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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

Business of Supply January 28th, 2014

Mr. Speaker, in her speech, my colleague said that there will be an increasing number of postal outlets in locations such as convenience stores. Is this a way to quietly privatize Canada Post?

Northwest Territories Devolution Act December 5th, 2013

Mr. Speaker, I thank my hon. colleague for the question.

I am much more concerned that these people will not be heard when they appear in committee and that this government will ignore their needs and what they have to say.

I am concerned. It would have been better if the bill were split, but that is not going to happen.

Northwest Territories Devolution Act December 5th, 2013

Mr. Speaker, yes, it would be better if the bill were split. You know, when a bill amends 42 pieces of legislation, that is really extraordinary. We really have to work quite hard to dissect it all. I agree with my hon. colleague that this bill should be split.

Northwest Territories Devolution Act December 5th, 2013

Mr. Speaker, I thank my hon. colleague for the question.

I understand that they do not need people from Toronto or anywhere else telling them how to manage their territory. However, it is important that these people be supported, not because we want to tell them what to do and when to do it, but rather because we want to keep an eye on the government to ensure that it does not force them to accept anything they do not want. It is absolutely crucial that they manage their territory independently, and I am sure that they are perfectly capable of doing so.

Northwest Territories Devolution Act December 5th, 2013

Mr. Speaker, many government members and a member of the third party have talked about Bill C-15. We probably all agree that transferring additional powers to the Northwest Territories is a good thing.

Nevertheless, I wanted to speak today because I think that transferring powers to the territories is an important thing worth paying special attention to. I want to begin by congratulating the people of the Northwest Territories, especially the five aboriginal governments that are part of the process, the Inuvialuit, the Northwest Territory Métis Nation, the Sahtu Secretariat, the Gwich'in Tribal Council and the Tlicho government.

I work very closely with the Manawan Atikamekw First Nation. Respect for aboriginal government is essential. Even though these situations are quite different, I think it is interesting to see how this legislation can transfer responsibilities smoothly and for the good of everyone.

I would like to talk about my reasons for supporting this bill and discuss some unclear elements that will need more in-depth study. Changing a constitution is never simple. However, in the case of the territories, which do not have the same authority as provincial governments, it is necessary.

That is especially true as Canada works harder to assert sovereignty in the north. Accepting that residents of the Northwest Territories are equal to all other Canadians is the bare minimum.

The last devolution of powers to the Northwest Territories took place in 1980, when it acquired jurisdiction over education, health care, transportation and renewable resources, including lumber and wildlife.

However, for devolution to be more than just a legacy of British-style indirect rule, much more had to be done. This transfer of powers will enable the Northwest Territories to operate as independently as possible despite being so remote.

The bill before us goes a little farther by transferring the administration and control of public lands and resources, as well as rights in respect of waters, to the Northwest Territories.

The aboriginal governments identified earlier, as well as the Government of the Northwest Territories, signed a transfer of power agreement with the Canadian government on June 25. Now it is our responsibility to move forward.

The situation in the Northwest Territories cannot be compared in any way to that of the people in the provinces. As an example, I almost had a culture shock when I contacted the Manawan Atikamekw people, who live in the far northern area of the riding of Joliette. Although we share the same country, their administration is vastly different.

In the case of the Northwest Territories, this inconsistent policy is still evident today in the fact that the territory does not receive income from resource development and must rely on federal transfers for the delivery of programs and services. This situation can only be described as outright dependency.

Under the agreement signed in June, the Government of the Northwest Territories will be able to retain 50% of the revenues from resource development on public land up to a certain maximum, and Canada will retain the rest. The agreement will also enable the Government of the Northwest Territories to collect revenues from oil development.

However, here again, there will be a cap on revenues and any surpluses will be deducted from federal transfers.

Since these revenues derive from resource development, I do not really see anything wrong with the government withdrawing when marginal revenues based on the needs of the province are met; again, “when the needs are met”. Indirectly, this allows for a transfer of the wealth produced by this development.

However, as I said at the time, such a bill is not that simple. In the case of Bill C-15, 42 laws will be amended, making this a truly mammoth bill. In addition, the AANDC deputy minister appeared before the Standing Committee on Aboriginal Affairs and Northern Development in November. The deputy minister confirmed that Bill C-15 would, among other things, amend the Mackenzie Valley Resource Management Act.

I will take the time to talk about this amendment because it has received some criticism, particularly from the Gwich'in Tribal Council and the Tlicho government.

The amendment to this act would transform the current structure of regional councils for land and water, created under final land claim agreements with aboriginal governments. This structure would be replaced by a single board.

In addition, the amendments will give the federal minister the authority to approve how the land and water in the Northwest Territories is used, which means that the transfer of powers we are working towards would be jeopardized. At least, that is how some people feel. As a New Democrat, I believe that the regional boards should make the decisions.

However, since the Government of the Northwest Territories has finally rallied behind the proposed changes and because the legislation will be reviewed in five years—which we will have to keep a close eye on—I will be supporting this bill anyway.

During the review, there will be an opportunity to evaluate the possibility of transferring other powers to the Northwest Territories, including the power to amend this law. To my mind, that alleviates some concern.

However, I would like to make a general comment about the Conservative government's tendency to concentrate power in the hands of a few and to give more power to the ministers who, ironically, have less input within their own caucus. I would like to take advantage of the opportunity I have here today to ask that such schemes do not become the norm.

As for the concerns that certain groups still have about amending the Mackenzie Valley Resource Management Act, I would like to point out that those of us on this side of the House will take their concerns into account when studying these amendments in committee.

The goal here—and I think that we all share it, even though some people feel absolutely no need to talk about it—is to ensure that Bill C-15 meets the needs of the people of the Northwest Territories. Until I hear proof to the contrary, I would say that we all agree on that point.

Northwest Territories Devolution Act December 5th, 2013

Mr. Speaker, I thank my colleague from Vaudreuil-Soulanges.

Several of my colleagues know that the Atikamekw Nation is found north of Joliette, at the end of an 85-kilometre logging road. You have to rent a good 4x4 to get there.

Some first nations are concerned about the changes this bill makes. It will be studied in committee, and I truly hope that the government will actually listen to the amendments that witnesses want and that will be moved by the NDP in the best interests of these nations.

I would like to hear what my colleague thinks about that. Does he hope that these peoples' needs will be heard in committee?

Northwest Territories Devolution Act December 5th, 2013

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

The party in power does say that it consults people and conducts public consultations. However, in my experience, it would seem that there is a rather minimal amount of consultation. Furthermore, bills do not even reflect the views of the people consulted.

When people are consulted, they can tell us what kind of life they want and how they want to structure their society and use their natural resources in order to have a better life.

According to the member for Sudbury, what is the role of public consultations in ensuring that people live well, are happy and achieve social peace? How does he see the consultations?

Northwest Territories Devolution Act December 5th, 2013

Mr. Speaker, I thank the member for her very good speech. I hope that the other parties, the Conservative and Liberal parties, will speak to this matter later.

There is one thing that I find to be quite extraordinary: the amendments to replace the current structure of regional land and water boards. However, at the same time, these amendments also give the power to approve all land and water usage to the federal minister.

Is this not at odds with the Northwest Territories' control over their natural resources?

Northwest Territories Devolution Act December 5th, 2013

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

The people of the Northwest Territories have been trying for years to control and manage their land and their natural resources. I also thank my colleague for pointing out that it seems that the party in power will not be giving any speeches today. That is unfortunate.

My question for my colleague is the following: in her opinion, why is it so important for the people of the Northwest Territories to be able to manage their own assets?

Youth Employment Organization December 3rd, 2013

Mr. Speaker, I would like draw the House's attention to a vital community organization in Joliette that was awarded the social economy ambassador prize.

That organization, l'Annexe à Roland, was awarded the prize on November 28 by the Table régionale de l'économie sociale de Lanaudière, in collaboration with Mouvement Desjardins. None other than Laure Waridel was on hand to talk about the invaluable work done by social economy enterprises.

L'Annexe à Roland has won several awards, including awards for its excellent budget management, but it will have to stop working in my riding, and that is a terrible shame. The government decided to cut the organization's funding for reasons that seem completely arbitrary.

L'Annexe à Roland has helped 500 young people over the past 13 years, and I would like to commend the whole team for its remarkable work.