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Results: 1 - 15 of 147
View Raymonde Folco Profile
Lib. (QC)
View Raymonde Folco Profile
2011-03-24 14:36 [p.9204]
Mr. Speaker, Bill S-11 would give the Conservatives the power to impose their solution for drinking water on the first nations. Telling the first nations that they are not competent to make that decision for themselves is insulting enough. Through this scheme, Mr. Carson's fiancée allegedly pocketed $80 million in commissions for selling water filtration systems.
Are they not ashamed of profiting from the misfortune of the first nations?
View Raymonde Folco Profile
Lib. (QC)
View Raymonde Folco Profile
2011-03-24 14:37 [p.9204]
Mr. Speaker, we do not have to make it up. The facts are awful as they stand.
Mr. Speaker, Bruce Carson did it all: chief of staff for the Prime Minister, special advisor to environment minister Jim Prentice and special advisor to the last two ministers of natural resources, including the Prime Minister's Quebec lieutenant. Mr. Carson even drafted a bill that would have given him access to part of the $1.6 billion allocated to the first nations.
And the Prime Minister had no idea what was going on? How can Canadians believe that?
View Raymonde Folco Profile
Lib. (QC)
View Raymonde Folco Profile
2011-03-24 16:17 [p.9220]
Mr. Speaker, I would like to share my time with the member for Mount Royal.
I rise today in the House to take part in the debate in response to this government’s very disappointing budget.
The media, the business and academic communities have all reached the same conclusion as we have on this side of the House. This is a lame duck budget and we give it a failing grade.
This budget is being called “a kind of half-hearted effort, incremental in nature, designed for political effect”.
These are not my words, these are the words of Christopher Dunn, an academic at Memorial University in St. John's, Newfoundland. He went on to say that there was some nominal social spending targeted at specific voters to “leave an impression of a government that hadn't forgot about average voters without actually doing that much for them”.
The official opposition leader put it very succinctly in his question to the government yesterday when he said:
Mr. Speaker, spending billions of dollars on stealth fighters, corporate tax cuts and mega prisons means the Canadian family has to be shortchanged.
There is nothing in the budget on affordable housing. There is nothing in it on child care. There is nothing to support our health system. These are the priorities of Canadian families.
Why is the Prime Minister out of touch and out of control?
How does the government fail to support Canadian seniors? On page 109 of the budget document, low income seniors are expected to get a guaranteed income supplement of $600 for single seniors and $840 for couples. Single recipients with an annual income, other than old age security and guaranteed income supplement, of $2,000 or less, and couples with an annual income of $4,000 or less will get the full amount of the benefit.
What is shocking about this is that the government is not making these increases permanent given that the benefit will be clawed back when the annual income level reaches $4,000 for singles and $7,360 for couples.
Residents in my riding of Laval—Les Îles pointed out to me that in real dollars, eligible seniors would receive exactly $1.20 per day. Obviously the Prime Minister has not gone grocery shopping for a long time. Otherwise, he would have noticed that milk costs $3.79 and sometimes up to $5.00. So, $1.20 will not even be enough to buy a quart of milk.
Let us imagine the Prime Minister or any of his cabinet members trying to live on that type of income with bread an average $3 a loaf; eggs, $2.69 a dozen; apples at $3.34 a kilogram; canned salmon at $3.15 for 213 grams. These were average prices in 2010.
What is the government's real commitment to supporting families and communities? The budget documents says:
The Government recognizes the contributions seniors have made and is committed to ensuring that they continue to have a good quality of life.
I am quoting the finance minister's own words.
Let me congratulate the finance minister and his team for co-opting my private member's bill, Bill C-481, An Act to amend the Canadian Human Rights Act and the Canada Labour Code (mandatory retirement age), which was reported to Parliament last Monday, as one of their priorities within the budget.
The budget indicated that the government clearly supports my bill, since the Minister of Finance wrote on page 112 of that document that:
The government proposes to introduce amendments to the Canadian Human Rights Act and the Canada Labour Code to prohibit federally regulated employers from setting a mandatory retirement age unless there is a bona fide occupational requirement. This would allow Canadians to choose how long they wish to remain active in the labour force. The government will review other acts to further this objective.
If the government truly believes what it says, why does it want to introduce a new bill when my private member's bill has already gone through committee?
Why the delaying tactics? I strongly urge the government to pass the legislation through Parliament and the Senate as quickly as possible, instead of waiting to create a new piece of legislation. Let me take the opportunity at this time to thank the Parliamentary Secretary to the Minister of Human Resources and Skills Development and to the Minister of Labour, members of the Standing Committee on Human Resources, Skills and Social Development and the Status of Persons with Disabilities and my colleagues on both sides of the House for their support in getting this bill as far as it has gone in the legislative process.
I want to remind the government that the Standing Committee on Human Resources, Skills and Social Development and the Status of Persons with Disabilities, on which I am a member, undertook a major study on poverty in Canada. The report, which contained 59 recommendations, was tabled in the House on November 17, 2010. How did the minister respond? The government's response was to refuse every recommendation the committee proposed and it is a government that purports to value families.
The budget could have been a golden opportunity to state clearly that the government would immediately implement recommendation 3.1.1 of the standing committee's report and put in place a federal action plan to reduce poverty in Canada. Instead, we have a budget that ignores families and a budget that ignores children. Canadian parents are still waiting on the promised 250,000 child care spaces for their children, which have never materialized.
A Liberal government will return corporate tax rates to 2010 levels and tackle the deficit while strengthening Canadian families with investments in the following measures: a real family care plan, with a six-month family care EI benefit, and a new refundable tax benefit for working families worth up to $1,350 per year.
The Conservative budget provides no EI benefits, but rather a paltry tax credit that does nothing for low-income caregivers and is worth only $300 a year.
We are also proposing improvements to public pensions, by strengthening the base Canada Pension Plan with gradual increases to benefits and creating an option for topping-up savings with a new supplemental CPP, instead of just a modest GIS benefit that works out to only $1.20 per eligible senior a day.
The Liberals are also proposing support for learning and training, so that all Canadians who get the grades can get the skills they need to get quality, full-time jobs, instead of the paltry $34 per student that the Conservative government is offering. We are proposing quality, affordable early learning and child care, to give our kids the head start they need by offering working families a real choice when they need to find child care spaces for their kids.
What does the Conservative budget propose? It is offering just $75 per year for art classes.
My colleagues and I fully intend to vote against this budget.
View Raymonde Folco Profile
Lib. (QC)
View Raymonde Folco Profile
2011-03-24 16:27 [p.9221]
Mr. Speaker, I welcome the member to our committee. I say “our committee” because I have been sitting on it for a long time and I hope that she will have the chance to sit on it because it does a great deal of work. The report on poverty, to which I have referred, is the first of its kind in the House of Commons. It took a long time to produce it. We met with hundreds of people right across Canada.
Although I care a great deal for the people of Saskatchewan, we all need to look beyond one province and look to the population of all of Canada from sea to sea to sea.
View Raymonde Folco Profile
Lib. (QC)
View Raymonde Folco Profile
2011-03-24 16:29 [p.9222]
Mr. Speaker, income security is an extremely sensitive issue. We have made representations to several ministers. I have done so myself, to enable all Canadians to have access to this program automatically.
At the time, we were told it was too complicated. I never understood that answer. It seems to me that today, in the 21st century, we can work miracles with computers. I firmly believe, as my colleague does, that when it comes to income security, the people who are entitled to it should receive it automatically.
View Raymonde Folco Profile
Lib. (QC)
View Raymonde Folco Profile
2011-03-22 14:31 [p.9107]
Mr. Speaker, in addition to the Conservatives' electoral fraud, the RCMP is now investigating Bruce Carson, the Prime Minister's former chief of staff.
How can a man who was disbarred as a lawyer and imprisoned for fraud become the Prime Minister's chief of staff?
The Minister of the Environment allegedly discussed files pertaining to safe drinking water for aboriginal communities with Mr. Carson in violation of lobbying laws.
Was the Minister of the Environment also reported to the RCMP?
View Raymonde Folco Profile
Lib. (QC)
View Raymonde Folco Profile
2011-03-22 14:32 [p.9107]
Mr. Speaker, I am wondering if the member also met with the RCMP.
Mr. Carson acted as a witness to a contract stipulating that 20% of the sales from water-filtration systems in cultural communities would be paid to his fiancée. She stood to gain up to $80 million from the contract. Oddly enough, Mr. Carson allegedly met with his Conservative minister friends to discuss access to clean drinking water in aboriginal communities.
Did the Conservatives fill Ms. McPherson's hope chest at the expense of the first nations?
View Raymonde Folco Profile
Lib. (QC)
View Raymonde Folco Profile
2011-03-21 13:59 [p.9006]
Mr. Speaker, on March 20, the whole world celebrated La Francophonie. Today we mark the International Day for the Elimination of Racial Discrimination. Unfortunately, the Conservative government has ignored these two events.
Canada has cut funding for Canadian organizations that work to promote democracy, and has abandoned the project that was to create an agency to promote democracy abroad.
In the current international context, African countries, including some that belong to La Francophonie, are most in need of help with creating and strengthening their democracies.
The government's lack of action suggests a withdrawal from the international Francophonie and a policy that discriminates against Africa, made worse by the removal of many African countries from the international priority list for assistance.
I am asking the Conservatives to stop this discriminatory policy and to free up the money required to respect the commitments that have already been made to democratic development.
View Raymonde Folco Profile
Lib. (QC)
View Raymonde Folco Profile
2011-03-10 15:01 [p.8911]
Mr. Speaker, there is no end to the arrogance of this Prime Minister. The Conservatives wanted to limit the privileges of this House. They use government resources to engage in politicking. They even engineered a major electoral fraud. And now the Prime Minister wants officials to no longer refer to the Government of Canada, but to the “H government” instead.
The Government of Canada does not belong to him; Canada does not belong to him either. Does the Prime Minister understand that what he is doing is an abuse of power and that he is insulting all Canadians?
View Raymonde Folco Profile
Lib. (QC)
View Raymonde Folco Profile
2011-03-08 14:14 [p.8785]
Mr. Speaker, today marks the 100th anniversary of International Women's Day. I would like to congratulate the women of my riding, Laval—Les Îles, the women of Canada and women around the world who fight for equality, peace and liberty. The world has witnessed the strength of their vision and their tenacity. Women are standing up, side by side, against authoritarian governments in places like Egypt, Yemen, Tunisia and now Libya.
The message is clear: one century later, women are fed up. They are demanding that governments meet their millennium development goals immediately.
Here in Canada, a century later, this is what women are telling the Conservative government: stop cutting funding to NGOs that provide assistance to women and children; advance the rights of women and girls by approving safe reproductive rights; protect women and enable them to retain their dignity by supporting safe abortion practices, especially in cases of violence and rape.
Equality means dignity.
View Raymonde Folco Profile
Lib. (QC)
View Raymonde Folco Profile
2011-03-03 14:43 [p.8623]
Mr. Speaker, we are being told that the Minister of International Cooperation's refusal to support KAIROS despite the recommendation of officials from her department was a courageous decision. We, too, would like to truly understand her courage.
Can the minister explain to us why the recommendation was erroneous and why she disregarded it? Will she explain exactly how her department erred, or will she continue to demonstrate her contempt for this Parliament?
View Raymonde Folco Profile
Lib. (QC)
View Raymonde Folco Profile
2011-03-03 17:53 [p.8650]
Mr. Speaker, unlike the hon. member across the way, I am supporting Bill C-393, which aims to correct the major issues with Canada's Access to Medicines Regime, or CAMR.
It is true that the regime is not currently operating, but reforms could change that. CAMR has provided only one drug to one country since it was created by Parliament more than six years ago. We cannot expect the regime to be used again if it is not effectively reformed.
Doctors Without Borders told the committee that it had tried many times to use the regime to get drugs to patients, but that it had given up because of pointless hurdles in the legislation. Developing countries have said that CAMR is not flexible enough, that it contains too many restrictions and that it is not compatible with their procurement processes. Only one Canadian generic drug manufacturer used the regime, and it then said that it would not use the complex process again. But it is important to note that the manufacturer publicly committed to using the regime again if it were simplified, for example, to export a long-awaited pediatric formulation of an anti-AIDS drug that is not currently available from any other source.
Canadians want Parliament to take action to fix CAMR. According to a national poll, 80% of Canadians support reforming Canada's Access to Medicines Regime to make it more workable and to help developing countries get access to more affordable life-saving medicine. So do dozens of prominent Canadians, including our former prime minister whose government enacted CAMR, and many leading Canadian organizations, including all those that recently issued an open letter on World AIDS Day to our colleagues in the House of Commons.
We need to make sure that competition makes these drugs affordable. This is critical for developing countries and has already been recognized by Canada and all the other member countries of the World Trade Organization, the WTO. The ability to procure lower-cost generic versions of expensive patented drugs is the most important factor in making it possible to treat and save the lives of 5 million HIV-positive people in low- and middle-income countries. Another 10 million people living with HIV also need these drugs. There is an urgent need for competition in order to obtain and increase access to affordable generic drugs, and this need will continue in developing countries.
At the core of Bill C-393 was, and should be, a proposal to streamline CAMR with a simplified one licence solution. This approach would eliminate the regime's current requirement for separate negotiations with patent-holding pharmaceutical companies for individual licences for each purchasing country and each order of medicines. It would also remove the requirement to determine and disclose in advance of even being able to apply for a licence to export to a single recipient country and a fixed maximum quantity of medicines. These unnecessary requirements have proven to be the major stumbling blocks to the use of CAMR.
Independent legal experts have repeatedly confirmed that the reforms in Bill C-393, including the one-licence solution, are compliant with Canada's obligations as a member of the WTO, unlike what my colleague across the floor said. This includes a world-renowned expert who appeared before the Standing Committee on Industry, Science and Technology, as well as experts brought together last year by the United Nations Development Program in order to examine Bill C-393 in relation to Canada's WTO obligations.
The proposed reforms in Bill C-393 offer value for money and its proposed changes to CAMR would cost taxpayers nothing. In fact, the one licence solution in Bill C-393 would make Canadian foreign aid more effective because limited resources could purchase more medicines and would also free up scarce resources to invest in making health systems stronger.
Scaling up access to treatment also means greater opportunities for producing and distributing good quality, Canadian made generic medicines, meaning more business and more jobs in addressing oppressing global health needs.
CAMR is not working rapidly and easily precisely because it requires one specific country and a fixed quantity of medicines to be determined and disclosed in advance before seeking a licence is even possible. It took years to get to the point of getting even one licence issued because of this. Claiming that it only took 68 days for the process to work is misleading because it ignores the entire process that was and is required. The one licence solution would streamline the process so that it can work.
Bill C-393 does not weaken measures aimed at ensuring the delivery of quality medicines to patients. The amendment to restore the one-licence solution will ensure that all medicines exported under the regime would still be reviewed by Health Canada. Furthermore, all of the regime's existing safeguards against diversion of medicines would remain unchanged.
Streamlining CAMR does not jeopardize pharmaceutical research and development, including those carried out in Canada. CAMR authorizes exports of generic versions of patented medicines to certain eligible countries only. These countries were already agreed upon by Canada and all WTO members in 2003 and are already reflected in the current CAMR, as created unanimously by Parliament in 2004. These countries represent a small portion of total global pharmaceutical sales and the profits of brand name pharmaceutical companies. Furthermore, the brand name drug companies are entitled to receive royalties on sales of generic medicines supplied to these countries under CAMR.
As for the amendment to include a sunset clause, there is no valid reason to include such a clause, which would automatically kill the crucial improvements needed for the CAMR after they have been in effect for just a few years. On the one hand, the need for more affordable medicines in developing countries could unfortunately remain a reality for many more years to come. On the other hand, it is no secret that the regime is flawed and, as a result, there is almost zero chance that it will ever be used again unless it is simplified.
So why would Parliament bother making improvements to the regime to make it more effective, only to turn around and put an expiry date on those improvements through a sunset clause, to return to the current system, which has proven untenable?
I support Bill C-393, An Act to amend the Patent Act (drugs for international humanitarian purposes) and to make a consequential amendment to another Act, and I invite my hon. colleagues to also vote to support it.
View Raymonde Folco Profile
Lib. (QC)
View Raymonde Folco Profile
2011-03-03 18:18 [p.8653]
Mr. Speaker, on November 16, I expressed in the House my great concern about the news that the use of food banks in Canada had increased by 28%. That is the highest rate of use since 1997. The government claims that it does not have the money to help close to a million Canadians who are currently in need of food aid in a land of plenty like ours.
It is true that the government must balance its responsibilities with its limited number of resources, but that did not stop it from spending $14 billion on fighter jets, $14,049 on glow sticks for the G8 or $6.5 million on an advertising campaign for its economic action plan. The Conservatives' irresponsible spending led our country's economy back into a structural deficit even before the actual recession.
How does the government intend to get its reckless spending, which demonstrates a complete lack of respect for taxpayers, under control if it continues to act this way?
It is obvious from their spending priorities, such as corporate tax cuts, fighter jets and tough on crime legislation, which have not yet even been fully calculated, that the Conservatives' plan to balance the budget by 2015 is not credible. Their priorities are completely shortsighted, ineffective and just poor economics. How can we build an educated, healthy, skilled workforce if we do not invest more in social infrastructure? Economic growth built at the expense of social infrastructure is just not sustainable. We need to think about the future.
A recent report of the human resources committee on the federal poverty reduction plan has found that nearly 30% of aboriginal children under age 15 live in low income households compared with 12.5% of non-aboriginal children, which is also an unacceptable level.
The report states that poverty is much more gruelling to the young who find it difficult to escape that poverty trap.
Given the poverty levels in Canada, $14 billion for 35 fighter jets is completely astronomical.
“Astronomical” is the same word the Conservative members used in their supplementary opinion to describe the cost of implementing the recommendations to reduce poverty in Canada set out in the report of the Standing Committee on Human Resources, Skills and Social Development and the Status of Persons with Disabilities. The Conservative members said that the lack of costing for most of the recommendations raised issues of credibility for them. They also said that it was difficult for the government to determine which recommendations for reducing poverty were prudent and practical to adopt, given its “important commitments” to deficit reduction and keeping taxes low.
Indeed, how could a government take crucial steps to assist low income families, provide affordable housing, institute pay equity or improve the employment insurance program all without adequate figures? Yet the government seems perfectly capable of implementing crime legislation, making corporate tax cuts and buying those fighter jets without making adequate figures available to Parliament or to Canadians.
The fiscal transparency report from the Parliamentary Budget Officer discovered that the true costs of each of these initiatives has not been calculated or released. Overall, the budget officer identified 11 areas in the new crime legislation alone for which the government has inadequately provided--
View Raymonde Folco Profile
Lib. (QC)
View Raymonde Folco Profile
2011-03-03 18:26 [p.8654]
Mr. Speaker, my colleague is usually very logical and rational, so I do not know why he insists that we want to raise taxes, because no one on this side has ever called for such a thing.
However, a weak and timid labour market strategy is not enough. We need a comprehensive anti-poverty strategy that provides a strong social infrastructure that will support families and children.
There are many Canadians who do not have access to these programs—even though there are a number of good programs, they do not have access to them—and who need more targeted assistance.
That is what we are asking the Conservative government to do, and that is what it has failed to do thus far.
View Raymonde Folco Profile
Lib. (QC)
View Raymonde Folco Profile
2011-03-01 14:35 [p.8504]
Mr. Speaker, I would like to add that, at that point, this minister had the ministerial responsibility to resign.
The Minister of International Cooperation is so proud of her decision—which was very courageous as far as her colleague the House leader is concerned—that she continues to remain silent on the issue. She was so brave in making this decision that she wanted to have us believe that it was actually bureaucrats who made it.
Has the Minister of International Cooperation become a woman without a voice who does not have the right to respond to questions in this Parliament?
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