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

Co-operatives and Mutual Companies April 2nd, 2015

Mr. Speaker, mutual insurance companies are worried about the Conservatives' proposed new regulations, which would create two classes of policy holders.

Why is the government refusing to require that all policy holders be treated equally and that capital be invested in the community? Why are the Conservatives bringing in regulations that would jeopardize the future of mutual insurance companies by introducing incentives that could lead to demutualization?

Military Contribution Against ISIL March 30th, 2015

Mr. Speaker, we are debating a very serious matter. We have to be very serious and think carefully if we are to send men and women into combat in Iraq and Syria.

The Minister of National Defence makes it sound like the opposition is neither shocked nor disturbed by the actions of the so-called Islamic State. We are extremely worried about it.

On this side, we believe that the Conservatives' proposed mission will not resolve the issue. Crimes against humanity are being perpetrated and we believe that emergency humanitarian aid is needed.

Canada must contribute to this emergency humanitarian aid and must be there to follow up and ensure that the people responsible for crimes against humanity are prosecuted.

We also believe that—

Safe and Accountable Rail Act March 30th, 2015

Mr. Speaker, the current government has been trying to catch up as a result of the Liberal government's deregulation of railways in 1999.

Rail safety regulation has been neglected, and we see that without a government committed to ensuring that safety we find ourselves trying to catch up. There was the Lac-Mégantic tragedy in particular, and in the riding next to mine, in south-west Montreal, there have been four derailments in recent years.

Do my Conservative colleagues not believe that the government should make a stronger commitment to rail safety?

National Spinal Cord Injury Awareness Day Act March 26th, 2015

Mr. Speaker, this afternoon, I am pleased to express my support for Bill C-643, An Act to establish National Spinal Cord Injury Awareness Day.

Bill C-643, which was introduced in the House of Commons for the first time on December 8, 2014, designates the third Friday of September in each and every year as national spinal cord injury awareness day. Like my NDP colleagues, I want to voice my support for this legislative initiative.

In Canada, there are 86,000 people with spinal cord injuries and, unfortunately, 4,300 new cases are added each year. These injuries cost almost $2.67 billion per year and cause a great deal of physical and psychosocial suffering for those who sustain them. This national day is important to raise public awareness of the reality of people living with these injuries and the difficulties they have to face, as well as the work done by their caregivers and the scientists who are trying to improve their lives.

In my riding of LaSalle—Émard, many organizations work not only with people who have spinal cord injuries, but also with people with reduced mobility, people in wheelchairs, in short, people with any type of disability. Many organizations work to try to help people with disabilities integrate into society and especially to raise public awareness in order to make that integration easier.

I want to mention the organization Handicap Action Intégration and its director, Mody Maka Barry, who also has reduced mobility and uses a wheelchair. He wants to use his organization to help people with reduced mobility find their inner strength and have a healthy and fulfilling life and to prove to them that a physical limitation does not have to hold them back, because it is courage and determination that count.

Handicap Action Intégration also raises awareness among employers to encourage them to hire people with a disability. A recent report in The Globe and Mail talked about the benefits of hiring a person with a disability. That diversity is often very rewarding for a workplace. It creates bonds and allows people with a disability to work, whether or not their disability is due to a spinal cord injury that forces them to use a wheelchair.

Those who are integrated into the workforce will not only benefit from a well-paying job and, often, get out from under financial difficulties, but will also be able to contribute a great deal to society. The article mentioned a number of cases where employers benefited from the rewarding experience of hiring people with a disability. I would like to quote the article:

The article is entitled “Working wisdom: How workers with disabilities give companies an edge”. It says:

Opportunity for many people like him [a person living with a disability] is still scarce.

It means that there are not a lot of opportunities, as not a lot of employers are bold enough to hire people with disabilities.

It continues:

More than two million Canadian adults, or 11 per cent of the population, have some sort of disability and only about half of them participate in the labour force. Of those who do look for work, the jobless rate is 40 per cent or more for some groups. Underemployment is higher and even if they hold a job, incomes among adults with disabilities are typically far lower than the rest of the population.

I think a day like the one proposed in Bill C-643 could raise awareness about what life is like for people with a disability and how vulnerable many of them are. It could also help us see what we might do to help them integrate into the workforce and improve not only their financial situation, but also their physical and psychological condition.

I will share an example of an employer who hired someone with a disability. These are the benefits he discovered.

The benefit for the [employer], he added, is that it has a work force that more closely resembles its customer base. And its workers can give insights into how to reach different customers and keep them happy.

In other words, someone who has a disability or who uses a wheelchair to get around can bring new ideas to an employer such as a bank, for example. If the employer provides services to a broad clientele, the employee with a disability will be more in tune with the clientele's needs. What other employers have found is that many of these employees are very loyal and are also hard workers. They pour their hearts into their work and diversify a company's workforce. This article also shows very clearly that employers who recognize the strength of their employees and hire people who live with a disability, have reduced mobility or use a wheelchair gain a clear advantage.

The day of awareness proposed by Bill C-643 will promote all these benefits. First and foremost, it will shed light on the situation and the vulnerability of many people with disabilities and show how society in general can benefit from their integration.

I would like to reiterate the NDP's support for initiatives that foster the employment of people living with a disability and make our society even more accessible. The NDP is also a strong champion of the fight against poverty, whether it affects people with disabilities or people in precarious situations in general.

We continue to support people with disabilities and to work towards a more open and inclusive society. We also want to make our workplaces more inclusive.

I reiterate my support for Bill C-643.

Military Contribution Against ISIL March 26th, 2015

Mr. Speaker, an editorial in The Globe and Mail yesterday said:

But the logic behind the...government's Syrian plan has gaps, inconsistencies and blind spots.

I would like my colleague to comment on that.

Business of Supply March 10th, 2015

Mr. Speaker, I thank my colleague from Churchill for her speech. She is always so passionate about the issues and injustices that unfortunately still exist in our country.

We are facing some significant challenges, both in northern and remote communities as well as in big cities. Our economy is in turmoil. We can see it in the poor quality of the jobs we are creating. How could we turn these challenges into opportunities to improve our society overall? I was in Winnipeg, Manitoba, and social entrepreneurship is very innovative there. Since my colleague mentioned it, could she elaborate on that aspect?

In the House, should we not be innovative and think about progressive policies rather than regressive ones?

Business of Supply March 10th, 2015

Mr. Speaker, I would like to thank my colleague from Toronto Centre for her speech, much of which was delivered in French. I like hearing people speak French.

For the past twenty years or so, government after government has put forward austerity budgets. We all have to tighten our belts. Since 1995, these austerity budgets have been eroding our economy. The gap between rich and poor has been getting bigger and bigger, as has the wage gap between men and women. These budgets do nothing to stimulate the Canadian economy. They just make it weaker and weaker.

I would like to hear the member's views on all of these austerity budgets from various governments and their impact on our economy.

Business of Supply March 10th, 2015

Mr. Speaker, I listened carefully to the speech given by the Minister of Finance, who seems to be in denial about the successive reports showing that the economic situation is getting worse, particularly when it comes to employment.

CIBC's latest report comes after a recent OECD report indicating that the gap between the rich and poor in Canada keeps growing increasingly fast. That is a concern raised by the OECD.

Also, recently on International Women's Day, it was noted that the wage gaps between men and women are still growing.

Does the minister realize that the measures put forward by the Conservatives are only widening the wage gaps between the rich and poor and between men and women?

Petitions March 9th, 2015

Mr. Speaker, I recently had the pleasure of meeting grade six students from the Allion school and St. Lawrence Academy.

The students are very concerned about the dangers facing the beluga whales in the St. Lawrence River. They presented me with a petition to that effect, which I am tabling today on their behalf.

They gathered hundreds of signatures from people who are calling on the Government of Canada to impose a moratorium on all the work being done off the coast of Cacouna, in order to protect the belugas and guarantee an intact natural environment for them.

I am proud of the students at Allion school and St. Lawrence Academy in LaSalle for their commitment to protecting the environment and the St. Lawrence belugas.

Pipeline Safety Act February 26th, 2015

Mr. Speaker, I would like to thank the member who just spoke and whose riding has a very long name, but one that is very beautiful and evocative.

He mentioned the safety statistics for pipelines. However, it should be understood that there are risks nonetheless. The more pipelines that are built and the higher the volume of oil transported, the greater the risk of oil spills. We cannot overlook these risks because they also affect drinking water, for example.

I would like him to go into more detail about how the government plans to use science and technology, for example, by encouraging innovative projects in this field so that Canada is a leader in safety and how it plans to ensure that we have robust laws that will address the risks associated with the transportation of these goods.