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

Ethics June 9th, 2015

Mr. Speaker, the Conservatives tried to lead us to believe that Nigel Wright acted alone, until the RCMP found otherwise. They also tried to lead us to believe that there was no agreement with Mike Duffy, until the RCMP found otherwise. It is not surprising that people do not believe what the government says. The member for Nepean—Carleton said that they were going to maximize accountability and minimize costs.

What does the government plan to do to really clean up the Senate?

Criminal Code June 5th, 2015

Mr. Speaker, it is truly an honour for me to rise in the House today on behalf of the people of Alfred-Pellan in Laval, whom I have represented for four years, to talk about a private member's bill, Bill C-590, An Act to amend the Criminal Code provisions on blood alcohol content.

I would like to begin by telling my colleague who introduced this bill in the House that I will support it at third reading, and I will explain why we on this side have taken this stance.

In light of the Standing Committee on Justice and Human Rights' recent study of this bill, New Democrats believe that Bill C-590 is a step in the right direction to combat the scourge of drunk driving.

In essence, Bill C-590 amends section 255 of the Criminal Code to establish the possibility of imposing more severe penalties for offences committed under section 253 in circumstances where the offender has a blood alcohol content that exceeds 160 milligrams of alcohol in 100 millilitres of blood, which is double the amount that now constitutes an offence. It also raises the minimum penalties that apply to convictions for impaired driving causing bodily harm or death.

As a young mother of a two-year-old little girl, as a woman and as a New Democrat, I truly believe that drinking and driving is a very important issue. I also think that all parliamentarians in the House care deeply about this issue.

I do not mean to speak on behalf of all parents here, but I am sure that every father, every mother and every grandparent cares a great deal about the health and safety of their children, their family, their fellow citizens and the general public.

I am quite confident that everyone here in the House wants to address the problem of drinking and driving, and Bill C-590 is a step in the right direction.

I am not a member of the Standing Committee on Justice and Human Rights. However, I do have some wonderful colleagues, like the member for Gatineau and the member for La Pointe-de-l'Île, who are members of that committee. I looked at their work and the work done by my other colleagues, because I am always interested in what is happening at committee, and everyone wanted to ensure that these new measures were designed to eliminate the scourge that claims too many Canadians' lives every year.

I support the bill, but I know that it has some shortcomings, which is rather unfortunate. However, as I said, it is a step in the right direction.

Although Canada has very tough laws and penalties for impaired driving, more than 750 motorists, motorcyclists, pedestrians and cyclists were killed every year between 2003 and 2005 in traffic accidents involving drunk drivers. Even one death is one too many, but this is more than two people per day. That is far too many, and we need to implement measures to address this problem.

This is a relatively conservative estimate, since in some cases it was not possible to determine whether the driver had a blood alcohol level over the legal limit. Some road safety organizations estimate that the number of victims is actually much higher.

Although the exact number of victims is in question, no one doubts that impaired driving causes a large number of injuries and deaths that could be avoided.

My colleague's bill, Bill C-590, seeks to decrease the number of injuries and deaths by amending section 255 of the Criminal Code to establish more severe penalties for offences committed under the Criminal Code in circumstances where the offender's blood alcohol content exceeds 160 milligrams of alcohol.

As I mentioned previously, the bill also seeks to raise the minimum penalties that apply to convictions for impaired driving causing bodily harm or death.

I sincerely believe that we need to do more to combat impaired driving.

The NDP examined the measures proposed by the member for Prince Albert, and saw that they were a step in the right direction towards effectively fighting the scourge of drunk driving.

However, there remain some questions about minimum sentences, even though we had already raised them. The minimum sentences in this bill are substantially shorter than the current sentences that are imposed for these offences. I mentioned a few of this bill's flaws, including these shorter minimum sentences. I will talk later about why this matters.

For example, in 2011-12, the mean length of imprisonment was 277 days for impaired driving causing bodily harm, and 959 days for impaired driving causing death. Why are the proposed minimum sentences important and why do we need to discuss them? There is a tendency for a minimum sentence to become the default sentence, except in the worst cases. In other words, the minimum sentence ends up being the norm rather than a sentence reserved for less serious crimes. Therefore, it is reasonable to expect that defence lawyers will ask for the minimum sentence, unless the Crown can prove that their client's crime warrants a special punishment.

As I said, we absolutely must do more to address drunk driving. There are a number of things we can do as parliamentarians, but also as citizens in our communities.

I want to reiterate the question my NDP colleague asked about the type of consultations that were done with regard to the bill introduced by my colleague from Prince Albert. I would have liked more details on who was consulted on the bill. I know that MADD Canada works very hard on the issue of drunk driving. Everyone acknowledges the exemplary work that it does, but it would be good to know how MADD feels about this bill. It would also be good to get feedback from the many stakeholders across Canada who work on this issue that is so very important to our constituents. This is important input if we want to have leadership and crack down on drunk driving.

This bill deals with sentences for offenders, but we cannot forget that there is work to be done before things get to that point. I cannot stress this enough, but when it comes to topics that are this sensitive, it is often important to educate people. Whether we are talking about young drivers taking the wheel, starting their classes or applying for a licence, it is preferable for parents to get them started with good habits. We need to look at everything we can possibly do. We also need to ensure that people who already have a licence understand the negative impact that drinking and driving can have as well as all the potential consequences for our society. We cannot forget that education plays an important role in this issue.

I also want to mention that I am a young mother and that I have since become more interested in these issues. I think that is how it normally works. We all want to ensure that we do a good job of raising our family. As a young mother I must say that I really sympathize with all the victims and families of victims of drunk driving. It is never an easy thing. No one can understand what it means to lose a loved one, regardless of the circumstances.

I think that a fairly funded justice system would truly help them through the process. We can never forget the families, friends and loved ones of the victims of drunk driving.

I would like to make something clear. This bill does not specifically target young people. We need to avoid stereotypes here. It is very important that we not stereotype our youth. In this case, I think we really need to be careful. We need to remember that the statistics on young people and drunk driving have improved a lot in recent years. I think that is the result of the great work being done by parents and society in general.

In closing, I would like to thank all those who worked on this bill when it was before the Standing Committee on Justice and Human Rights, as well as my colleague from Prince Albert. I also want to acknowledge the incredible work done by our justice critic, my colleague from Gatineau, and her deputy critic, the member for La Pointe-de-l'Île. They worked very hard on this issue.

Ethics June 5th, 2015

Mr. Speaker, the Auditor General's report shows that half of the senators are facing charges regarding claims for inappropriate expenses. The total of these expenses is apparently around $1 million.

Among those identified was Senator Boisvenu, appointed just five years ago by the Prime Minister. The allegations against him are considered serious, and his file will be passed on to the RCMP.

Will the Prime Minister strongly condemn the actions of the Conservative senators he himself appointed?

Ethics June 5th, 2015

Mr. Speaker, the Prime Minister's Office continues to be rocked by the Senate scandals.

The Auditor General's report was received yesterday, and there are questions about the expenses of about 30 senators, including the Speaker of the Senate, the Leader of the Government and the Liberal opposition leader. Let us just say that the entire institution has lost its credibility.

How can the Prime Minister still have confidence in the Senate after such revelations?

Privacy Protection June 4th, 2015

Mr. Speaker, today, with Bill C-59, the Conservatives want to collect biometric data on visitors with visas from over 151 countries.

The Privacy Commissioner was very clear about this. When the government collects that much information, special precautions are required to protect privacy and prevent the theft of personal information, especially considering the Conservatives' record on this, which is downright disastrous.

Will the Conservatives come up with additional measures to protect privacy?

Public Safety June 4th, 2015

Mr. Speaker, the Conservatives are not taking this matter seriously at all. Today we learned that the government asked the B.C. Supreme Court to reject the class action lawsuit filed by 375 women against the RCMP.

Instead of taking action against violence, bullying and sexual harassment, the Conservatives would rather sabotage women who blow the whistle on unacceptable behaviour.

Can the minister explain why the government would rather block the class action lawsuit than work to find solutions?

Yukon and Nunavut Regulatory Improvement Act June 3rd, 2015

Mr. Speaker, I am honoured to rise today on behalf of the people of Alfred-Pellan to debate the time allocation motion on Bill S-6.

In his answers, the minister just said that he had been in the House of Commons for 20 years. This means that he has been in the opposition and he took offence at the time allocation motions moved by the Liberals at the time. Now he is proud to move one in the House.

My question for the minister is very simple. How has Ottawa changed him so much?

Digital Privacy Act June 2nd, 2015

Mr. Speaker, I thank my colleague from Nipissing—Timiskaming for his speech on Bill S-4.

I worked on Bill C-51, which thousands of Canadians opposed. They were worried that the bill would invade their privacy and violate their rights and freedoms. In the answer he just gave, my colleague said that this bill was not necessarily perfect but that we need to take action. I have a question for him.

Bill S-4, and also Bill C-13, would allow greater access to personal information without a warrant and without provisions for a proper oversight mechanism. This is reminiscent of the extremely distressing Bill C-51, which we studied not too long ago.

Why is the government working so hard to allow snooping without a warrant by creating bigger holes with Bill C-13 and Bill S-4?

Public Safety June 1st, 2015

Mr. Speaker, that would take leadership from the Conservative government on this file.

The tragic shooting in Moncton, last June 4, exposed some serious problems within the RCMP. Officers complain about the lack of firearms and training for dealing with such situations, so much so that the RCMP is now in court for Labour Code infractions and endangering its employees.

Can the minister tell us how many RCMP officers are still waiting for adequate equipment or training?

Public Safety June 1st, 2015

Mr. Speaker, the British Columbia superior court is currently considering a class action suit by 362 women who were victims of sexual harassment within the RCMP. Even after the damning report on the culture of sexualization within the forces, the Conservative government once again took too long to react and deal with RCMP harassment cases.

Will the minister ensure that everything possible is done immediately to put an end to these unacceptable situations and help women who have been victims of discrimination within the RCMP?