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Crucial Fact

  • Her favourite word was budget.

Last in Parliament October 2015, as NDP MP for Saint-Hyacinthe—Bagot (Québec)

Won her last election, in 2011, with 52% of the vote.

Statements in the House

Digital Privacy Act October 20th, 2014

Mr. Speaker, I thank my colleague for the question.

It is important to send this bill to committee before second reading because, all in all, it is worthwhile. It would update a number of things.

What is more, this bill has flaws that need to be corrected. It would be good to work on these flaws and introduce a good bill. It might be a good idea to reach an agreement with the government to form some sort of team and introduce a bill that meets the needs of Canadians.

We could send this bill to committee immediately to correct its flaws, keep what is good and turn it into something really great.

Digital Privacy Act October 20th, 2014

Mr. Speaker, I thank my colleague from Saanich—Gulf Islands for her very specific information.

I think it is a waste of our time to talk about where it is written or how this is good and so on. Canadians' rights and privacy are being threatened. That is what we need to be looking at. We need to work together on Bill S-4.

That is why we want to refer it to committee.

Digital Privacy Act October 20th, 2014

Mr. Speaker, unfortunately I do not have any documentation to provide to my colleague at this time, but I will look at this issue with the members who worked on the file and I will be pleased to send what I find to my colleague across the way.

Digital Privacy Act October 20th, 2014

Mr. Speaker, I am pleased to rise today to speak to the motion to refer Bill S-4, the Digital Privacy Act, to a committee before second reading. I would also like to take this opportunity to congratulate my colleague from Terrebonne—Blainville, who has done such an outstanding job on this file.

Bill S-4 has a number of shortcomings and must be amended, which is why we would like to send this bill to committee before second reading.

I will give some details about the bill in order to put it in context. Bill S-4 amends the Personal Information Protection and Electronic Documents Act to compel private sector organizations to disclose any loss or breach of personal information. So far, so good. It also sets out sanctions to be imposed on organizations that fail to comply with that obligation. Again, so far, so good.

However, the proposed criterion for mandatory reporting is subjective, because it allows organizations to determine themselves whether it is:

...reasonable in the circumstances to believe that the breach creates a real risk of significant harm to an individual.

In my opinion, this major flaw in the bill needs to be corrected. Why make laws if we are going to ask the organizations to enforce them themselves? I have my doubts. That is like giving a minister full power. That does not work either.

Bill S-4 would also give the Privacy Commissioner new powers to enter into compliance agreements with organizations that, according to the Commissioner, have failed to respect the provisions in the legislation, leaving the personal information of Canadians vulnerable. So far, so good.

Bill S-4 adds exceptions under which personal information may be collected, used or disclosed without an individual’s consent. The bill would make it easier for organizations to share personal information with each other without the consent of individuals, if the organizations are engaged in a process leading to a prospective business transaction.

The NDP absolutely disagrees with this type of provision. It is really not good for consumers. People will receive more advertising and unsolicited communications. We do not really need that in our consumerist society.

In other words, the bill allows an organization to disclose private client information under certain circumstances. If a company has my private information, for example, it can share it with another company, which can then do whatever it wants with that information. The next thing I know, I am receiving ads, or other unwanted things, at home. I do not think that is right. That is a very significant flaw in the bill.

Bill S-4 also amends provisions in the law that define the situations in which a person whose private information has been lost or compromised by a security breach can apply to the Federal Court for a hearing after receiving the Commissioner’s report or having been informed of the end of the complaint investigation. The bill extends the timeframe from 45 days to one year for a complainant to make an application to the court. I have to admit, that is a useful provision because it gives people more time to figure things out. It gives them a chance to analyze the situation and make a decision about whether to go or not go to court.

Bill S-4 also requires organizations to maintain a record of all breaches of security safeguards involving personal information under their control. This record could eventually be audited by the Office of the Privacy Commissioner of Canada. Again, I see some small flaws that open the door to subjectivity. I am not convinced of the merits of this provision.

My party and I are extremely concerned about the fact that Bill S-4 contains a provision that allows organizations to more easily share personal information without a warrant, without the consent of the clients and without an appropriate oversight mechanism. That is very worrisome and should be amended right away.

Given a recent Supreme Court of Canada decision, this provision will very likely be deemed unconstitutional. It is therefore important that the government comply with the Supreme Court's decision and remove from the bill all clauses relating to the warrantless disclosure of personal information.

The government has a very poor track record when it comes to protecting personal information. Although Bill S-4 contains some good provisions, it will not erase the past. The bill must therefore be amended so that it really meets the needs of Canadians and complies with international privacy standards.

In just one year, under this Prime Minister's government, government organizations secretly made over 1.2 million requests to telecommunications companies for personal information without a warrant and without proper oversight. I think that is all I need to say for people to understand that this is a concern. The government should have taken advantage of the opportunity afforded by Bill S-4 to correct the flaws that led to many violations of Canadians' privacy.

Finally, because of the government's inaction, the law has not been updated since the introduction of the new generation of iPods, iPads, iPhones and the like. We have fallen far behind in terms of international standards. Bill S-4 therefore does not go far enough and does not make the proper amendments to adequately protect Canadians in today's digital age.

There is still much to be done to adequately protect the privacy of Canadians. The government would do well to take this issue seriously.

Protection of Communities and Exploited Persons Act September 26th, 2014

Mr. Speaker, we need a regulated system and consultation. I have said this over and over again. I am almost tired of hearing myself say that. We must consult the people to know what they need, and we have to regulate this profession to protect the health and safety of the men and women who make their living from prostitution.

Protection of Communities and Exploited Persons Act September 26th, 2014

Mr. Speaker, I would like to thank my colleague for his question. The bill needs to be greatly improved. As my colleague mentioned, it does not really follow the Nordic model. That model is not ideal either.

As I was saying, there has to be real consultation. We must listen to the people involved in this situation and consider what they say. That is very important. We must also work with the Supreme Court, which does a great job. As legislators, I find that we are really in no position to disregard the Supreme Court and say that we are going to move forward nonetheless. That is not the ideal way to go about this.

Protection of Communities and Exploited Persons Act September 26th, 2014

Mr. Speaker, I would not support such a model. As I said in my speech, I am much more in favour of harm reduction than repression. I do not believe that repression can work in a society, either from a safety perspective or from a perspective of preventing the marginalization of the most vulnerable individuals.

Protection of Communities and Exploited Persons Act September 26th, 2014

Mr. Speaker, I am pleased to be speaking today about the government's response to the Bedford decision and its amendments to sections of the Criminal Code concerning prostitution.

The summary of Bill C-36 says the following:

This enactment amends the Criminal Code to, among other things, (a) create an offence that prohibits purchasing sexual services or communicating in any place for that purpose;

As I said earlier when I asked my colleague a question, there will always be things that are against the law but are done anyway in our society. This bill does not necessarily provide a solution because this is not how we are going to get rid of prostitution. That will never happen.

I think that in this type of situation, it might make more sense to take a harm reduction approach instead of a repressive approach like the one the government has proposed.

In addition, this bill flies in the face of the Supreme Court decision and the Charter of Rights and Freedoms. The Supreme Court asked the minister to go back to the drawing board and find a real solution. Based on my reading of this bill, I can see that the minister did not do that. In fact, he even said that he expects this bill to be challenged in court. This is really messed up. I do not understand how we even got to this point considering the number of options that could have been explored and the number of things that could have been done. There have been so many discussions about all of this that I just do not understand how we got to this point.

Many legal experts were consulted, along with stakeholder groups, sex workers, and authorities with an interest in this bill. Over 75 witnesses appeared before the committee. How did we even get to this point when most of the witnesses said that they do not believe in this bill?

When it comes to this bill and to many of the bills that have been introduced in the past three years, I have to wonder why the government is not listening to the experts. Why is it not listening to the people who are actually in the situation? I do not understand, and as an MP, I take issue with this. The minister should have gotten the information he needed and consulted people. That would have been to his credit. It is easy to consult people, to sit down with them and listen to them, but what is the point if the government does not really listen and just pushes the agenda it had from the start? It is easy to say that people were consulted, but nothing was done as a result.

We on this side of the House are pretty unanimous. We all agree that the measures announced by the Conservatives to help prostitutes get out of prostitution are grossly inadequate. They do not address the real problem. As I was saying earlier, this new bill creates new offences related to prostitution, specifically purchasing sexual services, receiving a material benefit, advertising sexual services and communicating for the purpose of selling sexual services in a public place. In my opinion, the real problem is that people who work in the sex industry are being more and more marginalized.

As I said earlier, there are many illegal things that are done in our society in any case. We cannot get around that by simply criminalizing everything. This reminds me of the prohibition period in the United States. In the 1930s, there was a huge spike in smuggling and alcohol-related problems. As soon as prohibition was lifted, the problems died down. In the end, people realized that the law was unnecessary. The situation we are in right now is similar, for the Conservatives want to marginalize men and women who really could use a helping hand. We also need to remember that some people are in it by choice. I think we need to respect that.

One of the measures announced was a $20 million investment to help prostitutes get out of the sex industry, but that is not enough to solve everything. Concrete action is needed. We need to properly consult the people involved. What do these people really need? Do they want to get out or are they there by choice? Where are we headed? This bill does not address these questions at all.

We also need to commit significant resources: income support, education and training, poverty alleviation, which I can never stress enough in this House, and substance abuse treatment for those in this group.

Rather than taking an approach that further marginalizes people who are already vulnerable, the government should instead work in partnership with those people to bring in a strategy to protect and support the men and women who are in this situation.

What we need is a nationwide discussion and genuine consultation on prostitution, on women's safety and on the fight against organized crime. That is what needs to be tackled.

According to Statistics Canada, 156 prostitutes have been murdered since 1991. That is 156 too many. If the practice were a bit more regulated, this type of crime could likely be prevented or at least reduced.

It is much more difficult to obtain recent statistics on other crimes related to prostitution, such as assault and rape, because the people involved are marginalized. It is like trying to collect statistics on homelessness. It is more difficult because these people do not always fill out a census form.

However, John Lowman, a professor at Simon Fraser University and expert on prostitution, has indicated that the data on crime against prostitutes are overwhelming. This type of crime is the problem that we need to deal with.

Forcing these women deeper into the shadows will put them in even more danger and these numbers will grow. That is not what we want. The government needs to protect its citizens, particularly the most vulnerable among them, as is the case here.

Prostitution has always existed and it will continue to exist, whether we are for or against it. We therefore need to regulate it and protect the health and safety of these workers.

In my opinion, Bill C-36 fails to do that and puts many lives in danger.

Protection of Communities and Exploited Persons Act September 26th, 2014

Mr. Speaker, I have what I consider to be a rather pertinent question for my colleague.

From his speech, we can see that he truly believes that criminalization will actually help eliminate prostitution. I personally do not believe that to be true. There are many things that are against the law but are done anyway in our society. I do not think the bill will fix things. In my opinion, the only thing it will do is make people working in prostitution even more vulnerable. How are we going to protect these people?

Jeannot Caron September 24th, 2014

Mr. Speaker, today it is my great pleasure to celebrate the exceptional contribution of an individual in my riding.

Jeannot Caron received the Prix d'excellence de leader engagé, an award recognizing his dedication to community leadership, during the 26th symposium of the Réseau québécois de Villes et Villages en santé, an organization that promotes healthy communities.

He is a dynamic man who brings people together and is deeply involved in his community, but his personal history is unusual. After a difficult time in his life, he was forced to live on the street. It was not easy for him to reintegrate, but he chose to use his experience to help those most in need. Every day, Jeannot battles the stereotypes that plague homeless people and those struggling with mental health issues.

He manages several community organizations, co-founded the Solidarité itinérance maskoutaine round table on homelessness, and was an active participant in creating Lit'inérance, which offers shelter to the homeless. He is extremely generous in sharing his experience.

My hat goes off to you, Jeannot. If there were more people like you, the world would definitely be a better place.