House of Commons photo

Crucial Fact

  • Her favourite word was conservatives.

Last in Parliament October 2015, as NDP MP for Argenteuil—Papineau—Mirabel (Québec)

Lost her last election, in 2015, with 30% of the vote.

Statements in the House

Facilitating the Transfer of Family Farm or Fishing Corporations Act June 18th, 2015

Mr. Speaker, I am very pleased to speak in support of the bill introduced by my colleague from Joliette. I want to commend her on this excellent initiative and on all the good work she has done over the past four years. I really enjoyed working with her and I thank her. I also thank her for truly being a strong voice for farmers in Quebec and for standing up for our regions. I am proud not only to support this bill, but also to have worked with her.

The NDP believes that it is important to support our family farms in Quebec and Canada given that we recognize how important they are to our regions and to the Canadian economy as a whole. Bill C-661 is a step in the right direction for family farms. It makes a small change to the Income Tax Act. It is a small change, but a logical one that will have a big impact. This change is needed to remedy a situation that can create serious problems for farmers. Transfers of family farms are often very complicated. I doubt that any MP in this House believes that that is good for the economy. We want to make it easier for farmers to get down to work, pursue their passion and be able to transfer these farms to family members who want to take them over. We want to ensure that they put all their time, money and energy into this very important work.

Under existing laws, brothers and sisters are not considered to be family and are therefore penalized if they want to buy, sell or transfer land to each other. This can make it even more difficult for them to manage their family farm, especially when they are looking for someone to take over, which may sometimes be a brother or sister. This makes the situation more difficult. We all know that farmers need a government they can count on to make these transfers easier so that they can get back to their work, which is so important to our economy and to all Canadians. We want to be able to eat food grown in Quebec and to take advantage of it.

In my riding of Argenteuil—Papineau—Mirabel, agriculture is an extremely important part of the economy. There is a huge amount of diversity in the agriculture, in the type of agriculture and in the changes taking place across my riding, whether it is in Argenteuil, Papineau, Mirabel, the Deux-Montagnes region or even Les Pays-d'en-Haut. It is incredible to see all of the microclimates that exist. This means that different crops can be grown in these locations. It is very important to note that families put their hearts and souls into their passion in order to be able to feed Canadians and Quebeckers. Agriculture is therefore an important economic reality in the region. They are all family farms. Eastern Canada is at a real risk of losing its family farms. We must do everything we can to reverse that trend. Since the Conservatives came to power, thousands of family farms have had to shut down. That is unacceptable. This government has not been able to protect struggling local communities and farmers.

We must also realize that when the agricultural sector is under pressure, the whole rural community feels the effects. We are referring to all the people who make their seasonal contributions and all the small businesses that depend on farmers' investments. Therefore it is very important to ensure stability and investment in this industry. A small change like this will have a huge impact because, as I said, it will eliminate a lot of stress and problems surrounding transfers, rather than creating more paperwork and wasting time, energy and money. We truly must encourage the new generation.

Let us remember a few facts. Canada once had a world-class agricultural infrastructure, and family farms and rural communities were the heart and soul of the industry. Today, however, Canadian agriculture faces the problem of land takeovers, with farmland being purchased and concentrated in the hands of huge businesses. The family farm and the small agricultural business are definitely endangered.

In order to combat this phenomenon and the decrease in the number of farm owners in Canada, the NDP knows that we must lend a hand to family farms and facilitate the transfer of assets between family members.

We simply want to make it possible to recognize the family ties between brothers and sisters in an agricultural operation, in order to make intergenerational transfers and division of assets more flexible and encourage new blood, a new generation of farmers who will be able to carry the torch and invest in their business as their family has done.

I wish to reiterate my wholehearted support for this bill, and I thank my colleague for introducing it. It is extremely important that we have a chance to debate it, and I am pleased we are able to do that this evening.

Since we are at second reading, I hope we will be able to pass this bill, because this is important legislation. My constituents in Argenteuil—Papineau—Mirabel believe this bill is necessary and is a step in the right direction.

To conclude, because I think this will be my last speech in this Parliament before we leave and the election is held, I would like to thank all my constituents in Argenteuil—Papineau—Mirabel for a wonderful four years.

I have learned so much from the day I was elected, at the age of 22, to today, when I am 26 years old. I feel that I have grown up here, in a way, and that is thanks to the support of all these fantastic people: my colleagues, my constituents, my team and everyone who works in Parliament every day. I have enjoyed my experience tremendously, and I would like to thank them, because they are what have made it so wonderful.

I am very eager to come back in the fall. I hope to see many of the faces I see today again. To those who are retiring, my thanks and my best wishes for their retirement. I wish everyone a lovely summer. Thank you once again.

Zero Tolerance for Barbaric Cultural Practices Act June 16th, 2015

Mr. Speaker, this gives me an opportunity to talk about something that I wanted to address in my speech but could not because I ran out of time.

That is why a national action plan to combat violence against women must go hand in hand with an action plan for safe and affordable housing. Giving women access to decent, safe, affordable housing is one way to prevent violence. It allows women to leave a violent relationship and live in a safer neighbourhood, and it reduces the stress associated with a lack of money. A long-term national housing strategy is therefore an integral part of an action plan to end violence against women. Such a plan also requires stable ongoing funding for organizations and support for counselling, assistance and trauma services on the ground. All of these things are needed to prevent violence against women.

Unfortunately, the Conservatives do not understand that all of these things are necessary in order for women to live in safety.

Zero Tolerance for Barbaric Cultural Practices Act June 16th, 2015

Mr. Speaker, we have a serious problem and it is the current government that is not taking action. Rather, it is bringing these bills forward that are marginalizing and driving further underground the women who are experiencing violence.

The experts tells us that women and girls on the ground want to be protected from violence, whether psychological, physical or otherwise, but they do not want to be put in a situation where they have to see their families prosecuted. This criminalization is not really the solution.

Community representatives and the witnesses who appeared before the committee were clear. We need a Canada-wide strategy to address violence against women.

A national action plan to put an end to violence against women is not something that can be put together very quickly and cannot be put together in the next month before an election plan. What we need to do is sit down with organizations across the country and build a plan that has clear targets and is coherent, so that we stop doubling our efforts and actually get to the problem. Rather than throwing money or bills at it, we need to address the problem of violence against women in this country.

Zero Tolerance for Barbaric Cultural Practices Act June 16th, 2015

Mr. Speaker, before I begin, I would like to let you know that I will be sharing my time with the member for Vancouver Kingsway.

I would also like to acknowledge the work done by my colleague from Pierrefonds—Dollard. She is our party's critic for citizenship and immigration. She did excellent work consulting with organizations for abused women and with experts on the ground regarding violence against women and more specifically immigrant women. She was sensitive to these groups' needs. I also want to acknowledge all the work that she has done on this bill both in the House and in committee.

The NDP recognizes that it is absolutely necessary to address the problem of violence against women. I am talking here about all forms of violence. That is why we insist that it is necessary to have a national action plan to combat violence against women. Violence is truly devastating for all women, whether they are newcomers to Canada, aboriginal women, women with disabilities or young women. It is unacceptable for any Canadian woman to be in a vulnerable position just because she is a woman. As any women's organization in Canada can attest, we really need a national action plan to address violence against women and put an end to this problem.

The Canadian Network of Women's Shelters and Transition Houses has worked with many women's groups that advocate for and work with women in all kinds of situations across Canada to come up with an action plan and develop a strategy to end violence against women. I would like to share what Lise Martin, executive director of the Canadian Network of Women's Shelters and Transition Houses, said:

Canada needs a coherent, coordinated, well-resourced National Action Plan on Violence Against Women. The Canadian Network of Women’s Shelters has led a collaborative process with over 20 partners in the violence against women sector which has resulted in a blueprint for Canada’s National Action Plan on Violence Against Women and Girls. The Blueprint provides a roadmap of where we need to go and how to get there. M-444 is an important step in this direction.

Motion No. 444 was moved by my colleague from Churchill. The goal was to create a national action plan. The Conservatives voted against the motion. The Conservative Party is obviously not the party that is doing the most for women. Rather, it is the party that is halting progress in the fight to end violence against women.

It is not just the Canadian Network of Women's Shelters & Transition Houses, with all the work it has done, that is saying that the problem of violence against women needs to be addressed through a pan-Canadian strategy. I would like to quote Deepa Mattoo, who is a staff lawyer with the South Asian Legal Clinic of Ontario and an expert on early and forced marriages. She said the following:

Violence against women happens to women irrespective of their age, religion, background, education and class. It is important that we do not tackle the issues of violence in silos and have a broader inclusive strategy to tackle all forms of violence against women. It is also important that we remember that men and families need to be engaged in our strategies to tackle violence against women moving forward.

She also supported Motion No. 444 by my colleague from Churchill, which the Conservatives voted against, I must point out again.

Violence against women has reached shocking levels in Canada, especially among indigenous and racialized women, women with disabilities and women in the LGBT community. The call for a national action plan is coming from all major feminist organizations in Canada as well as the United Nations, which is calling on all countries to quickly adopt a national action plan.

However, Bill S-7 is a dangerous bill that could not only fail to protect vulnerable women and girls, but also make them even more vulnerable and more at risk of violence or negative consequences. Women who are victims of systemic, overt racism are often at higher risk for experiencing both poverty and violence. As well, racialized and majoritarian women have a hard time finding culturally appropriate anti-violence services, emergency assistance and housing. Immigrant women are often isolated from services to combat violence against women, and they are more exposed to violence than other women.

The NDP opposed Bill S-7 at second reading in the House of Commons and it moved a motion to change the focus of the bill. This motion called on the government and the House to:

(a) strongly condemn the practice [of violence against women and forced marriages]; (b) increase funding to organizations working with potential or actual victims; (c) consult with women, communities, organizations, and experts to form a true picture of the issue and to identify the best ways to address it; (d) allow women with conditional permanent resident status to remain in Canada if their partners are deported due to polygamy or forced marriage; (e) invest in information programs tailored to immigrant women; (f) develop culturally appropriate training programs for service providers dealing with immigrant women such as the police and social workers, as well as officers of the Canada Border Service Agency and the Department of Citizenship and Immigration; (g) restore funding to Status of Women Canada; and (h) implement the NDP's national plan for a strategy to address violence against women.

This motion was moved by my colleague, the hon. member for Pierrefonds—Dollard and it is essentially the NDP's position and strategy for addressing forced marriage and the violence committed against these women.

The studies by the Senate and the Standing Committee on Citizenship and Immigration brought to light several concerns about Bill S-7 in particular. The NDP tried to amend the bill to change the offensive short title, as my colleague mentioned this morning in her speech. It also wanted to ensure that victims would not be penalized by some of the measures in Bill S-7. Unfortunately all the amendments were rejected by the Conservative majority on the committee.

As I said, the first amendment would have deleted the short title, the zero tolerance for barbaric cultural practices act. The NDP really wanted to change it. Unfortunately, the amendment was rejected. Violence against women is clearly barbaric, but is it cultural? No, violence affects all women, as my colleague explained so well this morning.

Second, we proposed deleting the clause that would allow an immigration officer to refuse entry to Canada to people seeking to live here or visit Canada or to deport people if they are suspected of practising polygamy in the past or present or planning to practise it in the future. In committee, lawyer Chantal Desloges really stressed that there is currently no definition of polygamy. That is clearly a huge flaw in the bill.

Third, we called for the removal of the provision criminalizing an individual who attended a forced marriage. It is not hard to understand why. The purpose is to protect victims. This measure would increase social pressure and stigmatization, discouraging witnesses and victims from reporting forced marriages out of fear that their friends and family would end up with a criminal record.

Many experts working on the ground believe that Bill S-7, like other poorly thought-out bills from this government, risks making the victims we say we want to protect even more vulnerable. I do not understand why the government does not heed these warnings and why it is going ahead with a bill that, clearly, instead of helping women, is making their situation even worse. As my colleague mentioned this morning, we approved of parts of the bill. We absolute agree that there is a problem of forced marriages and women who are victims of sexual violence.

It is a problem we have to address, but unfortunately this wrong-headed bill is only going to expose these women to further violence.

Zero Tolerance for Barbaric Cultural Practices Act June 16th, 2015

Mr. Speaker, I want to thank my colleague for her excellent work on this bill. Clearly, it is a very divisive bill and one that is hard to understand. It contains several harmful measures, and while it also contains some useful and interesting things, some problems must be corrected. In Canada, violence against women, especially racialized women, is a serious problem.

The hon. member did not have enough time to speak because there are many inadequate elements in this bill. She did a great job of explaining the bill's shortcomings and our reasons for opposing it.

I would like to give her an opportunity to describe where the NDP wants to make changes that would give more power and more services to women in these situations.

Petitions June 16th, 2015

Mr. Speaker, I am presenting a petition on behalf of my constituents in Argenteuil—Papineau—Mirabel, who are calling on the government to stop reducing Canada Post postal services because up to 8,000 well-paid jobs could be lost. Eliminating home delivery and reducing hours of service in rural areas will have an adverse effect on our people and the local economy.

International Trade June 4th, 2015

Mr. Speaker, no matter how much the minister tries to reassure us, members of his caucus have no problem talking about abolishing supply management. We do not know what the minister's colleagues are telling him in caucus, just like we do not know what is going on at the trans-Pacific partnership negotiating table.

Farmers in Mirabel know that they can count on the NDP to protect supply management. Can they count on this government?

Committees of the House June 4th, 2015

Mr. Speaker, on behalf of the NDP, I stand to present the dissenting opinion on this report, calling on the government for a national action plan to end violence against women and for a national public inquiry into missing and murdered aboriginal women,

Witnesses strongly urge the government to take action to address the root causes of violence against women and the systemic inequality that perpetuates it.

New Democrats recognize that the causes of violence are complex and the solution needs to be comprehensive. Unfortunately, this report presented by the committee fails to address the urgent situation.

Jacques Parizeau June 2nd, 2015

Mr. Speaker, yesterday evening, a great man was taken from us. Former Quebec premier Jacques Parizeau died at the age of 84.

It is with great sadness that I rise on behalf of all my NDP colleagues to offer our sincere condolences to Lisette Lapointe, his wife and the mayor of Saint-Adolphe-d'Howard, his family and friends, and all Quebeckers, who saw in him a rare statesmanship.

Mr. Parizeau was one of the main pillars of the Quiet Revolution. He left his mark on Quebec's history by building the foundations of Quebec's modern economy. Take for example his role in the nationalization of electricity and the creation of the Quebec pension plan and the Caisse de dépôt et placement du Québec.

Everyone agrees that Mr. Parizeau was a determined, passionate man who worked for the common good.

Rest in peace, Mr. Parizeau.

Questions Passed as Orders for Returns June 1st, 2015

With respect to Status of Women Canada's Action Plan on Gender-based Analysis: for each specific commitment, sub-commitment and identified action, what is the detailed status of the commitment, completion date or anticipated completion date?