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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

An Act to Prevent Coercion of Pregnant Women to Abort (Roxanne’s Law) November 1st, 2010

Mr. Speaker, I find it very difficult to debate this bill today because we are once again debating abortion. Regardless of what the member for Winnipeg South would have us believe, this bill reopens the abortion debate. In fact, his leader was so angry the day he introduced this bill that he even said he would not support it. The Prime Minister's spokesperson, Dimitri Soudas, also stated that the government leader would not vote for this bill.

I cannot understand why the member for Winnipeg South still wants to debate this bill. I also cannot understand why he is still receiving so much support from his party despite the fact that his leader is refusing to support this bill.

They can try to dress this bill up and manipulate people in all kinds of ways, but the fact is that it would restrict access to freedom of choice. That debate is over. We do not need to talk about it again. It was clear last year when we debated maternal and child health. Once again, the member for Winnipeg South was very clear. He told people that some progress had been made and that more would be made in the coming year.

That is what he is trying to do with this bill, and he said so right here on Parliament Hill. The women of Quebec and Canada—the people of Quebec and Canada—are not fools. We understand perfectly well what he said and what he meant. He thinks that he made progress this year by convincing his government not to give women in developing countries access to a full range of family planning services. Yet we are well aware that thousands of women die every day because they do not have access to safe, sterile abortion services.

He said that he had made progress, and that more would be made in the coming year, with the introduction of this bill and with this attempt to manipulate public opinion. That is completely unacceptable. He hoped that by naming one person in his bill he would again appeal to people's emotions. I was touched by Roxanne's story, but the reason that the member gave for her death was not true. Roxanne's murderer, his defence lawyer and the crown prosecutor all said the same thing.

Will they stop lying? Will they stop manipulating the public and trying to make them believe things that are not true? It makes no sense.

I have been here for six and a half years now, and every year, for six and a half years, one, two or three members introduce bills to try to interfere with women's right to choose in this country. They will not succeed. They will not succeed because we will not give up. We will not give up our rights. To those who will say that the women of this country do not have the right to get angry, I will say that there are times when it is appropriate to get angry. This time, like many other times, I have a right to be angry. Men are trying to decide what is good for us, and I will tell them that I have a right to be angry because no one has the right to decide what is good for me. Once again, this government is trying to force us to adopt this kind of bill.

I was very angry this past weekend. Pro-life groups have been set up in various cities in Quebec and Canada.They are supposedly there to help women in distress, to help women who do not know what to do. These groups are supposedly there to help women who have a difficult decision to make and, supposedly, to be objective. But these groups spout all sorts of nonsense to these women. They tell the women who come to see them that the aborted fetuses are used by pharmaceutical companies to make lipstick. They say that the fetuses will be used for things that are not true.

Quite often, these groups are financed by people that we know. Quite often, they are supported by pro-life members of the government. I am ashamed to say that I am involved in a Parliament where a group of pro-life members supports organizations that lie shamelessly to women in need of help. It is not right to lie to women who need help. This bill will isolate young women even more, when what they need is to talk, be supported and be surrounded by people who understand them and by their families, friends and partners. They need advice.

At the age of 15, 16 or 17, we need to be surrounded by those who are closest to us. If the people advising these young women had the misfortune to be imprisoned because they told them that an abortion was their best option, imagine what these young women would have to live with for the rest of their lives? It would be frightening.

I cannot believe that members of the House will stand up and vote for this bill. I cannot believe it. I hope that all members will stand up and vote against it.

Salle André-Mathieu Theatre October 28th, 2010

Mr. Speaker, the Corporation de la salle André-Mathieu in Laval is nominated in two categories at the 32nd ADISQ Gala 2010: “venue of the year” and “entertainment presenter of the year”.

The first category “honours the quality and suitability of the equipment, the acoustic properties, the skill and initiatives of the technical staff, the reception facilities, the relations with tour teams, the quality of administrative services, and the volume of activity.”

The Félix for “entertainment presenter of the year” is handed out in recognition of the “evolution of the presenter, the diversity and quality of programming, impact on the community, succession planning, promotion and communications, as well as professional ethics.”

The Bloc Québécois congratulates the entire team at the Salle André-Mathieu and would like to wish them good luck on November 1, when the winners will be announced. With these two important nominations, it is clear that Laval is, without a doubt, a cultural landmark in Quebec.

The LEED Rating System October 22nd, 2010

Mr. Speaker, construction of the Tour St-Martin in my riding is slated to begin next spring. This 11,985 square-metre, eight-storey building will be the first LEED-certified office building in Laval.

The LEED, leadership in energy and environmental design, rating system is based on “five key areas of human and environmental health: sustainable site development, water efficiency, energy efficiency, materials selection and indoor environmental quality.”

In the Tour St-Martin, amenities such as showers will be installed so that walkers and cyclists can get their day off to a good start. In addition, “the building will be equipped with geothermal technology and devices for water and air energy recovery.”

The contractors involved in this project will be working towards LEED silver certification. My Bloc Québécois colleagues and I wish them well in this endeavour.

Business of Supply October 21st, 2010

Mr. Speaker, when the Liberals were in power, they constantly did it. The Conservative government, at least the Conservative Prime Minister, is trying to make us believe that it wants to act differently. But his MPs told us this morning that they did not want to act differently, while the member for Beauce did the opposite. If the member for Beauce were Prime Minister, perhaps he would be prepared to limit the spending power. Who knows. We will see.

Business of Supply October 21st, 2010

Mr. Speaker, Quebec has one of the best health care systems in the world, even though it has shortcomings and gaps, like a number of other systems.

I believe it would be possible to enter into agreements, as is the case in all areas. At present, we have agreements with other countries. If we are able to sign agreements with countries that are thousands of kilometres away from here, I do not see why we could not sign an agreement with Quebec, which is not even 10 kilometres away from Ontario. I do not see where the problem is. I think the hon. member is seeing problems where there are none.

Business of Supply October 21st, 2010

Mr. Speaker, unfortunately, everywhere across Canada, private clinics are opening their doors. Just because the federal government is interfering in provincial jurisdiction does not mean that the private sector should take its place.

The federal government should take care of its own responsibilities, such as soldiers, veterans and Aboriginals. It is barely doing its job and it does so very poorly, as we can see. Rather than taking care of its own responsibilities, it tries to take on the responsibilities of others, but it is not very successful in doing so.

Business of Supply October 21st, 2010

Mr. Speaker, I am pleased to rise on this opposition day. I will be sharing my time with the hon. member for Terrebonne—Blainville.

To ensure that those who just tuned in via CPAC, our fellow citizens who have been so faithfully following our proceedings this session, who enjoy so much listening in, hearing us debate and go about our business day in and day out in this House, have a clear understanding of the subject matter of today's debate, I will read again the very important motion introduced by my colleague, the hon. member for Longueuil—Pierre-Boucher. It states:

That, in the opinion of the House, the government should, as long called for by the Bloc Québécois and now called for by the Member for Beauce, end the so-called federal spending power in the jurisdictions of Quebec and the provinces, eliminate the federal programs that violate the division of powers, and transfer tax points to the provinces by: a) eliminating all federal spending in the jurisdictions of Quebec and the provinces, unless express authorization is given by Quebec or the province; b) providing a systematic right to opt out with full financial compensation and without condition of all existing and future programs, whether co-funded or not, that intrude into jurisdictions of Quebec and the provinces; c) transferring, at the request of Quebec or a province, fiscal room in the form of tax points and/or GST to replace the amounts that the province would otherwise have received under the Canada Health Transfer, federal programs in its areas of jurisdiction and the transfer for social programs and postsecondary education indexed to 1994-1995 levels.

In short, the federal spending that encroaches on provincial jurisdictions is in direct opposition to the division of powers in Canada. In principle, both orders of government in Canada are equal and equally sovereign in their respective areas. The division of jurisdictions is supposed to be watertight in order to prevent the majority nation, the Canadian nation, from imposing its views on the minority nation, the Quebec nation.

The division of powers that took place in 1867 between Ottawa and the provinces is quite simple if we look at it in the context of the 19th century. Matters that directly affected people and their way of organizing their society fell under the jurisdiction of Quebec and the provinces. This was the case for instance for the civil laws that codified the relationships between people and the organization of society through social programs, health, education, cultural matters, etc. If, however, an issue did not directly affect people or the internal organization of their society, it could be placed under federal jurisdiction. This is the case for monetary policy, international trade, and the overall regulation of trade and industry. In 1867, Quebec was not really industrialized and that aspect did not affect people very much.

Thus, Quebeckers believed they had acquired the autonomy they needed to allow them to organize their own society without external interference. And it was on that basis that Quebec agreed to enter into the Canadian federation in 1867. However, the federal spending that encroaches upon areas of provincial jurisdiction calls into question this division of powers and Quebec's autonomy. In fact, this was the pact at the basis of the Canadian federation, which Canada is denying daily and has been denying for three generations by interfering freely with Quebec's areas of jurisdiction.

Benoît Pelletier, the former Quebec Minister of Intergovernmental Affairs under Jean Charest, said the following:

I...have a great deal of difficulty in reconciling the values underlying the Canadian federation with the idea of a federal spending power that is in no way subject to the division of powers.

It is for that reason that the Séguin report in its turn expressed the opinion that:

The “federal spending power” displays a singular logic in that the federal government intervenes every time in a field falling under provincial jurisdiction without having to adopt a constitutional amendment.

In short, the federal spending power is the way English Canada unilaterally put an end to the pact in which Quebec agreed to be a part of Canada. Through the spending power, it managed to unilaterally change the distribution of powers to its benefit without having to go through the cumbersome process of constitutional amendment.

However, there is consensus in Quebec: federal spending power is not legitimate if it affects Quebec's own spending responsibilities.

Quebec has always felt that spending power is nothing more than a power to implement. This is why Quebec maintains that the federal spending power is limited to the areas in which the federal Parliament has legislative authority.

That is why, regardless of the party in power, Quebec has consistently maintained that Ottawa simply does not have this power to spend money in whatever area it chooses, and that any federal intervention in areas under Quebec's jurisdiction is in direct violation of the Constitution.

Federal government interference proves that the fiscal imbalance has not been resolved. The fiscal imbalance is due to the fact that Ottawa raises more in taxes than it needs to discharge its own responsibilities. As a result, Quebec no longer has the tax room it needs to fund its own activities independently. As long as Ottawa has the authority to spend in areas under provincial jurisdiction, the fiscal imbalance cannot be resolved. Conservative members who claim that the fiscal imbalance is resolved have not understood a thing. The fiscal imbalance cannot be resolved without putting an end to federal spending power in areas that encroach upon the jurisdiction of Quebec and the provinces.

The Séguin commission made the following statement:

The problem of the “federal spending power” is closely tied to fiscal imbalance, and its use is underpinned by the surplus funds that the federal government controls.

Quebec is not Ottawa's subcontractor. No, the fiscal imbalance has not been resolved and is, in fact, getting worse. More and more, as a result of the fiscal imbalance and its offshoot—spending power—the Quebec government is being relegated to the ranks of a federal government subcontractor. Through its interference and conditional transfers, Ottawa is imposing Canada's priorities and choices on Quebec. The situation has gotten so bad that Quebec's own-source revenues hit an all-time low in 2009-2010, when a quarter of Quebec's budget envelope was being controlled by the federal government.

Now more than ever, it is time for the federal government to hand over the GST to Quebec, as well as a portion of individual income tax, so that Quebec is no longer at the mercy of federal transfer payments and Ottawa's whims.

Where does the Quebec nation stand in all this? In 2006, the House of Commons finally recognized the Quebec nation. And recognizing a nation is more than just a symbolic gesture. Nations, like people, have fundamental rights, the most important being the right to control the social, economic and cultural development of its own society, in other words, the right to self-determination. One cannot, on one hand, recognize the Quebec nation and its right to make choices that are different from Canada's and, on the other, deny the nation the ability to assert that right by maintaining the federal spending power. Denying Quebec the power to spend undermines its very existence as a nation.

The commitment made in the Speech from the Throne means absolutely nothing. The Conservative government's promise to limit federal spending power since the 2007 throne speech was just empty rhetoric. As a matter of fact, all we have been hearing since then is empty rhetoric.

Status of Women October 21st, 2010

Madam Speaker, October is Women's History Month and also Breast Cancer Awareness Month. There have been some hard-fought battles by many women in both of these areas.

There are a number of important events in women's history, including the creation of the Fédération nationale Saint-Jean-Baptiste in 1907, which was created out of the desire of francophone women to separate themselves from the existing anglophone feminist movement. This allowed feminist Quebeckers to speak for themselves, since they belonged to their own nation.

Women must fight against a number of issues together, but they must also fight as individuals, as is the case with breast cancer. Research is essential if we want this disease to be history eventually.

Today, too many workers, refugees and aboriginal women still struggle with problems of discrimination and violence. We hope that one day, these devastating scourges, like breast cancer, will be things of the past.

2010 World March of Women October 8th, 2010

Mr. Speaker, on October 17, thousands of women from across Quebec will meet in Rimouski for the final stage of the 2010 World March of Women.

The Bloc Québécois has nothing but respect and gratitude for this march—gratitude for the commitment to eliminating discrimination against women and violence against women, and gratitude for the work that has been done to achieve equal rights for women and men.

There are six main fields of action this year: work, the common good, violence, peace, demilitarization and the treatment of aboriginal women. Women can count on the support of the Bloc Québécois on these issues, as well as on those related to improving the economic status of women, maintaining the firearms registry, fighting for pay equity, and encouraging women to participate in politics.

The Bloc Québécois will continue to stand up to this retrograde government and to defend women's rights in Ottawa—

Petitions October 6th, 2010

Mr. Speaker, I have the pleasure to present a petition signed by 1,249 people who are calling on the government to develop an agreement with the Government of Quebec so that employees subject to federal legislation have access to the full preventive withdrawal program, like all workers in Quebec.