House of Commons photo


Crucial Fact

  • Her favourite word was conservatives.

Last in Parliament October 2015, as NDP MP for Alfred-Pellan (Québec)

Lost her last election, in 2015, with 24% of the vote.

Statements in the House

Zero Tolerance for Barbaric Cultural Practices Act June 16th, 2015

Mr. Speaker, I thank my colleague from Vancouver Kingsway for the speech he just delivered in the House on Bill S-7.

We have talked a lot in the House about protecting the rights of women and children, and that brings me to an extremely important subject that has gotten quite a bit of attention over the past few weeks: the Truth and Reconciliation Commission on residential schools. Unfortunately, too many first nations children have experienced the full range of the negative repercussions of those events on their communities.

When it comes to the rights of women and children, does my colleague think that it is important to come up with meaningful solutions for all women and children across the country? Among other things, what about implementing one of the Truth and Reconciliation Commission's 94 recommendations, the one about launching an investigation into missing and murdered aboriginal women?

Zero Tolerance for Barbaric Cultural Practices Act June 16th, 2015

Mr. Speaker, I would like to thank my colleague from the other side of the House for his speech. I think it is important to note that the bill the House is considering today comes to us from the Senate. It has a number of flaws and problems that we have pointed out.

I want to note that my colleague from Pierrefonds—Dollard is our immigration critic. She has worked very hard on this bill. The numerous experts who appeared at committee identified the very serious flaws in this bill. Unfortunately, once again, as is so often the case with the Conservatives, they are playing politics with an issue as important as the one before us today.

My question to my colleague is this. Why did they not listen to the numerous experts who appeared at committee and said there were flaws in this bill? On this side of the House, we do agree with the principle of the bill, but it has fundamental flaws. Why did they not listen to the experts who appeared at committee? Why did they not amend this bill to make it a piece of legislation that would be acceptable to everyone?

Questions Passed as Orders for Returns June 16th, 2015

With regard to the Canada Post service reductions announced in December 2013: (a) what are the planned locations for community mailboxes in Laval; (b) how many employees were assigned to Laval before the elimination of home delivery was announced; (c) how many Canada Post employees will be required following the mailbox transition; (d) what was the volume of mail sent in the last ten years (i) from Laval to another destination, (ii) to Laval; (e) how many complaints have been received concerning (i) the transition from home delivery to community mailboxes, (ii) the location of community mailboxes in Laval; (f) how many complaints resulted in (i) an opened file, ii) a change of location of these community mailboxes; (g) what steps are being taken to look after the needs of (i) persons with mobility impairments, (ii) seniors; (h) will current post offices still be active following the transition to community mailboxes; (i) what recourse will be available to residents affected by the location of mailboxes they consider to be dangerous or harmful; (j) what recourse was or continues to be available to residents affected by the installation of a community mailbox over the last 30 years, excluding the current transition; and (k) how many customer service employees at Canada Post, broken down by language of service, are assigned to complaints concerning the installation of community mailboxes from (i) across Canada, (ii) Quebec, (iii) Laval, (iv) the residents of Alfred-Pellan?

Questions Passed as Orders for Returns June 16th, 2015

With regard to the advisory council created by the government in 2012 mandated to promote women on the boards of public and private corporations: (a) in total, how many individuals are on this advisory council, broken down by (i) gender, (ii) name, (iii) position; (b) when did the meetings take place; (c) what were the subjects discussed by this council; (d) what is the expected date for this council’s report; (e) what was discussed during this council’s meetings with respect to (i) pay equity, (ii) the representation of women on the boards of public and private corporations; and (f) can the government table the minutes of this advisory council’s meetings?

Zero Tolerance for Barbaric Cultural Practices Act June 12th, 2015

Mr. Speaker, I thank my colleague from Laurentides—Labelle for his questions and his interest in Bill S-7.

As I said, a number of things could be done differently when it comes to Bill S-7. It is up to the Conservatives to make the necessary concrete changes to the bill.

We are proposing some extremely worthwhile improvements to the bill. For example, the government could commit to consulting stakeholders, such as front-line workers and experts, on the programs and measures that would most effectively prevent and combat gender-based violence and the best ways to put these practices in place in Canada.

We are also proposing that the government recognize the need to provide more prevention services and support to the victims of forced and underage marriages and female victims of any type of violence.

These very sensible suggestions were made by a host of witnesses and experts. These are concrete ideas. It is a matter of putting in place prevention and education measures. To me it makes sense.

I sincerely hope that the government will support the amendments proposed by my colleague from Pierrefonds—Dollard.

Zero Tolerance for Barbaric Cultural Practices Act June 12th, 2015

Mr. Speaker, it is always an honour for me to rise in the House to speak on behalf of the people of Alfred-Pellan in Laval, whom I have been fortunate to represent for the past four years.

Today, I am speaking to Bill S-7, An Act to amend the Immigration and Refugee Protection Act, the Civil Marriage Act and the Criminal Code and to make consequential amendments to other Acts, or as the Conservatives like to call it, the Zero Tolerance for Barbaric Cultural Practices Act.

In the speeches that were made today, I heard many references to equal opportunities for women and the marginalization of women. I would really like to talk about that aspect in particular. However, first, I would like to mention a few little things that are directly related to the Conservative government's proposal and the work that my colleagues on this side of the House have done on Bill S-7.

To begin, I would like to thank my colleague from Pierrefonds—Dollard, our immigration critic, who did an incredible job examining Bill S-7. I saw the work that she did in committee and the amendments that she wants to propose. She has my full support for the amendments she wants to make to improve Bill S-7, as it now stands.

First of all, I have to say that I support the intent of the bill, which seeks to combat polygamy and forced and underage marriage. I also recognize that any violence against women and children is completely unacceptable and that there is still a lot of work to be done to prevent and crack down on these crimes.

However, I remain convinced that this bill does not adequately respond to such serious problems. In fact, Bill S-7 could make existing problems worse. It is important to mention that no woman should be subjected to gender-based violence, and that includes forced and underage marriage. This bill could inadvertently have very serious consequences for women and children by putting more social pressure on the victims of forced marriage and deporting victims of polygamy, for example.

If, as they often say, the Conservatives really care about the victims, they will heed the warnings of the different experts who appeared before the committee and conduct more detailed studies before adopting measures such as the ones proposed here. Instead of focusing on such a sensationalistic bill, with the short title proposed by the Conservatives, a bill that does not address the root of the problem, I sincerely believe that the Minister of Citizenship and Immigration should conduct serious, large-scale consultations with community groups and experts to fix the real problem of sexual violence.

There are a number of things that the government could do to help women who are marginalized. Despite the fact that the number of women MPs in the House of Commons has reached a record high, women have a long way to go to achieve equal representation. However, I hope we will steadily approach that target as more women stand for office. Nonetheless, there are different measures that the government could adopt to help women throughout the world take an interest in politics—whether municipal, provincial or federal—and in changing laws to meet their needs. We know that when more women hold power, the laws and approaches are very different. Problems are solved by women for women. It has been shown that it is very positive to have a parliament composed of 50% or more women. This leads to changes in the bills that are introduced.

This is an extremely sensationalistic bill, and I deplore that. I sincerely hope that my colleagues on the other side of the House will take the time to examine the amendments put forward by my colleague from Pierrefonds—Dollard, who simply wants to bring some common sense to this bill. Once again, I still believe in and have a lot of faith in this Parliament, and that will not stop. I sincerely believe that we can work together.

The House of Commons has committees to study bills with various experts, such as community leaders and experts in general law, civil law or immigration.

These experts did not have harsh words, but they did share some concerns. On this side of the House I would say that we did some worthwhile work with the proposals made by the experts and others invited to the committee. We took their ideas to try to improve this bill, because what we have been trying to propose all along is common sense. However, the concrete measures set out in Bill S-7 will unfortunately not have the desired impact.

I am making a heartfelt plea to the Minister of Immigration today. I ask him to consider these amendments, eliminate the sensationalistic and partisan aspects of this bill, and bring some common sense to this bill. A real consultation on Bill S-7 is needed.

From what I read of the testimony, there was a lack of consultation. I would like to quote a statement by Action Canada for Sexual Rights and Health:

The bill reflects a lack of consultation (closed-door meetings and invitation-only consultations), and a lack of transparency, participation and public debate. The proposed amendments are not based on the experiences of women and girls who have survived acts of violence, such as forced marriage.

That is pretty serious testimony about the lack of consultation. I sincerely believe that if a bill purports to help women and children across Canada in terms of forced marriage and violence against women, it should include real solutions to help them.

All members of the House are very familiar with the organizations in their ridings and the incredible work they do. In Laval, many organizations work to help women in various ways. They might be active in politics, encouraging women to run for office and participate actively in elections. Organizations also help women who are often in need. One that comes to mind is the Table de concertation de Laval en condition féminine. Many of my colleagues on this side of the House also have Afeas in their ridings. I see my colleague from Laval—Les Îles nodding. That organization is very visible in my riding; I am speaking for both of us. Afeas is very visible in Laval. Its goal is to help women, help them escape marginalization and misery, and ensure that women have the same rights as men across the country. So much needs to be done.

I see that my time is almost up, but I would like to comment briefly on what could be done to help women across the country. It is not necessarily just what is being put forward in Bill S-7. There are a lot of things we could do to help women in different communities.

When I asked my colleague from Halifax a question, I mentioned the Truth and Reconciliation Commission of Canada, which recently submitted its report and 94 recommendations. I think the federal government has a role to play in about a good third of the recommendations. It could do something about the issue of murdered and missing indigenous women all across Canada. It should have done something about that issue a long time ago. I truly believe that if the government really wanted to help murdered and missing indigenous women and their families, it would do something.

A number of other subjects could have been addressed to end the marginalization of women. Two examples that come to mind are pay equity and women's leadership on corporate boards, whether public or private. Something really meaningful could have been done.

Regarding Bill S-7, I have to point out again that we could make it better. It is not too late. The NDP has proposed some amendments. I still hope that the Conservatives will agree to compromise a little, ensure that these amendments are incorporated into the bill and put an end to all the smoke and mirrors. In the end, that is all that Bill S-7 really is.

Zero Tolerance for Barbaric Cultural Practices Act June 12th, 2015

Mr. Speaker, I thank my colleague from Halifax for the speech she just delivered to the House.

During the debate on this bill, we have been talking a lot about trying to help women. Women are generally marginalized enough already. Is marginalizing them even more with Bill S-7 really a step in the right direction?

I would just like to hear what my colleague from Halifax thinks about the Conservatives' chronic hypocrisy when it comes to the status of women in general in Canada. The first thing that comes to mind is the issue of murdered and missing aboriginal women. The Conservatives refuse to take any action on that or follow the recommendations made by the Truth and Reconciliation Commission of Canada.

Could my colleague comment on the Conservatives' double-talk and hypocrisy regarding the marginalization of women in Canada?

Ethics June 12th, 2015

Mr. Speaker, the Prime Minister is still defending the indefensible.

Worse still, rather than apologize for their unacceptable behaviour, Liberal senators and those who were appointed by the Prime Minister are rubbing salt in the wound. Now they want to to be their own judge and jury behind closed doors. Seriously, what a lot of nerve.

Why is the Prime Minister allowing these internal, secret, backroom games? Why is he not getting on board with the NDP's proposal to eliminate all of these secret House and Senate committees and give the people the transparency they deserve once and for all?

Ethics June 12th, 2015

Mr. Speaker, we still do not know if the Prime Minister looked into where senators reside before appointing them.

Senators' extravagant expenses are downright shameful. They treated themselves to fishing trips, personal trips for themselves and their spouses, rounds of golf and tickets to hockey games, all on the taxpayer's dime and with impunity. It is high time we got rid of this archaic institution. Most Quebeckers no longer want it.

Will the Conservatives finally stop defending the status quo?

Ethics June 9th, 2015

Mr. Speaker, the Auditor General is an independent arbitrator. He gave us facts, not his opinions. It has never been more clear: it is time to do away with this outdated institution. The Auditor General recommends a serious housecleaning to resolve the problems with the expense claim system in the Senate.

Will the government finally support the NDP's proposal to stop the Senate spending spree and put an end to partisanship in the upper chamber once and for all?