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Crucial Fact

  • Her favourite word was democracy.

Last in Parliament October 2015, as NDP MP for Honoré-Mercier (Québec)

Lost her last election, in 2021, with 7% of the vote.

Statements in the House

Canada Post February 19th, 2015

Mr. Speaker, the disappearance of home mail delivery is a nightmare for people, especially those with disabilities.

A visually impaired person from Honoré-Mercier told me that he had to cross several intersections to get to the community mailboxes.

Why did the Conservatives make such a serious decision without consulting the municipalities and community groups such as the Regroupement des aveugles et amblyopes du Montréal métropolitain, an association of people with visual impairments?

Drug-Free Prisons Act February 17th, 2015

Mr. Speaker, it is often said that prisons are like universities where you could go and get a master's degree or a doctorate in crime and where you become an even worse criminal. Why send people to prison if they are becoming even worse offenders?

The goal is to reintegrate these people into society once they are released. However, achieving this requires certain conditions. It is not enough to lock people up and pay for guards or big machines to detect drugs. Are there really educators who will take charge of these people to help them enjoy life again and help them understand that they can become useful members of society? Will there be the resources required to allow social services to treat addiction as an illness and to help these people really get their lives in order and become productive members of society again?

If the only thing we do is set up controls to see if drugs are being smuggled into prison, we are not really doing a proper job. In fact, on the inside, they are still going to use drugs; they are going to manage one way or another.

What we are not doing here, but what is being done in Quebec, is reintegrating people and giving them a chance to return to the workforce after five or seven years in prison. They need to be able to say that they have a trade, that they are going to be able to work and that they can become good citizens.

I do not know whether my colleague agrees with that.

Business of Supply February 5th, 2015

Mr. Speaker, small and medium-sized enterprises are the pillars of the Canadian economy, and they are responsible for 80% of the jobs created over the past few decades.

What concerns me enormously is the unemployment rate for young people between the ages of 15 and 25 in Canada, which is almost 14%. This motion talks about immediately lowering the small business tax rate. However, on the other side of the House, they say that the NDP still wants to bring in new taxes. No, here we are talking about tax cuts. Why are we talking about tax cuts? In the past, grants were available for small businesses to hire young people. Those grants have been eliminated. The government also abolished an employment assistance plan and penalized SMEs.

I would appreciate it if my colleague could explain how the Conservatives can possibly oppose a lower tax rate. It seems to me that is one of their own proposals. Can my colleague explain this reaction on the other side of the House? We all want Canadians to have jobs. We all want our young people to have an opportunity to work because they are the ones who will be paying our pensions and the taxes that will keep the country going.

Business of Supply February 2nd, 2015

Mr. Speaker, in order to practice healthy federalism, the federal government must maintain good relationships based on dialogue with the provinces, because when they are rich, the entire nation is rich.

Therefore, when compromises are reached, the government must follow through on them. Newfoundland and Labrador supported the free trade agreement with Europe and the federal government promised the province a certain amount of money if any jobs were lost. That is what the minister of state told us in early October, at least. By the end of the month, however, the message was altogether different.

Beyond just Newfoundland and Labrador, when the federal government fails to keep its promises to the provinces it is effectively weakening our democracy and our federalism. We want Canadians to have work. Yes, this free trade agreement will allow us to receive products from Europe, but if that forces Canadians out of work, we will have more poverty here.

I wonder whether my colleague could talk about the trust that should exist between the provinces and the federal government.

Business of Supply February 2nd, 2015

Mr. Speaker, this is not the first time that the people of Newfoundland and Labrador have been told one thing and then something else ultimately ends up happening. Indeed, the Liberal government also failed to respect another agreement, the Atlantic accord, which had been announced in the fall of 2004.

I want to review the messages that the people of Newfoundland and Labrador have been hearing. In October 2013, the Minister of State for the Atlantic Canada Opportunities Agency talked about a transitional program worth $400 million that would support the development and renewal of the fish and seafood sectors, as well as provide support for the workers. Everyone in Newfoundland was pleased. However, at the end of October 2014, the message changed. Now Newfoundland and Labrador has to prove to the federal government that eliminating the minimum processing requirements harmed the province. Originally, the government was talking about a transition initiative, and now the province has to prove that it suffered losses.

I wonder whether my colleague could use that example to explain to us why the provinces cannot trust this Conservative government, since it does not keep its word or the promises it makes to them. The provinces are an important, crucial part of Canadian federalism. This might well weaken the relationship between the federal government and the provinces.

Reducing the Effects of Urban Heat Islands Act December 11th, 2014

Mr. Speaker, on March 24, I had the honour of introducing my bill on urban heat islands.

Before drafting the bill, we consulted scientific experts, government departments and municipal, provincial and federal representatives. This is what the Federation of Canadian Municipalities told us:

Our national programs unit focuses on developing and promoting best municipal practices in Canada. We do not currently have a program area specifically for heat islands. This issue is not well known or highly publicized outside Quebec.

Even so, in her speech on September 26, the Parliamentary Secretary to the Minister of Health had this to say:

Since 2008, Health Canada has worked with federal, provincial, and municipal partners to enhance the resiliency of communities and individual Canadians to the health impacts of extreme heat.

The parliamentary secretary's statement conflicts with the answer I got from the Federation of Canadian Municipalities. Where does the truth lie?

Everyone agrees that there are many, many compelling initiatives in the municipalities and committees, and everyone also agrees that the Conservative government's lack of support is appalling. Everyone deplores how little support they are getting. Above all, they are criticizing the absence of a real national strategy, which would create a real space for dialogue regarding best practices, and not just through a website.

What is more, the parliamentary secretary said the goal is to help communities and Canadians “adapt” to the effect of extreme heat on their health. Did I understand the word “adapt” correctly? The government wants Canadians to adapt to the harmful effects that heat islands are having on their health.

We already thought the Conservative government's inaction was deplorable. Now we learn that the government has simply abandoned Canadians altogether

The Parliamentary Secretary to the Minister of Health was so proud to announce that a key component of the government's initiative was the development of heat alert and response systems. That is an excellent example of a confession of failure on the part of this government, which, instead of addressing the causes of heat islands, proposes that we simply adapt to them and, at best, predict when an an asthma sufferer should stay indoors.

Once again, it is not enough to help communities adjust to the effects of heat islands on health. Instead we must tackle the phenomenon and act before the situation is critical because Canadians' health could already be at risk.

What is most serious is the parliamentary secretary's statement that the Conservative government, which refuses to adopt a real strategy, is nevertheless spending billions of dollars. She even said that, since 2007, the government has spent more than $2 billion on 1,400 green infrastructure projects across Canada. Did I hear correctly? The government has no strategy, but is spending billions of dollars. The government definitely does not want a framework for action and support, but it is nevertheless funding more than 1,400 projects.

In the same breath, the government is criticizing the NDP's approach of openly working with communities and having clear objectives and measurable results. The government is telling us that a coherent approach will cost too much. It claims that it does not have a strategy, but that is obviously false. It does have one, but it refuses to reveal it. It lists the good things it does, but is incapable of explaining the consequences.

All this bill asks of the government is that it support communities and stop backing away from its responsibilities with respect to Canadians' health, as it is currently doing.

If the government wants to talk about savings, bring it on. Not only is the government throwing billions of dollars out the window, but it also refuses to take any responsibility for the real impact of this spending. Furthermore, it is disregarding the positive economic benefits of combatting heat islands.

If the government truly listened to the experts, it would have heard Mr. Hashem, a university professor who has dedicated much of his scientific research to this topic. He estimates that we could save at least $100 million a year in health care costs alone by reducing the effects of heat islands. This represents about 4,000 new jobs. This is not a trivial number for the Canadian economy.

The government claims that my bill would create jurisdictional overlaps with provinces. Then the government admitted that a national strategy would make the government accountable for activities over which it has no control. Clearly the government is afraid of being responsible for anything.

A New Democrat government would not be afraid of setting objectives with its partners and assuming its responsibilities to meet those objectives. We will tackle the heat islands problem, and together we will change Canada.

Volunteerism December 8th, 2014

Mr. Speaker, on Friday, December 5, we celebrated International Volunteer Day. I went to the Anjou community centre to share in the joy of their community involvement.

On Saturday, December 6, during the celebration of Opération paniers de Noël, I was pleased to see the women and men who came to contribute. We worked together with volunteer groups. I met a couple who came to bring bags of food for the less fortunate. They spent time with the volunteers at the Rivière des Prairies family support centre and they also signed up to become volunteers.

Volunteers give of themselves, their time and their energy. Volunteering means contributing to society by providing warm, friendly help and support and showing great generosity. It is an opportunity to make a difference in people's lives and in our community.

Volunteerism also has a significant financial impact on our society. If we wanted to put a number on the economic payoff of volunteerism, all those hours of work—

Petitions November 17th, 2014

Mr. Speaker, the second petition is about the cuts to Canada Post services. Residents want to continue receiving mail at home.

Petitions November 17th, 2014

Mr. Speaker, I have two petitions that have been signed by many of my constituents.

The first is about decreasing the effects that urban heat islands are having on the health of Canadians. The petitioners want to see coordinated measures to combat heat islands and smog in order to protect our health.

Committees of the House November 17th, 2014

Mr. Speaker, when I hear about internships, I think of university internships. It often ends there. However, if we ask people to continue doing internships, what we are basically telling them to do is to volunteer and then, one day, they will be lucky enough to find a job. Honestly. These young people already have huge debt loads because education today is not cheap. As a result, they have huge debts once they finish university. They may be at the age where they want to start a family. We could also talk about those who have finished high school.

As a society, what are we asking them to do? To work for us for free and then to pay for our retirement. I would like to hear what my colleague has to say about that.