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Crucial Fact

  • Her favourite word was quebec.

Last in Parliament March 2011, as Liberal MP for Laval—Les Îles (Québec)

Won her last election, in 2008, with 40% of the vote.

Statements in the House

Social Housing February 9th, 2011

Mr. Speaker, the Conservatives have granted a seven-month extension of the $12 billion infrastructure program, yet they are refusing to extend the $400 million social housing program. Over half of those funds are needed for housing on first nations reserves. Despite two questions placed on the order paper, the minister is refusing to provide us with the list of approved social housing projects.

So I ask the minister again here today: when will she provide this information to Canadians?

Child Care February 4th, 2011

Mr. Speaker, she may believe that, but Canadians do not follow that logic. The cat is out of the bag. The minister has confirmed what we have always known. She said:

[I]t is the Liberals who wanted to ensure that parents were forced to have other people raise their children. We do not believe in that.

Is that what the Conservatives are telling the millions of Canadian mothers who are relying on child care outside the home, that they are bad mothers?

Child Care February 4th, 2011

Mr. Speaker, yesterday the Minister of Human Resources and Skills Development made an unsavoury remark in the House. She said, “It is the Liberals who wanted to ensure that parents were forced to have other people raise their children”.

Her disdainful remark implies that the 70% of women who send their children to day care are unfit mothers. Do the Conservatives have the nerve to repeat that insult to Canadian families?

January 31st, 2011

Mr. Speaker, as I listened to the response by the parliamentary secretary, I can understand why Canadians are very reluctant to give the Conservative government a majority.

Dissent is definitely not something the government tolerates. The government is prepared to risk the accurate collection of data for ideology.

What will the government lose? It will lose the accurate collection of data on our country's health, housing needs, educational needs, seniors' needs, the workforce, new arrivals and, overall, the need for federal programs. I see that the hon. member has not responded to any of those arguments.

On behalf of the people of Canada, researchers, community organizations and aboriginal peoples, we ask the government to stop this haphazard approach to policy development and reinstate the long form census.

Let us explore ways to meet the concerns of the reluctant few.

For every one million Canadians, one complaint was received by the government. How statistically significant is that number?

January 31st, 2011

Thank you, Mr. Speaker.

With no consultation, the [Conservative] government has undermined evidence-based decision-making in Canada. For a government that made accountability a key priority, this policy choice is perplexing.

In 2006, this country had more than 32 million inhabitants, but it took just one complaint from Richmond Hill and an additional 25 or 30 complaints from elsewhere in Canada for this government to destroy a crucial element of public policy development in Canada. As a result, a radical policy change was made.

What is not clear is, other than Richmond Hill, did all the other complaints come from one town, one province or across the country? Were they all from Conservative-held ridings in Ontario? I am not aware of any person in my riding of Laval—Les Îles complaining and yet the government took such a drastic decision.

The Conservative government has now said that it will spend some $30 million more than what is now being spent for a lower quality, voluntary national household survey. The data will be based on a response rate of a bout 50%. This is a far cry from the previous rate of 94% on the long form.

Witnesses who have appeared before the Standing Committee on Human Resources, Skills and Social Development and the Status of Persons with Disabilities have all sent the same message. I am talking about academics, community based researchers, social policy agencies and private companies. Their message was to leave the long form census alone and that abolishing it would hinder the accurate collection of demographic data on which Canada's public policy is based.

How does the government intend to set departmental plans and priorities with data from a voluntary household survey that will be sent to only 30% of households? Response rates could be 1%, 2% or even less since replies would be voluntary. Will this be sufficient information on which to base future policy?

The Minister of Industry must explain to Canadians how his government intends to evaluate such data over time. People who work in this field have indicated that this new method will not be an acceptable research tool.

A motion passed unanimously by the Northwest Territories Legislative Assembly October 29, 2010 also called for the long form's reinstatement. Aboriginal groups and people on fixed incomes have told us that without the mandatory aspect of this process, the form will rarely be filled out.

Surely in a pluralistic and democratic society it is important to listen to the voice of those who have spoken out against the government's decision to scrap the long form.

Will the government now do the right thing and scrap the voluntary household survey and reinstate the long form census?

January 31st, 2011

Mr. Speaker, on October 5, 2010, I raised a question in the House, asking the Minister of Industry about the Conservative government's decision to abolish the long form census.

According to a former minister, the decision was motivated by the thousands of complaints that were coming in each day about the 2006 census. However, when Industry Canada tried to find those thousands of complaints, it turned out that only 25 or 30 complaints had been received about the short form census and long form census that year.

According to the Canadian Medical Association Journal of July, “With no consultation, the Harper government has undermined--

Gun Control December 6th, 2010

Mr. Speaker, this is not about the rights of criminals. It is about the rights of victims and would-be victims.

Our police officers need the registry. Why? To protect communities and prevent another tragedy like the Polytechnique massacre from happening.

But the Prime Minister does not care. The Prime Minister will not listen to what the police, victims, their families and women's groups want. He will only listen to the American gun lobby.

How many more tragedies will it take for the Prime Minister to stop attacking gun control?

Gun Control December 6th, 2010

Mr. Speaker, today we are reminded that we must do all we can to ensure the tragedy at École Polytechnique is never repeated.

Time and time again the police, victims' groups and the RCMP agree that the federal gun registry is vital in protecting Canadians. The Prime Minister's own Mr. Fantino has said that the case is closed, that the gun registry debate is over and “it's a done deal”.

Will the Prime Minister listen to the families of victims and keep the gun registry?

Canadian Human Rights Act December 6th, 2010

Mr. Speaker, it is always a privilege for me to speak in Parliament to represent the voters of Laval—Les Îles, and I am honoured by the confidence they have in me to defend their interests in Ottawa.

It is a commitment I take very seriously as a legislator in the duties I perform each day on their behalf, and by extension, on behalf of all the residents of Canada, regardless of the province, of the race, of the ethnicity and, in this case, of their age. There should be no distinction. Upholding the Charter of Rights and Freedoms on their behalf is part of our commitment.

I wish to thank my hon. colleagues for giving me the opportunity to present and discuss Bill C-481.

First, I would like to recognize my colleague, the member of Parliament for Edmonton East, Alberta, for his generosity in giving me the opportunity to complete the second hour of debate today instead of next February. I also thank my distinguished colleague, the member for Souris—Moose Mountain, Saskatchewan, and Parliamentary Secretary to the Minister of Human Resources and Skills Development and to the Minister of Labour for his thoughtful and reasoned remarks and support.

I want to assure the parliamentary secretary that the amendments he proposed and other amendments proposed on behalf of the government will be carefully reviewed. They certainly have merit. I hope that our discussions and potential amendments will be perceived as amicable when the time comes in committee. If so, this important and highly anticipated piece of legislation could be passed quickly. I want the parliamentary secretary to know that the current wording of paragraph 15(1)(b) of the Canadian Human Rights Act was not the main problem raised by the tribunal or as part of the Federal Court judicial review.

Nonetheless, as we looked at what other legislative measures may be needed, this clause was raised as an appendage that might no longer be needed. However, his points are well taken with respect to the military.

I would like to take this opportunity to correct a few myths about mandatory retirement.

People across Canada are working well past the age of 65 in 2010. Even though some 400,000 Canadians aged 50 to 75 indicated in the Statistics Canada survey that they had previously retired, 58% of males had returned to work, with 32% returning because of financial reasons, the second most important reason.

The bill would impact only about 10% of the Canadian workforce. These are federally-regulated private sector organizations. They include scientists and engineers, as well as the railway, for example.

I want to remind hon. members of McKinney v. the University of Guelph in 1990. At the time, the Supreme Court ruled that paragraph 9(a) of the Ontario Human Rights Code, which limited protection under the code to people between 18 and 65, violated section 15 of the Charter, but was saved by section 1. Why? Because that was the norm.

The irony is that the judges who heard the professor's case and other similar cases were over 60.

It is therefore incorrect to believe that everyone continues to work by choice.

We can fast forward 16 years. The Ontario legislature, the legislature of my province of Quebec and all other provincial and territorial legislatures of this land have abolished mandatory retirement in their human rights codes.

I wish to make one last point on this.

The important thing, as one of the Supreme Court justices said in 1999 in Tawney Meiorin, is this:

Recognition of the equality of each individual must be built into workplace standards. These requirements apply even in the context of unionized workplaces.

Many people told me stories about their professional and personal lives when they found out that I was going to introduce this bill. It is clear that this bill is timely and that it will be useful and necessary for the target population.

Foreign Affairs December 3rd, 2010

Mr. Speaker, the Conservative government wants to give tax breaks to the wealthiest Canadian corporations, but it would appear that it does not have the money to maintain a Canadian presence in Africa.

Once again, can this government tell us how many embassies it will be closing and, in particular, why it is targeting the African countries of la Francophonie? We are talking about embassies.