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Crucial Fact

  • Her favourite word was rights.

Last in Parliament October 2015, as Independent MP for Montcalm (Québec)

Won her last election, in 2011, with 53% of the vote.

Statements in the House

Restoring Mail Delivery for Canadians Act June 24th, 2011

Madam Speaker, I am well aware that Canadians need their mail; we understand that and the postal workers understand it too; they are professionals. But I think we have to respect the workers, the workers in our communities, the workers who must work outside whatever the weather.

To come back to Canada Post's young workers, I think the new generation deserves the benefits that our parents and their parents fought so hard for.

Restoring Mail Delivery for Canadians Act June 24th, 2011

Madam Speaker, this is the first time I have risen to speak in this debate. I would like to take the opportunity to wish my constituents in Montcalm a wonderful national holiday, in spite of the bad weather. Certainly, at present, the Conservative government does not seem to want to work in the interests of the Canada Post workers. In spite of this obstacle, I particularly want to mention Quebec's national holiday and say to my fellow Quebeckers that it is great to be a Quebecker at this point in history. I want to assure them that I am with them in spirit and I sincerely hope to meet them in the near future. So I wish everyone a memorable national holiday full of music, stories and legends of our very own.

It is unfortunate that the Conservative government does not recognize Quebec's national holiday, but I can tell you that my constituents recognize the importance of the job I have to do here in Ottawa, supporting the Canada Post workers.

In negotiations, it is preferable for the two sides to find common ground and reach a consensus; unfortunately, I have the clear impression that, since the negotiations began, Canada Post Corporation never intended to bargain in good faith. Withdrawing from the negotiations and imposing a lockout shows its lack of respect for its workers.

A lockout is not a strike. A strike is a protest action taken by workers, while a lockout is the temporary shutdown of Canada Post. It is a decision initiated by the employer.

Canada Post Corporation preferred to wait for the government to intervene by trying to impose special legislation. That approach completely takes away any workers' right to strike, since they would always be afraid of legislation like that being imposed on them, and unfortunately sends a negative message not just to the Canada Post workers but, and most importantly, to all workers in Canada.

Right now, back-to-work legislation will create dissatisfaction and discontent among the workers. They will find it hard to swallow this kind of forced settlement and it will leave a bitter taste in their mouths. And that is without mentioning the poisonous atmosphere that will prevail between management and workers for months if not years to come.

We must not forget that several thousand workers are affected by this lockout. When will the government finally understand that Canada Post Corporation employees are people first—I repeat, people first—with families, obligations and responsibilities?

This bill will take power away from unions, whose primary role is to stand up for employees and look out for their interests. Second, the union must also make sure that information is conveyed to the employees. By doing that, it fulfils its function of communicating between Canada Post and the workers.

Canada Post Corporation is acting as if it is confused by the present situation. That is incomprehensible. They are the ones who brought on this situation. The position the government has taken is quite simply a slap in the face to democracy. What has become of common sense? The workers are locked out, and on top of that the government interferes by trying to pass legislation to force the workers back to work. The Conservative government's true colours are showing.

The Canadian courts have recognized that workers have the right to negotiate their employment contract. The Canadian courts have recognized that workers have the right to form associations with other workers to enforce their rights and their employment contract.

The approach taken by the Conservative government has no basis. This procedure is going to create a precedent that no worker wants. Who is going to pay the cost, ultimately? Workers.

Instead of showing consideration and respect for our workers, the government wants to abuse its powers and give the back of its hand to workers' rights. This is unfair and oppressive.

I do not understand. The Conservatives form a majority government. Yes, they got the support they needed, but did they have the courage to really tell Canadians how they intended to go about governing the country?

Did they say they would come down on the side of the most powerful instead of helping workers? Did they say they would impose their legislation without considering the consequences for workers' lives? Did they say they would not give workers the opportunity to negotiate in the way that prevailing practices provide for union negotiations to take place? Did they say they would bring in a bill to take away workers' rights to be heard and cut their pension plans? Will they continue to impose draconian measures on Canadian workers who try to exercise their right to bargain for better working conditions?

I think that out of respect for the workers and their families the government should withdraw from these negotiations and not impose anything by special legislation, let alone take the employer's side. The Conservatives' way of doing things is clear to see here—it is easy to see who their friends are—and it is at the expense of Canadian workers

It is these same workers who day after day contribute to making Canada Post the postal service we know today. These workers have contributed to their pension plan, and like everyone living in Canada they are entitled to draw a pension when the time comes, and thus to be sure of a peaceful and serene retirement. I therefore believe it is reasonable to expect a little consideration from the employer, and also from the government.

Why not give the two parties a chance to bargain in good faith and encourage communication more?

At present, the employees cannot enter the distribution centres and have no access to the mail, so they cannot deliver it. The doors are barred, that is what a lockout is. Canada Post has to remove the locks from the doors and allow the workers to do rotating deliveries, as was the case at the beginning of the negotiations. Today, the government is attacking the postal workers at Canada Post Corporation; who will be the next victims of the government's extreme decisions? No one wants to have their wages cut and their retirement date pushed back five years.

This special legislation is going to give all Canadian workers cause for concern and uncertainty, since they will always be wondering whether they will be the Conservative government's next scapegoats. This special legislation is going to create a gulf between two generations of workers. This special legislation is going to cause wage inequality and social inequality. This special legislation is going to weaken labour relations, not to mention the poisonous atmosphere the workers will have to endure.

The message the government is sending to workers is clear. It will not hesitate to side with employers, even if workers have a lot to lose. No matter what the situation, employers will be favoured over employees. That message tells workers they have no chance of bargaining fairly and equitably, because if they insist and push too hard to enforce their rights and their collective agreement, the government will not support them. Quite the contrary: it will interfere and force the workers back to work by special legislation. What year is this? These workers have paid union dues for years. The union is doing its best to represent them, but the workers did not expect that the government would use a special bill to try to prevent the union from doing its job properly and would fail to respect their right to bargain their working conditions freely.

I am afraid this approach is an attempt to create a gulf between workers in different generations, and also between employers and employees.

Restoring Mail Delivery for Canadians Act June 24th, 2011

Mr. Speaker, it is recognized that workers have the right to negotiate their labour contracts. Canada's courts have also recognized the workers' right to join with other workers to ensure that their rights and labour contracts are respected.

If draconian measures are imposed on the workers, what will the consequences be when these people want to ensure that their right to negotiate better working conditions is respected?

Persons with Disabilities June 23rd, 2011

Mr. Speaker, Canada signed the UN Convention on the Rights of Persons with Disabilities more than four years ago.

The Conservatives have yet to do anything to implement the principles of this convention.

Considering that there are more than four million people in Canada living with disabilities, when will the Minister of Human Resources and Skills Development submit an action plan to implement the convention?

Persons with Disabilities June 7th, 2011

Madam Speaker, I wish to thank my leader and his team for their help and support, which have been so valuable, as well as the people of Montcalm for their support and their great vote of confidence. I can assure them that we will continue to work tirelessly to meet the needs of today's families.

I would especially like to share my election victory with all members of the Handami Association and all Canadians with disabilities. I fully intend to use this opportunity to increase awareness among the members of the House regarding the importance of social programs to combat isolation and to allow people with disabilities to play an active role in our society.

I truly hope that together we will find real solutions to improve the quality of life of all Canadians, including Canadians with disabilities.