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

Business of Supply October 25th, 2011

Mr. Speaker, what I have gathered from the debate is that the Conservatives want farmers to be able to live freely in poverty. Eliminating the Canadian Wheat Board's single desk has the same impact as completely dismantling the Wheat Board. Producers will not have the same power on international markets to negotiate and to sell their wheat and barley at the best price. I thank my colleague for providing the opportunity to clarify once more the government's true agenda.

Business of Supply October 25th, 2011

Madam Speaker, I would like to thank the hon. member for Edmonton—Strathcona for her lovely speech, which, as the other hon. member mentioned, provided a great deal of insight into the terrible situation prairie farmers will find themselves in if the Canadian Wheat Board is dismantled.

I am rising in the House today, as many of my NDP colleagues have done, to oppose the Conservatives' bill to dismantle the Canadian Wheat Board. I come from a riding with many farmers and family farms. They are having a great deal of difficulty in the current economic context. I am therefore very much aware of the concerns of farmers across the country.

Bill C-18 wants to rip apart the Wheat Board and eliminate the single desk marketing system for wheat and barley in Canada. This bill clearly shows that the Conservatives are completely out of touch and do not understand the needs of Canadian farmers.

The Wheat Board is the largest and most successful grain marketing organization in the world. In 2009-10, it generated approximately $5.2 billion in revenue. That is a lot of money. The government needs to take this into account when considering the possibility of dismantling certain extremely important components of the Canadian Wheat Board. The single desk system that the Wheat Board offers is very important to the Prairies. The Wheat Board provides financial stability for farmers, prudent risk management and certainty of grain supply.

The Wheat Board has become an essential structure for western Canadian farmers. It is a need. The Wheat Board is truly helping farmers to survive in the difficult economic context we are experiencing right now. The Canadian Wheat Board is controlled, run and funded by farmers. Canadian taxpayers are not paying for this essential structure. Farmers fund operations out of revenue from grain sales.

Are the Conservatives afraid of the collective approach that farmers have chosen to take? I understand that this is not a concept that is overly familiar to them or that they appreciate, but it is something that is at the very core of western farmers' values. In addition, do the Conservatives not understand that it is more advantageous to work together than to adopt an “every man for himself” approach? That is a good question.

For western farmers, the Wheat Board is an effective way to maximize the price of grain. The board's size and power on the market allow it to negotiate internationally and to ensure fair access to the market for all producers.

Why is the Conservative government refusing to respect the wishes of farmers in western Canada? Why is this government ignoring the strong voice of farmers who are speaking out against the dismantling of the Canadian Wheat Board?

As we have heard many times in this House, the Wheat Board recently held a plebiscite of its members. The results, released on September 12, showed that 62% of respondents wanted to maintain the single desk for marketing wheat and 51% wanted to maintain the single desk for barley. Those two percentages constitute more than a majority. The participation rate in the plebiscite was 56%, which is equivalent to the rate in the last three federal elections. But the Conservative government is constantly bragging about receiving a strong mandate from Canadians with a participation rate similar to what was obtained by the Canadian Wheat Board. Why does this participation rate work in one case and not in the other? This is another one of the Conservatives' classic double standards, which are part of its divide and conquer strategy.

Western farmers have spoken and they oppose Bill C-18, like all of my colleagues here. They want to keep the board's single desk system.

The Conservatives are saying that their bill will make it easier for farmers to market their grain by allowing them to choose to whom they sell their products and how. That is false. It will only create more problems. They have a structure that allows them to pool their recourses and make sure they are getting the best prices, with all the strength of their combined resources.

Leaving farmers to fend for themselves would only create other problems, and their lives are hard enough already.

I am aware of the financial difficulties facing family farms in Portneuf—Jacques-Cartier. My constituents come and see me in my office in Pont-Rouge to talk about this situation, since they are so worried about it. That is why I feel I can relate to the concerns of western farmers. Times are very hard, and farmers are looking more and more for new ways to market their products in order to earn a good living from their hard work.

Young farmers are pooling their resources more and more, in order to survive in the current economic climate. My riding has a number of farming co-operatives and more are being set up every day, because everything is very expensive and because individual farmers cannot survive right now. Prairie farmers have a long history of uniting in order to prosper, which is why the board was created in the first place. This is the legacy that the Conservatives want to consign to oblivion, at the expense of western Canadian farmers.

It is clear that the Conservatives are using Bill C-18 to try to destroy family farms. There is no other foreseeable outcome from this decision they are making with no regard for the clearly expressed opinion of the farmers.

The Conservatives' dogmatism and ideological stubbornness are undeniable. They are going to completely ignore the will of western Canadian farmers and shove their own interests down the farmers' throats. This government has long been looking to dismantle the Canadian Wheat Board at all costs, regardless of what anyone here might say. Are the Conservatives bending to pressure from big American corporations, as they often do? It would not be surprising; it is practically a tradition for them. We are concerned about the reasons behind the decision they are making today.

Since the beginning of this debate, the NDP has been saying that any decision on the future of the board has to be made by farmers for farmers. That is part of the act governing the Canadian Wheat Board. The members opposite seem to have forgotten about that detail. We keep reminding them, but to no avail. Let us hope that this time, my voice, added to the others, will have an effect.

The majority of the farmers want to keep this single desk system, and that is what the NDP is asking the Conservatives to do today. The government has to stop being so stubborn and start respecting the will of the farmers. This government has to stop gambling with the prairie economy and withdraw Bill C-18.

National Defence October 24th, 2011

Mr. Speaker, the 7,000 employees of CFB Valcartier are also wondering what the future holds for them.

Valcartier is home to the 5 Canadian Mechanized Brigade Group, the largest operational formation in Quebec and the only francophone brigade in Canada. It injects over half a billion dollars a year into the economy.

Will this government reassure the troops, their families and the community by promising not to make any cuts to the Valcartier base?

Circuit des couleurs Cross-country Race September 23rd, 2011

Mr. Speaker, Portneuf—Jacques-Cartier is a riding marked by the dynamism of its people, who are very involved in their community.

This weekend, the first edition of the Circuit des couleurs, a cross-country event organized by the Cantons-Unis de Stoneham-et-Tewkesbury, will be held.

I would like to mention the excellent work done by the Association des citoyens et citoyennes de Tewkesbury in organizing this event, which aims to highlight the cultural and natural heritage of the region.

This event will be an opportunity to meet the residents of Stoneham and Tewkesbury and also to admire the exceptional scenery in the valley of the Jacques-Cartier and the beautiful fall colours.

I invite everyone to come discover the recreational tourism services of the united townships and the studios of the region's artists who will be there. I look forward to seeing you there.

Prime Minister's Director of Communications September 21st, 2011

Mr. Speaker, the Prime Minister has demonstrated his lack of respect for francophones across the country by hiring a director of communications who has insulted francophones.

It is impossible to work with the Prime Minister unless you have more respect for the two official languages. This choice speaks volumes about what the Conservatives think about Quebec, Acadia and francophones elsewhere in Canada.

When will the Conservatives admit they were wrong and replace Mr. Persichilli?

September 20th, 2011

Madam Speaker, I will be generous and ask my question again so that I will have the opportunity to discuss this issue with the hon. member. What I have been hearing, at least up to this point, is “increase effectiveness”. This seems to be an administrative euphemism for “major cuts to staff”. I do not know yet whether these cuts will directly affect the Valcartier military base. That is what I would like to know. I will give the hon. member the opportunity to answer this question.

September 20th, 2011

Madam Speaker, we have recently learned from a report commissioned by the Minister of National Defence that the government plans to cut jobs in the Canadian Forces. This report was produced by a committee that was struck in June 2010, and headed up by General Andrew Leslie, to plan the restructuring of the Canadian Forces.

This report proposes radical measures supposedly intended to try to make the forces more efficient. It recommends massive cuts to military and civilian jobs and the transformation of thousands of stable, full-time jobs into part-time positions, but according to General Leslie, it is merely to trim the fat.

The general recommends that the Minister of National Defence reassign or simply eliminate 11,000 positions among the 145,000 existing positions. In addition, at least 4,500 reservists who currently work full time would have to fill precarious, part-time positions. Lastly, DND would also have to reduce its use of external consultants, who are often retired officers, by 30%.

This favoured consultant of the Minister of National Defence goes much further. He recommends being prepared to accept the risk of completely eliminating certain organizations of the Canadian Armed Forces. Given these recommendations, there is truly cause for concern for the members of our valiant army who have dedicated themselves to serving our country. During the last election campaign, the NDP committed to maintaining DND's budget, and that is the position that my colleagues and I are defending today.

The Valcartier military base is located in my riding of Portneuf—Jacques Cartier. The base employs approximately 7,000 men and women, civilian and military. As a result of the leak of this fairly disturbing report, all of these people want to know whether the government is really going to cut their already tight operating budget.

The Valcartier military base is home to the Royal 22e Régiment, which has a very special place in the hearts of Quebeckers because of its remarkable history. It is the only regular regiment in Canada that is entirely francophone. Since it was created, the members of the Royal 22e Régiment have participated in virtually all of Canada's military operations, including the two world wars and, of course, the war in Afghanistan.

The Royal 22e Régiment is made up of approximately five battalions of soldiers, including two reserve battalions. Most of its members are deployed to the Valcartier base.

In addition to the Royal 22e Régiment, the Valcartier base also houses the Valcartier Army Cadet Summer Training Centre. All these young people are the army's future and they deserve to have access to the best resources and the best instructors. If we go by General Leslie's report, essential services for these passionate young cadets could suddenly be taken away as a result of draconian cuts to staff.

The Valcartier military base is a major economic engine for neighbouring communities, such as Shannon and Saint-Gabriel-de-Valcartier. Each position that is cut will likely have a very negative effect on the citizens of Portneuf—Jacques-Cartier.

General Andrew Leslie's report proposes many brutal cuts, and the citizens of Portneuf—Jacques-Cartier are very concerned. The 7,000 employees of the Valcartier military base demand to know whether the government will follow General Leslie's recommendations and what the consequences of implementing these massive cuts will be.

Can the Minister of National Defence or his representative confirm to people in my region that there will be no cuts to the Valcartier base?

Restoring Mail Delivery for Canadians Act June 24th, 2011

Mr. Speaker, first, I thank and congratulate my hon. colleague for his incredible work on behalf of his constituents and the Canadian people.

I also thank him for raising the issue of the impact of this legislation on the younger members of the workforce at the beginning of his speech.

The Conservative government vows to fix the Canadian economy, but this back to work legislation will have the opposite effect.

Could my hon. colleague explain for the members of the government the disastrous effects the working conditions and lower wages that the Conservatives want to impose will have on the youngest members of the workforce and ultimately because of that, on our economy?

Restoring Mail Delivery for Canadians Act June 24th, 2011

Mr. Speaker, I would like to thank the hon. member for this very pertinent question.

I think that Canadians can make up their own minds from what they are seeing in the House. They see which party is standing up for the rights of workers and people like them and which party is not prepared to do so and puts partisanship above the discussion we are having here.

Progress can still be made. Changes can be made to this bill even though I am not yet getting that sense here.

As for the question of lack of respect, I will let the hon. member answer that himself.

Restoring Mail Delivery for Canadians Act June 24th, 2011

Mr. Speaker, I would like to thank the hon. member for his comment.

I do not believe I heard an actual question. However, if the hon. member is asking for clarification of the terms we are currently using, I can provide that information quickly. It is very clear what a lockout means. The employer locks the door and prevents employees from doing their jobs. What we are doing right now in this House, which the public understands, is very simple. We are defending the rights of workers and we are speaking on their behalf. We are their voice in the House. What we are doing right now is explaining the exact reasons why we have to put an end to this lockout.