House of Commons photo

Crucial Fact

  • Her favourite word was conservatives.

Last in Parliament October 2015, as NDP MP for Joliette (Québec)

Won her last election, in 2011, with 47% of the vote.

Statements in the House

Economic Action Plan 2013 Act No. 2 December 3rd, 2013

Mr. Speaker, I would like to thank my colleague for her question.

I am speechless about employment insurance. We should be working for the people who pay into employment insurance. Very few people are receiving employment insurance benefits anymore because it is getting harder and harder to meet the eligibility conditions and requirements.

I hope that people are not having a harder time qualifying for employment insurance just so the government can pay down the deficit, as we have seen with the Conservatives and the Liberals.

Economic Action Plan 2013 Act No. 2 December 3rd, 2013

Mr. Speaker, is there still a middle class? Its income has been dropping from year to year and these people are getting fewer and fewer services. It is true that young people are living with their parents for longer. However, I remember knowing people who lived with their parents because it suited both them and their parents.

However, it is true that we need to create jobs with good salaries and good work conditions, and we do not want people to work in dangerous conditions. Our young people need work.

Economic Action Plan 2013 Act No. 2 December 3rd, 2013

Mr. Speaker, of course I am not opposed to job creation.

The question I asked earlier in my speech is one that I hear from people in my riding. The Conservatives are telling us that they have created jobs, but my constituents do not see them.

Economic Action Plan 2013 Act No. 2 December 3rd, 2013

Mr. Speaker, I have here an ad that you might find interesting. I will read it to you.

For sale: Charming Parliament with river views, located in a hard-working country populated by responsible citizens with a still partly intact international reputation. Note to buyer: some renovations are needed.

That is basically what the Conservatives are saying with Bill C-4. They are sending the message to Canadians, and to the world, that this House is now useless, since the decisions of its members are no longer subject to debate. Need I remind the government that debate and information are essential to the survival of democracy?

Let us face the facts and ask ourselves this question: what is the difference between a dictatorship and a democracy? Information, checks and balances, and meaningful representation are some of the necessary components of a democracy. I may be repeating myself, but just as we did with the three budget bills, we are opposing Bill C-4, because of both its content and the process used by the Conservatives.

Bill C-4 contains a wide range of complex measures that deserve further study, which we do not have the time to do here, because we are once again under a time allocation motion. Introducing bills of this magnitude with such a broad scope and allocating so little time to consider them undermine the work of Parliament by preventing members from thoroughly studying the bill and its implications.

We will then be criticized for voting against Bill C-4. Once again, the Conservatives are trying to keep Canadians in the dark and change a large number of laws without holding actual consultations.

When the Conservatives introduce over 70 legislative amendments in a document of 300 pages, and many of these changes have nothing to do with the budget, it is only reasonable to ask questions. At this stage, we have the obligation to ask questions. I will not dwell on the details of this bill because that would be virtually useless, given the short time allotted to us. Indeed, I wonder whether the members opposite have had time to read the bill that they are voting for as a block.

The process that is being used here is rather worrisome. For example, what about the concentration of power this bills bestows? Many provisions of this bill grant more power to the minister, who will do what he likes in any case. This is a strong trend that we have seen with the amendments to the Labour Code and with health and safety issues. The minister makes the decisions, but who is he to make those decisions alone?

Among other things, this bill will make it more complicated to refuse to work in dangerous conditions. Canadians should not have to work in conditions that pose a threat to their health. This type of decision is easy to make for a minister who works in a comfortable office. He should go work as a logger for awhile and see what kinds of hazards some Canadians face at work. Personally, I am well acquainted with those hazards.

We also see this trend at the National Research Council of Canada, where the government unilaterally eliminated the positions of many world renowned and experienced researchers. Do not worry. The Conservatives will compensate for it by appointing a stronger and more arbitrary president.

I seriously wonder how the Conservatives can run a country without science. On what information are they basing their policies, when there is no consultation, no science, no census and no debate?

Unilateralism has no place in a democracy, and Canadians are well aware of that. They know better. Let us suppose that the Conservatives truly believe that they are omniscient and that they do not need to hear the opinions of others, even experts.

What will happen once the bad guys take power? That is not just hypothetical. Imagine the situation. Canadians would find themselves in a very bad position.

Now imagine that all Canadians believed in a polluter pay principle for the Mackenzie gas project. What will they think of the fact that the Conservatives have now done a 180 on a position they themselves advocated? That is troubling.

According to the Parliamentary Budget Officer, budget implementation bills from 2012 to now will cost over 67,000 Canadian jobs and shrink the GDP by .57%. Is that the kind of economic progress the government wants for this country? It is not what my constituents and I want.

Workers have the right to work in safe and healthy workplaces. People have the right to economic policies that meet their expectations. That includes a healthy environment, secure and well-paid jobs, respect for veterans, an effective fight against tax evasion, and more.

The Conservatives say that they have created a million jobs, but how many of those jobs are part-time, minimum-wage jobs? We will not fall for that. The government cannot solve all of those problems and many others with a wave of a magic wand. The House is here for another purpose: debate.

When I visit people in my riding, they ask why there are so many closure motions. I tell them that the government makes those decisions and that we always vote against closure. We always lose those votes though. We have to make use of the privilege we have of being in the House. Elected representatives have to be allowed to talk about all of the issues and bills that come up in the House.

Omnibus bills are catch-all bills that the government puts all kinds of things into and calls it a day. The opposition's votes are basically wasted because the Conservatives have a majority.

I believe that people in my riding and across Canada want to hear their members of Parliament debate bills here in the House and in committee.

When we come back to the House at the end of January, we will have to debate bills. I hope that this is the last time the government will impose closure until October 2015.

An Act to amend the Federal Sustainable Development Act (duty to examine) November 25th, 2013

Mr. Speaker, Canada has had a deplorable environmental record for quite some time. When compared to other OECD countries, Canada is ranked second last. It is very urgent that we adopt a set of measures to help us do better. That is primarily what Bill C-481 would do if it were passed.

The situation is urgent and although some would prefer to ignore the scientific evidence behind global warming, it is a factor that could adversely affect our economy, our health and the future of our children.

Since 1948, the average temperature in Canada has increased by 1.3°C and much more quickly than in other parts of the world. To get a sense of what that means for the economy, the National Round Table on the Environment and the Economy estimates that this will cost $5 billion by 2020 and between $41 and $43 billion by 2050.

Of course, a number of us will not be around in 2050 to see the impact for ourselves. That is precisely why sustainable development is important. I will say it again: sustainable. With all the scientific tools available, not only is it irresponsible to take no action to counter global warming, but it is also unfair because it deprives our future citizens of a world that we enjoyed.

That may be difficult for some to understand, but we have an urgent duty to attack a problem that will go down in history as one of the greatest challenges of our time. One day, our children and grandchildren will ask themselves, what did we do?

First, we must recognize that the House passed Bill C-474, Federal Sustainable Development Act unanimously in 2008. Thus, we can say that everyone agrees that something must be done. As for exactly what to do and how far to go, not everyone agrees on how to handle the challenge of climate change.

Bill C-474 did not stop the Conservative government from getting rid of dozens of climate research scientist positions, from getting rid of the Canadian census form, or from subsidizing a polluting industry at enormous cost to the taxpayers. As the saying goes, you have to walk the talk. When the House says it is going to do something, it would be good if the general public could actually see something happen.

Unfortunately, at this point, this is not the case. The Commissioner of the Environment and Sustainable Development, a position created by virtue of Bill C-474, states that Canada is not doing what it should to establish real sustainable development practices. It was to respond to this problem that my colleague from Brome—Missisquoi introduced C-481, which in fact does nothing more than give real power to Bill C-474. If Bill C-474 is the talk, Bill C-481 is the walk. It only remains to be seen whether this government will dare to put on its shoes.

There is nothing magical about Bill C-481. In fact, it is really only logical. It would make it possible for the justice minister to draw the attention of the House to any inconsistency between bills that have been passed and the Federal Sustainable Development Act. This way we would have a tool for measuring our commitment to sustainable development, so that we might take tangible steps toward making Canada greener, fairer and more prosperous.

In my view, the principal argument in favour of the bill currently under consideration is the fact that the justice minister already verifies all the bills. Making it possible for him to report any potential inconsistencies with the Federal Sustainable Development Act will not require any additional resources and will make it possible for the bill to be something more than just window dressing.

It must be said that sustainable development covers a great deal. It can be used for almost everything, without much regard for its real meaning. However, if we thought about this a little more, we would see that it is a vision of development that is likely to encourage green, job-creating industries, as well as increased citizen participation in public affairs.

The three pillars of this theory are as follows: a vision of economic justice, a balanced social perspective and, of course, the conservation of nature for future generations. By applying this reasoning to all our legislation, we could make a promise to our children that they too will be able to enjoy a world where there is room for everyone and where there are the resources they need to live.

In the current circumstances, I think it is urgent to improve the Federal Sustainable Development Act, because we believe that it does not have any real teeth. For instance, how is the government meeting its commitments when it gives money to the oil industry, which is already rich? How is this good for the environment? Has any consideration being given to the fact that development of the oil sands artificially inflated the value of the dollar and resulted in the loss of tens of thousands of jobs in the manufacturing sector? Have the communities that live near oil sands developments even been consulted?

Unfortunately, all too often the answer to these many questions is no. The omnibus bills introduced recently by the Conservative government have proven that the government does not listen to anyone and that it is not even living up to its own commitments.

Many measures included in these bills would fail miserably if they were put to the test of the Federal Sustainable Development Act. For instance, people can no longer oppose the installation of a pipeline for environmental reasons unless the pipeline goes directly through their property.

The government is ignoring the concept of the common good and trampling on our communities' ability to mobilize by allowing the democratic process of a vote only once every four years. Just because the government won a majority with 38% of the vote does not make this a democratic country; quite the contrary. Claiming so much power with so little support is appalling enough, but preventing communities from having their say when it really counts is completely unjustifiable from a democratic standpoint.

Since many of the Conservative government's decrees are bad for the economy, the environment and the survival of Canadian democracy, I strongly urge the House to give this country a regulatory tool, a safeguard, that will bring us closer to our goal of sustainable development.

Accordingly, I fully support Bill C-481, which will help Canada to better meet its own commitments and allow us to give our children a society in which they will want to live, thrive and participate actively.

Let us give ourselves the means to be responsible, and we will finally be able to say that we did what was needed to ensure the sustainability of our communities. At the risk of repeating myself, any attempt to limit enforcement powers regarding the environment makes anything that could be said on the matter sound superficial.

We have a serious responsibility to the future. I would like to be able to tell myself that we are doing everything we can to ensure that Canada moves in the direction of sustainable development, which will provide new opportunities that are worthy of a developed economy in the 21st century.

Aboriginal Affairs November 7th, 2013

Mr. Speaker, children at the Simon P. Ottawa elementary school have been relocated to windowless storage units. A recent Health Canada report indicates that the moisture levels in the school's walls are between 96% and 100%, which leads to high levels of mould. The report makes mention of sick building syndrome and the presence of rodents.

I urge the minister to release emergency funds to fix the situation and to come visit the site on November 22. What is his response?

Aboriginal Affairs October 30th, 2013

Mr. Speaker, the situation for Atikamekw students in Manawan is unacceptable.

The Conservatives have cut $430,000 from education services. An entire section of Simon P. Ottawa elementary school has been deemed unsafe.

The minister proudly marked the opening of the Otapi school in Manawan two years ago, but that does nothing to fix the problems at the elementary school.

This situation is urgent. Will the minister promise to release emergency funds to fix the problem?

Economic Action Plan 2013 Act No. 2 October 28th, 2013

Mr. Speaker, I thank my colleague for her speech.

The government says that the cupboard is bare. This poses a problem for me. If the cupboard is bare and the Conservatives have created a million jobs, the government should collect taxes.

This bill changes labour relations in the public service by eliminating binding arbitration as a method of dispute resolution in the public service.

In her opinion, why is the government doing this?

Economic Action Plan 2013 Act No. 2 October 28th, 2013

Mr. Speaker, in his speech, my colleague spoke a lot about tax credits. About ten days ago, I held an information meeting in my riding on tax credits for persons with disabilities. Many people who attended did not know about these credits or that they could apply for them any time of the year.

I would like to know how the member plans on informing people about all the credits announced. Will he count on NDP members to inform the public?

Prohibiting Cluster Munitions Act June 11th, 2013

Mr. Speaker, I would like to know whether the government is prepared to amend this bill in committee to make it the best in the world, or whether the government wants Canada to be seen on the world stage as timid, inadequate and regressive.