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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 2021, with 35% of the vote.

Statements in the House

Business of Supply January 31st, 2019

Madam Speaker, today I have the pleasure of speaking to the opposition motion.

I will be sharing my time with the member for Kingston and the Islands.

I am happy to have a chance to talk about the impact that our government's investments in housing are having in Quebec.

Last week, the Minister of Families, Children and Social Development was in Montreal to announce three new affordable housing projects valued at more than $27.6 million. One of these projects will provide housing for 78 families and individuals, including newcomers.

It is very exciting to see community partners coming together to support this project by the Société de gestion Querbes. The Caisse d'économie solidaire Desjardins is also contributing to this project, and the Regroupement des organismes du Montréal ethnique pour le logement, or ROMEL, will offer a wide range of support services to the newcomers who will be living in this building.

This project is a great example of what can be achieved through the national housing strategy, a suite of unprecedented federal housing investments in communities across Quebec and Canada. From coast to coast to coast, the national housing strategy offers housing solutions that meet local needs and are supported by the community.

Another great example is a building slated for construction this March in Quebec City. It will have 131 rooms for emergency and support services for homeless and vulnerable individuals, as well as 18 transitional housing units for people living with a mental health condition. Services will be provided by Maison de Lauberivière, and a $32.5-million joint investment by the governments of Canada, Quebec and Quebec City will cover construction costs.

More and more projects like this are taking shape, and more and more families are moving into quality affordable housing units located in inclusive communities. Other projects will be announced in the coming weeks for Quebec. These innovative projects will meet the needs of vulnerable people and middle-class families.

Like all provinces, Quebec has affordable housing issues and not enough affordable housing to meet demand. In Montreal, that might mean there is a need for more affordable housing for newcomer families and at-risk populations. In the regions, recent consultations revealed needs that are different but just as worrisome.

In September 2017, we were fortunate to have a visit from the minister. He consulted with people in the community, including homeless people, people in vulnerable situations, and representatives of affordable housing groups. When it comes to housing, we often talk about metropolitan areas and the regions, but the suburbs have their own challenges. That is why the minister came to hear what stakeholders in my region had to say and get a feel for the situation. There are some very worrisome housing situations in my riding, particularly in Longueuil, where there is a shortage of accessible housing for seniors.

The low vacancy rate in Canada makes it clear that the supply of housing is insufficient to meet the growing demand. As a result, the cost of rent has gone up, which is making life increasingly difficult for those struggling to make ends meet.

As the Minister of Families, Children and Social Development said earlier, our government recognized right from day one that people across the country are having trouble finding suitable, affordable, good-quality housing. That is a serious problem that threatens the well-being of our families, our communities and our economy. That is why we started to make historic investments in our very first budget in 2016.

Since then, the Government of Canada has invested $5.7 billion across Canada, including $996 million in Quebec. Those investments have resulted in more, higher-quality affordable housing for 362,000 households, including families, seniors, women and children fleeing domestic violence, indigenous people, people with disabilities, people with mental health problems and addiction issues, and, of course, veterans and young adults.

Now the national housing strategy, which is currently being implemented, will have an even greater impact on the lives of Quebeckers.

As the minister mentioned earlier, this is a 10-year, $40-billion plan that will create 100,000 new housing units and help 530,000 families in housing need. While the member for Saskatoon West would like to see a greater emphasis on the construction of new housing, we know that it will take more than that to solve our housing problems.

We need to reinvest in renovating existing affordable housing so that families can keep living in them, without having to worry about overcrowding, drafty windows, mould behind the walls or dangerous staircases. That is why our plan will help repair and renew over 300,000 housing units.

The NDP platform makes no mention of reinvesting in existing housing and renovation. That is an important detail.

Our plan recognizes that tackling chronic homelessness requires more than just new construction. Our plan includes a comprehensive strategy to reduce it by 50%. I have already talked about homelessness in my riding. Consultations have been held regarding Canada's homelessness strategy, and the community shelter in Saint-Eustache is going to receive $281,000 between 2015 and 2019 so it can address homelessness in Saint-Eustache and the Lower Laurentians.

The national housing co-investment fund is a major pillar of the plan that supports the two projects I mentioned earlier. The objectives of the fund are ambitious, namely to build up to 60,000 affordable homes and to repair up to 240,000 existing affordable and community homes over the next 10 years.

This program focuses on local partnerships that meet the community's unique needs. We are supporting projects that bring together all levels of government, private and non-profit housing providers, and many community organizations.

In addition to this fund, there is the rental construction financing initiative, which provides low-interest loans specifically designed for developers to encourage the construction of more than 14,000 housing units in areas where the need is clearly demonstrated. By 2021, this initiative will have received $3.75 billion, which will be used to develop rental housing projects.

The $2-million affordable housing innovation fund is another initiative brought in by our government. It was launched in 2016 and will be used to finance 4,000 new housing units through new funding models and innovative building techniques.

These programs, all run by the Canada Mortgage and Housing Corporation, prioritize projects that exceed requirements in terms of affordability, accessibility and energy efficiency.

Quebec families trying to make ends meet will benefit the most from this fund. Investing in solutions to meet their housing needs will also benefit Quebec's economy. It will create employment in the residential construction and renovation sectors. It will also make communities more equitable, inclusive and prosperous.

Housing partnership agreements reached with the provinces and territories are another key element of our plan. We are working very closely with the newly elected Quebec government and discussions are well under way. The two levels of government are negotiating with Quebeckers' needs and interests in mind.

I am extremely proud of the collaboration and productive partnerships fostered by the national housing strategy. Developers from both the private and non-profit sectors are behind us and are keen to be part of this movement, which will make our communities stronger, more inclusive and more resilient. Best of all, a growing number of Quebeckers will be getting an affordable and better built home.

I hope that all members, especially my colleagues representing Quebeckers, will be asked to support the national housing strategy and to encourage people in their ridings to take advantage of the incredible opportunities afforded by the strategy.

Business of Supply January 31st, 2019

Madam Speaker, I am happy to have a question for my hon. colleague from Essex.

Homelessness is one of the challenges facing my riding. Believe it or not, homelessness is a real problem in Rivière-des-Mille-Îles. In their 2015 platform, the New Democrats said nothing about how they would address homelessness. All they said was that they would boost funding by $10 million. We, the Liberals, have doubled the funding invested in the fight against homelessness.

I would like my colleague to comment on that.

Credit Card Fairness Act January 29th, 2019

Mr. Speaker, I am pleased to rise to speak to Bill C-419, an act to amend the Bank Act, the Trust and Loan Companies Act, the Insurance Companies Act and the Cooperative Credit Associations Act. My colleagues may not know this, but I have studied the issue of credit cards extensively. Today's subject definitely interests me.

I would like to point out that many of the measures included in the bill before us today already appear in the budget implementation act. However, since this is very serious subject, a lot of consultation with the provinces and territories is needed.

As I said, certain specific measures are already included as part of the consumer protection measures in the Bank Act, as they were introduced as part of the package of measures included in Bill C-86, A second Act to implement certain provisions of the budget tabled in Parliament on February 27, 2018 and other measures, which received royal assent on December 13, 2018.

For example, Bill C-419 proposes that a bank must obtain the consumer's consent before increasing the credit limit on a credit card and provide written confirmation if consent is given verbally. That is important. They must not increase the limit on a credit card without the consent of the consumer. The written consent is important, and we have already added this requirement to existing protections.

The bill also proposes to require the disclosure of specific information in credit card advertising, including annual interest rates. This requirement is a duplication of existing requirements, including the obligation to disclose the annual interest rate and other interest expenses in advertising.

I will go back to what my colleague said at the outset. This text amends the Bank Act, the Trust and Loan Companies Act, and all other legislation I mentioned earlier. When Canadians deal with their financial institutions, they want their information to be protected, the goods and services to meet the highest standards and the fees they pay to be fair. First and foremost, people must know what they are getting themselves into with their credit card.

For more than a decade, the previous Conservative government failed to make any significant changes to Canada's consumer protection standards despite the major technological changes that would have made them possible.

In the wake of an extensive review of bank sales practices and broad consultations with the provinces and territories, our government took significant measures to promote Canadians' rights and interests. That is important. We always talk about the middle class. Credit cards are a method of payment and it is important that they be subject to the same rules and that people know how to use them.

Our government's decision to implement a new set of rules to protect Canadians when they use their financial institution represents the most significant change since the creation of the Financial Consumer Agency of Canada in 2001.

Conservative MPs refused to defend Canadian consumers when they formed the government. They have no real plan to defend them now.

The bill that our colleague introduced proposes two sets of amendments to federal legislation regarding financial institutions and credit cards. The first would limit credit card interest rates for consumers by reducing the amount of interest to be paid when a borrower pays 95% of his or her outstanding balance; by applying the lowest interest rate on purchases when interest rates change during a billing cycle; and by requiring lenders to apply all payments to the portion of the balance with the highest interest rate. This is an important part of the proposal. The Banking Act already requires banks to apply payments either to the balance with the highest interest rate or to prorate it to each unpaid balance.

The second set of amendments imposes new disclosure and business practice requirements. The bill would require that lenders disclose the total of all amounts of interest paid by a borrower for the previous 12 billing cycles and that credit card advertisements clearly indicate the interest rate, fees and any applicable discounts. Other amendments would require that cardholders give their consent before their credit limit can be increased. I spoke about that earlier. It is a very important measure. There are also amendments that would require that cardholders have an electronic means to decrease the credit limit on their card if a bank provides online banking.

Our government is working hard to protect consumers. As part of our ongoing efforts to improve the consumer protection framework, our government recently completed an important review and update of the consumer protection framework under the Bank Act and the Financial Consumer Agency of Canada Act. It is important to remember that this had not been done since 2001 and that we have been working on this since we took office.

The measures to be added to the previous Bank Act will be based on the information in two reports prepared by the Financial Consumer Agency of Canada, the FCAC. The first report consisted of an exhaustive review of bank sales practices, and the second reviewed the best practices in financial consumer protection. Our government was also guided by an important study carried out by the Standing Committee on Finance on consumer protection and bank practices.

The Standing Committee on Finance works very hard. Ten parliamentarians meet at least twice a week and work on reports. These people come to an agreement before making recommendations. They meet with many witnesses. When the Standing Committee on Finance, or any House committee, prepares a report, 10 parliamentarians study everything in the report to ensure that the recommendations made to the minister will improve legislation. This is done by mutual agreement.

Consultations are also needed with the provinces and territories to update the consumer protection rules. Bill C-419 introduced by our colleague across the aisle has not been the subject of extensive consultations with stakeholders, including provincial and territorial governments. This is in contrast to what was done to prepare for the most recent measure we put in place. Consultations with the provinces and territories are essential. I cannot stress that enough. These are not things that are easily changed. Consultations, witnesses and experts are needed. It is important to ensure that everything complies with all the previous rules, as well as the laws already in force. Every possible impact of amending legislation as complex as the Bank Act must be considered, as it governs banking institutions.

Business of Supply January 29th, 2019

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

Like me, he strongly believes in investing in science. He believes that innovation brings change, which is absolutely the case. We have created 800,000 jobs since 2015. That is a lot. The unemployment rate is at its lowest in 40 years. Yes, this is working. We must invest in small business, in innovation, in training and in superclusters.

Business of Supply January 29th, 2019

Mr. Speaker, we have a plan, and we have presented budgets. The Bloc Québécois opposed these budgets. I have to wonder how my colleague opposite, who, like me, lives in Quebec, feels about having voted against the Canada child benefit. This is a tax-free benefit that has significantly helping families in my riding and in his.

Business of Supply January 29th, 2019

Mr. Speaker, I know what my colleague is referring to, but since we are talking about SMEs, I would remind members that we lowered their tax rate to 10% on January 1, 2018, and lowered again to 9% on January 1, 2019. Yes, we are working for SMEs.

Business of Supply January 29th, 2019

Mr. Speaker, our plan is working. We have created 800,000 new jobs, pushing unemployment to its lowest level in 40 years and giving Canada one of the highest economic growth rates in the G7.

Our debt relative to the size of our economy is clearly on a downward track. Recent reports have shown that our plan is working. Last year's positive economic results have a significant impact on our long-term projections.

Business of Supply January 29th, 2019

Mr. Speaker, I will be sharing my time with my colleague from Kingston and the Islands.

I often wonder what newspaper my colleague from Carleton, who moved today's motion, reads. He clearly does not read all the news and wants to breed uncertainty among the Canadians watching us today.

Canadians made a choice in 2015. They chose a plan to invest in the economy, strengthen and grow the middle class, and provide real support for those who are working hard to join the middle class.

Since 2015, the government has continued to focus on the middle class and on helping make life more affordable for hard-working Canadian families.

The government lowered taxes for the middle class and increased taxes on the wealthiest Canadians in order to allow Canadians to save more money, invest and help grow the economy.

To help families with the cost of raising children, the government created the tax-free Canada child benefit, or CCB, in 2016, and we indexed it to increases in the cost of living as of 2018, which was two years earlier than planned. In the riding of Rivière-des-Mille-Îles, 10,270 CCB payments have been made, totalling nearly $6 million a year, for an average of $6,840 per family. This makes a big difference for all families.

I would like to tell you about the Boisbriand family. The mom, Sabrina, has three wonderful little girls aged three, six and nine. She works for the Government of Quebec, and her husband is a retail sales director. Every month, they get $1,350, which makes a big difference when it comes to paying for their children's activities and school supplies and making the investments they want to make for their family.

I would also like to emphasize that our government recognizes the importance of fiscal responsibility and a strong fiscal position.

I would like to remind the member that, before we took office, the Canadian economy was struggling. When I was knocking on doors in 2015, the economy was sluggish. That is what people were saying. Half of the jobs in my riding were precarious. In late 2015 and early 2016, national and international economic conditions pointed to Canada slipping into yet another general recession. Canadians were apprehensive about their future.

That is why the government took immediate and decisive action to address the growth problems and respond to Canadians' concerns by doing what needed to be done, which meant investing in Canadians, in communities, in the economy and in Canada's future.

In 2016, in our first budget, the government took a head-on approach to tackling the challenges faced by Canadians and the Canadian economy. We focused on a certain number of key principles with a view to strengthening the middle class and Canada's economy.

First, we took advantage of record low interest rates to make responsible, targeted investments that will stimulate the economy over the long term. These investments were intended to stimulate robust growth, increase employment and create more opportunities for Canadians across the country.

Our efforts yielded real results. For instance, over the past three years, thanks to their hard work, Canadians have created more than 800,000 new jobs, bringing the unemployment rate to its lowest level in over 40 years. This year, we expect Canada to have one of the fastest-growing economies in the G7 once again. The government is also committed to advancing gender quality, which will support growth in Canadian businesses.

We lowered the small business tax rate to 10% as of January 1, 2018, and we reduced it again to 9% as of January 1, 2019.

We signed new, modern trade agreements, namely the CPTPP, CETA and the USMCA, which will create more economic opportunities for Canadians.

Canada is making historic investments in infrastructure, innovation, science, research, and training and skills development.

However, to maintain that momentum and remain competitive in a complex global economy, Canada needs to become even more innovative.

We need to be more open to the world of science, technology, engineering and math. Today, we need to work together to achieve even better results than we thought possible.

In budget 2017, the government launched the innovation and skills plan to build an economy that benefits everyone, an economy where Canadians have access to good quality jobs and Canadian businesses are well placed to compete in a rapidly evolving global market.

Over the past 18 months, the innovation and skills plan has made it possible to launch the pan-Canadian artificial intelligence strategy to ensure that Canada remains a global leader in that field.

Montreal is home to the artificial intelligence supercluster. Many businesses in my riding benefit from that supercluster. Take, for example, Kinova, which manufactures robotic arms. Those are really good jobs that attract a lot of people to my region.

The global skills strategy was also launched under that plan, ensuring that companies can have more predictable access to top talent.

Our innovation and skills plan also helped create six new economic strategy tables that serve as a new model for industry-government collaboration, and five new innovation superclusters around the country that have created tens of thousands of middle-class jobs.

To make the most of this plan, we need to focus more on the foundation of innovation, namely, science. That sector was completely ignored by the previous government.

A strong science sector is the pillar for the discoveries and innovations that improve our world, such as new medical therapies, quantum computing technologies and new agricultural practices, to name just a few.

We expect these investments to lead to greater benefits for all Canadians.

In closing, all of these policies correspond to promises we made to Canadians during our mandate. We made these investments because it was the right thing to do for Canadians, to create jobs for the middle class and build a stronger economy.

As we have seen, when we invest in Canadians, when we give them the tools they need to succeed, they contribute by working hard and generate economic outcomes that are among the best we have seen in a generation.

Together, we are strengthening the middle class, ensuring its growth and helping those working hard to join it. We are giving Canadians the help they need to succeed by making targeted investments to grow our economy for the long term, while keeping the debt-to-GDP ratio on a downward track.

That is what Canadians expect from us, that is what we promised and that is exactly what we are doing.

Business of Supply January 29th, 2019

With help from the EI fund.

Business of Supply January 29th, 2019

Mr. Speaker, the member for Portneuf—Jacques-Cartier gave a very interesting speech.

I did some research on La Fontaine's fable, The Fox and the Crow. The moral of that fable is this:

The flatterer
lives at the expense of those who will listen to him.

The Conservatives should be careful about what they are proposing.

Does my colleague know that his riding received 12,780 tax-free child benefit payments and that the average payment was $5,760?

We created 800,000 new jobs in Canada. The unemployment rate is the lowest it has been in 40 years. Our debt-to-GDP ratio is on a downward track. We are in the right place.

My colleague said earlier that he did not want to say what his party's plan will be. Will the Conservatives make a commitment? All they do is criticize the government. What is their plan?