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Crucial Fact

  • Her favourite word was autism.

Last in Parliament October 2015, as Independent MP for Verchères—Les Patriotes (Québec)

Won her last election, in 2011, with 43% of the vote.

Statements in the House

Restoring Mail Delivery for Canadians Act June 24th, 2011

Mr. Speaker, I thank my hon. colleague for her question.

Indeed, workers at Canada Post were carrying out rotating strikes. As most municipalities continued to received mail, the economy was moving forward. We now have a lockout. Mail is no longer being delivered. Small and medium-sized businesses cannot send bills or receive cheques, which is not right.

Restoring Mail Delivery for Canadians Act June 24th, 2011

Mr. Speaker, we are working on that and should be able to come back to you on that shortly.

Restoring Mail Delivery for Canadians Act June 24th, 2011

Mr. Speaker, I want to thank the hon. member for her question, even though I do not really see a question in what she just said.

I would simply like to reiterate what I said earlier. Workers have the right to strike. A lockout is something that is imposed and that is what is hurting Canada's economy. It was not the strike, since the workers were on a rotating strike that allowed the public to continue to receive mail.

Today, because of the lockout, people can no longer receive their mail.

Restoring Mail Delivery for Canadians Act June 24th, 2011

Mr. Speaker, first, I would like to take a moment to address a short message to my constituents in the riding of Verchères—Les Patriotes. I know that I was expected to attend the festivities on the occasion of our national holiday but, unfortunately, I am not going to be able to be with my fellow citizens.

However, I want to say that I am with them in spirit. I am here today to protect not only the interests of Canada Post workers, but the interests of all Canadians and all workers. I do feel strongly about what is going on, and it is my duty to be in this House with all my colleagues to stand up for Canadian workers and families.

Like many of my colleagues, I keep receiving emails and calls in support of workers and of the NDP stand. Despite the fact that, with this lockout, Canadians are being held hostage by the government, people are still prepared to defend the rights and the benefits for which their parents and grandparents fought.

By targeting workers and families, this government seems not to know that social justice is now an indisputable gain that we will defend to the very end. So, I salute the courage of our 55,000 fellow citizens and I invite them to keep fighting for their universal rights, which the government is trying to trample. The fight of postal workers is also the fight of all Canadians. I wonder what message the Conservative government is trying to send to Canadians with this legislation.

Following the May 2 general election, this government promised to govern for all Canadians. However, it has already deprived Canadians of a service as essential as mail delivery for ideological reasons and to show management that it can be even harsher with the employees.

As Nancy Snow put it: “The government should spend less time promoting itself and distracting the public's attention, and spend more time serving and protecting its fellow citizens”.

It is also important to point out that the government is trying to discredit postal workers by claiming that this is a strike. In fact, what we have here is a plot, a lockout imposed by the employer, despite all the attempts made by the unions to get workers back on the job and to restart negotiations.

The government has to show responsibility and stop intervening in this dispute. It has to acknowledge that workers have the right to negotiate with their employer as equals.

I would also like to share a story about Richard, a 54-year old Canadian who has been providing his employer with good and loyal service for almost 30 years. Richard gets up every morning and delivers letters and packages in good weather and bad. Richard loves his work and over all these years he has developed special ties with all the people in his neighbourhood. He is the one who delivers long awaited cheques, letters that sometimes come from the other side of the world, or even packages. Richard always takes the time to say hello or smile at people, or offer a few words of comfort to those who receive bad news. His work is his life and he puts his heart and soul into it.

Today, Richard is not happy about the current situation and that of his colleagues. Richard has always been a good employee and he is wondering why his employer is trying to trample his rights. Richard is thinking of himself, but mostly of his son who, following in his father's footsteps, has also been delivering letters and packages for four years now. What future is being offered to his son? One in which he will have to wait much longer to retire? One in which he will not have enough pension benefits to allow his family to live in dignity?

He thinks about it and believes that his union has acted very responsibly. It offered to end the strike if Canada Post agreed to maintain the former contract during the negotiations. Canada Post refused and decided to lock out the employees and stop the mail service.

This decision is the only reason why Canadians are no longer receiving their mail. It is important to remember that Canada Post employees have been locked out by their employer and are not on strike. Workers have the right to negotiate in good faith with their employer and that right is currently being denied.

The government interfered and decided to impose an employment contract on the employees of Canada Post. This contract is simply unfair. Not only does it not meet the demands of the employees, but it also provides for wages that are lower than what was offered by the employer. What kind of world are we living in? It is not the role nor the responsibility of government to impose such contracts. What the government is proposing is, quite simply, unilateral and irresponsible legislation. It violates workers' rights. The government's actions do not enable the two parties to properly negotiate an agreement.

The government must not interfere in this dispute or in any other similar dispute. This debate is not just about resolving the issue at Canada Post; it is about the right of workers to negotiate. Canadians fought too long to create a fair and equitable work environment. They fought with all their might for fair wages and suitable benefits to help them meet their families' needs.

These employees are being locked out and are being forced into a contract that would take back the gains they fought hard for. This would set us back years and creates a dangerous precedent.

I would like to remind the members opposite that instead of deceiving Canadians, insulting their intelligence and violating their right to have accurate information by talking about a strike, they should be talking about a lockout.

The government interfered between the union and Canada Post, claiming that the postal employees, by no longer working, were jeopardizing the Canadian economy. But I want to remind the members opposite that the employees of Canada Post want to return to work and serve the public as they have always done.

On June 3, Canada Post workers started a rotating strike. This shows their willingness to continue their job. This strike movement was just a way for them to fight for better job security and fair wages.

They refuse to be the victims of tactics to unfairly take back their money. They refuse to allow their rights, and also the rights of employees of any large employer associated with the government, to be subject to this abuse in the future and have to suffer the consequences.

Today's debate is not only about postal workers' rights, but rather about the interests of all Canadian workers. What will become of their rights? What message is the government sending to the heads of Canada's large corporations? It seems to be saying, “Do not worry, my friends; do as you please; impose whatever conditions you like on your employees; hire other employees for lower wages; do whatever you like and do not worry for a moment about the consequences. The government is here to support you and protect your interests, and not those of your employees. Whatever happens, we will legislate in your favour and we can even cancel your previous agreements and lower your employees' wages”.

Things should not have happened this way. The government had several options to get out of this crisis. I will not bother listing all of them, since my colleagues have already talked about some of them, but I would like to mention one such option: lift the lockout to allow Canada Post employees to return to work, and above all, to resume negotiations.

The postal workers have said this on many occasions: they want to get back to work. By lifting the lockout, Canada Post could give its employees the opportunity to go back on strike, yes, but more importantly, to get back to work and start delivering the mail. Negotiations between the two parties could resume, with the wishes of both sides being respected, and perhaps an agreement could then be reached.

This could all be done without hurting the Canadian economy, without violating the rights of citizens and SMEs, which, let us face it, have suffered from this lockout. Indeed, while they were still able to enjoy Canada Post services during the rotating strikes, that was not the case during the lockout. Whose fault is that?

We are all victims of this lockout. Our seniors are no longer receiving their cheques. Small businesses can no longer send their invoices. And although we are in the digital age and many services can be carried out online, Canada Post nevertheless remains a vital service to all Canadians. Our duty is to stand up for the people who deliver this essential service. The government is imposing restraint measures by directly attacking the rights of citizens to have a decent income and pension plan.

Collective agreements are used to get what workers deserve, to support families and help them pay their bills, work in a safe environment and retire in dignity. That is precisely what we are fighting for today, but the government does not seem to understand that or it is simply turning a deaf ear. The government is supposed to protect workers' rights, not legislate against them.

We are here today, on June 24, on Quebec's national holiday, trying to come up with a solution. The fate of our constituents is in our hands and we will not abandon them. We will fight day and night to defend their rights. As our leader says, we are prepared to work together day and night to restore workers' rights.

The Budget June 13th, 2011

Mr. Speaker, I would first like to thank my supporters, the people of Verchères—Les Patriotes who, on May 2, expressed their will to have me represent them in the House.

I humbly accept this mandate and commit to serving them and to protecting their interests throughout my time here.

I would also like to thank my family, my friends and my husband for their daily support.

I also want to say that I am proud to be the first Tunisian woman to sit as a member of the Canadian Parliament.

On Monday the government presented its budget and there were certain positive aspects to it.

However, what is the government doing to help young graduates who are starting their professional lives with an average student debt of $25,000? Or to help families that have a huge debt load and are being crushed by astronomical credit card interest rates? Or to help the 5 million Canadians who still do not have a family doctor and have to go to emergency? What is the government doing to meet the real needs of Canadians?

By granting subsidies to the country's privileged, the government has made its priorities clear. And those priorities are unacceptable.