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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

Questions Passed as Orders for Returns September 15th, 2014

With regard to spending in the Joliette riding, what was the total amount spent, from fiscal year 2005-2006 up to and including the current fiscal year, broken down by (i) the date the funds were received in the riding, (ii) the dollar amount, (ii) the program through which the funding was allocated, (iv) the department responsible, (v) the designated recipient?

Agricultural Growth Act June 16th, 2014

Mr. Speaker, I would like to thank my colleague for his speech and for the work that he does in the House and in his riding.

Had a member opposite made a speech, what question would my colleague have liked to ask him or her about Bill C-18?

Prohibiting Cluster Munitions Act June 16th, 2014

Mr. Speaker, there are no words.

Even though my colleague made a speech earlier, we would have liked to hear from our colleagues opposite once again.

Prohibiting Cluster Munitions Act June 16th, 2014

Mr. Speaker, I thank my colleague from Repentigny for his question.

I sometimes get visits at my office from members of the military, and what they have been through is no laughing matter. They have seen the horrors of war. If I understand correctly, my colleague was once a member of the military.

My grandson wants to enlist in the army to help people. I hope that he will never go to another country to be blown up.

Prohibiting Cluster Munitions Act June 16th, 2014

Mr. Speaker, with your permission, I am going to refuse to answer that question. I simply refuse to allow someone to tell me that I do not write my own speeches. I would have liked to hear a speech from the member opposite so that the NDP could ask him some questions.

Prohibiting Cluster Munitions Act June 16th, 2014

Mr. Speaker, I will begin with a comment. I find it unfortunate that a guillotine has been imposed to limit the time we have to speak to this bill. Is it because they do not want to work with us or for us to ask them questions? I find that truly regrettable. Who do people currently see discussing this bill on CPAC? The NDP. The other parties ask us questions.

I think it is important today to discuss the risks to which Canada is exposing its military personnel and millions of civilians around the world by passing Bill C-6, An Act to implement the Convention on Cluster Munitions.

Although this bill is supposed to support an international effort to get rid of an atrocious weapon, the bill that has been put before us could do precisely the opposite.

I will therefore speak to what the bill does, what it does not do and the consequences it would have. I am putting myself in the shoes of the people in the countries that receive these bombs that kill children or injure them for life. This is really disastrous.

Speaking of consequences, what happens when a cluster bomb explodes?

In Canada, we are lucky to live in peace, but we must not believe that we will never go through war. Other democracies before us have been through war. Just imagine for a moment what civilians go through during conflicts, which, by the way, rarely serve their interests.

As my colleagues said earlier, a bomb, not unlike the leaflet propaganda bombs that were used in days gone by, is dropped. However, instead of paper, hundreds of bomblets or submunitions no bigger than a D battery spread out over a more or less accurate target such as a landing strip or an armoured vehicle. It is said that cluster munitions are cheaper because they cover more territory in less time. In time, people are injured and die. There is therefore no need to send more. After the initial wave of explosions, roughly 30% of the unexploded submunitions remain and become de facto landmines that are still effective decades later. Think about this: when these bombs are dropped on a country, the child that might end up playing with them is not even born yet. He will be disabled for life. Civilians account for 98% of victims of cluster munitions. Half of them are children who mistake the colourful submunitions for a toy.

Would we want our children to mistake a bomblet for a toy? That is why I think we can never predict exactly what will happen once a cluster munition is dropped. All we know is that they tear flesh, break hearts and destroy communities with sadness.

I am taking the time to remind everyone what these weapons do because the Conservative government does not seem to understand. Officially, judging by its name, the bill should enable the implementation of the convention on cluster munitions.

Let us take a look at what this bill does and what it does not do.

According to the text of the convention signed by Canada on December 3, 2008, in Oslo:

1. Each State Party undertakes never under any circumstances:

a) To use anti-personnel mines;

b) To develop, produce, otherwise acquire, stockpile, retain or transfer to anyone, directly or indirectly, anti-personnel mines;

c) To assist, encourage or induce, in any way, anyone to engage in any activity prohibited to a State Party under this Convention.

Does the bill that should, above all, fulfill these obligations to the international community pass the test?

According to Earl Turcotte, the former coordinator of mine action at DFAIT and the head of the Canadian delegation that negotiated the convention, the answer is no. Mr. Turcotte said:

The proposed legislation is the worst of any country that has ratified or acceded to the Convention on Cluster Munitions to date. It fails to fulfill Canada's obligations under international humanitarian law; it fails to protect vulnerable civilians in war-ravaged countries around the world; it betrays the trust of sister states who negotiated this treaty in good faith, and it fails Canadians who expect far better from our nation.

I am not the one who said that; it was Earl Turcotte. He is the fellow who was hired to sign a real convention, one that was really binding on arms manufacturers. He is the fellow Canada sent to help bring peace to the world, which should be our objective as a pacifist country.

We therefore see here what this bill does not do. What does it do, then, if it does not fulfill the primary reason for its existence? To understand what the bill does, we have to look at a process that is not without interest. It is all proceeding as if the Conservative government had thrown a bomblet into the treaty negotiations.

The people in charge of the negotiations for Canada had to bargain hard to have article 26 of the convention, on the interoperability of the signatory countries, included. Essentially, because China, Russia and the United States refuse to sign, it would be hard not to do business with them, is that not so? The people in place at the time of the negotiations succeeded in having that article accepted for Canada, but they are surprised to see, today, that the spirit of the convention is undermined by clause 11 of the bill introduced to address article 26, which Canada requested.

The bomblet that is clause 11 permits Canadian troops to use, obtain, possess or transport cluster munitions in the course of joint operations with another country that is not a party to the convention and to request the use of cluster munitions by the armed forces of another country. We will be able to say that we do not make them, but our troops are going to be transporting them.

The Conservative government has thus destroyed the spirit of the convention for good. Flesh will be ripped apart, hearts will be broken and communities will be torn by grief. I would have liked to see a little more leadership on the part of this government. I would have liked our colleagues across the aisle to make speeches, and I would have liked to be able to ask them questions and get more information. I expected a lot more leadership. I am certain that the people of Joliette, whom I represent, have had enough of learning that under the Conservatives, Canada has withdrawn from important international treaties like the Kyoto protocol, which people talk to me about when I go door to door, and is going so far as to sabotage peace efforts at the international level.

When the Conservatives behave in this manner, they show the entire world their true colours, colours that we do not share. On behalf of Joliette and all of Canada, I would like to send this message to the rest of the world: those are not our colours. They are the colours of a minority that obtained a majority in the House of Commons and, for that reason, that minority believes that it is leading on behalf of the majority. Let us hope that the government will agree to do the right thing by amending its bill at third reading. In my opinion, that is the only thing to do for Canada, for its international reputation and for the civilian victims in countries at war.

Prohibiting Cluster Munitions Act June 16th, 2014

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

In his opinion, why does the NDP have to continue pressuring the Conservatives to amend this bill? Is it to ensure that Canada’s humanitarian reputation is not tarnished by this weak bill?

Skills Development June 12th, 2014

Mr. Speaker, I would like to tell you about a project called Les Ateliers du Carrefour, which is facing a difficult situation. It is waiting for a response to its skills link program application. The purpose of the project is to give two groups of about 10 young people aged 16 to 30 who are having problems a way to develop socioprofessional skills and abilities.

The project was supposed to be back up and running four months ago, but now it is on hold because the organization has not received confirmation from the government. This has been a major loss to the organization, which has had to let one of its employees go.

How much longer will the Conservative government and its minister make them wait? How much longer will they hinder the independence of young people in my riding?

Business of Supply June 10th, 2014

Mr. Speaker, I would like to thank the hon. member for all his hard work at committee. All of his explanations were very clear.

Do we really need income splitting? I do not think so. This measure will cost $3 billion, yet 85% of Canadians will not benefit from it.

What is the NDP proposing to make life more affordable and to ensure that the largest number of people possible will have a better life and better living conditions?

Economic Action Plan 2014 Act, No. 1 June 4th, 2014

Mr. Speaker, the government often talks about creating jobs. It told us that it has created a million jobs. That is great, but the Conservatives have yet to put forward a strategy to help the 1.3 million Canadians who are without work. There are 6.3 unemployed workers for each available job; in the Atlantic provinces, that figure rises to 10 for each available job.

How will the government get these six unemployed workers back to work, since there are six unemployed workers for every job? They will have to drive an hour from home to take a job at 70% less pay. What is the government doing to encourage them to go back to work?