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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

Jobs, Growth and Long-Term Prosperity Act May 10th, 2012

Mr. Speaker, can my colleague opposite explain why the Employment Equity Act will no longer apply to federal contracts? I believe this is a direct attack on women, aboriginal people, persons with a disability and visible minorities. Why make this change?

Jobs, Growth and Long-Term Prosperity Act May 10th, 2012

Mr. Speaker, I would like to thank the hon. member for her question.

That is certainly not what I personally am hearing in my riding and it is not what I am hearing from my NDP colleagues. Back home, people are concerned and do not know how they are going to pay their rent or make their mortgage payments.

They are concerned about having to retire at 67 when they may no longer be able to work at 63 or 65. I am thinking, for example, of those who work in construction or of women who spend their days on their feet behind a cash register at a business of some sort. They are very concerned.

Jobs, Growth and Long-Term Prosperity Act May 10th, 2012

Mr. Speaker, I would like to thank the hon. member for her question.

Yes, I have been working for 40 years to advance the status of women, not to have it move backward. I did this work at an association in Quebec.

With regard to pay equity, this is another step backward. We are once again regressing. However, it is important to know that it is not only the situation of women that will be regressing, but also that of single mothers, who will have less income when they retire.

It is very important to achieve pay equity because, if not, women will still be poor at age 67.

Jobs, Growth and Long-Term Prosperity Act May 10th, 2012

Mr. Speaker, my colleague made a very good point.

Yes, I am very worried about our environment and about fish. Obviously, if our rivers and oceans are polluted, we will not have any fish to eat, nor other creatures, such as shellfish, because they will be too contaminated by chemicals such as petroleum. That is why we must protect our environment. That is the only way to ensure our food sovereignty.

Jobs, Growth and Long-Term Prosperity Act May 10th, 2012

Mr. Speaker, it is inconceivable that the Conservatives could present a bill that is 421 pages long and then limit debate to the bare minimum. It is clear they want to pass this bill quickly, but does that not suggest that perhaps they are afraid of the public's reaction to the bill if we were to take the time to properly examine it?

I have examined this bill thoroughly and I can assure you that I have never seen such a hodgepodge in the House of Commons. In true Conservative style, this document is not at all what it claims to be: rather than a budget implementation bill, it is a bit of a free pass for businesses and politicians who have no use for transparency.

Bill C-38 is much more than just an omnibus bill, like those we have become accustomed to with these Conservatives. This bill constitutes a brutal and unreasonable seizure of power that leaves Canadians unable to challenge any of it. We are therefore very surprised as we watch this government getting rid of anything that could limit the damage caused by its blind ideology. After taking a laissez-faire approach for so long, now they want to dismantle everything.

This bill ridicules the institutions of the very government that introduced it. Is that not ironic?

We have already seen the Conservative government's bias in favour of employers in certain disputes, for instance, those involving Air Canada and Canada Post. However, this government does not seem to care at all about well-paid, stable jobs for Canadians, because this new bill will cause even more poverty.

This government is allergic to basic rights and has restricted the right of free association by giving a minister—a minister, mind you—the power to veto collective agreements.

In other words, this government thinks it is okay to scuttle a good-faith negotiation between two parties to further a partisan and ideological political agenda. That applies to all workers. In addition, a significant number of federal government workers will also be affected: women.

I have fought for women's rights for 40 years. There are no words strong enough to describe how angry I was when I realized that the government no longer intended to make its contracts compliant with the Employment Equity Act. The Conservatives seem to believe that father knows best and a woman's place is in the home. All the historic progress we have made toward achieving equality is being recast as purely cosmetic.

Women have the right to be treated fairly, and trying to make women pay the price for the government's penny-pinching is downright disgraceful. How can the government justify such an irresponsible decision?

By so doing, the Conservatives are saying that feminist struggles, which were particularly successful in Quebec, were simply a glitch in history's patriarchal plan. Well, that is not how I see this country and I am certain that many of my fellow Canadians agree with me.

While the Conservatives are throwing the door wide open to privatization, I am saying that we are soon going to take over this government and give the control and the benefits back to Canadians. This government, which seems to work harder for shareholders, has gone too far this time. Canadians are not fools and they can see that the Conservatives are trying to deceive them.

And what is all this for? Over a third of this giant bill is dedicated to doing away with environmental protection measures in a clear path that goes from the plains to the Pacific Ocean, where the Conservatives hope to get a share of Asia's wealth. What a plan.

Promoting the economy is not a bad thing in and of itself. However, Canada used the approach of putting all its eggs in one basket for too long for us to want to go back to it.

Focusing all our energy on oil can only lead to a historic dead end of monumental proportions. It is a well-known fact that the wealth of economies that depend on a single resource is short lived and poorly distributed.

In any case, sustainable development is not of interest to this government, which is also doomed to be unsustainable. The champions of “bigger and better” will end up realizing that irreversible climate change has already begun to transform things.

Although some believe that they are in the Texas of the 1950s, I would like us to be rooted in 21st century Canada.

In terms of the environment, it is not surprising to learn that the Conservatives intend to broaden the definition of prohibited political activities for environmental groups, but only so they can place more restrictions on these groups.

While this government cozies up to oil companies and eliminates all the so-called legislative constraints with respect to the environment, it is also limiting the fundamental right of freedom of expression for hundreds of Canadian groups.

Do Canadians who have been given the right to assemble under the Canadian Charter of Rights and Freedoms and who choose to express their opinions, again by virtue of this Charter, not have the right to enjoy the full benefits of their citizenship?

On another matter, Bill C-38 confirms what we already knew: Rights & Democracy will be abolished. It was obviously an embarrassment to this government to support an organization that was neutral, independent and dedicated to the cause of democracy. Totalitarian governments, oil dynasties and, worse, communist dictatorships do not favour the independence of institutions. Have the Conservatives become communists?

For the Conservatives, it is all about the open market, except for matters under state control, which they manage with an iron fist. The Conservatives seem quite motivated to give more and more arbitrary powers to their ministers. That is the case for the Minister of Health, who will now be able to approve certain products without having them go through the usual inspection process, which is supposed to take place with any imported product.

Based on the government's priorities, Canadians' health has taken a back seat to profitability. But who will benefit from this profitability? When we consider that so much freedom is being given to business and so little to the people, we are justified in wondering who this government is working for. The answer is obvious.

More proof that this government does not care about well-paid jobs is that it thought it would be a good idea to enshrine in this bill the possibility of allowing 2,500 foreign workers to fill highly specialized positions in Canada and then leave again. Now the government wants to contract out Canadian citizenship.

Neo-liberalism loves outsourcing because it sets workers in a race to the lowest wages. This government has taken that to a new level. If it cannot outsource our resources, then it will import workers. Importing workers means the commodification of human beings by virtue of an ideology that would eliminate all trade barriers, but add many barriers to life for the general public.

With the Conservatives, it is law and order for the people and anarchy for big business. It was not enough for the Conservative government to considerably reduce the powers of the Auditor General and to completely get rid of the inspector general of CSIS, who was getting in the way of its agenda; now the government is opening the door to privatizing the Canadian Food Inspection Agency.

In other words, by playing with alliances and subsidiaries, a business could wind up doing its own inspections. Is that the kind of rigour that Canadians deserve? In addition to the Conservatives' devious behaviour and their refusal to submit their bill to thorough examination, we also see a threat to freedom of association, freedom of expression, freedom of assembly, transparency and oversight.

While perhaps not an outright coup d'état, this bill places Canada on a dangerous path towards dictatorship. This bill's shortsighted short-term vision is eclipsed only by the long-term, harmful effects it will have. We all want a prosperous economy, but that should not be a government's only goal, since a government has many roles to play. There are many important responsibilities that only a responsible government can assume with authority. Otherwise, it would be too easy.

With this bill, the Conservative government is undermining its own legitimacy and giving up on what it sees as inevitable. It is high time that this government started showing some leadership and did us the honour of behaving like a real government for this orphan country. Instead, it seems to be doing everything in its power to destroy our institutions, sully our international reputation and shoot down everything that reflects basic common sense.

The Conservatives do not think like us. They spend. They spend money on prisons, on F-35s and on $16 glasses of orange juice, yet they slash away at the very essence of our democratic way of life. It makes no sense. This government already looks old, used up, wasteful and tired. It seems incapable of assuming the most basic responsibilities towards the public. The government must always remember this: Canadians are not fools. No, we are not fools.

Jobs, Growth and Long-term Prosperity Act May 3rd, 2012

Mr. Speaker, I would like to thank the hon. member for that information.

Bill C-38 contains many provisions, in particular, division 49 of part 4.

Why eliminate the First Nations Statistical Institute? By doing so, I believe the government is eliminating an independent source of statistics on first nations. In my riding of Joliette, there is the Manawan Atikamekw community.

Jobs, Growth and Long-term Prosperity Act May 3rd, 2012

Mr. Speaker, I thank my colleague for his remarks. There is a lot of talk about the environment, which is a hot button issue.

We know that the Liberals signed and ratified the Kyoto protocol. But why did the Liberal Party not do anything to reduce greenhouse gas emissions?

Jobs, Growth and Long-term Prosperity Act May 3rd, 2012

Mr. Speaker, I thank the member for her remarks.

There is one thing I would like to know regarding the environment. Why does a third of Bill C-38 focus on environmental deregulation?

Jobs, Growth and Long-term Prosperity Act May 3rd, 2012

Mr. Speaker, I would like to thank my colleague for his excellent speech.

The weakening of the Auditor General’s oversight powers is one of the very important elements of this bill.

I would like my colleague to tell us what the consequences of reducing those powers will be.

Mefloquine May 3rd, 2012

Mr. Speaker, I would like to acknowledge the courage and determination of Sonia Scalzo, a constituent in Joliette who, for the past six years, has been working hard to raise awareness among Canadians about the military's use of the internationally controversial anti-malarial drug mefloquine.

The drug is meant to prevent malaria, but it can have serious side effects for some people, including hallucinations, anxiety and aggression.

The United States stopped systematically prescribing this drug to its soldiers in 2009, but we continue to administer it to our Canadian troops.

After Ms. Scalzo's lonely six-year battle and seven refusals by the Canadian Forces ombudsman to investigate mefloquine, I am joining her in calling for a thorough review of this important issue.

I want to thank her for her exemplary courage. Her tenacity is an inspiration to all the soldiers and military families who have been affected by mefloquine.