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Crucial Fact

  • Her favourite word was benefits.

Last in Parliament March 2011, as Bloc MP for Saint-Lambert (Québec)

Lost her last election, in 2011, with 26% of the vote.

Statements in the House

Employment Insurance February 18th, 2011

Mr. Speaker, in advance of the next budget, the Bloc Québécois has toured Quebec to get a sense of what Quebeckers expect; more than ever, a comprehensive reform of the employment insurance system is necessary. Older workers, seasonal workers, young victims of discriminatory clauses, independent workers and women working part time came forward to denounce the flaws in the system.

Instead of misappropriating EI contributions, will the government finally start improving the system?

Infrastructure February 11th, 2011

Mr. Speaker, the Champlain Bridge is in such a state of disrepair that its entire deck needs to be replaced. According to an engineering report, the patchwork approach announced in the last budget is inadequate because the bridge does not meet earthquake standards and the costs related to extending the life of the bridge are expected to rise quickly.

Can the government tell us what it has planned for the Champlain Bridge? What options are being considered?

Federal Spending Power Act February 3rd, 2011

Mr. Speaker, first, I would like to thank my colleague from Hochelaga for his earlier remarks about this bill. He spoke with all the zeal and passion we have come to expect from him. Specifically, he spoke clearly about Bill C-507.

I have the pleasure of rising to conclude the debate at second reading of Bill C-507 regarding what has become known as the so-called federal spending power.

Contrary to what the members for other parties may have said over the course of the debate, the purpose of this bill is not theoretical debate, as the Parliamentary Secretary to the Prime Minister might think, nor is it an “esoteric constitutional matter,” as it was described by the member for Brossard—La Prairie during first reading.

First, I would like to remind those esteemed members that the termination of the so-called federal spending power is something that Quebec has been demanding for a long time. In fact, since the 1960s, no matter what their political party, all the successive Quebec governments have been disputing the so-called spending power that the federal government has given itself. The federal government gave itself this power in order to assume unlawful oversight in Quebec's affairs and impose its standards and conditions on Quebec. I am always extremely surprised to hear Conservative members from Quebec accept this fact. By exercising this so-called power, the federal government negates the social choices that Quebeckers have made, are making and will make. The reason this issue is important is that in Quebec we are concerned about our health care, education and other systems. And that is neither theoretical nor esoteric.

For instance, consider the example of research in Quebec universities. Federal funding in this area comes with strings attached, which means that the federal government can choose the areas of research it wants to promote. In budget 2008, for example, research grants were awarded on the condition that the research relate to business. Other examples are the Mental Health Commission of Canada or the cervical cancer vaccination program announced by the Conservative government in budget 2007, whereby the transfer of federal funds was conditional on respect for federal priorities without taking into account the priorities of Quebec and the provinces.

During the 2005 election campaign, they tried to seduce Quebec by promising to eliminate the fiscal imbalance, even though the federal government's exercise of the so-called spending power is an integral part of the fiscal imbalance.

A few months after the election, the Prime Minister even added: “I have said many times, even since the election of this new government, that I am opposed and our party is opposed to federal spending power in provincial jurisdictions. In my opinion, such spending power in the provinces' exclusive jurisdictions goes against the very spirit of federalism. Our government is clear that we do not intend to act in that way.”

Since that time, however, the Conservative government has definitely not “delivered the goods”. Indeed, in budget 2007, it instead quietly mentioned that it wanted to limit the supposed federal spending power instead of ending it altogether. After project seduction and the election campaign were over, we began to see the true colours of this government. By saying it wanted to limit a power that does not exist, the government was in fact acknowledging it.

Then, in budget 2008, the government said it wanted to introduce a bill that would impose limits on the so-called federal spending power in areas of Quebec and provincial jurisdiction. Obviously, we are getting further and further from the Conservatives' original promise. In fact, the Conservatives are simply following in the footsteps of all previous federal governments, regardless of their party colours: interfering in fields of Quebec and provincial jurisdiction to set national standards and determine what Quebec's priorities should be, instead of allowing Quebec to do so.

As for the NDP, in the first hour of debate, the member for Outremont used a false pretext to avoid saying he was in favour of the bill. The bill would set the record straight by limiting federal spending power to the federal government's own areas of jurisdiction. If the provinces want the federal government to interfere in their affairs, they can sign agreements. The member for Outremont said that he recognized the federal government's right to interfere in areas outside its own jurisdiction, and that he would legitimize the so-called spending power by amending our bill to say that this power exists, except for Quebec.

We cannot accept that. The rule must be clear: the federal government cannot spend money in areas outside its own jurisdiction, unless it is exceptionally asked by a province.

Lastly, all of the federalist parties refuse to recognize that the so-called federal spending power has no basis and that we must put an end to it and give some tax room to Quebec and the provinces to properly fulfill their responsibilities in accordance with their own priorities.

All of these federalist parties insist on legitimizing this so-called spending power to continue to deny Quebec's legitimate aspirations and choices. In fact, all—

Employment December 15th, 2010

Mr. Speaker, a recent Statistics Canada study confirms that young workers were the hardest hit by the economic crisis, especially students, whose summer employment rate dropped 7% during the most recent recession. This is the biggest drop since 1982.

In light of these findings, how can the Minister of Human Resources and Skills Development slash $10 million from the budget for the 2011 Canada summer jobs program?

Champlain Bridge December 14th, 2010

Mr. Speaker, the government has been dithering about the future of the Champlain Bridge for over two years. It has ordered study after study without making them public, which is not at all reassuring considering that serious concerns have been expressed about the bridge's structural integrity. The most recent prefeasibility study for the replacement of the Champlain Bridge was to have been completed this fall.

Can the minister tell us whether the latest study has been completed and whether it will be made public?

Employment Insurance December 13th, 2010

Mr. Speaker, while the Minister of Human Resources and Skills Development claims to want to train more workers, the Canada summer jobs budget has not been indexed since 2006. If we consider the cost of living increase and the minimum wage increase—$1.75 in Quebec—there is a $26 million shortfall compared to 2006.

Will the minister improve the Canada summer jobs program in order to maintain the number and duration of internships offered to students?

International Day of Persons with Disabilities December 2nd, 2010

Mr. Speaker, in 1992, the United Nations General Assembly declared December 3 to be the International Day of Persons with Disabilities. According to the World Health Organization, approximately 650 million people throughout the world have a mental or physical disability that affects their daily lives.

The International Day of Persons with Disabilities provides an opportunity to gain a greater understanding of how having a disability affects people's lives. This day also serves as an opportunity to increase awareness among the public and private sectors of the concrete benefits of integrating these individuals into our economic and social system. Today, the public and private sectors are encouraged to find innovative solutions to effective integration.

I would like to emphasize the importance and relevance of this day on which we all have the opportunity—together—to transform words into actions. We all have a role to play in making equal opportunity a reality, thus ensuring that people with disabilities are truly able to participate in our society.

Poverty November 25th, 2010

Mr. Speaker, in 1989, the House of Commons adopted a resolution to abolish child poverty by the year 2000. Ten years later, if one child in 10 is still living in poverty, that means the parents are poor. One reason for this unacceptable situation is the lack of social housing for low-income families.

What is the Conservative government waiting for to have the CMHC transfer these significant surpluses to Quebec and the provinces in order to help build social and affordable housing?

Poverty November 25th, 2010

Mr. Speaker, the number of seniors living below the low-income threshold, the vast majority of whom are women, has increased by nearly 25% in one year. The current guaranteed income supplement allocation does not allow these seniors to rise out of poverty. The government has to stop turning a blind eye to this.

Why is the government refusing to help seniors rise out of poverty by increasing the guaranteed income supplement by $110 a month, as FADOQ is calling for?

Child Poverty November 24th, 2010

Mr. Speaker, 21 years ago today, this Parliament unanimously adopted a motion calling on the federal government to establish a plan to eradicate child poverty.

It is difficult to understand why barely any progress has been made in this area. Two decades later, the problem still exists and one in ten children lives in poverty.

Campaign 2000 confirmed this in its annual report, released today, which focuses on the absolutely devastating effects that poverty has on children's health: increased risk of diabetes, asthma, malnutrition, addiction, mental illness, physical disabilities and premature death.

We know how to end poverty. All that is lacking is the government's political will to act.