House of Commons photo

Crucial Fact

  • Her favourite word was conservatives.

Last in Parliament October 2015, as NDP MP for Portneuf—Jacques-Cartier (Québec)

Lost her last election, in 2015, with 22% of the vote.

Statements in the House

Transport May 15th, 2012

Mr. Speaker, today I rise in this House once again to address the problematic Neuville airport file, because the Minister of Transport continues to ignore it and has tried to sweep it under the carpet from the outset.

Since the very beginning of the project, the constituents have been opposed to the airport being built. They are deeply worried about losing their quality of life and about the deterioration of their health and that of their children.

I am now going to explain the file more clearly to the hon. members opposite, who do not seem concerned in the slightest. The runway in Neuville is approximately 200 feet from houses where people live. So planes would fly over the houses of people who have lived there for years. Those people were there long before the promoters came. There are also other residences in the area.

Even though he has never set foot there, the Minister says that Canadians' safety is not at stake, that everything is fine and dandy, that everything is safe. This shows that he clearly does not know what he is talking about.

Speaking of ignorance, I would also like to remind the Minister of Transport that the municipal council and the constituents have been against the airport project right from the outset.

The minister constantly hides behind the memorandum of understanding to justify his failure to take action on this issue. The memorandum was signed between the city and the developers to protect the citizens, and that is what the Minister of Transport is refusing to do right now.

The sole purpose of the memorandum of understanding that we have been hearing so much about is to regulate operations that will take place at the airport in order to minimize the negative consequences of increased air traffic over the town. The parties came up with this solution because the government had nothing to offer.

If the Minister of Transport had taken the time to sit down and talk to Bernard Gaudreau, the mayor of Neuville, as it happens—I wanted to mention that to give the minister some context—he would know that the memorandum does not mean the city has agreed to the project. It is a last resort in response to the government’s lack of support.

The root of the problem is the fact that, under the current Aeronautics Act, private developers who want to build an airport can do so wherever in Canada they want to, as long as they obey basic safety rules established by Transport Canada. Developers do not even have to notify anyone of the existence of their runway on the land. They do not have to register their airport if they do not want to. Verifications will not necessarily be done. This poses a problem, because municipalities have no way of becoming involved in the process in order to have their say and be consulted.

The provinces and municipalities have their own areas of jurisdiction that are guaranteed by the Constitution, including, for instance, land use, municipal planning and the protection of agricultural land. These jurisdictions are not being respected in the context of the Aeronautics Act.

On the one hand, the federal government refuses to take full responsibility in its exclusive jurisdiction and, on the other hand, it also refuses to allow the provinces and municipalities to legislate in their own areas of jurisdiction.

The airport problem is a direct result of the legislative gap that exists in the Aeronautics Act. This situation needs to be rectified because it could affect every Canadian municipality.

Moreover, I think that the minister was wrong to claim today that the Neuville file is settled. Section 4.9 of the Aeronautics Act stipulates, among other things, that the minister has the authority to legislate concerning the location and operation of airports.

With all this information, how can the minister still justify his inaction? How can he categorically refuse to meet with the mayor of Neuville?

When the Minister of Transport was a reeve and a mayor, I strongly doubt that he tolerated the same degree of intransigence and contempt on the part of the sitting Minister of Transport. So why is the minister refusing to act to preserve the quality of life of the residents of Neuville?

Air Transportation May 15th, 2012

Mr. Speaker, yesterday the Minister of Transport met with Quebec's municipal affairs and intergovernmental affairs ministers about the Neuville airport. Finally.

As I have been doing in this House since November, they pointed out to him that the entire region is against the project and asked him to take action on this issue. The minister apparently said he was aware of the many problems that this airport is causing residents. It is about time, because planes have already started flying over the town.

Can the minister tell us if he now intends to meet with the mayor of Neuville and use the authority conferred on him by the Aeronautics Act to intervene in this matter?

Jobs, Growth and Long-Term Prosperity Act May 10th, 2012

Mr. Speaker, I think there may be some measures for the people living in the Conservatives' reality, but for the other ordinary Canadians, I am not so sure there is anything that is really going to help them.

As far as the forestry situation is concerned, I am seeing the same thing in my riding. I talked about this in my speech. In Saint-Raymond de Portneuf and other municipalities in the region, people are affected by the forestry crisis and are not receiving any help from the government. This may be due to the restrictions that the government imposed on itself with certain free trade agreements that need to be given some thought. This needs to be taken into consideration the next time this type of agreement is negotiated. The government needs to provide help for the manufacturing sector, and the forestry industry is a big part of that sector. Just because this problem is in Quebec does not mean it should be forgotten.

Jobs, Growth and Long-Term Prosperity Act May 10th, 2012

Mr. Speaker, I can provide an explanation for the member opposite, if he is still paying attention.

Considering the profession of the father of my colleague from Rivière-du-Nord , if these changes had taken place when he retired, he would have suffered the consequences.

I see that he is clapping. That was the clarification needed.

We have to establish the facts. The NDP looks at the facts. Contrary to what some members opposite have said, our positions and our party's platform are based on facts. I hope that this positive influence will be felt on the other side of the House also.

Jobs, Growth and Long-Term Prosperity Act May 10th, 2012

Mr. Speaker, I would like to thank the hon. member for Rivière-du-Nord for his very relevant question.

People who work in more physically demanding jobs, who have to do heavy lifting and the like, will not necessarily be able to continue working until they are 67. It is extremely difficult for these people who work, who are productive members of our society and who do not abuse the employment insurance system. These people are productive and essential. It is the government's duty to ensure that they have the support they need so that they can enjoy a well-deserved retirement and live in dignity.

This measure that the government wants to impose does not follow this logic at all and will not give the needed support to these people, who deserve to be taken care of when they are no longer able to take care of themselves.

Jobs, Growth and Long-Term Prosperity Act May 10th, 2012

Mr. Speaker, today I will join many of my colleagues in opposing the legislative monstrosity that is Bill C-38. The stated purpose of this omnibus bill, which is over 420 pages long, is to implement budget 2012, but it contains numerous measures that have nothing to do with the budget per se and that were never announced to Canadians.

Bill C-38 constitutes a direct attack on transparency, in terms of both its substance and the way the government is imposing its ideological vision of the country on Canadians by attempting to stifle and discredit all opposition to its dogmatic approach.

The Conservatives began by limiting the amount of time opposition parties could spend studying and debating this massive and destructive bill. They know that the devil is in the details, and they do not want to give us a chance to warn Canadians about what they are doing.

The fact that members had very little time to carefully review and analyze this bill makes it practically impossible to get an accurate picture of how Bill C-38 will affect people. This way of doing things is unacceptable and proves the government's contempt for Parliament and our institutions.

The Conservatives also have an unfortunate tendency to make fun of those who oppose their vision and their way of doing things, which, frankly, are better suited to an autocracy than to the Parliament of Canada. Those who oppose Bill C-38, whether they be parliamentarians or ordinary Canadians, are often described by the members opposite as people who are trying to create division in Canada or who simply do not understand what the government is trying to do.

Opponents are described as big bad socialists who are manipulating the media and public opinion and who simply want to impose their will on Canadians no matter what the cost and with no thought for the common good. This typically Conservative way of talking about opponents is an insult to Canadians' intelligence.

Did the fall of the Wildrose Party not teach them that Canadians do not like mean-spirited generalizations? In my riding of Portneuf—Jacques-Cartier, I have even met people who were members of the Conservative Party but who sent their membership cards back to the party in protest at this way of doing things. They approve of the ideas being put forward by the Conservatives, but they refuse to support this lack of democracy and the way the Conservatives are forcing positions on Canadians that they do not share.

Canadians have the right to accurate and honest information about what the government is doing on their behalf. In its election campaign, this government promised everyone that it would be a transparent and accountable government. But that has not been the case since it came into power. Quite the contrary.

Bill C-38 is further proof that the Conservatives cannot be trusted. Canadians hesitated for a long time to give a majority to this government because they were afraid of its hidden agenda. They were right to be afraid.

As I mentioned before, this budget implementation bill goes well beyond the budget and contains a number of important changes that were not mentioned in the election campaign or even afterwards. This bill will forever change Canadian society, and it will not be for the better.

At least one-third of this bill seeks to greatly undermine if not virtually decimate the system of environmental protections, assessments and regulations that protect Canadian fauna, waterways and ecosystems, to permit the unrestricted development of our natural resources, just like in the Duplessis era.

The Conservatives do not have a strategy for developing renewable energy and reducing the use of fossil fuels. Pipeline projects, which are so near and dear to the Conservatives' hearts, will be imposed on Canadians against their will in order to export our natural resources. Decidedly, with this government, the great darkness is back.

Bill C-38 considerably diminishes the Auditor General's oversight powers, including by eliminating his mandatory review of the financial statements of 12 government agencies. In light of the giant fiasco that is the F-35 procurement process and the lengths this government has gone to in order to hide the real cost of this purchase from Canadians, I can see why the government does not want the Auditor General to have too many powers.

This legislative Trojan Horse also seeks to raise the eligibility age for old age security and the guaranteed income supplement from 65 to 67. This change, which will not affect many MPs here right now, will directly affect my generation and will make our seniors in need even more vulnerable. The Prime Minister knows full well that the current system is still viable for many years to come and that these draconian cuts are unnecessary.

The government would save more money if it stopped wasting money on its plans for building megaprisons and on its questionable military procurements. It would not have to punish future generations, as it is doing right now.

We understand why the Prime Minister wanted to escape to Switzerland, rather than make that announcement here in Canada.

I could go on for hours about the devastating effect that budget 2012 and Bill C-38 will have on Canadian society and its institutions.

However, I would now like to focus more on how this bill will affect the people of my riding, Portneuf—Jacques-Cartier.

Contrary to what the Conservatives seem to believe, not everyone in this country shares their vision and supports their way of governing—far from it, in fact. Every day, people come and see me and tell me how ashamed they are of this government, of Canada's image in the rest of the world and of the Conservatives' lack of environmental conscience.

The people of Portneuf—Jacques-Cartier cannot relate to this government, since it does not share their values and it prefers to ignore their needs and requests. People are feeling betrayed and abandoned by the Conservatives, who appear to be governing only for the benefit of their friends.

This government keeps repeating that the budget focuses on job creation, yet the Parliamentary Budget Officer has confirmed that over 43,000 jobs will be lost, including over 19,000 in the public service.

The fact is that this budget forecasts higher unemployment, of all things. How is that good news for the people of Portneuf—Jacques-Cartier who have lost their jobs or are about to? It is very hard to follow this government's logic.

The first round of cuts at CFB Valcartier has been announced. At least 160 military support jobs will be lost, and that is just what we know so far.

The government is so stingy with the details that information comes out in dribs and drabs. That makes it very hard to get a clear sense of how their decisions will affect people.

With its 7,000 employees, CFB Valcartier is the largest federal employer in my riding, and I know that job losses there will have a very negative impact on the region's economy.

The cuts will affect about 100 families in my riding and the surrounding area, and merchants in neighbouring municipalities will feel the pinch as well, because local people will have less and less money to spend on their products and keep the economy going.

I cannot understand how Conservative members from the Quebec City region can endorse measures that will have such a negative impact on the local economy in their own ridings. That makes no sense to me.

In addition, if these cuts in support services to the military are combined with the cuts in direct services provided in the offices of the Department of Veterans Affairs, questions may well be asked about the real consideration that this government has given to the military in the Portneuf—Jacques-Cartier and Quebec City regions.

Furthermore, absolutely nothing has been done to help the forestry workers in my riding, who have seen their mills go bankrupt one after another and who find themselves unemployed and unable to support their families.

There is no investment in helping the forestry industry, which is a very important sector of Quebec's economy, and particularly in the Portneuf region.

The Conservatives boast about having done more than anyone else to create manufacturing jobs, but where are the results? Where are the jobs in Portneuf—Jacques-Cartier?

Finally, the residents in my riding are particularly concerned about the major changes that this government wants to make to our system of environmental assessments for the benefit of big oil companies.

Have the Conservatives learned nothing from past experience? This week, the Commissioner of the Environment and Sustainable Development reported that there are tens of thousands of contaminated federal sites, whose decontamination would cost more than $7 billion.

One of these sites, located in Shannon, is well known to Quebeckers. This tragic story of groundwater contaminated by TCE is unfortunately still going on today, and this government is refusing to live up to its responsibilities and take quick action to decontaminate the affected sites.

All possible measures must be taken to prevent toxic chemicals from finding their way into our ecosystems. One of the best ways of doing so is to ensure that comprehensive environmental assessments are carried out before each new natural resources development project. The time period over which these assessments are carried out must never be reduced, and the opportunity to speak out on such projects must never be restricted, yet two of the new measures this government wants to impose on us would do just that.

The residents of Portneuf—Jacques-Cartier and particularly the residents of Shannon know only too well the devastation caused by the contamination of water and soil and do not want these sorts of tragedies to happen again.

How can this government justify putting the lives of Canadians in danger with Bill C-38? It is absolutely unthinkable.

In conclusion—and I know I only have a little time left—I want to use my time to congratulate my colleague from Parkdale-High Park, who proposed a first-rate motion to amend this bill, which is totally unacceptable in its current form. I would like to congratulate her on her outstanding work on this issue. The solutions she is putting forward are sensible, rational and reasonable and should be implemented. My colleagues and I will continue to work with this aim in mind.

Interparliamentary Delegations April 25th, 2012

Mr. Speaker, pursuant to Standing Order 34(1), I have the honour to table, in both official languages, the report of the Canadian delegation of the Canada-France Inter-Parliamentary Association respecting its participation at the Meeting of the Standing Committee, held in Paris, France, from March 15 to 16, 2012.

National Defence April 4th, 2012

Mr. Speaker, military bases are going to suffer the consequences of the Conservatives' cuts. Troop support staff positions are going to be cut on bases across the country. In all, more than 1,000 jobs will be lost. In my riding, CFB Valcartier will lose 150 jobs. That is huge.

A few months ago, I asked the minister whether he had any intention of making cuts at Valcartier. He accused me of not supporting the troops.

Is cutting jobs his strategy for supporting the troops?

April 3rd, 2012

Mr. Speaker, I would like to thank the parliamentary secretary for her answer, which contained a great deal of misinformation.

If Transport Canada had really cooperated at every stage of the process with the municipality of Portneuf, the department would not have stopped negotiations in July 2010 on the basis of the environmental costs it was going to have to bear.

I do however have a question to ask her. Early in the week, divers were seen by representatives of the municipality at the Portneuf wharf. After looking into the matter, it turns out that these divers were sent by Public Works and Government Services Canada to carry out safety evaluations of the wharf. I would like a little more detail about this process. Are there new projects slated for the wharf in the near future? Does the government intend to carry out repairs? I would like some clarification on this.

April 3rd, 2012

Mr. Speaker, a few weeks ago, I asked the Minister of Transport, Infrastructure and Communities what he intended to do in order to preserve one of the most important port facilities in my riding, the Portneuf wharf. Today, I hope to obtain a clearer answer to the questions I asked some weeks ago.

This wharf, which was built in the 1950s, is today in desperate need of repairs in order to keep it safe for the public. It has raised a number of concerns: the structure requires major repairs in certain places, and work must commence as quickly as possible.

The water in which the wharf's structure sits must also be decontaminated because the creosote wood used during the wharf’s construction contaminated the surrounding water.

The wharf is particularly important for the Portneuf region and the entire population. In addition to being the longest deep water wharf in Canada, it is important to the tourism industry and to businesses in the City of Portneuf. The wharf provides the public with access to the river, and anyone who has had the opportunity to visit Portneuf—and I hope that there are many of you here today—will attest to the fact that the view from the wharf of the Saint Lawrence River is uninterrupted.

The wharf is an object of pride for the residents of Portneuf and an integral part of my region's heritage. This infrastructure must be conserved at all costs.

The City of Portneuf has been trying to buy the wharf back from the federal government since 2009. The negotiations between the municipality and Transport Canada were part of the port divestiture program, which ended only a couple of days ago. The program would have enabled the city to become the owner of the port facilities once the federal government carried out the necessary repairs. The repairs were a prerequisite to divesting the wharf to the municipality.

As I mentioned, the negotiations started in September 2009, and discussions were advancing quite well. A pre-transfer agreement was even reached between the municipality and the federal government. However, in July 2010, Transport Canada decided to put an end to the negotiations because of the huge costs involved in decontaminating and repairing the site in order to make it safer. These costs were discovered after a report was commissioned by the municipality to determine the future of the Portneuf wharf.

Since July 2010, the municipality of Portneuf has been trying to resume negotiations with Transport Canada, but with no success. The mayor of Portneuf is trying to get answers, but it is impossible for him to speak with anyone at Transport Canada. And so, because it is apparently not possible to speak directly to the minister, I put a question on the order paper several weeks ago, asking the minister whether the department wanted to divest itself of the wharf or keep it, and what would become of the repairs needed in order for the wharf to last and of responsibility for environmental liability issues if it kept the wharf or divested it. In writing, I learned that the department wanted to divest itself of the wharf, and I was referred to the criteria for the port divestiture program. When I asked the question orally, the minister replied that the program was already over, although I had asked him the question at the beginning of March. He tells me that all of the funds have already been committed.

At this point, there has got to be a clear answer, because the two answers are completely inconsistent, and the people in my riding need an answer. If the department intends to transfer the wharf to the municipality, the minister has to act, and quickly. However, if it wants to keep the wharf, the municipality will not oppose that; quite the contrary, it would like a commitment to preserving the wharf. I would like to get some slightly clearer answers on this.