Instead of creating fake debates about the name of the Champlain Bridge, will the minister finally sit down with the Quebec government and elected officials in greater Montreal to talk about the real issues, such as the toll?

Health November 3rd, 2014

Mr. Speaker, Lyn Gilbert, an Australian expert on infectious diseases, believes that there is no reason for the visa ban proposed by the Conservative government and that this ban is not supported by scientific evidence.

Rather than implementing cosmetic measures that have been rejected by the World Health Organization, why does the Conservative government not meet the needs of local governments who are calling for more staff and more equipment to fight the Ebola outbreak?

Economic Action Plan 2014 Act, No. 2 October 30th, 2014

Mr. Speaker, as my colleague mentioned, this omnibus bill contains 401 clauses and is 478 pages long, and it amends various federal policies, from the DNA data bank to social services for refugees.

I would like to know what my colleague thinks about how the Conservatives are attacking the least fortunate. Protecting these people is the responsibility of the government and part of our Canadian values.

Why is the government targeting people who have been persecuted and subjected to trauma and violence? Why is it eliminating what is sometimes their only source of income?

The Budget October 24th, 2014

Mr. Speaker, if words still mean anything, a budget bill should contain budgetary measures.

Once again, the Conservatives have used a budget bill to secretly introduce some reprehensible measures. This time, they are going after refugees by allowing the provinces to restrict access to social assistance.

Do the Conservatives feel bad at all that they are trying to conceal their schemes in an omnibus bill?

Islamic New Year October 24th, 2014

Mr. Speaker, as the Hijri new year is about to begin, I would like to wish all Muslims health, happiness and prosperity. In these difficult times, both at home and abroad, it is very important that we continue to spread messages of peace all around us.

I invite everyone to take this opportunity to spend some time with loved ones and think about how we can make our society fairer, more inclusive and more peaceful. Let us also keep Corporal Nathan Cirillo's loved ones in our thoughts. We must not forget the daily sacrifices made by members of the armed forces and their families on our behalf. We must continue working together to protect our institutions and improve our society.

[Member spoke in Arabic.]

Immigration and Refugee Protection Regulations October 23rd, 2014

Mr. Speaker, first, I would like to thank all the security personnel for their bravery and professionalism in dealing with the disturbing events that took place yesterday in the House of Commons. Thank you, thank you, thank you.

I am pleased to take part in the debate on a subject as important as Motion No. 505. In my speech, I will take the time to shed some light on this sensitive issue, while the government, the majority, is doing everything it can to sow confusion.

I would like to remind hon. members of the words of the illustrious philosopher Albert Camus, which should be a guiding principle when it comes to policy development. He said, “to call things by incorrect names is to add to the world's misery”.

That pretty much sums up the Conservative immigration and refugee protection policy: adding confusion to misery and suspicion to distress.

This text, which confuses forced marriage, arranged marriage and marriage by proxy, is another blatant example.

I would like to remind hon. members of several basic concepts in order to put an end to the serious confusion caused by the majority and, of course, the government. A forced marriage is a horrendous practice that I strongly object to. A forced marriage is a marital union in which one or both of the parties is married against his or her will. This practice goes against the humanist values set out in article 16 of the Universal Declaration of Human Rights, which we stand up for here.

In the case of an arranged marriage, the families agree to plan the marriage and the bride and groom consent. That is also the case for marriage by proxy. Marriage by proxy allows two people who are separated by circumstance, often in a country at war, to voluntarily enter into a marriage.

I am appalled that the Conservatives continually mixed up these three concepts in their remarks.

As the witnesses who appeared before the Standing Committee on Citizenship and Immigration said, forced marriages are only very rarely entered into by proxy.

If the government really intends to take measures to prevent forced marriages in Canada, why is it attacking marriage by proxy? I do not understand it. It once again falls to us to explain that this text will be useless for four main reasons.

First of all, the quantitative scope of this phenomenon is extremely limited. I will quote the director general of immigration:

Forced marriages are something very difficult to quantify. The known incidence of forced marriages in the immigration system is quite small, and the instances tend to be anecdotal.

Second, this text is useless because it establishes a correlation between forced marriage and marriage by proxy that does not exist. Many researchers and workers on the ground told us this.

Ms. Korteweg of the sociology department of the University of Toronto told the committee that the problems of forced marriage cannot be addressed through this motion. Forced marriages are not caused by marriage by proxy.

I would also add that the proposed measures are not based on any facts or statistics. There is nothing to indicate any link between forced marriage and marriage by proxy. This text is bad because it bans something that is already prohibited. Indeed, forced marriages are already prohibited in Canada, and the Immigration and Refugee Protection Regulations already compel Citizenship and Immigration to conduct thorough investigations into spousal sponsorship to verify the sincerity of marriages.

Not only is this text useless, it is actually harmful, which is much more serious. It is harmful in several ways. First of all, the Conservatives are using the victims of forced marriage as a pretext for further limiting spousal sponsorships, despite all the witnesses heard in committee.

This text also creates confusion and confuses facts that have nothing to do with denouncing forced marriage. In doing so, it lays the blame on customs and cultural communities that do not practice forced marriage, for the simple reason that their traditions are different than ours.

This text is problematic because once again it amends the Immigration and Refugee Protection Regulations. I must point out that this government has amended these regulations roughly every three months since 2008.

The best way to deal with forced marriages in Canada is to give CIC officers the necessary resources to conduct investigations. These are lengthy and costly investigations that require patience, time and effort. There is no guarantee that they will protect against every case of fraud, but every case of fraud will go undetected without them. How are these officers supposed to work with the requisite equanimity when the government cuts budgets at every turn and changes the regulations every three months?

We are paying the price for this government's ideological cuts since the backlog in processing sponsorship claims has skyrocketed in the past few years. In some cases people are waiting 33 months. That is unacceptable.

It would be naive to suggest that this government made mistakes in its approach to its immigration policy. It is well aware of the catastrophic results of its constant tinkering, but it does not care. It prefers to engage in its penchant for making policy based on back-page stories and then denounce the misfortunes born of its own mismanagement.

We, the members of the NDP, are responsible people. We are getting ready to form the first social democratic government in Canada, and that is why we have clear, concrete proposals on this issue.

Before I list those proposals, I wish to remind the House that we firmly believe that a marriage must be entered into with the free and full consent of both parties. It is unacceptable that a practice as barbaric as forced marriage could take place in a country like Canada.

That is why the NDP is calling on the government to invest the material and human resources needed to hear spousal sponsorship applications under the right conditions. We are also formulating three proposals to effectively strengthen protection for women in our immigration system.

The government should start by acknowledging that violence against women transcends forced marriage. It is critical to implement a procedure that would inform potential partners of their legal rights before they arrive in Canada—when they go to the Canadian consulate to ask for their immigration documents, for example.

We believe that the concept of conditional permanent residence should be eliminated for sponsored spouses. Regardless of the intention behind this measure, the practice is disastrous.

This motion creates confusion, fuels prejudice and breeds mistrust. Consequently, I will not be supporting it.