Personal Data

Rivière-des-Mille-Îles (Quebec)
Birth Date
February 7, 1960
Email Address
manager/owner, supermarket

Parliamentary Career

October 19, 2015 -
  Rivière-des-Mille-Îles (Quebec)

Most Recent Speeches (Page 1 of 51)

June 18, 2019

Ms. Linda Lapointe

Mr. Speaker, I am pleased to answer my colleague's question about supply management. That issue is very important to me. We have heard a lot of talk about supply management in Quebec. However, from what dairy and poultry farmers are telling me, they are very satisfied.

It is important to remember that there are also new opportunities available. Take, for example, refined sugar and margarine. Markets are opening up. We are able to go there.

I would like my NDP colleague, who often speaks about international trade, to tell me whether there is an agreement, other than the one between Canada and Ukraine, that the NDP would have accepted. They do not think any agreement is good enough.

As for the official opposition, they were willing to accept any agreement as quickly as possible. They thought it we should just take whatever we could get without any negotiation.

Topic:   Government Orders
Subtopic:   Canada-United States-Mexico Agreement Implementation Act
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June 18, 2019

Ms. Linda Lapointe

Mr. Speaker, thank you for making sure everyone is listening. The agreement we are discussing is very important.

We worked hard to secure a good deal that will benefit all Canadians. For example, the provisions that protect women's rights, minority rights and indigenous rights are the strongest in any Canadian trade agreement to date. This includes obligations with respect to the elimination of employment discrimination based on gender. The new NAFTA is also the first international trade agreement that recognizes gender identity and sexual orientation as grounds for discrimination in its labour chapter.

I would add that, from the very beginning of the negotiation process, we emphasized the need to protect middle-class jobs and support economic growth. The vast majority of Canadian businesses are SMEs. They employ over 10.5 million Canadians, accounting for about 90% of the private sector workforce. The new agreement will help these Canadian businesses by giving them access to the U.S. and Mexican markets and promoting collaboration between the parties to create more opportunities for trade and investment.

During the 42nd Parliament, I had the honour and privilege of being a member of the Standing Committee on International Trade for two and a half years. The agreements that we signed include CETA and the Comprehensive and Progressive Agreement for Trans-Pacific Partnership. However, the agreement with the United States and Mexico is very important. The committee and parliamentarians worked very hard to move forward on this file, which is of vital importance to Canada. CUSMA includes a chapter on SMEs designed to complement the other commitments made throughout the agreement. It includes requirements to make available information that is specifically tailored to SMEs, including information on entrepreneurship, education programs for youth and under-represented groups, and information on obligations in the agreement that are particularly relevant to SMEs.

CUSMA also provides SMEs with an opportunity to collaborate in addressing any issue that could impact them in the future. In my riding of Rivière-des-Mille-Îles, which includes Deux-Montagnes, Saint-Eustache, Boisbriand and Rosemère, SMEs are the main employers. The new agreement establishes a committee on SME issues and an annual trilateral SME dialogue that brings together representatives of private sector employees, non-governmental organizations and other experts to discuss issues pertaining to the agreement that are relevant to SMEs. By doing so, CUSMA will give a voice to Canadian SMEs and facilitate discussions on issues that matter to them.

In keeping with our commitment to adopting an inclusive approach to trade, Canada carefully considered the interests of indigenous peoples throughout the negotiations. The Government of Canada is determined to advance the process of reconciliation with indigenous peoples through a renewed nation-to-nation relationship based on the recognition of rights, respect and co-operation. Given the efforts made by Canada to renew this relationship, one of Canada's objectives is to better advocate for the commercial interests of indigenous peoples. To that end, the Government of Canada has undertaken a vast consultation with chiefs and indigenous representatives and also with businesses and experts to better understand their commercial interests and obtain their advice on the priorities for the negotiations.

For the first time in a Canadian free trade agreement, the CUSMA includes a general exception that clearly states that the government can adopt or maintain measures it deems necessary to fulfill its legal obligations towards indigenous peoples. This exception is a testament to the commitment by all three countries to ensure that the agreement's obligations do not interfere with a country's legal obligations towards indigenous peoples.

We are proud to have made indigenous peoples the focus of the NAFTA renegotiations. As National Chief Perry Bellegarde of the Assembly of First Nations said, the new NAFTA's provisions addressing indigenous peoples make this most inclusive international trade agreement for indigenous peoples to date. The provisions will uphold the ancestral, inherent and treaty rights of first nations.

Furthermore, we are proud to have included a chapter on the environment in lieu of the side letter to the original NAFTA.

The chapter on the environment recognizes the important role indigenous peoples play in long-term environmental and biodiversity conservation, as well as sustainable fishing and forestry. The environmental provisions also take into account the rights of indigenous peoples under the Constitution for the use and development of natural resources.

Finally, for the first time in a Canadian free trade agreement, the preamble recognizes how important it is for indigenous peoples to participate more in trade and investment decisions. In addition to achieving results for SMEs, indigenous peoples and, of course, the cultural exemption, Canada has made gender equality and women's empowerment top priorities.

For instance, the labour chapter levels the playing field when it comes to labour standards and working conditions in North America, and includes commitments to ensure that national laws and policies provide protections for fundamental principles and rights at work. This includes provisions on non-discrimination in the workplace, including gender discrimination. It also includes provisions that encourage the adoption of programs and policies to tackle barriers to the full participation of women in the workforce. The agreement supports co-operative activities dealing with questions on gender issues in the workplace, particularly gender equality.

The investment chapter includes a special provision that reaffirms the importance of encouraging businesses to uphold standards of corporate social responsibility, including those that apply to gender equality.

The chapter on small and medium-sized enterprises encourages the parties to collaborate on activities that will maximize trade opportunities for SMEs owned by women and promote their participation in international trade. Taken together, the agreement's provisions on equality address the issue directly.

I have to say a few words about the cultural exemption. I remember the Standing Committee on International Trade's trip to Washington. When I said that Canada has over eight million French speakers, they had no idea what I was talking about. That is why the cultural exemption is so important. It affects the cultural industry and means that Canada will still be able to create and maintain programs and policies that support our thriving cultural industries. The industry represents 75,000 jobs in Quebec, and culture represents 2.7% of our GDP and 3.6% of all jobs in Canada. That was a very important gain, and I am very proud of it.

In conclusion, let me reiterate that we worked incredibly hard to make sure the new agreement benefits Canadians, and not just middle-class workers and small businesses, but traditionally under-represented groups, such as women and indigenous peoples, too.

As I said, the cultural exemption was very important, and I can proudly say that our goals were met. We made significant progress in improving standards and benefits for all Canadians.

Topic:   Government Orders
Subtopic:   Canada-United States-Mexico Agreement Implementation Act
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June 18, 2019

Ms. Linda Lapointe

Mr. Speaker, the members are talking very loudly, and it is bothering me.

Topic:   Government Orders
Subtopic:   Canada-United States-Mexico Agreement Implementation Act
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June 18, 2019

Ms. Linda Lapointe (Rivière-des-Mille-Îles, Lib.)

Mr. Speaker, I am pleased to be here once more in the House of Commons with all of my colleagues to talk about the benefits of the Canada-United States-Mexico agreement for all Canadians.

In keeping with Canada's inclusive approach to trade, we have worked very hard since the negotiations began to get results that will advance the interests of Canada's middle class, small and medium-sized enterprises, women, indigenous peoples and entrepreneurs. The cultural exemption is also particularly important to me.

Topic:   Government Orders
Subtopic:   Canada-United States-Mexico Agreement Implementation Act
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June 18, 2019

Ms. Linda Lapointe (Rivière-des-Mille-Îles, Lib.)

Mr. Speaker, I listened very carefully to the speech by my colleague from Kingston and the Islands.

It was very interesting.

I would like to talk about Canada's “Changing Climate Report”.

Science is the foundation of the Government of Canada’s action on climate change, and our scientists provide the information we need to make strategic decisions.

Canada's “Changing Climate Report”, which was drafted by world-renowned scientists from Environment and Climate Change Canada, Fisheries and Oceans Canada and Natural Resources Canada and by Canadian university experts, is one of the scientific contributions that provide the evidence we need to make sound policy decisions and to protect our environment, our communities and our economy.

The report was released in 2014 and is the first comprehensive, autonomous assessment of why and how Canada's climate is evolving and of how it is projected to change in the future. Some of Canada's best scientists conducted this peer-reviewed assessment, which was based on already published research. The report represents the work carried out by the international climatologist community. It will help inform decisions regarding adaptation and will help the public gain a better understanding of Canada's evolution.

We rely on scientists to give us the evidence. During the 10 years under the Harper government, scientists were muzzled.

We, on the other hand, prefer to rely on evidence and scientific consensus when making decisions. The science is clear: Canada's climate is warming more rapidly than the global average.

This will continue, and global carbon dioxide emissions from human activity will largely determine how much more warming Canada and the world will experience in the future.

Reducing human emissions of carbon dioxide will reduce how much additional future warming occurs. However, no matter how much warming occurs, this warming is here to stay. It is effectively irreversible on timescales of centuries to millennia.

“Canada’s Changing Climate Report” is a comprehensive scientific assessment that will inform the development of sound policies designed to protect the environment, our communities and the economy.

The people of Rivière-des-Mille-Îles, located along the Mille-Îles River in the Montreal area, believe in having sound evidence. Unfortunately, we have had 100-year floods in 2017 and in 2019. There can be no doubt that climate change is real, and my constituents take their environment to heart.

The report will also help raise public awareness and understanding of the changing climate and enable strong adaptation to reduce our vulnerability and strengthen our resilience to climate change. It tells us strong mitigation action is required to limit warming.

In the development of the report, key stakeholders were engaged to ensure this information is presented to serve a broad range of public and private sector adaptation decision-makers.

This key reference document is relevant across many sectors and informs Canadian planning and investment decisions that will last decades.

When the time comes for the provinces and territories to prepare development plans, they need data to show where the flood plains are, whether climate change will affect those areas and what is going to happen.

The assessment confirms that Canada's climate has warmed mainly in response to emissions of carbon dioxide from human activity. The effects of widespread warming are already evident in many parts of Canada and are projected to intensify in the next five years. The report covers changes across Canada in temperature and precipitation, including extremes, snow, ice and permafrost, freshwater availability and changes in oceans surrounding Canada.

The report provides a riveting account of climate change in Canada. Canada’s climate has warmed and will warm further in the future as a result of human influence, and this phenomenon is irreversible. In Canada, the rate of past and future warming is, on average, about double the global average. The climate in Canada is warming at twice the rate of the rest of the world. The annual mean temperature in Canada increased by 1.7ºC over the past 70 years. The temperature in winter increased by 3.3ºC over the same period. The increase in annual mean temperature is even more marked in the Canadian Arctic, where it rose by 2.3ºC. To sum up, Canada is warming twice as fast as the rest of the world and the Arctic is warming three times as fast. It is quite worrisome. We must do something about this.

Canada's oceans have warmed and the acidification process has begun. They are now less oxygenated, which is consistent with the trend observed around the world over the past century.

The effects of widespread warming are evident in many parts of Canada and are projected to intensify in the future. These effects such as thawing permafrost, shorter snow and ice cover seasons, longer growing seasons, more extreme heat and earlier spring peak stream flow will continue because some further warming is unavoidable. Precipitation is projected to increase for most of Canada, although summer rainfall may decrease in some areas. Changing temperatures and precipitation, and also changes in snow and ice, have important implications for freshwater supply. The seasonal availability of freshwater is changing with an increased risk of water supply shortages in summer.

A warmer climate will intensify weather extremes in the future. Extreme hot temperatures will become more frequent and more intense. This will increase the severity of heat waves. That is why a report written by scientists is so important to both private enterprise and the public sector. It will help us make the right decisions in order to take climate action.

Since I am out of time, I will continue to explain why this report is so important after question period.

Topic:   Government Orders
Subtopic:   Business of Supply
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