House of Commons photo

Elsewhere

Crucial Fact

  • Her favourite word was conservative.

Last in Parliament October 2015, as NDP MP for Rivière-des-Mille-Îles (Québec)

Lost her last election, in 2015, with 30% of the vote.

Statements in the House

Red Tape Reduction Act November 6th, 2014

Mr. Speaker, indeed, we have to take a global approach and a number of measures to help SMEs.

I would like to get back to the question from my colleague from Sherbrooke, who asked whether the bill would have a real impact. The Conservatives said that they wanted to reduce red tape, but they did the opposite with the building Canada fund.

Instead of helping municipalities and small businesses start infrastructure projects in a timely manner, the Conservatives set up a long and cumbersome bureaucratic process for every project worth more than $100 million.

It is great that they introduced Bill C-21 to reduce the administrative burden on small businesses, but I must point out that the government is increasing red tape in other instances.

Red Tape Reduction Act November 6th, 2014

Mr. Speaker, my colleague is quite right; the bill will have very little impact.

The measures in this bill should be combined with the NDP's proposals, which I mentioned in my speech. We need to consult with entrepreneurs to see what they want.

I was also very happy to learn that the small business critic for the NDP plans to launch national consultations in the coming months with representatives from the small business community. We have to listen to what they have to say, and I look forward to hearing the recommendations from these experts.

Red Tape Reduction Act November 6th, 2014

Mr. Speaker, I would like to inform the House that I will share my time with my hon. colleague from Dartmouth—Cole Harbour.

I am very pleased to rise in the House today to speak to Bill C-21, An Act to control the administrative burden that regulations impose on businesses. Those who have been following the debate so far know that Bill C-21 is supposed to reduce administrative headaches and the administrative burden for businesses.

However, what it will really do is give the President of the Treasury Board the power to decide which regulations to eliminate. I would like to draw your attention to some of the more important clauses in this bill. I would like to read clause 5(1) of the bill:

5.(1) If a regulation is made that imposes a new administrative burden on a business, one or more regulations must be amended or repealed to offset the cost of that new burden against the cost of an existing administrative burden on a business.

That is essentially one of the most important clauses in the bill. I would also like to draw your attention to clause 6, which states that:

6. The President of the Treasury Board may establish policies or issue directives respecting the manner in which section 5 is to be applied.

Basically, that sums up what I just said about the President of the Treasury Board's new powers.

I will begin by underscoring the importance of small and medium-sized businesses in our Canadian economy. I would also like to say that I support this bill to reduce red tape for SMEs. It deserves to be studied in committee. In this debate, other members proposed amendments that can be presented in committee later. This bill is not perfect, but it is worth studying.

It should be noted that SMEs are at the heart of our local economy. I can attest to that because I have talked to small business owners in my riding, Rivière-des-Mille-Îles. I have seen how SMEs are the cornerstone of the vitality and prosperity of our community.

This summer, I toured the SMEs in my riding to get an idea of their concerns and to find out what the federal government could do to help them. Reducing red tape was one concern raised by the SMEs in my region.

We must not forget that business owners create jobs, hire local workers and support our community organizations. I know this because I have personally seen how generous the business owners in my region are and how much they help our community organizations, such as the Emile- Z.-Laviolette foundation, which provides food assistance programs for children. I know that the businesses are actively involved in the community of Rivière-des-Mille-Îles and their commitment is much appreciated.

My colleagues might be interested to know that over the past year, SMEs created 80% of the new jobs in the private sector in Canada. We have to admit that is a significant part of our economy. Nonetheless, we have unfortunately seen that many SMEs struggle to survive on a daily basis.

Before I continue, I would quickly like to list some other proposals and ideas that came out of my consultation with SMEs in the riding of Rivière-des-Mille-Îles this summer. Many businesses proposed restoring the hiring credit for small businesses. In fact, that tax credit was abolished by the Conservative government in 2014.

They also suggested reducing SMEs' taxes. They asked the government to limit hidden fees on credit card transactions. I will digress here to mention that there was some news about these fees this week. However, credit card transaction fees in Canada are approximately 1.5%, which is twice the international average. That has taken two years, but we still have a lot of work to do to get further reductions in hidden credit card transaction fees.

SMEs in my riding also proposed creating a tax credit for hiring and training youth, which is very important because the youth unemployment rate is twice the national average. They suggested giving business owners access to financing that would foster the growth of SMEs. They also suggested reducing red tape, as I have already mentioned.

They also said that there must be support for SMEs that work on innovation. We must provide more support for research and development. In my riding, there are many innovative businesses because of the presence of the aerospace industry. There are many innovative companies working for this sector and also for other sectors.

I would like to come back to the reduction of red tape. That has already been proposed by the NDP. An NDP government would reduce red tape for businesses across Canada. The measures contained in this bill are not the only ones of interest to SMEs. There are other things we can do to reduce the administrative burden for businesses. For example, we could facilitate access to government contracts, provide more online services to businesses, make it possible for owners to sign up their companies only once for multiple government sites and provide a single-window service to start up new businesses.

These are just a few of the NDP's proposals for reducing the paper burden of SMEs. I think we have a lot of work to do in that regard. I am interested in hearing what suggestions experts will make to the committee.

I want to talk about one aspect of this bill that concerns me greatly. This bill does not contain enough protections for the health and safety of Canadians. There is no mention of the environment in this bill, which I also find appalling. The current Conservative government relies far too much on self-inspection and self-regulation. Last week, I asked a question in the House during question period about the lack of safety inspectors for Canadian motorists. George Iny, a stakeholder in the sector, appeared before committee to tell us that there is a lack of inspectors in the auto safety sector. That worries me a lot.

I do not think that the government invested enough resources and money in the health and safety of Canadians. The bill very briefly mentions the fact that it cannot not harm public health and safety or the Canadian economy, but I think there is a way to integrate these measures and this idea into the bill itself. We know that the preamble does not necessarily hold any legal weight.

Red Tape Reduction Act November 6th, 2014

Mr. Speaker, I thank my colleague for her excellent speech. She gave a good overview of all of the issues and problems facing small and medium-sized businesses these days. I know that she talks a lot with SMEs in her riding, and she is well aware of the concerns of business owners in her region.

My question has to do with self-regulation. As she pointed out, there is nothing concrete in the bill to protect the health and safety of Canadians. There is no mention of the environment. She said that we cannot trust this Conservative government to protect Canadians.

I know that the NDP will support this bill, but we will study it in committee and propose amendments.

What does the member think this bill needs to adequately protect the health and safety of Canadians?

Labour November 6th, 2014

Mr. Speaker, despite the minister's response, we know that is false.

Many businesses violate provincial labour codes and abuse unpaid interns. It is appalling, and for interns who work in federally regulated industries, it is even worse. They have no protection under the law.

I introduced a bill that will give interns basic protections, such as reasonable working hours and protection from sexual harassment.

Will the minister support our intern protection act?

Protection of Canada from Terrorists Act November 5th, 2014

Mr. Speaker, I would like to say that the NDP agrees that this bill should be sent to committee for further study so that we can hear from the experts on this matter.

However, we do have some serious concerns about this Conservative bill, which enormously expands the powers of CSIS. It allows for espionage in other countries, outside Canada's borders. Following the Maher Arar case in 2006, a commission of inquiry made several recommendations for improving civilian oversight of CSIS. There is nothing in the bill about increasing civilian oversight. Justice O'Connor made several recommendations, but this government ignored all of them. Then the Conservative government eliminated the position of inspector general of CSIS. There are still two vacant positions on the Security Intelligence Review Committee, and there are huge gaps when it comes to civilian oversight of CSIS.

Does the member think this bill could be amended to address this?

Science and Technology November 3rd, 2014

Mr. Speaker, the Conservatives are continuing their war on science. We have now learned that Health Canada spent $1,500 to publish scientific articles on a controversial Croatian website to avoid having the articles undergo peer review, a normal process for credible scientific journals.

Why is Health Canada engaging in such questionable practices that undermine our scientists' credibility?

Transportation October 31st, 2014

Mr. Speaker, in the wake of the Lac-Mégantic tragedy, we were all able to see just how inadequate self-regulation and self-inspection are.

Again yesterday, George Iny, spokesperson for the Automobile Protection Association, indicated that there is a lack of inspectors to ensure the safety of Canadians.

Will the government finally commit to reversing course and ensuring that we have enough inspectors to keep Canadian drivers safe?

Canada-Korea Economic Growth and Prosperity Act October 28th, 2014

Mr. Speaker, my colleague is quite right about the numbers. Unfortunately, the Conservatives have a terrible track record when it comes to international trade.

He also mentioned the Liberal Party's position on the free trade agreement with the European Union. I would like to quote the Liberal trade critic concerning that agreement:

We have been supportive of the deal from the start. It’s important to say this is a great step, but also we really need to start seeing some details. At some point though we need to see what it is we’re actually supporting.

The Liberals were prepared to support an agreement without having all the details, without doing their homework and without doing what had to be done to ensure that it really was a good agreement.

The NDP is ready to do the work and to study the agreements. We even travelled across the country to consult Canadians about this free trade agreement. It is critical that we do this work.

I would like to get back to the question my colleague asked about how we can support the manufacturing sector and increase exports. According to the witnesses who appeared before the Standing Committee on International Trade, free trade agreements are an excellent step, and we must negotiate them. However, we need to do more and we need to encourage small and medium-sized businesses to export, because it is often more difficult for them to export products to other countries or economies.

We need to ensure that there are services to help these businesses get information on the other countries they may be exporting to. In addition, and to mark Small Business Week, we need to put an emphasis on small business and on helping them export.

Canada-Korea Economic Growth and Prosperity Act October 28th, 2014

Mr. Speaker, I am very proud to disagree with the Liberal Party's approach to free trade because a few months ago that party supported a free trade agreement with Honduras.

It is shameful that the Liberal Party is prepared to negotiate a free trade agreement with an undemocratic country where journalists are murdered and workers are not safe. That economy is of very little strategic importance to Canada.

However, the Liberals followed the Conservatives and supported that free trade agreement, which, in fact, will not improve the human rights situation in that country. Quite frankly, I do not believe that that position is in any way good for the Canadian economy or for our international reputation.

If the NDP is voted in as the government next year, we will strengthen trade ties with countries in the Asia-Pacific region. We recognize that this will be vital to Canada's prosperity in the 21st century.

I hope that the NDP will form the government and that the Liberal Party will support us.