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Crucial Fact

  • Her favourite word was conservatives.

Last in Parliament October 2019, as NDP MP for Hochelaga (Québec)

Won her last election, in 2015, with 31% of the vote.

Statements in the House

Criminal Records Act April 8th, 2019

Mr. Speaker, my colleague shot down many of the arguments presented by the Liberals, who do not want to completely expunge the criminal records of individuals who have been convicted of simple cannabis possession. One of those arguments was economic in nature. The Liberals are saying it would cost too much. However, I think that we can further refute their argument by reminding them that individuals who were convicted of simple marijuana possession and who will still have a criminal record, because it will not go away completely and could be reinstated, will find it harder to get a job and will therefore be less able to contribute to the economy than someone who has no criminal record.

Does my colleague agree that that further refutes the Liberals' economic argument?

Community of Hochelaga March 19th, 2019

Mr. Speaker, last winter, a massive blaze broke out at 3629 Sainte-Catherine Street East, forcing all the tenants to evacuate. This rooming house was home to many marginalized people living with housing instability. Mental and physical health issues, prostitution and drug use are part of their everyday lives.

Some of these residents ended up on the streets. There is a shortage of social housing, so it is important to save rooming houses, especially for people living on the fringes of society.

With the opioid overdose crisis in full swing, the 3629 project will increase the supply of social housing by creating a rooming house that is owned and operated by L'Anonyme, with a harm reduction approach.

My team and I have been working with local stakeholders for nearly two years to develop this new social rooming house model.

I am extremely proud of the community of Hochelaga, which is innovating once again, and I hope that the federal government will provide us with financial support.

Committees of the House March 19th, 2019

Mr. Speaker, that answer makes no sense. That is at least the third Liberal speech I have heard where they say they want to talk about another bill. Then why do they keep making speeches? Why do they not use the tools they have at their disposal starting at the next intervention to move on to consideration of Bill C-92 if it is so important?

I have a hard time believing that the Liberals truly want to talk about Bill C-92 when it took them so long to introduce it in the House of Commons. The Liberals are doing nothing right now to move on to consideration of Bill C-92.

Corrections and Conditional Release Act March 1st, 2019

Mr. Speaker, no matter how it is called, we are talking about the confinement of an individual. We are talking about a man or a woman who is deprived of all human contact for 22 hours a day. The proposed changes will make that 20 hours a day. It is not a big difference.

As my colleague said, these people often have mental health problems. Even if they are offered certain services, they have mental health problems. In addition, there will no longer be a limit on the number of days they spend in solitary confinement.

I would like to ask my colleague what effect that could have on people who already have mental health issues.

Housing March 1st, 2019

Mr. Speaker, the Waskahegen Corporation is a non-profit organization that provides affordable rental housing to urban indigenous Canadians. However, it has emerged that their tenants include some non-indigenous Canadians, even though many first nations members have been waiting for years to secure an apartment. Furthermore, discrimination already makes it harder for people from first nations to find housing.

Will the minister ensure that the federal funding earmarked for off-reserve indigenous housing actually reaches its intended target?

National Defence Act February 28th, 2019

Madam Speaker, as my colleague knows, removing paragraph 98(c) is about removing self-harm as an offence. He talked about that himself.

When the amendment moved by my colleague from Esquimalt—Saanich—Sooke was rejected, he decided to introduce his own private member's bill, Bill C-426, to correct this issue.

Does my colleague plan to vote in favour of Bill C-426 to correct the problem he was talking about?

Bills of Exchange Act February 26th, 2019

Mr. Speaker, I will begin my speech by acknowledging that the land on which we are gathered today to speak to the important bill introduced by colleague from Desnethé—Missinippi—Churchill River is part of the traditional unceded territory of the Anishinabe Algonquin people.

I think it is especially important to point that out because, from a reconciliation perspective, I want every elected member of the House to remember that historical fact during this evening's debate.

Call to action 80 of the Truth and Reconciliation Commission of Canada states:

We call upon the federal government, in collaboration with Aboriginal peoples, to establish, as a statutory holiday, a National Day for Truth and Reconciliation to honour Survivors, their families, and communities, and ensure that public commemoration of the history and legacy of residential schools remains a vital component of the reconciliation process.

It is in this context that my colleague introduced her bill to make National Indigenous Peoples Day a statutory holiday in Canada. As everyone is well aware, there are currently no federal statutory holidays dedicated to indigenous peoples. National Indigenous Peoples Day does exist and has been celebrated on June 21 since 1996, but it is not recognized as a statutory holiday under the Canada Labour Code.

Bill C-369 calls on the federal Parliament to show some leadership and set an example for the provincial and territorial governments that have not yet created this statutory holiday, in response to the call to action from the Truth and Reconciliation Commission of Canada.

Reconciliation is not an indigenous issue, it is a Canadian issue. To achieve true reconciliation, we may be called upon to re-examine all aspects of Canadian society.

That is why the commission is calling on all levels of government in Canada to take concerted action and measures across the entire country and in all communities in the interest of reconciliation with first nations, Métis and Inuit.

To achieve that goal, merely recognizing the existence of these peoples is not enough. We must also recognize their history, their rights, their cultures and their languages.

By passing Bill C-369, the House of Commons would be sending a clear message about its intention to create space for reconciliation.

Once established, this national holiday would serve as a reminder to us all of what it really means to have a treaty-based nation-to-nation relationship. It would be an expression of respect for the historic and cultural importance of first nations, Métis and Inuit.

The people we wish to recognize by creating this statutory holiday are the first inhabitants of this continent, who arrived when the glaciers disappeared from these lands.

When the first French settlers arrived, indigenous people helped them survive by showing them how to adapt to the environment and the harsh climate, which was unfamiliar to the first Europeans to set foot in North America.

Of course, the bill would not tackle all the socio-economic problems faced by indigenous people, which my party raises all the time in the House.

In passing, I would like to mention the atrocious and intolerable living conditions found in too many indigenous communities throughout the territory that we now call Canada. The federal government continues to drag its feet. We need a targeted housing strategy for indigenous people.

Naturally, the creation of a holiday must be accompanied by significant action to improve living conditions for indigenous peoples in Canada. However, dedicating a holiday to indigenous peoples would provide a time and space for reflection on our colonial history and its lasting effects on the rights of first nations, Métis and Inuit peoples across Canada.

For example, this holiday could become an opportunity to organize events to commemorate and raise awareness about victims of residential schools and Canada's colonial system, the effects of which still weigh heavily on indigenous peoples today.

My colleague's bill is not a new idea. In 1982, the National Indian Brotherhood, now known as the Assembly of First Nations, launched a campaign to have National Aboriginal Day recognized as a national holiday.

It was not until 1996 that June 21 was proclaimed National Aboriginal Day by then governor general Roméo LeBlanc.

This date was chosen after consultations with indigenous peoples and statements of support from numerous groups, some of which wanted the summer solstice to become National Aboriginal Day.

When my colleague originally introduced this bill, she also asked that National Aboriginal Day, June 21, be designated a federal statutory holiday.

At the time, the national day for truth and reconciliation was not clearly defined. Since 2016, Orange Shirt Day has become the appropriate day to commemorate the legacy of residential schools and honour their survivors. The Standing Committee on Canadian Heritage, which was in charge of studying Bill C-369, consulted first nations, Inuit and Métis, and they all agreed that September 30 should be considered the day of commemoration. The bill was amended to designate that date as the national day for truth and reconciliation.

As I said earlier, other governments in Canada have responded to the Truth and Reconciliation Commission's call to action 80 by making National Indigenous Peoples Day a statutory holiday. It is a statutory holiday in the Northwest Territories and has been a holiday in Yukon since May 2017.

In June 2017, my colleague from Desnethé—Missinippi—Churchill River introduced the bill we are debating today to get the federal government on board. In September 2017, provincial NDP MPP Michael Mantha introduced a bill in the Ontario legislature entitled An Act to proclaim Indigenous Day and make it a holiday.

The federal government has stated many times that its most important relationship is its relationship with indigenous peoples. The government also committed to responding to the Truth and Reconciliation Commission's calls to action in a spirit of reconciliation and healing. Elected officials in other governments get it. This bill gives the government another opportunity to move from words to action.

Inspired by the commission's call to action 80, this bill would give hope to indigenous peoples by fostering awareness of the consequences of residential schools and paying tribute to residential school survivors and victims of foster family abuse, as well as their families and their communities.

In addition, a statutory holiday would give Canadians an opportunity to better understand and acknowledge our shared history, which is a crucial component of reconciliation. This bill gives the federal government, as well as the House of Commons, a chance to participate in the reconciliation process by designating a day to reflect on our dark colonial past and to pay tribute to the contributions, heritage, and diverse cultures and languages of indigenous peoples.

Long before the environment became a topical issue, indigenous people respected the environment and took a sustainable management approach. They developed democratic political and social systems. They understood the importance of forging alliances, and their diplomatic structure played an important role in the early days of settlement. We also have a lot to learn from their customs, including sharing and showing profound respect for elders. Many prominent indigenous figures and indigenous-led projects have helped give them a voice and earn recognition for indigenous contributions, heritage and cultures.

Kondiaronk, also known as Sastaretsi, sacrificed his life to help put an end to devastating wars by signing the Great Peace of Montreal in 1701. In Quebec, Wapikoni Mobile helps young people and gives them a voice. That is how Anishnabe rapper Samian found fame. Cindy Blackstock advocates on behalf of indigenous children who have been abandoned by the Canadian government. Melissa Mollen Dupuis, an Innu from the North Shore who co-founded the Quebec chapter of the Idle No More movement, advocates for environmental protection and for access to education, health care and adequate housing.

New Democrats are not the only ones who support the creation of a statutory holiday to recognize indigenous peoples. The Assembly of First Nations has been calling for this for years. Bobby Cameron, the chief of the Federation of Sovereign Indigenous Nations, has supported this measure since 2017. Robert Bertrand, the national chief of the Congress of Aboriginal Peoples, has also publicly expressed support.

I would like to conclude my speech by reading an excerpt from the farewell message of our friend Paul Dewar, who was taken from us too soon. At Paul's celebration of life, indigenous leader Claudette Commanda talked about how Paul had been given an eagle feather, which represents honesty, integrity and authenticity, and she thanked him for what he had done for her people.

Paul said:

Ottawa, don’t stop now. Let’s show our strength together. Let’s embrace the vision of Algonquin elder William Commanda for an authentic and organic future, rooted in the wisdom of the Indigenous people upon whose land we reside.

Corrections and Conditional Release Act February 26th, 2019

Mr. Speaker, the NDP agrees to apply the vote and will vote no.

Corrections and Conditional Release Act February 26th, 2019

Mr. Speaker, the NDP agrees to apply the vote and will vote yes.

Canada–Madagascar Tax Convention Implementation Act, 2018 February 21st, 2019

Mr. Speaker, can my colleague tell us what kind of oversight could be included in a convention like this one to prevent abuse?