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Crucial Fact

  • Her favourite word was quebec.

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

Won her last election, in 2011, with 32% of the vote.

Statements in the House

Common Sense Firearms Licensing Act May 25th, 2015

Mr. Speaker, out of the many problematic aspects of this bill, there is one aspect in particular that I want to ask my colleague about.

For as long as I can remember, the RCMP has been the body that determines which guns are prohibited and which ones are not. However, under this bill, the Minister of Public Safety would make those decisions.

Does my colleague think it is okay to give this responsibility, which was the RCMP's, to the minister, regardless of his party affiliation? To hand this responsibility over to a politician who—with all due respect to all my colleagues—has no expertise in the matter would be to politicize it.

Furthermore, my colleague referred to Gary Mauser as a leading expert on firearms, when really, he is more like an expert in manipulating public opinion. That is even the title of one of his books. I would like to hear my colleague's thoughts on that.

Employment May 25th, 2015

Mr. Speaker, this winter highly qualified Canadian pilots were unemployed because of a reduction in flights associated with the oil and mining sectors. Now Sunwing Airlines has hired more than 100 foreign pilots while ignoring qualified and available Canadian pilots.

When will the Minister of Immigration tell companies like Sunwing Airlines that they must at all times give priority to hiring qualified, available Canadian pilots?

The Budget April 28th, 2015

Mr. Speaker, I thank my colleague for his comment. Yes, I understand completely, especially since not everyone is in a position to save.

The purchasing power of the middle class is weak and is getting smaller and smaller. Costs are rising on everything, and people are struggling to make ends meet. Who can afford to put money—now up to $10,000—in a TFSA?

This certainly benefits the wealthy and puts the least fortunate at a disadvantage. Money invested in these accounts is not taxable, so this is a way for people to avoid paying taxes.

We are not opposed to saving. However, there needs to be some fairness in all of this.

I find it unfortunate that this budget once again favours the wealthy, whether we are talking about income splitting or TFSAs.

What about seniors, for example, who unfortunately did not get their fair share? What about the poor and affordable housing?

We see absolutely nothing about this in the budget.

The Budget April 28th, 2015

Mr. Speaker, I am very pleased to speak to the budget today. I will be sharing my time with my colleague from Edmonton—St. Albert.

I would like to talk about a few aspects of the budget that are of particular concern to me, especially with regard to public safety and national security. First, with regard to public safety, the government has unfortunately not invested anything in prevention. The budget allocates $292.6 million to the RCMP, of course, to the Canada Border Services Agency and to CSIS. That is a small step that we cannot ignore, but when we look at the breakdown of that funding, we see that $18 million will be allocated in 2015-16 and that $92 million will be allocated in 2019-20.

As I was saying in question period, that is just peanuts, since most of the resources allocated to the fight against organized crime and street gangs were reallocated to public safety and the fight against terrorism, particularly RCMP resources. That funding may give law enforcement some breathing room, but it does not constitute major progress.

I would like to digress for a moment. On April 20, 2015, before the Standing Senate Committee on National Security and Defence, CSIS confirmed that, in the past four months, approximately 25 more Canadians have gone to join armed groups in Iraq and Syria. That represents a 50% increase in such cases. Let us not forget that, in October 2014, 145 individuals had gone to join such groups, so the situation has not improved. On the contrary, there has been an increase in the number of these cases.

The budget does not provide for any investments in prevention for families and youth or any investments in research. We learned that the Kanishka project will not be renewed, which is unfortunate. It will also not be replaced by another research program. There is nothing of the sort in the Conservative budget.

Meanwhile, there is also nothing in this budget for disengagement, or what is commonly referred to as deradicalization. I am very skeptical about our prisons. I am wondering whether there are actually programs in place to deradicalize inmates who became radicalized either in prison or before they arrived. That is another problem that is not addressed.

This budget allocates $2 million to the Security Intelligence Review Committee. Thus, Bill C-51 gives more powers to CSIS, but not more responsibility. That is very worrisome in a free and democratic society.

On the one hand, the operations of the Security Intelligence Review Committee should be revised, primarily to put a stop to partisan appointments and to base appointments on merit instead. On the other hand, $2 million is not all that much. The real question we should be asking ourselves is whether this committee is doing what it is supposed to do, and that is overseeing CSIS. I do not have an answer, I am just wondering.

There is also the matter of money invested in national defence. The budget allocates $360.3 million just for the mission in Iraq and Syria. If we were instead to invest that money in prevention, just imagine the number of young people and families whose suffering we could alleviate and the number of radicalized youth we could prevent from leaving for Iraq or Syria.

Let us look at another figure: $13 million to $14 million spent on advertising this budget. Imagine how much work we could do on prevention and disengagement here in Canada with $13 million or $14 million. No, the government prefers to invest that money in advertising and go to war in Iraq. I wanted to emphasize that.

As far as health is concerned, we see a major loss for the provinces. In this budget, the health transfer is capped at 3% a year. This is clearly going to put pressure on the provinces.

The government already made cuts of nearly $30 billion over 10 years in health transfers during the renewal of 10-year agreement for 2014-24, which represents a loss of approximately $800 million a year for Quebec.

The NDP is the only party that is saying that it will restore the former calculations for health transfers.

As far as people 57 or under are concerned, the Conservatives still reject any suggestion to increase Canada pension plan benefits and of course, Quebec pension plan benefits, but that is another story. It is also staying the course on pushing back the age of retirement from 65 to 67.

This means that people who were born in April 1958 or after will see their right to retire gradually pushed back. They will not be treated like other Canadians born before that date, which is totally unfair in my opinion.

The NDP knows that we must rescind this decision to push back the age of retirement. The age of retirement should be 65, not 67. People have worked hard enough in their lifetime. It is high time that they rested, did what they love and received the money to which they are entitled.

The other interesting thing in this budget, and the NDP can be commended for contributing to this, is that the Conservatives finally responded to the request to lower mandatory minimum withdrawals from registered retirement income funds.

I could go on, but I will leave the floor to my dear colleague.

Public Safety April 28th, 2015

Mr. Speaker, despite this government's smoke and mirrors about the fight against terrorism and despite the peanuts it has allocated to law enforcement agencies, there is absolutely nothing in this budget to prevent violent extremism, to support research, or to combat radicalization in the community or in our prisons.

On the contrary, we learned that the Kanishka project will not be renewed. While many countries in the world have no problem investing in these areas, Canada is still lagging behind.

Will the Minister of Public Safety and Emergency Preparedness take real action—yes, real action—and propose a real policy to combat violent extremism?

Armenia April 23rd, 2015

Mr. Speaker, April 1915 marked the beginning of the first major genocide of the 20th century, the genocide of the Armenian population of Anatolia and Western Armenia. Two-thirds of Armenians who were living in this area died as a result of deportation, famine and mass killings. These acts were committed by the party that was leading the Ottoman Empire during the First World War.

More recently, the primarily Armenian-inhabited village of Kessab in Syria was once again the victim of hate. We therefore have a duty to remember this year, which marks the 100th anniversary of the genocide.

That is why, on behalf of the people of Ahuntsic-Cartierville, I recently attended the unveiling of a khachkar—an Armenian cross—at the First Armenian Evangelical Church. This cross serves as a reminder to this Christian community of the suffering of their people, but also as a physical sign that the Armenian diaspora is alive and well throughout the world, including Canada.

Drug-Free Prisons Act April 21st, 2015

Mr. Speaker, as you know, several studies have shown that marijuana seriously impairs concentration and decision making capacity. Marijuana is extremely harmful to young people's brains, especially adolescents and young adults. When it comes to medical marijuana, that is one thing, for as we all know, all medications can have side effects. Recreational use, however, is another thing altogether.

More and more studies are showing this. We know that the Liberal Party wants to legalize marijuana; it wants to make money by collecting taxes on marijuana, just as many dealers do.

I have a question for my colleague. Given that his party wants to legalize marijuana, does that mean that his party also plans to give it to inmates, since that is the most common drug used in prisons?

Citizenship and Immigration April 21st, 2015

Mr. Speaker, in December 2014, the government ended the moratorium on deporting some 3,000 citizens of Haiti and Zimbabwe, requiring them to obtain status by June 1, 2015.

Despite the tireless work of refugee aid organizations, out of an estimated 1,500 cases, only about 400 have begun processing, and only 25 have been forwarded to federal authorities. This speaks to how cumbersome and complex the process is.

Will the Minister of Citizenship and Immigration give people an extra three months and simplify the permanent residence application processes?

Drug-Free Prisons Act April 21st, 2015

Mr. Speaker, I congratulate my colleague on her excellent speech. She really zeroed in on a number of important points, particularly the uselessness of this bill with respect to stopping drugs from entering our prisons.

Because I worked for a long time in our prisons, I can say that it is a daily struggle to prevent drugs from being brought in in all kinds of inventive ways. Also, we should not forget that drug use is strongly associated with many other problems. Therefore, if we want to eliminate drugs from prisons, we should first and foremost help people to stop using them.

However, as my colleague put it so well, that is almost impossible, because it involves a multitude of variables that the bill does not take into account.

Does my colleague not find that this bill is not only useless, but it also includes things that are already carried out on the ground, such as drug testing and the suspension of parole for offenders who use?

When I read this bill, I had the impression not only that it was useless, but also that the measures it provides for were already being applied on the ground. Did she note the same thing about this bill?

Transportation April 20th, 2015

Mr. Speaker, I was listening to my colleague's speech. It is clear that he wants to fight tax evasion.

One thing is certain: whether we are talking about Uber, Uber B.V. or Uber International C.V., whatever name this company is giving itself to get around the rules or paying taxes, under the guise of a cool, hi-tech, environmentally friendly carpooling service, it is sucking the lifeblood out of our economy and not producing wealth. It is unfair competition for the taxi industry, which is paying all its taxes and insurance.

My colleague said he did not really know how it worked. I think that the government has to make sure that Uber, Uber International C.V., whatever name it gives itself, is paying its taxes. It is not just Uber drivers who have to pay their taxes, but Uber itself as well. That is important.