House of Commons photo

Crucial Fact

  • Her favourite word was earlier.

Last in Parliament October 2019, as Liberal MP for Rivière-des-Mille-Îles (Québec)

Lost her last election, in 2021, with 35% of the vote.

Statements in the House

The Environment June 17th, 2019

Madam Speaker, I will be sharing my time with my colleague from Abitibi—Témiscamingue.

Climate change and its impacts are global in nature and complex. Advancing our understanding of climate change in Canada is a key priority for our government, and we believe that a rigorous evidence base is foundational to make sound policy decisions and to take action on climate change.

This past April, we released Canada’s Changing Climate Report, which lays out a comprehensive look into how Canada’s climate has changed in the past and how it may change in the future. The assessment confirms, through overwhelming evidence, that Canada’s climate has warmed in the past and will continue to warm in the future as a result of carbon emissions from human activity. On average, this warming has been double the global rate, with even faster rates of warming in the Arctic.

The effects of this rapid warming are widespread and alarming. Extreme weather events, such as flooding, are expected to become more frequent and intense in the future. In 2017, Rivière-des-Mille-Îles experienced the flood of the century. In 2019, flooding hit Sainte-Marthe-sur-le-Lac, which is right next to my riding. Everyone could see what was happening on the news. These extreme events will be increasingly common in the future.

The availability of fresh water is changing, leading to increased risk of droughts in the summer. Sea level rise will put our coastal communities at risk. We are already seeing profound impacts in Canada on human health and well-being, the environment and all sectors of the economy. Recent extreme weather events, like the 2019 floods in Ontario and Quebec I just mentioned, wildfires in British Columbia in 2017 and the Fort McMurray wildfires in 2016, underscore this urgent need for action to better prepare Canadians to adapt to climate change.

The emotional and financial shock of losing homes and businesses to fire, flooding and storm surges is having lasting impacts on Canadians' lives and well-being.

Through the findings of Canada's Changing Climate Report, we know that the need to act is undeniable. Mobilizing action on adaptation will help protect Canadians from climate change risks, build resilience and ensure that society continues to thrive in a changing climate. The scope of the challenge we are facing requires co-operation, leadership, creativity and commitment.

To meet this challenge, the pan-Canadian framework on clean growth and climate change, adopted on December 9, 2016, sets out our national plan for meeting Canada's GHG emissions reduction target, building resilience to the impacts of climate change and enabling clean growth and jobs through investments in technology, innovation and infrastructure.

Recognizing that climate resilience is a long-term challenge, adaptation and climate resilience is one of the four pillars of the pan-Canadian framework on clean growth and climate change.

Under the adaptation and climate resilience pillar of the pan-Canadian framework, federal, provincial and territorial governments made commitments to address the significant risks posed by climate change, particularly in Canada’s northern and coastal regions and for indigenous peoples.

It represents the first time that federal, provincial, and territorial governments have identified priority areas for collaboration to build resilience to a changing climate across the country. To support the pan-Canadian framework, the federal government has launched a broad suite of adaptation programming.

In Budget 2017, our government announced $260 million for federal adaptation programs related to information and capacity, climate-resilient infrastructure, human health and well-being, vulnerable regions and climate-related hazards and disaster risks.

Building on these commitments, we are also investing $22 billion in green and resilient infrastructure to both boost economic growth and build resilient communities.

These investments include $9.2 billion for bilateral agreements with the provinces and territories, with funding specifically allocated for adaptation and climate-resilient infrastructure.

This also includes $2 billion for a disaster mitigation and adaptation fund for built and natural, large-scale infrastructure projects that build the resilience of our infrastructure to natural disasters, extreme weather events and climate change.

This $2-billion fund is very important, as it will help us to adapt. This is particularly important in the Mille-Îles and Montreal regions, where we have experienced significant climate change resulting in the recent flooding.

Since the disaster mitigation and adaptation fund launched in 2018, our government has announced funding for 26 projects that will help communities across the country cope, adapt to, prepare for and withstand extreme storms, flooding and fire.

We are also ensuring that our future infrastructure investments are taking climate change and its impacts into account. Under Canada’s infrastructure plan, applicants who seek federal funding for major infrastructure projects, from transit projects to community centres, are asked to assess the risks they face as a result of climate change and how these risks can be mitigated. This initiative is helping us build climate-smart infrastructure and ensuring that we are not locking in climate risks for decades to come.

Adaptation is not just about building the biggest and strongest infrastructure. It is also about how we build communities that are sustainable and resilient in every sense. It is about the decisions we make on where and how to live, how we run our businesses, and how we support our neighbours. Promoting social resilience means that we support vulnerable populations through times of change.

We also strongly believe that adaptation decisions should be based on the best available science and information. Again, it is very important to have the scientific data available, and this science has to be available to the people making adaptation decisions in a format that they can use.

This is why our government established the Canadian Centre for Climate Services, which was launched last year. This new and innovative service has consolidated data, tools and information onto an interactive website that supports Canadians in understanding and adapting to the impacts of climate change.

From globally accepted models, the Centre has derived an interactive map of climate conditions. Canadians can find out how the climate is changing in their city. For example, how much hotter will my summers be over the next 20 years? Will there be more rain, more or less snow?

If Canadians cannot find the information they are looking for, or need help to understand it, they can call or email to reach a climate expert.

As the federal government, we play a crucial role. We generate climate change information, guidance and tools to help Canadians adapt at all levels. We help build capacity in other orders of government, in communities and in the private sector to assess and respond to risks. We can also lead by example, by building resilience into federal assets, programs and services against the impacts of climate change.

While we continue to do great work at home, it is also important to recognize that Canada is not alone. Climate change is a global challenge that requires global solutions. This is why Canada has joined together with the Netherlands and other nations to show leadership on climate change and the environment through the work of the Global Commission on Adaptation.

The Global Commission on Adaptation was convened to elevate the visibility of climate change adaptation with a focus on identifying and encouraging solutions. Adapting to climate change is a challenge, but also an opportunity, an opportunity to create and expand into new markets with Canadian technologies and know-how, like growing food in cold climates.

There is so much to say about climate change and everything we are doing to tackle it.

The Environment June 17th, 2019

Madam Speaker, on Wednesday, the Conservatives are finally supposed to table the environmental plan that they promised to provide over 400 days ago. I would like to know whether the member for Bellechasse—Les Etchemins—Lévis and his Conservative colleagues believe that there is a climate emergency.

If so, will they support our motion?

The Environment June 17th, 2019

Madam Speaker, I listened carefully to my colleague.

I wonder how the Conservatives plan to combat climate change and when they will release this plan. It has been more than 400 days since their leader said he would release it.

Do the member for Leeds—Grenville—Thousand Islands and Rideau Lakes and his Conservative colleagues believe that we are in a climate emergency?

Will you support the motion?

Liberal Party of Canada June 10th, 2019

Mr. Speaker, this session of Parliament is drawing to a close. It is a special time because it also marks the end of the 42nd Parliament. Four years have gone by already.

Our government has accomplished a lot in four years. One of our first major initiatives that has had a significant impact on the lives of Canadian families is the Canada child benefit. In my riding, 10,470 families are receiving a tax-free sum of $570 a month, on average.

We did not stop there. We brought in many effective measures to stimulate our economy. These measures have proven successful, because the unemployment rate is at its lowest in 40 years. Since 2015, Canadians have created more than one million jobs. I am proud of what we have accomplished. Our measures are having a real impact on the lives of the people of Rivière-des-Mille-Îles.

We went above and beyond what we promised.

Bankruptcy and Insolvency Act June 7th, 2019

Madam Speaker, I thank my colleague for her bill and what she proposed earlier. I invite her to listen to my comments to clarify the situation and what amendments will be made to legislation.

Earlier, she spoke about the workers at Sears. I really empathize with Sears pensioners because a Sears store located in my riding shut down. That affects all members. Everyone here is very attuned to this issue.

All Canadians deserve peace of mind when it comes to their retirement security. Our government recognizes this, which is why it has taken a number of significant steps during its mandate to enhance Canada's retirement income system, including enhancements to the old age security program and the Canada pension plan.

At the same time, our government recognizes that recent corporate insolvencies, such as those mentioned earlier, have created challenges for workers, pensioners and even small and medium-sized businesses, such as contractors and suppliers. For this reason, our government committed in budget 2018 to undertake a whole-of-government, evidence-based approach to improve retirement security.

In 2018, our government held national consultations to seek comprehensive feedback on ways to enhance retirement security. We met with labour and pensioner groups, companies, lenders, experts, and more still. We also received formal submissions from many stakeholders. The public at large made its views known on these important issues as well, with more than 4,400 online submissions. People also reached out to their MPs, myself included.

After listening to Canadians, the government proposed a comprehensive package to enhance retirement security in its 2019 budget bill.

Bill C-372, however, is less ambitious in scope, proposing three changes to Canada's insolvency laws that could have disastrous and negative consequences on the Canadian marketplace and firm competitiveness.

Let us talk about Canadian insolvency laws. it is first necessary to briefly describe Canada’s effective insolvency system. Canada has two main insolvency statutes, the Bankruptcy and Insolvency Act, which governs bankruptcies and restructurings for small businesses, and the Companies’ Creditors Arrangement Act, or CCAA, which governs the restructuring of larger corporations, with over $5 million in debt.

These two laws have clear and predictable rules regarding the order of creditor payment upon firm wind up and the negotiability of credit claims in firm restructuring discussions. These rules are specifically designed to support the core objectives of Canada’s insolvency regime, which include preventing a rush to the courthouse and promoting the restructuring of financially-distressed but viable firms, where possible, with the ultimate goal of preserving good jobs and economic value within Canada.

Under the Companies’ Creditors Arrangement Act regime, for example, many insolvent companies have avoided liquidation that would have crystallized losses in underfunded pension plans and employee benefit plans and eliminated good-paying jobs. Instead, these firms were able to stay in business, preserve good middle-class jobs, and continue to fund pension and benefit plans.

In addition, our insolvency system contains certain checks and balances to protect pensions. First, pension contributions are held in trust for the sole benefit of pensioners. Second, unpaid past pension contributions are paid ahead of secured creditors. Third, all restructuring deals require both creditor and court approval to ensure fairness. What is more, courts often order the debtor company to provide at its own expense legal representation for pensioners and employees in the insolvency proceedings.

Bill C-372 proposes to change these laws in three ways that could undermine the system’s core objectives and have negative economic consequences.

First, it proposes to amend the BIA and CCAA to give unfunded pension liabilities and unpaid special payments a superpriority, meaning that these claims would be paid in full ahead of almost all other creditors in an insolvency proceeding.

An unfunded pension liability is the difference between a pension fund's current assets and future liabilities. Special payments are additional employer contributions that are sometimes ordered by pension regulators to compensate for fund deficits over time.

Second, the bill creates a preferred claim in bankruptcies to indemnify employee losses associated with group insurance benefit plans, such as life, disability, health or dental benefits, meaning that they would be paid before unsecured creditors but after secured creditors. The bill also requires these payments to be made in full in CCAA restructuring plans.

Third, the bill creates a preferred claim for unpaid severance and termination pay. I will now set out my main concerns.

The bill’s proposals would weaken companies’ ability to restructure. Pension deficits can be very large, in some cases in the billions of dollars.

An indemnity for employee benefit plans could also be very large. A superpriority that ranked such shortfalls ahead of all other claims, and a requirement that employees must be fully indemnified for benefit losses in CCAA plans, would reduce the incentives of all other creditors to support a restructuring deal. This would make a sale of the company as a going concern extremely unlikely. Companies could also lose access to interim financing, often essential to secure for a restructuring.

Instead of supporting a restructuring deal that could save the company, secured creditors faced with a pension superpriority could act strategically by reducing their exposure to these companies by requiring them to pay down their debts before the start of insolvency proceedings. Indeed, if the measures in this bill had been in place in the past, many successful restructurings under Canada’s insolvency systems would not have occurred, resulting in greater job and pensions losses.

Next, firms with defined benefit pension plans or group insurance benefits could see higher costs and lower availability of credit, as well as reduced competitiveness.

I had much more to say but I am nearly out of time. In closing, the bill before us today does not provide an evidenced-based, whole-of-government approach to enhancing retirement security. It would weaken the ability of companies to restructure to preserve jobs and pension benefits. Furthermore, it would hurt competitiveness, while at the same time not always helping workers and pensioners.

I am pleased to say, however, that the government's proposed measures will protect pensions and workers, while also supporting the central objectives of Canada's effective marketplace laws. We are ensuring that firms remain competitive and continue to employ hard-working Canadians throughout the country.

Bankruptcy and Insolvency Act June 7th, 2019

Madam Speaker, I would like to know if the member for Manicouagan believes her bill will solve all the problems we have seen.

Budget 2019 addresses these problems and will solve some of them.

Points of Order June 5th, 2019

Mr. Speaker, all members of the House deserve the same respect we owe to our constituents. I would therefore like the member for Longueuil—Saint-Hubert to withdraw his insulting, unparliamentary remarks.

Extension of Sitting Hours May 28th, 2019

Mr. Speaker, I am very pleased to speak this evening. I am always proud to speak on behalf of my constituents in Rivière-des-Mille-Îles, whom I am proud to represent.

I would like to tell my colleagues who are here this evening that I am proud to represent Rivière-des-Mille-Îles and also Deux-Montagnes, Saint-Eustache, Boisbriand and Rosemère. We have been dealing with flooding again this year, but we are working hard for our fellow citizens.

Today I am debating Motion No. 30, which is very important. This motion is about how the House will operate from now until we adjourn for the summer. This is important because it will allow us to make progress on files that are important to Canadians, including the people of Rivière-des-Mille-Îles. These issues are the reason Canadians elected us.

Motion No. 30 will enable the House to act on the excellent work our committees have already done. I want to emphasize that this work is not carried out solely by committee members from this side of the House. This work is carried out by all parties and all individuals on committees so that proposed legislation can come back to the House and be voted on before we rise for the summer. This is very important.

There has been a lot of talk during today's debate about how the government's legislative measures have reflected only what the government wanted to do. My participation in committee activities and the work I have been able to accomplish there have taught me that, most of the time, committee members work well together. They collaborate, they set partisanship aside to some degree and, more often than not, they are able to compromise. At least, that was the case in the committees I belonged to.

I had the opportunity to sit on the Standing Committee on International Trade for two and a half years. We always agreed with members from across the aisle on free trade agreements, whether with Europe or Asia or NAFTA 2.0, on which we worked very hard. There is only one party we never agree with when it comes to such deals.

I was also a member of the Standing Committee on Official Languages for two and a half years. It is a non-partisan committee whose goal is to ensure that official language minority communities are properly represented. I can assure the House that there was no partisanship. In my new role as deputy whip, I am now a member of the Standing Committee on Procedure and House Affairs, where there is a little more partisanship. Let us speak plainly.

If we do not adopt this motion, if we do not extend the sitting hours of the House, we will end up in a situation where all the work we have done will basically be lost before the fall election. That is why it is so important that we adopt Motion No. 30.

I want to highlight some of the important work done by the committees. I want to point out that during the 2015 election, the Liberal Party, of which I am a proud member, promised to strengthen parliamentary committees. We promised to have more respect for the fundamental role that parliamentarians play on committees in order to hold the government to account.

That commitment, included in the mandate letter of the Leader of the Government in the House of Commons, means that parliamentary committees are freer and better equipped to study legislation. Among the many changes that were made, committee chairs are now freely elected by the committee members. They are not appointed by the government. Voting is now done by secret ballot to allow members to vote freely for their selection for chair.

Now parliamentary secretaries also sit on committees, but as non-voting members. They can contribute to the discussions if necessary. They are present, enabling them to stay abreast of the committee's work. Since they do not have the right to vote, no one can accuse cabinet of interfering in the work of the committees. The standing orders that made these changes official were passed in June 2017. I believe, and I think most members would agree, that committees can now act more openly, more transparently and more freely.

I would like to briefly go over some of the major bills currently before Parliament that might not be voted on and passed by the end of the session if this motion is not adopted.

I will start with Bill C-92, an act respecting first nations, Inuit and Métis children, youth and families. This bill sets out the legislative framework and the principles needed to guide work among first nations, Inuit and Métis nations, provincial and territorial partners, and the Government of Canada to achieve truly meaningful reform in child and family services.

The purpose of this bill is twofold. First, it affirms the rights and jurisdiction of indigenous peoples in relation to child and family services. Second, it sets out principles applicable, on a national level, to the provision of child and family services in relation to indigenous children, such as the best interests of the child, cultural continuity and substantive equality.

Bill C-92 is a milestone piece of legislation that would have significant impacts on the lives of indigenous youth, their families and their communities. It is an important step in advancing meaningful reconciliation and in implementing the vital recommendations of the Truth and Reconciliation Commission.

The second example that I would like to give is, in my opinion, the most important bill for Canadians, and that is Bill C-97, budget implementation act, 2019, no. 1. This bill will affect Canadians across the country. It seeks to respond to Canadians' most pressing needs. For example, buying a house or condo is probably the most important investment most Canadians will make in their lifetimes. However, many Canadians are not able to enter the market. That is why, through budget 2019 and with Bill C-97, the government will build on Canada's national housing strategy and take action to improve the affordability of housing, especially for first-time homebuyers.

Our government also wants to make sure that Canada's seniors have more money in their pockets when they retire. That is why, with Bill C-97, the government is proposing to enhance the guaranteed income supplement earnings exemption by providing a full or partial exemption on up to $15,000 and extending it to self-employment income.

This proposal was very well received by seniors in my riding. We have a labour shortage and we have seniors with incredible expertise. If seniors are able to work one day a week because of this measure, so much the better. Our society as a whole will reap the benefits. These seniors will pass on their knowledge to everyone around them and will have the opportunity to work if they so desire. It is a way for them to meet people, network and maintain friendships.

This is a very important measure for me. It will put more money in the pockets of eligible seniors who work. I want to reiterate that this measure was very well received by seniors in Rivière-des-Mille-Îles.

Another measure concerns electric vehicles. We want to electrify transportation. The $5,000 federal subsidy has made a huge difference in my riding. The Quebec government already gives an $8,000 subsidy, and when you add the $5,000 from the federal government, it is incredible. That will considerably reduce greenhouse gas emissions.

All of that can be found in Bill C-97. It is absolutely crucial that we pass Motion No. 30 today so we have enough time to pass all this fantastic legislation. It is worth reiterating that this budget implementation bill is entirely consistent with the current government's agenda, which differs significantly from the previous government's agenda. We are steering Canada in a direction that will truly reduce inequality. We always talk about the middle class, but we have created one million jobs and have lifted 300,000 children out of poverty, not to mention the adults. We are the ones who have reduced inequality. We have the strongest economy, and the unemployment rate is at its lowest in over 40 years.

The previous government had very little interest in this important societal objective, namely reducing inequality in this country. On the contrary, during the Harper decade, inequality in Canada actually increased. The two examples of bills to be implemented, and also of budget items, will help us go even further.

These are two bills among others that we would like to pass before adjourning. For all these reasons, it is truly important that we pass the motion now to let us sit longer and ensure that we complete the work entrusted to us by Canadians.

I would also like to take a few minutes to speak about the amendments to the motion that were moved yesterday. I know that there has been a lot of discussion about the amount of time spent on government business compared to that spent on opposition motions and days. This is not about who gets what; the goal is to ensure that we can place more items on the agenda. That is why it is important to ensure that we sit longer into the evenings so we can do more.

The items I am talking about are the ones that all members from all parties in the House collaborated on in committee. This is why I personally cannot support the amendment. I do not think the amendment is particularly positive, because it does not address what we need to do, which is to examine more bills. Instead, it would proportionally increase the time available to each political party, which unfortunately reflects the partisan nature of this debate.

Extension of Sitting Hours May 28th, 2019

Mr. Speaker, I always listen very carefully to my colleague from Mégantic—L'Érable.

He spoke about unanimous consent a little earlier, but I do not really agree with him. He said that we do not have to agree, and so I agree that I do not agree with him.

He spoke about extended sitting hours. Is he aware that, in the 41st Parliament, the previous government, which was a Conservative government, adopted a motion to extend sitting hours on three occasions? We had extended hours from June 11 to 21, 2012, from May 22 to June 19, 2013, and from May 27 to June 20, 2014. Could my hon. colleague from the Conservative Party explain why the Conservatives used this measure at the time?

Extension of Sitting Hours May 28th, 2019

Mr. Speaker, I have a question for my hon. colleague, the Parliamentary Secretary to the Leader of the Government in the House of Commons.

Could he tell me how many bills were passed in the 42nd Parliament? I would also like to know how many bills are currently being studied in committee and how many are in the Senate.