House of Commons photo

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

Human Trafficking December 8th, 2006

Mr. Speaker, I would like to thank my colleague for her motion, which I find extremely important.

I would like to ask her a very simple question. In addition to all of the factors involved in human trafficking, in the trafficking of individuals for the purposes of sexual exploitation, does she think that States that legalize prostitution contribute to the growth of human trafficking for the purposes of sexual exploitation?

Petitions December 7th, 2006

Mr. Speaker, the second petition urges the Canadian government to authorize a direct air route between Montreal and Beirut. Most individuals are currently forced to travel by air routes with several stops in different countries. It costs a fortune for these individuals to visit their families. This petition was signed by 1,793 people.

These two petitions were signed by Quebeckers and Canadians from all parts of Canada and Quebec, and not just individuals in my riding.

Petitions December 7th, 2006

Mr. Speaker, I have two petitions to table in this House. The first calls on the Government of Canada to create an immigration service at the Canadian embassy in Beirut to deal with visa applications by persons who wish to come to Canada as permanent residents. At present, they must go to the Canadian embassy in Damascus. This petition was signed by 1,559 individuals who are asking that immigration issues be dealt with at the existing Canadian embassy in Beirut.

Firearms Registry December 6th, 2006

Mr. Speaker, the Canadian Association of Chiefs of Police, the Conference of Catholic Bishops, the mayors of the large cities, the Fédération nationale des enseignantes et des enseignants du Québec, the family and friends of victims and many other people in Quebec and Canada are all calling on the minister to back down and keep the firearms registry in its original form.

Why does the minister want to deprive society of this essential tool for combating crime and violence against women?

Firearms Registry December 6th, 2006

Mr. Speaker, today is the 17th anniversary of the tragedy at École Polytechnique, the tragedy that was the impetus for the creation of the firearms registry. Also, this was not an incident, as the Prime Minister said, this was a tragedy.

The Minister of Public Safety, blinded by his ideological obstinacy, is preparing to wipe out 17 years of effort to combat violence against women.

Does the Minister of Public Safety realize that by ending the firearms registry, he is wiping out 17 years of effort, with the wave of a hand, and all out of pure ideological obstinacy?

Status of Women December 5th, 2006

Mr. Speaker, this summer the Minister of Canadian Heritage and the Status of Women grudgingly signed several applications for grants from the women’s program. The decision making process took so long that an organization like the National Association of Women and the Law was forced to temporarily close its doors. Now, supposedly in the name of efficiency, the government has confirmed that 63 of the 131 positions in Status of Women Canada have been abolished.

How can the minister expect this House to believe that she can do a better job with only 68 public servants and that her decisions will be based on serious analysis and not on half-baked premises?

Pierre Gemayel November 21st, 2006

Mr. Speaker, we recently learned of the assassination of Lebanese cabinet minister Pierre Gemayel. The son of Amin Gemayel—former Lebanese president—and the nephew of Bashir Gemayel, who was also assassinated, Pierre Gemayel was elected in 2000 and again in 2005. He became Minister of Industry in July 2005.

Pierre Gemayel participated in the Cedar Revolution following the assassination of Rafik Hariri. Since then he and other Lebanese parliamentarians have fought fiercely for their country's sovereignty.

The Bloc Québécois condemns this terrible act and urges the Canadian government to support Lebanese authorities in advancing the Lebanese national dialogue.

This assassination is another assault on Lebanon's fragile peace and democracy.

The Bloc Québécois offers its condolences to the Lebanese community, the Phalange party and the Lebanese diaspora. He will be missed.

Committees of the House November 7th, 2006

Mr. Speaker, I want to thank my colleague for her question, which presents two fundamental components, one of which is including the value of the equity principle.

I must admit that I do not know whether this government has the principle of equity at heart. We are all driven by our own values. I truly believe that, because I think that human beings are good and, for better or worse, they try to do their share—and do so properly—in society. I have a principle of values. I think that when people have values it comes through in their actions.

When I look at what this government is doing, I wonder about its values. Does this government have the value of equity at heart? I have my doubts when I see its actions. Maybe it has equity at heart, but it needs to prove it through its actions. We are judged by our actions. We cannot read a person's mind to see what their values are on the inside. It is not possible. We judge a person by his or her actions.

I see that the government's actions are not consistent with the principle of equity, since it refuses to pass legislation and it comes up with all sorts of impossible arguments even after the Liberals have acknowledged being wrong. The Liberals recognize the need for legislation on equity. They also acknowledge not having implemented it for years.

Earlier I provided some background on the problem of equity and the ratification of a number of international conventions on equity. In Canada, we have not taken action. The Liberal reign was characterized by inaction. Nonetheless, the Liberals have done the honourable thing by acknowledging they did nothing where they should have done something. The ball is now in the Conservatives' court.

After dealing with Liberal inaction, we are now facing the stubbornness of the Conservative government, which keeps repeating what the Liberals said when they were in power. Those who were in charge made a mistake, but have made amends. They say they were wrong and that we must do better; we must pass this legislation. What are we up against? The silence of the Conservatives. That is not right. They were told this was not working and they said they will make it work, but in the same way that has already failed. What can I say? It is not right.

Committees of the House November 7th, 2006

Mr. Speaker, I very much appreciate my colleague's remarks. The term “costs” is one that we very much like to use in our society.

I believe, as do many people, that you do not place a value on human beings. A human being is not something to be bought. A human being does not have a monetary value. Human beings are the foundation of every society. So I do not believe that there are enormous costs associated with equity. You cannot place a value on equity.

In Quebec, we have addressed an injustice. It cost us a certain sum, but now there is equity for men and women.

We have shown women that their contribution to society is invaluable, equal to that of men. In my opinion, no human being in our society can be assigned a monetary value. It is we who make our society better.

I would prefer that my taxes help children living in poverty. I would prefer to invest my money in peace, not war. I would prefer to put my money towards equity in Canada, rather than sending billions of dollars to Afghanistan for war. I would prefer to invest my money in having more justice in Canada rather than putting money into the military and armaments, and the so-called tough on crime measures, which get $1 billion while there is only $10 million for prevention for youth in Quebec. That is not enough, by comparison to the $1 billion put towards law enforcement.

When the government wants to invest money, it does. However, we know where the money is being spent: on inspectors. The government answers that it will ask for a review by the labour program inspectors. More police. More police are being put in place. Could we stop with the police and put a bit of heart into what we are doing?

Committees of the House November 7th, 2006

Thank you, Mr. Speaker. Moving on, following this rhetorical aside of mine.

So, women's groups in Quebec, like FAFIA and the FFQ, are right to fight for that. They have been fighting for years, the reason for that being that everything is interrelated.

To address racial discrimination, there has to be proactive pay equity legislation in place, which applies both to the private sector and the public sector. Like it or not, it would give the assurance that these workers too are finally given fair recognition for their work and their contribution to society. It is that simple, and it is only fair.

I am sometimes taken aback, because it is only normal in my mind to have equity legislation. One does not need to have a doctorate in political science to understand that. My 12-year-old son can tell you whether a man and a women holding any job in a female-dominated industry deserve equal pay. His answer will be yes, because he is being taught equity and values in school. He is learning that he and the little girl sitting next to him are equals with equal rights to life and equal rights to work, and that they need not worry because the lawmakers understand these things and will ensure that they live in an equal society.

If six-year-olds get the idea, so can we. We are quite capable of understanding. This is not complicated. Federally regulated workers require effective pay equity legislation.

Following years of these women's groups making representations and lobbying for their rights, justice and the basic respect of individuals, Quebec acted. And so did other provinces across Canada. They acted, and that is why we are now seeing cuts being made at Status of Women Canada.

We do not know where the $5 million that the government says it is cutting from administration will come from. Status of Women Canada officials told me that they had been told to cut $5 million, but that they had not yet sat down with anyone to decide where to make cuts. Personally, I think the minister got up one day and just decided to cut $5 million somewhere. That was his logic. When you want to cut $5 million from a budget, the first thing you need to do is sit down with someone who can tell you where to cut. Then, you can say that you are going to cut $5 million from administration, or you can say that you were mistaken and that you are going to cut $2 million or $3 million from administration. That is logical, but the logic of this move is still a big question.

By deciding to change the terms and conditions of the women's program, for example, the government, as if by magic, is denying women access to a way of defending their rights. Not only does the government not have equity legislation, but it is preventing women from standing up for their rights.

I find this a highly strategic move. One the one hand, the government is saying that legislation already exists, and that women can assert their rights, yet it is preventing them from doing so. How? By abolishing the court challenges program. Go ahead, assert your rights.

I would be surprised if a woman or a women's group with financial problems could spend hundreds of thousands of dollars to claim their rights without the benefit of the court challenges program. What does this mean? The government is reducing rights, is not creating pay equity legislation and is telling women to be quiet. They are not even entitled to claim their rights. All they can do is take to the streets with placards and shout that they want pay equity legislation.

And what will we do about it? Will we stick our heads in the sand and wait until it goes away? Is that what we do in this country? Is that the image we want to project to the international community? Is that the image we want our children to see? We teach them about equality, and when they grow up, what do they see? They see injustice every day. They see poverty, iniquity, lack of solidarity. We tell our children how they should behave, yet we cannot even be bothered to do as we say.

In closing, I would like to say that I think it is deplorable and I am deeply saddened to see these direct attacks on the poorest people in our society—and they are under attack—people who just got a bad start in life, a difficult start. I should not say “a bad start” because there is no such thing as good and bad; everything in life is shades of grey. I should say “a difficult start”.

These are people who got a difficult start and who are living in poverty, who have to work so hard to make sure their children get an education and do not drop out or get involved in violence. It is all connected to work. When families cannot feed their children, of course they will have trouble and fight. The government has to understand that pay equity legislation is about fairness and, above all, compassion.