House of Commons photo

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

Address in Reply October 5th, 2004

Mr. Speaker, what a great question.

Gatineau is no different from anywhere else. This morning I was reading in our local paper, Le Droit , that the city of Gatineau is waiting to see how the deal with the cities is going to come out. Of course we realize it is going to be through negotiation with the provinces because we are very respectful of the jurisdiction of the provinces. All the cities are waiting desperately for this deal and Gatineau is no different. Repairs are needed to roads and waterworks. There are other types of repairs that are desperately needed before those cities crumble. We cannot play politics on this issue. It is crucial.

Address in Reply October 5th, 2004

Mr. Speaker, that was a great comment and question. All of us in the House have to believe in the parliamentary process. Every member here in this Parliament will have something of value to say.

As for past parliaments, I was not here. However I know what I am going to do. I know what the government is going to do. I have total faith in my government and in the members.

Address in Reply October 5th, 2004

Mr. Speaker, this feels like my election campaign all over again. It is the same old tune. They lost in my riding, period.

On this side of the House, when we say that we do not need to write long sentences or long agreements or constitutions to know where we are going, it means that we will have ample opportunity to address a number of the issues raised by my hon. colleague.

Clearly, and as the members who carefully listened to my speech have realized—and for those who did not, I would be more than willing to repeat the whole thing since I am starting to develop a taste for this—at the heart of my remarks is the fact that we will be addressing a lot of issues in committee. For instance, we will be looking at the missile defence shield, and I am sure this will not be the last time I hear this expression in the House. We will also talk about sovereignty.

The member mentioned the commission on which we both sat, but I will not even go there, since he knows where I stand on that issue.

About the civil servant the hon. member referred to, again, it is déjà vu, since I was asked about this during the election campaign. As a former labour lawyer, I never publicly comment on a specific case. Since there are cameras in here, I think we should take up this issue at some other time.

I want to thank my hon. colleague who is as eloquent as ever. I think we are in for some very interesting debates.

Address in Reply October 5th, 2004

Mr. Speaker, those are great comments and I think we wholeheartedly embrace what the member has said. This is my first day in the House, but if I understood correctly, I heard there would be a debate on Thursday on this specific issue. I think this shows our concern.

Address in Reply October 5th, 2004

Mr. Speaker, as a new member, it seems to be a good thing to say one is the first of one thing or another. I take great pride in saying that I am the first woman elected for my party in my great region of the Outaouais.

It is a great honour for me to second the motion for an Address in Reply to the Speech from the Throne. I would like to take this opportunity as well to thank my predecessor, the former member for Gatineau and former colleague Mark Assad. He represented the riding from 1988 to 2004.

First of all, I would like to pay my respects to Her Excellency the Governor General, Madame Adrienne Clarkson, and to thank her for delivering the throne speech to both Houses.

Mr. Speaker, I would also like to congratulate you on your recent re-election. I wish mine had been that easy. I have no doubt that you will do an exceptional job as Speaker of the House.

I would also like to thank the Prime Minister of Canada for having selected me to rise before the Parliament of Canada to second this motion.

What I appreciate particularly, although some might not, is that these are all my own words. I worked on my speech well into the night. And while I may get into hot water for saying so, not one single word of my text was dictated to me.

I did not expect to have an opportunity to speak so soon after graduating from last week's course for rookie MPs. This is a moment I shall cherish, and I thank the Prime Minister for giving me this opportunity so early in my career. As well as the obvious personal honour, it is above all an honour for the people of my riding and for Quebec.

Some may make a point of counting the number of times I repeat the word Gatineau during my speech. Well, the people of Gatineau are important to me. They are the people I represent and I want to thank them. The voters of Gatineau have entrusted me with the task, and the immense honour, of representing them in the federal legislature. The confidence they have placed in me makes me feel both humble and privileged.

We are all well aware that it is a major challenge to represent a riding. I am certain, however, that we will all expend every effort to rise to that challenge, with diligence and respect for the institutions, while of course seeking to do our utmost for the people of Canada.

The riding of Gatineau, in Quebec, is home to Canadians of every origin: mostly francophones, but anglophones as well; Canadians of Lebanese, Portuguese, Colombian, Romanian, African, and Asian descent, to name just a few. Many of them are owners of or employees in small or medium size businesses, where their hard work is enabling the riding to grow at an extraordinary rate. Some constituents work for the government and are unstinting in their efforts to improve our community. I salute them and I thank them.

All of these people know that they can always count on me to listen to them and help them. They can rely on my 20 years of experience as a labour relations lawyer and my involvement in the community.

Gatineau is intrinsically linked to the national capital region, which can and must grow according to principles of fairness between the two sides of the river. This principle, often called the 75-25 rule for Ottawa and Gatineau, was instituted 35 years ago as a sign of respect for the francophone community living in the area. This government will protect and encourage that rule of fairness, both in government services and in the establishment of research centres, of that I am sure.

The riding of Gatineau has an incredible potential for development. Yes, Gatineau does have some enviable examples of infrastructure, such as the Maison de la Culture or the National Archives of Canada. We also have industrial parks ready to be more active.

The city of Gatineau is the fifth largest city in Quebec. Everyone in the Outaouais was happy to learn just recently that highway 50 has been included in the national highway network, which should simplify funding for its extension to Lachute.

Therefore, I would like to offer my special thanks to the hon. Minister of Transport who understood the importance of this highway to the riding of Gatineau and the entire Outaouais region. He took the time to listen to me and support me, and in particular he took the necessary action with our provincial partners. Who thought we were on vacation after the election? Certainly not this government.

In the riding of Gatineau there are many volunteers who work toward ensuring a better future for everyone. The volunteers are seniors, young people, Canadians from all walks of life; they have names like Charron, Strolenberg, Lacroix, Robinson, Vaive, Clermont, Lajeunesse, Thibault, Foy, Racicot, Lagacé, Durand, Daaboul and Londono. I could have provided a much longer list since I have 20 minutes. They are the ones who ensure that our priorities reflect their priorities. We are working for them and everything they represent. They are Canadian citizens like us and have equal status. They trust us to represent them well and to speak on their behalf.

For example, in my riding, a 19-year-old man named Alexandre Gingras, with help from high school students and teachers, developed a plan to promote peace in the Middle East. This is an excellent indication that our young people want to be involved as well. All they need is encouragement. You will be hearing about this project, which goes by the name of Liberté.

I am very proud and privileged to represent all those people here in this House.

My riding office is literally at the heart of the riding of Gatineau. The office is near a CLSC, the cultural centre, the National Archives, the city's administrative offices, a college campus and the future site of a sports complex that I am sure we will help build, since it is good for young people and public health.

The people in the riding of Gatineau want the government's priority to be health, education, the environment and economic development. The Speech from the Throne responds to these requests.

On the matter of education, I would like to point out that today is World Teachers' Day . I think that teachers do a terrific job. They are shaping the leaders of tomorrow and those who represent our future, and I salute them.

The people of the riding of Gatineau want to close the growing gap between the rich and the poor. The Speech from the Throne is meeting this demand.

The people of Gatineau also want a proactive approach to looking after our seniors, young people and women, to integrating our cultural communities, to aboriginal peoples, to international aid and peace missions fundamental demands for respect, justice and equity. The Speech from the Throne meets these demands.

The government's program is an ambitious one. It shows and proves beyond a doubt what the Prime Minister's vision is all about. I congratulate him on it and thank him for it. This program is also proof that this government does not shy away from challenges.

There are definitely no chickens on this side of the House.

I am particularly pleased to note in this Speech from the Throne that the government has heard Canadians across the country and reached out to all parties in this House so that, through the parliamentary process, they may advance those issues that are a priority for them.

We already have to our credit the significant achievement of the recent historical health accord between the Prime Minister of Canada and the provincial premiers. I am convinced that similar achievements will be possible in the case of our other priorities, including our new deal for Canada's cities and communities , and the national child care plan which, I am proud to say, will be modeled on what we have in my province of Quebec. Quality, universality, accessibility and development will be at the heart of the national plan for kindergarten and child care.

I support in particular the steps that will be taken to improve the tax based support for natural caregivers through higher medical expense tax credits or disability credits and a commitment to invest $1 billion over the next five years for those natural caregivers who look after elder or disabled relatives at home. That is important.

I do not know whether hon. members did like i did during the election campaign and met with our seniors. These are people who often have great needs, but who do not express them very strongly. They are afraid they might bother others. This is why I am very pleased to see that the throne speech is looking out for our seniors. They, like me, will be pleased to see that the New Horizons Program, which is already a very popular initiative, will get $8 million for 2004-05 and $10 million thereafter. This is in addition to the 7% increase to the guaranteed income supplement. More important, a secretariat for seniors will be created.

The approach used by the government in its dealings with its partners from the provinces, municipalities and communities makes me very optimistic for the future of Gatineau, Quebec and Canada. They have huge needs, and these needs are a central concern for people in the riding of Gatineau and for all Canadians. We will strive to settle key issues such as urban redevelopment, immigrant integration, cooperative services and social housing, while respecting jurisdictions.

We will expand and improve existing programs such as the affordable housing strategy, the community action partnership initiative dealing with the issue of homelessness and the residential rehabilitation assistance program.

We will continue to invest more in people and we will develop Canada's ability to promote new ideas and to implement them. We will also facilitate trade for businesses in Canada. Moreover, we will encourage regional and sectoral development and we will promote trade and investments.

Above all, we will not forget the very important sector, namely social economy, which is a central concern for many communities, including the riding of Gatineau. The government will help create the conditions that are necessary to the success of organizations that do so much in this sector of the economy.

Canada has achieved levels of excellence that are the envy of many of its economic, social and cultural partners.

Seven consecutive budget surpluses have made Canada the envy of the G-7.

This kind of responsible management increases consumer and business confidence and enables us to invest in social programs.

Our attachment to values such as equality and diversity has also enabled us to reach levels of excellence. In Canada, not only do we live our differences, we make a difference. However, you can rest assured that our priorities will be addressed within a fiscal framework consistent with Canada's financial health and the rules of transparency.

I am proud to be a participant in a government that will be open to working with all parties to serve all Canadians and to make this session of Parliament as effective and productive as possible.

Now is the time for action. Now is the time to move ahead in the interest of people from the riding of Gatineau, from Quebec and from all across Canada.

This 38th Parliament will make discussions, compromise, consensus and solutions a priority to best serve the interests of Canadians. They want this Parliament to work for them and succeed. We must do things differently, always keeping in mind that our job is to represent our constituents in Ottawa, not the other way around.

There are 107 new members of Parliament. We shall be heard. We shall bring to all parties more action and less rhetoric.

We all know history has shown that minority governments can be quite effective. They have been responsible for some of this country's most important initiatives: universal health care in 1966, the government student loans program in 1964, old age pensions in 1927, and the Canadian flag in 1965.

It is not only the Liberals on this side of the House that the people have challenged, but each and everyone of us. The credibility of our institutions and our role as members of Parliament are being questioned and treated with cynicism by both the public and the media. We now have an excellent opportunity to show Canadians that a minority government reflecting the interests of every region of Canada and a wide range of opposing views can also make the best decisions in the interest of taxpayers.

On a more personal note, I simply want to dedicate this day—because it is an extraordinary day for me, even though the next 10 minutes will probably be less so—to my father, who died almost 15 years ago to the day, on October 6, 1989. He was and still is my greatest source of inspiration. He would certainly have appreciated the importance of this moment, knowing that I had been dreaming of it since I was ten years old.

It is with conviction and enthusiasm, as the new member for Gatineau, that I support the motion on the Address in Reply to the Speech from the Throne proposed by my colleague from Davenport.