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Crucial Fact

  • Her favourite word was conservatives.

Last in Parliament October 2015, as NDP MP for Notre-Dame-de-Grâce—Lachine (Québec)

Lost her last election, in 2015, with 22% of the vote.

Statements in the House

Restoring Mail Delivery for Canadians Act June 25th, 2011

Madam Speaker, I would like to thank my colleague for her remarks. Actually I am reading the same clause myself. They say we have not read the bill. That shows just how the Conservatives view the public: as ignorant people who do not do their work.

Excuse me, but we also do our work. Yes, we have read the bill and many other documents. We are informed and we do indeed have sources. We would not accept clauses like that.

Restoring Mail Delivery for Canadians Act June 25th, 2011

Madam Speaker, I want to thank my colleague for his question.

We have all read the bill many times over. We have also familiarized ourselves with the measures proposed in this special legislation. Of course we support an end to the lockout, but we certainly do not support basic wages that are 18% lower, an increase in the retirement age and reductions in annual leave entitlements.

We oppose the so-called “orphan clauses“ pursuant to which newly hired young persons from my generation would enjoy fewer benefits than workers already in the labour force. Obviously, the NDP cannot support two-tiered systems. While we do want the lockout to end, we certainly do not want it to end under these conditions, with special legislation that will deny these new workers their rights.

Restoring Mail Delivery for Canadians Act June 25th, 2011

Madam Speaker, mind-boggling, unacceptable and outrageous are some of the adjectives used to describe the government's attitude and the way it is handling this matter. I do not know whether the government has really not understood anything or it is just trying to prevent Canada Post workers from continuing to provide services to the public. The sole purpose of that action is to create a precedent that will enable the government to impose its vision every time.

Today, I am asking this Conservative government to put the interests of Canadians ahead of partisanship and ideologies. This government, elected by only 40% of Canadians, has a duty to serve the interests of the whole population, as it has promised many times before and after the May 2 election. I do not understand why this government, which made so many promises before the election, is now depriving Canadians of services and seriously harming the Canadian economy.

It should be noted that Canada Post subsidiaries and its joint venture annually spend $2.8 billion on goods. Therefore, we are not just talking about the businesses that no longer have access to Canada Post services, but about Canada Post itself, which provides those services, thereby creating 300,000 additional jobs that are currently being threatened. The economy is a daily topic of discussion. There are 585 domestic flights scheduled for Canada Post services. There are also 100 delivery vehicles and 18 rail services. All that money is being lost because the Conservatives have shut down our Canada Post services.

Job-creating small businesses are waiting for postal services to resume, so that they can send their bills and receive their cheques. The government could end this crisis immediately by allowing the employees to return to work, resume services and negotiate with their employer in good faith and on an equal footing.

From the beginning of this crisis, the government has not just interfered and imposed its vision; it has run a propaganda and smear campaign demonizing Canada Post employees. Once again, as my colleagues have pointed out many times, the government is trying to polarize matters, create conflict and divide Canadians.

The Conservative government knows full well what it is doing. Its plan is clear: cut services, privatize Canada Post and create a precedent. In the meantime, this government has no qualms about depriving people of services and putting a squeeze on family budgets. The government keeps saying that we are responsible for this situation even though the government, and the government alone, can put an end to the lockout and let Canada Post employees resume the work they never wanted to stop doing. But that has never been the government's priority. It is perfectly obvious that its priorities are elsewhere. The government is there to serve the CEOs of large corporations, banks and oil companies. The government is asking employees to make concessions and tighten their belts, as if Canada Post were truly in trouble, and all the while, its CEO is collecting a salary in the neighbourhood of $500,000 with bonuses. That is insulting; it is a slap in the face to all Canadians.

Today, the hon. members across the way have targeted postal workers. Tomorrow, they will target other public servants. And the day after that, will they take aim at all workers? Yes, the Conservatives must make their friends happy. It is much more enjoyable to go off and play golf with the heads of big business than to mix with the average Canadian and the real workers who make our economy go round.

Apparently, this government, with its irresponsible policies, is oblivious to the pride Canadians have in their postal service, one of the best in the world, one of the most efficient, one of the most accessible, a service provided by the Crown, a service that is not yet in the hands of the private sector. But for how long?

Canada Post employees have always done an excellent job serving Canadians from coast to coast, rain or shine, at an extremely reasonable cost. I really do not know how the hon. members across the way will be able to look their letter carrier in the eye after passing this special legislation. Nor do I know whether they could have taken this approach prior to the May 2 election. It is a classic move. They disregard Canadians and serve the interests of their cronies at the beginning of their mandate, and then, come election time, they claim they are going to help the economy.

This government has the power and the duty to put a stop to this crisis immediately. It can intervene right now so that employees can go back to work and negotiations with the employer can resume.

At this time, the population is being held hostage for ideological reasons and partisan purposes. This government has to act. Yesterday, while we were debating here, the Prime Minister was not even in Ottawa, but he just had to add insult to injury. And even though he prevented the members of this House from returning to their ridings to celebrate the national holiday, he went to Quebec himself.

Be that as it may, it is not stopping: the calls keep coming in, and I continue to get emails from worried citizens who are asking us to continue our work. I think that this government is distancing itself even further from the population, and isolating itself. It has been completely blinded by its partisan goals. This government, which has no consideration for workers, is conducting a veritable disinformation campaign by continuing to accuse us, while all of the power rests with it: all it has to do is lift the lockout and send the parties back to discuss what would be best for both of them and their new collective agreement.

I wanted to add that a few hours ago Martin Victor sent me a message saying that he had been sleeping on his couch for two nights in a row in order to follow the debates on Bill C-6, and he added that he was willing to die on that couch in order to see this bill defeated.

There was a 64% turnout in the last general election. At this time, the population is worried about the debate and constituents are getting in touch with us to tell us about their concerns. My colleagues across the way say that they are only receiving emails from small businesses. That is logical, because the people in their ridings are writing to us, because we listen to them.

People from Prince Edward Island, where no NDP members were elected, unfortunately, are writing to us to thank us for our honesty and solidarity. Scott Gaudet wrote to me to say he was happy to see a new way of doing politics in Canada. He said he was disgusted with this harsh law.

The NDP is asking the government, which is accusing us of delaying the process, to order an end to the lockout so that employees can return to work and their collective agreement can be ratified in the manner agreed to.

For a while now, much has been said about the eight months of talks that have taken place. Personally, I am still looking for information about that matter, but I would like to know how many rounds of talks took place over these eight months. How much time was spent at the bargaining table? It is all well and good to say that the parties negotiated for eight months, but if they only met a few times over the course of these eight months, then the Conservatives are waging a public disinformation campaign. I am quite tired of all of this and I am also anxious to go home, but I am extremely proud and pleased to be here defending my fellow citizens.

Restoring Mail Delivery for Canadians Act June 24th, 2011

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

After our leader's speech yesterday, someone on the other side of the House asked him what the amendments were. We are talking about pensions. We are talking about wages that are lower in the proposed legislation than what the employer was offering. We are talking about orphan clauses. In fact, the amendments are simple. We have been talking about them for several hours and we will continue talking about them for the next few days. The rights of workers must be respected and some sort of common ground must be reached.

[The hon. member spoke in Cree.]

Restoring Mail Delivery for Canadians Act June 24th, 2011

Madam Speaker, I thank my hon. colleague from across the floor for his question.

It is certainly true that small businesses need postal services to resume as soon as possible. My husband has a retail business on eBay and everything has been shut down for two weeks because he cannot send any parcels. However, he understands that this is a lockout that the employer decided to impose on the employees. The employer locked the doors and prohibited them from delivering the mail.

In my riding, the employees even decided to continue the service. An elderly man wanted his pension cheque and could not get it because his street was under construction and letter carriers could not get to his house. He went to the Canada Post office and still has not been able to get his cheque.

We want the workers to be allowed to go back to work, but they must be allowed to discuss the conditions themselves with an impartial arbitrator who will listen to both sides.

Restoring Mail Delivery for Canadians Act June 24th, 2011

Madam Speaker, as all of my colleagues have said today, we are sitting in the House of Commons on Quebec's national holiday. I apologize to my constituents. This shows that the Conservatives care more about opposing the rights of workers than they do about respecting the national holiday of a nation of Canada. The Conservatives were the ones to accept the validity of the Quebec nation and now they are putting their anti-labour ideology ahead of respect for Quebeckers.

On June 3, 2011, the Canadian Union of Postal Workers began a series of rotating strikes that demonstrated the workers' willingness to exert pressure, while still remaining in good faith and keeping the mail service running. The union offered to end the strikes if Canada Post would agree to reinstate the old contract during negotiations. But Canada Post refused.

On June 15, Canada Post, with the Conservative government's approval, decided to lock out its employees, force them into a work stoppage and shut down the mail service in order to allow the government to intervene.

As my hon. colleague from Marc-Aurèle-Fortin was saying earlier, the government certainly must have approved the lockout. This allowed it to then introduce back-to-work legislation. Locking out the employees this way does not seem very fair to me in a collective bargaining situation. It shows the government's tendency to set restrictive parameters that prevent the parties from talking. Canada has laws to protect workers, but the Conservative Party seems to be telling the workers that it is going to take away their right to negotiate a collective agreement, impose conditions inferior to what Canada Post was offering and force arbitration. Will the arbitrator be neutral? We do not know. Will the arbitrator follow the government's lead and side with the employer?

Mail service continues to be essential to Canadians’ lives and to our economy. In my riding, Notre-Dame-de-Grâce—Lachine and Dorval, people are angry because of this lockout, because their business depends on that service. But my constituents still realize that the dispute is much broader. They also realize that this is not a strike, it is a lockout. And they know that the dispute goes beyond what is happening at Canada Post; it is an unbelievable precedent.

The government is not just moving toward privatization, as several of my colleagues have pointed out. It wants to impose a climate of fear, to make workers who want to negotiate proper working conditions wary. The workers at Canada Post have been the victims of a huge machine that wants to violate the rights of workers everywhere in Canada. Before long, Canada will be doing what the state of Wisconsin did as recently as March 2011, when it passed a bill limiting the rights of public service unions and stripping government employees’ unions of nearly all their collective bargaining rights, with the exception of bargaining about wages. That is repression.

The letter carriers I have talked to in my riding say it is not even wages that upset them in this case. As my colleagues have pointed out, the pension plan is in danger, the “orphan clauses” are unacceptable, and management is imposing frustrating conditions in which employees are going to have to work. What upsets my constituents the most are the terms that affect occupational health and safety. I spoke with Michel St-Pierre, a letter carrier who has lived in my riding for several years. The postal workers are asking their employer for good working conditions in terms of safety, among other things.

At present, a letter carrier has to carry two bags, one on each side of the body, plus circulars. We all get millions of circulars in our mailboxes every day. So we can imagine the weight they have to carry. With the new special bill, they are being required to carry a third bag. Canada Post wants to force them to carry a bag in front that completely blocks their view of the ground. Well, that is intelligent. It is going to save money by making workers carry more bags, but workers’ compensation is going to have to pay out a lot of money because workers will be injured and file complaints. In a case involving backache, it is very difficult to prove to the compensation board that it is attributable to the job. Canada Post is going to lose a lot of money because of those injuries.

And that is not all. The union stood by its position that every postal worker must have access to the same pension plan and be entitled to the same benefits. Should we agree to Canada Post’s proposal to eliminate the option of early retirement for future employees, it will only be a matter of time before an attempt is made to tighten the eligibility criteria for early retirement for current employees. We remain optimistic about resolving the dispute, but there must be a show of goodwill on both sides.

The government has to stop interfering in the negotiations. Locking out employees and then forcing them back to work is certainly not a fair way of negotiating. I now have trouble believing that the two parties will be able to negotiate a fair contract.

For there to be a fair contract, the Conservatives need to put an end to their interventionist style of government and prevent a precedent from being set, which will be the case if this legislation passes.

It is true that the multinational courier companies regularly lobby to have Canada Post deregulated. These companies want the government to open up the letter mail market to competition so that they can increase their profits and market share.

Finally, some right-wing media outlets and economic institutes have called for the privatization and deregulation of Canada Post. However, almost everybody is opposed to this.

In 2008, the federal government commissioned a review of Canada Post Corporation and the report was published in 2009. This report is very clear. It appears that the public is no way favours the privatization or deregulation of Canada Post.

Furthermore, every major federal political party is officially opposed to privatizing the postal service, and most parties also reject deregulation.

I would also like to add that another one of my constituents contacted me this morning. She is a letter carrier and has been working for a very long time. She is currently having difficulty carrying all this weight. She told me that the new bags that are going to be imposed will mean that she will be required to carry more than 30 kilograms.

That is not all because, with that 30 kilograms, letter carriers currently have four hours to prepare their mail and four hours to deliver it. Now Canada Post wants to impose six continuous hours of delivery, six hours of walking the streets with three bags, plus flyers, to deliver the mail.

On top of that, with the new special legislation, they would be prohibited from collecting overtime. If my constituent finds it too heavy, if she has difficulty walking, if she has stairs to climb, if there is black ice in the winter and she has difficulty and takes half an hour longer, she cannot claim a half-hour of overtime. I think that is truly ridiculous.

We are asking the government to change this special legislation and let workers get back on the job so that small businesses can have their mail service. We need to let the parties discuss the collective agreement together so that these workers can determine what they need and they can ask for what they need for workplace health and safety, for the orphan clauses and for pensions and wages.

Transportation June 16th, 2011

Mr. Speaker, yesterday one of my fellow citizens wrote me to say it took her three hours to get from Lachine to downtown Montreal, three hours to go 12 kilometres. That is four kilometres per hour and at that speed it is quicker to walk.

The closing of the Mercier Bridge has seriously disrupted the daily lives of my constituents and those of West Island and South Shore. In my riding, there are not enough trains to meet the increased demands and the stations are too far apart.

We must find concrete and long-lasting solutions to build a better future. The time to act is now. I am convinced that working together we can find a solution and that we can improve the lives of the people of NDG, Lachine and Dorval. I am committing myself to this work today and I will not stop until we get the job done.

The Budget June 13th, 2011

Mr. Speaker, I thank the member for his question. I would also like to congratulate him on his election.

I believe that my colleague already answered this question. Federal transfers help hospitals. In my riding, one hospital serves all the constituents. The waiting lists are appalling. There is also a new expansion project for the McGill University Health Centre. Consequently, more doctors will want to work at a new centre with more advanced technology. It is a great benefit for the people of my riding.

To provide tangible assistance to the provinces, we can give them money to help doctors become specialists, to speed up the process for recognizing the foreign credentials of family doctors so they can practice sooner, and we can ensure that there are better working conditions for hospital staff. We know that there is a brain drain to the United States. This problem is caused by the fact that working conditions in Canada are not good enough. I believe that we must work with the provinces to improve working conditions. Thus, we would have more doctors and more adequate health care for everyone.

The Budget June 13th, 2011

Mr. Speaker, this is the first time I have risen in this House and it is a great honour for me to do so on behalf of my constituents, the people of Notre-Dame-de-Grâce—Lachine and Dorval.

I first want to thank my entire team who helped me get here today, especially my spouse, Didier Sacy, who helped me a lot during my campaign. I also want to thank the voters of my riding, which had been Liberal since 1962, for the confidence they placed in me on May 2. It was difficult for some voters, but they voted for change.

The voters in my riding wanted not only a new MP, but also change. They had had enough of the old ways of governing, the decisions that did not represent their interests and values, and the growing cynicism. The voters in my riding placed their confidence in me on May 2, and I and the entire New Democratic Party must respect that.

I will start by making families a priority above the most profitable banks and the interests of polluters, but especially above companies that send our jobs overseas. Families are the future. Families will provide us with the desired population pyramid, a demographic situation that will allow us to help our seniors, offer health care to everyone and live on a healthy planet.

Families should be the first people we help and encourage, starting with our seniors, those who worked their entire lives, contributed to our economy and built the society we live in today. I have spoken with Nortel retirees, many of whom live in my riding of Notre-Dame-de-Grâce—Lachine. They lose sleep at night because they are worried about their income. Scandals like the one at Nortel were permitted by previous governments. We have to commit to amending federal bankruptcy legislation to ensure that pensioners and long-term disability recipients are at the top of the list of creditors when employers are placed under court protection or declare bankruptcy. Nothing in the budget suggests that the government will provide them with any help. The cost of living, the increased cost of food, housing and gas is becoming a burden for families. We absolutely must help them.

In my riding, voters have another concern, namely, the very small place that the Conservative budget has given to the development of the green economy. During the election campaign, the Conservative candidate for Lac-Saint-Louis, a former senator and now a senator once again, promised major federal investments in a new rail line between the West Island of Montreal—Pierre Elliott Trudeau Airport—and downtown Montreal. This line would serve as a commuter train and a quick connection for visitors to our great city. It is one of the most important and popular issues for the voters in my riding and in west Montreal.

This project, which has been the subject of discussion for years, would have a very positive impact on the economy, employment, the environment and the daily lives of thousands of workers, students and travellers. However, the budget proposed by the Conservatives does not include a single penny for this project, despite the candidate's promises. The senator received a very nice gift following the election, but there are no gifts in this budget for the 500,000 residents of west Montreal who have been waiting for a long time for an effective transportation service that will help them reduce the amount of pollution they are producing and take them to downtown Montreal where most activities take place.

Many residents of Notre-Dame-de-Grâce—Lachine are disappointed that Ottawa is subsidizing the major polluters instead of supporting a green economy. My constituents want assurances that their environment will be protected. They want the government to take measures to bring people together; not to divide them.

I hope I can count on the co-operation of all members of the House to adopt practical solutions that will make a real difference in the riding of Notre-Dame-de-Grâce—Lachine and in Dorval. I am counting on our Prime Minister to respect the mandate that was given to him and I am counting on our team to allow us to accomplish our work in Parliament. It would not be fair if the ridings represented by Conservatives received more projects than the others. The people of Notre-Dame-de-Grâce—Lachine and Dorval hope to receive the same favours as the rest of Canada.

On May 2, the voters of Notre-Dame-de-Grâce—Lachine were among the 4.5 million Canadians who voted for change, who voted to strengthen public pension plans, improve health care, help families make ends meet and ensure that our economy offers new jobs and new opportunities. They voted for a better Canada, with fewer scandals and injustices. By voting for change, Canadians have voted in the most united official opposition in the last 31 years. We have 103 members from across the country: women, young adults and members of the cultural communities that help strengthen Canada. It is a heterogeneous official opposition that reflects the faces of Canada.

I am very honoured to have been chosen by the people of Notre-Dame-de-Grâce—Lachine and Dorval. I am also honoured to have the opportunity to work with all the members of this House. Despite a few differences, we can work together for the good of Canadians, work together constructively as we respect others and their ideas. That is how I will work. I will do my very best every day to represent my riding as well as I can.