- Her favourite word was international.
Last in Parliament March 2011, as Bloc MP for Laurentides—Labelle (Québec)
Lost her last election, in 2011, with 32% of the vote.
Statements in the House
Rights & Democracy March 21st, 2011
Mr. Speaker, the new president of Rights & Democracy, Gérard Latulippe, has confirmed the new approach at the agency, which works in international development. Rights & Democracy will no longer be publicly criticizing certain of the government's political stands as it was able to do in the past. That is quite the statement: the Prime Minister has managed to silence Rights & Democracy.
Does the government realize that this statement by the new Rights & Democracy president is the clearest evidence that the Conservative government has successfully taken ideological control of this agency?
Business of Supply March 10th, 2011
Madam Speaker, that is hardly enough time, but in short, the Bloc opposition day motion today wants respectfully to show that the Conservative government is prepared to do anything, that it does not like to abide by democratic rules and that it sees Parliament as an obstacle that must be circumvented. It is prepared to go so far as to prorogue this House when it feels cornered or to use whatever means necessary to impose its ideology and maintain the same direction it has been taking in order to please the conservative base.
Business of Supply March 10th, 2011
Madam Speaker, I thank the hon. member for his question. I think that the facts speak for themselves. Although this government repeats ad nauseum that it does not want an election and that Canadians do not want an election, we have demonstrated that the Canadian government is already in an election campaign and is using everything it can to promote its Economic Action Plan. Even his colleague who spoke previously clearly showed this and proved it with a document.
With its motion today, the Bloc Québécois wants to show that this government, on the one hand, is saying that it wants to be transparent and, on the other, through the list of events attached to the motion, is only promoting its own partisan interests in order to impose its ideology.
Business of Supply March 10th, 2011
Madam Speaker, I will be sharing my time with the hon. member for Berthier—Maskinongé. My remarks will be a bit more moderate, but my message will come across just the same.
I am pleased to take the floor today to demonstrate to the House the government's disregard for democracy and its determination to go to any lengths to advance its partisan interests and impose its regressive ideology. As soon as it was elected, in January 2006, the Conservative government radically changed Canada's official development assistance and foreign policies by concentrating on its own economic and trade vision.
It deliberately abandoned the African continent. Up until then, African countries were getting a sizeable portion of our official development assistance budget. In 2009, the Conservative government decided Africa would no longer be a priority, and eight African countries were dropped from the priority list, including Rwanda, Niger, Burkina Faso and Benin. The 2005 list included 14 African countries, but only 7 were left on the 2009 list.
The Conservative government preferred to prioritize countries with which it is signing or negotiating free trade agreements, such as Ukraine, Colombia, Peru and Honduras. Although these countries do experience poverty, CIDA's 2005 list of priority countries included more poor countries than the 2009 list. Under the Conservative government, Canada’s foreign policy has become merely a trade policy.
Over many decades, Quebeckers and Canadians earned a good reputation abroad thanks to their respect for human rights and international law and their fervent support for democracy, advocating diplomacy rather than the use of force. A majority of Canadians still support these values and principles, but since the Conservatives are in power, economic prosperity, militarism and the security agenda have replaced the values that once were so distinctively Canadian on the world scene.
This is another example of how this government has imposed its regressive ideology on Canada's official development assistance. During the G8 and G20 summits in June 2010, the government said that one of its priorities was maternal health, a millennium development goal. That is a very commendable and admirable priority. However, CIDA, the Canadian International Development Agency, refuses to fund abortion, even though many experts say it should be included in order to cover all women's health needs.
The women of Quebec and Canada have won this freedom of choice, and the debate is closed. In Canada, women have the right to choose to end a pregnancy and they have access to all the care and services required for that choice. So why did the government remove all funding for abortion in its assistance plan for women in developing countries, if not to appease groups that advocate this conservative ideology?
Since coming to power, Conservative members have been introducing bills meant to surreptitiously reopen the abortion debate. One such example is Bill C-484 introduced by the member for Edmonton—Sherwood Park. That bill would have given a legal status to a fetus, which has no such status under current laws.
Another perfect example is Bill C-510 introduced by the member for Winnipeg South. That bill patronizes women by implying they are frequently coerced into abortion, but the vast majority of women make their own decision to have an abortion and take full responsibility for it. It is clear that, once again, the Conservative government was trying to limit a woman's right to choose regarding abortion, by making women feel isolated when making such a decision.
This government will stop at nothing to promote its partisan interests and impose its regressive ideology, as it demonstrated with non-governmental organizations, civil society representatives and human rights groups.
The government is refusing or cutting funding for organizations that dare to criticize it, question its motives or voice a different opinion. The Canadian Council for International Co-operation, or the CCIC, and KAIROS, two organizations that are internationally recognized and known for their excellent work, had their funding requests denied by CIDA.
All of the controversy surrounding the refusal of funding for KAIROS clearly shows that the Conservative government is prepared to go so far as to allow a minister to falsify documents and make misleading statements to the House in order to ensure that there is no deviation from its ideology and that it can freely promote its partisan interests.
Shocked and disturbed by this behaviour, the members of the opposition raised a question of privilege. Yesterday, the Speaker of the House ruled that the Minister of International Cooperation did indeed abuse the privileges enjoyed by members of the House of Commons and that she could be found in contempt of Parliament if the opposition decides to take the matter that far. What is outrageous is that the government's ideology is harmful to democracy. We condemn the autocratic approach of the government, which has demonstrated on numerous occasions its total lack of respect for democracy and the parliamentary system.
The government has gone even further by imposing its regressive ideology on projects that it funds abroad. The government fears the unions in Canada, so it tries to stifle them abroad. Canada could help to improve the situation of workers in Mexico and other southern countries, but the Government of Canada is refusing or cutting funding for cooperative programs with labour organizations. CIDA ended funding for the CSN and the Centre international de solidarité ouvrière for their projects designed to support workers in the south.
Not only has the government interfered politically in official development assistance and let pro-life groups dictate its policies, but it is also slowly destroying Canada’s image abroad. It goes even further. It is even changing the terminology public servants should use. International organizations and NGOs have all agreed on a common terminology, but it seems it does not suit the Conservative government anymore. In order to avoid the key words often used by women’s organizations and other groups dedicated to the protection of rights, the Conservatives are imposing a whole new terminology on diplomats.
Under the Conservatives, “gender equality” does not exist anymore. It has been replaced by “equality between men and women”. We should not talk about “child soldiers”, but”. The terminology is being changed. When talking about rape in the Democratic Republic of the Congo, the word “impunity” has been replaced by “prevention”. These are serious changes that show how much this government is under the influence of its strong right wing.
The crisis in the Rights and Democracy organization revealed the true face of the Conservatives. By appointing people who subscribe to the Conservative ideology to the board, the government could keep this organization under its control. But this organization should be instead at arm’s length from the Canadian government if it is to perform its work adequately and keep its credibility.
There is a long list of actions taken by the Conservative government to change Canada’s foreign policy to please its partisan base. The government does not realize how badly it is tarnishing Canada’s image abroad. When it failed, last fall, to win a seat on the UN Security Council, it should have understood that its radical positions are hurting its diplomatic relations.
In conclusion, the fundamental concern we all have is how far the Conservative government is willing to go to promote its regressive ideology.
Quebec Athletes March 3rd, 2011
Mr. Speaker, in the history of sports, never before have we seen a nation with so many champions in sliding sports in the same year.
Érik Guay, winner of the super G crystal globe in 2010, was triumphant in December at the 2011 alpine world ski championships. Alexandre Bilodeau, who brought home the gold in the single moguls event at the Vancouver Olympic Games, was crowned the 2011 world champion in dual moguls. Jennifer Heil brought home the gold in single and dual moguls at the 2011 world championships. Alex Harvey won the 30-kilometre pursuit at the under-23 world cross-country championships and just yesterday became the world champion in the relay event. I should also point out that Jasey-Jay Anderson won gold in Vancouver in the snowboarding parallel giant slalom event.
In the last year, Quebeckers have dominated the world stage in sliding sports, making our nation very proud.
International Co-operation February 28th, 2011
Mr. Speaker, it is all well and good for the Prime Minister to condone the actions of the Minister of International Cooperation, but the fact remains that she has lost the confidence of the House. Instead of holding on to her position, the minister should do the honourable thing and resign.
Will the minister have the decency to step down for trying to mislead the House?
International Co-operation February 28th, 2011
Mr. Speaker, the Minister of International Cooperation has come up with many contradictory versions to try to justify the ideological cut her government imposed on KAIROS. The minister should know that if she wants to deny a grant request then she simply does not have to sign it. She does not need to falsify documents.
Now that the minister has had a week to think about her actions, will she explain to us why she falsified a document and tried to blame her officials?
Iran February 17th, 2011
Mr. Speaker, because of their support for the June 2009 opposition movement in Iran, Iranian filmmakers Jafar Panahi and Mohammad Rasoulof were sentenced to six years in prison. They also had some of their rights revoked for 20 years, including their right to ply their trade.
The Association des réalisateurs et réalisatrices du Québec is calling for the Minister of Foreign Affairs to speak out against these violations. Does the minister intend to condemn this situation and call for the release of these two filmmakers?
Petitions February 17th, 2011
Mr. Speaker, I am also presenting a petition signed by the tenants living in low income housing in Sainte-Adèle, a town in my riding. The purpose of this initiative is to condemn the 30% cuts to the renovation budget for low income housing. In support of this petition, I would like to read an excerpt from a press release issued by the Fédération des locataires d'habitations à loyer modique du Québec:
the 2011 budget for the renovation of Low-Cost Housing (HLM) units [some of which are located in my riding] across the province will fall to 200 million dollars from 276 million dollars. This means that in 2011 a cut of 30% will be imposed on all Municipal Housing Offices that administer over 500 housing units and that other cuts will follow for the smaller housing offices in 2012. These cuts also mean that important construction work will again be delayed.
In concrete terms, these cuts will affect thousands of tenants who will continue to live in apartments with bad windows, frayed linoleum, and washrooms and kitchens without ventilation or proper plumbing. It will also mean that several buildings will remain inaccessible for people using personal mobility devices such as wheelchairs and scooters and that, amongst other things, the housing offices will have to abandon its program to retrofit apartments so as to enable the occupants to install individual washing machines and dryers.
These cuts are due to the refusal of the Canada Mortgage and Housing Corporation (CMHC) to finance these renovations. The CMHC should dedicate 140 million dollars of funding per year, however it now wants to limit its contribution to only 70 million dollars.
For this reason, I am presenting this petition and I am sure that I will have others in the weeks to come.
Labour February 15th, 2011
Mr. Speaker, several unions in Quebec and Canada will be demonstrating today in support of Mexican unions. There are still too many illegal and violent attacks against independent Mexican unions.
Canada should be helping to improve the plight of Mexican workers, but the Canadian government is refusing or cutting funding for co-operative programs with labour organizations in the south.
Will the minister admit that she is making these cuts because standing up for the rights of workers and labour organizations does not jive with her Conservative ideology?