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Crucial Fact

  • Her favourite word was quebec.

Last in Parliament March 2011, as Bloc MP for Laval (Québec)

Lost her last election, in 2011, with 23% of the vote.

Statements in the House

Business of Supply March 10th, 2011

Mr. Speaker, I am pleased to rise to discuss the motion that we moved this morning. First, I would like to say that I will share the time I have with the member for Outremont.

Contrary to what the member for Saint-Boniface says, it was not rhetoric that we included in this morning's motion. We ourselves did not decide that the Conservative Party had violated the Elections Act and the Access to Information Act. Nor did we decide ourselves that the government had broken the law when it came to telling the House the truth.

We moved this motion because we had proof and because the Speaker of the House himself showed us yesterday that, in two of these cases, we had reason to doubt the accuracy of what we were told in the House.

As for election fraud, it has been proven that even Conservative members from Quebec made claims for amounts of money that belonged to the people of Quebec, because these members represented Quebec. They were not entitled to the money they received to run in the election. Because they were not entitled, they should have to give it back.

We are not the ones who decided this; it was the appeal court. I think that the appeal court judges are smart enough to know the difference between election fraud and an in and out transfer. The member for Regina—Lumsden—Lake Centre tried to make us believe that all of the other parties took advantage of the same scheme, but I must point out that we never submitted false invoices and we did not request any refunds from the Chief Electoral Officer. That is why we were not accused of anything. What we did was legal. The Conservatives are under investigation because what they did was illegal.

I would also like to remind members of some rather comical incidents. If we look back, we should have seen this coming. We should have already been thinking that something was not right about what the Prime Minister was telling us when he was in the opposition. For example, on June 18, 2004, LCN reported that the Conservative leader had adopted a brand new slogan to appeal to Quebeckers: “Un gouvernement propre au Québec”, while the slogan of the Bloc Québécois was “Un parti propre au Québec”. Already, the Prime Minister was confused and was trying to use our good idea for himself.

On another occasion, he also said that he thought people should elect a cat person because if you elect a dog person, you elect someone who wants to be loved. If you elect a cat person, you elect someone who wants to serve. He said that in an interview with Kevin Newman on Global National on April 5, 2006. He could have also said that if you elect a cat person, you elect someone who likes to serve himself.

And even before he destroyed everything that was happening at Status of Women Canada and before he destroyed the hopes of women in this country and in Quebec, Andrée Côté, the director of legislative reform at the National Association of Women and Law, which had to shut down because its funding was cut, wrote this on January 18, 2007:

Exactly one year ago, to the day, January 18, 2006, in the midst of an election campaign, [the Prime Minister] declared:

“Yes, I'm ready to support women's human rights and I agree that Canada has to do more to meet its international obligations to women's equality. If elected I will take concrete and immediate measures, as recommended by the United Nations, to ensure that Canada fully upholds its commitments to women.”

On the federal election date of January 23, 2006, his party was elected to office. In spite of its minority government status, the government was quick to set in motion a series of policy decisions that have sent a resounding message, namely: that women’s equality and the promotion and protection of their human rights is not of concern to this government.

To finish up with the anecdotes, I would like to remind the members that it was also said that by refusing to testify before the Standing Committee on Public Safety, the member for Beauce and the members of this government were trampling on the foundations of ministerial accountability and parliamentary democracy:

And above all else, they are violating the formal commitments they made during their 2006 election campaign. “The time for accountability has arrived,” declared the Prime Minister on page 1 of his party's election platform. It seems that that time has come and gone.

I have another quote from the Prime Minister who, as Leader of the Opposition, told the Montreal newspaper The Gazette the following, the year before he came to power:

Information is the lifeblood of a democracy. Without adequate access to key information about government policies and programs, citizens and parliamentarians cannot make informed decisions, and incompetent or corrupt governance can be hidden under a cloak of secrecy.

When he became Prime Minister, his attitude appeared to undergo a shift of considerable proportions.

According to Lawrence Martin in The Politics of Control, “It often took the Conservatives twice as long as previous governments to handle access requests. Sometimes it took six months to a year”.

Moving on, I would like to refer to the director of the Canadian Taxpayers Federation, Kevin Gaudet, who has said there should be an investigation to determine whether the Minister of Citizenship, Immigration and Multiculturalism routinely misused government resources to win votes.

I believe our motion clearly describes the facts as I just listed them in this House. We did not conjure this motion completely out of thin air. We thought about it very carefully and reflected on it after a series of indisputable facts that we have listed and that I could continue to list for several minutes.

Of course we are going to ask all members of this House, or at least all opposition members, to vote in support of our motion. In closing, I would like to remind the member for Regina—Lumsden—Lake Centre that in 2005, the Prime Minister himself wanted to sign and then did sign a letter to form a coalition with the Bloc Québécois and the NDP. If a coalition can work for him, it can work for others, too.

International Women's Day March 8th, 2011

Mr. Speaker, yet another International Women's Day. It is the 100th anniversary. It is beginning to become repetitive to have to examine, every year, how women are doing, as if no other problems existed.

What? In 100 years, did they not obtain the right to vote? Now they can go to work. They can decide whether they want children and when. They now have the pill. They can choose—whether the pro-life caucus in this House likes it or not—whether or not to have an abortion. What more do women want? At some point could we stop celebrating this International Women's Day?

We agree that having International Women's Day for the hundredth time is becoming repetitive. But whether those who are bored by women's demands like it or not, everything is not rosy. According to the World Health Organization, between 100 and 140 million women have been subjected to genital mutilation. Somewhere in the world, a woman dies every minute because of complications arising during pregnancy or childbirth. Even today, women are stoned as punishment for adultery. In countries ravaged by war, such as the Congo, Ivory Coast or Sudan, rape is used as a weapon of war. This is the 100th anniversary of International Women's Day, and we are still at this point.

In 2007, Quebec women earned 84.25% of what men earned on average; in Canada, women earned just over 70%. According to the OECD, the wage gap between men and women in Canada is the fifth highest of 22 industrialized countries.

In 1996, Quebec passed a proactive pay equity law. In 2009, Canada made pay equity a negotiable right, which was nothing less than a step backwards.

Quebec has implemented a preventive withdrawal program for pregnant women, which allows them to receive 90% of their salary. Canada pays only 55% of their salary to women under its jurisdiction, and for only 15 weeks.

The National Assembly unanimously voted to support a motion to highlight the consensus on women's freedom of choice with regard to abortion. The debate continues to rage in Ottawa.

We are celebrating the 100th International Women's Day, and so much more remains to be done. I do not know how many more years it will take, but I do know that the fight for equality is not over. And I also know that the women in this House and around the world are patient and determined and that, in the end, we will be victorious.

Status of Women March 8th, 2011

Mr. Speaker, in response to a question that I asked last Friday about changes in terminology within his department, the Minister of Foreign Affairs had the nerve to insult the members of the Standing Committee on the Status of Women, saying that our work was not serious. Once again, instead of being accountable, a Conservative minister chose to denigrate the work of parliamentarians.

If he wants to protect women's interests, how can the minister say that the work done by the Standing Committee on the Status of Women is not serious?

Points of Order March 4th, 2011

Mr. Speaker, I demand that the Minister of Foreign Affairs retract his statement that the work being done by the committee is not serious.

Points of Order March 4th, 2011

Mr. Speaker, I would ask the Minister of Foreign Affairs to retract his statements that the work done by the Standing Committee on the Status of Women is not serious. The government made changes to terminology. In reference to rapes in the Democratic Republic of Congo, the word “impunity” was replaced with “prevention”. These are serious changes and we had serious reasons to invite government officials to the Standing Committee on the Status of Women

Government Communications March 4th, 2011

Mr. Speaker, to avoid key words that are often used by feminist organizations and other advocacy groups, the Conservatives are imposing a whole new lexicon on the diplomatic apparatus.

The Conservatives do not speak of “gender equality” but rather of “equality of men and women”. They do not speak of “child soldiers” but rather of “children in armed conflict”.

Does the government not realize that it is not necessary to change the whole lexicon used at the Department of Foreign Affairs since there is no chance that the government will ever be confused with a progressive organization?

Sexual and Reproductive Health Awareness Day February 11th, 2011

Mr. Speaker, tomorrow is Sexual and Reproductive Health Awareness Day. Every day, women and men of all ages contract sexually transmitted diseases because of lack of education and, above all, insufficient resources, programs and services.

In Canada, we need only think about our aboriginal sisters. According to the Canadian Women’s Health Network, aboriginal women account for approximately 50% of all HIV-positive test reports among aboriginal people, compared with only 16% of their non-aboriginal counterparts.

Unfortunately, the Conservative government has offered very few concrete solutions to improve this situation. Its failure to act is not overly surprising, though, given that this is the same government that, for ideological reasons, refused to subsidize abortion services under the G8 maternal and child health plan. Thousands of women's lives would have been saved.

Marie-Josée Grenier February 9th, 2011

Mr. Speaker, at the beginning of this year, a long-time staff member of the Bloc Québécois, Marie-Josée Grenier, accomplished an exceptional feat: she climbed Mount Kilimanjaro.

Marie-Josée is a caring and committed woman. We were therefore not surprised when she decided to take on this new challenge in support of the Arthritis Society and people suffering from this painful condition.

Although she was already in good shape, she had to train physically, mentally and emotionally for an entire year before facing the challenge of climbing this 5,895-metre mountain in Tanzania known as the roof of Africa.

I had the privilege of meeting with her upon her return last week. As I took her in my arms, I could feel her passing on to me some of the unique energy possessed by those who do not let anything stop them from achieving great dreams. Her eyes said it all. They sparkled with the pride of accomplishment and the desire to do more.

Thank you Marie-Josée for showing us that anything is possible.

Canada-Panama Free Trade Act February 4th, 2011

Mr. Speaker, it seems to me that money has no smell for the Conservatives no matter where it comes from.

Canada-Panama Free Trade Act February 4th, 2011

Mr. Speaker, it is true that farmers are facing challenges and that a more effective agricultural and product-naming policy is needed. When that happens, I am sure that they will be able to sell their products more easily. We also need to keep all the services to which farmers already have access and all existing mechanisms in place, so that their products remain the products that we have in Quebec. I know that they will be happy about this.