House of Commons photo

Crucial Fact

  • Her favourite word was countries.

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

Tax Credit for New Graduates Working in Designated Regions May 5th, 2010

Mr. Speaker, this evening we will vote at third reading on Bill C-288, which gives new graduates up to $8,000 in tax credits if they accept jobs in designated regions experiencing economic difficulty.

The Conservative members have shamelessly voted against this bill ever since it was introduced in the House of Commons.

Youth and student groups, municipalities and RCMs all agree that this kind of incentive is important because it will enhance the economic vitality of designated regions in Quebec and Canada.

Just last week, business people in the riding of Roberval—Lac-Saint-Jean complained about how hard it is to recruit specialized workers for their companies. This difficulty is proof that we need incentives like a tax credit to bring our young people back to the regions.

International Co-operation May 4th, 2010

Mr. Speaker, today, World Vision and other organizations are gathering on Parliament Hill to promote awareness of child and maternal health, which, as we know, is a very serious issue that affects the poorest regions in the world.

The Bloc Québécois believes that if it truly wants to help these women, the Conservative government must adopt a strategy that takes in the full range of health care services these women are entitled to in terms of family planning, including access to contraception and abortion. These services play an integral role in the fight against infant and maternal mortality.

Yet, according to a Conservative senator, it seems as though the more we talk about this, and the more we push the Conservatives to take action, the more this government will dig its heels in and turn this into a political issue that will overshadow the basic issue of maternal health.

This reformist government must stop pushing its backwards ideology and must understand that what is good for women here is also good for women worldwide.

International Co-operation May 3rd, 2010

Mr. Speaker, we have heard that tune before. It seems increasingly clear that this government is trying to follow in the footsteps of George W. Bush, who used the religious right and pro-life groups contributing to the humanitarian effort in order to export his anti-abortion agenda. NGOs providing a complete family planning program were deliberately ignored by the Bush administration.

Is the government choosing its Conservative ideology over women's health?

International Co-operation May 3rd, 2010

Mr. Speaker, the Conservative government has reopened the abortion debate by announcing that it will not be funding abortion services abroad. A number of groups provide access to abortion as part of their family planning programs. Doctors Without Borders is one such group.

Can the government tell us whether the groups will lose all their funding for maternal health simply because they provide information on or access to abortion?

Income Tax Act April 30th, 2010

Mr. Speaker, I am very pleased to conclude this long debate on my Bill C-288. Next week, this House will again have to take a stand on this bill.

It has been a year since I introduced Bill C-288, which would introduce a tax credit for new graduates working in designated regions. My colleague from Chicoutimi—Le Fjord and I have travelled throughout Quebec to tell people about how this bill would benefit them. In Abitibi—Témiscamingue and Saguenay-Lac-Saint-Jean, on the north shore, in Gaspé and in the Lower St. Lawrence, people support this measure, because it could help their region economically.

Bill C-288 has received the support of various groups and different generations throughout Quebec, including the Fédération étudiante collégiale du Québec and the Fédération étudiante universitaire du Québec, which respectively represent 40,000 and 125,000 students all over Quebec. Moreover, the Quebec Federation of Senior Citizens, which has 255 members, and the Fédération Québécoise des Municipalités, which represents 972 Quebec municipalities, have given the bill their full support. The bill also has the support of a number of RCMs, chambers of commerce and youth employment centres.

In recent debates, we have demonstrated the importance of this initiative to attract young graduates to remote regions. The bill would solve two main problems affecting these regions: the exodus of young people and the serious shortage of skilled labour.

It is important to encourage young graduates to move to the regions to start their professional careers, and to recruit skilled labour for the good of the regions. Much thought has gone into Bill C-288 so that we can eventually offer all young, eligible graduates in Quebec and Canada a tax credit. The problem with the exodus of young people is not unique to Quebec. Across Canada, economic activity has gradually moved from the so-called rural areas to the major centres. My Conservative colleague who spoke earlier said that my proposal was almost comical. This comment shows a lack of respect for provinces like Quebec, Saskatchewan, Nova Scotia, New Brunswick and Manitoba, which already have a tax credit similar to the one proposed in Bill C-288.

The Conservatives tried to derail the debate on this bill by grossly inflating the cost of the program. In his report of November 24, 2009, the Parliamentary Budget Officer assessed the proposal according to a number of different scenarios. I would like to clarify some of the data so that members can focus on the essence of the bill. The regions designated in this bill will be determined by the Minister of Finance, after consulting with the provinces involved.

Also, the regions will not be designated based on the number of people who would be affected; they will be based on the needs identified in these regions far from Canada's major cities. I should point out that the bill excludes metropolitan regions with more than 200,000 residents.

Furthermore, the bill must focus on areas that are far from large centres and on rural areas with low rates of urbanization that are struggling with long-term unemployment rates, an indicator of poor employment prospects.

Finally, we used economic and health regions as geographic criteria. We then used the long-term unemployment rate to determine the regions where job prospects are more difficult. Of these regions, we considered only those that had over 12% of their population living in rural areas. In total, we identified 34 health regions that met these criteria.

I am still counting on the support of my Liberal and NDP colleagues, and I also hope that my Conservative colleagues from Quebec will vote in the interests of Quebeckers.

International Co-operation April 30th, 2010

Mr. Speaker, the Conservatives refuse to see the numbers. Do those who defend such regressive policies know that an African woman is 65 times more likely to die from an abortion than a North American or European woman?

Does the government realize that its policy on abortion will contribute to making this tragic situation even worse?

International Co-operation April 30th, 2010

Mr. Speaker, the Conservatives are trying to fool us when they claim that they care about women's health. The reality is very different. By refusing access to abortion to women in developing countries, they are directly contributing to increasing the already high risks associated with clandestine abortions for women in Africa and Latin America. In these regions, 95% of all abortions are unsafe.

Does the government realize that its ideological stubbornness regarding abortion is irresponsible and threatens women's health?

International Co-operation April 29th, 2010

Mr. Speaker, the Conservative government promised to do more for maternal and child health, but it froze the international aid envelope. Many NGOs, including Oxfam, are worried that the government will eliminate other equally important projects in order to fund these new initiatives.

Does the government realize that, unless they increase the overall envelope for international aid, it is the poorest people on the planet who will pay for this freeze?

International Co-operation April 28th, 2010

Mr. Speaker, the Montreal women's health centre, the Quebec federation for family planning, Doctors of the World Canada, the Quebec federation of women and the National Assembly of Quebec have all denounced this decision. Canada's stubbornness could end up derailing the G8 plan on maternal health.

Does the government understand the tragic consequences its decision has for women's health, in Africa in particular?

International Co-operation April 28th, 2010

Mr. Speaker, the primary causes of death in African women are childbirth and risks associated with pregnancy. In sub-Saharan Africa, one woman in 13 dies in labour, while in industrialized countries it is one woman in 4,100. Worse yet, 44% of the women worldwide who die each year following a back alley abortion are Africans.

In light of such appalling numbers, does the government realize that its decision to no longer fund access to abortion in third world countries is a direct threat to women's health?