November 4, 2014

CPC

Gordon O'Connor

Conservative

Hon. Gordon O'Connor

Mr. Speaker, I do not believe the speaker is relevant. I cannot understand what he is talking about. He is not talking about the issue that is under consideration here, and I would ask that he return to the issue.

Topic:   Government Orders
Subtopic:   Privilege
Sub-subtopic:   Reference to Standing Committee on Procedure and House Affairs
Permalink
NDP

Charlie Angus

New Democratic Party

Mr. Charlie Angus

Mr. Speaker, I will speak slowly. I am talking about the issue of how we address crime in the parliamentary precinct. That is what we are talking about. My colleague might find that uncomfortable, but this is the issue before us. We are dealing with the issue of crime. I have done this in a respectful manner. If he finds that offensive, I cannot really do anything about that.

How do we deal with crime in the Senate? We have three people under investigation. The fourth has left. Actually there were four under investigation, and there may be more. We now have two cases in the House of Commons. I am trying to compare how we do things in the House of Commons and what is incumbent upon us, in light of the decision to make those suspensions in the Senate.

Topic:   Government Orders
Subtopic:   Privilege
Sub-subtopic:   Reference to Standing Committee on Procedure and House Affairs
Permalink
NDP

Joe Comartin

New Democratic Party

The Deputy Speaker

We have had already from the previous occupant of the Chair this evening a couple of questions indicating that they were a long stretch from relevancy, and I think the member for Timmins—James Bay is falling into the same category. I would ask him to bring it back more closely to the motion that is before the House. I think he has wandered too far.

Topic:   Government Orders
Subtopic:   Privilege
Sub-subtopic:   Reference to Standing Committee on Procedure and House Affairs
Permalink
NDP

Charlie Angus

New Democratic Party

Mr. Charlie Angus

Mr. Speaker, I can certainly focus on the criminal activities that have occurred in this House and what we should do.

I said that in a light of non-partisanship, we have to suspend the member, and I think that is a reasonable thing to do. In terms of Mr. Penashue, who was up under the same situation, he was forced to resign and had to leave in disgrace.

As I was saying earlier, why do we have to have really clear penalties for a breach of the Canada Elections Act and issues of electoral fraud? It is because if Canadians cannot trust that the system is actually there to ensure fairness for people running, then there can be no basis for electoral or democratic credibility at any level. When someone breaks the law and knowingly breaks the law and is defiant about breaking the law, it puts us in the House in a much more difficult position, because we are forced to act. This is what we are being forced to do tonight.

The member for Peterborough stood in this House, claimed his privileges were being abused because he was under investigation, went to court, and was found by Justice Cameron to have absolutely no credibility in his claim. To have then walked out of that courtroom and responded to a criminal conviction as somehow just the opinion of the judge has put us as legislators in a very difficult position, because he has no business being in this House if that is the attitude he takes. At no point did we ever see that he took seriously the breaking of the law, the falsifying of documents, and the continual refusal to respond to the investigators, and now he has been convicted. Yes, tonight we have to show that these issues have to be taken seriously. In the same way we have to take seriously the issue of Brazeau, Wallin, Duffy, Mac Harb, and Raymond Lavigne, we have to take this seriously.

Topic:   Government Orders
Subtopic:   Privilege
Sub-subtopic:   Reference to Standing Committee on Procedure and House Affairs
Permalink
LIB

Arnold Chan

Liberal

Mr. Arnold Chan (Scarborough—Agincourt, Lib.)

Mr. Speaker, I listened with interest to the hon. member for Timmins—James Bay. I share his sadness that we have to engage in this debate tonight on the motion before the House.

I listened with interest to his explication of some of the recent practices of certain members in the House and in the Senate. I have to agree with the Speaker about the relevancy of the motion before the House.

The motion presented by the official opposition talks about suspension. I would like to ask the member for Timmins—James Bay to carefully examine the language of Section 502(3) of the Canada Elections Act. It talks specifically about the fact that a person who has been convicted of having committed an offence that is an illegal practice or a corrupt practice under this act, in addition to any other punishment for that offence prescribed by this act in the case of an illegal practice during the next five years or in the case of a corrupt practice during the next seven years after the date of their being so convicted, shall not be entitled to be elected or to sit in the House of Commons.

Does this provision under (3)(a) not require us to immediately expel the member?

Topic:   Government Orders
Subtopic:   Privilege
Sub-subtopic:   Reference to Standing Committee on Procedure and House Affairs
Permalink
NDP

Charlie Angus

New Democratic Party

Mr. Charlie Angus

Mr. Speaker, I welcome my hon. colleague to the House of Commons. As a new member, he would probably do well to listen to the Speaker's Ruling in which the Speaker ruled that only the House of Commons could decide how this act would be implemented in terms of the suspension of a member and that a member shall not sit. That is the rule of the House of Commons. For the Liberals to jump up and say that we should set fire to the member for Peterborough right now is their way of getting into the story where they can make those claims.

The fact is that the member for Peterborough has not been before the judge for his sentencing on November 21. If the Liberals want to get out in front of that as well, they can do that, but they are ignoring the fact that Justice Cameron will be ruling on this conviction on November 21. We want to hear what Justice Cameron has to say.

As the Speaker has told us, the House of Commons is the place that will interpret how this section in the Elections Canada Act will be implemented.

I would encourage the member to show respect for the House. This is the place where we make these decisions.

Topic:   Government Orders
Subtopic:   Privilege
Sub-subtopic:   Reference to Standing Committee on Procedure and House Affairs
Permalink
NDP

Nathan Cullen

New Democratic Party

Mr. Nathan Cullen (Skeena—Bulkley Valley, NDP)

Mr. Speaker, it is with some passing reflection that I think of how we arrived at this place. The Conservatives came in here on the white steed of transparency and anti-corruption after years of the Liberal sponsorship scandal.

As my friend noted in his speech, we worked with the Conservatives on the Federal Accountability Act, hoping that they would abide by the rule and letter of the law. Now we see a second Conservative being thrown from the House for essentially cheating on an election and taking his seat in the House, which I consider an enormous privilege granted to me by electors in Skeena—Bulkley Valley. The member took his seat in a falsified way. He cheated. He knowingly spent more money than his opponents and then falsified documents in front of Elections Canada officials.

I wonder if the enthusiasm we are suddenly seeing from the Liberal Party in particular about cracking down on cheating during elections existed when they were in power. The sponsorship scandal was essentially manifested in the exact same way, but in a much greater magnitude. Millions upon millions of dollars were shuffled to Liberal coffers from the public treasury to help Liberals win elections, in Quebec in particular.

Initially, the Conservatives wanted to push this off to the procedure and House affairs committee, while still allowing the member for Peterborough to collect his salary. The change that we made and the ruling from the Speaker was to deny him access to his pay, which we suggest was being taken fraudulently because he took his seat fraudulently. How can an individual take money for a job that was not legally earned? Suspending the member and not allowing him to receive salary until the judge's ruling comes down is a natural consequence to the actions taken by the member for Peterborough, while respecting and trying to restore, in some small way, the faith of Canadians in the integrity of the House of Commons.

Is this a sequentially thoughtful and fair way to go about this terrible situation that has been put upon us by the member for Peterborough and, I would suggest, the culture of corruption that is too often pervasive in the Conservative Party of Canada?

Topic:   Government Orders
Subtopic:   Privilege
Sub-subtopic:   Reference to Standing Committee on Procedure and House Affairs
Permalink
NDP

Charlie Angus

New Democratic Party

Mr. Charlie Angus

Mr. Speaker, certainly the reason this motion had to come before us is the signal we are getting from the Conservatives that they would just move this off to committee, but they did not want to deal with the issue of the suspension of pay. The issue of suspension of pay has to be dealt with because it deals with the Canada Elections Act and it is also the signal that we do not take criminals lightly in this place.

My concern at the procedure and House affairs committee is the suggestion that the member for Peterborough then gets to come before us and plead his case again. I think that would be an undermining of the legitimacy of the court, because the court is ruling on this, and in terms of the conviction, the court is going to lay out what is going to happen to the member for Peterborough on November 21 in terms of civil penalties.

I am concerned that the member would get to come before us and plead his case. He was already given the chance to plead his case in the House of Commons under his so-called rights and privileges.

I believe that the procedure and House affairs committee needs to be focused only on how we dispense with this member in terms of our obligations as a House to make sure we follow the rules of the Canada Elections Act: if one is found guilty, one is no longer able to sit and no longer able, for a period of five years, to present oneself to run for office. These are the issues that the procedure and House affairs committee needs to address.

The role of the New Democratic Party here is to say that we want this done in a manner that has due diligence and is fair; but it is not a chance for the member for Peterborough to come back and plead his case to his friends about how he was done wrong by a judge. I think that would be a real undermining of the credibility of what we should be doing here.

Topic:   Government Orders
Subtopic:   Privilege
Sub-subtopic:   Reference to Standing Committee on Procedure and House Affairs
Permalink
LIB

Kevin Lamoureux

Liberal

Mr. Kevin Lamoureux (Winnipeg North, Lib.)

Mr. Speaker, I think it is important that we are fairly clear on this issue. I have attempted to do that in my questions and in my statement in regard to the consequence of the action. As it has been pointed out by my colleague, the Canada Elections Act is very clear: one cannot sit.

In this situation, there has been a conviction dated October 31. The law says the member should not sit. Now, we disagree with the motion that is being put forward, because our preference is that we should be voting on the member being expelled.

The question I have for the member is this. Does he believe it is in the best interest of the people who live Peterborough that they would not have representation inside this House because a member has been suspended and we do not know how long that suspension might be? If it is left up to the government, it could be years until the next election.

The issue is this. Why would we suspend when the Canada Elections Act says we should expel?

Topic:   Government Orders
Subtopic:   Privilege
Sub-subtopic:   Reference to Standing Committee on Procedure and House Affairs
Permalink
NDP

Charlie Angus

New Democratic Party

Mr. Charlie Angus

Mr. Speaker, I sometimes feel, when I am talking to my dear friend the Ezra Levant of the Liberal Party, that I am banging my head against the wall. We just answered the question for him.

Only the House can decide how the law is to be implemented. Therefore, we actually need to do our due diligence. I know my colleagues in the Liberal Party do not like that. It might be more fun to just throw him out on the street right now, but this is the House of Commons and, for members of the House of Commons, the issue of due diligence is important.

Yes, the member needs to be suspended. The law is clear on what it means from there, in terms of his inability to sit, but there are a number of technical issues that will have to be addressed. That is the fair thing, the reasonable thing, and I think we can all leave at the end of the day saying we did the right thing in a very unfortunate set of circumstances.

Topic:   Government Orders
Subtopic:   Privilege
Sub-subtopic:   Reference to Standing Committee on Procedure and House Affairs
Permalink
CPC

Peter Van Loan

Conservative

Hon. Peter Van Loan (Leader of the Government in the House of Commons, CPC)

Mr. Speaker, I give notice with respect to the consideration of the privilege motion of the hon. member for Burnaby—New Westminster and the amendment and subamendment, that at the next sitting of the House a minister of the Crown shall move, pursuant to Standing Order 57, that debate be not further adjourned.

Topic:   Government Orders
Subtopic:   Privilege
Sub-subtopic:   Notice of Closure Motion
Permalink

The House resumed consideration of the motion, of the amendment and of the amendment to the amendment.


NDP

Pierre-Luc Dusseault

New Democratic Party

Mr. Pierre-Luc Dusseault (Sherbrooke, NDP)

Mr. Speaker, I have the honour to speak to this very important issue. A few of my colleagues have already spoken about it, but I wanted to add a few interesting facts and mention a few resources I checked before rising to speak, with the little time I had to prepare.

The suspension of a member, one of our colleagues, is an extremely important matter, because we all work together and we all do the same job. We will have to decide on the suspension of the member for Peterborough, something that is not to be taken lightly. Nor should we demonstrate blind partisanship, as they seem to have done on the other side by asking us questions that seemed inclined towards partisanship. If we were in the position of the member for Peterborough, I do not think we would like to see our colleagues engaging in hyper-partisanship when deciding on a member’s future.

Let us review the precedents, because members have been expelled in the past, and elections have been contested. We have to know how that happened, what powers the House has, and what are the various provisions of the Canada Elections Act that give us specific powers.

Four members have been expelled since Confederation. Louis Riel was expelled twice, in 1874 and 1875. At the time, no judge had passed judgment on him, and he was expelled. Following his expulsion, he ran again in a by-election, and won. He was then expelled a second time. There was also Mr. Rose, in 1947, and Mr. McGreevy, the member for Quebec West, in 1991.

It is only since 1873 that the courts have been responsible for considering issues surrounding offences under the Canada Elections Act, and handing down decisions.

Before 1873, it was the House of Commons, through various committees, that debated the evidence in order to determine whether a member had or had not contravened the Elections Act.

In 1873 the courts became responsible for deciding whether a member has breached the Canada Elections Act. Since then, it is the House that considers the issue, and has to take action through various mechanisms once a court has convicted a member of an offence under the Canada Elections Act.

In support of what I am saying, I would like to mention a book that is most helpful: O'Brien and Bosc. The expulsion of members is discussed on page 244:

Once a person is elected to the House of Commons, there are no constitutional provisions and few statutory provisions for removal of that Member from office. The statutory provisions rendering a Member ineligible to sit or vote do not automatically cause the seat of that Member to become vacant.

I would now like to quote the second edition of Maingot, which clarifies the question that my Liberal colleague has had since this sitting began and which pertains to subsection 503(3) of the Canada Elections Act. It reads as follows:

...the Canada Elections Act...stipulates that a person who has been found guilty of an illegal or corrupt practice cannot be elected to or sit and vote in the House of Commons. Similarly, the Criminal Code...provides that a Member convicted of an indictable offence, for which the sentence is two or more years of imprisonment, may not be elected to or sit or vote in the House.

The last sentence is the most important. It says:

Nonetheless, neither statute contains provisions declaring the Member’s seat vacant.

The following can be found on page 245 of O'Brien and Bosc:

By virtue of parliamentary privilege, only the House has the inherent right to decide matters affecting its own membership. Indeed, the House decides for itself if a Member should be permitted to sit on committees, receive a salary or even be allowed to keep his or her seat...The power of the House to expel one of its Members is derived from its traditional authority to determine whether a Member is qualified to sit. A criminal conviction is not necessary for the House to expel a Member; the House may judge a Member unworthy to sit in the Chamber for any conduct unbecoming the character of a Member.

It is not necessary for the individual to be convicted. The House of Commons is fully responsible for determining the future of members and sanctions in the case of misconduct.

I want to get back to Speaker Lamoureux's ruling on March 1, 1966. He confirmed that the House was responsible for ruling on these issues. The validity of the votes cast by Mr. Berger, from Montmagny—L'Islet, had been called into question on three occasions, because they had taken place before the date on which his election expenses were due to be submitted. After having heard from members, the Chair reserved his decision, since the matter at issue was to determine whether it was up to the Chair to rule on a member's right to sit and to vote. The Chair ruled that it was up to the House to rule on the member's rights.

He confirmed that it was up to the House to decide whether a member had the right to sit and vote in the House, and said that the votes in which the member voted when he was not eligible would be struck off the journals, which is not the case here. However, it is important to consider and review what happened when these types of issues came up in the past. This is not the first time this has happened. It is important to put the precedents in context.

I would also like to quote an important passage I found in Maingot, second edition, on pages 187 and 188 of the English version. It is a few paragraphs long, but they are important. I quote:

This right...also includes the right to determine whether Members of the House of Commons are qualified to sit and vote...though not the right to determine whether they are duly elected. In 1950, the U.K. House referred the case of MacManaway, a priest of the Church of Ireland, to committee to determine whether he was disqualified by the House of Commons (Clergy Disqualification Act, 1801). The committee was unable to reach a decision, and the matter was referred to the Judicial Committee....The House agreed with this report on October 19, 1950, and on November 8, 1950, thereupon ordered a warrant to be addressed to issue a new writ.

This was at a time when the U.K. House of Commons, and not the courts, were still responsible for ruling on cases of election fraud. The passage continues:

The Canada Elections Act provides for the election of the Member, but when duly elected, the House alone is the body to determine whether a Member shall remain a Member. Thus, although a Member may be convicted of something as serious as a treason-related offence, or even sentenced to five years or more upon conviction of any indictable offence, a formal resolution of the House is still required to formally unseat him, at which moment the Speaker may not yet address his warrant for the issue of a writ for the election of a Member to fill the vacancy without an order of the House of Commons to that effect.

All of that is about expulsion, although today's motion talks about a suspension. We are not quite at that point yet. In this case, the Speaker would have to address his warrant for the issue of a writ for the election of a member, but that is not the subject of this motion. As a few members have already pointed out, the legal proceedings involving the member for Peterborough are not over. I therefore support the motion, because we believe that suspending him is the appropriate action to take at this stage of our deliberations.

This continues in the second edition of the work by Maingot:

A fortiori, conviction for a less serious offence is not an assurance that the Member will be unseated. It still remains the decision of the House itself and it is probable that, before the House expels a Member, all avenues of appeal will have been exhausted and the crime of which the Member was convicted will be one involving serious moral turpitude.

This goes to show, once again, that texts, resources or precedents have already been produced or established on these issues.

As parliamentarians, it is important to talk about our responsibility and to weigh these matters, given their importance.

In O'Brien and Bosc, page 193, we find the following:

An election may be contested if there are allegations that irregularities affected the outcome of the election in a particular riding or if there are grounds to believe a candidate was not eligible to seek election.

O'Brien and Bosc also states:

In 1873, the House transferred to the provincial courts exclusive jurisdiction over matters relating to the election of its Members.

I may be repeating myself. I did not have a lot of time to prepare.

I just wanted to share all these precedents, given the important decision we are being asked to make today, one that will have consequences on the future of one of our colleagues.

I will be pleased to answer any questions my colleagues might have.

Topic:   Government Orders
Subtopic:   Privilege
Sub-subtopic:   Member for Peterborough
Permalink
LIB

Kevin Lamoureux

Liberal

Mr. Kevin Lamoureux (Winnipeg North, Lib.)

Mr. Speaker, what a privilege it is for us to be here, but it is important for us to recognize that it is also important for members to be here in terms of representation. In order for all Canadians to have representation, we have to ensure that members are able to sit in the House. The Canada Elections Act is fairly clear about a member not being able to sit in the House.

We have agreement from the New Democratic Party to at least acknowledge that the member for Peterborough should not be able to sit in the House, but the NDP is also saying indirectly to the fine people of Peterborough that they will not have representation inside the House of Commons. That is what New Democrats are ultimately arguing here, and it could be indefinitely.

Why would the NDP oppose expelling the member for Peterborough?

Topic:   Government Orders
Subtopic:   Privilege
Sub-subtopic:   Member for Peterborough
Permalink
NDP

Pierre-Luc Dusseault

New Democratic Party

Mr. Pierre-Luc Dusseault

Mr. Speaker, my entire speech was meant to answer the question that the member for Winnipeg North has been asking from the beginning of this debate.

Once again, I ask him to refer to page 244 of O'Brien and Bosc. Of course, he can refer to the English version.

The paragraph entitled “Expulsion” reads as follows:

Once a person is elected to the House of Commons, there are no constitutional provisions and few statutory provisions for removal of that Member from office. The statutory provisions rendering a Member ineligible to sit or vote do not automatically cause the seat of that Member to become vacant.

I would also like to refer to Maingot, which O'Brien and Bosc refers to at footnote 471:

471. ...[The] Canada Elections Act, s. 502(3), [the paragraph the Liberals have been quoting all along] which stipulates that a person who has been found guilty of an illegal or corrupt practice cannot be elected to or sit and vote in the House of Commons. Similarly, the Criminal Code...provides that a Member convicted of an indictable offence, for which the sentence is two or more years of imprisonment, may not be elected to or sit or vote in the House.

The footnote concludes:

Nonetheless, neither statute contains provisions declaring the Member’s seat vacant.

Maignot confirms that:

The Canada Elections Act provides for the election of the Member, but when duly elected, the House alone is the body to determine whether a Member shall remain a Member.

I hope this answers the member's question and that he is now enlightened.

Topic:   Government Orders
Subtopic:   Privilege
Sub-subtopic:   Member for Peterborough
Permalink
NDP

Alexandrine Latendresse

New Democratic Party

Ms. Alexandrine Latendresse (Louis-Saint-Laurent, NDP)

Mr. Speaker, here is my question for my colleague, whom I would like to thank for his speech and very relevant remarks.

Since we are talking about MP pensions, I would like to hear his thoughts about the fact that today in committee, when we were studying a Conservative bill about the ability to strip members of their pension, the Conservatives refused to support our amendment, which would have ensured that anyone convicted of an offence under the Canada Elections Act would be covered by the bill.

I would like to know whether he thinks that the Elections Act should be included and whether he finds it somewhat odd that the Conservatives decided to vote against our amendment today.

Topic:   Government Orders
Subtopic:   Privilege
Sub-subtopic:   Member for Peterborough
Permalink
NDP

Pierre-Luc Dusseault

New Democratic Party

Mr. Pierre-Luc Dusseault

Mr. Speaker, I thank my colleague for her question and for mentioning what happened in committee. I find it indeed surprising and strange that a private member's bill would exclude offences under the Elections Act as grounds for removing the pension of a member who breaks the law.

How interesting that it happened today, considering that the decision about the member for Peterborough was handed down on October 31. What a surprise that this should happen today. Is it a coincidence? Was it planned and expected? Probably. It would be a great shame and disappointment to know that the Conservatives are trying to protect a former colleague by trying not to amend this private member's bill, an amendment that would make it cover the Elections Act.

That would be simple to do, after all. All laws, when broken, should be treated equally when it comes to pension matters.

Topic:   Government Orders
Subtopic:   Privilege
Sub-subtopic:   Member for Peterborough
Permalink

A motion to adjourn the House under Standing Order 38 deemed to have been moved.


LIB

Carolyn Bennett

Liberal

Hon. Carolyn Bennett (St. Paul's, Lib.)

Mr. Speaker, for a very long time, since the cancelling of the funding of Sisters in Spirit in the Native Women's Association of Canada, we have been calling for a national public inquiry into missing and murdered indigenous women. Indeed, in 2010 Anita Neville and Todd Ross made sure that it was clear that there needed to be a national public inquiry in order for us to get to the bottom of what this horrible tragedy was all about.

Later the AFN and the Native Women's Association called for a national public inquiry, and it has become clear to everyone across the country—except the Conservative government—that indigenous women and girls are dramatically more likely to be victims of homicides and to go missing in Canada. In fact, while only 4% of women in Canada are indigenous, this demographic accounted for a staggering 23% of female homicide victims in 2012. This means almost one in four female murder victims in Canada is indigenous.

The RCMP statistics identified almost 1,200 victims since 1984, doubling the previous Native Women's Association of Canada estimate. In fact, it was a year and a half ago, on February 14, when we debated in the House the need for a special parliamentary committee. It was because of that special parliamentary committee that the RCMP actually picked up the phone, called other levels of policing, and found out that its unbelievably low estimate was extraordinarily higher than it had thought, at almost 1,200 victims.

This epidemic of violence must end, and the Conservative government, which claims to be tough on crime and to stand up for victims of crime, cannot continue to ignore this national disgrace. The government's recent so-called “action plan” simply implements the whitewashed recommendations of the Conservative-dominated Special Committee on Violence Against Indigenous Women. In fact, that report ignored all of the recommendations of the witnesses that were heard from and put in place a laundry list of things that were already being done and were thought to be sufficient when, clearly, what was being done was not sufficient.

These piecemeal government initiatives that were articulated in its so-called action plan listed many things that were not even specific to indigenous women and girls. For instance, the $25 million of so-called “new money” is simply a re-announcement of the funding of budget 2014, which is simply an extension of the temporary funding of $25 million over five years first announced back in 2010. This kind of political smoke and mirrors is why a national action plan must be rooted in a non-partisan national investigation into why this problem has persisted for decades and why all of us in the House recognize that successive governments have been unable to fix it without articulating the facts.

The Prime Minister's stubborn refusal to call a national public inquiry into this ongoing tragedy of missing and murdered indigenous women and girls is in stark contrast to the overwhelming consensus in Canada. The Prime Minister is on the wrong side of history. Grieving families, indigenous leaders, opposition parties, victims' advocates, civil society, and every single provincial and territorial premier have all urged the government to call a national public inquiry.

The Prime Minister's opposition is ill-considered and short-sighted and is killing people. We can and must rise to this challenge and call a national public inquiry now.

Topic:   Adjournment Proceedings
Subtopic:   Aboriginal Affairs
Permalink
CPC

Susan Truppe

Conservative

Mrs. Susan Truppe (Parliamentary Secretary for Status of Women, CPC)

Mr. Speaker, first let me be clear that these abhorrent acts of violence against aboriginal women and girls will not be tolerated in our society. Canada is a country where those who break the law are punished, where penalties match the severity of crimes committed, and where the rights of victims are recognized. That is why we committed in economic action plan 2014 to invest an additional $25 million over five years to continue efforts to reduce violence against aboriginal women.

On September 15, the Minister of Labour and Minister of Status of Women released the Government of Canada's action plan to address family violence and violent crimes against aboriginal women and girls. It responds to the call for action from families and communities, and addresses the recommendations of the Special Committee on Violence Against Indigenous Women. That is what our government is doing. It is taking action.

There are three main areas in which our government is taking action. First, the Government of Canada is taking action to prevent violence against aboriginal women and girls. Specific actions set out in the action plan include the development of more community safety plans across Canada, including in regions the RCMP's analysis has identified as having a high incidence of violent crime perpetrated against women and girls; projects to break intergenerational cycles of violence and abuse by raising awareness and building healthy relationships; and projects to engage men and boys and empower aboriginal women and girls to denounce and prevent violence.

Second, the Government of Canada is taking action to assist and support victims of violence. Specifically, the action plan supports family-police liaison positions to ensure that family members have access to timely information about cases, specialized assistance for victims and families, and positive relationships and the sharing of information between families and criminal justice professionals.

Third, the Government of Canada is taking action to protect aboriginal women and girls. Specifically, the action plan includes initiatives such as funding shelters on reserves on an ongoing basis, supporting the creation of a DNA-based missing persons index, and continuing to support police investigations through the National Centre for Missing Persons and Unidentified Remains.

The Government of Canada will also continue to work closely with provinces and territories, police services and the justice system, as well as aboriginal families, communities, and organizations to address violence against aboriginal women and girls.

Topic:   Adjournment Proceedings
Subtopic:   Aboriginal Affairs
Permalink

November 4, 2014