House of Commons photo

Crucial Fact

  • Her favourite word was help.

Last in Parliament October 2019, as Liberal MP for Vimy (Québec)

Won her last election, in 2015, with 46% of the vote.

Statements in the House

Visitability June 11th, 2018

Mr. Speaker, I am very pleased to participate in the debate on Motion No. 157 and to emphasize how important it is for Canadian society. Even though Canada has always been ahead of the curve in creating an inclusive environment, there is still a lot of work to do. According to Statistics Canada, one in seven Canadians lives with a disability that limits their daily activities. Even so, the evidence shows that there is still a widespread lack of access to urban environments, roads, and housing.

This continues to prevent Canadians with reduced mobility from participating fully and equally in our society. I believe the member for Tobique—Mactaquac has a vision for Canada and that solutions exist. This motion affirms that vision by calling on the government to act. I share his vision, and I believe it can help change things.

Adopting the visitability motion will bring about major change in more ways than one. This motion will not only improve physical access, but also, over time, help reduce obstacles to communications and other social and behavioural barriers. The people who would benefit from government actions that honour the spirit of this motion will be recognized in our conversations and our decision-making. Ultimately, that will help remove the socio-economic barriers they face.

By addressing this issue through accessibility legislation, the minister would demonstrate our government's leadership on this matter, and also raise public awareness while highlighting just how many Canadians are still facing discrimination and disadvantages related to mobility issues. Awareness helps encourage social responsibility and recognizes that all individuals must be supported and given the opportunity to achieve and exercise their autonomy without being impeded by inaccessible places, when we have the capacity and the resources to accommodate them.

The concept of visitability will improve the quality of life of all Canadians, not just people with a disability, but also seniors, parents pushing strollers, pregnant women, children, and visitors who use mobility devices. Seniors are also very vulnerable to the structural barriers that the concept of visitability is meant to address. It is estimated that approximately 43.4% of Canadians 65 and older suffer from pain, vision loss, or loss of agility, causing them to restrict their activities. More specifically, one-third of Canadians 65 and older face difficulties in their daily activities because of mobility issues. This is a problem we need to acknowledge, because it will eventually affect us all.

When people start to age, their home can become an uncomfortable environment. When home layouts become increasingly difficult to use and no longer meet the needs and requirements of the residents, the latter can no longer access their homes or use them as well as they once did. With the new physical and sensory changes that happen naturally with age, our homes, which were once comfortable, start to become a barrier. Climbing the stairs can become difficult, hallways that were once easy to navigate do not accommodate wheelchairs or walkers, and the absence of a main floor bathroom can be a challenge.

These situations make seniors somewhat disabled by exposing them to risks of serious and potentially fatal injuries. All these factors can force us to spend our final years in an institutional setting equipped with ramps, bars, and no-step entryways. It is not enough to have government-run institutions that meet these requirements. We have to structure our society in such a way as to make all places accessible.

Elder abuse is a growing problem in Canada. The safety of seniors is an issue that family members have to take into consideration when choosing a retirement home or a palliative care home for their loved ones.

Ensuring that visitability standards are included in the construction of new homes will allow Canadians of all ages to live and age in their homes.

I would also like to take this opportunity to shed light on the impact that visitability can have on women. At present, it is estimated that approximately 53% of all people living with a disability in Canada are women, and that the levels of violence and abuse experienced by women with a disability are also the highest of all groups in Canada.

Inaccessibility means that it is difficult and sometimes impossible for women to attend meetings where information is exchanged and decisions are made. Women with reduced mobility and their families may refuse invitations to places that are difficult to access. Economic insecurity and inaccessibility, which are common among women with a disability, can lead them to live in places where there is no basic accessibility or to remain in precarious situations where they cannot exercise their autonomy because they depend on their partner or family. Single mothers who have children with a severe disability and who cannot afford accessible housing or cannot visit their families run the risk of not getting the help they often need. Visitability is crucial in order to promote full social inclusion of all women.

In order to empower women and ensure that they are able to participate in society in a fair and equal manner, we need to continue to focus on accessibility. Including these necessary accessibility standards will presumably have a significant impact. It is also important to realize that, as we work to achieve this objective, we will strengthen our commitment to making the changes that vulnerable Canadians desperately need.

We know that the federal government is working with the provinces and territories and providing funding through various means to make projects that are currently on the table a priority and to help the provinces and territories get the funding they need to launch these projects. That is why the third point set out in Motion No. 157, “inviting the federal government to address the subject of Visitability with its provincial and territorial partners in upcoming Federal, Provincial and Territorial discussions”, is so vital.

Visitability should be taken into consideration as we move forward with affordable housing projects by focusing on seniors and people with disabilities. All levels of government can work together so that the most vulnerable members of our society are better taken care of and so that they can have the best possible quality of life.

What is more, funding for accessibility in general is incredibly effective and has helped communities restructure and remodel their facilities to accommodate people who would not otherwise have access to certain locations.

Accessibility in private spaces is just as important as accessibility in public spaces, and this is something I want to emphasize today. The needs of Canadians who require greater accessibility reflect those of our communities. Accessibility standards and principles of inclusiveness could and should be incorporated into a project's development and funding, as the sponsor of this motion, the member for Tobique—Mactaquac, pointed out.

I strongly support this motion, because I know what kind of impact it can have for people , in particular the most vulnerable Canadians, who simply cannot go certain places because our communities are unable to meet basic mobility needs.

I want to conclude by congratulating Mr. Perreault, the CEO of StimuleArts, a not-for-profit in my riding of Vimy, who does amazing work with people with physical or intellectual disabilities.

Squadron 687 Richelieu Laval June 4th, 2018

Mr. Speaker, on May 12, I had the honour of attending Squadron 687 Richelieu Laval's 60th annual ceremony. Cadet programs give children and teens wonderful opportunities to participate in activities and develop all kinds of important skills and attitudes, individually or as part of a team. These activities help build discipline, teach cadets to work with others, and help them forge long-lasting friendships.

I want to thank everyone involved with Squadron 687 Richelieu Laval for everything they have done for our community and our children and for everything they continue to do. I particularly want to thank Lena Assaf, a long-time volunteer, for her dedication to supporting the cadets throughout the program.

Congratuations on another successful annual ceremony. I wish you many more to come.

Foreign Affairs May 28th, 2018

Mr. Speaker, according to the United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees, the Syrian conflict led to the displacement of 5.5 million people. We are proud that Canada responded to that crisis by welcoming over 40,000 Syrians, but the countries neighbouring Syria remain heavily affected by this situation.

Can the Minister of International Development and La Francophonie tell this House how Canada is continuing to help improve this situation?

Elections Modernization Act May 22nd, 2018

Mr. Speaker, I thank my colleague opposite for his speech. I would also like to ask him a question about Bill C-76.

He spoke about getting more youth and indigenous people to vote. Does he think that this bill will help more people with physical and mental disabilities to vote, yes or no?

Since my colleague, like everyone in the House, wants to strengthen our electoral system and our democracy, could he explain how this bill could encourage people with disabilities to vote?

Canada Labour Code May 7th, 2018

Madam Speaker, I thank my colleague opposite for his speech on this bill and I would like to ask him some questions.

All political parties put partisanship aside and agreed on the amendments in committee. Everyone agrees that this bill will result in major changes. Of course, there is much work to be done, but it is a good start.

Can the member explain how this bill will bring about a change in the culture with respect to sexual harassment and violence here on the Hill and across the country?

Canada Labour Code May 7th, 2018

Madam Speaker, I thank my colleague from Rivière-des-Mille-Îles for her moving speech.

As a member of the status of women committee myself, I heard many witnesses, including women from indigenous, immigrant, and LGBTQ2 communities, talking about several topics we have studied. We heard from many victims who did not have the courage to report their aggressor. As a female parliamentarian, I myself have been bullied—I am not talking about sexual harassment—and I reported the people who tried to bully me.

As a fellow female parliamentarian, can my colleague explain how a few years from now, after Bill C-65 passes, the new climate on the Hill might encourage more women to get into politics? Will this bill increase women's participation?

How does she see—

Armenia April 24th, 2018

Mr. Speaker, it is with a heavy heart that I rise once again to acknowledge the anniversary of the Armenian genocide, which took the lives of countless innocent people beginning on April 24, 1915.

I have had the honour of getting to know the Armenian community in Vimy, Laval, and Montreal. They are a strong, proud, and determined people, and today we remember their perseverance in the face of overwhelming obstacles and past atrocities.

We recognize and condemn the Armenian genocide, for we must never forget the injustices inflicted upon these people if we want to continue to move forward together, hand in hand, and create a fair, multicultural society.

Please join me today in remembering and commemorating the lost lives, as well as in celebrating the continued bonds we share with our Armenian brothers and sisters.

[Member spoke in Armenian and provided the following translation:]

Never again.


National Volunteer Week April 16th, 2018

Mr. Speaker, this week is National Volunteer Week, and I am delighted to rise to congratulate all those who volunteer in their communities.

I would like to highlight the work of Simone Langevin, who passed away on March 27. She volunteered with the Relais communautaire de Laval for 12 years and was named volunteer of the year in 2017 for her dedicated contribution to her community. Like her, we can be part of a group that is greater than the sum of its parts and that ultimately benefits society as a whole.

I would like to thank all those who give of themselves to their communities. No matter the cause they choose, people who give their time are a treasure because they truly believe in what they are doing.

Status of Women March 27th, 2018

Mr. Speaker, in a healthy and prosperous society, it is essential to ensure that everyone can participate in the economy on a level playing field.

Can the Minister of Status of Women tell us what we are doing in budget 2018 to further empower women so that they have equal opportunities to work in the field of their choice and further their careers, whether they are just starting out or are experienced professionals?

International Development March 2nd, 2018

Mr. Speaker, 2017 was marked by many disasters and ongoing crises, including violence and famine in Africa, the crisis in Syria, Iraq, and Yemen, hurricanes in the Caribbean, and ethnic cleansing in Myanmar. In 2018, humanitarian needs throughout the world will be unprecedented, with 136 million people in 26 countries expected to need aid.

Could the Minister of International Development and La Francophonie tell the House how the government is helping to meet these challenges?