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Crucial Fact

  • Her favourite word was languages.

Last in Parliament March 2011, as Liberal MP for LaSalle—Émard (Québec)

Lost her last election, in 2011, with 27% of the vote.

Statements in the House

Political Financing March 7th, 2011

Mr. Speaker, the Minister of Intergovernmental Affairs is not the only one to have extorted repayment from taxpayers as part of the Conservatives' scheme.

Her colleagues from Beauce, Charlesbourg—Haute-Saint-Charles, Lévis—Bellechasse and Lotbinière—Chutes-de-la-Chaudière were also reimbursed tens of thousands of dollars that they did not deserve.

What are the Conservatives waiting for to pay taxpayers back for these ill-gotten funds?

Political Financing March 7th, 2011

Mr. Speaker, it is already shameful enough that the Conservatives cheated our electoral process by committing electoral fraud in 67 ridings to the tune of more than $1 million. To add insult to injury, the Conservatives had the gall to make taxpayers repay the bogus expenses.

Will the Minister of Intergovernmental Affairs give taxpayers back the thousands of dollars that she received fraudulently?

Free Public Transit for Seniors Act February 18th, 2011

Mr. Speaker, I am pleased to have the opportunity today to speak to Bill C-449, An Act regarding free public transit for seniors, which was introduced by my colleague from Hull—Aylmer. I would like to begin by thanking and congratulating the member for bringing the matter of transportation for seniors before the House.

Why is this debate so important? Because it seeks to find a solution, one of many initiatives that, when combined, will help make seniors independent. This solution seeks to counter the isolation of seniors who, all too often, do not leave their homes because they do not have the means to do so. They too should have the opportunity to enjoy the activities offered in their community.

I recently read the 2006 Statistics Canada report entitled, “A Portrait of Seniors in Canada”. Two items caught my attention. The first is that 62% of the Canadian population lives in Ontario and Quebec. The second, is that seven out of ten seniors live in urban areas, in centres with at least 50,000 residents. As most municipalities of this size have a public transit system, providing free public transit to seniors in off-peak hours is a timely issue.

I was also interested in the percentage of women who are seniors. I will explain. Women account for 52% of the population between the ages of 65 and 69. This percentage increases with age and reaches 75%. In addition, we know that older women who live alone often have a lower income, especially in Quebec and British Columbia. The Mouvement des aînés du Québec is very concerned about the financial insecurity of women.

In the section that discusses seniors' access to transportation, the Statistics Canada study also shows that the gap between senior men and women is quite significant in older age groups. For example, among seniors between the ages of 75 and 84, 83% of men drove a vehicle to which they had access, compared to only 45% of women. Among men 85 years and older, twice as many men drove a vehicle in their household to which they had access, or 66% of men compared to 33% of women. These differences between men and women are not really surprising because senior men are much more likely to have a valid driver's licence than women. A lower proportion of men than women have never driven a vehicle in their life.

Thus, transportation is becoming increasingly and proportionally important as our population ages. The proposal made by my colleague from Hull—Aylmer is laudable, realistic and achievable. Seniors already face many challenges that would not even occur to younger people. However, one day we will all face the problem of being unable to access basic social services. I am talking about attending doctors appointments, going to the pharmacy, getting around to do volunteer work in the community, getting groceries and so on. We take our ability to do these day-to-day activities for granted until we are forced to deal with the reality of aging.

This reality can have even more profound consequences when it comes to family and friends. How can seniors remain socially active and maintain their independence if they cannot leave home because they do not have access to public transportation? Not all seniors can afford to take a taxi every time they need to go somewhere. Few seniors have the luxury of a family member or friend who is available all the time to drive them around.

Access to public transportation becomes a major issue, especially for seniors who no longer have their driver's licence. Not only do they feel disadvantaged, but they also feel dependent and isolated. Transportation for seniors presents special challenges and is an issue that requires urgent attention. Our colleague's proposal deserves further study.

I realize this issue might overlap on provincial jurisdictions, as our colleagues from the Bloc did not hesitate to point out. However, I think the problem transcends the issue of jurisdictions.

The needs of our seniors are real and are not going away. On the contrary, their needs are growing as the population ages.

I know that the hon. member for Hull—Aylmer is open to amending Bill C-449 in order to have the Minister of Finance look at ways to establish a trust to help make public transit free for seniors.

Our Liberal critic for seniors has also made the following observations: people are living much longer and families are living much further apart because the children often have to leave their home region in order to find work. These new realities present challenges that we must face.

It is not by building mega-prisons, purchasing F-35s, or cutting taxes for wealthy corporations that we will be helping our seniors in Canada.

Not only must we focus our efforts on our country's economic growth, but we must respond to the real challenges of Canadians, the needs of families.

I support the bill introduced by the hon. member for Hull—Aylmer because it addresses a real problem for a growing segment of our society and because it proposes a solution that is worth looking at in committee.

I am calling for the support of this House to send Bill C-449 to committee.

International Co-operation February 18th, 2011

Mr. Speaker, following the tsunami in Indonesia, Development and Peace helped rebuild 3,000 victims' homes. Nearly half of Development and Peace's aid goes to South America, more than one-third goes to Africa and the rest goes primarily to Asia. Canadians did not give anyone the mandate to abandon the poorest people in the world.

How can the Conservatives have the gall to attack an organization of such merit and, on top of it all, commit fraud to do it?

International Co-operation February 18th, 2011

Mr. Speaker, it is serious enough that the Minister of International Cooperation falsified documents and misled the House, but it is even more disturbing to see who the minister attacked with her fraudulent ways.

Since 1967, Development and Peace has undertaken nearly 14,000 projects and delivered over $440 million in international aid. Denying funding to KAIROS hurts Development and Peace.

What do the Conservatives have against Development and Peace?

Pensions February 4th, 2011

Mr. Speaker, there is nothing but rhetoric coming from the Conservatives when it comes to pensioners, when in fact the Conservatives have not provided any help for them. On the contrary, they failed them on income trusts, they tried to cut the guaranteed income supplement and now the government is telling the 75% of the population who do not have a pension plan to get lost.

Why are the Conservatives abandoning Canadian families when it comes to old age security?

Pensions February 4th, 2011

Mr. Speaker, after five years, the Conservatives have done nothing to offer real help for Canadian pensioners.

Their proposed plan will help some people, banks and insurance companies, giving them even higher profits, but it will leave 75% of Canadians who do not have a private pension plan without retirement security.

Why will the Prime Minister not drop his long-standing opposition to the CPP and help middle-class Canadian families?

François Langlois February 2nd, 2011

Mr. Speaker, I am pleased to have the opportunity to mark a remarkable achievement by a citizen of LaSalle, the third Quebecker to reach the seven summits and one of the170 climbers who have scaled the highest peaks on the seven continents. François Langlois accomplished this feat in December when he reached the summit of the Vinson Massif in Antarctica.

In 10 years of adventures, this philanthropist and explorer has collected more than $4 million for sick children. Born prematurely with respiratory difficulties, he spent a month in an incubator fighting for his life. When starting out on his expedition to the top of Mount Everest, he promised to give back to children.

Mission accomplished for François Langlois who, during his expeditions, has always remembered the seriously ill children he has met on his hospital visits.

On behalf of my colleagues in the House, I wish to congratulate him for his grit and determination and thank him for his great generosity.

Questions Passed as Orders for Return January 31st, 2011

)With regard to the Minister of Public Works and Government Services and Minister for Status of Women, what are the exact, line-by-line details of all travel and hospitality expenses incurred by the Minister and all exempt staff since January 1, 2009?

Questions Passed as Orders for Return January 31st, 2011

With regard to Foreign Affairs and International Trade Canada, what grants and contributions under $25,000 did the department award from January 1, 2009, to the present, including the recipient's name, the date, the amount and the description?