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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

International Cooperation April 28th, 2010

Mr. Speaker, we could save 70,000 lives per year.

The Minister for La Francophonie says that the WHO does not talk about abortion. That is absolutely false. The WHO agrees with the Canadian position of the past 25 years. This government is tampering with the Canadian position to satisfy the ultra-religious lobby. This is a step backwards straight into the Duplessis era. Women, and not the Prime Minister, must control their bodies.

What right does the Prime Minister have to interfere in the medical decisions of African women?

International Cooperation April 28th, 2010

Mr. Speaker, yesterday, the National Assembly unanimously supported our position to maintain the consensus that has existed for 25 years. However, the Prime Minister wants to cut funding to NGOs that support African women's right to choose, even if they have been raped. We know that systematic rape is used as a weapon of war in many African conflicts.

How can we claim to defend maternal health while taking away the right of African women who have been raped to control their bodies?

Access to Information April 21st, 2010

Mr. Speaker, this government is mired in a Conservative culture of deceit.

The Privy Council Office, in other words, the Prime Minister's own department, refused to respond to a quarter of the requests for access to information. Under the legislation, a request requires a response within 30 days. In the Prime Minister's case, two times out of three, it takes 120 days.

When will the Prime Minister stop encouraging this Conservative culture of deceit?

Access to Information April 21st, 2010

Mr. Speaker, the Information Commissioner has placed Foreign Affairs and International Trade Canada on red alert when it comes to access to information. We talk about a red alert because the usual criteria no longer adequately describe what is going on.

Nearly 60% of all requests took so long to be processed that they became outdated. It takes an average of 163 days for a request to be completed. That is censorship.

Will the minister stop engaging in a Conservative culture of deceit?

Afghanistan April 16th, 2010

Mr. Speaker, when Mr. Gillani, a fraudster and known criminal, made allegations against a minister, the Prime Minister called the police.

When Richard Colvin, a career diplomat who has served our country for over 20 years, brought forward evidence of torture in Afghan prisons and of the wilful blindness of the Prime Minister, the Prime Minister attacked him.

Why believe a criminal but attack the reputation of a distinguished Canadian diplomat?

Afghanistan April 16th, 2010

Mr. Speaker, new revelations about torture in Afghan prisons are all pointing in the same direction.

Richard Colvin, Cory Anderson, Nicholas Gosselin, military police officers and the interpreters who accompany our troops on the ground—all of these people, under oath, have clearly said that abuse was common, that the government was aware and that it willingly turned a blind eye.

The Prime Minister is responsible, but he would rather blame Canadian troops.

When will we see the public inquiry that Canadians are calling for?

Quebec Entrepreneurship Competition April 16th, 2010

Mr. Speaker, on Thursday, during the awards gala for the south-west Montreal Island division of the Concours québécois en entrepreneuriat, two organizations from my riding, LaSalle—Émard, were awarded prizes.

The Bistro Monk cooperative won the social economy prize, and the Crepeblin Inc. factory won first prize in the bio-food category.

This gala has been a fixture in our community for 19 years. In that time, it has helped stimulate and encourage entrepreneurship and new business development.

I am therefore very proud and excited to congratulate Bistro Monk and its board of directors, Patrick Martineau, Suzie Boulanger, Lucie Martineau and Martin Martineau, as well as Crepeblin Inc. and its owners, Irina Malyavina and Viktoria Koulia.

On behalf of the people of LaSalle—Émard, I wish them every success in the coming years.

Bullying April 14th, 2010

Mr. Speaker, today is Canada's Anti-Bullying Day, also known as Pink Shirt Day. The tradition of wearing pink shirts to protest bullying originally started in 2007, when students at a Nova Scotia high school took a firm stand against bullying.

On his first day of school, a grade 9 boy was bullied and harassed simply for wearing a pink shirt.

On the very next day, following the leadership of grade twelvers, hundreds of students from that high school started wearing pink shirts to symbolize their stand against bullying.

This story is proof that intimidation and bullying can be overcome. It is proof that little tyrants can be defeated when people of goodwill take up a cause. Intimidation has no place in our society, whether it comes from adults or children.

By standing together, we can defeat bullies.

Broadcasting Act and the Telecommunications Act March 26th, 2010

Mr. Speaker, before I begin my speech about Bill C-444, I would like to take a moment to mention Purple Day, which was started two years ago by a young girl named Cassidy Megan, from Halifax.

I am wearing purple today because of Cassidy Megan. I want to show my support for adults and children with epilepsy, and I want to promote information campaigns about this illness that affects an average of 15,500 Canadians each year. Thank you, Cassidy.

Unlike our colleagues across the way, we understand the value of culture. We know that we not only need to support it, but we also need to strengthen it in every way possible.

Previous cuts to the PromArt program, which allowed Canadian artists to promote their work and their culture abroad, and the Trade Routes program, which provided support to artistic and cultural entrepreneurs, were a slap in the face to artists and all Canadians. These cuts demonstrated the Conservative government's inability to understand the arts and its irresponsibility in this sector.

After seeing their budget, it is even more obvious that the Prime Minister and the Conservatives have no idea about culture and have not listened to the many demands from the public about this. This should not surprise us, however, because their decisions have shown that they have no interest in culture and attach no importance to it. It is the same with environmental issues. They just do not understand. If you keep artists from performing internationally, you are keeping our culture from international recognition. You are badmouthing our heritage.

Our party, the Liberal Party of Canada, believes in increasing support for Canadian artists and cultural organizations, especially in this new era of the digital economy.

However, there is another topic that concerns me today and that is Bill C-444 and the impact it will have on the Canadian Radio-television and Telecommunications Commission as well as on culture.

The CRTC was created to defend and promote Canadians' attitudes, opinions, ideas, values and artistic talents. All of these things are the result of our country's history, its geographic location, its institutions and, above all, its linguistic and cultural diversity.

The CRTC's role is to ensure that both the broadcasting and telecommunications systems serve the Canadian public. The CRTC uses the objectives in the Broadcasting Act and the Telecommunications Act to guide its policy decisions.

For instance, one of the CRTC's initiatives is the local programming improvement fund, whose aim is to support and improve the quality of local television programming. This program really meets the needs and expectations of the public regarding information on what is happening in their region.

With new digital technologies, regulatory bodies are losing their powers. Barriers to entering domestic markets are becoming almost non-existent. This situation is bringing in new stakeholders that companies have to compete with.

The lines between the media, businesses, mechanisms, programs and content are blurring, and users are already beginning to control content and actively participate in creating it. In the current context, one might reasonably wonder how such legislation would help us face the challenges ahead. I will come back to this later on in my speech.

In Quebec, the CRTC has been working tirelessly to ensure that our artists can access the media and the world of broadcasting, so that the public can benefit from access to local content and our broadcasting industries can grow.

It is an ideal tool not only for ensuring the survival of Quebec culture, but also for sharing it with the rest of the country.

Bill C-444 would split up the CRTC and have it function in a vacuum in the provinces. It will not strengthen culture. On the contrary, dividing up the CRTC would weaken an institution that works for the survival of that culture. It would divide the population and block up our window on the world.

The CRTC has always been a leader in consulting the public and seeking people's opinions on matters pertaining to broadcasting and telecommunications, in order to be in tune with the needs of the people. Therefore, it is a tool of the people and not a tool of political partisanship.

I would like to know where my colleague got the idea for such a bill. No artist or cultural group could have asked for a legislative measure to create another regulatory body in Quebec. Quebec is not asking for this. It is pure political partisanship at the expense of our artists and creators.

The Canadian Radio-television and Telecommunications Commission plays a vital role as the protector of our culture. It would make no sense to weaken it when we should be working hard to secure and strengthen its role and mandate in the current political and economic context. Adding to the number of regulatory bodies would only exponentially increase the problems faced by our cultural communities.

Given the challenges of the future, Bill C-444 is not at all a step in the right direction. It would only cloud the issues and add to existing problems that we have been trying hard to resolve for many years.

Let us not erect walls or stuff our windows. Let us protect our culture by sharing it and making it known to the entire world, not hiving it off and having it become inward-looking.

I oppose Bill C-444 and will be voting against it. I urge my colleagues to do the same. I specifically invite my colleague, the member for Repentigny, to work with us. We must focus our efforts on protecting our Canadian culture, and Quebec content makes up a significant part of that culture.

Pensions March 26th, 2010

Mr. Speaker, pension plans need to improved and retirees must be protected. Everyone agrees on that. Why not give pensioners preferred creditor status immediately? Nortel pensioners are now facing bankruptcy because of the minister's failure to act. These people need help today. The time for consultations ended a long time ago.

Why does this government continue to ignore the needs of our retired workers?