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Results: 1 - 15 of 240
View Nicole Demers Profile
BQ (QC)
View Nicole Demers Profile
2011-03-25 13:10 [p.9274]
Madam Speaker, I am pleased to be presenting a petition in support of seniors signed by 122 people. They are calling on the government for real improvements in the guaranteed income supplement, the spouse's allowance and the survivor's allowance.
View Nicole Demers Profile
BQ (QC)
View Nicole Demers Profile
2011-03-24 11:28 [p.9176]
Mr. Speaker, I am a little confused. Yesterday, when my colleague was on TV with the member for Lévis—Bellechasse, I thought I heard that a refundable tax credit would be issued to family caregivers.
Like my colleague from Kings—Hants, I know that it is unparliamentary to say in the House that a member lied. So I will not say that the member for Lévis—Bellechasse deliberately lied to the public when he appeared on television, but I would like my colleague to explain the difference between the claims that the member for Lévis—Bellechasse made and the reality for family caregivers, who are struggling and have no income.
View Nicole Demers Profile
BQ (QC)
View Nicole Demers Profile
2011-03-24 14:41 [p.9205]
Mr. Speaker, the government’s budget proves that the Conservatives deny the existence of and challenges faced by over half of the population. There is nothing in the budget to improve women’s lives. In recent years, as well, the Conservatives have cut the budget of Status of Women Canada, cut funding for a number of women’s rights groups and allowed pay equity, a fundamental right, to become negotiable.
Does the Prime Minister realize that his government’s indifference to the needs of women in Quebec may provoke an election?
View Nicole Demers Profile
BQ (QC)
View Nicole Demers Profile
2011-03-11 10:32 [p.8947]
Mr. Speaker, I am pleased to rise in the House to debate Bill C-55. As the daughter of a soldier who served for six years in the last world war, I completely agree with the demands of our soldiers who return from the front. Their needs must be taken into consideration. When soldiers are at the front, everyone sings their praises and speaks about them with great enthusiasm. Everyone says how important their work is and how various countries would never achieve freedom if they were not there.
When our soldiers, both male and female, are at the front—there are more and more women enlisting—they are always being praised. However, when they return, we thank those who went to war for their efforts and then often we forget about them. But, their injuries are not just physical injuries; often they are injuries to the soul. These injuries may not be apparent, at least not when the soldiers first return from combat. Sometimes it takes them a number of years to discover just how much they have been affected by combat and the atrocities they witnessed on the ground. They do not want to talk to anyone about it because soldiers do not want to be seen as weak. Female soldiers have also been taught to be strong in order to defend people in various troubled countries.
My mother married my father in 1949. He was returning from war, where he fought from 1939 to 1945. He was a scout throughout the entire war. He participated in the campaigns in Italy, Poland, England and Africa. He slept in the trenches for six years, eating monkey meat, as he called it. He did that for six years—not six or eight months—before returning to Quebec, resting and returning to the front lines six months later. For six years non-stop, he was on the front lines. When he returned in 1949, he suffered from chronic bronchitis. He was told that it was not a result of the war and he was refused a pension.
My mother fought from 1949 to 1987 to for my father to receive something. It took 38 years for my father to finally get recognition from his country for what he had done. After 38 years, still today, we see men and women fighting to be recognized for what they have done for their country. They are not recognized. Now, the government will give $1,000 a month to wounded soldiers who cannot work for the rest of their lives, but that $1,000 is taxable. Big deal.
They will receive their lump sum payments, even though we know very well that when people get a lot of money all at once they spend it. Life is expensive. Soldiers return home from the war and their families are affected because these soldiers have gone to and from Afghanistan or other theatres of war several times. They see the most terrible things, such as seeing their fellow soldiers killed in front of them or blown up by a bomb. And we think that those scars are not permanent? Psychological wounds may not look as frightening, but they are permanent. And they are not adequately taken into account.
The people who evaluate returning soldiers work for the government. But the government wants to pay out as little as possible. That has been the case for years. They are giving less to our military personnel who are coming back from combat. Are they worth less because they are coming back from combat and are older? Is that it? When they are in combat, they are taken care of and are paid well, but as soon as they come back, it is a different story.
Of course, the Bloc Québécois will support this bill despite its lack of a broad approach to help soldiers regain what they deserve, like the lifetime pension, for example. How could the government have taken that away? The last survivor of the first world war died recently. They do not need to take care of them anymore.
My mother is 82, soon to be 83. Last year she became entitled to help, despite the fact that she had taken care of my father for many years and her health was failing. She did not want outside help because she said she was capable of doing it herself. It was her husband and her duty. She felt that she was capable.
In 1971, before my father received anything from the government, he was decorated by England, Poland and Italy. Three governments recognized the work he had done to free them. Our government did nothing, absolutely nothing for us. He got hearing aids. Hearing bombs and constant explosions will obviously affect your hearing eventually. He got his hearing aids a few months before he died. And that could not be blamed on the war either. He could not hear a thing, but that was normal deterioration.
I do not know what to say to make my colleagues across the floor understand that this bill must be improved, that we need to bring back the lifetime pension, that our soldiers deserve a lifetime pension, that when soldiers return home after fighting on the front lines, they deserve the respect of their fellow citizens, but more importantly, the respect of the government and MPs. I still hope that people will remember, that the government will correct the situation in order to give our soldiers as much support as possible and stop being tight-fisted. The government is not skimping on the F-35s. It is not skimping on money for arms. It is not skimping on money for Afghanistan. So it should stop skimping on the money it gives to our soldiers. They are entitled to that money. Our men and women in uniform fought for us. When they return home, they deserve a minimum of respect and they need to know that their efforts are appreciated.
I find it very unfortunate that we are still discussing this in 2011. I would have thought that the government would understand by now. Every year, we commemorate the armistice. We lay wreaths on Remembrance Day for our fallen soldiers. We lay wreaths, and then we go about our business for the rest of the day. The legion is the only organization that continues to care about our soldiers, and legions have fewer and fewer volunteers because people are dying. People are dying and those still with us are less enthusiastic than in the past and less able to defend their rights. And those who are returning from the mission in Afghanistan are also not able to defend themselves. It takes months and years to get over that.
I remember that my father never wanted to talk about the war. In 1978, McGill University asked him to do a series of interviews over a period of six months during which he talked about what he experienced in the war. These interviews were confidential. We were not allowed to attend and they remained confidential. The research has remained confidential. After his death, we tried to obtain copies in order to find out what happened. We never were able to get a copy, but I know that when he started talking about what he experienced during the war, he would cry every time he watched the armistice commemoration on television.
For our soldiers, I am calling on the House—
View Nicole Demers Profile
BQ (QC)
View Nicole Demers Profile
2011-03-11 10:44 [p.8948]
Mr. Speaker, just because we made mistakes in the past, that does not mean we have to keep making them. That was a unanimous vote. The Conservatives, the Liberals, the Bloc and the NDP voted in favour because they thought that was best for the soldiers.
When we realize that a bill is no good, we change it. The hon. member forgot to mention something. I did not say that the Minister of Veterans Affairs was not doing a good job. I said the government could do more for our soldiers. I did not say that the government was doing nothing for our soldiers. I said it could do more and better, but that will cost more. If they can afford corporate tax cuts and tax gifts for the oil and gas companies, then they can afford to do more for our soldiers.
View Nicole Demers Profile
BQ (QC)
View Nicole Demers Profile
2011-03-11 10:46 [p.8949]
Mr. Speaker, I thank my colleague for the question. All of us appreciate the efforts of our troops on the front. When we oppose a measure that it wants to implement, this government says that we are against the troops. The opposite is true. That is a despicable response to questions about investments in Afghanistan and the F-35 fighter jets.
It is very nasty of the government to continue saying that we are against the soldiers because we want them to be treated better. It is not true.
View Nicole Demers Profile
BQ (QC)
View Nicole Demers Profile
2011-03-11 10:47 [p.8949]
Mr. Speaker, I will be brief. My colleague is quite right. It is time for us to choose to do things differently and to do more for our veterans. I repeat that we will be voting in favour of this bill because we believe it is a step in the right direction. However, it is not enough.
View Nicole Demers Profile
BQ (QC)
View Nicole Demers Profile
2011-03-10 16:44 [p.8926]
Mr. Speaker, I am pleased to rise to discuss the motion that we moved this morning. First, I would like to say that I will share the time I have with the member for Outremont.
Contrary to what the member for Saint-Boniface says, it was not rhetoric that we included in this morning's motion. We ourselves did not decide that the Conservative Party had violated the Elections Act and the Access to Information Act. Nor did we decide ourselves that the government had broken the law when it came to telling the House the truth.
We moved this motion because we had proof and because the Speaker of the House himself showed us yesterday that, in two of these cases, we had reason to doubt the accuracy of what we were told in the House.
As for election fraud, it has been proven that even Conservative members from Quebec made claims for amounts of money that belonged to the people of Quebec, because these members represented Quebec. They were not entitled to the money they received to run in the election. Because they were not entitled, they should have to give it back.
We are not the ones who decided this; it was the appeal court. I think that the appeal court judges are smart enough to know the difference between election fraud and an in and out transfer. The member for Regina—Lumsden—Lake Centre tried to make us believe that all of the other parties took advantage of the same scheme, but I must point out that we never submitted false invoices and we did not request any refunds from the Chief Electoral Officer. That is why we were not accused of anything. What we did was legal. The Conservatives are under investigation because what they did was illegal.
I would also like to remind members of some rather comical incidents. If we look back, we should have seen this coming. We should have already been thinking that something was not right about what the Prime Minister was telling us when he was in the opposition. For example, on June 18, 2004, LCN reported that the Conservative leader had adopted a brand new slogan to appeal to Quebeckers: “Un gouvernement propre au Québec”, while the slogan of the Bloc Québécois was “Un parti propre au Québec”. Already, the Prime Minister was confused and was trying to use our good idea for himself.
On another occasion, he also said that he thought people should elect a cat person because if you elect a dog person, you elect someone who wants to be loved. If you elect a cat person, you elect someone who wants to serve. He said that in an interview with Kevin Newman on Global National on April 5, 2006. He could have also said that if you elect a cat person, you elect someone who likes to serve himself.
And even before he destroyed everything that was happening at Status of Women Canada and before he destroyed the hopes of women in this country and in Quebec, Andrée Côté, the director of legislative reform at the National Association of Women and Law, which had to shut down because its funding was cut, wrote this on January 18, 2007:
Exactly one year ago, to the day, January 18, 2006, in the midst of an election campaign, [the Prime Minister] declared:
“Yes, I'm ready to support women's human rights and I agree that Canada has to do more to meet its international obligations to women's equality. If elected I will take concrete and immediate measures, as recommended by the United Nations, to ensure that Canada fully upholds its commitments to women.”
On the federal election date of January 23, 2006, his party was elected to office. In spite of its minority government status, the government was quick to set in motion a series of policy decisions that have sent a resounding message, namely: that women’s equality and the promotion and protection of their human rights is not of concern to this government.
To finish up with the anecdotes, I would like to remind the members that it was also said that by refusing to testify before the Standing Committee on Public Safety, the member for Beauce and the members of this government were trampling on the foundations of ministerial accountability and parliamentary democracy:
And above all else, they are violating the formal commitments they made during their 2006 election campaign. “The time for accountability has arrived,” declared the Prime Minister on page 1 of his party's election platform. It seems that that time has come and gone.
I have another quote from the Prime Minister who, as Leader of the Opposition, told the Montreal newspaper The Gazette the following, the year before he came to power:
Information is the lifeblood of a democracy. Without adequate access to key information about government policies and programs, citizens and parliamentarians cannot make informed decisions, and incompetent or corrupt governance can be hidden under a cloak of secrecy.
When he became Prime Minister, his attitude appeared to undergo a shift of considerable proportions.
According to Lawrence Martin in The Politics of Control, “It often took the Conservatives twice as long as previous governments to handle access requests. Sometimes it took six months to a year”.
Moving on, I would like to refer to the director of the Canadian Taxpayers Federation, Kevin Gaudet, who has said there should be an investigation to determine whether the Minister of Citizenship, Immigration and Multiculturalism routinely misused government resources to win votes.
I believe our motion clearly describes the facts as I just listed them in this House. We did not conjure this motion completely out of thin air. We thought about it very carefully and reflected on it after a series of indisputable facts that we have listed and that I could continue to list for several minutes.
Of course we are going to ask all members of this House, or at least all opposition members, to vote in support of our motion. In closing, I would like to remind the member for Regina—Lumsden—Lake Centre that in 2005, the Prime Minister himself wanted to sign and then did sign a letter to form a coalition with the Bloc Québécois and the NDP. If a coalition can work for him, it can work for others, too.
View Nicole Demers Profile
BQ (QC)
View Nicole Demers Profile
2011-03-10 16:55 [p.8927]
Mr. Speaker, I am pleased to answer the hon. member's question.
I would say to her that in a democracy, we are entitled to our opinions. I would add that if she cannot stand the heat, then she should stay out of the kitchen.
View Nicole Demers Profile
BQ (QC)
View Nicole Demers Profile
2011-03-10 16:56 [p.8927]
Mr. Speaker, I thank the hon. member for his question.
I think he should not be surprised by the government's reaction to the Speaker's ruling. As always, we are dealing with a government that does not respect Speaker's rulings. As we know, we are still waiting for certain documents to do with Afghan detainees and we are still waiting for documents to do with everything we are asking about in this House. Nonetheless, we never get an answer. I am not surprised.
View Nicole Demers Profile
BQ (QC)
View Nicole Demers Profile
2011-03-10 16:58 [p.8928]
Mr. Speaker, indeed, I did not understand the question, but I presume it had to do with the answers we are getting from the government.
I would say to the hon. member that I am not surprised that we are getting these answers from the government. We always get the same answers to the same questions.
View Nicole Demers Profile
BQ (QC)
View Nicole Demers Profile
2011-03-08 14:52 [p.8792]
Mr. Speaker, in response to a question that I asked last Friday about changes in terminology within his department, the Minister of Foreign Affairs had the nerve to insult the members of the Standing Committee on the Status of Women, saying that our work was not serious. Once again, instead of being accountable, a Conservative minister chose to denigrate the work of parliamentarians.
If he wants to protect women's interests, how can the minister say that the work done by the Standing Committee on the Status of Women is not serious?
View Nicole Demers Profile
BQ (QC)
View Nicole Demers Profile
2011-03-08 15:10 [p.8795]
Mr. Speaker, yet another International Women's Day. It is the 100th anniversary. It is beginning to become repetitive to have to examine, every year, how women are doing, as if no other problems existed.
What? In 100 years, did they not obtain the right to vote? Now they can go to work. They can decide whether they want children and when. They now have the pill. They can choose—whether the pro-life caucus in this House likes it or not—whether or not to have an abortion. What more do women want? At some point could we stop celebrating this International Women's Day?
We agree that having International Women's Day for the hundredth time is becoming repetitive. But whether those who are bored by women's demands like it or not, everything is not rosy. According to the World Health Organization, between 100 and 140 million women have been subjected to genital mutilation. Somewhere in the world, a woman dies every minute because of complications arising during pregnancy or childbirth. Even today, women are stoned as punishment for adultery. In countries ravaged by war, such as the Congo, Ivory Coast or Sudan, rape is used as a weapon of war. This is the 100th anniversary of International Women's Day, and we are still at this point.
In 2007, Quebec women earned 84.25% of what men earned on average; in Canada, women earned just over 70%. According to the OECD, the wage gap between men and women in Canada is the fifth highest of 22 industrialized countries.
In 1996, Quebec passed a proactive pay equity law. In 2009, Canada made pay equity a negotiable right, which was nothing less than a step backwards.
Quebec has implemented a preventive withdrawal program for pregnant women, which allows them to receive 90% of their salary. Canada pays only 55% of their salary to women under its jurisdiction, and for only 15 weeks.
The National Assembly unanimously voted to support a motion to highlight the consensus on women's freedom of choice with regard to abortion. The debate continues to rage in Ottawa.
We are celebrating the 100th International Women's Day, and so much more remains to be done. I do not know how many more years it will take, but I do know that the fight for equality is not over. And I also know that the women in this House and around the world are patient and determined and that, in the end, we will be victorious.
View Nicole Demers Profile
BQ (QC)
View Nicole Demers Profile
2011-03-04 12:00 [p.8678]
Mr. Speaker, to avoid key words that are often used by feminist organizations and other advocacy groups, the Conservatives are imposing a whole new lexicon on the diplomatic apparatus.
The Conservatives do not speak of “gender equality” but rather of “equality of men and women”. They do not speak of “child soldiers” but rather of “children in armed conflict”.
Does the government not realize that it is not necessary to change the whole lexicon used at the Department of Foreign Affairs since there is no chance that the government will ever be confused with a progressive organization?
View Nicole Demers Profile
BQ (QC)
View Nicole Demers Profile
2011-03-04 12:05 [p.8678]
Mr. Speaker, I would ask the Minister of Foreign Affairs to retract his statements that the work done by the Standing Committee on the Status of Women is not serious. The government made changes to terminology. In reference to rapes in the Democratic Republic of Congo, the word “impunity” was replaced with “prevention”. These are serious changes and we had serious reasons to invite government officials to the Standing Committee on the Status of Women
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