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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

Foreign Affairs March 23rd, 2015

Mr. Speaker, Raif Badawi is a Saudi Arabian—

Public Safety March 23rd, 2015

Mr. Speaker, German Chancellor Angela Merkel urged the public to turn their backs on Pegida:

So I say to all those who go to such demonstrations: do not follow those who have called the rallies. Because all too often they have prejudice, coldness, even hatred in their hearts.

Next Saturday, Pegida Quebec, the first chapter of the movement in North America, is holding a rally in Montreal's Little Maghreb.

Will the Prime Minister echo Angela Merkel and unequivocally urge the people of Quebec not to take part in this?

Air Transportation February 25th, 2015

Mr. Speaker, airports are public assets that play a major strategic role in the economy.

The Institute for Governance of Private and Public Organizations issued a damning assessment of the governance and accountability of Canada's airports. Aéroports de Montréal is a good example. Not only is it not audited by the Auditor General, but once appointed, its directors do not have to be accountable to the public when it comes to awarding contracts, overall management of the airport, or even soundscape management.

The reality is that ADM has total control and Transport Canada is asleep at the switch. This is the 21st century, and it is high time that the government imposed a transparent and accountable mode of management on our airports, through either scrutiny by the Auditor General or the creation of a review committee—

Rise in anti-Semitism February 24th, 2015

Mr. Chair, I would like to thank the member for his speech, and I would also like to thank my colleague from Mount Royal for clarifying that criticism of Israel is not anti-Semitic.

I have two questions for my colleague.

First, I am a Semite. I am from the Middle East. As someone whose ancestors shared the Semitic language, I am a Semite. Does the term “anti-Semitic” mean anti-Jew or against all Semites? I would like some clarification on that definition. At the same time, does the term “anti-Semitic” refer to all Semites? I am a Semite, but I am not Jewish. I am Christian. My case is rather unusual and I wanted to make that point.

I also wanted to get my colleague's opinion. Has he noticed, like me, that there has been a rise in Islamophobia and anti-Semitism or anti-Jewish sentiment if you will? I was wondering if there was a correlation between the rise in Islamophobia and the rise in anti-Semitism. When it comes right down to it, does the fear of terrorism, radicalization and violent extremism not lead to a sort of Islamophobia? At the same time, I do not believe that all of the debates on the infamous secular charter and reasonable accommodation are pointless, but they have been diverted from their true purpose. It gets to the point where the public and the media are exaggerating—

Rise in anti-Semitism February 24th, 2015

Mr. Chair, I have been in the House since this debate began. I have still not asked any questions or made any comments. I was listening to the other members speak. I was also listening to my colleague who just spoke.

I must admit that I am having difficultly understanding. Is it safe to say that criticism of Israel is not necessarily anti-Semitic? Anti-Semitism is being racist toward Jewish people. Anti-Semitism is a form of hatred, racism and incredible violence.

However, as I listen to my colleagues, I feel like I no longer really understand. It is as though criticism of Israel is equivalent to anti-Semitism. I have a hard time understanding that. I think that we can be critical of a government's policies without being anti-Semitic. There are Jews in Israel who criticize the state of Israel and there are Jews outside Israel who may also criticize Israel's policies.

We need to be careful not to confuse these things. Anti-Semitism, Islamophobia or racism toward blacks or people of any colour is one thing. Criticizing a government's policies is quite another.

Perhaps I misunderstood my colleagues, but I must admit that I sometimes have a hard time following them. I would therefore like to ask the member who just spoke if it is possible to criticize Israel without being accused of being anti-Semitic.

Public Safety February 19th, 2015

Mr. Speaker, some Canadian families are living with the pain of losing a child who decided to fight abroad with groups such as Daesh. These families are unable to grieve because they are unable to obtain death certificates from provincial authorities even though in a number of cases, CSIS and the RCMP can confirm these deaths.

Can the Minister of Public Safety and Emergency Preparedness issue a directive to ensure that in these cases—again, in these cases—the families receive an official letter confirming the death of their children so that they can begin the grieving process?

Committees of the House February 4th, 2015

Mr. Speaker, I agree to apply the vote.

Black History Month February 3rd, 2015

Mr. Speaker, I would like to take this opportunity during Black History Month to acknowledge the extraordinary contribution that blacks make to enriching the identity of Canada, Quebec and Montreal.

I was born in the Ivory Coast to Lebanese parents. The symbolic elephant remains dear to me. Being black is not about colour; it is about belonging to an identity defined by great trials and injustices, but mostly by great accomplishments.

This is month is an opportunity to acknowledge the contributions blacks have made to humanity. Nelson Mandela was one of those exceptional people. It is high time the federal government declared a Nelson Mandela day so that future generations remember the remarkable role this man played.

I would also like to acknowledge the blacks of Ahuntsic—Cartierville, including the writer Dany Laferrière, who, a few years ago, agreed to give his grandmother's name to the Internet café at the Ahuntsic cultural centre, the Café de Da.

Housing February 2nd, 2015

Mr. Speaker, I think my colleague is missing something. Yes, those contracts are going to expire and the mortgages will be paid off. However, through the $1.7 billion that was invested in affordable housing, it was possible to support low-income households. Now, when those contracts expire, we have to expect that through attrition, people who are unable to pay will have to give up their affordable housing, which in any case will no longer be affordable.

My colleague talked about $1.25 billion in funding until 2019, but what is he talking about? That is my question. He seems to be saying that that money would help mitigate the impact when the contracts end in a few years.

However, what are these funds called, the funds that are supposedly being transferred to the provinces? How much money is there? Is it $1.25 billion each year? Moreover, what exactly does this mean on the ground?

Housing February 2nd, 2015

Mr. Speaker, the members of the National Forum on Housing and the Economy, which includes the Federation of Canadian Municipalities, the Canadian Construction Association, the Canadian Federation of Apartment Associations, the Insurance Bureau of Canada, the Canadian Home Builders' Association, the Canadian Housing and Renewal Association, the Canadian Medical Association, the Canadian Real Estate Association, and the Co-operative Housing Federation of Canada, have this to say to the government:

...federal operating agreements that provide $1.7 billion in annual social housing funding have begun to expire, putting a deep strain on the low-income households who live in social housing, while over 200,000 Canadians experience homelessness every year at a cost of upwards of $7 billion to the economy.

That is what those groups are saying to the government. The people representing those organizations agree that we must protect at-risk households living in existing social housing and innovate in making federal investments in Canada's social housing.

For nearly 30 years, the federal government, through Canada Mortgage and Housing Corporation's operating agreements with co-operatives and non-profit housing organizations, has been providing rent subsidies to thousands of low-income households, a significant proportion of which consist of elderly women, as well as families and people with disabilities.

In the coming years, 565,850 social housing units in Canada will lose the federal subsidies they have been receiving for decades. Quebec has 125,500 of these units, including several hundred in Ahuntsic.

On November 24, I asked the Minister of State for Social Development to renew the operating agreements that provide rent subsidies to low-income families. At the time, the minister said that funds had been transferred to the provinces to maintain funding for affordable housing when the agreements expired. However, representatives of the Fédération des coopératives d'habitation intermunicipale du Montréal métropolitain whom I met with on January 27 have no idea what the minister is talking about.

In response to my question the minister said:

...housing agreements have been coming to an end over the last many years and will continue to come to an end over the next 20 years because the mortgages are paid off.

What we have done, though, in order to help these housing units is extend our investment in affordable housing with the provinces. They are free, once these agreements come to an end, to continue support.

Does this mean that the minister has transferred or will transfer $1.7 billion a year to the provinces to support existing social housing?

I would like to be clear that we are not talking about creating new affordable housing units, but about maintaining existing housing. The only concession made by the government to date, as I have been told by reliable sources, is that co-operatives that have not yet used the subsidy surplus will be able to use it after the contracts expire. I would like to know what funds and what transfers the government is talking about and how much money has been transferred.