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Crucial Fact

  • Her favourite word was quebec.

Last in Parliament October 2019, as Conservative MP for Beauport—Côte-de-Beaupré—Île d’Orléans—Charlevoix (Québec)

Lost her last election, in 2019, with 30% of the vote.

Statements in the House

Official Languages March 2nd, 2007

Mr. Speaker, the Commissioner of Official Languages agrees with us that the previous government's comprehensive approach failed. After 13 years of the previous government's inaction, the commissioner is expecting results and this government will deliver. We believe in linguistic duality and we are working toward that goal.

Official Languages March 2nd, 2007

Mr. Speaker, the member for Honoré-Mercier certainly does not deserve a medal for what he said yesterday in this House about Vancouver 2010.

He mentioned the report on the place of French in the 2010 Vancouver Olympic Games. Let us be clear: our government is studying the recommendations in the report from the Standing Senate Committee on Official Languages tabled this week. There is no doubt about it. Concrete action was taken well before this report was tabled.

Our government and the Olympic Games organizing committee are committed to fully integrating both official languages in the planning and running of the 2010 Olympic Games.

The Minister for la Francophonie and Official Languages has shown leadership by asking Fondation Dialogue and the Fédération des francophones de la Colombie-Britannique to produce a national action plan on the contribution Canada's francophone community can make to the success of the 2010 Vancouver games.

We have taken action, and we will continue to take action. We will keep our promise.

Business of Supply March 1st, 2007

Mr. Speaker, in response to my colleague from the Bloc, I would remind him that as recently as last June 29, the national defence critic for the Bloc said that the purchase of four heavy lift aircraft was a waste of $5 billion.

Now, he wants the benefits of these military purchases that the Bloc members are not interested in anyway. Could the member explain to me then why the Bloc is saying that we are not doing anything on this side of the House? We are doing everything for Quebec and for Canada, to ensure fairness throughout the country, because we are defending Quebec in a united Canada.

Business of Supply March 1st, 2007

Mr. Speaker, I thank my friend from the Bloc.

Contrary to the Bloc, the Conservatives recognize the existence of a wide aerospace market. It always makes me smile when members from the Bloc hold forth and get all worked up, when they are the first to protest against any military spending. You do not want any. Maybe you should read your own party stand on military spending before criticizing a government which Quebeckers are proud to be part of. We are in power to make decisions, something that you will never be able to do.

Business of Supply March 1st, 2007

Mr. Speaker, I am pleased to take the floor today to discuss this motion by my colleagues.

The motion before us calls on the government to provide fair regional distribution of economic spinoffs for all future contracts.

I am pleased to give the House the assurance that the government intends to provide fair regional economic spinoffs for future contracts, just as it has been doing up to now. And I can say that with confidence because of the rigorous process through which all Canadian industrial spinoffs are developed and approved.

As you know, the government is deeply committed to asserting Canada’s place in the international community. In order to do so, it needs to purchase important defence equipment. In the next few years, we will spend billions of dollars buying helicopters, ships, trucks as well as strategic and tactical aircraft.

These capital expenditures have to follow a very specific procedure. First, the national defence department identifies military needs. When that is done, it informs Industry Canada and Public Works and Government Services Canada that it intends to purchase new equipment.

Industry Canada’s role, after that, is to establish the requirements that are necessary for Canada to benefit from industrial spinoffs under the industrial and regional benefits policy.

This policy provides the framework through which the government levers large defence procurements to generate sound domestic economic activity. We demand that, for each dollar the Government of Canada spends for defence procurements, one dollar be invested in Canadian economic activity. We cooperate with potential suppliers so that Canadians can benefit from sustainable spinoffs based on high quality technology.

The investments do not have to be directly related to the equipment being bought, but we expect they will be linked to a line of products of similar technology or research and development that will improve Canada’s innovative capacity. The government’s role is to make sure all regions in Canada can derive some benefits from these procurements.

Industry Canada works with regional development groups, among others, in order to get advice on expertise and participation in outreach activities in the regions with the industry. We encourage the main contractors to engage in such activities in Canada as a whole, by travelling throughout the country to meet with potential Canadian partners and suppliers.

The final acquisition documents that Public Works and Government Services Canada will make public contain directives intended for potential bidders on the industrial benefit requirements.

When it gets the bids, the government does a three-part evaluation: a technical evaluation done by DND; a financial evaluation done by PWGSC; and an evaluation of industrial benefits done by Industry Canada in collaboration with regional development agencies.

Once the evaluation is completed, the government announces the name of the supplier that was chosen and starts negotiating the final general conditions of the contract. Industry Canada takes part in the negotiations and focuses on the main contractor's industrial benefits plan.

Furthermore, as I have already indicated, Industry Canada officials work closely with regional development agencies. They work directly with Canadian businesses across the country in order to point out existing opportunities and help businesses seeking contracts, in order to emphasize the importance of Canada-wide involvement and highlight the capabilities of these businesses.

The government encourages contractors to establish partnerships that make good market sense because that is how we can help create business relationships which will last long after the benefit requirements have been met. We also evaluate carefully the transactions being considered as benefits. These transactions must meet three criteria for Industry Canada to judge them satisfactory.

First, the work must be associated with the procurement program. Second, the work must be done during the period specified in the contract. Third, the work can be based on existing business relations but only the new work counts towards meeting the conditions.

Our government has tried to improve the spinoff process to integrate it more harmoniously into all procurement programs. In the case of aerospace projects, we now insist not only that the Canadian spinoffs have high value and be in high technology, but we require that at least 30% be in the nine key technologies. That ensures that our industry is getting the maximum benefits from our procurements, now and in the future.

Canadian benefits are a serious contract obligation and Industry Canada requires annual reports, audits and performance guarantees. Every year, contractors must report on what they have done in that regard. Financial penalties can even be imposed in case of non-compliance, but we have never so far had to impose such penalties.

In general, the procurement process is the result of the collective efforts of a number of departments. Industry Canada takes an active part in the process to ensure that aerospace and defence industries are getting the best possible benefits from the procurements.

Our position on defence procurements is clear. All regions of Canada can benefit from the spinoffs. All Canadian aerospace and defence companies have the necessary skills, expertise and capability to act.

We have been working with contractors from the aerospace industry to get the maximum benefits from opportunities in the area. And we will continue to do so.

Our wise strategic approach will allow us to establish lasting long-term trade partnerships that will benefit Canadian businesses and the contractors with which they work.

As can be seen, our government's approach to spinoffs is based on the firm confidence we have in the strengths and the capacity of our aerospace and defence industries. Our approach is fair for all regions of Canada. We will use the same approach in future procurement programs.

February 28th, 2007

Mr. Speaker, I would like to remind the House that, unlike the political party to which the hon. member for Gatineau belongs, we and the other members on this side of the House voted to support Bill S-3, regarding official languages. As a result, we will not be taking any lessons from the Bloc Québécois. We are going to work to ensure that linguistic duality is just as strong in the Canadian armed forces as it is in other federal institutions.

February 28th, 2007

Mr. Speaker, I am pleased to be able to respond today to the hon. member for Gatineau because yesterday, in the Standing Committee on Official Languages, the hon. member had the opportunity to put questions to the Minister for la Francophonie and Official Languages and the Minister of National Defence.

I would like to quote what he said at the end of his comments, “I was being long winded. There is no question in everything I just said, but you can respond to my comments—”. Once again, the Bloc says a lot, but it will never be able to do anything.

Rest assured that the Department of National Defence and the Canadian Forces recognize the importance of our official languages.

Recently, the Office of the Commissioner of Official Languages conducted two investigations. In her findings, the commissioner made 13 recommendations to the Canadian Forces for improving respect for the legislation. The new Canadian Forces official languages transformation model is the response to the 10th recommendation. The official languages transformation model marks the arrival of a brand new approach to managing official languages. The previous approach failed. Our new approach will help resolve past problems and will be more realistic. This new plan will strengthen respect for the Official Languages Act by the Canadian Forces and it will better take into account the unique nature of the organization and the needs of the Canadian Forces, and this is how.

The model describes three specific objectives guiding the overall vision: ensure that linguistically qualified civilian and military personnel are provided in the right place and at the right time to effectively support Canadian Forces operations and to comply with the Official Languages Act; put in place an enhanced official languages awareness and education program that will ensure that civilian and military employees are fully cognizant of their linguistic rights and obligations; establish a performance measurement system that will accurately monitor the ability of Canadian Forces civilian and military personnel to consistently provide bilingual leadership, instruction and services, when and where required by the Act.

The model will focus on senior military officers. Senior officers will continue to have priority access to second language training.

I want to emphasize this because of the erroneous perception articulated by the member for Gatineau that bilingualism is not a condition of service for senior officers. At least 70% of newly promoted colonels and captains must achieve the highest level of linguistic ability during the year following their promotion.

The model requires all senior officers serving in bilingual regions or positions to achieve a superior level of language ability. The scale is the same as for the public service. It is therefore false to suggest that with this model, we are abandoning our obligations.

The Canadian Forces are committed to offering second language training to military personnel who need it to fulfill their duties well. The Canadian Forces will focus their resources on offering an appropriate level of second language training to individuals who require it to improve overall compliance with the act. The act does not require all federal employees to be bilingual.

Business of Supply February 20th, 2007

Mr. Speaker, I am pleased to have this opportunity to respond to the motion presented by the hon. member for Sault Ste. Marie, that a national anti-poverty strategy be implemented.

I can assure each of the members of this House that the welfare of all Canadians is a fundamental concern of Canada's new government. We are taking measures on numerous fronts to make real improvements in the lives of our most vulnerable citizens.

It is an honour for me to mention a few of the programs and a few of the measures that we have recently implemented to help the entire population of Canada to participate fully in our economy and our society. It is through these programs that Canada's new government extends a hand to the most vulnerable Canadians, to enable them to achieve their objectives of economic security, health, self-respect and autonomy.

On February 16, for example, the Minister of Human Resources and Social Development, together with Claude Richmond, the British Columbia minister, announced a $223 million investment to help Canadians with disabilities acquire skills that will enable them to find meaningful, long-term employment.

These investments extend the labour market agreements for persons with disabilities in the provinces until March 31, 2008. The Government of Canada is working with the provinces, through these agreements, to help people with disabilities overcome barriers and become active participants in the labour market and to provide them with the recognition they deserve.

I would also like to mention another project, funded under the new adult learning, literacy and essential skills program of Human Resources and Social Development Canada, which is designed specifically to help people with visual disabilities to improve their reading ability. Under this project, our government is paying about $192,000 to improve the development of literacy programs and access to literacy programs for people who use Braille, by providing for the smooth transition from current Braille codes to the new codes. This project will contribute to reducing the barriers faced by people in our society who are blind or visually impaired.

Canada's new government is determined to improve literacy levels and ensure that federal funds are used to support projects and activities that offer concrete assistance for people who want to improve their ability to read and write. Provinces, territories, municipalities, employers, non-governmental organizations and families all have important roles to play in supporting literacy efforts.

With a budget of $81 million over two years—2006-2007 and 2007-2008—HRSDC's adult learning, literacy and essential skills program will support adult learning and literacy activities that will have a tangible and lasting impact on learners.

We are inviting literacy groups and community organizations to submit proposals for innovative, results-based strategies that can make a difference in people's lives.

Together, we can achieve great things and lay the groundwork for future partnerships and investments that will enable us to meet the challenges we face in our communities in relation to literacy.

As the House knows, some of the most vulnerable Canadians are aboriginal people. Our government has recently invested nearly $8 million in the James Bay employment and training program, part of the aboriginal skills and employment partnership program, to help aboriginal people acquire the skills they need to work in the mining industry. We have also invested more than $4.5 million to help to raise the number of aboriginal Canadians in the trades in Alberta so that they can secure long-term employment.

Our government also recently launched an important new strategy to address homelessness. The new homelessness partnering strategy, in which we will invest $270 million over two years, aims to develop strong partnerships with the provinces and territories, all departments and federal organizations that play a role in addressing homelessness, as well as with municipalities and community groups.

These partnerships will allow us to really help vulnerable Canadians get off the street and find housing.

The second part of our new strategy with respect to housing involves a $256 million investment for a two year extension of Canada Mortgage and Housing Corporation's renovation programs for low income households.

I would also like to remind the House that the 2006 budget included a $1.4 billion investment to help citizens find safe, adequate and affordable housing through the creation of trust funds for the provinces and territories.

Furthermore, thanks to this affordable housing initiative, we are creating affordable housing in cooperation with our provincial and territorial partners.

As a final point, I would like to highlight some of the ways in which our government is helping the most vulnerable of our youth and seniors.

All families, including low-income families, receive $100 a month, totalling $1,200 a year, for every child under six thanks to the universal child care benefit program. In total, we are paying Canadian families $2.5 billion annually through this new program.

Furthermore, through the Canada child tax benefit, which includes the national child benefit supplement, we contribute $9.2 billion in additional funds to low- and middle-income families with children every year. For example, a low-income family with two children can receive up to $6,175 per year to help raise those children.

I would add that Canada's new government has proposed creating a working income tax benefit, which will fulfill its commitment to work with the provinces and territories to tear down the welfare wall and make working attractive to low- and middle-income Canadians.

Thanks to the Canada pension plan, old age security and the guaranteed income supplement, the poverty rate among older people has plummeted from 21% in 1980 to less than 6% in 2004, the lowest rate ever recorded.

We reached out to older people by creating the new secretary of state for seniors. We are also working on setting up a national seniors council to study the challenges and opportunities presented by Canada's aging population.

Clearly, our government is working for vulnerable segments of the Canadian population. We are working to ensure their economic security and their well-being, and to enable them to reach their personal goals as full participants in our economy and society. This commitment is an integral part of our ongoing work to build a strong, humane country.

This is why our government will not support the motion introduced by the hon. member for Sault Ste. Marie.

February 19th, 2007

Mr. Speaker, I explained that earlier to my friend from Acadie—Bathurst, but I would like to ask him a question.

Why does the NDP not want to work with us to support our country's growing linguistic duality and to unconditionally support our Canadian soldiers and officers? We are talking, but we are also taking action. We are taking action by putting in place a firm structure in order to work with all francophones and all anglophones. We have to target where the needs are and still comply with the Official Languages Act.

February 19th, 2007

Mr. Speaker, first, I would like to reiterate that the government has an unwavering commitment to the official languages in all federal institutions. We are taking steps to honour that commitment.

I want to reassure this House that the Department of National Defence and the Canadian Forces recognize the importance of the official languages and that the official languages program transformation model is designed to improve performance in this regard.

We all know that the previous government had an abysmal record on this issue, and I would like to point out that, in less than a year, the new Minister of National Defence has introduced a new approach that will produce tangible results.

The Commissioner of Official Languages says that the former one-size-fits-all approach did not produce the desired results. That is true, and it was a Liberal failure. Our approach will give real results. In fact, the former Commissioner of Official Languages conducted two major investigations, one into the impact of language on the recruitment, appointment and transfer of unilingual personnel to bilingual positions within the Canadian Forces, and another into language of work at National Defence headquarters.

Her investigations led her to conclude that the Canadian armed forces did not fully respect the Official Languages Act. She therefore made 13 recommendations designed to improve respect for the Act by the Canadian Forces.

The new official languages program transformation model for the Canadian armed forces is a response these recommendations. The former commissioner indicated that she was encouraged by the fact that the new plan addressed most of the recommendations in her report. She also recognized the positive role that this new model may play in improving the use of official languages in the Canadian armed forces.

The transformation model establishes a strategic vision for the Canadian armed forces with respect to official languages. It guarantees that members of the Canadian armed forces will be supervised, trained, managed and supported in the official language of their choice, pursuant to the Official Languages Act. The new plan improves compliance of the Canadian armed forces with the Official Languages Act and takes into account, to a greater extent, the particular needs of the Canadian armed forces.

The model describes three specific objectives guiding the overall vision: ensure that linguistically qualified civilian and military personnel are provided in the right place and at the right time to effectively support Canadian Forces operations and to comply with the Official Languages Act; put in place an enhanced official languages awareness and education program that will ensure that civilian and military employees are fully cognizant of their linguistic rights and obligations; establish a performance measurement system that will accurately monitor the ability of Canadian Forces civilian and military personnel to consistently provide bilingual instruction, services and leadership, when and where required by the act.

The implementation of these objectives will provide a new approach that is more targeted and equitable and that takes into account the particular structure of the Canadian Forces.

The Canadian Forces manage their staff by unit and not by position, and every unit functions as a team. This new approach will allow each unit to provide services and supervise and instruct its members in the official language of their choice, pursuant to the Official Languages Act.

I can assure hon. members that nothing is stopping francophone members of the Canadian Forces from progressing up the ranks. In fact, they are well represented in the Canadian Forces. Let us be clear. In 2005-06, the percentage of francophones in the Canadian Forces exceeded the percentage of francophones in Canada. More than—