May 13, 1985

OFFICIAL REPORT


FIRST SESSION-THIRTY-THIRD PARLIAMENT 34 Elizabeth II


VOLUME IV, 1985 COMPRISING THE PERIOD FROM THE THIRTEENTH DAY OF MAY, 1985 TO THE TWENTY-EIGHTH DAY OF JUNE, 1985 INDEX ISSUED IN A SEPARATE VOLUME


Published under authority of the Speaker of the House of Commons by the Queen's Printer for Canada Available from Canadian Government Publishing Centre, Supply and Services Canada, Ottawa, Canada K1A 0S9.



Monday, May 13, 1985 [DOT] (1105)


GOVERNMENT ORDERS

BUSINESS OF SUPPLY

NDP

Pauline Jewett

New Democratic Party

Ms. Pauline Jewett (New Westminster-Coquitlam) moved:

That this House, recognizing the continuing economic inequality of Canadian Women, demands that the government incorporate into its forthcoming budget the following initiatives, the:

1. reform of the tax system rather than the introduction of further public spending cuts which impact most adversely on women;

2. provision of job creation and training programs targeted to women, and funding sufficient to enable the Canadian Human Rights Commission to enforce equal pay for work of equal value legislation, and develop an effective enforcement mechanism for affirmative action programs;

3. provision of more transition houses and services for women and children who are victims of family violence; and

4. provision of increased funding to ensure access to quality daycare to meet the urgent needs of Canadian parents and children.

She said: Mr. Speaker, it is interesting that we should have this motion today because, quite coincidentally, today is the day of the annual general meeting of the National Action Committee on the Status of Women. Indeed, we in the New Democratic Party have just come from our meeting with representatives of the National Action Committee.

As Members of the House know, this is a voluntary umbrella organization of 370 women's groups representing over 3 million Canadian women. Their particular concern this year is the continuing economic inequality of women. Indeed, their weekend debates, although covering a number of subjects, did centre on this issue. They called their meeting a Canadian women's economic summit.

[DOT] (1110)

One would have hoped that after the Leaders' debates on women's issues, and above all on women's inequality, which were held last summer and after the commitment then made by the Progressive Conservative Party which now forms the Government to taking strong initiatives in removing the economic inequality of women and indeed all the other inequalities that women continue to face in Canadian society, we would have seen more action taken than has been taken. The Government can, however, redeem itself in the forthcoming

Budget and indeed it is in the context of the forthcoming Budget that this motion was moved.

Dealing with the specific area of economic inequality, we can look at job creation, job training and job security. In each of those three areas, we see that the Government has not in fact lived up to its promise of giving equal access to women. Dealing with job creation, for example, the Government has allowed for expenditures of $2.2 billion, only 5 per cent of which is targeted toward helping women and in fact toward helping women and youth. That is only $125 million out of $2.2 billion targeted to women and youth.

Regarding the Challenge '85 summer employment program for students, there is no affirmative action requirement that approximately half of that program's funds should go toward job creation for women students. Indeed, when my colleague, the Hon. Member for Vancouver East (Ms. Mitchell), questioned the Minister of State for Youth (Mrs. Champagne) on March 5 of this year regarding why a specific affirmative action plan for women was not embodied in the summer employment program, the Minister of State for Youth replied by saying the following:

-when we were working on "Challenge '85", that there was no need for a quota, that women, young Canadian women would themselves seek their due and take the necessary step to obtain their full share of available summer employment.

That is a revelation on the part of the Minister, and indeed on the part of the Government as I expect she does speak for the Government, indicating that there are no barriers to women seeking employment in either the Challenge '85 program or elsewhere and indicating that women started at the same starting gate as men. I had thought that the outcome of the Leaders' debate and other activities which took place last year would have told the Conservative Government that there is not equal opportunity for women and that women do not start at the same starting gate but start well behind. We have documented that time and time again. If, as the Minister was suggesting we do, we simply let nature take its course, women will not have anything like the same number of jobs from any job-creation program. In other words, there has to be affirmative action to ensure that they will be fairly and equally represented in job-creation programs.

The area of job training is the second area in my initial triad of areas of job creation, job training and job security. The Government did in fact end very arbitrarily the program called "Women Into Non-traditional Occupations". Perhaps it was not a very effective program but it was the beginning of the encouragement of women through apprenticeships in non-traditional occupations, and that program was cut last December. Is there going to be anything in the Budget which will once

May 13, 1985

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again take that kind of affirmative action to enable women to get into non-traditional occupations? Or is the Government once again simply going to leave it to the market-place and to the employer, which have traditionally given and continue today to give men the advantage?

MS)

We have recommended that 50 per cent of all federal training places should be allocated to women. The House will recall that we also advocated that 42 per cent of job-creation funds should go to women, as women constitute 42 per cent of the labour force. As well, we advocate that 50 per cent of training programs and retraining programs should be allocated to women, because women constitute one-half of the population. The Government has done nothing to provide that kind of affirmative action for women in job training and retraining programs. Indeed, as I stated previously, the Government has cancelled the one program which existed. Therefore, we call upon the Government, in the coming Budget, to rectify the past and to consider job training and retraining for women in a serious and affirmative way.

The third matter with which I would like to deal is job security. Job security is incredibly relevant today. What is happening-and Air Canada, a Crown corporation, is an example of it-is that employers are cutting back on full-time jobs and the security which goes with those full-time jobs. That is what the CALEA strike is about. In that case a Crown corporation, Air Canada, is attempting to have more of its employees work on a part-time basis or on contract. That will only lead to lower wages, no benefits and, of course, no security.

Why is this particularly important for women? Because women constitute 72 per cent of the part-time workforce. Almost three-quarters of Canadian part-time workers are women. Women will be pushed in increasing numbers into part-time work if the present trend continues. Of course, this is happening in the private sector as well and the Government has shown no interest in taking the initiative which it could to reverse the trend.

In relation to job creation, training and security for women is the whole concept of affirmative action. We had thought, given the statements which were made by the Prime Minister (Mr. Mulroney) last summer, that very strong federal action would have been taken to ensure the hiring and promotion of women to make up for the past disadvantages which women have suffered. I will concede that the Government has done one thing as a result of the Abella report. It has suggested to the private sector that those companies doing business of more than $200,000 a year with the Government establish a plan of action for the hiring and promotion of women. I agree that this is a first step, but they are given three years to work it out and there is no way yet provided by the Government to ensure that they will in fact work out a plan of affirmative action. There are no sanctions upon the companies if they do not work out a plan and no enforcement requiring them to do so. The Government is really basing its policy on blind trust and good luck, as

my colleague stated. There must be an enforcement mechanism and this is what we in the New Democratic Party have advocated. We hope that in the Budget itself the Government will recognize not only the principle of affirmative action but some of the costs in financial terms associated with it, and all of the reasons why only affirmative action will ensure women's equality in the work-place.

Equal pay for work of equal value is another concept which has been with us now for almost ten years or more. Again, much was said about it in the election compaign by the Conservatives and, indeed, by all Parties. Here again one small step has been taken, namely, that new guidelines have been established by the Human Rights Commission for enforcing equal pay for work of equal value. However, the onus is still on those who are not getting equal pay for work of equal value to raise cases. It does seem incredible that federal employees have to be the ones to take the initiative to get the federal Government to do something which the governing Party promised it would do on its own. And that remains the case. Employees must take action against their employer. There is no change there.

There is one step which might actually be retrogressive which seems to suggest, under the guidelines of the Human Rights Commission, that the rights of the individual to complain may be removed and only group rights will be recognized. I hope that the Government will take a very serious look at that implication, if that is in fact what is implied.

What is also needed, Mr. Speaker, is adequate funding for the Canadian Human Rights Commission, which is why we have also included this in our motion. If it is going to be the enforcement agency for the provision of equal pay for work of equal value, it has to have sufficient funds, staff and resources to do the job.

There are other areas where the Government could have taken, and could still take in the Budget, steps which would remove some of the inequalities which women face. In small business, for example, everyone recognizes that women have proved to be in many instances successful entrepreneurs. It used to be one in ten successful small business entrepreneurs were women. It is now one in three. So more women are now becoming successful entrepreneurs, and we applaud and commend that development. Many women in small business do not have access to credit on the same grounds as do men. There is a discrimination against women, which has been well documented, in the provision of credit. Women are still seen as not being quite legitimate in the business world.

The Minister of Finance (Mr. Wilson) let the cat out of the bag on March 4 when he was asked by my colleague, the Hon. Member for Thunder Bay-Atikokan (Mr. Angus), why the Government did not include in the Small Businesses Loans Act a concentration on women and particularly their inaccessibility

May 13, 1985

to credit. The Minister of Finance replied, as reported at page 2691 of Hansard:

Mr. Speaker, unlike the Hon. Member's Party, we have great faith in the ability of women to get credit.

That answer, Mr. Speaker, comparable to the one of the Minister of State for Youth and of other Ministers, simply ignores the realities before us.

We have also suggested that the spending cuts which we see, both provincially and federally, impact most adversely on women. If in the Budget the Government taxes more heavily the middle-income groups, denies universality to all, makes no serious efforts to improve the housing situation, does not raise the Guaranteed Income Supplement, and does not provide for genuinely universal health care, women are going to suffer the most. Already 62 per cent of single elderly women are living below the poverty line. It used to be that 42 per cent of families headed by women were living below the poverty line, but in 1983-84 that number increased to 50 per cent.

Is the Government going to address this most serious situation in our society in the forthcoming Budget? Will it also address child care, family violence, and the increased concerns of women's centres? Will it bring about at least some first steps toward the genuine equality of women in the Budget?

Topic:   GOVERNMENT ORDERS
Subtopic:   BUSINESS OF SUPPLY
Sub-subtopic:   ALLOTTED DAY, S O. 62-CANADIAN WOMEN
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PC

Claudy Mailly (Chief Government Whip's assistant; Deputy Whip of the Progressive Conservative Party)

Progressive Conservative

Mrs. Mailly:

Mr. Speaker, I would like to comment on the remarks made by the Hon. Member for New Westminster-Coquitlam (Ms. Jewett). While appreciating the fact that the Hon. Member's heart is in the right place, I have always wondered about the element of ambiguity in her approach to the problem of women's economic inequality. Since it is because of their dependence that many women are living in poverty, I cannot understand why the Hon. Member keeps promoting programs, suggestions, principles and a philosophy that tend to increase women's dependence on the State and to maintain them in their traditional status of second class citizens. It is because increasingly, women of my generation and especially, I believe, women in Quebec, are refusing to accept this dependence that people keep wanting to force on us that I decided to run as a candidate for the Progressive Conservative Party, a party that, first of all, respects the value of the individual. I could be, above all, an individual first, and a citizen on equal terms with every one. Second, my party recognized the fact that inequality is above all an economic matter, and a situation that arises from the attitudes of people in society towards minorities, whether these are large minorities, like women, or smaller minorities on the basis of race or creed or colour. Women experience the same unequal treatment suffered by members of these groups. And that is why, Mr. Speaker, I cannot agree when I hear the Hon. Member suggest that women should again start living in ghettos, the ghettos of quotas, for instance, or the ghettos where someone else is going to decide what their priorities should be. I refuse to accept this, and that is why I fail to understand why a woman, who has worked actively all her life to achieve equality

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for both men and women, keeps coming back with sugestions that would achieve the opposite of what women need.

Finally, Mr. Speaker, I also would like to comment on the fact that the Hon. Member said the Government did not keep its promises. I may refer, for instance, to the amendment to the Indian Act, where native women are given equal rights with native men. There is also the spouse's allowance which has been extended, despite the fact that our economy is in such a deplorable state that it was not possible to do as much as we wanted but in any event, we did it right away. I would also like to mention the amendments to the legislation on prostitution.

I would also like to ask the Hon. Member whether she would agree that the presence of a number of women in Government, in the Cabinet, where six women hold major portfolios, and I am thinking of the Minister of Energy, Mines and Resources (Miss Carney), the Minister of Employment and Immigration (Miss MacDonald), the Minister of State (Finance) (Mrs. McDougall), a first in our history, and also the representation of women in the House of Commons-I wonder whether the Hon. Member would not agree that this active representation by women in Government will accomplish far more for women than constantly wanting to put them in ghettos, asking for quotas and insisting on giving them more money and thus increasing their dependence on the State. If some day they manage to work their way out of constantly depending on men, whether these are husbands, fathers, cousins or brothers, the Hon. Member wants to make them dependent on the State. I therefore would like to ask the Hon. Member how she can reconcile these two considerations?

Topic:   GOVERNMENT ORDERS
Subtopic:   BUSINESS OF SUPPLY
Sub-subtopic:   ALLOTTED DAY, S O. 62-CANADIAN WOMEN
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NDP

Pauline Jewett

New Democratic Party

Ms. Jewett:

Mr. Speaker, I have a very brief response. The Hon. Member has not yet realized that the inequality of women puts women in an enormously dependent position. The absence of daycare puts a woman in a dependent position. The absence of maternity leave in many instances puts her in a dependent position. The fact that 62 per cent of elderly women live in a state of poverty puts them in a dependent position.

The whole point of our motion and the purpose of our Party is to ensure that women are not in a dependent position. I must suggest to the Hon. Member that she and the other five women members of the Cabinet, if they are not there already, go over to Room 200 in the West Block to listen to the presentation being made by the National Action Committee on the Status of Women that is addressing the very issues that the Hon. Member raises.

Topic:   GOVERNMENT ORDERS
Subtopic:   BUSINESS OF SUPPLY
Sub-subtopic:   ALLOTTED DAY, S O. 62-CANADIAN WOMEN
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PC

Steve Eugene Paproski (Deputy Chair of Committees of the Whole)

Progressive Conservative

The Acting Speaker (Mr. Paproski):

Questions or comments. The Hon. the Parliamentary Secretary to the Secretary of State.

Topic:   GOVERNMENT ORDERS
Subtopic:   BUSINESS OF SUPPLY
Sub-subtopic:   ALLOTTED DAY, S O. 62-CANADIAN WOMEN
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PC

Monique Landry (Parliamentary Secretary to the Secretary of State of Canada)

Progressive Conservative

Mrs. Landry:

Among other things, our colleague from New Westminster-Coquitlam (Ms. Jewett) expressed concern about

May 13, 1985

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training for women. I would suggest that, at Regina, our Government did set forth a policy, a labour market development strategy was unveiled and it included training programs targetted to women. The new training programs feature special measures and objectives for women, and we are preparing a professional program designed for women who return to the labour market. Targets have been set for the participation of women in programs geared to labour shortages. That is the only remark I wanted to direct to my colleague, just so she would realize that the Government is very concerned about and actively dealing with training for women.

Topic:   GOVERNMENT ORDERS
Subtopic:   BUSINESS OF SUPPLY
Sub-subtopic:   ALLOTTED DAY, S O. 62-CANADIAN WOMEN
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NDP

Pauline Jewett

New Democratic Party

Ms. Jewett:

Mr. Speaker, I was just pointing out that it falls so short of what is needed that it is merely a drop in the bucket. Women will still be extremely unequal when it comes to securing job training and retraining spaces.

Topic:   GOVERNMENT ORDERS
Subtopic:   BUSINESS OF SUPPLY
Sub-subtopic:   ALLOTTED DAY, S O. 62-CANADIAN WOMEN
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PC

Monique Landry (Parliamentary Secretary to the Secretary of State of Canada)

Progressive Conservative

Mrs. Monique Landry (Parliamentary Secretary to Secretary of State):

Mr. Speaker, I am pleased to take part in this debate on the status of women. I am almost tempted to thank my colleague from New Westminster-Coquitlam (Ms. Jewett) for giving the Government an opportunity to show to the House and to all Canadian men and women the active steps we have taken since September 4.

Mr. Speaker, the Secretary of State (Mr. McLean) and Minister responsible for the status of women is now with the National Action Committee on the Status of Women which, as my colleague explained, brings together 300 different associations representing about three million women. Mr. Speaker, it shows that our Government and the Minister do care about women's interests and that consultation remains a priority.

Mr. Speaker, the Government acknowledges that there is more than ample proof that concrete measures must be taken to eradicate the social and economic disparities suffered by Canadian women. A number of recent studies have shed light on the injustices they suffer in practically all sectors of society. Indeed, in a report made public recently concerning a statistical picture of women in Canada, Statistics Canada came up with dismaying figures on the status of Canadian women since 1970. If I may, Mr. Speaker, I should like to quote some of those findings:

In annual terms, female university graduates earn only $1,600 more than men with secondary education and only $4,000 more than men with less that Grade 9 education. More families than ever depend on a woman's income to make ends meet. Yet women on the labour market continue to be almost exclusively responsible for looking after the children and keeping house. In 1981, roughly 10 per cent of all Canadian households were headed by women, but their average income was 50 per cent lower than those headed by men. Close to half the families whose breadwinner is a woman live below the poverty line.

The report confirms once again that most working women hold low-paid jobs in service industries and office work and that the majority of them work part time, unlike men who earn their living in manufacturing industries and the secondary sector where employment growth is strongest. As a country, we

can no longer afford to live in a society where half of the population contributes only part of its potential. We must compensate for all these years during which women were underemployed by embarking on a strategy of women capability development.

Mr. Speaker, that is a responsibility which the federal government assumes very seriously, as it clearly indicated in its Speech from the Throne of last November. As a matter of fact, we have taken concrete measures in this respect. We feel, however, that we could not bring about a profound change within our society without the full cooperation of all our economic partners. With this objective in mind, the government has already started with the provinces and the private sector a series of consultations aimed at initiating the economic recovery which our country needs so badly and reviving the confidence of all Canadians in our system of government.

One of the major objectives of these consultations is to make sure that the recovery benefits all. To this end, we have seen to it that women concerns are fully integrated in the consultative process. As a matter of fact, these concerns were a major item on the agenda of the First Ministers' Conference which was held last February in Regina. A federal-provincial-territorial meeting of the ministers responsible for the status of women had taken place a little earlier to prepare the First Ministers' Conference and determine the issues to be addressed in Regina. The Prime Minister could not have made his stand clearer when he stated in Regina that equity was part and parcel of the economic recovery. I might add that giving women their fair share is not only a matter of justice, but also of economic efficiency.

The federal government did not fail either to put the issues of concern to women on the agenda of the National Economic Conference which took place recently in Ottawa. We were anxious to have women participate as full partners in these important economic discussions with business, union and government representatives. We believe that the integration of women issues to every aspect of policy development is a valuable approach which is already being implemented throughout the government.

I should like to provide a few examples of the way in which this consultation and integration process has brought about legislative changes favourable to women since this government assumed power. Under recently proposed amendments to the Old Age Security Act, all needy widows and widowers who meet the eligibility requirements will be entitled to the spouse's allowance no matter how old their spouses were when they died. Some 85,000 widows and widowers, most of them women, will benefit from this legislation. Under proposed amendments to the Indian Act, discrimination based on sex will be banned from now on. Until now, an Indian woman who married a non-Indian man would lose her status as an Indian

May 13, 1985

and her right to band memberships. Some 16,000 Indian women have lost their status so far because of this century-old legislation.

Thanks to the adoption of a new legislation, the spouses of deceased veterans, most of them women, will be entitled from now on to an extension of the veterans' disability pensions for one year following the death of their spouses. Previously, payment of the disability pension ceased at the end of the month during which the pensioner's death occurred, thus reducing the surviving spouse's income in a very difficult period.

Canadian mothers who are entitled to day-care allowances under training programs funded by the federal government will see these allowances increased. These changes reflect the importance which the government attaches to the program aimed at facilitating the promotion of women to senior positions. Under amendments to the Labour Code, parents employed in industries under federal jurisdiction will be able to extend their paid maternity leave by as many as 24 weeks of unpaid leave.

Mr. Speaker, the Government's response to the Abella Report should not be ignored. That report, entitled "Equality in Employment", was tabled in the House of Commons last November. It contains the findings of an inquiry on the most efficient and fairest ways of promoting equal opportunities in employment. In her report, Justice Abella provided a penetrating analysis of the unique situation confronting too many women. This Government has responded very quickly to that report. In order to eliminate the systemic discrimination too often faced by women in our society, the Government has decided to require from Crown corporations, federal agencies and suppliers of goods and services to the Federal Government that they have equitable employment practices. To that end, Crown corporations and federal agencies having more than 100 employees shall have to report annually to Parliament on their plans for and progress in equality in employment.

With respect to those firms anxious to get $200,000 government contracts, they will have to adopt equitable employment practices or lose their right to bid for such contracts.

Furthermore, as an employer, the Government will not dodge its responsibilities. Indeed we intend to intensify the implementation of the positive action program. Immediate steps are taken to eliminate the systemic obstacles to employment equality that exist in the Public Service classification methods. That is the gist of this Government's response to the Abella report.

Along the same line, Mr. Speaker, the Government has announced its intention to give women easier access to the labour force while at the same time recognizing their family obligations. The Minister of Justice (Mr. Crosbie) has recently introduced an amendment to the Divorce Act which would

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among other things strengthen the statutory provisions concerning alimony.

Among the proposed changes, a new mechanism would allow federal and provincial data banks to trace spouses who default on alimony payments. Finally, I would point out that those changes will give the courts authority to garnishee pensions and unemployment insurance benefits wherever the beneficiary defaults on his or her obligations.

In the Throne Speech, the Government undertook to increase its efforts to broaden unemployment opportunities for women within federal agencies, commissions and boards. By ensuring that qualified women have access to jobs involving responsibility and prestige in employment groups that often are non-traditional, the government is setting up an example for business and industry.

I am happy to point out that over the past six months, 23 per cent of all appointees to federal agencies, commissions and boards were women. We are rapidly approaching the 30 per cent goal that was set for the first year of our mandate. Among recent appointments, allow me to mention that of Sylvia Gold as head of the Canadian Advisory Council on the Status of Women. This appointment has been warmly welcomed by women groups from all across Canada, and it also reasserts the Canadian Government's commitment to have this organization turned into a strong and independant body which would not fear on occasion to question Government action in matters relating to the status of women.

Let me recall some of the means with which the Government intends to promote the economic and social equality of women: consulting with women groups; integrating women issues into the Government's decision process; appointing women to federal commissions and boards and important positions in the Public Service; enacting statutes to abolish discrimination against women and to enhance their economic and social status; and finally strengthening the role of the Canadian Advisory Council on the Status of Women.

However, the Federal Government cannot reach its goals in that area without the help and co-operation of the Provinces. Indeed, many sectors of particular interest for women such as education and health come under provincial jurisdiction. The nature and importance of measures to improve the condition of women are not identical in all provinces. It would be impossible to mention the numerous provincial initiatives dealing with the status of women, let alone enumerate the many issues provinces have been unable to deal with up to now.

In order to assist provincial governments ensure equal opportunities for women, the Secretary of State will hold regular meetings with provincial ministers responsible for the status for women. More formally, task groups made up of federal and provincial representatives have been set up to make sure that both levels of government assume their respon-

May 13, 1985

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sibilities with regard to some problems such as battered women and child care.

It is clear that in any speech on the socio-economic equality for women, one cannot overemphasize the importance of federal-provincial interaction. Having said that, the international aspect of the problem should not be overlooked either. The United Nations decade for the promotion of women will be ending this year, 10 years during which Canada has spared no trouble to improve the condition of women within the framework of the United Nations. The decade will reach its climax in July at the United Nations World Conference on Women to be held in Nairobi, Kenya. My government is actively taking part in the planning of that conference which is aimed at reviewing and assessing the progress made and the problems met during the decade and drawing up strategies for the year 2000. The priority of Canada in Nairobi will be to try and achieve positive results by promoting the integration of women's issues in the national and international decision-making process. While the danger of a politicization attempt of the conference is real, we will try to prevent any obvious attempt in that direction. In spite of those difficult circumstances, you can be assured that the vitality and power of the feminist movement throughout the world will be felt this summer in Nairobi. In addition to the official intergovernmental conference, there will be a meeting of non governmental organizations (Forum 85) held in July. Canada knows that the United Nations decade for the promotion of women has been a quite successful period for non governmental organizations, because their concerns became the priority of many national governments and international organizations. We all took advantage of the new spirit of co-operation. Indeed, the government firmly intends to carry on that co-operation so that all our efforts towards social and economic equality for women will materialize.

Topic:   GOVERNMENT ORDERS
Subtopic:   BUSINESS OF SUPPLY
Sub-subtopic:   ALLOTTED DAY, S O. 62-CANADIAN WOMEN
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PC

Steve Eugene Paproski (Deputy Chair of Committees of the Whole)

Progressive Conservative

The Acting Speaker (Mr. Paproski):

Questions or comments. The Hon. Member for Outremont.

Topic:   GOVERNMENT ORDERS
Subtopic:   BUSINESS OF SUPPLY
Sub-subtopic:   ALLOTTED DAY, S O. 62-CANADIAN WOMEN
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LIB

Lucie Pépin

Liberal

Mrs. Pepin:

Mr. Speaker, I was very glad to hear my colleague say that Canada has made every effort in the last ten years to promote women's equality. To say so is to recognize that the Liberal Party has definitely done something, indeed a great deal for the women of this country.

Naturally, the Hon. Member also said that since the election of the Progressive Conservative Government, maternity leave has been extended by 28 weeks. While I commend the Progressive Conservative Party for having extended maternity leave, I would like to ask the Hon. Member what the Conservative Government intends to do about day-care centres. I know that Mrs. Katy Cook was chairman of a task force on day care. The Minister has the report of this task force in her possession for many months and I would like to know what her Government intends to do about day-care centres since no mention has been made of this matter as yet.

Topic:   GOVERNMENT ORDERS
Subtopic:   BUSINESS OF SUPPLY
Sub-subtopic:   ALLOTTED DAY, S O. 62-CANADIAN WOMEN
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PC

Monique Landry (Parliamentary Secretary to the Secretary of State of Canada)

Progressive Conservative

Mrs. Landry:

1 thank my colleague for Outremont (Mrs. Pepin) on her very relevant question.

In my opinion, access to quality services is essential to ensure the economic security of women and our Government is well aware of it. As the Hon. Member said herself, the Cook report should be tabled soon, and following this report, our Government intends to create a task force to complete the study on day care, and we shall certainly have a recommendation to make in this regard in the very near future. The Hon. Member can be assured that our Government is very sensitive to the fact that women must have such security to go back to work, as this is certainly her concern.

Topic:   GOVERNMENT ORDERS
Subtopic:   BUSINESS OF SUPPLY
Sub-subtopic:   ALLOTTED DAY, S O. 62-CANADIAN WOMEN
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LIB

Lucie Pépin

Liberal

Mrs. Pepin:

Mr. Speaker, today is lobbying day for the NAC women's groups. One of the priorities at this time is definitely the day-care system. I have nothing against the fact that the Conservative Government will set up a task force on day care following the report just mentioned. However, in my opinion, before setting up such a task force, it would be very interesting to see Katy Cook's report to know exactly what she recommends. In addition, it might be better to implement Mrs. Katy Cook's recommendations instead of spending money on another task force, because reference of a question to a committee is very often a way to avoid coming to grips with a problem.

Topic:   GOVERNMENT ORDERS
Subtopic:   BUSINESS OF SUPPLY
Sub-subtopic:   ALLOTTED DAY, S O. 62-CANADIAN WOMEN
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PC

Monique Landry (Parliamentary Secretary to the Secretary of State of Canada)

Progressive Conservative

Mrs. Landry:

Mr. Speaker, the Hon. Member is well aware that when a report is tabled, it is eventually put at the disposal of officials for further study. I think that the Government has every intention to use the Cook report as a basis for its policy, just as it does with all reports, to study it and legislate accordingly. This report will certainly play a major part when the time comes to prepare a legislation.

Topic:   GOVERNMENT ORDERS
Subtopic:   BUSINESS OF SUPPLY
Sub-subtopic:   ALLOTTED DAY, S O. 62-CANADIAN WOMEN
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PC

Ross Belsher

Progressive Conservative

Mr. Belsher:

Mr. Speaker, I find it somewhat surprising today that in this motion we are not dealing with the broader concepts, namely equality, development and peace. In her remarks the Parliamentary Secretary addressed the conference which will be held in Nairobi this summer, sponsored by the United Nations, to end the decade for women. Can the Parliamentary Secretary possibly outline a little more fully what our participation will be in this conference coming up this July?

Topic:   GOVERNMENT ORDERS
Subtopic:   BUSINESS OF SUPPLY
Sub-subtopic:   ALLOTTED DAY, S O. 62-CANADIAN WOMEN
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May 13, 1985