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

Armand-Frappier Museum February 7th, 2018

Mr. Speaker, on January 22, we announced that the government was investing money in relocating the Armand-Frappier Museum, Biosciences Interpretation Centre, to the Cosmodôme site. The $2.7 million investment will not only help the museum expand and welcome more visitors, but it will also help update the exhibits, acquire new ones, and install high-tech equipment.

I am proud that our government supports this project in Laval and that it is engaging in joint efforts to raise the profile of culture and science in our society.

I invite everyone to join me in Laval 2020, with my colleagues and museum staff, for the reopening of the Armand-Frappier Museum, Biosciences Interpretation Centre, at the Cosmodôme site.

Acts of Heroism December 11th, 2017

Mr. Speaker, what could be more admirable than risking one's life to save someone else's? On May 7, Luc Vincent did not hesitate for a moment to risk his life to help someone when a car veered off a bridge and fell into the Lake of Two Mountains.

Mr. Vincent quickly returned to the scene with a boat and extra help to try to save the individual trapped in the vehicle even though the effects of hypothermia from the icy water were starting to set in. His heroism and selflessness must not be forgotten.

To Luc Vincent and others like him who were quick on their feet and put the well-being of others before their own, I thank you for your courage. Sometimes altruism can change or save a life.

Bravo, Luc.

He is a hero.

Status of Women November 30th, 2017

Mr. Speaker, Canada is taking part in the 16 days of activism against gender-based violence campaign, which runs until December 10, because we know that gender-based violence is a major but preventable barrier to equality. In order to achieve gender equality, women and girls, including indigenous women, must be able to fully participate in their communities and in democratic and public life.

Can the Parliamentary Secretary for Status of Women inform the House how this government is supporting indigenous women's empowerment and achieving gender equality?

74th Anniversary of Lebanese Independence November 22nd, 2017

Mr. Speaker, it is an honour for me to rise in recognition of the 74th anniversary of Lebanese independence.

This is the second time I have had the pleasure to rise in this chamber to bring attention to the proud people of Lebanon, who celebrate their independence on November 22. This is a day defined by happiness, autonomy, and the progress of a people whose history goes back thousands of years.

Despite rising tensions, the people are unflinching. Like a phoenix, the Lebanese people have survived decades of political turbulence. Today, November 22, I hope everyone will join me in wishing the people of Lebanon a happy independence day and a swift return to peace and prosperity.

[Member spoke in Arabic]

Report Stage November 21st, 2017

Mr. Speaker, I would like to mention to the hon. member that, as we know, Canada is number one in regard to cannabis consumption already. It cannot be worse than that.

I would ask the hon. member to inform us about other countries where cannabis is legalized, whether the consumption of cannabis among youth has increased or decreased.

Federally Funded Health Research November 2nd, 2017

Mr. Speaker, it is an honour for me to rise today to speak to motion No. 132 and support the exceptional work my colleague, the member for Kitchener Centre, has done on this important issue.

This motion highlights an issue that could have monumental consequences: the future of advancements in the field of public health, and the future of Canada's health care system. I fully support this cause, because it is dear to my own heart. I believe that federally funded research has real benefits that warrant consideration, and I am certain that an in-depth study by the Standing Committee on Health would support that conclusion.

Before moving to Canada to complete my translation degree, I worked as a registered nurse in Lebanon during the civil war. I witnessed some horrific scenes. I cared for many patients who not only suffered the usual ailments we get here in the West, but also had to live under constant threat of violence. I saw everything from debilitating infections to the unimaginable suffering experienced by victims of physical and psychological violence.

Precise surgical procedures, effective treatment of viral and bacterial infections, and our understanding of mutations: all of these were made possible through medical research, which enables us to understand the complexity of the human body and the pathogens that cause disease.

In Canada, we are extremely privileged to have access to a universal health care system that gives Canadians access to health care anytime, anywhere in the country thanks to a joint funding system involving several levels of government. This system is not perfect, but it is the envy of many countries around the world. We must continue to have these conversations if we want to improve our social services. We are constantly evolving in terms of how we envision services and how we make them available to the public, especially in health care. That is of utmost importance.

I believe Bernie Sanders recently visited Toronto to study our health care system, talk about the situation in the United States, and draw inspiration from the Canadian model. Some critics may go so far as to say that our system has led to unexpected budgetary complications because it is unsustainable. That is what makes research so important. We can revolutionize how health care services are delivered and the cost of delivering them.

I support this motion because I believe it will highlight the need for government to support health research. When federal governments invest in health research, we get real results. The discoveries have profound implications for our health, safety, and quality of life. Vaccines, the laser, the MRI, touch screens, networks, and the Internet are all examples of innovations that benefited from federal investments.

It has been proven that government assistance and investments have a positive effect. The development of new technologies, such as those I just mentioned, can affect our daily lives and promote innovation in our society. All of those inventions are used in hospitals and have helped to revolutionize the health care system.

In addition to benefiting the health care system, government investments also help to create new jobs. I am thinking of senior researchers and their teams, lab technicians, equipment manufacturers, and all those who support them in one way or another.

Jobs are also created indirectly through the new technologies, new companies, and new industries that offer new products or services as a result of these extraordinary discoveries. All of these things help to encourage and support the Canadian industry.

We have global leaders in medical research right here in Canada. Research is essential in many industries.

As many speakers to this motion have said before me, we can reduce the costs associated with the production and delivery of drugs. We can reduce the cost of providing services through enhanced and more targeted treatments. This would result in the most efficient delivery of health care services, which is good news for our patients. Of course, let us not forget that the most important aspect of health research is the results. The Canadian public benefits from innovation in medical procedures, our advancements in pharmaceuticals and vaccinations, and our understanding of diseases. We build the foundation for a healthier and more informed population. The health and well-being of all citizens is central to poverty eradication and is a laudable goal that we should never give up, no matter how skeptical we may be.

I would like to take a moment to reflect on comments made by the hon. member for Calgary Shepard during the last session of this debate. He raised the point of rare diseases, and that is an extremely important component for this debate today. He made reference to Alport syndrome, which, up until that point, I had never heard of, even having worked in the medical profession for many years. We have a duty to our citizens and to the people of the world to create a better life and to relieve human suffering. If left to the market, so to speak, or up to chance while we wait for the private sector, some of these serious ailments may not be addressed either adequately or at all. This is not meant to be a criticism of any of our medical institutions or leaders in medical research here or around the world; it is simply an observation that there is a great number of individuals who are left with little to no hope because there is virtually no information on their relatively scarce conditions, leaving little incentive for researchers to pick them up. We need to fill this gap. We need to understand that it is as important to find a cure for, say, Alport syndrome as it is for cancer or HIV. We need not qualify or quantify suffering. This is an arduous task as there are thousands of rare diseases but we have to start somewhere.

It has been mentioned a few times already by other speakers on this subject, but I would be remiss if I did not address the progress made toward the eradication of infectious diseases around the world already. Smallpox is the first and only human disease to be eradicated through human intervention. Rinderpest, a disease that affected cattle, was declared eradicated as of October 14, 2010. This was the first and only disease that affects livestock that was eradicated by human undertakings. Current interventions aim to eradicate polio, malaria, measles, and rubella and the list goes on. Medical research and human intervention are the only way forward. No one else is going to do this for us. We have a common goal and federally funded research can play a positive role.

Before I finish, I would like to make reference to a particular event I had the privilege of attending that was showcasing medical research here on the Hill, only about a month or so ago. There, I learned a great deal about CRISPR genome editing, something used in both health and agriculture, if I understand correctly. In relation to health, one of the areas where it is being utilized is in the fight against HIV. Using CRISPR, scientists were able to eliminate HIV in live animals because HIV DNA can be excised from the genomes of living animals to eliminate further infection. What marvellous genius this idea is. This is what we are working for and striving for, to support the empowerment of our brilliant innovators and scientists who will change the landscape of medicine and public health.

I want to thank everyone who spoke before me in favour of the motion, and above all, I want to thank the member for Kitchener Centre for bringing this to our attention here in the House.

Persons Day October 18th, 2017

Mr. Speaker, today I am honoured to promote and celebrate Persons Day.

On October 18, 1929, the historic decision to include women in the legal definition of “persons” was handed down by Canada's highest court of appeal, the Judicial Committee of the Privy Council in London. This decision gave women the right to be appointed to the Senate of Canada and paved the way for women's increased participation in public and political life.

The famous five, as we know them, were courageous women who pursued the case for recognition. As a woman, I can stand here today, an equal among men, because of their tireless work. For that, I and women everywhere are forever indebted to them. We owe it to them and other groundbreaking women, past and present, to continue the fight for gender equality and women's autonomy.

Youth October 4th, 2017

Mr. Speaker, right now there is a shortage of workers in a number of sectors in Quebec. The economy is growing and employers need skilled workers. I know that our government has a plan to help young people acquire the skills and experience they need to succeed. Can the Prime Minister tell the House about the measures the government is taking to help at-risk youth in Quebec?

Terry Fox Day September 26th, 2017

Mr. Speaker, I am pleased to be back on Parliament Hill after a busy summer in Vimy, the riding I represent. I am sure that we have all worked hard in our ridings, especially my colleagues out west who are affected by the forest fires.

Last week in Vimy, I had the honour of joining many Canadians for Terry Fox Day, when every year we raise money in support of cancer research. The loss of our friend and colleague Arnold Chan reminds us that everyone is affected by this disease in one way or another. I would like to thank all those who participated in this day's activities across Canada and around the world, and who give hope to all those affected.

I thank all the runners, the volunteers, those who donate, and the Terry Fox Foundation for continuing to work to achieve Terry's vision: a world without cancer.

Access to Information Act September 25th, 2017

Mr. Speaker, this legislation would ensure that the Access to Information Act never gets out of date, as it is today, and that it would be mandatory for the act to be reviewed every five years. Can the hon. member explain to the House how this would increase openness and transparency?