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Crucial Fact

  • Her favourite word was quebec.

Last in Parliament March 2011, as Bloc MP for Rivière-du-Nord (Québec)

Lost her last election, in 2011, with 28% of the vote.

Statements in the House

Social And Co-Operative Housing February 16th, 1994

Mr. Speaker, on May 5, 1993, the present Minister of Foreign Affairs, who was then in the opposition, stated that the government was violating the basic right of the people to adequate and decent housing and demanded that it "act as soon as possible to save the social housing and co-operative housing program in Canada".

Can the member, now Minister of Foreign Affairs, tell us whether he has acted as strongly as he was advocating less than a year ago and approached his colleague, the Minister of Finance, to that effect?

Supply February 10th, 1994

Mr. Speaker, we are not against the principle but we must study the question further. As for duplication, the hon. member is right, some duplication is unavoidable. We try to eliminate duplication in order to reduce costs, to save money, to become more efficient.

This is not the case now in several areas and I think that you are well aware that that situation has been with us for many years. It is high time to empower a special committee to study all those questions, all forms of waste. Such a committee could, for the first time, I think, be very effective and it could produce fresh new solutions and maybe an alternative to the system we use presently to manage public funds.

Supply February 10th, 1994

Mr. Speaker, to answer the question asked by the hon. member, I would like to say that we will all work in committees, but it is federal expenditures as a whole that need to be examined. At the moment, I think this task is divided among various committees, but our motion goes way beyond the study of a particular area of expenditure by a committee.

Supply February 10th, 1994

Mr. Speaker, I am pleased to take part in this debate today. I hope that our arguments will help enlighten hon. members about the merits of our motion. What we are proposing is a simple and realistic process that no member in this House can off-handedly reject simply because it was not put forward by his or her party.

Our constituents expect such action from us. I do not see how I could go back to my riding this weekend and try to explain why we refused to examine public finances. Such a refusal would show a lack of respect for our voters and an attempt to shirk our responsibilities. We as members of the Bloc Quebecois have received an additional mandate, and a significant one at that.

Quebecers have especially asked us to protect their interests and to focus our energy and efforts to help Quebec attain its sovereignty. Soon Quebecers will democratically determine their own future.

For more than three months now, each and everyone of us has noticed, day in and day out, that our federal system has some major flaws on several levels, especially from an administrative and a political point of view. On the one hand, the Auditor General has always loudly complained about the mismanagement of government funds.

On the other hand, provinces claim that they have been treated unfairly, because of unjust decisions based on so-called national standards, which obviously are not making provincial authorities very happy. Add to this the willingness of hon. members to play a bigger part in the decision and legislative system, and you can say without a doubt that our system is not efficient and needs some major changes.

Take, for instance, the Auditor General of Canada who publishes every year horror stories like some of Stephen King bestsellers on the way our government manages this country. The Auditor General cannot all by himself go through everything. He focuses on some very well defined areas. He examines only some of the elements of public administration. He is asked to perform a monumental task requiring detailed knowledge of the situation. Recently we heard some horror stories about senators, but let us not dwell on that.

The evaluation process used by the Auditor clearly shows the scope and the complexity of the federal administration. It is becoming more and more difficult, if not utterly impossible, to control this monster and the vast number of programs involving extraordinary public spending.

Our approach or proposal is a symbolical and responsible attempt to democratize and open the whole issue of public finances. The people will better understand public expenditures and will be in a better position to evaluate the government's decisions.

Year after year, successive ministers of Finance pledge to apply stricter controls, to eliminate waste and to reduce spending. Alas, results are always disappointing. Governments are

much more apt to raise revenues through taxes than to reduce their extravagant expenditures and waste.

We, the Bloc, will allow, with this motion, every member to keep this promise. It is up to you to decide.

The Minister of Finance prefers to travel throughout the country at the taxpayer's expense to hold other consultations. I do not think these little trips will solve anything.

The minister should sit down with us and all the other parties in this House and look carefully at the true financial mess our great country is now in. I am sure that everybody here would agree to such a serious and open process. Nobody in this House can support ridiculous or useless spending.

Nobody can condone waste and deadwood. In the end, this process aims at ensuring that every tax dollar is spent efficiently.

As social housing critic, I have to look at the activities and programs of the Canada Mortgage and Housing Corporation. Note that Quebec also has its own housing corporation, that is, the Société d'habitation du Québec. The work of these two similar corporations is similar and sometimes complementary. Both organizations deal with housing.

There is certainly some duplication of services that is very costly in terms of the number of employees doing similar tasks at both levels of government. These sums are possibly included in the operating budgets of the various programs under their authority. And let us not forget the incredible number of interdepartmental meetings required in order to harmonize the programs and all the co-ordination meetings between officials working on various projects.

Since there are federal-provincial agreements in each of the provinces, we can multiply by ten, plus two for the territories, this type of duplication of services that is very costly for the taxpayers and very confusing for the general public. Each level of government has its standards, its inspectors, its codes and its regulations. There is a cost attached to all that. We must simplify the system and concentrate all these activities at the same administrative level in order to meet needs more efficiently and to maximize the use of the money allocated for these programs.

Obviously, in Quebec, the Société d'habitation du Québec must be the only administrative authority in this area. The other provinces should do the same. That is up to them.

Right now, in Canada, in this rich and developed country, 1.2 million people are in desperate need of housing. The total withdrawal of the federal government as of January 1, 1994 is indecent and unacceptable. Moreover, the general agreements with the provinces are melting away like the snow because of deep cuts in federal funding. So, all of a sudden, the provinces/ find themselves without funding and it is the poorest in our society who suffer the terrible consequences.

Liberals do not seem to be doing anything to rectify the situation. They say that there is not enough money. Here is a golden opportunity for the government opposite to find considerable amounts of money in order to meet the housing needs of disadvantaged Canadians. But, a word of caution, the money taken from the various departments will have to be redistributed under new criteria. Federal standards must meet the particular needs of individual provinces and reflect their reality.

Quebec wants its fair share of funding for social housing, which has not been the case in the past few years.

Finally, let us administer our country intelligently and openly so that we have the means to meet the needs of the people, some of which are urgent.

Social Housing February 2nd, 1994

Mr. Speaker, I want to ask a supplementary question, again to the Prime Minister. Does the Prime Minister know that all social, co-operative, low-cost and non-profit housing programs have been frozen and that housing conditions for tenants in his hometown of Shawinigan are among the worst in Canada? Does he know that?

Social Housing February 2nd, 1994

Mr. Speaker, my question is for the Prime Minister.

Today, hundreds of people living in inadequate housing took their personal budgets to the office of the Finance Minister. The objective of this operation is to show the Liberal government that serious housing problems are being created in Canada. Every month, thousands of households must save on food just to pay the rent.

Will the Prime Minister make his Finance Minister restore and increase social housing program budgets and unfreeze the budget of the Canada Mortgage and Housing Corporation to avoid a social housing rent increase?

Social Housing January 28th, 1994

Mr. Speaker, will the minister agree that not only do social housing programs contribute to improving living conditions of low income families but that a renewal of investment in social housing could also contribute to overall economic recovery?

Social Housing January 28th, 1994

Mr. Speaker, my question is for the Minister of Public Works. Since 1986, the federal government has steadily withdrawn from the social and co-operative housing sector, leaving the poorest of our society in totally unacceptable housing conditions.

Does the minister intend to fulfil the commitments he made during the last election campaign by establishing non-profit social and co-operative housing programs?

Speech From The Throne January 28th, 1994

We are now trying to save the underprivileged and Quebec.

Speech From The Throne January 28th, 1994

Madam Speaker, when we say we want to work in the best interests of the underprivileged in Canada, we mean it. I maintain that the Canadian ship is sinking and I think the government managed to do it without our help.