House of Commons photo

Crucial Fact

  • Her favourite word was colleague.

Last in Parliament October 2015, as NDP MP for LaSalle—Émard (Québec)

Lost her last election, in 2015, with 29% of the vote.

Statements in the House

Economic Action Plan 2015 Act, No. 1 June 10th, 2015

Mr. Speaker, like my colleague, I am rising on a point of order.

I will not have the opportunity to debate this bill because a gag order has just been imposed, but the Minister of State for Finance will have 30 minutes more than I will to debate this issue.

We are supposed to be asking questions only about the gag order. Does he agree with this 100th gag order? It does not necessarily affect him because he has been given an additional 30 minutes to debate this bill and say everything he wants. However, his colleagues behind him are just as penalized by this gag order as we are. I would like him to talk about the unfairness of this 100th gag order and how it affects his colleagues.

The Environment June 9th, 2015

Mr. Speaker, Montreal is one of the 16 communities along the St. Lawrence standing together to ban microbeads. However, it is up to the federal government to approve personal care products. The minister has yet to act on the NDP motion passed in the House to ban microbeads from these products.

Given the urgent need to act, when will the government take action and protect our waterways by banning microbeads?

Main Estimates 2015-16 June 8th, 2015

Mr. Speaker, what we are discussing this evening is simply an item in the main estimates.

Main Estimates 2015-16 June 8th, 2015

Mr. Speaker, when I said I was against sending $57 million to the Senate, in one sense, it was a first step towards some kind of reform.

When I spoke about the motion put forward by my colleague from Toronto—Danforth, it was also a way to try, in this case, to make certain changes in the immediate future. As for the rest, I do not think it is useful, when we hold debates in the House and we try to explain quite complex ideas, to turn them around and reduce them to simplistic terms.

Main Estimates 2015-16 June 8th, 2015

Mr. Speaker, I am always dumbfounded by the false information that the parliamentary secretary provides, in particular, how he can distort what I can try—

Main Estimates 2015-16 June 8th, 2015

Mr. Speaker, I am particularly proud to be a member of the New Democratic Party. I am particularly proud to stand on the shoulders of giants like J.S. Woodsworth and Stanley Knowles. I am also particularly proud to see my colleague from Winnipeg Centre carry on the tradition of questioning the institution we call the Senate.

This evening we have talked about our Constitution and about the institution we know as the Senate. We have also discussed Senate reform; these discussions are nothing new. We also talked about the Constitution, a topic that does not come up often for fear of having to open up the Constitution or talk about it.

This evening we are talking about allocating $57 million to the Senate. I must admit that I am opposed to sending this amount of money to the Senate because we have hit a bit of a dead end in our talks about Senate reform. One option we still have in the House of Commons is deciding how to allocate money to the various departments. In this case, I think that in recent years the Senate has proven that it does not take its duties seriously when it comes to spending and the way it spends money.

Once again, I have to say that not necessarily all senators are at fault. However, over the past years and decades, the Senate has lost its purpose. I think that is the fault of a series of prime ministers who made partisan Senate appointments.

I have to say that when I came to the Parliament of Canada, I was pretty innocent. I had absolutely no idea that senators attended MPs' caucus meetings. I found that totally outrageous. Why did senators, who were supposed to be objective, attend MPs' caucus meetings every week? That suggested some almost insidious connections within the old parties, the Liberals and the Conservatives. Because of those connections, people from the upper chamber, who were supposed to be non-partisan, attended Liberal and Conservative caucus meetings. That has been going on for decades.

It is very clear that senators appointed in recent years were put to use by the Conservative Party. Those appointments were made solely to help the Conservative Party line its coffers. Senators were sent from riding to riding to raise funds for Conservative MPs. That is outrageous. I could not believe it. They also carried on the Liberal tradition of raising funds and participating in election campaigns with impunity.

It is truly extraordinary and surprising that the NDP, without the help of any senators who specialize in fundraising and travel all over Canada, became the official opposition in 2011. That is to our credit. We succeeded in forming the official opposition in the Parliament of Canada because we worked hard and met with Canadians.

This evening we are doing what we have been doing for quite some time. As the official opposition, we are in proposal mode. On October 22, 2013, my colleague from Toronto—Danforth moved a motion. It is interesting, because our Liberal colleagues like to brag about being the first party to present a plan for thoughtful Senate reform. However, they voted against our motion, which stated:

That, in the opinion of this House, urgent steps must be taken to improve accountability in the Senate, and, therefore, this House call for the introduction of immediate measures to end Senators' partisan activities, including participation in Caucus meetings, and to limit Senators' travel allowances to those activities clearly and directly related to parliamentary business.

That is a motion that we moved in 2013. The Liberals, who are supposedly newly converted to Senate reform, voted against that measure to make the current senators less partisan.

We are carrying on the tradition of proposing changes to the Senate. One of the first things to do is to oppose the $57 million included in the main estimates. We are simply saying no. That is one of the first things we can do right now.

As Campbell Clark of The Globe and Mail said this morning, this is the first step toward reform. This is something the members of the House can control. They can say no to this transfer of funds to the Senate.

What is more, the idea was already out there. The Conservative MPs are in favour of reforming the Senate, and the Prime Minister has been talking about Senate reform since the 1980s, but they voted against our motion, which simply said that we must adopt urgent measures to end partisanship in the Senate. That is a very important first step. The motion also said that senators should not attend caucus meetings, among other things.

I must also point out how unfair these measures are. We made a careful choice based on principle. We do not want any senators. There are no NDP senators, and I am very proud of that. In fact, the two old parties have always campaigned by using their senators to raise money. All their old campaign organizers are in the Senate, in any case. This must stop and we must cut off this $57 million. It is a good step toward real reform of the Senate.

MAIN ESTIMATES 2015-16 June 8th, 2015

Mr. Speaker, I would like to remind the parliamentary secretary that we are debating the main estimates, specifically the $57 million and change allocated to the Senate. I would therefore remind him that for the time being, we are discussing this motion and his question should be related to the motion being studied by the House.

Business of Supply June 8th, 2015

Mr. Speaker, I thank the member from Newfoundland and Labrador for her speech.

I would like to ask her how the Conservatives' employment insurance reforms affect her region, in Newfoundland and Labrador, and her constituents.

Since it is increasingly difficult to access employment insurance, a lot of people in my riding of Lasalle—Émard are affected. How have these EI reforms and these cuts affected her region?

Business of Supply June 8th, 2015

Mr. Speaker, I want to thank the member for Winnipeg North, because I think he pointed out a really good point, which is that with the loss of the long-form census, we are losing a lot of data on very vulnerable communities. The unemployment data quite often does not reflect the number of people who have lost hope of finding jobs and who depend on social assistance from the provinces. This shows how the federal government makes unilateral decisions that affect the provinces very strongly.

If they cut unemployment insurance, then what happens is that it is the provinces that have to take the brunt of that cut and have to increase social assistance, because they cannot leave people on the streets all the time. The cities, as well, are impacted.

It is the federal government that has the biggest fiscal plate. When it cuts, cuts, cuts, what happens is that the provinces and the cities are affected by those cuts as well.

Business of Supply June 8th, 2015

Mr. Speaker, I thank my colleague from Beauport—Limoilou. He made an extremely timely point. Employer-employee relations are quite tenuous and it is getting harder all the time to find jobs.

Money is not the only thing that counts in this world. There is also job satisfaction, having a job where we can thrive and use our skills and our professional and personal qualities. All of this has changed in recent years. It is getting harder and harder to find a job in an area that will be satisfying, interesting and fulfilling.