House of Commons photo

Crucial Fact

  • Her favourite word was quebec.

Last in Parliament March 2011, as Bloc MP for Trois-Rivières (Québec)

Lost her last election, in 2011, with 24% of the vote.

Statements in the House

Violence Against Women November 25th, 2004

Mr. Speaker, the United Nations Organization has declared November 25 the International Day for the Elimination of Violence Against Women.

Women's rights advocates have chosen this day for the elimination of violence to commemorate the lives of the Mirabal sisters, three political activists in the Dominican Republic who were assassinated in 1961 on the orders of Dominican leader Rafael Trujillo.

We have a collective responsibility to never tolerate violence against women. That is why I commend the four fathers who have founded in Quebec the Association des familles de victimes d'actes criminels. Through their awareness initiative, two of them, namely Mr. Boisvenu and Mr. Caretta, fathers of Julie Boisvenu and Cathy Caretta, both of whom were murdered, are educating the public about the scope of the problem.

Saying no to violence against women is the first step toward eradicating it.

Status of Women November 22nd, 2004

Mr. Speaker, in 1929, thanks to five tenacious individuals, women were recognized as persons in Canada. As a result, Canadian women became eligible for appointment to the Senate, like men were. Today, 65 of the 308 members of the House of Commons, or 20%, are women. This facilitated access to other public positions.

Many women blend work outside the home and family life. All the associations dealing with women's issues must however receive more recognition and more tangible support from governments.

Historically, freedom of expression and freedom of assembly have been recognized as engines of social development. Thus, we encourage women's associations in Quebec, Canada and the far north, which campaign for the well-being and prosperity of all. These people deserve our respect for their tremendous contribution.

Department of Public Safety and Emergency Preparedness Act November 17th, 2004

Madam Speaker, in this context of September 11, terrorism must certainly be eradicated. We certainly have to have controls and to ensure public safety.

However, I am concerned with the delicate balance that we must maintain between safety and freedom. We see this often in the issue of violence against women: when there is excessive control, all kinds of acts of violence happen. So I have mixed emotions about this.

I wonder about this and I would like to ask the member about it. When the bill was being developed, we heard that there was a possibility of having an privacy officer. Why was this measure rejected? We have organizations for the protection of consumers and all collective rights. It seemed essential to me therefore to have this privacy officer, because this excessive control may lead to major abuse.

Right Hon. Ellen Fairclough November 16th, 2004

Mr. Speaker, Ellen Louks Fairclough was born in Hamilton, Ontario, on January 28,1905, and died just a few months short of her 100


birthday. Mrs. Fairclough, a member of the Conservative Party, was the first woman to become a federal cabinet member. However, this is not her only achievement. She is held up as an example by everyone. Of course, to all of us women she is a pioneer.

In this House, we are not only paying tribute to her for her contribution as a secretary of state or as a minister, but for everything she did as a woman. It is said that she continued to fight, not only to improve her own fate, but also the fate of all women, and she overcame the biases of public opinion and the media.

She succeeded in moving forward a number of social issues by launching debates on housing, unemployment insurance, pay equity, immigration and the status of women. These are issues on which we are still fighting today.

The numerous honours and distinctions bestowed upon Mrs. Fairclough, including being sworn in as a Privy Council member, being awarded the Queen's Coronation and Jubilee medals, becoming an Officer of the Order of Canada, being awarded the Canada 125 Commemorative Medal, receiving the title of “Right Honourable” and becoming a Companion of the Order of Canada, clearly illustrate her social involvement and her political will. They also illustrate her hope that, one day, the inequalities and injustices that are still too prevalent in our society will disappear.

In my own name and on behalf of all the Bloc Québécois members, I want to thank Mrs. Fairclough for the numerous battles that she fought, thus helping to ensure the presence of a number of women in this House now.

Employment Insurance Act November 15th, 2004

moved for leave to introduce C-278, An Act to amend the Employment Insurance Act (improvement of the employment insurance system).

Mr. Speaker, I am pleased to introduce, seconded by my colleague from Chambly—Borduas, Bill C-278, an act to amend the Employment Insurance Act (improvement of the employment insurance system).

Through this bill, I would like to change the law to make it a fair instrument to help all workers faced with the hardships of unemployment. We all know that the present EI plan has reduced access to benefits for an ever greater number of workers.

The reduction in the length of the benefit period and in the rate of benefits has contributed to making low and medium income wage earners poorer. We have to recognize that women and the young are those most affected by the restrictions in the Employment Insurance Act.

The intent behind this bill is to give the term “insurance” its broadest meaning for those who lose their job. I urge all members to support this bill.

(Motions deemed adopted, bill read the first time and printed)

Committees of the House November 3rd, 2004

Madam Speaker, I thank the hon. member for this information. We know that the government has an obligation to protect aboriginal women against all forms of discrimination. I am pleased to see that the government is aware of this whole matter. We intend to closely follow the issue of aboriginal women, so that eventually these women receive care in terms of housing, health and everything else that is necessary to ensure their protection.

Committees of the House November 3rd, 2004

Madam Speaker, on October 4, Amnesty International released a devastating report denouncing the violence suffered by aboriginal women in Canada and the authorities' failure to take timely action to prosecute perpetrators.

The next day, I asked the Minister of Indian Affairs and Northern Development to tell this House what specific action he planned to take to remedy the deplorable situation of aboriginal women. As the minister's answer was evasive, I am bringing the matter up again.

The Native Women's Association of Canada estimates that, over the past 20 years, more than 500 aboriginal women have been murdered or have gone missing under apparently violent circumstances. Statistics dating back to 1996 show that the risk of violent death among aboriginal women between the ages of 25 and 44 is five times higher than among women of the same age group in our society. Clearly, this is a serious situation that has to be dealt with.

It is important that the minister liaise with the police in the areas where aboriginal people live. The minister must make sure that police officers are sufficiently vigilant and that offences against aboriginal women are systematically recorded so that legal proceedings can be instituted in a serious manner.

However, the police alone cannot eliminate discrimination against aboriginal women. We know that for more than a century, from 1870 to 1980, the federal government took away the rights and status of aboriginal women if they married a non-aboriginal man. The consequences of this government policy are still felt today. This policy split up families and communities and left women in dangerous situations of extreme poverty, homelessness and prostitution.

We must recognize the importance of helping associations that work for the well-being of aboriginal women so that these women can improve their living conditions. Together, drawing on their situation, background, and experience, they could find appropriate solutions for achieving the financial independence that is essential to self-affirmation and pride in one's community. They would be able to protect themselves from people who take advantage of their vulnerability to commit humiliating, unfair and far too often violent acts.

Amnesty International recommends the full involvement of aboriginal women in the formulation and implementation of all policies directly affecting their welfare. One way to achieve this objective is to encourage women to come together as a group, by way of financial support. We know that community groups generally manage to get a lot done with a little money.

The basic ingredient for an egalitarian relationship is respect. Let us show respect for aboriginals by recognizing their contribution to our society. In the report—

Theo Van Gogh November 3rd, 2004

Mr. Speaker, controversial Dutch filmmaker, Theo Van Gogh, great-grand-nephew of the famous painter Vincent Van Gogh, was murdered in cold blood in the streets of Amsterdam yesterday morning.

He directed the film Submission , in which he criticized Islam's treatment of women. Theo Van Gogh's feature film 06-05 , which deals with the assassination of Dutch populist leader Pim Fortuyn on May 6, 2002, is scheduled for release in December.

Regardless of the fact that Theo Van Gogh's opinions were at times controversial, the Bloc Québécois is shocked at this attack on freedom of expression and at this gratuitous, brutal murder.

The right to be different and its corollary, the right to express that difference, are the cornerstone of our democracies and the centre of our civilizations.

The murder of Theo Van Gogh is an attack not only on basic rights, but on humanity in all its uniqueness. We strongly denounce this outrage.

Supply October 28th, 2004

Mr. Speaker, social economy programs have certainly helped to set up organizations that will work differently. In this regard, we have seen organizations whose objective is not profits, but collective responsibility. As needs are expressed in communities, whether by the elderly, youth or families, social economy is an important system.

We know that the federal government has disengaged itself from social economy programs since 1994. It is getting involved again, but a little timidly. There would certainly be a need for more funds. Once again, these programs and these groups that want to create service organizations through social economy are waiting.

Home care for the elderly is another element of social economy. When our elderly can have access, through a social economy organization, to tailored home care, housekeeping services, food services and all that, they can then stay at home and incur less costs to society.

Consequently, it is important to continue to invest in this and to maintain social economy elements.

Supply October 28th, 2004

Mr. Speaker, we could definitely say that when the $5 a day—now the $7 a day—day care program was implemented in Quebec, it became a solution for all families. Indeed, over 60% of women are now part of the labour force. So, this program is a useful solution in that regard.

We can see that, and this is particularly true for poor families, having access to daycare services allows people to go back to work, including welfare recipients, who can get adequate funds for that purpose. However, because the program is so popular, there is a shortage of funds.

It is very important to be able to create thousands of new child care spaces to meet the needs of families. Over the next few years, we should be in a position to speed up the creation of new child care spaces. Unfortunately, there is a shortage of funds in Quebec, because of the fiscal imbalance. This means that additional funds will be needed to solve this issue.