House of Commons photo

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

Standing Orders and Procedure October 6th, 2016

Mr. Speaker, I thank my colleague, who is a very active member of the House. I often work closely with him. His office is next to mine. His questions are very relevant.

I have more of a comment I want to make after hearing his presentation. I have been following question period for many years. I was always fascinated by the exchanges that took place. Now that I am taking part in question period myself, I am often disappointed by the answers we get. However, I am even more disappointed when I return to my riding in the Saguenay—Lac-Saint-Jean area and my constituents tell me that a certain question was excellent and very pertinent, but that they heard no clear answer and they too are disappointed. My constituents find the government's way of answering to be shocking. They are shocked to hear those kinds of answers, because they see all the hard work we are doing on various issues as MPs, including softwood lumber and diafiltered milk, for example.

I think we need new measures. I would like to hear my colleague's thoughts on what else we should do to have a more constructive and higher caliber question period.

Status of Women October 6th, 2016

Mr. Speaker, it is 2016. Yesterday, the government told Canadian women that they would have to wait a bit longer for equality.

Pay equity is a fundamental right. Canadian women have already waited far too long for their rights to be respected. The pay equity task force released its report on this 12 years ago. Enough is enough.

Why is the Liberal government holding up justice for women? Will the government take immediate action and introduce a proactive bill on pay equity by the end of 2016?

Softwood Lumber October 5th, 2016

Mr. Speaker, there are only seven days left before the deadline and there is still no softwood lumber agreement in sight. Yesterday, the Minister of International Trade was unable to tell us whether the government was working on a plan B to support the forestry industry.

Forestry workers, whose jobs are in jeopardy, are wondering whether the government will support them.

In the event of a dispute will the government support the industry, for example, by establishing an emergency loan guarantee program? Yes or no?

Softwood Lumber October 4th, 2016

Mr. Speaker, yesterday, instead of telling the forestry industry about her plan B for softwood lumber, the minister blamed the previous government for her inability to reach a new agreement with the United States.

With just eight days until the deadline, the industry wants to see the government's backup plan. According to recent rumours, the United States wants to reduce Canada's share of the softwood lumber market from 34% to 20%.

If an agreement is not reached, will the government support the industry, for example, by establishing an emergency loan guarantee program?

Softwood Lumber October 3rd, 2016

Mr. Speaker, with just nine days until the old deal expires, all indications are that the Liberals will not be able to reach a new softwood lumber deal with the Americans. In any case, that is what the forestry industry is expecting, and it is preparing for its exports to be taxed. A trade war will likely force plants to close and cost the industry thousands of jobs.

In the absence of an agreement, will the government come up with a plan to support the Canadian softwood lumber industry, such as an emergency loan guarantee program, for instance?

Labour September 29th, 2016

Mr. Speaker, when the Liberals took office, they said that the days of lack of respect for workers were over.

However, yesterday, without even the slightest hint of embarrassment, the Liberals voted against prohibiting the use of scabs. The use of scabs violates bargaining rights and is damaging to labour relations.

Why is the Liberal government abandoning workers? Why it is refusing to protect bargaining rights?

Veterans Affairs September 27th, 2016

Mr. Speaker, the Liberals promised to improve the government's relationship with our veterans, and yet, in his report released today, the military ombudsman indicated that the current benefits system is simply not working. He said it is too complex and difficult for veterans to navigate. It is simply unacceptable.

Veterans are already waiting too long for the benefits that they are entitled to, but this government continues to make life difficult for them.

Will the minister correct this injustice so that our veterans can transition more easily to civilian life?

Canada Labour Code September 22nd, 2016

Madam Speaker, it is an honour for me to have the last five minutes of debate to speak to my bill C-234.

We talked about this bill in the House for two hours. It is a bill that seeks to modernize the Canada Labour Code. The time has come to do so. We have made progress. We have been talking about this for years. The bill has been introduced several times in the House. Under the proposed bill, if negotiations are under way at an institution involved in a strike or a lockout and the employer asks people to telework, then the employee could be identified as a scab. This is where modern technology has taken us.

Earlier today and yesterday, unions were being praised in the House. The government was said to be on their side. Modernizing the Canada Labour Code would be a testament to that. Bargaining relationships have to be on equal footing. There can be no imbalance. Currently there is an imbalance on the side of the workers. When a company is in a lockout or a strike, its employees are out on the street and scabs are called in, the imbalance is on the side of those in the street. The company continues to make profits, manufacture its product, and ship it across Canada. Therein lies the imbalance.

We have reached that point. It is 2016, as the government and members here like to keep telling us. Let us do it. Let us walk the talk. We were talking about consultations earlier. It is not complicated. We just have to vote for the bill at second reading and it will be sent to committee. The government will be able to draw its list of witnesses. We will be able to talk to them and travel if need be. We can bring in the unions, the employers, and listen to them and hear what they have to say.

If we shut down this debate right now, we will never know what people want. We have the option to vote to send the bill to committee.

This summer my colleagues and I talked a lot about long strikes. Conflicts drag on. In Saguenay—Lac-Saint-Jean, a lockout lasted three years. Men and women were without jobs for three years while it was business as usual for the company. That is unacceptable.

We have to make changes. Even today, as we speak, employees of the Old Port of Montreal are on strike. They are going to start feeling the cold because strikebreakers are still arriving and providing essential services, while the employees are not being paid and cannot reach an agreement. This situation is dragging on because it works for the company.

On the one hand, the government praises unions and says that it backs them. On the other hand, when it is time to take real action, such as sending this bill to committee, it is dismissive and says that the bill creates an imbalance. I would like to hear what else the employees of the Old Port of Montreal have to say this evening. There is an imbalance. We have the opportunity to do something. Let's do it.

We are talking about 12,000 companies in Canada and 800,000 jobs. That is a lot. This morning, some of us had coffee in the cafeteria. The woman who served us is a union member. The customs' officer at the airport who helps us is a union member. The employees of the Old Port of Montreal, whom I mentioned, belong to a union. Those are the people we must help.

Amending the law does not create an imbalance. It simply creates a level playing field for bargaining.

I believe that we are at that point. It is time to modernize the Labour Code to ensure that, when there is a strike or lockout, it does not create an imbalance of power that prolongs the dispute. We need to allow employees to negotiate with their employers on an equal footing.

I am repeating myself, but we have the opportunity to send this bill to committee. Let us do just that. Let us hear from witnesses and then make a decision. Some people in the House already voted at second reading. Let us do it again. Let us go through the process again and do something to build the future for once. Let us amend the Canada Labour Code.

Softwood Lumber September 21st, 2016

Mr. Speaker, we are really starting to worry that the government will not be able to reach a new softwood lumber agreement.

Workers in the industry are really starting to prepare for the worst. In three weeks' time, Canadian forest companies could face huge tariffs on softwood lumber exports. Those tariffs will jeopardize forestry jobs in Saguenay—Lac-Saint-Jean and across Canada.

Is the government prepared to help companies pay those new fees? What is the government doing to protect our jobs and support our forestry industry?

Softwood Lumber September 20th, 2016

Mr. Speaker, in recent months, the Minister of International Trade and the Prime Minister have been very optimistic about softwood lumber. However, the minister announced last week that she is preparing for another legal battle with the Americans.

During the last dispute, the Canadian industry lost billions of dollars and jobs disappeared like snow on a warm day, especially in Saguenay—Lac-Saint-Jean. The government will not be able to keep its promise and reach an agreement by October 12.

Can the government be transparent and admit this?