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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

Supply October 28th, 2004

Mr. Speaker, since the beginning of today's debate, we have come to realize that the fiscal imbalance is recognized by the whole society. We think of the current minister of finance, Mr. Yves Séguin, who in 2002 chaired the fiscal imbalance commission in Quebec—the report was made public on March 7, 2002—all political parties in Quebec and all Canadian provinces. The imbalance is thus recognized by all opposition parties in the House of Commons.

These last few years, the fiscal imbalance has been of such a magnitude that it is literally choking Quebec and the provinces. However, the federal government continues to deny that there is a problem. The Bloc Québécois must then continue to demand that the federal government recognizes this imbalance, but mostly that it solves it. The federal government collects revenues that widely exceed its responsibilities with regard to programs. It accumulates significant surpluses despite the reduction of the debt burden as a percentage of the domestic gross product. The provinces administer health programs and other social programs whose costs are very much on the rise and they have to deal with an increasing demand for services. In other words, as the member for Saint-Lambert and many others have said, it is Ottawa that has the money and the provinces that have the needs, and the gap between the two is widening.

The consequences are significant. This imbalance jeopardizes health and education systems. Service delivery is not as effective as it should be, due to a lack of funds. The decision-making and budgetary autonomy of Quebec and the provinces is compromised.

Every year, Quebeckers send tens of billions of dollars in taxes to Ottawa. They are entitled to demand that this money be managed properly. But, as was clearly demonstrated by the first part of the Léonard committee's report, this has not been the case over the last five years. This is the symptom of a much deeper ill. The federal government, we repeat, has too much money for its responsibilities.

In this whole issue of fiscal imbalance, I would like us to talk a lot about children, the impact on children, parents and seniors.

We know that social development requires, among other things, a stable financial situation and recurrent budgetary envelopes, so that all social stakeholders can work in a calm atmosphere and efforts can be targeted to the real needs of young families, of vulnerable people and of seniors. In a situation of budgetary instability, concerns may very well prevail over primary objectives.

I will mention three social measures that are either very popular or very much in demand in Quebec, because they are fulfilling an obvious wish of a good part of the population.

The Quebec affordable day care network, recently recognized in an OECD report, represents about 40% of the regulated child care spaces. Its experience will be very useful when Canada sets up a public and universal early childhood system.

To be able to continue its good work, the Quebec government must have the necessary resources. The federal government must grant Quebec an unconditional right to opt out with full financial compensation. Such compensation would certainly be appreciated particularly since the government has saved close to a billion dollars in tax credits not given to families benefiting from the Quebec program.

We have to understand that beyond the figures, a day care program can also have a tremendous impact on the quality of our children's development. In the medium and the long term, we will avoid very high social costs. Just think of the learning and delinquency problems that these children might avoid through quality attention in day care centres. This affordable day care network should thus be considered as a solution to many of our young families' social problems.

Let us now turn to home care for seniors. This is recognized as an effective measure because it reduces hospital costs and is more beneficial to many people who prefer to recover at home after an illness.

Here again, a more equitable distribution between the federal government and the provinces could help ensure that long-awaited progress is made. Home care is best, for the seniors as well as for the support workers, who are often overworked, and for the caregivers, who need respite. Whatever the case may be, it is well known that home care for seniors is much less expensive than hospital care.

In education, there are growing needs. They can no longer come after health needs. We must keep improving health services, but it is essential to help young people receive the best possible education so that they are able to meet the challenges of our time. The future of our society is at stake.

There is a crying need for special education teachers, books and computer equipment. It is indecent to be accumulating extravagant surpluses in Ottawa when school boards are struggling to trim already very lean budgets. It is unacceptable for there to be surpluses here in Ottawa when there is a shortage of books in our schools. The needs in the areas of health, education and community organizations are in the provinces. It is there that decision-makers who are closest to the needs of the people must be found.

We must have budgets that permit the priorities set to be carried out. There is currently an imbalance between Quebec's capacity and its legitimate aspirations. This has to stop.

Financial Administration Act October 26th, 2004

Mr. Speaker, that is obvious. I agree with the hon. member that passing legislation does not eliminate problems overnight.

Nonetheless, it is for the agency to introduce working conditions that make it possible to complain, and to speak without fear to one's supervisor to report harassment problems.

That was my central point. Will we have working conditions in which an employee can complain without fear of losing his or her job?

Financial Administration Act October 26th, 2004

Mr. Speaker, the purpose of the Public Service Human Resources Management Agency of Canada is to ensure that the modernization of human resources management throughout the public service is carried out; human resources management needs to be rejuvenated, reinforced and modernized. Those are the functions of this agency and they are welcome when we look at the public service in today's world.

The agency has many areas of responsibility. Hon. members will allow me, as the Bloc Québécois critic for the status of women, to talk about employment equity, which is one of the agency's areas of responsibility, and respect for diversity. Employment equity for women and the disabled is a difficult concept to institute in the workplace. We want to do the right thing, but in working on employment equity for women and the disabled we run headlong into prejudice and a host of problems. What can I say about respecting diversity for Canadians of all origins? This remains truly difficult.

The agency also has to promote a workplace that allows for a balance between work and personal life. These are very interesting concepts in this bill. They are increasingly important concepts, because research shows that working conditions and quality of life are much more important than salaries for many workers. Quality of life is essential. This agency will have to work hard in this area.

Harassment at the workplace should never exist. When it does exist, it should be denounced and stopped. We know we have legislation and protection, but often silence prevails because the victim finds it very difficult to criticize a superior.

In this sense, we can why, in 1998, the International Labour Office included Canada among the countries that have the most serious problems of violence in the workplace, particularly as regards assault, harassment and sexual harassment. The rate of psychological torment and physical assault against women in the workplace is 19% higher here than in the United States. In an egalitarian and humanist society like ours, these numbers are scary. Moreover, we know that, according to a survey conducted in December 2002 and involving 95,000 public servants, one in five is a victim of harassment. So, we are talking here about a serious study on a very real issue.

Will the minister be able to assure us that the human resources management agency will create the objective conditions necessary to put a stop to all forms of harassment? I am talking about objective conditions, because, as we know, there is an act dealing with harassment. However, will we be able to ensure that a person who is being harassed can report his or her supervisor in the without fear of being fired. Can we believe that such despicable practices will end?

There is another aspect of this bill that is of particular interest to me, namely bilingualism. We know that Canada is making great efforts to ensure bilingualism in the public service. However, in her March 29, 2004 report, Dyane Adam, the Commissioner of Official Languages, made some essential recommendations. She told us that it is necessary for the agency to follow up rigorously on all managers. Indeed, it is nice to talk about bilingualism, but it is necessary to follow up on all senior managers rigorously, and this includes all those who will have to ensure that all their public servants provide services in both official languages.

Ms. Adam also told us that the School of Public Service will offer mandatory training courses, starting in autumn 2004, for senior managers and supervisors to make them aware of the impact the unequal status of the two official languages has in work environments and enable them to put in place the measures necessary to attain a work environment that respects employees' linguistic rights.

Without these measures, it will become difficult to have real bilingualism, and all the efforts that have already been made by Canada to ensure bilingualism in its public service will be in vain.

Ms. Adam also told us that the Public Service Human Resources Management Agency of Canada should make available, as soon as possible, second-language training courses, focused on reading and oral comprehension skills, to promote receptive bilingualism for unilingual employees.

These are only a few of Ms. Adam's recommendations.

However, I wonder if the minister will require that people who are really bilingual be appointed to bilingual positions. We should no longer see what we unfortunately see often—people filling bilingual positions without being really bilingual. These people are certainly not able to fully understand that bilingualism in the workplace is necessary.

Violence Against Women October 12th, 2004

Mr. Speaker, last week, 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.

Could the Minister of Indian Affairs and Northern Development, who has fiduciary responsibility for aboriginal people, tell this House what specific action he plans to take to remedy this deplorable situation denounced by Amnesty international?