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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

Restoring Mail Delivery for Canadians Act June 25th, 2011

Madam Speaker, it is important to remember that the lockout was ordered by Canada Post, a crown corporation. If government members are concerned, especially in light of the economic losses that are apparently mounting, the solution, quite simply, would be to advise the management at Canada Post that a lockout adversely affects economic growth and has a destabilizing effect on Canada's economy.

Restoring Mail Delivery for Canadians Act June 25th, 2011

Unfortunately, Madam Speaker, I did not hear any question. However, I did listen closely to the comments of the government member.

Restoring Mail Delivery for Canadians Act June 25th, 2011

Madam Speaker, I want to take this opportunity to acknowledge the people in my riding of LaSalle—Émard and tell them how it feels to be away from my riding to discuss issues that are very dear to me. I would imagine that every member in the House feels the same way. I want to repeat how incredibly proud I am to be part of a team that is standing up to protect the fundamental rights of workers.

The legislation put forward by the government, Bill C-6, An Act to provide for the resumption and continuation of postal services, could, in the short term, achieve the goal of getting postal service back on track. But the long-term impacts of passing this legislation are still unknown. The reason the members of the official opposition are so vehemently opposed to this bill is that they believe it will have far-reaching long-term consequences.

What bothers me about this bill is that the conditions of the new collective agreement have been decided in advance. The government is putting shackles not only on the workers, but also on the employer and on the arbitrator who will have to decide the matter. What worries me about this bill are the long-term effects of the conditions being imposed, a concern that has been raised articulately and exhaustively by my colleagues. The conditions being imposed will lead to reduced incomes and a lower standard of living for the middle class. And that includes working conditions and future pension benefits.

In the long term, this measure will jeopardize the economic recovery that is so important to the current government, as well as Canada's future economic stability. Even more troubling is the fact that this lockout and this bill will only serve to poison labour-management relations. These conditions create a two-tier system of new hires versus existing employees, something that goes against the values of fairness that Canadians hold so dear.

Canada Post is part of our daily lives. It is a public service that ensures mail delivery to every community across this beautiful and vast nation of ours. Unfortunately, the lockout and Bill C-6 send mixed messages. The job actions taken by Canada Post management—service interruption on Tuesdays and Thursdays, and the lockout—were a draconian response to the rotating strikes initiated previously. The government responded by introducing Bill C-6.

What message is the government sending to Canadians? First of all, they are being subjected to the effects of a lockout, and small and medium-size businesses are suffering financially. Unfortunately, the long-term impact of this government's actions will be the erosion of the very notion of public service. Why do we need public services like Canada Post? Because they provide an affordable service that meets the needs of all Canadians, regardless of where they live across the country, from coast to coast, from the far north to the south.

The Public Service is also a large employer, one that offers interesting working conditions for its employees and provides them with a standard of living such that they can help the country's economy to flourish. It is also important for us to remember that as Members of Parliament, we are part of the Public Service, in that we serve all Canadians, regardless of where they live.

I am disturbed by the fact that this government is trying to turn us into a society where the legitimate right to collective bargaining to secure attractive working conditions will be denied and where collective rights will take a back seat to economic interests.

I am proud to be part of a team that stands united in its opposition to Bill C-6, which threatens the right to freely negotiate a collective agreement.

Restoring Mail Delivery for Canadians Act June 24th, 2011

Mr. Speaker, I thank my hon. colleague for his question.

That is what we have been defending all along. At present, we have a government that wants to impose its own conditions on a legitimate bargaining process.

Restoring Mail Delivery for Canadians Act June 24th, 2011

Mr. Speaker, I thank my hon. colleague for her question.

She reminded me of something I forgot to mention in my speech, that is, that decent working conditions lead employees to stay where they are because they are content. It is not necessarily only in the public sector where this happens. This also happens in private companies that provide their employees with good working conditions and I find this encouraging.

Canada Post workers simply want to see this continue. They want good working conditions that do not deteriorate. When people have that, they tend to stay put. Other kinds of businesses have higher turnover rates because of instability or because the working conditions are not very good. As my colleague mentioned, this is quite common and I think it is very important to have good working conditions in order to ensure continuity.

Restoring Mail Delivery for Canadians Act June 24th, 2011

Mr. Speaker, you may find that I am a bit dishevelled and my eyes are a bit red. I think all of my colleagues here feel the same way as we debate this bill and fight tooth and nail to give workers a voice.

I listened carefully to my colleagues. They spoke very passionately about their experience with the union movement. Since I became a part of this official opposition team, I have seen that in unity, there is strength. The experience they have shared since we entered the House of Commons has taught me a lot about the qualities of solidarity and the collective rights of workers.

I thank you for giving me time to speak to Bill C-6 in this House and to add my voice to the eloquent voices of my colleagues in the official opposition.

I think that the debate on this bill is very important. I was inspired by our leader, the Leader of the Opposition, who addressed the House last night. He spoke about the history of the NDP movement and about the values that NDP members have always defended. I think that this is a debate on the values that we want to defend in this House, but also that we want to defend on the hustings across the country—the values of sharing, social justice and freedom.

There is increasing talk about economic recession; we are told the economy is doing poorly, that the greater interests of the economy are in jeopardy. And for the sake of the economy, the government is going to undermine the right of workers to negotiate a decent contract, not only for themselves, but also for future generations.

I believe the debate we are having in this House is a debate not only for the short term, but also for the long term. What will we provide for future generations?

I have been sitting in the House of Commons for barely a month now and the present government has already set the stage. First, it introduced a bill to force Air Canada employees back to work. I do not believe the timeline of that file called for that bill, when the bargaining process had just gotten under way.

As for Canada Post, the timeline has already been elaborated on, but let me remind you that somewhat controversial action is being taken. On June 8, Canada Post announced that it was cancelling mail delivery on Tuesdays and Thursdays, whereas we know all Canadians are entitled to delivery service five days a week. Canada Post was already starting to cut service to which Canadians are entitled, that is to say mail delivery five days a week.

On June 14, Canada Post ordered a national lockout; in other words, it shut out employees and prevented them from doing the work that makes it possible to deliver the mail five days a week. Now postal employees are being deprived of their bargaining right and their right to work, while Canadians are being deprived of their mail.

As a number of you previously noted, this work stoppage, this lockout, means that a number of our constituents and we ourselves are being deprived of mail delivery, in particular the delivery of cheques, as was mentioned: pension cheques and all other cheques. As was also said, seniors are often the hardest hit; they may not be used to using the Internet or simply cannot afford it.

Once again, my colleagues who live in rural regions have rightly noted that some places in those regions do not have Internet service and that most people are more confident about receiving their cheques through the mail than via the Internet. And yet Canada Post workers had taken steps for cheques to be distributed to the public, but have been unable to make delivery since the lockout. The people affected by this situation are thus in a tenuous financial situation because they still have to pay their bills and rent and buy groceries.

As the members here have also mentioned, the same is also true of small and medium-sized enterprises that rely on Canada Post's services to place and ship orders. I believe the present government is setting a dangerous precedent by interfering with the legitimate right of workers to negotiate with their employer. This government's priority, which has been clearly and expressly stated, is the greater interests of the economy.

I rise to speak about the best interests of people, of Canadians, of workers. It is should be remembered that the economy is not an end but rather a means to an end, which helps us organize our society and promote a fair division of our country’s wealth. We must have income security, security for the future, security for retirees, and for our youth as they enter the labour market, so that they too have access to benefits, pensions and programs including disability insurance, and insurance in case of injury or other misfortune.

I do not understand why this government, which talks about standing up for the best interests of the economy would, alongside Canada Post, lock out workers. The government’s own actions have jeopardized the best interests of the economy that it cares so much about.

I do not believe that this government interference in a legitimate bargaining process is consistent with the role assigned to us. This legislation is going to favour the employer at the expense of employees, who will be deprived of the opportunity to negotiate. Moreover, the government has taken it upon itself to diminish wage conditions previously proposed by the employer. The vested rights of postal workers are at stake here: retirement plans, disability insurance programs, working conditions and wage conditions.

Canada is recognized for its quality of life and social values, which make it possible for all Canadians to access programs and benefits that are the envy of many a country. This helped Canada weather the economic turmoil of recent years. This government’s actions are, in our opinion, a “Walmarting” of employment and lead to low wages, job insecurity, and a chipping away of benefits. This government’s actions bring us yet another step closer to the US model.

Can we not learn from Americans by not repeating their mistakes? Our Canadian society is based on a system where inequalities are less profound than in the United States where there are glaring disparities including huge gaps between the rich and the poor. As a Canadian and Quebecker, I want to stand up for the values of a fair and just society. I want to stand up for the rights of workers, the right to negotiate to improve conditions, so that each and every one of us may benefit.

Resumption and Continuation of Postal Services Legislation June 23rd, 2011

Madam Speaker, I congratulate my hon. colleague on the speech he made with all the passion we expect from him.

Could Bill C-6, which is before the House, not create a dangerous precedent with respect to the potential erosion of public services in the future?

Resumption and Continuation of Postal Services Legislation June 23rd, 2011

Madam Speaker, I would like to thank my colleague, who gave a good summary of the current situation, with all the passion we expect from him.

I would like to know whether the steps undertaken in Bill C-6 create a dangerous precedent with respect to the erosion of public services and collective bargaining.

Infrastructure Projects June 21st, 2011

Mr. Speaker, last Saturday, when I attended the NDP convention in Vancouver, I travelled on the SkyTrain, an efficient and non-polluting method of transportation that is the envy of many Montrealers, who are still waiting for a shuttle like that to connect the airport with downtown. Montrealers deserve to also have this kind of public transit incorporated into infrastructure projects like the bridges spanning the St. Lawrence River.

At present, the partial closing of the Mercier Bridge has literally imprisoned residents of my riding of LaSalle—Émard.

I hope that this government will demonstrate leadership when it comes to infrastructure projects and that, in cooperation with the government of Quebec, we will be able to provide alternatives worthy of the 21st century.

As science and technology critic for the official opposition, I will consider it my duty to ensure that we achieve these objectives.

Fair and Efficient Criminal Trials Act June 16th, 2011

Mr. Speaker, I thank the hon. member for Ahuntsic and congratulate her on her re-election. I have a question for her in response to her speech. If the appointment of superior court judges were delegated to the provinces, how would that speed up the trial process?