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Crucial Fact

  • Her favourite word was quebec.

Last in Parliament March 2011, as Bloc MP for Vaudreuil—Soulanges (Québec)

Lost her last election, in 2011, with 26% of the vote.

Statements in the House

Committees of the House May 2nd, 2005

Madam Speaker, the Immigration and Refugee Protection Act calls for a new entity to be created within the Immigration and Refugee Board, the IRB, namely the refugee appeal division.

In his appearance before the Standing Committee on Citizenship and Immigration when the bill was being studied in 2001, former IRB head Peter Showler stated the following.

The vast majority of protection decisions will be made by a single member... It is true that claimants will no longer enjoy the benefit of the doubt currently accorded them with two-member panels... However, any perceived disadvantage is more than offset by the creation of the refugee appeal division, the RAD, where all refused claimants and the minister have a right of appeal on RPD decisions.

In April 2002, it was announced that creation of the appeal division was delayed by system overload. The minister of the day had apparently promised at the May 2002 annual general meeting of the Canadian Council for Refugees that he would be putting it in place in less than a year.

On May 9, 2002, the United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees wrote to the minister of the day, indicating that an appeal procedure was vitally important.

I am writing to convey UNHCR's deep disappointment, following your recent decision to postpone indefinitely the creation of the Refugee Appeal Division at the Immigration and Refugee Board.

The HCR representative in Canada also said:

It is particularly important for states to demonstrate not only their determination to combat abuse and to address security concerns, but also their commitment to the protection of refugees.

Minister Volpe keeps saying that the Canadian immigration system is one of the best in the world. Yet, his government's relentless refusal to implement this appeal division has been condemned by the Canadian Council for Refugees, the UNHCR and Amnesty International.

The Refugee appeal division is indispensable for the smooth functioning of the Canadian refugee determination system for many reasons. In the interests of efficiency, a specialized appeal division is a much better use of scarce resources than recourse to the Federal Court, which is not at all specialized in refugee matters. It would be much better placed to correct errors of law and fact. In the interests of consistency of law, an appeal division deciding on the merits of the case is the only body able to ensure consistency of jurisprudence. In the interests of justice, as in matters of criminal law, a right to appeal to a higher tribunal is essential for the proper administration of justice.

In December 2004, the chairperson of the Immigration and Refugee Board, Jean-Guy Fleury said:

It would require initial start up costs of an estimated $2 million in addition to $8 million in annual operating costs.

Let me say that should the government decide to act on the RAD, we would be ready, with sufficient new resources.

In other words, neither costs nor technical difficulties are an impediment to the establishment of an appeal division. The only thing lacking, despite all opinions to the contrary, is the minister's political will.

The Minister of Citizenship and Immigration claims that the existing system contains a number of appeal mechanisms. That is not the case. There are mechanisms for reviewing decisions, but none to reassess the facts submitted in support of claims.

The organization KAIROS noted:

A United Nations committee says Canada failed Mexican torture survivor Falcon Rios ... The UN Committee Against Torture blamed the failure on Canada's lack of an effective appeal process for rejected refugees.

In Canada, you can appeal a traffic ticket, but you can't appeal a decision that could send you back to death in the country you fled when you put your trust in us.

These were recent statements by Mary Corkery, the executive director of KAIROS.

The Bloc Québécois supports this statement. We call on the minister to put the appeal division promised three years ago in place immediately. The mechanism is provided in the law. The House approved it. Only the minister fails to see the need and the urgency of implementing it.

Kyoto Protocol May 2nd, 2005

Mr. Speaker, I would like to thank my colleague from Rosemont—La Petite-Patrie for his question. I know he has done a huge amount of work in this file to fine-tune the Bloc's position.

Environmental groups are in fact urging the government to increase the overall target for the large emitters, eliminate the possibility of their using the technology investment fund, establish transparent mechanisms to guarantee results and set deadlines for each section of the plan.

These groups include the Pembina Institute, Greenpeace, Équiterre, Vivre en ville, Québec vert Kyoto coalition, David Suzuki Foundation, Sierra Legal Defence Fund and Canadian Environmental Law Association. These are credible organizations, whose support is important in this matter.

I would like to remind the House that Quebec must manage matters relating to Kyoto within its jurisdiction. We provided the background earlier. The Bloc Québécois supports imposing strict standards on the large emitters, on the condition that the targets are fair for each sector and that the government agrees to drop the extremely unfair reference year of 2010.

The federal government should also cede to Quebec and to the provinces wishing it responsibility for managing the overall target for industries within Quebec.

Kyoto Protocol May 2nd, 2005


That, in the opinion of the House, the government should cede to the Government of Quebec, with full financial compensation, complete responsibility for implementing the Kyoto protocol within its jurisdiction.

Mr. Speaker, the Bloc Québécois is concerned about the ineffective approach taken by the government. On many issues, particularly with respect to the environment and the Kyoto related measures, the situation is catastrophic. Project Green, introduced on April 13, lacks credibility and will not allow Canada to honour its commitments for the first reference period, from 2008 to 2012. There is no question that this is an urgent situation. A real policy is needed to quickly and fairly achieve the Kyoto objectives, and Quebec is in a better position to determine which measures are the most appropriate to reduce greenhouse gas emissions within its jurisdiction. The government must understand that it has to move quickly on this issue.

The federal government plan's lack of efficiency and credibility reinforces our position. This is why I am putting Motion M-162 before the House. We are calling for a territorial approach and for a special agreement with Quebec. We are demanding full financial compensation and complete responsibility for implementing the Kyoto protocol within Quebec's jurisdiction.

The federal government recently released its new 2005 climate change plan, which will be under the responsibility of the environment department. However, the measures announced will not be in place for several years, and almost everything has yet to be finalized, even though the protocol has been in force for over two months. We have to ask ourselves what the government was doing in the past few years.

I could go on and on. The plan does not require a sufficient effort on the part of polluting industries, which are responsible for half of the emissions; this unfairly shifts the financial burden of emissions reduction onto the taxpayers, and the measures announced will take years to be implemented.

The situation is urgent, and the major implementation measures will take a long time to produce the expected positive effects, too long for Canada to honour its commitments for the 2008-2012 reference period.

It is inconceivable that, after so many years, we are still at the stage of broad principles and consultations. The government has announced that the targets for large emitters and the terms of the permit trading system will be set by regulation under the Canadian Environmental Protection Act following consultation with the provinces, territories and industry stakeholders this spring. The same is true of the climate fund mandate and the rules of the offset credit system . In fact most of the plan has yet to be completed.

The government is using this plan to create a permit trading system and set targets for large emitters by means of regulations not subject to parliamentary or public scrutiny. This is unacceptable and perpetuates the very democratic deficit the government once promised to attack.

The Liberal Party made a promise in its 1993 red book to reduce greenhouse gas emissions in Canada by 20% as of 2005. This is 2005. After 12 years, greenhouse gas emissions in Canada have increased by 20%. The OECD recently revealed that Canada is the western country with the greatest increase in greenhouse gas emissions since 1990. Despite this fact, the federal government persists in its inappropriate strategy, subsidizing the oil and gas industry, failing to demand sufficient effort by polluting industries responsible for half of the emissions, and unfairly transferring the financial burden for reductions onto the shoulders of the taxpayers.

The government's latest plan is a miserable failure and will not allow us to meet our Kyoto commitments. For these reasons, the federal government must cede to Quebec and to the provinces wishing it responsibility for managing the implementation of the Kyoto protocol. The federal government cannot manage the protocol on its own, and it is time for solutions.

The one tonne challenge is a perfect example of how important it is for Quebec to assume complete responsibility within its jurisdiction. The program is inappropriate for Quebec, where most people have been using hydroelectricity—a clean source of energy—for many years to heat and light their homes. The federal government must allow Quebec to opt out of this program with full financial compensation if it so decides.

Even the Quebec government is speaking out about this. According to Quebec, the federal government's Kyoto implementation plan is unacceptable. The Quebec minister of sustainable development, environment and parks, Thomas Mulcair, has condemned the fact that the plan does not include any compensation for Quebec, which produces the least amount of greenhouse gas per capita of any province. He has said that efforts to meet Canadian greenhouse gas reduction targets are not fair to Quebec. He has accused Ottawa of introducing a plan that strongly favours western Canada.

According to Mr. Mulcair, his federal counterpart has already hinted at the possibility of a bilateral agreement, which the Quebec minister intends to demand. He has said that Quebec will not give up and calls upon his federal counterpart to sit down with him and negotiate in all seriousness.

We are offering to do the environment minister's homework by proposing a three-point solution in Motion M-162: a territorial and bilateral agreement that respects the jurisdiction of each party.

Currently, Canada's 2005 plan to honour its Kyoto commitment undermines Quebec's efforts to reduce greenhouse gas emissions and seriously hinders its development by making Quebec pay for the others.

It is important to remember the specific and historical choices Quebec made with regard to energy development. Quebec produces the least amount of greenhouse gas emissions per capita in Canada; in the past, it invested heavily to reduce emissions within Quebec without Canada's assistance and, as long as this territorial approach is not applied, it has to bear the cost of reductions for western provinces such as Alberta.

Under the federal government's current strategy, Quebec will have to contribute approximately $1 billion toward the cost of implementing the Kyoto protocol. Using the territorial approach the Bloc Québécois is demanding, Quebec's contribution would be less than $400 million.

We therefore call for all efforts to reduce polluting emissions to be assigned according to territory, with the reference year being 1990, as required by the signing of the Kyoto protocol. Quebec would then be required to make a fair effort at reduction that would recognize its past pro-ecology choices while including it in the joint effort.

Since the fall of 2002, the Government of Quebec has been calling upon the federal government to enter into a bilateral agreement on application of the Kyoto protocol in Quebec. On October 24, 2002, members of the National Assembly adopted a consensus position calling upon the government to start negotiating a bilateral agreement on the funding and implementation of the greenhouse gas reduction strategy. At that time, the National Assembly called for the allocation formula to take into account the reductions achieved since 1990. Discussions have been held between representatives of both governments on the administrative level, but the necessary political support was lacking at the federal level.

In February 2003, Quebec environment minister, André Boisclair, again called upon the federal government, this time demanding that it mandate an official negotiator to initiate the negotiations.

In November 2004, we learned from media reports that Thomas Mulcair, Quebec's minister of sustainable development, environment and parks, had received a letter from his federal counterpart in which he made a commitment to step up the pace of negotiations, with a view to concluding a bilateral agreement on application of the Kyoto protocol in Quebec. We will not dwell on the comments made by the Minister of the Environment when he was asked about the progress of these negotiations, except to say that he noted that “negotiations with Quebec are progressing very well”. Yet we are still waiting.

On April 20, 2005, the Parti Québécois presented a motion calling for the signature of a bilateral agreement between Quebec and Ottawa that would allow Quebec full jurisdiction over the administration of the Kyoto protocol within its territory. That motion, which was passed unanimously by the National Assembly, read as follows:

That the Quebec National Assembly restates its desire to respect the Kyoto agreement and objects to the federal Green Plan which does not reflect the economic, energy or historic characteristics specific to Quebec, and calls for a bilateral agreement which does recognize these specific characteristics.

Even Quebec Liberals are in favour of the principle of this motion. It is time for Ottawa to keep its promises and reach a real agreement with Quebec that goes beyond the agreements in principle signed with Ontario, Manitoba, Prince Edward Island and Nunavut. Those agreements are nothing more than an aggregate of good intentions to cooperate, explore ideas, and improve awareness and recognition of the importance of fighting climate change; they do not offer anything concrete.

There are a few items the government should address and soon. The purpose of the motion is not to say that Quebec will take care of things and the federal government has nothing more to do. On the contrary, we must all contribute. Some of the most important measures can only be carried out by Ottawa and it is essential that the government take action.

The federal government must respect the territorial approach and give top priority to making public transit passes tax deductible, setting up a regulatory framework with heavy fines for non-compliance, eliminating tax incentives to oil and gas producers, and offering tax deductions for purchasing environmental vehicles.

In short, what we are asking the government to do is to put its words into action. Everyone knows this is urgent. It is time for the Minister of the Environment to stop making speeches and to start taking action.

The motion I am introducing in the House will help the country to take action, finally. Quebec would immediately have the tools it needs to respect the spirit and the letter of a protocol in which it strongly believes.

For now, it is Canadian inertia that is preventing us from taking action. It is the responsibility of the Minister of the Environment to act for the environment and we are offering him a solution to end his inaction.

It is his duty to be in favour of the motion, as it is the duty of every member sitting in this House.

2005 Canadian National Broomball Championships April 20th, 2005

Mr. Speaker, I am proud to pay tribute to some one hundred young broomball players from Quebec for their outstanding victories at the 2005 Canadian National Broomball Championships, in Leduc, Alberta, and Prince George, British Columbia.

In the juvenile boys division, L'Assomption college won the gold medal. In the juvenile girls division, the Panthères took the silver. In the ladies A division, the Huskies claimed gold and Quest, the bronze. In the mens A division, team Frost won the gold and the Dragons, the bronze.

Congratulations to all the coaches, the fans and all the athletes, particularly the following eight young women from my riding: Marie-Noëlle Beaulieu, Joanie Charlebois, Cynthia Bourgon-Touchette, Marie-Pierre St-Denis, Laurie Robichaud, Julie Chevrier, Alexandra Chevrier and Myriam Chevrier.

The Bloc Québécois is proud of these young Quebeckers and their amazing wins. Bravo, Quebec.

Committees of the House April 4th, 2005

Madam Speaker, it is obvious that the current process lacks a framework. The security certificate process puts families in the terrible situation of seeing one of their members imprisoned and threatened with deportation, all as part of an unfair process that interferes with the balance between security and individual rights.

The current process involves serious violations of fundamental rights, particularly hearings held in the absence of the accused and the lack of an appeal procedure.

If there are fears of threats, let there be a trial. In fact, it is not true that we have the right to arbitrarily throw people into prison. If they are guilty, if there is evidence against them, let them be charged and not held improperly without charges. It is simply unreasonable and abusive.

Moreover, I am pleased to hear that the discussion here is not about the Anti-terrorism Act but the Immigration Act. That is the one I was referring to.

Committees of the House April 4th, 2005

Madam Speaker, all over the world, courts and authorities are reacting to the various security certificate processes in place in their respective countries.

In Great Britain, New Zealand and even the United States, the conclusion has been reached that it is impossible to imprison an individual without laying charges against him. It has also been concluded that permanent residents have rights and that those rights are being trampled on by certain procedures such as security certificates.

The Bloc Québécois understands the importance of public security and understands that special measures need to be taken in special circumstances.

I would, however, like the minister to explain to us how he can go so far as to hold men in detention for years without any charges being laid, as he is doing at present.

Let me explain. The Bloc objects to the burden of proof, which requires the certificate to be maintained as long as there are reasonable grounds to believe the person is guilty. This belief in guilt is contrary to the concept of presumed innocence, which is one of the foundations of our legal system. We want to hear the minister's justification for contravening the very basis of our legal system in this way, even if it is in the name of public security.

The Bloc is also very concerned that the decision with respect to the reasonableness of the security certificate is left to the discretion of a single judge, without any possibility of appeal. The basic principles of law should apply to all refugees and all permanent residents.

Moreover, the Bloc condemns the double role of a judge who has to both decide the issue and act as defence counsel in hearings from which the accused and his or her lawyer are excluded. The Bloc asks that the Immigration and Refugee Protection Act, which allows foreign nationals and landed immigrants to be arrested without warrant, be amended.

It is requested that the definition of the rights of permanent resident be considered on its merit by a tribunal, and not by a member of the executive, given that, like a citizen, a permanent resident has the right to be treated fairly, without secret evidence or ex parte procedure, that is, without the presence of a witness.

The Bloc Québécois believes that the current provisions and standard of proof are excessive and discriminatory.

Like a citizen, the permanent resident has the right to be heard before an independent tribunal. He has the right to equality before the law. He has the right not to be exposed to arbitrary detention and the right to be released on bail. He has the right to appeal and to request a judicial review.

We are therefore anxious to understand the minister's arguments supporting such a procedure depriving permanent residents of their most fundamental rights and to understand why he is denying them a fair and equitable trial like anybody else. Canada's credibility and transparency would be improved.

Citizenship and Immigration April 4th, 2005

Mr. Speaker, three years ago this House voted to implement the refugee appeal division. Now, the Minister of Citizenship and Immigration wants to abandon the concept. Refugees currently have no means of appeal, except to the Federal Court, where only 10% of rejected cases are heard. Moreover, the Committee against Torture of the United Nations human rights tribunal has recognized that the Federal Court was not truly a court in which remedy could be sought.

Is the minister aware that by setting up the Federal Court as the only instance for refugee appeals, not only is it imposing a long and costly process on the refugees, but in addition, it is refusing them a proper right of appeal?

Citizenship and Immigration March 21st, 2005

Mr. Speaker, everyone disagrees with the minister. The United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees, the Human Rights Commission, lawyers defending refugees—they all condemn the Canadian government's attitude and its refusal to immediately implement the appeal division.

How can the government accept that the lives and futures of thousands of refugees depend on a decision made by one person?

Citizenship and Immigration March 21st, 2005

Mr. Speaker, the Minister of Citizenship and Immigration confirmed that he was considering an alternative to the refugee appeal division and that he would make a decision within six months.

How can the minister ask refugees to wait another six months when, for nearly three years, the government has been violating its own legislation by refusing to implement the appeal division which has, in fact, been duly adopted by this House?

Immigration and Refugee Board March 9th, 2005

Mr. Speaker, again yesterday, in the Standing Committee on Citizenship and Immigration, the minister repeated that the refugee appeal division was not necessary.

However, this take has been condemned by Amnesty International and the Canadian Council for Refugees, and the UN High Commissioner for Human Rights has voiced strong criticism.

I remind the House it adopted legislation establishing the appeal division. The Standing Committee on Citizenship and Immigration unanimously called for it and the director of the IRB says he is waiting only for a cabinet decision before going forward.

A recent ruling by the UN High Commissioner for Human Rights confirms that there is no appeal process for asylum seekers in Canada. Despite everything, there is still no appeal division.

This minister has the responsibility to honour the word of Parliament and protect the human rights of all individuals on Canadian soil.