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

National Defence Act February 28th, 2019

Madam Speaker, I thank my colleague for his speech.

I would like to know what he thinks about the fact that the Liberals rejected the NDP's amendment to strike paragraph 98(c). Under this paragraph, a service member could face life imprisonment for attempting suicide.

We know that mental health problems also exist in the Canadian Armed Forces. Would the member agree that it is important to acknowledge that fact? Why did the Liberals reject our amendment? We in the NDP believe that this section should have been eliminated. I would like to hear my colleague's thoughts.

National Defence Act February 28th, 2019

Madam Speaker, the NDP supports Bill C-77 at third reading. However, even with the proposed changes in the bill, acts of self-harm continue to be considered an offence in the military justice system. Asking for help in the military comes with a risk of disciplinary action.

What protections will the Liberals propose to ensure that military personnel have access to mental health services without fear of reprisals or risk of disciplinary action?

International Trade February 28th, 2019

Mr. Speaker, small businesses and workers in Saguenay—Lac-Saint-Jean have been in limbo for months because of the steel and aluminum tariffs. The entire region is waiting for the Prime Minister to do something, but nothing is happening. I guess he is too busy putting pressure on the former attorney general instead of Trump.

When friends of the party call, the Prime Minister always picks up. Workers, though, do not have a direct line to his office.

Will the Prime Minister admit that he has never been on the side of Saguenay—Lac-Saint-Jean and that he works only for friends of the Liberal Party?

Corrections and Conditional Release Act February 26th, 2019

Madam Speaker, I would like my colleague's opinion on the follow remarks by Senator Pate.

I will read a few excerpts.

Bill C-83 also maintains the status quo regarding a lack of effective external oversight of correctional decision making. Under the new legislation, all decision making regarding when and how long prisoners are to be segregated will be made by a CSC administrator without the review of any third party.

She adds:

This change represents another step away from Justice Louise Arbour's recommendation for judicial oversight of corrections following the Commission of Inquiry into Certain Events at the Prison for Women in Kingston.

I would like to know what my colleague thinks of that.

Corrections and Conditional Release Act February 26th, 2019

Madam Speaker, amendments were made to the bill at the Standing Committee on Public Safety and National Security. Out of the 22 amendments proposed by the NDP, only two were adopted. It was the same thing for the Conservatives. Out of the 16 amendments they proposed, only one was adopted. However, all 21 Liberal amendments were adopted.

I want to know if my colleague thinks that the Liberals were reasonable in their review of the Conservative and NDP amendments.

Business of Supply February 19th, 2019

Madam Speaker, we know SNC-Lavalin made donations to MPs and the Liberal government between 2004 and 2011. I would like to know what my colleague thinks of the sunny ways and transparency the government promised in 2015 and for many months here in the House of Commons.

Today, we are debating a motion by my colleague from Victoria calling for a public inquiry to shed light on this matter. If a government claims to be transparent and honest with Canadians, is that not what it should do?

Business of Supply February 5th, 2019

Mr. Speaker, I thank my colleague for his question. It is clear that they did not do their homework. It is true that it is important for parliamentarians to communicate with the Quebec National Assembly. However, we sometimes need to take a step back.

As federal parliamentarians, we have the responsibility to do our job. I do not understand why the Bloc Québécois and the Conservatives, who are pushing to implement this approach at any price, rejected the amendment that my colleague from Sherbrooke proposed today to try to ensure that there would not be any job losses. Their answer was a resounding no.

That clearly shows that they have not given any thought to what will happen next. They are not prepared. A party cannot just propose ideas without looking into the specifics. They need to come well prepared. It is disappointing to see two parties here in the House of Commons fearmongering. The 5,500 workers are worried, particularly those in my riding of Jonquière. They are worried that the tax centre will shut down. Those are good jobs, and I will do everything in my power to fight for those jobs and keep them in my community.

Business of Supply February 5th, 2019

Mr. Speaker, I thank my colleague for his intervention. We have had plenty of debates in the House, and I must admit that I agree with him to some extent, which is rare.

As we have seen today, some members are taking the job losses too lightly. They say it is no big deal. On the contrary, we need to take that very seriously. Any responsible party would have a very clear plan and know the right way to do things. As parliamentarians, it is not enough for us to simply make proposals. We need to do our homework and consult people on the ground, particularly the workers at the Jonquière and Shawinigan tax data centres. It is important to go there and see the kind of work they do. We can do more.

The government says not to worry, that it is going to dedicate all its resources to combatting tax havens. That is a great idea. We need to come up with programs for doing that, but we also need to put a structure in place. That requires training. Accountants are the ones who do that. Different methods are used to handle data on individuals and corporations, so different skills and training are required.

We need to think about improving services, particularly in Quebec, because that is a major problem. Many people come to see us because the Conservatives made so many cuts to public services. There is a way to continue to improve services, but we need to think about Quebec and those 5,500 jobs before saying any old thing.

Business of Supply February 5th, 2019

Mr. Speaker, there has been a tax centre in my riding of Jonquière since 1983. More than 1,000 people currently work at this centre. There are full-time and temporary workers. We must remember that the majority of these people are the breadwinners in their families.

I would like to thank all my colleagues from the Quebec NDP caucus. We worked together and did excellent research to support the resolution adopted at our last convention. Our objective was to determine, following discussions with unions and workers, whether a single tax return could be introduced without causing job losses. The idea itself may be commendable, because people in other provinces file a single tax return.

The most difficult task was determining what would happen to the 5,500 people working in Jonquière, Shawinigan or the tax services office in Chicoutimi if a single tax return were implemented. That is a considerable number of jobs. The NDP was the first party to consider the future of the workers. It is an important issue that affects many people.

It is all well and good to throw out ideas and proposals. We are people with strong opinions, which is commendable, but we need to do the research and meet with the people who will be affected so that we can understand the importance of their work and what they do. In this specific case, we would have to visit the Jonquière Tax Centre, which I have visited three times, or the tax services office in Chicoutimi, which I have also been to several times. That is why the NDP reconsidered this idea. When we put the workers first, we hit a wall. What will happen to their jobs?

I will come back to Jonquière, which is home to 1,000 employees. These are men and women with families to support. Furthermore, these people keep our economy going. The jobs in Jonquière, including all salary levels, represent a total payroll of $40 million for the Saguenay region. That is quite a lot of money.

In my region, we always want to foster development, offer good working conditions and create high-quality jobs. There are problems with housing. People are having trouble finding a place to live. The solution to this problem involves providing good jobs, like the jobs at the Jonquière Tax Centre and the Shawinigan National Verification and Collections Centre. These jobs help improve families' quality of life.

This proposal is creating concern among the workers. I have had a chance to follow the debates today, especially the comments made by Conservative members. They do not appear to be very concerned about these hard-working people. It is true that no one likes paying taxes. However, when we see the quality of the service provided, especially in Quebec, we understand that the successful growth of our beautiful country and, if I may say so myself, my beautiful province depends on this common good and our collective strength. At no point today did I hear the Conservatives show any regard for the workers' concerns. I want to emphasize that, because the Conservatives have been calling us every name in the book all day long.

I met a father of four on Sunday. He told me he is the main breadwinner and that he is worried and very anxious. With the election approaching, people are wondering if politicians will care about them. That is what he told me. He has worked at the Jonquière tax centre for 15 years, and he is wondering if he will still have work next year or two years from now. What is going to happen to him?

Today's motion is not making people feel optimistic. There is no real plan, no proposal for working together, and that worries people.

As parliamentarians, it is our responsibility to care about people. We have had many debates in the House of Commons. Earlier, a member talked about GM workers in Oshawa who have good jobs. The same holds true for workers in Quebec.

I am especially concerned for working families in my riding, Jonquière. I just mentioned the father I met with. He is worried. Hundreds of people are worried too. I hope everyone will listen to reason, and I hope the Conservatives and the Bloc Québécois will eventually do the same work we did.

It is easy to say that no jobs will be lost and to repeat it 10, 15 or 20 times. It does not bode well if we cannot even put it in writing that workers have to be protected and that no loss of employment within the federal public service should occur, as my colleague for Sherbrooke asked for in his amendment this morning.

At some point, we have to walk the talk. Action must be taken. It is important. I will not hesitate to sign a document if I am truly and deeply convinced that it is the right thing to do.

The rejection of the amendment moved earlier today by my colleague for Sherbrooke to ensure that there would be no loss of employment for workers in Quebec, including in the tax centre in Jonquière, was a good example of that. Clearly, it does not make any sense.

Again, as parliamentarians, we have a responsibility. I believe we should review our tax system and improve the way we do things. There is a lot to do for SMEs. There is a lot of room for improvement. We still have a whole world to build. We have our entire future ahead of us.

It would be nice if Conservatives understood the importance of caring about workers. Words are not enough. We need action. We need a plan. As I was saying, the important thing is to work together and try to move in the direction Quebec wants, to communicate with the province and see where things can be improved. Opportunities do exist. One thing I can say for sure is that, as the member for Jonquière, I will always stand up for workers and defend their interests in the House and in my riding. Most importantly, I will make sure their jobs are protected.

I hope that the Conservatives, the Bloc Québécois and everyone in the House will listen to reason. We must make sure that no job is lost and that we are able to look for solutions. Partisanship is not the way to go. We cannot go into an election campaign making promises that we know we will not be able to keep. In particular, we must not try to balance the budget by cutting 5,500 jobs in Quebec. Even though that is a lot of jobs, it will not be enough for the Conservatives to balance the budget, and I do not want that to be done on the backs of workers.

Canada Labour Code January 30th, 2019

Madam Speaker, I am pleased to be able to speak in this new House of Commons. As the NDP's labour critic, I am always pleased to talk about workers. Today, I will be speaking to Bill C-420, which was introduced by the member for Mirabel.

In any discussion on the Canada Labour Code, we cannot forget to talk about the health and safety of federally regulated workers, both in Quebec and in the rest of Canada. However, one important aspect has been ignored, and since I returned to the House of Commons, I have been quite worried and upset. No one is talking about protecting good jobs.

Bill C-420 talks about health and safety, but this aspect is part of protecting good jobs. There are federal employees in my riding of Jonquière. We have been home to a taxation data centre since 1983. More than 1,000 workers provide good service to all Canadians. In fact, there is even a taxation services office in Chicoutimi. These are good jobs, and the Bloc Québécois needs to remember that.

I have not seen anything about protecting these good jobs over the past few days in the House of Commons or on social media. This aspect does not seem to be taken into consideration. This is important to a region like mine, to Jonquière. One thousand jobs represents 1,000 families. This is the equivalent of thousands of jobs in Montreal, for example.

Let us return to Bill C-420, which is comprised of three bills introduced by the NDP in this parliamentary session. First, there is Bill C-234, which I introduced and deals with the issue of scabs. There is always a double standard in negotiations. I do not like to say this but, unfortunately, the parties are not on an equal footing in negotiations. I will speak about this more later on in my speech.

The second part of the bill is based on Bill C-345 , introduced by my colleague from Abitibi—Témiscamingue, which proposed changes to the Canada Labour Code for pregnant or nursing employees. The third part reflects a bill that was introduced by Thomas Mulcair, but which unfortunately was never debated in the House of Commons. It called for the application to Quebec companies of the provisions in the Official Languages Act with regard to Quebec's particular linguistic characteristics. I will get back to this point in a few moments.

Let us come back to the first part of the bill on anti-strikebreaker legislation. It is time to reform the Canada Labour Code to have it reflect the reality of new technologies, automation, and telework. Why not take the opportunity to include these bills in the modernization of the Canada Labour Code, but also to protect workers during negotiations?

In November, special legislation was imposed on postal workers. Both parties cannot negotiate as equals if the company is able to hire replacement workers every time. The Canada Labour Code does not include any standard prohibiting the use of strikebreakers. It is time to remedy that problem. Labour legislation in both Quebec and British Columbia includes standards on this, so could we not include some in the Canada Labour Code? There is a lot of talk about consultation, but it is important to consult the employers, the government and workers on a set of standards. These are people who wake up every morning and perform miracles across the board.

Why not take care of them and amend the Canada Labour Code?

I could go on and on about this. However, the bill is divided into three parts, and I really want to talk about protections for pregnant or nursing workers.

I was working as a letter carrier when I was pregnant, and there were no protections. I had to work with my mail bag on my back and climb several stories. That was part of my job. However, pregnant women who do high-risk work need measures to lighten their workload, to keep them and their unborn babies safe. It can be really hard. It is normal to have a valid medical certificate. It is also normal for the doctor and employer to work together to come up with ways to ensure the safety of mother and baby. However, the Canada Labour Code does not allow for that.

I think there is room for improvement, like Quebec's preventive withdrawal. The Minister of Labour should make sure that mothers who wish to nurse and return to work are able to do so, as is the case in Quebec. Of course, working conditions must be taken into account to ensure that women are safe and able to nurse.

There is a real push to make it easier for women to access the workforce. Women should never be penalized for deciding to have children. Unfortunately, that is often what happens.

A number of similar bills have been introduced in the House of Commons. When my colleague from Abitibi—Témiscamingue introduced hers, it was summarily rejected. Now we have an opportunity to make amendments, and I hope that, this time, the government will show some consideration for pregnant and nursing women and vote in favour of Bill C-420. At this point, the Canada Labour Code is in dire need of an update.

I would like to spend the rest of my time talking about the part that deals with language of work in Quebec.

Quebec has two different language of work regimes. Each applies to different categories of organizations and workers. One is the Official Languages Act, which governs all federal institutions, that is, all Government of Canada and parliamentary institutions. The other is Quebec's Charter of the French Language, the Quebec charter, which applies to all provincially regulated workplaces. Quebec has about 135,000 federally regulated employees in roughly 760 private organizations.

Often certain companies will send documents in English only. Of course, some employees in Quebec businesses speak English. However, it is not right that they are receiving the documents in English only. Quebec workers speak French and their language is French, so they should be receiving the information in French and being served in French. We need to pay special attention to that. I believe that the Canada Labour Code could include requirements and protect francophone workers in Quebec who fall under federal jurisdiction.

As I mentioned several times, the Canada Labour Code is due for a major reform. There have been some bills, including Bill C-65, that have made amendments to the Canada Labour Code. Bill C-420 makes further amendments. I hope that the government will consider a comprehensive reform and modernization of the Canada Labour Code.