Salaberry-Suroît MP Claude DeBellfeuille is pleased with the work she and her team have accomplished during an intense session in Ottawa.
MPs wrapped up the fall sitting in the House of Commons on December 15. DeBellefeuille met with media representatives at her Salaberry-de-Valleyfield office for a briefing on the session and her work on the ground in the riding over the past several months.
“Citizens and businesses are facing major challenges, including the rising cost of living. In an ultra-partisan parliamentary context, I’m proud to be in solution mode for my community, instead of fanning the flames of public anxiety,” said DeBellefeuille, who admits she has never seen anything like this past parliamentary session in her career.
“From house speaker scandals to filibustering and obstruction in the House of Commons, the atmosphere wasn’t exactly pleasant,” she acknowledges. “Even the senate was bogged down,” she laments, noting the Upper House has delayed passing Bill C-282 to protect supply management, which was adopted by the House in June.
“Faced with this kind of atmosphere, it’s all the more important to be persistent and constructive,” says DeBellefeuille, who says she is proud of the Bloc Quebecois’ reputation for remaining above the fray.
Small victories in parliament
DeBellefeuille noted several files that she has been involved with in Ottawa. The Bloc Québécois was instrumental in convincing the chamber that immigration targets must be linked to Quebec’s and the other provinces’ capacity to welcome and integrate new residents.
MPs unanimously recognized that successful immigration was more important than the numbers alone. “It’s all well and good to bring people here often with the promise of a better life, but in reality, that is not what we are offering,” DeBellefeuile explained.
On the housing file, the federal government transferred $900 million to Quebec to accelerate housing projects after numerous discussions.
Finally, the Bloc Québécois’ Bill C-290, which aims to strengthen current whistle-blower protections for public servants, is now on its third reading and is likely to be adopted soon in the House.
Present in the community
DeBellefeuille has also been active on the ground throughout the riding during various events and activities. She is also involved with several local issues affecting her constituents.
For example, DeBellefeuille worked with the St. Lawrence Seaway Management Corporation to initiate meetings between key regional players in anticipation of the temporary closure of the Larocque bridge this winter.
“Everyone must be prepared so we can minimize the impacts,” she said, noting she brought together representatives from the Centre intégré de santé et de services sociaux de la Montérégie-Ouest (CISSSMO), ambulance technicians, school service centres and school boards, etc. A meeting to review final plans for signalers, detours, and emergencies was scheduled for December 19. The bridge will be closed from January 10 to March 17.
The MP also coordinated a meeting between area media outlets to produce a joint statement denouncing pressure tactics by tech companies including META, which began blocking news for Canadian users of its platforms including Facebook and Instagram in protest of the federal government’s Online News Act.
DeBellefeuille also initiated a meeting with the leaders of the region’s two chambers of commerce and industry, to call attention to the devastating impact of the federal government’s inflexibility on repayment schedules for small businesses that borrowed from the Canada Emergency Business Account during the pandemic.
The Salaberry-Suroît MP says she is looking forward to the holidays to recharge before returning to the House of Commons at the end of January following a six-week break.