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Crucial Fact

  • Her favourite word was workers.

Last in Parliament October 2019, as NDP MP for Jonquière (Québec)

Lost her last election, in 2019, with 25% of the vote.

Statements in the House

Budget Implementation Act, 2018, No. 2 November 1st, 2018

Madam Speaker, I thank my colleague for her question and for asking it in French.

I would have liked to see some environmentally sustainable measures as well as innovative, keystone projects in Bill C-86. The government is rather tight-fisted in that respect, and yet it had no problem buying a 65-year-old pipeline and investing so much of Canadian taxpayers' money in that.

Why are there no innovative, keystone projects moving towards green energy, projects that would bring people together and give them hope?

A couple weeks ago, I attended a conference organized by the Association forestière Saguenay—Lac-Saint-Jean around the theme of the boreal forest and climate change. All the researchers who presented unanimously agreed that we have less than 12 years. We are at T minus 11 years. Urgent action is needed.

In an omnibus bill that is over 850 pages long, I would have expected to find concrete measures as well as innovative, keystone projects to fight climate change and also to give future generations some hope.

Budget Implementation Act, 2018, No. 2 November 1st, 2018

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

As he just mentioned, the bill has 850-odd pages. We have been talking about pay equity for more than 42 years. If pay equity is so important, why did they not split Bill C-86? Why not introduce a single bill on pay equity? That would allow all Canadians to follow the debates, read the bill and really understand it.

This is an omnibus bill. The government promised us transparency, but that is not what we are seeing. In committee, members will have 13 hours to ask questions. We have done the math. Given the number of pages, clauses and paragraphs—a number we cannot exactly pin down—we will have an average of nine seconds to read and understand each clause. We have also just learned that time allocation will be invoked. That is unacceptable.

Therefore, if the pay equity bill was that important to our feminist Prime Minister, the Liberals would have introduced it as a stand-alone bill and we could have debated it here in the House all in one go.

Budget Implementation Act, 2018, No. 2 November 1st, 2018

Madam Speaker, I will be sharing my time with my wonderful colleague from Hamilton Mountain.

The first thing I want to address is the length of this bill, which is 850 pages long and has many clauses. We asked all kinds of questions about how many clauses and subclauses are in the bill, but we still do not have an answer. This is unacceptable and shows a lack of respect for opposition parliamentarians and the general public.

The Liberals are clearly hoping the opposition will drown trying to wade through this massive bill. This tactic is nothing new, as we saw the same thing with the former Conservative government. However, at the time, the Liberals were vocal critics of such bills. Now, they are doing the same thing. As I have said many times in the House, the more things change, the more they stay the same, unfortunately.

Omnibus bills subvert and evade the normal principles of parliamentary review of legislation. The longer a bill is, the harder it is for opposition members to do their due diligence, since they do not have enough time to study the bill carefully.

As an aside, I want to thank my colleague from New Westminster—Burnaby for yesterday's point of order on this topic.

At any rate, this undemocratic strategy does nothing to improve the low regard Canadians have for politicians. I do not know how the Liberals intend to regain Canadians' confidence when they use this type of abusive tactic after promising a more transparent democracy. The way they are rushing through the study of Bill C-86 is anything but transparent.

When we examine Bill C-86 more closely, we quickly see that it fails to take bold action to address the injustices faced by thousands of Canadians. One of those injustices is pension theft. We have talked about that a lot over the past few days, and I know that my colleague from Hamilton just talked about it, but as the labour critic, this is an issue that I care about, so I wanted to take some time to talk about it in my speech.

We need to protect pensions. When a company declares bankruptcy, banks and investors make off with employees' retirement pensions through a clever financial shell game. We need to fix this major problem. This happened to Sears employees recently, and nothing was done.

There are people in my riding of Jonquière who worked for Sears. Unfortunately, they suffered a tremendous amount of stress because they did not know what would happen to their pensions and benefits. The store shut down overnight. There was nothing left. I have spoken with these former Sears employees, and they still have serious concerns.

Tolerating these dishonest tricks is a real moral failure on the government's part. The Liberals have the opportunity to make a real difference, but they refuse to do anything about this.

Another glaring example of the Liberals' lack of will is the missed opportunity to make drugs more affordable for Canadians and save billions of dollars by bringing in national pharmacare. Canada is the only country in the G7 to have a medicare system that does not cover prescription drugs.

For years, successive commissions of inquiry led by experts have urged Canada to include drug costs in our health care program. Despite these appeals, successive Liberal and Conservative governments have made little progress on drug insurance because they lacked the will to effect change. Unfortunately, that is still the case with Bill C-86.

Public drug insurance plans in Canada have evolved and now offer relatively full coverage, but only for part of the population. The problem is not insignificant: an estimated 10% to 20% of our population does not have any health insurance.

Even if people are lucky enough to have a private drug plan, they still have to pay the deductible.

The NDP is outraged that many Canadians are forced to cut up their pills or interrupt their treatments because of the cost of drugs. That is absolutely shameful.

Canadians deserve to get the drugs they need without putting their savings, wages or health at risk. That is their right and the Liberals have denied them that right by failing to include this key issue in Bill C-86.

Another example is compensation for dairy producers who were sacrificed in free trade agreements and for the steel and aluminum industry that has been hit for months by the tariffs imposed by the United States.

As I mentioned several times, dairy producers in my riding of Jonquière are waiting for compensation. In the last agreement, for example, dairy producers had to innovate and pay out of pocket to access a program, but that is another story. There has been a 10% breach in supply management, which will result in considerable losses. Generations of farm families will be affected. I hope that the government will do something for them. The Liberals had the opportunity to do something for these families in Bill C-86, but they did nothing.

Now I would like to talk about the steel and aluminum industries because a number of small businesses in my riding are being hit by the tariffs the Americans have not withdrawn. Companies are losing lots of business and laying people off because of those tariffs.

I had the opportunity to hear from witnesses in committee this week. They came to tell us about the impact of U.S. tariffs on Canadian steel and aluminum, and they all said the same thing.

The government is trying to do the right thing, but the reality is that the Liberals are taking too long to compensate companies for the unjust and unjustified American tariffs. Wait times are long, and it takes a lot of time and resources to fill out the necessary forms. As everyone knows, these businesses are crucial to economic growth, to the survival of good Canadian jobs and to the prosperity of our communities.

Now back to agriculture and supply management.

One after another, the government opened three breaches in supply management, but Bill C-86 is absolutely silent on the subject.

I had a chance to talk to people from the Canadian Federation of Agriculture who told me they are in dire need of cash. Farmers are not interested in programs. That bears repeating often to make sure the government here in the House of Commons gets the message and does something to safeguard our family farms and our food sovereignty.

The government is also putting our rural communities on the back burner when it comes to integration and development. The Liberals are showing once again that they do not have the courage to address the inequalities between rural regions and urban centres. Some very simple examples of that include mobile phones and high-speed Internet access. Here in Ottawa, it is very easy. When we turn on our phones, we have everything we need. We can access information and download things very quickly. However, things are very different in rural areas. The municipalities of Lamarche and Labrecque are being penalized and that is hindering their expansion and making it harder to keep people from leaving.

Time is running out, but I still have a lot to say about this very large bill.

A number of aspects of the bill, including pay equity and pensions, should have been dealt with separately. These are very critical, very important issues. My colleague from New Westminster—Burnaby asked that the bill be split, and that is what should have been done.

I look forward to my colleagues' questions.

Budget Implementation Act, 2018, No. 2 November 1st, 2018

Mr. Speaker, the pay equity bill was introduced this week. We have been calling for that bill for several months now. There are even women's groups that have been calling for federal pay equity legislation for 42 years. I would remind hon. members that the Government of Quebec passed pay equity provisions 22 years ago.

However, this omnibus bill, Bill C-86, contains more than 850 pages. It is a very large bill and we have very little time to do a clause-by-clause review or a detailed study.

What does my colleague think of the fact that Canadian women who work in the federal government have to wait another four years before they can benefit from pay equity?

What does she think of the fact that are no concrete provisions to ensure that the bill goes forward and that businesses have the necessary means to implement the provisions?

Budget Implementation Act, 2018, No. 2 November 1st, 2018

Mr. Speaker, yesterday, my colleague from New Westminster—Burnaby raised a point of order about Bill C-86, which is more than 850 pages long and includes several bills. We were simply asking for this omnibus bill to be split.

I would like to know what my colleague thinks of the government's tactics. Canadians are losing faith in the government.

We are unable to properly debate in the House the various bills contained in Bill C-86.

I would like to hear what he has to say about that.

International Trade November 1st, 2018

Mr. Speaker, the CPTPP comes into force in 59 days, and dairy producers still do not know what kind of compensation they will be entitled to. Unbelievable.

When the Liberals signed the CPTPP, they opened a 3.25% breach in our supply management system, on top of the breaches from the Europe agreement and the USMCA. Our producers are understandably angry. They are tired of being used as bargaining chips.

Will the government finally compensate our producers for the losses incurred?

Pay Equity October 31st, 2018

Mr. Speaker, women and women's advocacy organizations fought for over 42 years to get the Liberals to finally keep their promises on pay equity.

I want to take this opportunity to thank the women for their hard work and determination. Congratulations, ladies.

Thanks to their hard work, the government has listened to reason and is finally taking a step in the right direction.

However, we hope with all our hearts that the government will agree to work with the opposition parties, the unions, women's groups and any other qualified parties. We especially hope that the government will heed their advice on ways to improve the bill, which is far from perfect. Many questions remain, and the fact that women might not achieve pay equity for another four years is very troubling.

Quebec passed pay equity legislation nearly 22 years ago. Women have waited long enough. Let us roll up our sleeves and get to work on improving and passing the bill.

Pensions October 30th, 2018

Mr. Speaker, steelworkers are on the Hill this week to put pressure on the government to end pension theft. They were blindsided when the government announced a change to creditor protection legislation without including the measures needed to protect pensions.

The Liberals promised action in their last budget. The NDP has a bill ready to go. All we have to do is pass it.

When will the Liberals listen to reason and protect workers' pensions?

Public Services and Procurement October 23rd, 2018

Mr. Speaker, extraordinary as it may seem, I am yet again rising to ask questions about the Phoenix fiasco. One thing is for sure: if the Liberals had listened to employees, unions, IBM—in short, everyone—they could have avoided this situation. It is so utterly senseless.

Yesterday, the Auditor General reported that the number of victims of pay errors is actually still going up, for crying out loud.

Will the government adhere to the agreements and procedures it has put in place?

Are the Liberals capable of taking responsibility and fixing the problem?

Canada Post October 22nd, 2018

Mr. Speaker, today we debated Motion No. 166, which was moved by my NDP colleague from London—Fanshawe. This motion to appoint a committee to study the creation of a postal banking system administered by Canada Post is important to the regions.

Postal banks can help rural regions where credit unions and bank branches are disappearing. They can also help provide affordable services to people with low incomes and ensure that services are available to our seniors. Post offices are a solution.

Will the Liberals support Motion No. 166?