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Crucial Fact

  • Her favourite word was victims.

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

Lost her last election, in 2015, with 27% of the vote.

Statements in the House

An Act to establish the Economic Development Agency of Canada for the Regions of Quebec November 15th, 2004

Madam Speaker, I am truly happy to have the privilege, as the member for Gatineau, to address the House with respect to Bill C-9, an act to establish the Economic Development Agency of Canada for the Regions of Quebec.

I am proud to support this bill that has been favourably awaited by all my constituents and the people of the Outaouais region. The government as made it one of its priorities to ensure the success of Canadians in every region of our country. It will consequently do everything in its power to support Canadians in their efforts to realize their ambitions in terms of prosperity and improvement of their quality of life.

Indeed, to build the economy of the 21st century sought by the Canadian people, we know that we must innovate by building upon regional strengths. For us, Economic Development Canada has an important role to play in ensuring that our country has a strong and dynamic economy based on innovation and its great development potential, an economy helping Canadians face the future with confidence and optimism, an economy helping us reach excellence.

We all know today that advances in technology are one of the main factors behind sustained economic growth. By improving our businesses' productivity and increasing the standard of living, the agency contributes significantly to the regional development of the regions of the country, of Quebec in particular, and certainly of Gatineau.

In the years to come, the agency intends to keep helping Quebec's small and medium-sized businesses with innovative projects. The agency will provide support to small and medium-sized businesses as they seek creative and ingenuous ways of developing and marketing new products. It will pursue the goal of helping businesses to diversify their operations and to create quality jobs, thus ensuring positive growth. The riding of Gatineau has been waiting for this moment for a long time and looks toward the future with optimism.

The environment in which our businesses operate here and in the rest of the world makes innovation one of the main factors of our development. In other words, to maintain competitiveness and to succeed in the context of the global economy and the acceleration of technological advances, businesses have to innovate, and I would even say that they have to innovate consistently. If innovation has become a necessity for all businesses operating in a market, it is because to innovate is to get ahead of others and to increase competitiveness. Thus, innovation and productivity enhancement are at the heart of the improvement in the competitive position of our businesses, and consequently of their survival and their development.

It is in this context that, since 1997, the Canadian government has invested more than $13 billion dollars in the innovation sector to ensure that Canadians will have the necessary resources to create, adopt and adapt new technologies. As we heard in the October 5 Speech from the Throne, we now have to take up the challenge of converting more good ideas into dynamic businesses, meaningful employment and export earnings. The riding of Gatineau is no exception in that regard; it has a lot of good ideas.

We also have to ensure that scientific and technological progress resulting from publicly funded research end up on the market. As well, innovation must lead to greater competitiveness and productivity. Finally, the new technology must be made available throughout our economy and our country. It is of the utmost importance that all regions take part in this move towards innovation. This is a very promising piece of legislation for the riding of Gatineau.

To meet these challenges, the Government of Canada intends to play a leadership role. We already have the greatest innovation team in the country, made up of some 18,000 people working in 106 government research facilities located in the various provinces. Gatineau would welcome some of these research centres. We have been wanting and asking for them for such a long time. We are convinced that we could benefit from this bill, since we already have the required infrastructure. We have it. It would certainly be a great opportunity to restore the balance between the two sides of the Ottawa River.

In 2002 alone, R and D activities carried out in federal departments and agencies accounted for almost $4 billion, that is around 20% of total R and D spending in Canada. Canada Economic Development has also made innovation one of its top priorities.

Thus, the relative share of financial assistance allocated to innovation projects increased substantially during the past five years, that is, from 24% of the total financial assistance in 1999-2000 to 61% of it in 2003-2004, while the total amount of financial assistance was $113.5 million.

Quebec outperformed the other Canadian provinces in recent years in terms of research and development initiatives, which are an essential part of innovation support. In 1999, 2.42% of the GDP was allocated to R&D, while the Canadian average was 1.83%, which is equal to what is spent on average in other G-7 countries.

In Quebec, an important part of all private sector research is done by higher education institutions. That part represents a total of more than $180 million in 1999-2000, thus testifying to the importance of the linkage between universities and businesses. Private financing of university research more than doubled last year. I want to remind the members of the House that we also have a university in the Outaouais and it is very dynamic in the field of liaison, through its Bureau de liaison université-milieu (BLUM).

Now, the challenge is to make sure that the final results of university research translate into adequate commercial added value allowing Quebec businesses to innovate even more.

Economic Development Canada can offer important support for SME innovation projects. To this end, the agency has set four priorities regarding innovation. First, it chose to support productivity improvement by helping companies to become more aggressive and more competitive and to put innovation to work to create wealth and jobs in their region. The agency also hopes to support innovation marketing on the various markets. Innovation, as we all know, can mean a new product on the market, or markets for an innovative product.

For Quebec SMEs, Economic Development Canada is the most important federal government agency supporting their innovation marketing strategies. The agency works closely with technology advisors from the National Research Council of Canada and works jointly with its Industrial Research Assistance Program, IRAP, towards developing new and improved products or processes. This priority also covers support for innovation marketing on foreign markets. Our market is limited. It is smaller, for example, than California's. That is why our success will always depend on other markets, which we need to open.

Canada Economic Development also intends to support the preparing and launching of technological industries with high added value, and of industries that locate in resource regions. Finally, the agency hopes to be more active in supporting testing and experimenting in the area of natural resources. These projects are likely to have an impact in the regions where the economy is largely based on natural resources, for example. We know that, in turn, these projects contribute to the fulfillment of economic development opportunities in the regions that welcome them.

At the regional level, Economic Development Canada has for a number of years been using an approach based on the establishment, in each region of Quebec, of a regional response strategy. These strategies, which are adjusted to the regions and the challenges that they face, rely on innovative measures that are geared to the specific context of each region. Moreover, they are developed in close cooperation with local stakeholders and are based on local and regional strengths, traditions, skills and advantages. Ultimately, these regional strategies allow for the identification of areas of excellence for each of the regions of Quebec, including the Outaouais.

In conclusion, I would like to remind this House that this bill confirms the framework for the economic initiatives that we achieve through Economic Development Canada, to ensure that this agency can contribute to the diversification of the regions of Quebec, promote innovation and improve the quality of life of its population.

More importantly, it reflects the bold vision of this government and our desire to ensure the prosperity of all residents and communities of Quebec.

The tabling of this legislation clearly shows the importance given by this government to regional development, to ensure a better life for Canadians and to allow them to live anywhere in the country, in communities where they can fulfill their aspirations and make their dreams come true.

In short, the bill that is now before us at second reading is yet another initiative taken by the Government of Canada to promote equal opportunities for all Canadians in their quest for well-being. It is good for Canada, it is good for Quebec and it is particularly good for Gatineau.

Maison de la culture in Gatineau November 3rd, 2004

Mr. Speaker, the salle Odyssée of Gatineau's Maison de la culture, whose board it has been my honour to chair was recognized as the performance venue of the year at the latest ADISQ gala.

The entire Outaouais region, and the riding of Gatineau in particular, is delighted with this honour, which is due in large part to the tireless efforts of the Maison staff, under the able direction of Julie Carrière.

My congratulations to the board and its present director, Maurice Groulx, and to the City of Gatineau for having recognized the importance of culture, along with our government and the Government of Quebec.

A tip of the hat to the Maison de la culture de Gatineau. And bravo to Julie Carrière, chosen personality of the week by Le Droit and Radio-Canada's 90.7, Radio One.

I encourage everyone to visit this jewel in my riding. It will then become obvious why the Odyssée theatre was awarded the Félix for performance venue of the year.

Tlicho Land Claims and Self-Government Act October 29th, 2004

Mr. Speaker, first I want to congratulate you, since I have not had the opportunity to do so yet, on your appointment. We represent taxpayers from the same region and our region is honoured. I am very happy for you and the region.

I rise today to speak in support of Bill C-14, the Tlicho Land Claims and Self-Government Act. I have no doubt that passing this bill will benefit both the Tlicho and all Canadians.

The agreement at the heart of this bill grants the Tlicho true control over a significant parcel representing roughly 20% of their traditional territory. In addition, the Government of Canada will pay the Tlicho—in several payments—some $150 million. These numbers will no doubt be the focus of every headline, but this agreement also includes many other provisions that will be just as important to the future of the Tlicho people.

This legislation will give the Tlicho the ability to shape their destiny. The Tlicho will form an effective and representative government and oversee vital aspects of their communities, such as land management, culture and social services. I am confident that by exercising control over their affairs, the Tlicho people will prosper for many generations to come.

And clearly, the Canadian economy benefits from prosperous, sustainable aboriginal communities. My optimism about the impact of Bill C-14 is based, in part, on the way the Tlicho have honoured their ancient traditions in the face of outside influences.

In the past 30 years, the Tlicho have experienced rapid and tumultuous social change. Where Tlicho hunters once tracked caribou, southern companies now mine diamonds. Skidoos and SUVs have largely replaced snowshoes and sleds. Oral histories once spoken by elders are now recorded in books and computers.

Despite the swift incursion of technology, though, the Tlicho continue to abide by their traditions. Elders are revered; the land is respected. And education remains a central focus of the community. Education has long been a crucial component of Tlicho culture. Since time immemorial, succeeding generations of elders have passed on their knowledge of traditional lands, relationships and culture.

When southerners first began to investigate the feasibility of building a pipeline through the Mackenzie Valley, Tlicho leaders recognized that such a project would have a dramatic impact on their society. In an effort to cope with change and minimize the negative consequences, the Tlicho invested in education.

In 1968, then Indian Affairs Minister Jean Chrétien met with Chief Jimmy Bruneau to discuss the future of the Tlicho. Chief Bruneau said that his people must learn to blend Northern and Southern cultures so they can take advantage of new technologies and opportunities. Chief Bruneau called for new schools to teach a curriculum that balanced aboriginal and non-aboriginal traditions.

In 1971, Chief Bruneau's dream began to come true when a school bearing his name opened in Rae-Edzo. The school's mission statement, “Be Strong Like Two People”, encapsulated the Chief's vision, and effectively summarized the Tlicho's strategy in dealing with social change.

Within a few years, Canada's first aboriginal school board took control of primary education in all four Tlicho communities. A regional secondary school was added in 1992. Since then, the number of adult students has climbed steadily. And, true to Tlicho tradition, adults attend the same classes as children.The Tlicho-controlled schools have had a significant and positive impact on their communities. Up until the mid-1970s, only a handful of Tlicho had ever graduated from high school. Now an average of 20 Tlicho earn high-school diplomas each year, and a growing number are pursuing degrees and diplomas at colleges and universities.

Tlicho attitudes about formal education have changed over the years. For the past 11 years, Rita Mueller has served as principal of Chief Jimmy Bruneau school, which now has an enrolment of approximately 350. In Ms. Mueller's words:

Ten years ago, a high-school diploma was the be-all and end-all; today it's considered a bare minimum. Most young people plan to continue their studies after high school.

The Tlicho recognize that post-secondary education is crucial to success in the modern era. And Tlicho leaders have found ways to ensure that their people have access to this education. The impact benefit agreements negotiated with the diamond-mining companies Diavik and BHP Billiton include payments to scholarship programs.

Furthermore, the Tlicho have chosen to commit a substantial portion of the payments received under this agreement to a scholarship fund. In this way, Bill C-14 will lead to an annual investment of approximately $500,000 in the Tlicho scholarship fund.

To administer scholarships and bursaries, a seven-person committee comprised of community representatives and teachers was established. The committee interviews applicants, reviews academic records and awards bursaries to the top candidates. The Tlicho were wise enough, though, to recognize that money alone cannot ensure success. Life on a crowded campus thousands of kilometres away from home can be difficult for Tlicho students, particularly when they've been raised in a completely different culture.

To help students adapt, the Tlicho hired a local person to fill the newly created position of regional post-secondary support coordinator. The coordinator maintains regular contact with Tlicho students and helps them cope with life on southern campuses.

The success of these students is crucial to the sustainability of Tlicho communities. To make the most of self-government, the Tlicho must have a group of professionals: managers, lawyers, doctors, teachers. They will also need carpenters, electricians and dozens of technical specialists. Rather than always hire these professionals from outside the community, the Tlicho are determined to train, develop and employ their own people.

This is precisely why Morven MacPherson was hired as regional post-secondary support coordinator. Ms. MacPherson, who had recently completed a second university degree, was delighted to return to Rae-Edzo and take the job. And community leaders recognize that Tlicho people who have completed post-secondary education are more likely to be “strong like two people.” These graduates draw from Tlicho culture and from their formal studies.

The importance of this bi-cultural knowledge cannot be understated. Consider, for example, the management of social services in Tlicho communities. Years ago, there were few social workers in Tlicho communities. When a child needed to be moved from a threatening situation, he or she would end up in Yellowknife, Fort Smith or Red Deer—far from Tlicho culture, language and traditions. Today, however, the head of social services is Nora Wetson, a Tlicho woman with a degree from the University of Regina. Ms. Wetson strives to ensure that social services are delivered in a way that balances Tlicho and southern perspectives.

Given the progressive approach to education and social services adopted by community leaders, the Tlicho can look forward to a new generation that is “strong like two people.” Today, the Tlicho support more than 130 people in post-secondary institutions. Among them are students of medicine, engineering and dozens of other disciplines. Many of these men and women will become leaders in Tlicho communities.

The legislation before us today validates the careful and respectful approach to development adopted by the Tlicho. I support Bill C-14 because it will enable the Tlicho to realize their potential. I urge my colleagues to do the same.

The Environment October 29th, 2004

Mr. Speaker, the Speech from the Throne challenges the government's environmental performance and commits it to systematically integrating sustainable development into the government decision making process. The Speech from the Throne also commits the federal government to inform the Canadian public better.

Can the Minister of the Environment explain how he intends to meet these commitments?

Financial Administration Act October 27th, 2004

Indeed, this issue interests me greatly and it interests the Commissioner of Official Languages. In fact, the Commissioner is asking the government to be a little more proactive in this matter and talk to the provinces. We must never forget that education is a provincial jurisdiction.

That said, programs have to be implemented to try, as much as possible, to promote the Official Languages Act and boost bilingualism from coast to coast. The government will certainly be more proactive in this matter—no question.

Financial Administration Act October 27th, 2004

Mr. Speaker, as regards the first statement made by the hon. member on the negotiations with public service employees, I am not sure whether he is challenging the work that I used to do before coming to this House. Of course, as a lawyer, we have files and we represent a party. However, I can tell this House that I have always viewed labour relations as a partnership.

The hon. member said that I was lacking respect at the time. I want to tell the distinguished Bloc Québécois member that, on the day that various protests were taking place, I took the time, even though I had a meeting here, to go to my office and meet with a delegation of PSAC members.

These people always felt that I was listening to them in my office and they were not met by some administrative assistant or other person. I have always been very accessible and I still am. I get calls, I talk to people and this is precisely what enables me to put questions to the President of the Treasury Board.

Of course, I am not the lawyer for the government and, therefore, I cannot get involved in the negotiations. However, I find it particularly insulting to be told that the respect was not there at that time, because I have spent my life trying to work with respect for others. Sometimes, there are diverging views and we try to find compromises. This is exactly what the government is doing.

As regards official languages, I want to reassure the hon. member. I did venture outside Gatineau. I travelled a lot in Quebec. Just look at my biography. I also travelled in Canada, but I never pretended that the situation was perfect. I said that some good things were happening in the country.

As a newcomer here, I hear many people, from both sides, say that we are all here to work for the best interests of our fellow Canadians, our constituents. Unfortunately, we always hear negative comments. I am not sure that our constituents are very proud to hear such things.

I was pleased to note the good points mentioned by the Commissioner of Official Languages about the government and about some of the departments and agencies that are doing very well.

Financial Administration Act October 27th, 2004

Mr. Speaker, the first part of the member's question might be a bit unfair.

I do not tend to call myself a specialist on the official languages. I just sat through two committees, so the full scope of the jurisdiction of the Official Language Commissioner, I would say, since it is part of the education system in provinces, is mostly of provincial jurisdiction. We on this side of the House try to make sure we do not overstep the boundaries on those aspects.

I know that during our committee sessions it was interesting, because some of the member's esteemed colleagues from different areas of Canada were reporting such activities in their own areas, one being Vancouver, the east and so on. It is important, because part of the Government of Canada's mission is to make sure bilingualism reaches as far as it will go.

We hear a lot about article 41 and how the government has to encourage bilingualism. It is something in which we strongly believe. The Official Language Commissioner talks about the official plan. It is always an ongoing process. Yes, things can always be improved and, believe me, I am not saying that they do not need to be improved.

Good things are being done as well. My colleague's question reminds me of a question I myself asked the Commissioner of Official Languages. If people are introduced into the official languages system positively, they will have no hesitation accepting it, as my colleague has said. Sometimes repression can come across as one of the worst possible approaches. The commissioner has told me that next year her report is going to include a different approach to the usual success stories, evaluations of the various government bodies, departments, agencies and so on.

In my opinion, it is important to have an overall picture of where things are not going well. Air Canada cannot be the only example, however. The examples I have already given need to be addressed as well.

Financial Administration Act October 27th, 2004

It is with pleasure, and above all conviction, that I rise in support of Bill C-8, introduced for second reading by my honourable colleague, the President of the Treasury Board of Canada.

This bill is evidence of our concrete commitment and support to those whom we all consider the most important resource government possesses for fulfilling its obligations and meeting the needs of the people it serves.

I am referring to the tens of thousands of Canadians who have decided to join the public service and serve the public, which includes themselves. It is my great pleasure to have many of them in my riding of Gatineau.

They, like many of their fellow citizens working in other sectors, have to cope with working environments that are changing more and more rapidly and becoming more and more competitive, complex and demanding.

Whether their area is health, education, economics, the environment, social welfare, justice or community security—areas, among others, of concern to Canadians—there are many and more complex challenges facing federal public servants.

These challenges require knowledge, skills, abilities, professionalism and a capacity to manage change as never before on the part of our employees. All of that is within the context of an environment characterized by ever faster technological advances as well as an increasingly competitive labour market that comes with its own set of challenges in terms of human resources management, in particular, in the areas of recruitment, training, professional development and retention.

Compounding these challenges are the expectations of a population that is demanding a well managed, highly effective public service where each dollar counts, a public service that is able to quickly adapt its priorities, and above all, meet high standards in terms of accountability, ethics, transparency, openness and accessibility.

However, the list does not stop there. In addition to these challenges, which I would qualify as external, our public servants must deal with major internal changes. Those internal changes have become crucial in meeting the needs and expectations of the Canadian population in an effective and sustainable way. In our country, as in many other countries around the world, governments must modernize their public sectors. In Canada our citizens and Parliament are demanding better information and increased accountability, more integrated services, systematic reallocation of public resources to the most pressing public needs and, of course, maximum return on each dollar invested.

In order to do this, the government needs to strengthen and modernize management, and support it with much more efficient, rapid and intelligent systems and structures for information, planning, monitoring and decision-making.

Thus, in a context of rising expectations and limited resources, the government must significantly improve the way it manages information and resources, implements programs, provides services, and accounts for its expense and results.

In that respect, our government has firmly committed to this end and is actively working on several key initiatives in order to reinforce our public sector management. In particular, we can point to the government restructuring of December 12, 2003, the setting up of a thorough and continuous review of government programs and spending, Bill C-11 on the protection of whistle-blowers, strengthening of controls, results-based management and accountability frameworks, and re-engineering of the ways internal and external services are delivered.

Thus, once again, we have to realize what is at stake and the scale of the changes, challenges and work that must be done. Success will depend very much on the commitment and efforts made by everyone, including public servants. Still, for real success, our employees must have the best tools available and be guided and supported by exemplary leadership at all levels, in all fields and in all departments and agencies of the public service, especially in the central agencies.

I am proud to support the bill that would give the Public Service human resources management agency of Canada a legislative basis, an agency whose main objective is supporting employees across the public service, an agency whose priority is to modernize and foster excellence in human resources management and leadership, and an agency that is at once a champion of employees and managers, a strategic partner of departments and agencies, an expert in human resources management and an agent of change.

Therefore, as a central agency focused on human resources management, it has a key role to play in supporting the entire public service and helping it to successfully overcome the many challenges facing our employees, employees, who, as I mentioned earlier, constitute the government's most precious resource.

I will echo my colleagues by saying that not only does the bill reflect the government's commitment to strengthening and supporting excellence in human resources management, but it also constitutes a vital instrument that will unquestionably facilitate the agency's work.

I had the privilege of hearing most of the speeches on Bill C-8 by members from the various parties here in the House. I would be remiss in not responding to some of the statements heard during the debate on C-8, among others, remarks concerning the government's attitude toward its most important resources, and also the very relevant question about official languages, always asked the same way, from the Bloc Québécois members.

I can state that, with respect to the government's attitude to human resources, everyone agrees that they are our most important resources. I do not think anyone will deny that fact. Any differences are in the methods we use to reach our goals.

Before I came to this House, I spent almost 20 years working in labour relations and staffing, doing workplace assessments, and so on. Perhaps it is what I saw in my former life that makes this issue so important to me. This is not easy to achieve and must be worked at constantly. I am proud to be part of a government and especially to support the President of the Treasury Board, my hon. colleague, who, in every meeting I have had with him, has always made a point of trying to reach this level of excellence. We are seeking a relationship of mutual respect with our employees. This requires constant effort from both parties. It is an ever-changing process.

In terms of official languages, yesterday we heard all sorts of things. My hon. colleague, the member for Repentigny, made a point of quoting the Internet, and sometimes the dictionary, in his speeches. When he is talking about official languages, he might want to quote the Commissioner of Official Languages. I think that would be far more effective than the Internet or the dictionary for criticizing the government.

What I regret sometimes about debates on the issue of official languages is that the impact of Bill C-8 gets distorted. The amendment to the Official Languages Act, in my view, simply specifies that it is the president of the agency, and no longer the Secretary of the Treasury Board, who sends any report prepared under the authority of the Treasury Board to the Commissioner of Official Languages. Furthermore, the bill states very clearly that official languages is one of the agency's responsibilities, and this integration within the agency provides even greater visibility.

What I dislike about the attitude of the members opposite is when they complain that the Commissioner only mentioned things that do not work. I would like to draw their attention to the great successes. I have the pleasure of being on the Standing Committee on Official Languages and I have already attended the two meetings that have been held. Thus, I have perfect attendance at the committee. I had the pleasure of listening to the Commissioner of Official Languages, who told us that not everything done on this side is bad.

In the showcase of success stories, .there is the Leon Leadership Award for 2003-04. The Commissioner of Official Languages, Dr. Adam, tells us about Michel Dorais, the deputy minister of Citizenship and Immigration Canada. Reference is also made to the head of the Public Service Award for Official Languages, and Western Economic Diversification Canada. These are more great things being done in Canada, which the Bloc Québécois often fails to mention, preferring to focus on what is not working.

Among the success stories are Fisheries and Oceans Canada, the Atlantic Canada Opportunities Agency, a partnership in Newfoundland and Labrador, a partnership in Edmonton, and even the United States embassy. Following a study conducted by the Commissioner of Official Languages raising concern about the fact that the United States embassy official website was in English only, the website was made bilingual. Other success stories include a French-language service policy in Saskatchewan, info-health services in French in Manitoba, services in French from the Ontario Provincial Police, even the Centre hospitalier de l’Université de Sherbrooke, a partnership in Nova Scotia, and the list goes on.

I am hearing good things. There is no doubt that other things need improvement. The fact is that everything keeps changing in life. It is important that those watching us, taxpayers, do not get the idea that nothing good is being done in official languages. It is up to us to be vigilant and to ensure that progress continues to be made.

That is what I had to say on Bill C-8. From what I have heard so far, I gather that the vast majority of members in this House will be supporting the bill. That is what matters, in the end, because it will do our public service good and allow it to achieve the level of excellence that this side of the House has never been afraid to achieve, whether others like it or not.

Resumption of Debate on Address in Reply October 7th, 2004

Madam Speaker, my colleague is quick to talk about education because I talked about childishness. I know that when the teacher is talking in the classroom, students try to listen as much as possible. So, if members opposite want me to believe that, in this 38th Parliament, they have great respect for listening, I have some difficulty with that.

That being said, I am very respectful of the democratic process, and this is what I was talking about. I repeat once again that it is true that we try to talk about all representatives. However, it must be understood that 135 members were elected in this government and, as far as I know, none of the other parties, individually, come close to this number.

Thus, when people from Gatineau call me, it is because they want to see solutions, they want to see action. They do not want just empty words, of which we have had an abundance in this House in the last few days, just for the sake of making it clear to us that we are a minority government. I do not know any other way of telling you that we are a minority government, but we understand that we are. Perhaps colleagues opposite could get to work on the bills instead of playing these little games.

Resumption of Debate on Address in Reply October 7th, 2004

Madam Speaker, congratulations. I am happy to see a woman in your position. It is a pleasure for me. It is an even greater pleasure for me to have another opportunity to talk about this wonderful Speech from the Throne.

I am awfully concerned about what I have been hearing for the past two days. I seriously thought that the hon. members who were democratically elected here were truly here to represent Canadians and Quebeckers. I am having serious doubts about that.

What I have been hearing for the past two days are strategic discussions about what to do with the throne speech and that worries me and the people of my riding. I received phone calls after the Speech from the Throne was read, after this magnificent day during which I spoke and seconded the motion for the address in reply to the Speech from the Throne.

People from my riding said, “Ms. Boivin, is a Speech from the Throne a statement of the government's intentions”? Indeed it is a statement of the government's intentions. It talks about a strong economy, the environment, the health of Canadians, children, natural caregivers, seniors, Aboriginal Canadians, cities, and communities in Canada. It also talks about Canada's influential role in the world.

The Bloc may not be interested in all that, but the Liberals on this side of the House are. After this election, I knew that we all understood the important role a minority government plays and that every party will have their say. The parliamentary system involves more than just what goes on in this House, for which I have deep respect and admiration. It also involves all the committees where the parties express their opinion and advance various bills.

They would have me believe certain things today by presenting amendments and amendments to the amendment that do nothing but try to corner the government. As we have already said, we are not chicken and this is not a game. We want to work with people. We want to advance matters.

By the way—and this will make it clear that I am new here—I forgot to mention that I will be sharing my time—and this will please the Bloc—with the hon. Minister of Intergovernmental Affairs. The House will not have to listen to me for 20 minutes, but 10.

As a new member of Parliament, to put in a plug for myself, I just recorded a program in which a wonderful representative of this House explains to me how stimulating a minority government can be and that everyone's interests can be heard and debated here.

I was listening to the very interesting speech of the member on the other side. I congratulate him, because I know what it is like to make one's first speech in the House. On another point, I was listening to his speech and all I heard is how people on the other side of the House would do better, how they would be a better government. However, I will remind everyone about the result of the June 28 election.

We have a minority government. Can we respect the wish of the people in this regard? The games that are being played here do not further the debates in any way. All the themes that I mentioned and that are in the Speech from the Throne are policy statements that are of interest to my friends from the Bloc. Indeed, even Quebec did not have other great criticism to make in this regard, except to say, “We will see what comes from bills and all that, that is the agreements”.

Do we prefer to have our interests represented by the Bloc, which does not want to have anything to do with Canada, or by a government that has shown that it has been able to further the issues, such as health care, with the approval of the Bloc people, who were very pleased with this agreement that was entered into?

When people of Gatineau call me and tell me there are problems here with health care, that is waiting lists and so on, I do not answer—and I am convinced that my colleagues opposite do not answer—, “I am sorry, can you call your provincial member of Parliament”. We try to work together in a spirit of respect for jurisdictions.

I do not know what the people opposite do not understand in this kind of speech. They are clearly engaging in petty politics. I find it deplorable and regrettable. When we think of it, on June 28, Canadians told us that they wanted us to try to work together, instead of engaging in a grandstanding debate just for the heck of it. It is time we moved forward and did something else for a change.

We are proposing an ambitious project in terms of its themes. Some have said that we have been hearing about this for a long time, but that nothing was happening. This is precisely why we should promote these themes on behalf of Canadians. This is what we should do in this 38th Parliament. This is what Canadians from coast to coast to coast expect from their representatives. Are opposition members saying that we will apologize to our immigrants who are waiting for academic equivalence, under the pretext that we must look after the whole country? We have agreements with the Quebec government. We can have discussions with that government.

In this context, I should point out that we have been able to reach agreements with the provinces while the House was not sitting. The government has worked very hard.

Perhaps that is the point of my remarks this afternoon. Perhaps we need to remember, on both sides of the House, the roles we must play, who we are representing here in the House, and our obligation to be accountable to our constituents. That is important.

I like it when young people tell me they listened to the Speech from the Throne. One young man called me at home and said he was happy to see that we want young people to play a role in international affairs. There are young people who are interested in other things than such childishness as shouting back and forth, young people who really want to see their politicians do things that contribute to everyone's well-being.

The Prime Minister's reply to the Speech from the Throne offered good explanations and comments on the speech's content. Collaboration and a willingness to work with colleagues on all sides of the House are more than just empty words to us. The election results are in. It is time to move ahead and get to work. I am ready to work for Quebec and Canada. Are the hon. members opposite ready? That is why I cannot vote in favour of the amendment to the amendment to the Speech from the Throne.

On another note, I would like to say something else. I have had one opportunity this week to thank the voters of Gatineau. I would like to take my remaining time to thank the staff of the House of Commons. As a new member, arriving in an environment that can sometimes be a little daunting, I found my entry here was facilitated by all the staff of the House of Commons. I would like to thank the employees of the House of Commons, all those people who help us get our offices set up and so forth. Thank you, everyone. It is much appreciated. I am still learning to find my way through all the corridors. Thank you, everyone, for your great work.

I am eager to begin living out my dream, working for the good of all Canadians.