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

The Budget April 29th, 2015

Mr. Speaker, I am very pleased that the member acknowledged that youth underemployment and unemployment are a tragedy for Canada. We are losing a human resource because it is not achieving its full potential. It is a great loss for Canada.

To spend millions of dollars on advertising is frivolous. This government has done this a number of times. That is unfortunate. That is not a strategic investment in job creation across Canada. The federal government represents all regions of Canada and must put in place conditions that foster job creation in every sector of activity.

We are lucky because our economy is diversified, but we need to create the jobs of the future and be innovative and determined so that Canada becomes a leader in the fight against climate change and in research and development. We can do it because our youth are well educated, and they have to be able to contribute to our society.

The Budget April 29th, 2015

Mr. Speaker, I have the pleasure and privilege of sharing my time with the talented and passionate member for Edmonton—Strathcona.

From the outset, I would like to say that I am biased. I love young people. I love their energy, their curiosity and their enthusiasm. I love their ideals, their desire to build a more just society and a greener planet where they can achieve their full potential, a society in keeping with their aspirations. I love young people because I was young once and I identify with their desire to build a fair society where no one is left behind.

I am rising in the House today to speak to budget 2015, which was presented with great fanfare last week. Nevertheless, this budget does not include an overall vision to mitigate the ills of our society, transform our economy into a successful economy worthy of 21st century or deal with climate change and the growing inequality in our society.

While greenhouse gas emissions in Canada are increasing and inequality is growing, an OECD report indicates that the gap between Canada's rich and poor is continuing to grow. According to the OECD's analysis, Canada had the fourth-largest increase in inequality over the past two decades. Budget 2015 and the budget before that will only make matters worse.

The OECD report is not the only analysis of Canada's growing income gap. A study published in September 2014 by The Conference Board of Canada found that income inequality has been rising more rapidly in Canada than in the U.S. since the mid-nineties. This research in 18 countries found that Canada had the fourth largest increase in inequality between the mid-nineties and late 2000s.

In July, I organized an informal meeting with young leaders in LaSalle—Émard. They shared their concerns about their future, the challenge of balancing work and school, limited job options, and especially the instability of those jobs. They talked about the big issues, such as protecting the environment, inequality, the international situation and the need for electoral reform. They admitted to having little interest in politics because the message does not resonate with them. The recently tabled 2015 budget will do nothing to spark their interest. I hope that it will arouse their indignation.

Let us look at what our young people are facing. According to Statistics Canada, in 2013, the unemployment rate among youth aged 15 to 24 was 13.7%. That puts Canada behind other developed nations and is double the unemployment rate among workers aged 25 to 54, which is 5.4%.

In 2014, we had 387,000 young people who could not find jobs. That situation represents only part of the problem, particularly if we consider the fact that these statistics do not include people who are underemployed or young people who have become discouraged and stopped looking for work.

In my riding, LaSalle—Émard, the numbers are even more disturbing. In 2013, the youth unemployment rate was 15%, well above the national average of 8.2%.

The high rate of unemployment and underemployment is the result of a complex social problem that has to do with things like the lack of training to meet labour market needs, mobility challenges, the lack of subsidy programs for employers, the shortage of paid training, and the lack of high-quality, well-paying jobs, among other things.

Some of the measures in the budget reflect the NDP's wishes, but far too few. For example, we support the renewed funding for young entrepreneurs through the Futurpreneur Canada program, even though that funding has been reduced.

We are pleased that the government listened to the NDP and extended basic workplace protection to unpaid interns, and we look forward to finding out more about that.

Some other measures are a step in the right direction, but do not go far enough to alleviate student debt or give students the opportunity to be debt-free.

We are seeing a growing gap between the generations, and as the NDP leader said, we are leaving a growing economic, ecological and social debt to future generations.

The budget does not respond to the request by student associations, which called on the government to take action to reduce the massive increase in student debt, except for the announced reduction in the expected parental contribution under the Canada Student Loans needs assessment process. This does not provide any direct help to students, and no details have been provided.

According to the Canadian Federation of Students, the federal budget will “put nearly 200,000 students into deeper debt”. An article in Maclean's magazine says, “measures will mean larger Canada Student Loan amounts awarded to borrowers. For kids in lower income’s unlikely this change will do much to encourage them to think about higher education”.

Faced with a mortgaged future, young people between the ages of 18 and 35 are looking for ways to fully participate in society in keeping with their aspirations.

The role of the federal government is to create favourable conditions by making strategic investments to diversify the economy and create 21st century jobs in growth sectors, such as the green technology, high-tech and research sectors.

Young people must also be able to count on public policy to reduce intergenerational inequality so that they can be assured of a dignified retirement and accessible, universal health care. If we do nothing to change the situation, future generations will have huge challenges to address, including the aging population, climate change and increased inequality.

Budget 2015 and the austerity budgets of the past 20 years have only served to reduce the public sphere's ability to mitigate the negative effects of an unbridled market economy. Canada's young people will need all of their imagination and creativity to clean up that mess.

The NDP is the only party that is proposing practical solutions to make life more affordable and reduce inequality through progressive public policies. We believe that the government has a role to play in building a more just, greener and more prosperous Canada where no one is left behind and future generations can thrive.

Petitions April 27th, 2015

Mr. Speaker, I would like to table this petition regarding the cuts at Canada Post. It is signed by hundreds of my constituents, who are opposed to Canada Post's plan to eliminate home mail delivery and the associated job losses. They are calling on the Government of Canada to reject Canada Post's plan and ensure that we can keep home mail delivery and protect those jobs.

Environmental Protection in LaSalle—Émard April 27th, 2015

Mr. Speaker, last Friday I attended the Écocitoyenneté et biodiversité conference organized by the Sud-Ouest éco-quartier.

Also attending the conference were Les amis du parc Angrignon and Les amis du parc Saint-Paul. I then visited the photo exhibit put on by the Association des amis du parc des Rapides, in partnership with Héritage Laurentien, at the Centre intégré de mécanique, de métallurgie et d'électricité, a school-factory in LaSalle.

On Saturday, twenty or so volunteers braved the cold to participate in a spring cleanup, which I hosted with the Sud-Ouest éco-quartier and neighbourhood. We gathered more than 8 cubic metres of garbage.

All of these initiatives show that the people of LaSalle—Émard are committed, as am I, to protecting the environment and to living in a greener Canada.

Business of Supply April 20th, 2015

Mr. Speaker, I would like to thank my colleague for his speech and for his presentation defending his constituents in Burnaby—Douglas.

I am also aware of the work that he does as the science and technology critic. It is all interrelated. With its ill-considered cuts, the Conservative government is destroying Canada's ability to adapt to climate change and better protect the environment.

I would like the member to elaborate on the fact that cuts to Environment Canada and Statistics Canada are increasingly weakening our country's environmental protections.

Business of Supply April 20th, 2015

Mr. Speaker, I would like to thank my colleague for his speech. In fact, our country does extend from coast to coast. The incident we are currently discussing took place on the west coast. However, my colleague described very well the incidents that took place on the east coast.

He clearly explained that one of the stakeholders is not at the table, and that is the government, which has a responsibility to protect the public. I would like him to speak more about the government's role in protecting the public, enacting regulations and better protecting Canadian coasts.

Business of Supply April 20th, 2015

Mr. Speaker, I would like to thank my colleague for his speech.

It is a question of trust. The polluter pays principle is a good thing. However, it is just as important that the government protect the public because that is its job. It must apply and enforce the regulations pertaining to the polluter pays principle.

What does my colleague have to say about this government in that regard?

Business of Supply April 20th, 2015

Mr. Speaker, we have heard the current government's announcements. It has become apparent that the government intends to vote on advertising budgets in order to promote the federal budget. It is completely disregarding the priorities of Canadians, who are talking about climate change and protecting our waterways. They want the federal government to be there to protect the Canadian public. The government is not there for Canadians.

Does my colleague think that the Conservatives are going to turn things around in the budget being brought down tomorrow?

Business of Supply April 20th, 2015

Mr. Speaker, I cannot believe my ears.

I am fortunate to represent a riding that stretches along the St. Lawrence River. Like all Canadians, we are all connected by our waterways. The spill in British Columbia could just as easily happen on Canada's east coast, because the current government is completely oblivious when it comes to Canadians' safety and especially environmental protections.

My colleague who moved the motion said that the Conservatives decided to shut down the Kitsilano Coast Guard base in secret. It did not consult the provinces or the cities.

What does my government colleague have to say about the fact that co-operative federalism is nowhere to be found in Canada?

Committees of the House April 20th, 2015

Mr. Speaker, I have the honour to present, in both official languages, the fifth report of the Standing Committee on the Status of Women entitled “The Economic Leadership and Prosperity of Canadian Women”. Pursuant to Standing Order 109, the committee requests that the government table a comprehensive response to this report.