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View Andréanne Larouche Profile
View Andréanne Larouche Profile
2019-12-13 13:33 [p.417]
Mr. Speaker, I will be sharing my time with my colleague from Rimouski-Neigette—Témiscouata—Les Basques.
Now that I have more time than I did on the first few occasions I rose in the House, I would like to express my sincere gratitude to voters in my magnificent riding, Shefford, for putting their trust in me on October 21. I am deeply humbled to accept my new role as a member of Parliament.
I will work very hard and look for opportunities to collaborate so that I can properly represent the people of my riding, whose entrepreneurial spirit is strong. My riding has lakes, rivers and mountains that we want to protect and a unique agrifood industry.
I would also like to thank some people, because nobody runs an election campaign alone. I am a proper Quebecker and a hockey fan, so I see the similarities between a campaign and a game, and everyone knows I am by no means a puck hog.
I would like to thank the people on my offensive line: my campaign director, Carole Ducharme; my communications director, Marthe Lapierre; my official agent, François Paré; my adviser, Maxime Leclerc; and my scheduling officer, Estelle Côté. I would also like to thank all my other volunteers and supporters.
I also want to thank the members of my defence team. I thank my family, who has always been there for me: my father, André, my mother, Rachel, my sister, Catherine, my brothers, Samuel and Vincent, my father's spouse, Carole, and my mother's spouse, François. They were sometimes called upon to assist my offensive team. They even put up some of my election signs.
I also want to thank the people who helped me keep my cool and stay grounded. When my niece Leia would jump into my arms, when my nephew Tyler would give me a smile or when my godchild Thomas would greet me, I was reminded that they are the reason I am in politics. I want to give them a better future. I did not get into politics to have a career. I got into politics out of conviction.
I also want to thank my goalie, my spouse, Richard Leclerc, who was prepared to stop everything. He supported me non-stop. Behind every great woman is a great man. He made a number of key saves to help me win the game. He was the difference-maker.
Now that I have been elected, I am fortunate to be part of the incredible Bloc Québécois team, composed of 32 members and all of our staff, and to have been appointed the Bloc Québécois critic for the status of women, gender equality and seniors. Those issues are particularly important to me, as I had the opportunity to work in those fields in recent years in various community organizations. I paid very close attention to the throne speech, looking to find commitments in those areas, but there was nothing to be found.
As for status of women, I support the government's willingness to work on tightening the rules around firearms, but words are not enough. The House has the ability to take real action. We can introduce stronger gun controls, especially for assault weapons and handguns. We can tighten border controls for firearms, to try and get them off the black market. We can ensure that buyers of firearms do not pose a threat to anyone's life.
We need to take action against daily violence against women, the slaps across the face and the horrible violence committed against women simply because they are women. We need to take action to remove the stigma and combat misogyny.
Therefore, I will be carefully monitoring the government's commitment to the gender-based violence strategy and to the development of a national action plan in concert with its partners. This should include help for mental health. I imagine that we will have the opportunity to talk about this again in committee.
With respect to seniors, we will have to ensure that there are not two classes of seniors and that pensions be increased starting at age 65. The spiral of poverty does not wait for an individual to turn 75, it all too often starts upon retirement. When I asked a question about this, the Minister of Seniors even said that it was an excellent idea.
Seniors, families and those living alone are also asking for more social housing. Monies should be transferred to Quebec with no strings attached. As protesters stated this week, having a decent roof over one's head should not have a price tag.
We also need to consider health transfers, which need to be increased to 5.2%. We know that health is the number one issue and it is no doubt our most precious asset. We will wish many people good health during the holiday season.
Seniors also want to be seen as a grey-haired source of strength, not as a burden. We therefore need to let them remain on the labour market, if they so desire, which would help alleviate the labour shortage. We therefore need to create tax incentives for people over the age of 65 and ensure that they are no longer penalized if they want to remain active and continue to contribute to our economy.
I come from a riding where there are many agricultural entrepreneurs and so I want to support them. That is why I believe that there should be no more breaches in supply management and that the system should be protected by legislation. I spent my childhood on a farm so I am all the more concerned about this sector, which just had such a hard year.
In closing, I can only hope for better representation in Parliament, which is currently only 29% women. We have still not achieved gender parity. We will need to look into that.
When it comes to defending Quebec's interests, I am not worried. My colleagues in the Bloc Québécois and I will keep standing up for Quebeckers. That is why I am disappointed that our party's subamendment was not adopted by all the opposition parties.
By way of a reminder, items found in the subamendment include: respecting provincial jurisdiction, in particular by not authorizing any project that does not comply with provincial and Quebec laws relating to environmental protection and land use planning; underfunding of the health care system, which requires an increase in transfers; an unprecedented crisis facing media and creators, who must be supported through the imposition of royalties on web giants; and loopholes in the supply management system that must be protected by legislation. We will be back at it in 2020. We will not give up fighting for Quebeckers.
In a few minutes we will be leaving the House for the holidays. I wish everyone some quiet time with their loved ones. As we see it, the challenges of this minority government are great, and we must all get to work as quickly as possible. I will remember those who voted for me, my cherished constituents.
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