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  • 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

Government Spending October 17th, 2018

Mr. Speaker, as always, I am honoured to participate in the adjournment debate. I know that close to 2.2 million people are tuning in tonight.

Before the G7 summit began, I asked questions about what was going to happen, because the people of Beauport—Côte-de-Beaupré—Île d'Orléans—Charlevoix were calling me for information. The G7 summit took place, and we could say that Charlevoix will go down in history for two reasons: the security and the photos.

First, security was so tight that some of our businesses are still having trouble staying afloat. Second, the summit resulted in some great photos. Obviously, we all know that the Prime Minister loves posing for photos. Honestly, it put Charlevoix on the map.

Some businesses in my riding did manage to benefit from the G7 summit. In particular, I am thinking of Manoir Charlevoix and Bistro Chez Truchon, which hosted the Prime Minister's family and his royal guests.

Baie-Saint-Paul is located about 30 minutes from La Malbaie. Security was so tight that tourists could not visit Charlevoix.

Restaurant owners were upset because their revenue was way down. The acts of vandalism everyone expected never happened, but even so, a number of Quebec City businesses experienced major financial losses during the G7 summit. The authorities expected demonstrations, so streets downtown and in Baie-Saint-Paul were deserted.

Business owners in Baie-Saint-Paul are now looking for compensation, and they are threatening to sue Ottawa. I told them they could not do it alone and should get together to tally their losses. I will always stand by the people of Charlevoix. I congratulate those who struck gold at the G7 summit, but I also speak on behalf of those who got nothing, so I will fight for them.

What is the status of compensation for the G7 summit?

Canada Labour Code October 16th, 2018

Madam Speaker, I thank my colleague for the question. I have to say that no one, not a minister, prime minister or member, should abuse their position and harm a person's reputation, victimize a person, or touch or assault a person.

We are only human, but whether we are talking about a prime minister, a minister or a member, it is unacceptable, and no one should ever abuse their position to do this type of thing.

Canada Labour Code October 16th, 2018

Madam Speaker, I thank my colleague for his question. As my colleagues know, and as I said in my preamble, we have to set an example for the rest of the country. Our legislation must not be inferior to provincial legislation, which provides for a three-year limitation period. Our legislation calls for a one-year limitation period. That is why I am asking that the limitation period be changed to three years, so that we can lead the way on this type of legislation. This is a first. It has never been done before. It is likely that 10, 15 or 20 years ago, no one would have thought that this could have such a significant impact on victims of abuse.

Today I am voting in favour of Bill C-65 and hoping that the government understands that parliamentarians do not have to be partisan and that we must become leaders on this type of bill.

Canada Labour Code October 16th, 2018

Mr. Speaker, I am pleased to rise today to speak to Bill C-65. I will be sharing my time with the member for Battlefords—Lloydminster.

Yesterday marked the first anniversary of the #MeToo movement. Obviously, we still have a long way to go before we can say mission accomplished and that women are adequately protected, represented, heard, respected and defended in their workplaces and elsewhere. I say “women”, but of course I also mean the LGBTQ+ community and anyone who is harassed. In an ideal world, no one would be harassed in the workplace.

Bill C-65 applies specifically to federal workplaces. Despite the underlying good intentions of Bill C-65, which seeks to ensure that all federally regulated workplaces, including Parliament Hill, are free of harassment and sexual violence, it still has some important weak spots that will be detrimental to victims of workplace harassment.

Canada's Conservatives believe that all forms of harassment, sexual violence and discrimination are unacceptable, that all employees deserve respect and that these employees must feel safe at work. We also believe that it should be easier to report. Reporting a perpetrator is the first step in helping a harassment victim move forward and heal from a traumatic event that too often scars victims for life.

I obviously support this bill, but it is my duty to ensure that it achieves its objectives. Unfortunately, Bill C-65 does not work in favour of victims reporting harassment in the workplace. The bill is actually quite restrictive in this sense. Bill C-65 stipulates that victims must report harassment or violence in the workplace within one year after the abuse. It is inconceivable that the time frame set by the Liberal government is shorter than that of the provinces' for the same type of abuse, which is three years.

First and foremost, the government should be a national role model and set the example in protecting and respecting victims of harassment and violence in the workplace. It should not trail behind. It is completely unacceptable and inhumane to set a one-year time frame for filing a complaint, and this simply contributes to revictimizing a person after a traumatic event.

Many advocates for victims of harassment, health professionals and victims themselves have proven many times that one single year is too short a period to decide to report, and more often than not, this deadline adds to the victims' stress. Victims of harassment are usually in subordinate positions to their abusers.

Everyone in the House knows that our employees' positions are not protected, that they can be relieved of their duties on the spot, without cause or notice. That alone makes it extremely difficult for an employee to file a complaint. For one thing, to complain is to automatically risk one's job, and for another, such employees are already vulnerable on top of being traumatized by assault.

Bill C-65 gives victims one year to file a complaint, but that limitation actually discourages them from filing a complaint. One thing we know from years' worth of victims' accounts of workplace harassment and violence is that they continue to feel vulnerable during that first year after the assault. They may suffer from major health problems. It is often difficult for them to cope with what happened and confront their aggressor, to ask for and get the help they need to function from day to day so as to keep their jobs and not compromise their career prospects, and to fulfill their professional and personal obligations.

We have all heard victims of harassment tell their stories. I know some victims. Having heard their stories, how can we do anything but speak out against the one-year limitation period that makes the reporting process harder for them? Failing to speak out against it would exacerbate the problem. I absolutely cannot turn a blind eye to this.

Consequently, there must be a reasonable time frame for filing a harassment complaint, so that victims are completely protected by Bill C-65. This is not about passing a bill to ease our conscience and to say that Parliament now has a bill that protects its employees against all forms of harassment and violence in the workplace. This is about doing things right the first time, and above all, it is about not making an already trying situation even worse for victims. It is about considering victims, their well-being and their needs first before passing a bill that could obviously do them more harm than good in some respects. This bill needs to be more than symbolic. It needs to have positive effects for victims.

Since this bill also affects former employees of the House, a limitation period of at least three years to file a complaint is the minimum period that is acceptable to victims. That should also be the minimum period for filing a complaint for those who are still employees of the House.

What is more, in order to facilitate the reporting process, respect the well-being of the victim and protect the victim's job, we need to avoid imposing a limitation period on victims while they are still employees. That is a necessary change because Bill C-65 also includes the possibility of having to participate in mediation but does not contain any legislative measures to ensure that the complainant's job is protected. That is yet another thing that puts further unnecessary stress on victims.

Despite all of the movements and measures encouraging victims of harassment to report their abusers, speaking out is still a tough decision. It is our responsibility to facilitate that process as much as possible.

I will vote in favour of this bill, but I hope that the one-year limitation period will be increased. A three-year period would give victims some breathing room and alleviate unnecessary stress.

International Trade October 16th, 2018

Mr. Speaker, the Liberal government continues to defend the indefensible by repeating that the agreement signed with Mexico and the United States is a good agreement for our country when that is clearly not the case.

As a member from Quebec, I believe the Liberal government failed in its duty, which was to negotiate the elimination of the surtaxes on steel and aluminum. As a result, our Canadian products will remain less competitive than those of the American industries.

It is completely unacceptable that the government signed this agreement when President Trump only imposed those surtaxes on our products to force Canada to open negotiations on milk. The Liberal government agreed to open those negotiations without imposing any conditions, and thus agreed to allow the United States to maintain its surtaxes on steel and aluminum. In my opinion, this agreement demonstrates the Liberals' incompetence—

Sikh Heritage Month Act October 4th, 2018

Mr. Speaker, I am pleased to take part in the discussion on Bill C-376, an act to designate the month of April as Sikh heritage month.

I want to begin by acknowledging my Sikh colleagues on both sides of the House who share their culture with us day after day. I am a French Canadian from the greater Charlevoix region. In my region, there are very few members of the Sikh community. However, working with them reflects what it means to live in Canada surrounded by other communities.

I was very surprised to learn that more than 500,000 Sikhs live in Canada and that they are the second largest Sikh community in the world. I wanted to point that out because we work alongside them every day. There are Sikh colleagues across the way as well, which means we also fight against them. However, it is not the Sikh community that we take issue with, it is the Liberals. It is important to make that distinction. I appreciate my colleague sitting to my right. I cannot name him, but he is Sikh as well.

I am very pleased to share this moment with them. Seeing all the different faces that live in Canada, living alongside them and learning to get to know them is how we open ourselves to the world. For Canadians, it is very important to be open to the rest of the world. That is one of our fundamental values. Canada is a very welcoming country, and we want it to stay that way. I will not say any more, for I am getting off track.

I fully support designating the month of April as Sikh heritage month. I hope that, every year, when we celebrate Sikh heritage month, they will share with us their culture and what makes them unique. Everyone knows that French Canadians from the Quebec City area eat poutine. I would love for Sikhs to share their cuisine and their music with us so that we can learn to know who they are.

As I said, I am not from one of Quebec's urban centres, so I had little opportunity to interact with Sikhs. Learning about their culture and lifestyle is a new experience for me. Their religion is not the same as mine. We believe in different gods, but we are not different. What makes each one of us different is our lived experience, our history and our culture.

I think this is an excellent bill because I believe it reveals another aspect of who we are as Canadians. We are Canadian, and Sikhs are Canadian. They are members of the Sikh community. I am a member of the French-Canadian community. I am a woman. The Sikh MPs who are here right now are men, but there are Sikh women parliamentarians, too.

Today, we are talking to one another in a spirit of friendship. We are learning about one another in a spirit of friendship. This is the kind of legislation that helps us be open to the world and gain a better understanding of where people come from. What I would also like them to do, when we get to celebrate Sikh heritage month, is tell us about their heritage and about their own culture, which is different than mine. I would like to learn about some of their musicians and discover what kind of music they listen to. These are the types of exchanges we should have because I want to discover this community.

I have a friend in this place and I know a little about him. By working together, we will end up understanding one another. Often, we are afraid of differences because we do not understand them and we do not want to learn more, and so, I would like to acknowledge the Sikhs who work here, who are elected officials. I thank them for being part of our daily lives.

Justice October 4th, 2018

Mr. Speaker, during question period yesterday, the Prime Minister asked us to listen to Tori Stafford's family. That is what we have been doing since this debate began.

We are listening to the family, and we are their voice in the House. Tori's father wants to see the criminal who heinously took his daughter's life back behind bars.

Why do the Liberals insist on defending the indefensible, when they should be defending and listening to the victims of this awful crime?

Justice October 4th, 2018

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

That is a fact. My daughter had a baby while in a common-law relationship and not married.

The bill needs to properly reflect the reality of Canadian couples. More and more couples in Quebec are living in common-law relationships, but that is not the case in every province. Some couples in Quebec do get married, but that is far less common than in other provinces.

We need to protect those children. Often they are not as well protected. The purpose of Bill C-78 is to protect children.

In my opinion, if we want to protect children, we also need to protect children born to parents in common-law relationships. They are children, they are Canadians, and we need to protect them.

Justice October 4th, 2018

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

A lot of numbers have been thrown around. I agree that people who owe payments must make them, but incentives are needed. Personally, I think Bill C-78 is a pretty good bill. However, it does have two points that contradict one another, and I wonder whether my colleague is aware of this.

Bill C-78 is really about children. It puts them first. However, Bill C-75 flies in the face of Bill C-78.

That bill proposes reducing sentences in cases of very serious crimes, such as kidnapping a child under the age of 16 and concealing the body of a child.

When proposing a bill pertaining to divorce, it is important to remember that, in some cases, parents commit serious acts of violence. That is a fact, and it happens everywhere. There was Dr. Turcotte's case in Quebec, for example.

How can we have both Bill C-78, which puts children first, and Bill C-75, which reduces sentences for people who use violence against those same children?

Justice October 4th, 2018

Mr. Speaker, let me begin by saying that I will be sharing my time with the hon. member for Barrie—Innisfil.

I have been divorced for 27 years and am the proud single mother of two daughters who are now 30 and 29. I know how outdated the Divorce Act is. No changes have been made to it in many years.

I am pleased to rise in the House today to speak to Bill C-78, which seeks to modernize divorce laws. The Conservative Party is and always will be the party that wants to improve every aspect of our justice system and do what we can to put those who might suffer first, adults and children alike, in an effort to improve their situation.

Bill C-78, which seeks to amend the Divorce Act, the Family Orders and Agreements Enforcement Assistance Act and the Garnishment, Attachment and Pension Diversion Act—this one deals with child support—and to make consequential amendments to another act, is very important.

As a member from Quebec, I know that the number of cases of separation and divorce has continued to climb in my province over the past 40 years, and it is essential that our laws be appropriately reformed in order not to make it more difficult for parents, who already must deal with significant disputes that are usually very emotional.

The reforms included in Bill C-78 would replace the terminology related to custody and access with terminology related to parenting, establish a non-exhaustive list of criteria with respect to the best interests of the child, create duties for parties and legal advisers to encourage the use of family dispute resolution processes, introduce measures to assist the courts in addressing family violence, establish a framework for the relocation of a child, and simplify certain processes, including those related to family support obligations.

When looking to improve a bill, it is essential that we have objectives. In this case, we must first and foremost promote the best interests of the child. We must reinforce and focus on the crucial principle of maintaining the best interests of the child as the absolute priority of family law when it comes to parental decisions. Unfortunately, all too often children are used as pawns in separations, causing them to suffer even more, often scarring them for life.

This bill must also help address family violence by requiring the courts to consider parental violence, the seriousness and impact of the violence on the child, and future parenting arrangements. At present these situations are treated separately in cases of separation before the court, which means that the issues are dealt with separately instead of at the same time.

This bill must provide more tools to help restore child support and enforce child support agreements in order to the help reduce child poverty. Currently, when the paying parent does not pay, the parents must once again clog up the justice system and its related services. Parents must return to court to address the violation. In the end, the children do not benefit from the money and courtrooms are overloaded. That is wrong.

If we want this bill to be successful, we must make Canada's family justice system more accessible and efficient. We must simplify the various definitions and processes, offer more flexibility to provincial child support recalculation services, alleviate the courts' workloads by allowing provincial administrative child support services to carry out some tasks for which the courts are currently responsible, and require that legal professionals encourage their clients to use means other than the courts to resolve disputes.

The Conservative Party is working and will always work in the interests of victims and their families, and we believe that, in cases of divorce, the Divorce Act should allow for shared custody or shared parenting responsibilities unless it is clearly demonstrated that this is not in the best interests of the child. Both parents and all grandparents should maintain close, meaningful relationships with their children and grandchildren—unless it is shown that this is not in the bests interests of the child, of course.

All of this will have financial implications. To expand unified family courts, the government is planning to spend $77.2 million over four years beginning in 2019-20, plus another $20 million per year to create 39 new judicial positions in Alberta, Ontario, Nova Scotia and Newfoundland and Labrador.

Federal family laws have not been updated significantly in 20 years. According to the 2016 census, there were over 2 million children whose parents were separated or divorced, which is a huge number. Between 1991 and 2011, 5 million Canadians separated or divorced, which is also a huge number. Of those 5 million people, 38% had a child with their ex-spouse at the time they separated or divorced. Some 1.16 million children of separated or divorced parents lived in single-parent households, and 1.2 million children lived with a step-parent.

Single-parent families, especially those headed by women, which was my case for a very long time, are more likely to be poor than two-parent families. That is so true. Studies have shown that child support is a key factor in lifting families out of poverty following separation or divorce.

It is hard for single mothers or single fathers—let us not forget about them—to feed their children properly if they are earning $12, $13, $14, or $15 an hour and not getting support payments. We know that young children need a lot of protein. As they grow they eat a lot. Apparently boys eat more than girls do. I have daughters only so I cannot speak to that, but we do have to take that into consideration. We have to focus on single-parent families, but we must put the child first in a bill such as this. The child's well-being is essential. We see more and more people ending up poor following a separation or divorce.

In budget 2018, the Liberals announced that they would work on expanding the unified family court program. They need to keep that promise and avoid playing politics with such sad, heart-wrenching, and pivotal cases that have an impact on a child or children, whether we are talking about separation or divorce.

That is why I support the intention and objectives of the bill to protect the best interests of the child and fight against family violence.