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Crucial Fact

  • Her favourite word was farmers.

Last in Parliament October 2019, as NDP MP for Berthier—Maskinongé (Québec)

Lost her last election, in 2021, with 33% of the vote.

Statements in the House

Agriculture and Agri-Food September 25th, 2012

Mr. Speaker, the Conservatives do not like to talk to Canadians about the consequences of their decisions.

When the Canadian Food Inspection Agency discovered that beef from an Alberta plant was potentially contaminated, what happened? It took two weeks to sound the alarm, and we just learned that this product is banned in the United States. That is unbelievable. Consumers across the country were affected by this belated recall. People are worried. We cannot play games with their safety.

Will the Conservatives reconsider making cuts to food safety?

Agriculture and Agri-Food September 17th, 2012

Mr. Speaker, many farmers' yields will be cut in half this year, yet the Conservatives do nothing. Between the loss of revenue and the high cost of feeding their livestock, the drought could lead to the demise of family farms. And now the Conservatives want to cut millions of dollars from business risk management programs.

Why do the Conservatives want to make cuts to programs that support farmers at such a crucial time?

Children's Health June 20th, 2012

Madam Speaker, I am rising in the House today to support the motion of the hon. member for Ottawa—Orléans. Motion M-319 seeks to find solutions to a serious problem: childhood obesity. The NDP strongly supports this initiative. Obesity rates are skyrocketing and are having a serious impact on the health of Canadian families and on our health care system.

The hon. member has four main points. First, he suggests that the government continue its dialogue with the provinces, territories, health stakeholders, industry and Canadians to promote and maintain healthy weight for children and youth. In short, he is proposing that we continue to talk about childhood obesity.

Second, he recommends that the government encourage discussions to address the factors that lead to obesity, such as social and physical environments, physical activity, as well as the promotion of and access to nutritious food. Once again, he is suggesting that we talk some more.

Third, he recommends that the government encourage individuals and organizations to commit to participating in the promotion of a healthy weight, but he does not suggest any concrete ways of doing this.

Lastly, the motion urges the government to consider the framework for action entitled “Curbing Childhood Obesity” that resulted from the endorsement of the Declaration on Prevention and Promotion by the federal, provincial and territorial health ministers. It calls on all stakeholders to take action to address obesity, particularly in children, promote physical activity and make healthy food choices.

The motion would help increase awareness of this issue among Canadians and would create a dialogue with a view to addressing obesity rates in Canada. This objective is important, but the NDP thinks that we must go further than that.

Furthermore, the NDP has always called for regulations on trans fats in foods, in order to reduce the impact that poor food choices can have on childhood obesity.

In 2004, my colleague from Winnipeg Centre moved a private member's motion to regulate trans fat content in foods. The motion was adopted unanimously, but since then, the government has not followed up with any action. My colleague also introduced Bill C-303, which would limit trans fatty acids. The government has not taken any action since then.

It is critical that we take swift and early action to curb childhood obesity. An obese child is 20% more likely to struggle with weight problems in adulthood. Obese teens are an alarming 80% more likely, according to the Heart and Stroke Foundation of Canada. These numbers are extremely disturbing.

Healthy lifestyle habits must be acquired early on because they are not innate. The best example is enjoyment of physical activity. A child who has active parents and who is encouraged to participate in sports at school will be more likely to maintain those good habits throughout his lifetime.

With all of that in mind, I am worried about how little physical activity kids get in school.

Meaningful steps should be taken to make our environments more conducive to physical activity, to curtail marketing of foods that are high in fat, sugar and salt, and to increase the availability of nutritious foods at reasonable prices.

Childhood obesity affects physical health as well as a child's emotional health and social life. Children with poor self-esteem can be in for a lifelong struggle. We all know how some kids bully others who are different, which can have serious short- and long-term repercussions.

That is why I support my colleague's motion. However, we must go further by calling for meaningful action as soon as possible.

Several reports have made clear recommendations. In 2007, the Standing Committee on Health examined the issue of childhood obesity. I was surprised to see that the recommendations made by that committee were not included in Motion M-319. For instance, in its report entitled “Healthy Weights for Healthy Kids”, the committee recommends that the federal government establish clear targets to reduce the rate of childhood obesity, suggesting a 2% reduction by 2020.

The report also suggests that the government should present an annual report to Parliament on overall efforts to attain healthy weights for children and on the results achieved. These recommendations were based on evidence from experts in the field, but the member for Ottawa—Orléans chose not to follow their advice.

The provinces have shown that it is possible to take action and really reduce childhood obesity rates. In Alberta, for instance, a program called “Mind, Exercise, Nutrition, Do It!” has really helped reduce children's body mass index and body fat percentages. It has also improved their eating habits, increased their physical activity and improved their confidence and self-esteem.

Nova Scotia has also taken measures to eliminate childhood obesity by establishing a food and nutrition policy for the province's public schools that teaches the students to make healthy food choices and only allows food service in schools that meet specific nutrition criteria.

In Quebec, the organization “Québec en Forme” is working to promote the adoption and maintenance of healthy eating habits and a physically active lifestyle for Quebec youth from birth to 17 as essential elements of their full development and educational success. To do this, Québec en Forme is present throughout Quebec, to support communities and organizations that promote projects that establish all the necessary conditions to make it fun and easy for young people, particularly those from disadvantaged backgrounds, to move more and eat better on a daily basis.

It is time for the Conservative government to follow the provinces' example and show some leadership. With national standards, such as the Standing Committee on Health report called for, obesity rates could drop across Canada. The motion also calls for dialogue with the industry, but so far the government just bows to industry on matters of health, allowing unhealthy processed foods to go unregulated.

Therefore, I will be supporting the hon. member's initiative, and I hope that the government will follow up with real action soon. It is not enough to talk about the rising rate of childhood obesity; we must do something about it. The time has come. I call on the rest of the Conservative caucus to follow the example of the member for Ottawa—Orléans and address this important issue by introducing a bill that will turn words into action.

International Trade June 20th, 2012

Mr. Speaker, we support free trade agreements that benefit Canadians. The Conservatives, on the other hand, are always ready to sacrifice the interests of Canadians without getting anything back in return.

The buy American clause is a perfect example. Now the Conservatives are jeopardizing supply management in order to join the trans-Pacific partnership without any guarantee of economic spinoffs, any veto power or anything at all.

Are the Conservatives prepared to tell us what is on the negotiating table now?

Pyrrhotite June 19th, 2012

Mr. Speaker, many families in Mauricie have had their lives shattered by the pyrrhotite crisis—a crisis that could have been avoided.

At a press conference today, the NDP called on the federal government to take immediate action to help those families.

In 2011, the Government of Quebec announced $15 million in assistance, hoping that the federal government would do the same. However, federal assistance has not been forthcoming.

We have three clear requests for the government. First of all, we ask that the federal government match the funding allocated by the Quebec government. The NDP is also calling on the government to create a loans program for the victims. Lastly, we would like the government to change the standard regarding the quality of the aggregates used in concrete.

If this standard had been changed sooner, the pyrrhotite crisis would not be what it is today. The government now has an opportunity to help the affected families.

We must not leave these families to deal with this problem on their own.

Jobs, Growth and Long-term Prosperity Act June 12th, 2012

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

As a single parent, I know that it is really hard to make ends meet. I had my son when I was 17, and it is not easy. At times, I had two jobs. Sometimes paying for sports and music lessons is just not possible. When people have to choose whether to pay for housing, electricity or food, it costs too much. Tax credits for sports and activities are of no use to people with little money.

Jobs, Growth and Long-term Prosperity Act June 12th, 2012

Mr. Speaker, in my rural riding, having access to the Internet does not always happen. It is very expensive. I heard that it is about $150 in some places and it is not even high speed. To say that Canadians have to go online to check what is in their foods is absolutely absurd. It is not right. It is 2012 but we are not there yet. It seems to have a snowball effect. We will have another tragedy and lives will be lost. What is it going to take? How many lives have to be lost?

Jobs, Growth and Long-term Prosperity Act June 12th, 2012

Mr. Speaker, I enjoyed the trip with the member when we visited the pullet farms. With the committee, I also had the chance to visit Cargill in Guelph, which was quite the experience. It was memorable and something I will never forget. I learned a lot.

However, it really scares me when I think that these businesses will have more control to inspect food. It scares me and the people in my riding. It makes me worry about my son eating meat or salad. Businesses have no right to inspect their own foods. It needs to be up to the government. The privatization scares me.

Jobs, Growth and Long-term Prosperity Act June 12th, 2012

Mr. Speaker, I rise in the House this evening to speak to Bill C-38, this massive bill that I would like to put into the recycle bin, but cannot. That is why I am here. I am representing the people of Berthier—Maskinongé.

The 2012 budget contains reckless cuts to services including the old-age security program, health care, transfers to the provinces and environmental assessments.

Bill C-38 is the budget implementation bill, but this bill is unlike any other. This 425-page document includes not only the measures described in the budget, but also some changes that were not previously announced to the public. What a surprise. As a result, there is less transparency and more secrecy surrounding the government. That is just great.

This aspect worries me quite a bit. As elected members, we have a duty to defend the interests of our constituents. Beyond partisanship are the voters. That is why we are here. Those voters put their trust in us and we must be as transparent as possible. I am not seeing that across the way. With this bill the government is not being transparent with the public.

This bill is even preventing us, my colleagues and me, from doing our jobs. How can we study such a document in detail in such a short amount of time? The very essence of Parliament is being undermined because MPs are prevented from being well-informed about the content of the bill and its repercussions.

I am very worried and so are the people in my riding. They are worried about their jobs and, as I speak, I still have not received a clear answer from this government about the future of the Shawinigan tax centre. They are worried about their jobs. They are worried about the environment.

Every day, I receive letters from people who are worried about the government's cuts and the 2012 budget. These people feel that they have been taken hostage by the government and they are looking for a way to have their voices heard.

I thought I would share with you a letter from one of my constituents who wrote to me about the environment and said:

Ms. Brosseau,

I am writing to express my indignation and shame about the cuts the Conservative government is making to Fisheries and Oceans Canada, Environment Canada and Parks Canada.

Through these cuts and Bill C-38, the Conservative government is destroying the entire environmental protection structure, created over a number of years, to benefit the polluting and destructive industries.

Need I remind you that the environment and human health are closely linked? By cutting environmental protection measures, this government is endangering the public, and particularly the least fortunate who are usually more exposed to environmental stressors.

Need I also remind you that a number of economic sectors depend on a healthy environment? For example, by removing some fish habitats from the Fisheries Act, this government is showing its blatant lack of knowledge of environmental dynamics. Contamination knows no borders, and it can cause irreparable damage to the fragile balances within ecosystems.

Ms. Brosseau, can you remind this government that it serves Canadians and not the other way around? Can you also remind the government that it must not compromise the ability of future generations to meet their needs, and that it must especially not compromise the health of current citizens.

Charles de Grandpré

The public is concerned and informed. These people see what the government is trying to do with this Trojan Horse bill.

I am here to share their concerns. These people have a right to be heard.

I think the government should listen to them.

Canadians are worried about creating high-quality jobs, protecting our environment and improving retirement security.

What is this government doing? It is driving up the unemployment rate. The Parliamentary Budget Officer estimates that this budget will result in the loss of 43,000 jobs in Canada. The government is withdrawing Canada from the Kyoto protocol and weakening environmental protection regulations, while attacking environmental protection groups. By withdrawing from Kyoto, the Conservatives are making Canada the laughingstock of the world. The Conservatives are slashing old age security, despite the fact that the Parliamentary Budget Officer has confirmed that the old age security system is viable. Yet the Conservatives still want to balance their budget at the expense of our seniors.

I would now like to quote some of my constituents who have written to me recently about the budget. “Bill C-38 worries us and we oppose the idea behind this bill, especially when it comes to EI reforms.” Another citizen said, “Dignity has no age or social status.” Another wrote the following, “Yes, old age security at age 67 is discouraging, and employment insurance requires far too many hours to qualify.” Lastly, another person said, “I worked my entire life, and now, at age 65, I am starving and very sick.”

These are just a few of the comments that I received. They clearly show that people are concerned, and not just in my riding.

In closing, I would like to talk about the changes to the Canadian Food Inspection Agency. Several parts of the agency are about to be privatized. These cuts to food inspection are a step backward, since we know that the listeriosis crisis in 2008 was caused by a lack of inspectors.

I would like to read a quote by Bob Kingston, president of the union that represents Canadian food inspectors. On April 24, 2012, he said:

These cuts and changes were planned behind closed doors and without the benefit of public input or the perspective of those who work on the front lines.

[...]

We will be doing all we can to make sure politicians and the public understand the impact of these cuts and hopefully the government will live up to its promise that food safety will not be compromised.

Bill C-38 also amends the Seeds Act to give the president of the CFIA the power to issue licences to persons authorizing them to perform activities related to controlling or assuring the quality of seeds or seed crops. This is found in division 26 of part 4. This amendment opens the door to having private companies do food inspection related work. This also sends worrisome signals about the growing likelihood of privatization of some parts of the Canadian Food Inspection Agency.

These changes scare me and I know that I am not the only one who feels this way.

How can the government make $56.1 million in cuts to the Canadian Food Inspection Agency and still assure Canadians that they will be safe?

Canadians need transparency. People are not going to have confidence in this government if it quietly passes measures that will have a significant impact on the entire population. Why do the Conservatives want to pass this bill, which contains so many cuts, so quickly? Who stands to gain from them? The people in my riding? Canadians? I do not know. These are questions that I am asking myself as a member of Parliament, a citizen and a mother.

Canada Revenue Agency June 12th, 2012

Mr. Speaker, I thank my hon. colleague. No, it is not easy. It is midnight. I am sure everyone here is tired. We are working hard these days. As I said, it is midnight, yet I am here and, like my colleagues, I want some answers.

The government is not being clear. I want to know what impact these cuts will have. The government cannot refute these allegations, so I remain concerned. On June 8, 2012, the Canada Revenue Agency and the Union of Taxation Employees met, but the answers are always the same. The agency maintains that the decisions are confidential. This is bad news.

Can the member tell us when the government will set the record straight regarding cuts to the Canada Revenue Agency?