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

Business of Supply February 2nd, 2016

Mr. Speaker, I am honoured to rise in the House today to participate in our first opposition day. Nevertheless, I am somewhat disappointed. As everyone knows, the motion before us today is about pay equity. This is disappointing because this issue should have been resolved a long time ago. As I was preparing my speech today, I was struck by the fact that this very Parliament passed the Canadian Human Rights Act 38 years ago. I was born 38 years ago, and today I am in the House to debate this issue yet again.

For all these years, we have been talking about resolving the pay equity issue. Why have we not found a way to remedy this kind of discrimination even though we have a law that makes it illegal to discriminate against women in the workplace?

The stark reality is that Canadian women are still paid on average 23% less than their male colleagues. This wage gap is even worse for first nations women, visible minorities, and women with disabilities. Wages are different in the same profession, which is not right. It is simply unacceptable. There is no reason for women in Canada to earn less than men. This discrimination is contributing to the growing problem of economic inequality. As I describe this problem, I look to the new government and hope that it will live up to our expectations.

The government has an opportunity to take real action to help women achieve something that is actually just a basic right.

Would my male colleagues be willing to earn 23% less than their female colleagues? I doubt it. This issue would have been resolved a long time ago. I would even say that we would not even be talking about this problem, as it would not have persisted for 38 years.

To have gender inequality is to disregard the important contribution women make to our economy. Whether the work is done by a man or a woman, the work itself does not have a gender. Let us stop dragging out this problem when we have both the reasons and the power to resolve this issue. Just look at what happened in the Canadian Union of Postal Workers dispute more than 30 years ago. It is hard to imagine that it took all those years to resolve a problem when the legislation was already on the books to deal with the situation.

Some 30,000 women could have been eligible immediately and could have kept contributing to our economy in a meaningful way. Thirty years later, when the dispute was settled, the cheques were sent to the graveyard because, unfortunately, a number of the women had died. They worked their entire career without the benefit of pay equity.

The Liberal government cannot stand idly by on this issue. We must adopt meaningful measures to put an end to lingering pay inequity. The NDP has been fighting for this for many years. Let us be honest. The previous government set women's rights back a decade.

I will now list some facts. They changed the criteria for establishing whether jobs of equal value should be included in market forces. They made pay equity a collective bargaining issue rather than a human rights issue. They imposed a $50,000 fine on any union that helps a woman file a grievance pertaining to pay equity. That is unacceptable.

At the beginning of my speech, I mentioned my disappointment. Here is another reason. In 2000, the government asked a task force to examine the issue we are debating today in the House. This task force conducted exhaustive consultations with employers, unions, advocacy groups, and women in order to fight for greater pay equity.

The task force's findings were very comprehensive. It made 113 constructive, meaningful recommendations in order to put an end to pay inequity.

Unfortunately, more than 12 years after the pay equity task force came out with its report, none of the recommendations has been implemented. The Conservative government is not alone in shouldering the blame. Under the Martin government, the Liberals also did nothing. The facts are known. Here are a few facts to inform our discussion and underline the need to take urgent action.

First, Canada is lagging behind in terms of pay equity. According to the World Economic Forum, Canada is ranked 80th out of 145 countries. That is quite simply unacceptable for a G7 country. Pay inequity also has an economic cost, as shown by an RBC study. Closing the gap could boost GDP by 4% by 2032. We could make real progress. Women between 45 and 54 earn an average of $23,600 less a year than men in the same age group.

The right to pay equity is nothing new. We are not in uncharted territory here. For years, Canada has recognized that there is a problem when it comes to pay equity. Were that not the case, why would we have signed so many international treaties in this regard? Take for example the United Nations International Covenant on Economic, Social and Cultural Rights, which Canada signed in 1976 and which provides for fair wages and equal remuneration for work of equal value without distinction of any kind. In 1981, Canada also signed the Convention on the Elimination of All Forms of Discrimination against Women, where it is written in black and white that women have the right to equal remuneration.

Many provinces in Canada recognized that the problem of pay equity needed to be solved. I would particularly like to point out the efforts that Quebec has made in this regard.

It is 2016. The NDP has been fighting for pay equity for a long time. It seems to me that now is the time to take action. We are calling on the government to implement the recommendations of the pay equity task force.

Our proposal would affect all those working under federal jurisdiction in the private and public sectors. In practical terms, we are talking about women who work in banks, communications industries, and transport. The motion calls on the government to recognize pay equity as a right, to finally implement the recommendations of the 2004 pay equity task force report, and to appoint a special committee with the mandate to conduct hearings on the matter of pay equity and propose proactive federal pay equity legislation. Finally, we are calling on the government to take action to close the unacceptable gap in pay between men and women. The government needs to recognize that pay equity is a fundamental right. We hope that the government will support this motion and make pay equity a priority.

Business of Supply January 28th, 2016

Madam Speaker, I thank my colleague for his speech.

Over the past decade, the Conservatives dismantled legislation that protected our air, land, and waterways. In budget 2012, the Conservatives significantly weakened the role of the National Energy Board in terms of assessing pipeline projects. Today, we are suffering the consequences.

Why should Canadians give any credibility to or trust the Conservatives when it comes to pipelines?

Canada Post January 28th, 2016

Mr. Speaker, yesterday, the Prime Minister reminded the House that he promised to put a moratorium on the changes at Canada Post. That is strange, because during the election campaign, the Prime Minister stood in front of mayor Denis Coderre and promised to, and I quote, “save home mail delivery”.

Will the minister honour the Prime Minister's word and restore home delivery, or will this promise be broken?

Resumption of Debate on Address in Reply January 26th, 2016

Mr. Speaker, I thank my colleague for her speech.

In my constituency, many workers are coming out of a three-year lockout. Unfortunately, for three years, garage employees were left out in the street by their employer. Fortunately, that was settled this week. We will soon see the garages open again, and the employees will be able to go back to work. On the other hand, since these are service jobs, many of them will not able to resume work right away and, unfortunately, because of the Employment Insurance Act, they will not be able to get employment insurance benefits.

Does my colleague think that an independent, autonomous fund accessible to workers could help those people? Similarly, would the repeal of the employment insurance reform passed under the former government be good for those workers and help the families in my constituency of Jonquière?

Canada Post January 26th, 2016

Mr. Speaker, the end of home mail delivery is still making lots of people angry. The new community mailboxes are a real fiasco: the locks have frozen, they are snowed in and inaccessible, and there are security issues. There have even been incidents of mail theft. Municipalities are now demanding the legal right to be consulted.

The Prime Minister has already backed down on his promise to restore home mail delivery, but can the minister confirm that consultations will be open and accessible to the people and that they will take place across Canada?

Canada Post December 10th, 2015

Mr. Speaker, promising one thing and doing the opposite only fuels cynicism.

The Prime Minister made it clear during the election campaign that a Liberal government would restore home mail delivery. Now, the Liberals are promising consultations. Wow. This all sounds like a scheme to hide the fact that they are reneging on their commitment.

My question is simple. Can the minister confirm that her government no longer intends to restore home mail delivery?

Jonquière December 9th, 2015

Mr. Speaker, as the holiday season approaches, for my first member's statement, I would like to take a moment to talk about the values that unite us and define who we are in my riding, Jonquière.

Over the past few weeks, hundreds of people have gone out into the streets to raise money to help our fellow citizens in need.

Our media fundraising drive raised a record amount for Saguenay-Lac-Saint-Jean: $223,000. I want to congratulate all the volunteers and thank everyone who donated.

This is an excellent example of the essence of the values, such as sharing, generosity, and dignity, that make the people of Jonquière and the north shore such a tight-knit community.

It is clear to me that as a community, our unity makes us stronger.

I am so proud that the good people of my riding have trusted me to represent them, and I would once again like to recognize the enormous contributions made by our volunteers in the community. In that spirit, I want to wish everyone a happy holiday season and a 2016 full of hope, optimism and mutual support.

Resumption of debate on Address in Reply December 7th, 2015

Mr. Speaker, I would like to thank my colleague for his speech.

During the election campaign, many people in my riding of Jonquière were worried about whether the tax credit for contributions made to a labour-sponsored fund would be reinstated. Unfortunately, there was no mention of this in the throne speech.

The tax credit expires on December 30, but we do not have to pass a law in order for it to be reinstated. What is more, the government promised to reinstate it during the election campaign.

What does my colleague think about that? Does the government intend to reinstate the tax credit for contributions made to a labour-sponsored fund by December 30?

Canada Post December 7th, 2015

Mr. Speaker, during the election campaign people told us that they wanted to keep the home mail delivery service.

In my region, 50,000 families, including 20,000 in Jonquière, lost their home mail delivery service.

While the minister has reneged on her promises, can she at least confirm that community mailboxes are no longer being installed anywhere in the country?

Speech from the Throne December 4th, 2015

Mr. Speaker, I would like to thank my colleague from Avignon—La Mitis—Matane—Matapédia on his excellent first speech in the House.

Since this is the first time that I have risen in the House, I would like to take this opportunity to thank the people of Jonquière for putting their trust in me. I will work hard and do the best that I can to represent them during this session.

I would also like to congratulate you, Mr. Speaker, on your re-election as an MP and your election as Speaker. Thank you.

With regard to my colleague's comments, the minister responsible for Canada Post said today that his government would not completely restore home mail delivery. However, the Liberals promised that they would do so. Home mail delivery is an important issue for the people of Jonquière and all Canadians.

Would my colleague opposite not agree that door-to-door mail delivery is essential to the vitality of our communities and that it must be restored?