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

Public Safety May 6th, 2015

Mr. Speaker, Canadians do not have to choose between their safety and their rights, despite what the other parties would have them believe. Both the Liberals and Conservatives have stood in this House and made all kinds of pronouncements that prey on people's fears.

We in the NDP will not allow fear to triumph over our principles. We will stand up today to defend our rights and our freedoms, and we will oppose Bill C-51.

Will the Liberals and the Conservatives follow our lead?

Public Safety May 6th, 2015

Mr. Speaker, it is not too late for the Conservatives and the Liberals to change course and listen to the millions of Canadians who oppose Bill C-51.

Experts, jurists, business people and even former prime ministers agree: Bill C-51 is ineffective and dangerous and will undermine our security and our rights.

Will all of the parties join us today in rejecting Bill C-51 and protecting Canadians' rights and freedoms once and for all?

Anti-terrorism Act, 2015 May 5th, 2015

Mr. Speaker, I thank my colleague from Trois-Rivières for his question. This is a problem we have run into in most committees during studies of most Conservative government bills.

How many NDP amendments were accepted? None. How many Liberal Party amendments were accepted? None. How many Green Party amendments were accepted? None. How many Bloc Québécois amendments were accepted? None. How many amendments from independent MPs were accepted? None. How many amendments were accepted in total? Three. Who proposed them? Conservatives, of course. Moreover, they were minor amendments that changed absolutely nothing about Bill C-51.

Anyone can see that this is clearly a bill that we should all have been able to work on together, especially since we are constantly being reminded about what happened on Parliament Hill on October 22. When that happened, we all agreed to work together to combat terrorism, radicalization and incidents like that one. However, the Conservatives decided to work in isolation, all by themselves. They made all kinds of lovely promises and kept bringing up that incident. They started by politicizing the debate. Then they decided not to work with the opposition, which is totally unacceptable. They also decided not to listen to the majority of the witnesses. I would like to remind my colleagues across the way that 45 of the 48 witnesses clearly stated that the bill needed to be amended substantially or sent back to the drawing board. If that is not working in isolation, I do not know what is.

Anti-terrorism Act, 2015 May 5th, 2015

Mr. Speaker, I thank my colleague from Laurentides—Labelle for once again pointing out that the Conservatives and the Liberals are united on Bill C-51.

When it comes to rights and freedoms, there is a less obvious problem that comes to mind. I did not get much of a chance to talk about it in my speech. I am talking about the Security Intelligence Review Committee. Although the members of this committee are good at what they do, their powers are not broad enough. This has to do with our rights and freedoms. Bill C-51 gives a lot of powers to the Canadian Security Intelligence Service, as was the case with Bill C-44 a few months ago. The problem is that the additional powers given to CSIS do not come with a proper oversight mechanism. In its current form, the Security Intelligence Review Committee only conducts a review after the fact. From the beginning we have been asking for ongoing oversight to ensure that our rights and freedoms are protected at all times.

Anti-terrorism Act, 2015 May 5th, 2015

Mr. Speaker, I am pleased to rise in the House once again to speak out against Bill C-51. Today, I will be sharing my time with the hon. member for St. John's South—Mount Pearl. I am proud to rise to make the Conservative government acknowledge the thousands of Canadians who are demonstrating against this bill every day.

On this side of the House, we hear them and we will not forget them. We are still trying to get the Conservative government to listen to reason and we will fight Bill C-51 to the end. We will not give up.

We have heard all kinds of surprises on both sides of the House with respect to Bill C-51, especially in the last few minutes, when one of my Conservative colleagues spoke about the witnesses who appeared before the Standing Committee on Public Safety and National Security.

I cannot help but to respond to that, since my colleague claimed that former Supreme Court justice John Major was in favour of Bill C-51. This is a great example of how the Conservatives like to twist words in the debate on the content of the bill, the real consequences of Bill C-51 and the testimony given at the Standing Committee on Public Safety and National Security.

John Major also signed a letter with other former Supreme court justices and former prime ministers in which they outright opposed Bill C-51. I would suggest that my colleague look at the blues to see what was said in the Standing Committee on Public Safety and National Security.

He could also simply read the letter that Mr. Major signed with other eminent Canadians who fiercely opposed Bill C-51. This led to an in-depth study, among others, carried out by other people who originally supported Bill C-51 but who then opposed it, explaining that they wanted to support a measure that protects us against terrorism and radicalization, but not a bill that goes this far and that violates our civil rights and freedoms.

I hope that members on the other side of the House will do their homework. Since we vote tomorrow evening, they still have a chance to change their minds and to vote with the official opposition to get rid of this bill, go back to the drawing board and come back with a more effective measure to truly combat terrorism and radicalization.

I do not have a lot of time to discuss the bill, but I really want to emphasize that more and more people across Canada are getting angry about this so-called anti-terrorism bill. What the Conservatives have really introduced is an anti-rights and anti-freedoms bill. Thousands of people have taken to the streets in Calgary, Edmonton, Halifax, Vancouver, Montreal and Quebec City. People have been demonstrating loudly in every city.

Thousands of people have signed online petitions against Bill C-51, and we have presented those petitions in the House of Commons. Eminent Canadians, former prime ministers, first nations leaders and aboriginal communities, members of environmental movements and very high-profile people also oppose Bill C-51. Recently, business people have also spoken out against this bill. Since the government likes to go on about how it always consults business people, it should consider their expert opinions on the consequences of this bill. Most of these people agree that Bill C-51 is both useless and dangerous.

Also, as I mentioned earlier during question period, I am concerned about the Conservative-Liberal alliance on this bill. Some Conservative members are boasting about protecting individual rights and freedoms, when they are completely undermining these same rights in this bill. Frankly, it is astonishing. In addition, the Liberals keep saying that they are staunchly defending the Canadian Charter of Rights and Freedoms. However, there are no similarities whatsoever between Bill C-51 and the Canadian Charter of Rights and Freedoms. The Conservatives and the Liberals are talking out of both sides of their mouths.

Honestly, it is disappointing to see that the Liberals are trying to score political points with Bill C-51. Initially, people were in favour of the bill. However, the more we talked about it, the more people realized that the bill made no sense. Now, their strategy is backfiring on them.

I also deplore that the Conservatives are not listening to what the opposition has to say in the House, which is really regrettable. They have decided to limit debate several times and forced us to vote on time allocation motions. Therefore, we were required to limit debate on Bill C-51. In addition, we had to fight bitterly in committee to get a few hours with witnesses. If the Conservatives could have acted alone, without consulting anyone in committee and without conducting any studies, they would have. In fact, 45 of the 48 witnesses who testified before the committee told us that Bill C-51 should be amended or completely scrapped, and that we should go back to the drawing board. What did the Conservatives do?

All the opposition parties proposed over 100 amendments, and only three were accepted. What party proposed those three minor amendments? Of course, it was the Conservative Party. None of the amendments put forward by the opposition was accepted. There is nothing in the bill that was mentioned by the witnesses. We, on the other hand, based our proposals on what the witnesses said. We tried to fix anything in Bill C-51 that could have been fixed. The Conservatives systematically refused every amendment put forward by the opposition. Clearly, they want to go it alone. They absolutely refuse to listen to any criticisms of this bill. It is sad, because ultimately, this is going to backfire on them. I am thinking of the extremely important discussions we had with eminent professors. Craig Forcese and the Canadian Bar Association come to mind, as well. At committee, I asked them if the bill was constitutional in its current form. That is perhaps the very first thing the government should examine closely before introducing a bill. The witnesses told me that large parts of the bill are unconstitutional. The bill will not stand up in court.

That raised the ire of Canadians across the country. This bill will end up before the courts and they will show that it is unconstitutional. As a federal government, its first order of business was to verify whether the bill it is introducing is constitutional and this government did not even do that. According to experts, Bill C-51 is unconstitutional. I hesitate to say that this is incompetence, but it is not far from it.

The members across the way keep saying that Bill C-51 contains vital tools that the police have been asking them for. That is not so. The number one thing that the police forces and our institutions have been asking for is money. I talked to a number of police officers. We could restart the study and rehear the experts in committee. The Royal Canadian Mounted Police, the Border Services Agency, and the municipal and provincial police are saying that the police services desperately need money. Some even told us that they could see that certain actions could well lead to terrorism. Unfortunately, they cannot do anything about it because they do not have enough manpower to deal with it. It is very serious.

There have been several arrests. I must point out the incredible work done by members of the RCMP, among others, in recent months. Several preventive arrests related to acts of terrorism have been made. We must point that out. Arrests are being made, but there could be more if they had the money they need.

Personally, I was expecting that there would be a sizeable amount of money in the 2015 federal budget in order to fight terrorism. Unfortunately, that is not the case. There is an envelope of less than $300 million for the RCMP, the Border Services Agency and the Canadian Security Intelligence Agency. This will not be disbursed before 2017. In the meantime, these three agencies have less than $20 million to combat terrorism.

I do not want to be lectured about how Bill C-51 contains vital tools. The basic problem is funding. This shows that the government is unwilling to listen to the agencies that work on the ground.

Public Safety May 5th, 2015

Mr. Speaker, citizens, aboriginal communities, unions, business people, experts, prime ministers and more all agree that Bill C-51 is dangerous and unnecessary. However, that did not stop the Liberals and Conservatives from standing up yesterday and voting against the NDP's amendments to withdraw the most controversial clauses from the bill.

The final vote on the bill is being held tomorrow. How can the Conservatives and Liberals still vote in favour of such a controversial bill?

Public Safety May 5th, 2015

Mr. Speaker, last night the NDP put forward amendments to scrap every provision of Bill C-51, yet Liberals and Conservatives voted to push C-51 ahead without any changes.

Legal experts, eminent Canadians, and former prime ministers all said the bill is dangerous and it should not go forward as is. How can Conservatives, who claim to stand up for individual freedoms, and how can Liberals, who say they defend the charter, continue to stand up and vote in favour of a bill that is so seriously flawed?

International Day of the Midwife May 5th, 2015

Mr. Speaker, I am proud to rise today to mark the International Day of the Midwife, established in 1992 by the WHO to bring attention to the important work being done by midwives around the world.

Midwives are extremely important to the health of mothers and children during pregnancy, childbirth and the post-partum period. There are currently more than 1,300 midwives in Canada, and this number is growing every year, thanks to our rigorous and high-level training.

Canadian midwives are recognized around the world for their expertise and the quality of their care. That is why I introduced a bill to make May 5 the National Day of the Midwife, which was unanimously passed by the House. We must recognize the invaluable contribution that midwives make to our health care system.

I want to thank the Canadian Association of Midwives, the National Aboriginal Council of Midwives and the Regroupement des sages-femmes du Québec for supporting my bill. I sincerely hope that on this day next year we will be able to celebrate the National Day of the Midwife here in Canada for the first time.

Public Safety May 4th, 2015

Mr. Speaker, ever since the Conservatives introduced their anti-terrorism bill, the rumblings of discontent across Canada have been growing steadily. In Calgary, Edmonton, Halifax, Vancouver, Ottawa and Montreal, thousands of Canadians have demonstrated against Bill C-51.

Aboriginal communities, unions, business people and experts in every field are telling the Conservatives that this bill is useless and dangerous. Even four former prime ministers are concerned about the absence of an oversight mechanism.

How can the Conservatives and the Liberals still vote for such a controversial bill?

Public Safety May 4th, 2015

Mr. Speaker, the appointment of two new people to the Security Intelligence Review Committee—no matter how competent they may be—does not fix anything. One of the many problems with Bill C-51 is that there is no proper, independent oversight mechanism for the additional powers granted to CSIS.

Currently, the committee simply reviews activities after the fact, and there is no ongoing oversight to ensure that our rights are protected.

Does the minister understand the difference between review and oversight?