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Track Ruth Ellen

Your Say


Crucial Fact

  • Her favourite word is farmers.

NDP MP for Berthier—Maskinongé (Québec)

Won her last election, in 2015, with 42% of the vote.

Statements in the House

Ethics December 13th, 2017

Mr. Speaker, yesterday in committee, the nominee for Conflict of Interest and Ethics Commissioner that the Liberals imposed on us would not confirm whether he plans to pursue the investigations into the Prime Minister's trip and the Minister of Finance's involvement in Bill C-27. Canadians are really concerned. These investigations are important to Canadians and certainly to our democracy, but the Liberals do not seem to realize that.

Do the Liberals think the commissioner should continue the investigations his predecessor started?

Christmas Markets December 11th, 2017

Mr. Speaker, I recently visited several Christmas markets in my riding of Berthier—Maskinongé. Christmas markets provide an excellent opportunity to discover and rediscover local products and crafts. These events showcase the quality of our agrifood products and the talents of artisans in our regions. What is more, by buying local, consumers are choosing high-quality products, supporting their communities, and reducing their environmental footprint. As the Christmas season begins, I encourage all my colleagues to take their families to visit the Christmas markets and local businesses in our regions.

In closing, I would also like to draw attention to the work of volunteers in our regions who make a real difference in our communities. I thank them for their generosity and their help in improving the quality of life of people in our communities. I wish everyone a very happy holiday season.

International Trade December 6th, 2017

Mr. Speaker, according to a report commissioned by Global Affairs Canada, trade with China was responsible for the loss of 105,000 jobs in Canada between 2001 and 2011.

Now that the government appears to be in such a rush to enter into formal negotiations for a free trade agreement with China, does the government have any idea how many Canadian jobs will be at risk if we go ahead with a free trade agreement with China?

Government Appointments December 1st, 2017

Mr. Speaker, that is nonsense. We are talking about consultation. We want the government to work with the opposition.

It seems to me that the government learned nothing from the Madeleine Meilleur fiasco. The appointment of officers of Parliament who work for every member of the House should be done in consultation with the opposition, in other words through real consultation with the recognized parties in the House.

I will repeat my simple question. Will the government share the list of members of the selection committee and the people on the list of finalists, yes or no?

Government Appointments December 1st, 2017

Mr. Speaker, the government has set a new record for unfilled appointments, including the appointments of parliamentary watchdogs. Yesterday, the Liberals released the names of their picks for the positions of official languages and lobbying commissioner. Once again, they failed to consult the opposition.

Our parliamentary leader requested the list of candidates so we could engage in something called “real consultation”. Will the government share the list of candidates for both appointments with the opposition, yes or no?

International Trade November 23rd, 2017

Mr. Speaker, the Liberals completed three rounds of preliminary talks for a possible free trade agreement with China. The media is saying that the Prime Minister plans to go to China by the end of the year, despite serious human rights concerns, lax labour laws, threats to Canadian intellectual property, and the list goes on.

Why is the Liberal Party moving full speed ahead to enter into a free trade agreement with China?

Questions Passed as Orders for Returns November 9th, 2017

With regard to funding applications from dairy producers submitted to the Dairy Farm Investment Program (DFIP) during the first application window, which ended August 29, 2017: (a) what is the total number of applications received from producers, broken down by (i) province and territory, (ii) applications approved per province and territory, (iii) applications rejected per province and territory, (iv) applications put on a waiting list per province and territory; (b) how many applications for large investment projects have been received, broken down by (i) province and territory, (ii) applications approved per province and territory, (iii) applications rejected per province and territory, (iv) applications put on a waiting list per province and territory; (c) how many applications for small investment projects were received, broken down by (i) province and territory, (ii) applications approved per province and territory, (iii) applications rejected per province and territory, (iv) applications put on a waiting list per province and territory; (d) how much of the total $250 million in DFIP funding has been allocated, broken down by (i) large investment project, (ii) small investment project, (iii) province and territory; (e) what is the total value of funding applications that were rejected, broken down by (i) large investment project, (ii) small investment project, (iii) province and territory; and (f) how much of the total amount has already been allocated to Quebec producers, broken down by (i) large investment project, (ii) small investment project?

Budget Implementation Act, 2017, No. 2 November 8th, 2017

Mr. Speaker, Canadians had a lot of high hopes in 2015. They put their trust and confidence in a Liberal government. The Liberals did a great campaign. However, Canadians are starting to realize they are not getting what they thought they would out of the government.

Before being elected, I worked at quite a few jobs to make ends meet. Many constituents in my riding work really hard, and they still do not make ends meet. In Quebec, we have a great system where we have affordable child care. It was a promise this government made, to develop affordable child care. We are not there yet. The Liberals have created no new child care spaces.

On pay equity, they realize they have to act, but they keep pushing it back. Why do women have to wait for pay equity? It does not make sense. The government says it is feminist, but it does not show us. Where is the bill? Why do women have to wait?

Canadians are disappointed and frustrated, and that is why we are voting against Bill C-63.

Budget Implementation Act, 2017, No. 2 November 8th, 2017

Mr. Speaker, I thank my colleague for his question.

This Liberal majority government is halfway through its mandate. Indeed, it has taken some positive steps, and we must recognize that the government has taken action and implemented measures. We agree, and congratulate and thank them for some things. However, they made a lot of promises. It has been two years, and Canadians expected more.

The government really needs to reduce tax inequities. A bill has been introduced to do so. My colleague and I both sit on the Standing Committee on Agriculture and Agri-food. Everyone who appears before the committee talks about the importance of fixing the unfair tax measures affecting the transfer of family farms. This is one thing the Liberal government could have done. It should have done it. This measure could have been included in the budget. We would have liked to have seen the bill at least make it to committee.

There are a number of measures that we like, but the government must do better. Canadians expect more.

Budget Implementation Act, 2017, No. 2 November 8th, 2017

Mr. Speaker, it is an honour to rise today to speak to Bill C-63, a second act to implement certain provisions of the budget tabled in Parliament on March 22, 2017 and other measures, which I will strongly oppose.

I would like to talk about Sunday's municipal elections in Quebec. There are 37 municipalities in the riding I represent, and it spans 3,200 kilometres. I would like to congratulate all of the candidates who ran in the municipal elections and all those who won. I care about having a good working relationship with other representatives. I look forward to working with the newly elected officials. I would also like to celebrate the fact that more women were elected mayor. I am very proud to say that we now have more women mayors back home. This is good news.

In my speech today, I want to talk about the issues that are not part of the Liberal government's bill. For example, the government is not doing anything about credit card fees, and more recently, it refused to work with us, the provinces, and other stakeholders to create a universal pharmacare program. I also want to talk about how the government is refusing to remedy tax unfairness by facilitating the intergenerational transfer of family farms. The last issue I will touch on is employment insurance.

I will start with credit card fees, which cost Canadian merchants tens of thousands of dollars. It is their second-largest expense after salaries. Small retailers make up more than 50% of the Canadian economy. For example, a Saint-Boniface service station called Alimentation Lemoyne & Auger in my riding pays $30,000 per year in credit card transaction fees. That is a lot of money. Canadian small businesses pay the highest credit card transaction fees in the world. The Liberal government should do like other countries, such as Australia and EU countries, which have capped fees at 0.5% or less.

This is a measure that the Liberal government should have introduced for small business owners. We really would have liked to see some progress. We would have liked for the government to stand up for small business owners in Quebec and elsewhere in Canada. There is supermarket owner in Laval who spends nearly $200,000 on credit card fees. The government needs to act now to better regulate those fees.

Last month, the NDP used an opposition day to raise a debate in the House of Commons on the need to adopt a universal pharmacare program. In the riding that I represent, the population is aging, so I care about health-related issues. We had a debate in the House of Commons, but unfortunately, the Liberal government decided to vote against our motion.

That day, representatives of the Centre Avec des Elles in Saint-Gabriel-de-Brandon and the Centre des femmes l'Héritage in Louiseville came to attend question period. They also got to meet several MPs. These people from my riding, who came to the House the day that we moved an opposition motion on the need for a universal pharmacare program, could not believe that the government was going to vote against such a measure, when, unfortunately, the cost of prescription drugs is rising every year.

The people I represent did not think it was the right approach to lowering the cost of drugs. They were really frustrated to see the Liberal government's inaction and unwillingness to act. We would have really liked to see something in the budget for this. However, there is nothing yet again. There is no action on the part of the Liberal government.

I had have the honour of being the agriculture and agrifood critic since 2015 after being the deputy critic from 2012 to 2015. I have been a member of the Standing Committee on Agriculture and Agri-Food since 2012. I am the longest serving member of the committee. Anything that has to do with the transfer of farms and fishing businesses is really important. We know that Canada's population is aging and that succession and planning is not going well.

My colleague from Rimouski-Neigette—Témiscouata—Les Basques introduced a bill to address a fiscal injustice in the transfer of farms. Unfortunately, that bill was defeated in the House of Commons before it could be referred to a committee. We think it is disgraceful that the government is doing nothing to help the next generation of farmers in Canada.

I would also like to raise the matter of employment insurance. I represent a rural riding where many people work in seasonal industries. These people depend on EI, but they do not always have access to it, sadly. The budget contained no changes or assistance to give workers access to employment insurance. Currently, 15,000 Canadians are having to contend with the spring gap. This needs to be discussed, because during the campaign, the Liberal Party said it would fix the problem by improving the system and making it so that these people have access to EI.

There have been some minor changes, but the Liberal government has not carried out a comprehensive reform to improve access to employment insurance for workers in the agriculture, fisheries, forestry, and tourism sectors. These sectors are incredibly important to the economy, and we need to make sure we support the people working in them.

The unemployed workers' movement in Quebec claims that the Liberal government has not reformed the employment insurance system. Forty-four percent of Canadians will not be eligible for employment insurance. That is a lot of people, a lot of Canadians and Quebeckers who need reform and change so they can access EI when they need it. This is really important to them.

We really hoped to see some progress on reducing inequality. We know that a special committee was formed to examine pay equity. A report entitled “It's Time to Act” was even published. The government committed to taking action, but not today, tomorrow, or even in a year. It is going to introduce a bill on pay equity to ensure that women and men earn equal pay for work of equal value. It is going to take until the end of 2018. I am trying to understand why the government is dragging its feet on introducing a bill that would truly further equality.

I think everyone agrees that there is still work to be done. It is 2017. The government claims to be feminist, but it needs to walk the talk. This bill needs to pass quickly. We are deeply disappointed to see so many things missing from this budget, especially since the government is always saying that it can do better.

The government should have done better with this legislation.