House of Commons photo

Crucial Fact

  • Her favourite word was quebec.

Last in Parliament March 2011, as Bloc MP for Saint-Hyacinthe—Bagot (Québec)

Lost her last election, in 2011, with 25% of the vote.

Statements in the House

Democratic Representation Act March 22nd, 2011

Madam Speaker, the Quebec National Assembly is currently having a debate on electoral redistribution. Some would like to take seats away from remote regions in order to give more to the area surrounding Montreal.

Many Quebeckers think we should fight migration from rural areas, but first, sparsely populated regions should have representation that gives them the same political weight as the more densely populated areas. It is important that these communities be heard and that they maintain their political weight, even if their population does not warrant one more seat in the National Assembly.

Democratic Representation Act March 22nd, 2011

Madam Speaker, my answer to the Minister of State for Democratic Reform is that in the Senate, Quebec has many more seats than Ontario, Saskatchewan, Alberta or British Columbia, although its population is declining. Why is it that something that is good for the Senate would be bad for elected members from Quebec?

The minister says that the Bloc has been useless in the last 20 years, but I should remind him that his government was not in power during this whole 20 year period. What did the Conservatives do when they sat in opposition? They were siding with us, asking for measures that were important for both Canadians and Quebeckers. Since they formed the government, they have pushed Canada 20 years back into the past.

Democratic Representation Act March 22nd, 2011

Madam Speaker, when the Saint-Hyacinthe—Bagot constituents elected me, they did so knowing that I would stand for them in this House, and that I would serve their interests at all costs. I have often taken the floor to denounce government decisions that were going against the needs of my riding. I have kept my word and will keep doing so unconditionally

Since members opposite do not consider regional development very important, I am convinced that only the Bloc Québécois is promoting ideas and real solutions in order to increase the wealth and power of regions. Regions stand to lose the most if Bill C-12, which we oppose today, is passed. I do not approve of the Conservative government decision to reduce the relative weight of Quebec in Parliament. I strenuously oppose, along with my Bloc colleagues and members of the Quebec National Assembly, the Conservative decision to marginalize Quebec in Parliament.

I really wonder why the Conservatives so stubbornly want to implement Bill C-12. I remind you it would be a disaster for the Quebec nation. Would their main reason to do this be their Conservative ideology and their will to achieve a majority government at all costs? We should not overlook the fact that Quebeckers elected only a handful of Conservative members and that they keep electing a majority of Bloc members, one election after another. They know that they can count on a coherent party which will not hesitate to stand up for them here.

The proof that the Conservatives will never meet our aspirations is that not a single one of them has opposed the blatant injustice to Quebec proposed in Bill C-12. Is it because they cannot have elected members in Quebec that they so badly want to increase the number of seats in other Canadian provinces?

As many of my colleagues have explained to the House, the Conservatives, although they boast about their recognition of the Quebec nation, have done nothing to show that this recognition is anything more to them than hot air. Their attempt to diminish Quebec's political weight in this House is but the last of numerous examples. I repeat that Bill C-12 is one of many examples that show that the recognition of the Quebec nation, for the Conservatives as well as the Liberals, means absolutely nothing here. Indeed, after pretending to recognize the existence of this nation, Conservatives and Liberals have dismissed all our differences and our choices out of hand.

One can only ridicule the ads in which the Conservatives claim they are working for the benefit of the regions. Passing Bill C-12 would greatly prejudice the preservation and development of the regions. Without the significant contribution of the Bloc Québécois in this House and also without its important representation of Quebec, I cannot imagine what would happen to the issue of regional preservation and development.

Need I remind the House that the interests of Quebec and Western Canada are very different and that, for political reasons, the Conservatives and Liberals choose to respond first and foremost to the requests of Western Canada and Ontario? This is why it is vital to maintain Quebec's present political weight as much as possible. For us, the oil sands and the giveaways to oil companies and banks are not part of our values and priorities.

With a diminished representation of Quebec in the House of Commons, the Conservatives and Liberals will use new tricks in order to marginalize the Quebec nation, as they already do. With less political weight, how would it be possible to force the Conservative government to pay the billions of dollars it owes Quebec for the harmonization of its sales tax? How would it be possible to get it to make new investments in our social programs, such as social housing, employment insurance, the GIS, support programs for older workers, environmental issues, the manufacturing and forest crisis, land occupancy, securities, culture and so on?

Not only do the regions stand to lose, but the whole province of Quebec would sustain important losses.

When the Quebec National Assembly and Bloc Québécois members requested special federal assistance to give timely support to those affected by the forestry and manufacturing crisis, the Conservatives kept pumping billions into the auto industry, which is heavily concentrated in Ontario. In Quebec, the manufacturing and forestry industries got a mere pittance. In my own constituency, the furniture and textile industries are starving to death for lack of government support. Just imagine the importance this House would give to these issues if the Bloc Québécois did not have a strong position in this House and if Quebec had less political weight

Injustices like the ones I just mentioned are far too numerous. Quebec is still waiting for a program to promote the development and accessibility of broadband communication services like high-speed Internet in many communities, especially rural communities.

The Bloc Québécois urged the Conservatives to announce grants to our CFDCs, which are essential economic instruments in our rural communities. Do the Conservatives realize that rural people and the Quebec nation are not second-class citizens? How bad would the situation be, were it not for this significant contingent of Quebec members in this House?

As concerns agriculture and supply management, it is crucial to be able to rely on a strong Quebec representation. The same can be said about the environment. Despite all the efforts made in Quebec since 1990, the Canadian position in Copenhagen was a rigid position in favour of the oil sands.

Once again, how could Quebec’s interests be advocated without a strong contingent of Quebec members in this House? I repeat: Quebec must keep all the political weight it has now in this House, because, on a whole range of issues, there are big differences between the interests of Quebec and those of Canada.

In the time remaining before Quebec becomes a sovereign country, I can be counted on to stand for my constituents in Saint-Hyacinthe—Bagot.

Anaphylaxis March 21st, 2011

Mr. Speaker, I am pleased to rise today to speak about anaphylaxis, a condition that must be taken very seriously. Anaphylaxis is a severe, life-threatening allergic reaction. More and more Quebeckers and Canadians suffer from food allergies and approximately 4% of the population has one or more food allergies.

Motion M-546 aims to promote public awareness and to establish product standards to make life easier for people living with allergies. As I said, these allergies can sometimes be life-threatening. Living with an allergy-related health problem affects individuals and alters their quality of life. They live every day with worry. It is a daily battle. The allergies also affect family members, friends and other people in their lives.

I can share my own experience, since I have allergies to two medications: codeine and cortisone. These medications are found in many over-the-counter products. Every day when I take medication, I must be very careful to keep myself safe, since many other medications or products are made with codeine and cortisone derivatives.

My personal experience has shown me that it is not always easy to determine and identify which products contain these derivatives. As the hon. member said, it is important to remember that many children suffer from these allergies. It is also important to remember that they will have to deal with this issue their entire lives, even as adults, because these allergies do not go away and will always be part of their reality.

The Bloc Québécois and Quebec understand the importance of acknowledging food allergies. And so, on May 14, 2010, the Bloc Québécois voted in favour of a motion designating May as Food Allergy Awareness Month. The majority of people who suffer from allergies, suffer from food allergies. They must always be on the lookout, whether they are going to a restaurant or someone's house. It is a constant challenge for people suffering from food allergies because they must always be conscious of what they are eating. Allergies can appear in infancy or can develop at any point in a person's life. The most common allergies are to peanuts, eggs and milk—all basic food products.

Over 10 years ago, Quebec declared March 21 food allergy awareness day. Today is March 21. The purpose of this day is to increase awareness about the problems and issues associated with food allergies. It is important to educate the public and increase awareness about this affliction. Prevention is also a major issue and very important to any success that is achieved, since it helps increase the quality of life of those who suffer from these allergies.

We support today's motion, for the most part. As always, the Bloc Québécois studied the motion very carefully, and we concluded that it respects the values upheld by our party, the values of Quebeckers, and that it calls for compassion in particular. We therefore believe that the government should take the necessary steps to ensure that Canadians and Quebeckers who have these allergies can maintain a high quality of life.

However, these measures must be taken only in areas that fall under federal jurisdiction. Quebec and the provinces have exclusive jurisdiction over health and social services. The Conservatives won adoption of a motion recognizing the Quebec nation. Therefore, they must also respect the fact that certain matters fall solely under Quebec's jurisdiction.

In order to allow Quebec to fulfill its responsibilities regarding health and social services, the government must settle the $5 billion dispute it has been having with the Quebec government, for instance, by resolving the equalization issue once and for all.

In its 2007 budget, the Conservative government allocated money for equalization. The Bloc Québécois supported that budget at the time because it resolved, in part, the equalization issue. Nonetheless, it has not been resolved entirely. Quebec still has not been paid what it is owed.

Quebec is still waiting for compensation for harmonizing the GST and the QST, despite the fact that it is a nation and it harmonized its taxes a number of years ago, as a number of Canadian provinces have done. I think we were the first province to do so and we are still waiting for compensation. The Conservative government, including the Prime Minister, initially used Quebec as an example of harmonizing taxes. The government must compensate Quebec the way it has compensated the other provinces and adequately fund social programs.

The federal government can get industry to change its rules on labelling food allergens, as it did recently for gluten and sulphites.

When I was elected I sat on the Standing Committee on Agriculture and Agri-Food with the hon. member for Richmond—Arthabaska, who does excellent work for our party in that area. We were studying food labelling. The government asked us to do our homework and set labelling standards for products entering Canada. Despite a consensus in committee, the government introduced an entirely different bill.

If we adopt a motion as important as the one being moved today, I invite the government to respect the will of the House and not repeat what it did with the labelling issue. It disregarded the report that had been presented in committee and it implemented unsatisfactory standards for all Canadians and Quebeckers. The government should work with the opposition and respect the will of the House when it comes to labelling.

In closing, Mr. Speaker, allow me to propose the following amendment, seconded by the hon. member for Richmond—Arthabaska:

That the motion be amended by adding after the words “the government” the following: “with respect to subjects under the legislative authority of the Parliament of Canada”.

I invite hon. members to support the Bloc Québécois amendment to the motion moved by the hon. member for Niagara West—Glanbrook.

Foreign Affairs March 8th, 2011

Mr. Speaker, the government is using the lack of a decision by the United Nations Security Council to justify its refusal to freeze the Ben Ali family's assets, contrary to what happened with Gadhafi. This does not make sense.

Does the Minister of Foreign Affairs expect us to believe that, if a member of the Security Council had exercised its veto power, the Canadian government would not have frozen Gadhafi's assets? He cannot be serious.

Who is he trying to protect by sparing the Ben Ali family?

Business of Supply March 3rd, 2011

Mr. Speaker, the Conservative Prime Minister promised that no unelected senators would be appointed to the upper chamber until that institution had been reformed. Yet since coming to power, the Conservatives and the Prime Minister have not hesitated to make appointments, so many that the Conservatives now have a majority in the upper chamber. In his defence, the Prime Minister said that the senators he has appointed all agreed with the Senate reforms he wants to make.

What about the senators who were appointed previously and still sit as Conservatives? How does the member interpret the comments of Senator Andrée Champagne? In an open letter published on December 23, 2010, in Le Courrier de Saint-Hyacinthe, she stated:

Clearly, there will be times when it will be difficult for me to vote in favour of certain bills that our Prime Minister believes in, including, for instance, any bills to reform the Senate. In my opinion, an elected Senate would not be the panacea for all the ills that some people claim are eroding the credibility of those who sit in the Senate.

Since we now know that some previously appointed Conservative senators, including Senator Champagne, do not agree with the Conservatives' proposed reforms, is it not time to support a motion like this NDP motion and abolish the Senate?

Evens Guercy February 17th, 2011

Mr. Speaker, since this is Black History Month, I would like to take this opportunity to commend the extraordinary dedication of Evens Guercy, a sociologist and community police officer of Haitian origin who lives in Montreal. Mr. Guercy has made the personal growth and development of young people in poorer neighbourhoods his priority.

In 2005, he founded the Hope Boxing Club in the Saint-Michel neighbourhood of Montreal, where he helped these young people become more disciplined, while focusing on reducing school drop-out rates. A documentary entitled Les poings serrés, or Clenched Fists, was even made about the club. The film features two teens from the neighbourhood who have Hope Boxing Club and Mr. Guercy to thank for their success in life.

On behalf of my Bloc Québécois colleagues, I would like to congratulate Evans Guercy on his extraordinary commitment to young people. I am proud to know him and to count him among my childhood friends, for we grew up and went to school together in Saint-Hyacinthe.

Andrée Champagne January 31st, 2011

Mr. Speaker, in response to an open letter I sent to Conservative Senator Andrée Champagne, asking her to explain her refusal to support Bill C-232 regarding bilingual judges and Bill C-311 on climate change, she replied with comments that bordered on racist.

She said that I lacked loyalty to Canada, “the country that welcomed me and that I wanted to see torn apart”. Is the Conservative Senator trying to say that a citizen who was not born here does not have the same right to an opinion as other Quebeckers and that he or she does not have the right to vote or be involved in a sovereignist party? She added that she was a "purebred Quebecker,” as evidenced by her genealogy.

The Bloc Québécois believes in openness and believes that all Quebeckers, regardless of where they come from, should have full rights of citizenship, including the right to decide Quebec's future.

Germain Beauregard December 15th, 2010

Mr. Speaker, during the closing ceremonies of the 175th anniversary celebrations for the municipality of Saint-Damase, Germain Beauregard was honoured for his commitment to the municipality by council members and the mayor, Germain Chabot.

In addition to being a great advocate for Quebec and a staunch sovereignist, Mr. Beauregard is an outstanding writer and historian and has penned exceptional memoirs. A committed member of Saint-Damase's heritage committee, he publishes his writings and stories in the municipal newspaper for all to enjoy.

The municipal council has also been able to count on his support in numerous projects including research for naming streets; naming the Place de la fabrique park; creation of historical plaques for a number of municipal buildings; and, more recently, naming the new André-Jarret-De-Beauregard bridge.

I, too, would like to acknowledge his significant contribution to the community, and I want to sincerely thank him for his commitment to promoting the region's history.

Quebec's Federation for the Next Generation of Farmers November 16th, 2010

Mr. Speaker, I am pleased to welcome the Fédération de la relève agricole du Québec to Parliament Hill.

The Bloc Québécois and I agree with and respect the federation's mission, which is to bring together youth who are passionate about agriculture, to defend their interests, to improve conditions for those starting out in agriculture and to attract a new generation to farming.

Like the Fédération de la relève agricole du Québec, the Bloc Québécois feels that the federal government should take action quickly in order to encourage family farm transfers and keep farms from being dismantled.

The Fédération de la relève agricole du Québec can count on the support of Bloc members, who will work tirelessly to defend the interests of a new generation of farmers. This is about justice, equality and respect.