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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 2019, with 36% of the vote.

Statements in the House

Accessible Canada Act May 28th, 2019

Mr. Speaker, I listened intently to my hon. colleague.

Bill C-81 will improve accessibility in all areas under federal jurisdiction so that all Canadians, regardless of their abilities and disabilities, can participate fully and inclusively in Canadian society.

This bill, which we introduced last June, was improved at every stage of the process. Our government welcomes the Senate's proposed amendments. I would like to know what my colleague thinks of the Senate's proposed amendments.

Science May 17th, 2019

Mr. Speaker, earlier this week, Ontario's Ford government announced it will cut funding to the Ontario Institute for Regenerative Medicine. The institute has funded research on many debilitating and fatal diseases, and its mission is to advance important stem cell research.

The Ford government has taken over Stephen Harper's anti-science crusade, but our government is taking action.

Would the Parliamentary Secretary to the Minister of Science and Sport tell the House about our commitment to science and research?

Respecting Families of Murdered and Brutalized Persons Act May 9th, 2019

Mr. Speaker, I am pleased to rise to speak to private member's Bill C-266, an act to amend the Criminal Code with respect to increasing parole ineligibility. The bill seeks to protect victims and reduce the possibility of re-victimization by limiting the number of parole applications victims are required to attend.

The underlying assumption of Bill C-266 is that its proposed reforms would spare families from the heartache of reliving the loss of a loved one who may have been murdered in unspeakable circumstances, as is often the case.

It should be noted that Bill C-266 is similar to previous private members' bills, specifically Bill C-478 and Bill C-587. Bill C-478 got through second reading stage and was referred to the Standing Committee on Justice and Human Rights, but it did not go further than that. Unlike Bill C-266, former Bill C-478 did not require that the offences for which the offender was convicted be committed as part of the same criminal transaction.

I want to take a moment to thank the member for Selkirk—Interlake—Eastman for the laudable objective of the bill. I think all hon. members of the House can agree that minimizing the trauma, psychological suffering and re-victimization of families whose loved ones have been murdered is a worthwhile cause that merits our full consideration.

Victims have rights at every stage of the criminal justice process, including the right to information, protection, restitution and participation. These rights, previously recognized by internal policies of the Parole Board of Canada and the Correctional Service of Canada, are now enshrined in the Canadian Victims Bill of Rights and give clear rights to all victims of crime. For example, victims have the right to receive certain information about the offender in the charge of the Parole Board of Canada or the Correctional Service of Canada.

Victims' participation rights include the following: attending the offender's parole hearing or listening to an audio recording of a parole hearing if the victim is unable to attend in person; presenting a written statement that outlines the continuing impact the offence has had on them and any risk or safety concerns the offender may pose and requesting that the Parole Board consider imposing special conditions on the offender's release; and obtaining a copy of the Parole Board's decision, including information on whether the offender has appealed the decision and the outcome of the appeal.

I would like to provide some examples in English.

I would note that currently victims who do not attend a parole hearing are entitled to listen to an audio recording of the hearing, but if victims do attend, they lose their right to listen to the recording. Simply stated, parole hearings can be quite difficult for family members, as I said in French. Despite attending the hearing, they may not always remember everything that was said. They may, for a variety of reasons, wish to listen to an audio recording at a later date. I am pleased to know that changes proposed in Bill C-83 would give all victims the right to listen to an audio recording, regardless of whether they attend the parole hearing.

These legislative provisions and policies were designed to be respectful of the privacy rights of victims who do not wish to be contacted or receive information about the offender who has harmed them.

This recognizes the fact that victims are not a homogenous group and that while some victims may choose not to attend or receive information about parole hearings to avoid emotional trauma, others will attend parole hearings as a means of furthering their healing and feel empowered by having their voices heard.

Anything we can do to better support victims of crime merits serious consideration, and I support sending the bill to committee for further study. I am also mindful that changes to the laws governing our criminal justice system can sometimes have unintended consequences, so I hope that committee study of this legislation, either in this Parliament or in the future, will include a range of witnesses and perspectives.

Clearly, there are various ways of providing support to victims. The proposed changes in Bill C-266 could be one way to improve the experience of victims during the post-sentencing stages of the criminal justice process.

As parliamentarians, we should strive to have a fair, just, and compassionate criminal justice system for all those involved.

For all these reasons, I will be monitoring closely the debate on Bill C-266 and look forward to hearing the views of other hon. members on its potential impacts.

Indigenous Languages Act May 9th, 2019

Mr. Speaker, I would like to ask you if I can share my time with the member for Saint-Boniface—Saint-Vital. I am sure he would like to speak to this bill.

Bill C-91, an act respecting indigenous languages, is very important to our government. This bill was studied by the Standing Committee on Procedure and House Affairs, of which I am a member.

I would like to start by acknowledging that we are gathered today on the traditional territory of the Algonquin Anishinaabe people. I am probably not saying that right, so I apologize. I am francophone, and I am sure everyone can hear it.

I am happy to express my support for Bill C-91, an act respecting indigenous languages. This initiative is incredibly important, and it is urgent to take action, especially with regard to the role of elders in the revitalization of indigenous languages. Needless to say, the reason this situation is so urgent is that the number of indigenous elders who speak these languages as their mother tongue keeps shrinking.

With their considerable life experience, elders are held in high regard as wise keepers of language and traditional knowledge. The participants and keepers of indigenous language who contributed to the engagement sessions on indigenous languages legislation last summer emphasized the importance of taking action. In many communities, the situation is critical because the number of people who can speak these languages fluently is shrinking as elders pass away. Hope that the languages can be passed on via oral tradition is fading.

In 2005, the message that emerged from consultations by the Task Force on Aboriginal Languages and Cultures was that taking immediate measures to stem language loss was crucial. That was 14 years ago, and the situation has only become more urgent since. Participants noted that first nations, Inuit and Métis languages had been under attack for at least a century. It goes without saying that revitalizing these languages may take time. Nevertheless, we must set short-term goals and get projects going immediately. Urgent action is needed, but the process is likely to take quite some time.

It goes without saying that there is a need to provide support to indigenous communities and governments to help them act immediately. For example, in the first nations context, one in three seniors reported having an indigenous mother tongue in 2016. By comparison, about one in 10 first nations children aged 10 to 14 had an indigenous mother tongue. That is a huge difference.

Some languages have few remaining speakers of the grandparents' and great-grandparents' generation. While no indigenous languages in Canada are considered safe, it is important to state that language vitality across first nations, Inuit and Métis varies broadly. For example, among the Inuit, a higher percentage of seniors also reported having lnuktitut as their mother tongue, compared to younger generations. However, the Inuit have the highest percentage of mother tongue speakers across all age groups, compared to first nations and Métis.

Less than 2% of the Métis population reported the ability to speak an indigenous language. A higher percentage of Métis seniors reported an aboriginal mother tongue and the ability to speak an aboriginal language, compared with their younger counterparts. Appropriate solutions to support the reclamation, revitalization, strengthening and maintenance of indigenous languages will be determined on the basis of the vitality of a given language, and will be in keeping with the communities' language strategy.

Indigenous elders must play an active role, because they are the ones with the knowledge. The Truth and Reconciliation Commission's final report stated that communities and educational institutions should be prepared to draw on valuable resources from indigenous communities to facilitate the teaching and transmission of indigenous languages.

This is not to say that indigenous languages are completely gone when there are no speakers left. Languages can be revived through the efforts of documentation and archiving. In such cases, elders are the most valuable asset to help build resources for their languages for generations to come.

Take, for example, Peter White, an elder from Naotkamegwanning, who used his expertise and resources to record stories and songs from his elders to preserve them for years to come. People like him are making a valuable contribution to revitalizing these languages.

There is also Bert Crowfoot, from the Aboriginal Multi-Media Society, who saw the importance of preserving language 36 years ago, when he made the decision to safeguard audio and film content on old reel-to-reel tapes, VCR cassettes, old 16-millimetre film and floppy discs that contain storytelling, interviews and music in the Cree language. Today he is helping to direct a project called Digitizing the Ancestors to create a searchable digitized archive. It will be a resource to help future generations learn Cree by hearing voices from the past.

Elders, the carriers of indigenous languages, are also the keepers of the traditional knowledge written into those languages. It is widely recognized that the wisdom of elders is vital to transmitting an authentic interpretation of languages. Elders are known to be the true language experts.

The First Nations Confederacy of Cultural Education Centres reiterated the importance of elders in its report on indigenous languages legislation engagement, stating that elders guide our work and act as language advocates and experts within their communities and on a national scale.

During the engagement sessions that led to this bill, participants often reiterated the importance of engaging elders in any language revitalization efforts.

This legislation provides the flexibility needed to support various levels of linguistic vitality. ln certain situations, this could mean encouraging elders to take part in planning, in activities and in programs. In other situations, it might be just as important to give elders an opportunity to learn their language within their community.

This approach is based on the premise that language revitalization is multifaceted. Several different approaches might be needed to meet the needs of the various segments of the community, ranging from early childhood learning to adult immersion programs.

I will close by simply adding that, sadly, indigenous communities are losing elders every year. We must take action. I call on all hon. members to work together to pass this bill.

2019 Flooding May 3rd, 2019

Mr. Speaker, for over two weeks now, people living along the shores of the Mille Îles river have experienced massive and even record-breaking floods.

I want to acknowledge the outstanding work being done by the mayors and municipal councillors in my region, who have been working tirelessly to help and support their fellow citizens. I also want to thank the municipal employees, first responders, firefighters, police officers, Canadian Armed Forces personnel, MNAs and, above all, the many volunteers who have spared no effort to assist the flood victims.

I also want to acknowledge the city of Sainte-Marthe-sur-le-Lac, located right next to my riding, for immediately offering their assistance.

On behalf of all flood victims and everyone directly or indirectly affected by the flooding, I want to sincerely thank everyone who donated their time and energy. Since the work has only just begun, however, it is critical that we keep helping one another.

Budget Implementation Act, 2019, No. 1 April 30th, 2019

Mr. Speaker, I thank my hon. colleague for his question.

Indeed, I made a point of talking about seniors in my speech on the budget today because many seniors live in certain cities in my riding. All the changes to the guaranteed income supplement will make a difference in the lives of those seniors. It is important that they be able to earn some extra income without compromising their eligibility for the GIS. That is important. Some seniors have told me that they would have liked to work just a bit, one day a week, but they would be no further ahead at the end of the year after filing their tax returns.

The new horizons program has been doubled. It is making a difference in our communities. Seniors are less isolated and are able to take part in many activities. I could go on. As for private pension plans, we plan to bring in measures to ensure their solvency.

Budget Implementation Act, 2019, No. 1 April 30th, 2019

Mr. Speaker, I thank my hon. colleague for her very relevant question.

I know my hon. colleague's riding is in Montreal, and mine is located in the suburbs north of Montreal, so I understand her concerns.

We recently introduced the national housing strategy. It is the first of its kind and will tackle this problem over a 10-year period. Yes, there is a shortage of social housing, but existing units can also be renovated, which will help keep our housing stock up. It will take some time for that to happen, but all ridings will get additional housing.

Budget Implementation Act, 2019, No. 1 April 30th, 2019

Mr. Speaker, I thank my hon. colleague for his question.

I understand his concern about refugees. It is a very important issue. However, I would prefer to talk about a matter that we do not agree on, and that is putting a price on pollution and ensuring that all polluters in Canada pay the real cost. All of this will ensure that future generations, our children and grandchildren, will have an environment where they can grow and have a healthy future.

Budget Implementation Act, 2019, No. 1 April 30th, 2019

Mr. Speaker, I am very pleased to rise today. Before I begin, I would like express support for those of my constituents who are experiencing extreme flooding and for the people of Sainte-Marthe-sur-le-Lac, who are facing major challenges.

Today, I am honoured to have the opportunity to talk about our government's plan to invest in the middle class and create an economy that works for everyone.

The purpose of Bill C-97 is to implement key measures in the 2019 budget. Canadians can see that they made the right choice. Canada's economy is now among the most dynamic in the G7. Canadians have created over 900,000 jobs, and middle-class families are better off. The economy is stronger; more good, well-paid, middle-class jobs are available; and people working hard to join the middle class are getting more help. People of all ages can be proud to live and work in our economy.

As we all know, Canadian seniors have contributed a great deal to their communities throughout their lives. They have a wealth of knowledge, experience and skills that they can continue to share.

Budget 2019 recognizes the contribution that seniors have made, and we are showing our support for them by investing in their well-being. Unlike the previous government, which wanted to raise the age of retirement, our government made a commitment to help seniors. Budget 2019 helps seniors get actively involved in society, including taking paid work if they wish, and will help them transition to retirement when they decide to leave the workforce.

Furthermore, we want to make low-income seniors more financially secure if they decide to remain in the workforce. Our government understands that many seniors choose to remain in the workforce after retirement. Some do so to maintain social ties to their communities, while others like earning extra income to spend on their children or grandchildren. Some simply love what they do and want to continue doing it, which is good for our society. No matter the reason, we all benefit from their skills.

Sadly, some seniors are penalized for choosing to stay at work. The government reduces their guaranteed income supplement benefits or allowance for every dollar earned over the annual GIS earnings exemption of $3,500.

Self-employment income is not eligible for the exemption under existing law. That means they lose their hard-earned income. The bill we are debating today would fix that problem. It would allow seniors to keep more of their GIS benefits or allowance and more of what they earn by enhancing the GIS earnings exemption beginning with the July 2020-21 benefit year.

This measure would extend eligibility for the earnings exemption to self-employment income. It would increase the amount of the annual exemption from $3,500 to $5,000. This measure includes a partial exemption of 50%, to apply on up to $10,000 of annual employment and self-employment income beyond the $5,000 threshold. That means eligible seniors could get a full or partial exemption on up to $15,000 of income. In Rivière-des-Mille-Îles, this measure will change seniors' lives. Seniors who want to continue working will be able to keep more money in their pockets.

We also want to empower seniors in their communities. Our government recognizes that not all seniors can or want to remain in the workforce. We know that those who retire often face isolation in their retirement years, a situation sometimes made worse by ageism, poor health, reduced mobility, poverty and even abuse. Fortunately, we can help improve matters.

My colleagues are surely aware of the new horizons for seniors program. It seeks to eliminate barriers to inclusion and mobilize seniors within their communities with initiatives ranging from new equipment for seniors centres to financial literacy classes and volunteer opportunities, to name just a few.

I have some examples from the riding of Rivière-des-Mille-Îles, from Deux-Montagnes, Saint-Eustache, Boisbriand and Rosemère. The Heritage Social Club received $25,000 to renovate its roof. Four Corners received $23,000 to convert their facilities. There is also the Centre d'action bénévole, the Cœurs joyeux club in Saint-Eustache, the Centre d'entraide Racine-Lavoie, and the Maison des citoyens in Deux-Montagnes. There are many examples of organizations like these that are changing the lives of our seniors.

Budget 2019 proposes significant additional funding of $100 million over five years and $20 million every year thereafter for the new horizons for seniors program. This additional funding will ensure that the program can continue to improve seniors' quality of life and better promote the participation and inclusion of older Canadians in their community and their workplace.

One more thing we are doing for seniors is making sure that those who are entitled to Canada pension plan benefits receive them. Isolation can have real consequences for seniors, including financial ones. Isolation or a lack of support are among the reasons why some seniors are late in applying for their pension or do not apply at all. They miss out on receiving their CPP benefits.

The CPP is a key pillar of Canada's retirement system. It provides retired Canadians with a secure, predictable income and peace of mind. Canadian workers currently need to apply to receive their CPP benefits. To help Canadian workers receive the full value of the CPP pension to which they contributed, the 2019 budget implementation bill would proactively enrol CPP contributors who are 70 or older in 2020 who are entitled to their pension. If they have not yet applied, they will receive their benefits. We will make sure that all seniors receive the CPP benefits they are entitled to.

We want to protect Canadians' pension plans. Budget 2019 goes even further so that those who contributed to a pension plan actually receive their benefits. Measures set out in this budget will ensure that the employer's defined benefit plan offers a stable and secure income and the dignified retirement Canadians expect after a lifetime of hard work.

In recent years, we have seen how the security of some private pension plans is put at risk when an employer goes bankrupt. In order to give Canadians greater peace of mind about their retirement, the budget implementation bill proposes new measures to enhance the security of workplace pension plans in the event that the company goes bankrupt.

The measures proposed in Budget 2019 will make insolvency proceedings fairer, more transparent and more accessible for pensioners and workers. They will set higher expectations for, and better oversight of, the behaviour of federally incorporated firms. They will strengthen pension security and the viability of federally regulated pensions.

In summary, for our seniors, the 2019 budget proposals build on our government's strong record of ensuring retirement security for Canadians so that they can enjoy the dignified retirement they deserve after a lifetime of hard work. These proposals are also an important part of our government's plan to create an economy that works for everyone, including seniors.

There is one more very important thing in budget 2019. Our government is introducing the Canada training benefit, a new tool that will help working Canadians find the time and money to upgrade their skills and progress in their careers.

The benefit will enable working Canadians to take four weeks of training every four years and will provide up to $1,000 to help pay for training. The income support will help them cover loss of income. They will have the security of knowing they have a job to come back to when their training is done.

The bill before us proposes the first phase, the Canada training credit. For people who are currently in school, budget 2019 is also investing in 84,000 new work placements per year to help young people acquire new skills and build their resumés.

In closing, Canada's labour market and economy are evolving. With budget 2019 and Bill C-97, we are helping students and workers of all ages prepare for good jobs now and in the future.

Criminal Records Act April 8th, 2019

Mr. Speaker, I paid close attention to my hon. colleague. Earlier, he talked about legalizing cannabis. We consulted people in my riding, and this was a major policy shift in Canada.

My colleague talked about problems associated with cannabis consumption and mental health as well. In his view, how will legalization and the government's direction on this enable researchers to do more research aimed at avoiding any links there might be to mental health?