May 11, 2015

LIB

Carolyn Bennett

Liberal

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

moved:

That, in the opinion of the House, the tragic and inequitable issue of missing and murdered Aboriginal women and girls is of critical importance for all Canadians; that the government has failed to provide justice for the victims, healing for the families, or an end to the violence; and that the House call on the government to take immediate action to deal with this systemic problem and call a public inquiry.

Mr. Speaker, I rise today to speak to my private member's motion about the overwhelming number of missing and murdered aboriginal women and girls in Canada and the urgent need to ensure their safety and well-being.

My motion calls on this House to recognize that the tragic and inequitable issue of missing and murdered aboriginal women and girls is of critical importance for all Canadians and that the government has failed to provide justice for the victims, healing for the families, or an end to the violence.

It also calls on the House to urge the government to take immediate action to deal with this systemic problem and call a public inquiry.

Aboriginal women in Canada experience rates of violence that are three times higher than they are for non-aboriginal women. Young aboriginal women are five times more likely to die violently than other women.

The disproportionate number of aboriginal women and girls who go missing or are victims of homicide has been an issue that has spanned many decades and many governments. That is why, in 2005, the previous Liberal government invested $5 million to fund a project called Sisters in Spirit, run by the Native Women's Association of Canada. The goal was to conduct research and raise awareness of the alarmingly high rates of violence against aboriginal women and girls.

In 2009, Sisters in Spirit released a report, “Voices of our Sisters in Spirit”, which identified almost 600 cases of missing and murdered aboriginal women and girls. The reprehensible response of the Conservative government to this worrying evidence of the scope of the crisis was to end the funding of the project.

The Sisters in Spirit report and the disgraceful government response led to the Liberal Party's call for a non-partisan, independent national inquiry in 2010.

Last year, the RCMP released an even more disturbing report, which identified almost 1,200 aboriginal women and girls who had gone missing or had been murdered since 1980.

Despite representing only 4% of women in Canada, aboriginal women accounted for 8% of the female homicide victims in 1984 and a staggering 23% by 2012. Think of those shocking statistics. The aboriginal proportion of female homicide statistics has been steadily rising, and as of 2012, this 4% of the female population accounts for almost one-quarter of women who are murdered.

These statistics are eye opening, but we must also remember that they represent real people. They are daughters, mothers, sisters, and aunties. They leave families in unimaginable pain, and we are deprived of their tremendous potential contributions to our communities.

Canadians are beginning to take notice. From the NWAC Faceless Dolls Project started years ago—in which the missing women and girls were anonymous to most—recent victims have become household names. Loretta Saunders and Tina Fontaine are now symbols of the many other aboriginal women and girls who have been failed by Canadian society.

This is not an aboriginal issue. It is not a women's issue. It is a continuing Canadian tragedy.

Despite this new broader awareness, the Minister of Aboriginal Affairs and Northern Development recently quoted unpublished statistics about the ethnicity of some of the perpetrators to cynically insinuate that this is an aboriginal problem. He irresponsibly referred to statistics without any context of how they compare to the general population. He also neglected to note the RCMP finding that aboriginal women are less likely to be murdered by a spouse or an intimate partner than non-aboriginal victims.

These disgraceful political games are why we need an independent and comprehensive public inquiry. It is also important to understand that a national public inquiry is not only a matter of seeking justice and reconciliation for past injustices, but it is critical if we are going to address the systemic problems underlying this ongoing crisis.

A properly conducted, adequately funded inquiry has the potential to teach us both about the causes of the violence and how to prevent it from recurring. This is a point I want to emphasize. If we are to truly end the violence, we must find ways to prevent it. It is not enough to just better respond to crimes after they have been committed.

For an inquiry to be effective, victims' families and aboriginal organizations will need to be involved not only in the inquiry's work but in the design of its mandate and its operations. It must engage the broader public and facilitate a much wider understanding of the issues through its very operations. It must involve civil society, welcome independent research, and make it clear that all evidence it hears will be valued.

Grieving families, indigenous leaders, victims advocates, civil society, the international community, and every provincial and territorial premier have all urged the government to call a national inquiry; yet despite this overwhelming consensus on the need for a national public inquiry, the Prime Minister stubbornly rejects it out of hand. The Prime Minister refuses to acknowledge that this ongoing national tragedy represents more than a series of individual crimes that can be dealt with by law enforcement alone. In fact, last summer, in the wake of Tina Fontaine's murder in Winnipeg, the Prime Minister insensitively said, “We should not view this as a sociological phenomenon”. He dismissed root causes being any significant part of the broader issue, calling the murders of aboriginal women and girls crimes that should be dealt with by the police. Last December, he even admitted to a national TV audience that this issue was not high on his government's radar. The Prime Minister is simply on the wrong side of history.

The Prime Minister's government tried to explain the rejection of a national inquiry by asserting the need for action, instead of study. These are not mutually exclusive measures. The urgency of this crisis requires the development and implementation of a comprehensive and multi-jurisdictional national action plan, like they had in Australia.

The effectiveness of such a national action plan depends a truly coordinated approach involving the many relevant federal departments, the provincial and territorial governments and aboriginal leaders, an approach that focuses on preventing these senseless deaths and putting an end to this senseless violence.

Such a plan should be rooted in a comprehensive, non-partisan study of this ongoing tragedy that goes beyond establishing the raw statistics.

However, there are concrete steps that could be taken immediately. Additional funding for inadequate shelter spaces on reserve and in northern communities, addressing the horrifying numbers of aboriginal children in foster care, real approaches to keeping families together, better funding and support for aboriginal policing, and better co-ordination among all levels of government would all be positive steps. Unfortunately, the federal government's response to this urgent crisis has been complete inaction.

The government's action plan, which members opposite will undoubtedly shortly point to, is no more than a repackaged inventory of inadequate federal programs and funding that existed before last fall's announcement. The $25 million highlighted as new money simply maintains the existing insufficient funding levels from 2010. Many of the broader initiatives noted in the larger strategy are not even directed at aboriginal people at all.

The 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 appalling situation.

Only a national inquiry would have the credibility, scope and resources to address the systemic problems underlying the violence. It would provide the accountability to ensure implementation of its recommendations, and bring justice and reconciliation to the victims and their families.

I urge all members to support my motion, and I thank so many of the aboriginal women and girls who have helped us on this journey and who still suffer so much.

Meegwetch.

Topic:   Private Members' Business
Subtopic:   Missing Aboriginal Women
Permalink
CPC

Susan Truppe

Conservative

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

Mr. Speaker, we all have a role to play in protecting aboriginal women and girls, and our government has taken strong action to address the broader challenges facing aboriginal women and girls. Since 2006, we have been proud to introduce more than 30 new justice and public safety initiatives to keep Canadian families safe, and the party across has voted against them.

We recently tabled our action plan to address family violence and violent crime against aboriginal women and girls. The action plan makes significant investments to support the creation of a DNA missing persons database, more community safety plans through Public Safety Canada, and better tools and resources for first nations leaders to address this problem on reserves. We are also going to engage men and boys. We are going to have projects that will break cycles of intergenerational violence.

We have heard from victims' families that now is the time for action and not more studies, so I do not know what part of the action plan the member opposite does not like. These are actual initiatives that will help aboriginal women and girls.

Topic:   Private Members' Business
Subtopic:   Missing Aboriginal Women
Permalink
LIB

Carolyn Bennett

Liberal

Hon. Carolyn Bennett

Mr. Speaker, clearly the member had not heard my remarks. What we are saying is that the Conservatives' so-called inaction plan is absolutely not addressing what we have heard. It is totally focused on the time after people have died or gone missing. It is not doing anything to help with the prevention and stopping of this epidemic of violence. They just do not get it. The DNA bank means that the victim is already dead. These are important issues for the families, but what the families really want is for this not to happen to anyone else.

Yesterday, on Mother's Day, all I could think of was those families and those mothers who did not have a daughter to say “thank you”. That is what the government does not get, and it is just so disturbing.

Topic:   Private Members' Business
Subtopic:   Missing Aboriginal Women
Permalink
NDP

Megan Leslie

New Democratic Party

Ms. Megan Leslie (Halifax, NDP)

Mr. Speaker, I thank my colleague for bringing the motion forward. She said in her speech that the statistics are eye opening but that we must also remember that they are real people. I could not agree more.

She brought up a few names, including that of Loretta Saunders. As we know, Loretta Saunders was a young Inuk woman going to St. Mary's University in Halifax, who was killed. Her killers have pleaded guilty and the justice system has worked. We will see what happens as these two continue to make their way through the justice system.

Loretta Saunders parents are actually still asking for an inquiry, even though the killers have pleaded guilty. Does the member agree that we do need an inquiry if we are to see justice truly served here, that it is not about these two individuals who killed Loretta Saunders, but it is the bigger issue we are trying to tackle here?

Topic:   Private Members' Business
Subtopic:   Missing Aboriginal Women
Permalink
LIB

Carolyn Bennett

Liberal

Hon. Carolyn Bennett

Mr. Speaker, I thank the member for her question, and I thank her and her party for the advocacy that has continued on this. It should not be a partisan issue.

The parents of Loretta Saunders and Holly and the rest of the community there are not only working very hard to seek justice, but they are a tremendous example of why we need a national public inquiry. They too want to deal with some of the root causes and illuminate the things we do not even know yet around not only policing but foster care and all the things we know are part and parcel of this huge difference in the numbers between aboriginal women and girls and the non-aboriginal population.

I thank the member for raising this. We too support Loretta Saunders' parents in their quest for a national inquiry.

Topic:   Private Members' Business
Subtopic:   Missing Aboriginal Women
Permalink
LIB

Wayne Easter

Liberal

Hon. Wayne Easter (Malpeque, Lib.)

Mr. Speaker, I want to congratulate my colleague on the motion. I know how hard she has worked with the aboriginal women across Canada.

I think there is a misconception that public inquiries are just to find cause. Is it true that the purpose of the inquiry is to find the root causes, yes, but what is really key is the kind of recommendations that could come out of such an inquiry to make changes and improvements in the future so this kind of situation does not happen?

Topic:   Private Members' Business
Subtopic:   Missing Aboriginal Women
Permalink
LIB

Carolyn Bennett

Liberal

Hon. Carolyn Bennett

Mr. Speaker, I agree with the hon. member that the recommendations that come out of these kinds of inquiry are hugely important.

I have been interested in listening to some of the experts on national public inquiries and how they feel that one of the other issues is bringing the public in and having the resources to let all Canadians know how they can be part of the healing and reconciliation and be part of stopping this epidemic.

I thank people like Christi Belcourt and the Walking With Our Sisters campaign and the kind of art and awareness-raising that has been very much part of this journey for so many families.

Topic:   Private Members' Business
Subtopic:   Missing Aboriginal Women
Permalink
CPC

Susan Truppe

Conservative

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

Mr. Speaker, as Parliamentary Secretary for Status of Women, as well as one of the members who sat on the special committee which studied the issue of missing and murdered aboriginal women, I welcome the opportunity to participate in this important debate.

This motion deals with a very important issue in our country: violence against aboriginal women and girls. Our government takes the issue of violence against women and girls very seriously. That is why we have put in place an ongoing series of important measures so that women and girls, including aboriginal women and girls, can live violence-free lives. I would like to take a few moments to describe some of the actions our government has taken.

To make communities safer for all Canadians, we have enacted over 30 measures into law since 2006. These measures are making communities safer by holding violent criminals accountable for their crimes, giving victims of crime a stronger voice and increasing the efficiency of the justice system. We increased penalties for violent crimes. We introduced legislation to give police and prosecutors new tools to address cyberbullying. We introduced the victims bill of rights.

The Government of Canada has allocated more than $140 million since 2006 to give victims a more effective voice in the criminal justice system through initiatives delivered by Justice Canada. On February 20, 2015, the Government of Canada announced a 10-year, $100 million investment to prevent, detect and combat family violence and child abuse as part of our government commitment to stand up for victims. Of this amount, $30 million is dedicated to supporting aboriginal communities through Health Canada's first nations and Inuit health branch.

With respect to addressing violence against aboriginal women and girls specifically, our government was pleased to participate in the National Roundtable on Missing and Murdered Indigenous Women and Girls on February 27, 2015 here in Ottawa. As part of the round table, the Minister of Labour and Minister of Status of Women and the Minister of Aboriginal Affairs And Northern Development highlighted recent actions we have taken to address family violence and violent crimes against aboriginal women and girls. For example, they highlighted our government's action plan to address family violence and violent crimes against aboriginal women, which I am pleased to announce has been implemented as of April 1, 2015. The action plan takes immediate and concrete action to prevent violence, support victims, and protect aboriginal women and girls through new and ongoing commitments totalling approximately $200 million over five years. It includes new funding of $25 million over five years starting April 1, 2015, as well as renewed and ongoing support for shelters on reserve and family violence prevention activities.

The action plan's new funding of $25 million is broken down as follows. There is $8.6 million over five years for the development of more community safety plans across Canada. There is $2.5 million over five years for projects to break intergenerational cycles of violence and abuse by raising awareness. There is $5 million over five years for projects to engage men and boys, and empower women and girls in efforts to denounce and prevent violence. There is $7.5 million over five years to support aboriginal victims and families. There is $1.4 million over five years to share information and resources with communities and organizations, and report regularly on progress made and results achieved under the action plan.

Above and beyond the new funding that is part of this action plan, there is further funding of $158.7 million over five years beginning with the government's new fiscal year on April 1, 2015 for the existing network of shelters on reserve and family violence prevention activities through Aboriginal Affairs and Northern Development Canada. Through Status of Women Canada funding became available April 1, 2015 to improve economic security of aboriginal women and promote their participation in leadership and decision-making roles.

All of these actions by our government represent important steps forward in creating safer communities for aboriginal women and girls and for all Canadians. We are proud of our action plan. However, no individual, organization or government working alone can tackle this problem. I think most Canadians would agree that everyone needs to be part of the solution. That is why the actions I have talked about today are intended to complement the work of provinces and territories, police and the justice system, as well as aboriginal families, communities and organizations to address violence against aboriginal women and girls, which is why I find myself unable to support the motion before the House today.

We have over 40 studies, along with the report from the special committee, which have aided in the development of our action plan. We believe that now is the time for action. We must continue focusing on actions that will help our country deal with the very issues the member has described in her motion.

We will continue collaborating with aboriginal leaders, aboriginal communities and other levels of government to get the most out of our respective action plans. I am confident that by working together we can and we will help ensure aboriginal women and girls have a greater chance to live violence-free lives.

We know that helping women and girls live violence-free lives is not only the right thing to do, but that a life free of violence also can help women and girls achieve their full potential in their own lives and in the lives of their families and communities. That is what will move us toward greater equality in our country, which is something I know we all wish to see.

Topic:   Private Members' Business
Subtopic:   Missing Aboriginal Women
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NDP

Carol Hughes

New Democratic Party

Mrs. Carol Hughes (Algoma—Manitoulin—Kapuskasing, NDP)

Mr. Speaker, we have been debating this issue in the House for quite some time. We would not have to debate it continually if the government actually took proper steps to address this issue.

I have spoken about this issue on a number of occasions in the House, among other first nation issues, whether it is education, housing, or infrastructure, and the government has turned a blind eye to what is really happening in first nations communities. When it comes to women, the issue is that much more important.

I will be reiterating some of the words that I have said in the past, because nothing has really changed in the position that the government has taken. I want to recognize that this particular motion is similar to Motion No. 444, which my colleague from Churchill has tabled. The difference between the motions is that the NDP motion is more in-depth and is what we think needs to move forward.

I will speak to Motion No. 411 for a minute and indicate that a national inquiry is actually an essential step in confronting the epidemic of missing and murdered indigenous women in Canada and realizing justice for the families who have lost their loved ones. The Conservative government has been standing alone among governments and the majority of indigenous communities in opposing a national inquiry. That should tell us a lot.

The member on the Conservative side talked about the round table. The national round table started on February 26. It was supposed to offer testimony to find answers and solutions to end the violence. Families were looking to the government to finally change its rhetoric and come together with its provincial and territorial counterparts to act upon coordinated solutions and finally call a national inquiry. As one can imagine, keeping to the way that it has been going down the line, the government did not listen to the plea for a national inquiry.

We have to also consider that families of the over 1,200 women and girls who have disappeared or been murdered in Canada have raised the issue over and over again and actually deserve much better from the government. They deserve a real action plan that would get answers. They deserve a genuine consultation process. That is what a national inquiry would do. They certainly do not deserve the Conservative government's action plan that offers nothing but the status quo. The member on the Liberal side will attest to the fact that that is basically what the government has been offering over and over again.

Statistics actually show that every year in Canada, violence drives 100,000 women and children out of their homes and into shelters, but I have to stress that it is where those shelters actually exist. The government has said that it has invested more money into shelters on reserve, but let me stress that they do not exist in every first nations community. We have to take into consideration that there are a lot of remote and rural areas which do not have shelters. There needs to be much more done.

In northern Canada, the problem is extreme, with more women facing abuse and fewer safe houses and shelters. That all plays a role in this. Despite quantifiably greater rates of violence, 70% of northern and remote communities do not have safe houses or emergency shelters. That justifies the fact that the government has not been taking action. A lot of the dollars the government talks about are just re-announcements.

When we look at the skewed statistics, the government continues to minimize its responsibility and refuses to call for an inquiry. The Conservatives claim to take the problem seriously, but their words do not match their actions, and women are forced to remain in the homes of their attackers as a result. We have seen that the issue is not just in the homes, but the issue is in the communities, as well. There is a lot of discrimination out there still to this day. That is unbelievable.

In spite of the government's claims that it is doing a lot for victims of crime, statistics show that just 53% of homicides involving aboriginal women are solved, compared to a solve rate of 84% for all murders in this country.

These statistics seem quite acceptable to this government, even though they show that the government does not treat all victims of crime equally. Abuse crime rates are similarly skewed for women in the north, who are primarily aboriginal women.

Statistics Canada shows that aboriginal women are vastly overrepresented among homicide victims. Statistics also show that the rate of abuse against aboriginal women is also higher, and if we consider the lack of housing in northern communities, the statistics point to a perfect storm, where women cannot get away from their abusers, which is the most basic step in escaping from a domestic violence situation.

A few years ago, I went to Maniwaki. A young woman from the aboriginal community had disappeared and has never been found. Very little was done to find that young woman compared to what was done to find a young woman from another community who had just disappeared. As I said a few minutes ago, discrimination is alive and well in our country.

A national action plan to address violence against women and girls is urgently needed. Rates of violence against women in Canada are shockingly high, especially against indigenous, racialized, disabled, and LGBTTQ women.

The current response to violence against women and girls has failed to significantly lower the level of violence they experience and cuts by both the Liberal and Conservative governments have exacerbated the situation. I have to mention that it is not just under the Conservatives that we have seen cuts. We actually saw cuts as well when the Liberals were in power. During the Liberal majority government in the late 1990s and early 2000s, funding for anti-violence initiatives and services began to be cut. Social housing initiatives, including shelters, secondary and tertiary housing were gutted by Chrétien's Liberals. Much of the responsibility to prevent violence against women was downloaded onto the provinces, for example, legal aid. The Liberal austerity budgets cut deeply into the social services that women were reliant on. Poverty can be seen through a gender lens and high poverty rates for women coincide with higher rates of violence against women.

There has been a blind eye turned to first nation issues for far too long under the Liberals and the Conservatives. It was not until my colleague from Timmins—James Bay raised the issue of the living conditions at Attawapiskat that finally some action was taken.

Even this weekend in Algoma—Manitoulin—Kapuskasing there was a rally. The issues are quite noticed, even in Algoma—Manitoulin—Kapuskasing. The United Urban Warrior Society held a rally on Saturday not only on Bill C-51, but mostly on the need for a national inquiry into the missing and murdered indigenous women.

In conclusion, we certainly support the motion, but the one that we have put forward is much more in-depth. We need action. We need to ensure that this House comes together to recognize the injustices being done and to ensure that the families can have closure.

Topic:   Private Members' Business
Subtopic:   Missing Aboriginal Women
Permalink
LIB

Kirsty Duncan

Liberal

Ms. Kirsty Duncan (Etobicoke North, Lib.)

Mr. Speaker, I rise today to strongly support Motion No. 411 put forward by my colleague and friend, the member for St. Paul's. This is the day after Mother's Day, and my heart goes out to these families.

The motion says:

—the tragic and inequitable issue of missing and murdered Aboriginal women and girls is of critical importance for all Canadians; that the government has failed to provide justice for the victims, healing for the families, or an end to the violence; and that...the government to take immediate action to deal with this systemic problem and call a public inquiry.

Each missing and murdered indigenous woman or girl leaves behind a family that loved her and a community struggling to deal with her loss. As a country, as Canadians and as members of the House serving our communities, we must continue to tell the stories of missing and murdered women and girls until perpetrators are brought to justice, families are given necessary resources for healing, violence is brought to an end, and the lives of these women and girls are honoured.

A CBC news database was recently launched and found that there were more than 230 indigenous women across Canada whose deaths or disappearances were unsolved. The CBC interviewed 111 of their families and told their stories, not just about the death or disappearance of a loved one, but who she was and how she lived. As the CBC reported:

Each one of those women is unique, each story is gut-wrenching. Yet reading these profiles together, we begin to see patterns emerging. The underlying causes associated with missing or murdered indigenous women become hard to ignore.

CBC reported on one woman. She was a survivor of a sexual assault by age six, and that had haunted her for years. As she grew older, she continued to struggle. There were addictions and suicide attempts, and when she was 24 she disappeared. The report recorded life after life and, while they are each unique, some similarities arise again and again.

Advocate and lawyer, Christa Big Canoe, said that much could be traced back to colonization and policies rooted in assimilation. She said:

We have to contextualize everything. We have to look at the history and roots of institutionalization of aboriginal people in this country, including things like residential schools, the '60s Scoop and, most importantly, the criminalization which has incarcerated a lot of people in our communities...

A recent report supports the idea that the violence currently faced by indigenous women has roots in the past. The Cedar project followed 259 aboriginal women for seven years. Researchers found that survivors of childhood sexual abuse were 10 times more likely than the average person to be sexually assaulted. The children of survivors of residential schools were 2.35 times more likely to be sexually assaulted.

We cannot ignore the patterns that are being repeated again and again in the lives of these women. Until the root causes are addressed, the violence will continue. Dealing with these issues is not just a matter of violence prevention; it is a matter of crisis intervention.

Indigenous women and girls are dramatically more likely to be the victims of homicide or to go missing in Canada. While only 4% of women in Canada are indigenous, this demographic accounted for 8% of female homicide victims in 1984 and a staggering 23% by 2012; that is, the situation has been getting worse and now almost one in four female homicide victims in Canada is indigenous.

Last year's RCMP report, which identified almost 1,200 indigenous women and girls who had gone missing and been murdered since 1980, crystalized both the scope and the urgency of this national crisis. The 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 tragedy.

In February 2013, my friend and colleague, the member for St. Paul's, tabled a motion in the House of Commons asking for unanimous consent to convene a special committee on violence against indigenous women and girls.

In March 2014, the special committee tabled its report, including 16 recommendations intended to address the violence faced by aboriginal women. However, the report did not include a recommendation to set up a national public inquiry. Liberals were very critical of the report's recommendations, as well as the manner in which the committee conducted its work.

The Prime Minister's comments last summer that “we should not view this as sociological phenomenon”, and his shocking admission during his year-end interview with Peter Mansbridge that “it isn’t really high on our radar” were insensitive and reprehensible. The Prime Minister and his government are on the wrong side of history on this issue.

The Prime Minister's stubborn refusal to call a national public inquiry is in stark contrast to the overwhelming consensus that one is needed. Grieving families, indigenous leaders, victims' advocates, civil society, the international community, and every provincial and territorial premier have urged the government to call a national inquiry. The Prime Minister and his Conservative government are alone in their refusal to see the need for action on this issue.

In the fall of 2014, the government tabled an "Action Plan to Address Family Violence and Violent Crimes Against Aboriginal Women and Girls". Unfortunately, the action plan does nothing new to stop violence against indigenous women and girls. Instead it is a laundry list of existing federal government initiatives, many not even specific to indigenous women and girls.

Moreover, the $25 million highlighted in the announcement is not new money. It is simply a renouncement of funding from budget 2014, which is an extension of temporary funding of $25 million over five years, first announced back in 2010.

In February 2015, the government held its first round table on missing and murdered indigenous women. Although the federal government belatedly agreed to send the Ministers of Aboriginal Affairs and Status of Women to the round table, the federal government remained the only participant adamantly opposed to an independent national inquiry.

Afterward, the government indicated that the issue was one of domestic violence within aboriginal communities. Indigenous groups, however, dispute this and point out that many of the women met their fate in major cities and not just on reserves, for example, the murders by serial killer Robert Pickton. They also argue that the violence facing indigenous women has deep social roots in discrimination, poor education and poverty that lead indigenous women in to high-risk lifestyles.

Only a national inquiry would have the credibility, scope and resources to address the systemic problems underlying the violence, provide the accountability to ensure implementation of its recommendations and bring justice and reconciliation for the victims and their families.

The Liberals have long joined aboriginal communities and Canadian society in calling for a national public inquiry on missing and murdered indigenous women and girls. That is why a future Liberal government will hold a national public inquiry. That is why the member of Parliament for St. Paul's tabled this profoundly important motion in the House of Commons to do so.

I thank her for her work and I thank the families. I want them to know my heart goes out to each and every one of them.

Topic:   Private Members' Business
Subtopic:   Missing Aboriginal Women
Permalink
CPC

Stella Ambler

Conservative

Mrs. Stella Ambler (Mississauga South, CPC)

Mr. Speaker, I am pleased to rise today to speak to Motion No. 411.

I had the privilege of being the chair of the Special Committee on Violence Against Indigenous Women, also known as the special committee for missing and murdered aboriginal women. We heard testimony from witnesses and family members and, at times, it was overwhelming to hear about the tragedies, the grief and the extreme heartache. It would have been impossible to take part in that study and not be moved by the gut-wrenching stories of suffering and grief experienced by the families of aboriginal women. All committee members listened to the evidence, and what we heard was compelling.

Root causes were examined, solid recommendations were made and our action plan was the result. This is the action plan that the Minister of Labour and Minister of Status of Women tabled in the House on September 15, 2014, which was created based on the recommendations that came out of our committee report.

This Conservative government takes the issue of violence against women very seriously, and I would like to speak to some of the measures we have put in place, as well as the action we have taken to address this very serious issue.

There are three main areas in which the government is taking action that were highlighted in the action plan, again, as a result of the recommendations from the special committee.

First, we are 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 that the RCMP's analysis has identified as having high levels of incidents of violent crime perpetrated against women and girls. There are also projects to break intergenerational cycles of violence and abuse by raising awareness and building healthy relationships, as well as projects to engage men and boys, which empower aboriginal women and girls to denounce and prevent violence.

Second, our government is taking action to assist and support the victims of violence. In particular, family and police liaison positions ensure that family members have access to timely information about cases is part of the action plan. There is also specialized assistance for victims and families, and awareness regarding positive relationships in the sharing of information between families and criminal justice professionals.

Third, the action plan highlights our action we are taking to protect aboriginal women and girls, with 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 the provinces and territories, police services and the justice system, as well as aboriginal families, communities, and organizations to address this serious and tragic issue.

Thirty new justice and public safety measures to keep Canadians safer have been introduced since 2006. They have not been re-announced. For example, the action plan to which I have been referring makes significant investments to support the creation of the DNA missing persons database, as well as more community safety plans through Public Safety Canada, and better tools and resources for first nations leaders to address the problem itself on reserve. First nations leaders asked for this support at committee. We listened and we acted on it.

Yes, sadly, in Canada, aboriginal women and girls face disproportionate levels of violence. This vulnerability to violence can be associated with a number of socio-economic problems facing their communities, such as poverty, relationship violence and substance abuse. These are some of the root causes that we also looked at in the special committee.

As first responders to many aboriginal communities in Canada, RCMP officers often respond to difficult calls involving violence against aboriginal women, so I would like to take a moment to discuss the role of the RCMP.

The RCMP works collaboratively with other Canadian police services, provincial and territorial governments, aboriginal and non-aboriginal agencies, and the public to address the health and safety of aboriginal women and to investigate and resolve outstanding cases of missing or murdered aboriginal women.

We heard from the RCMP at the committee as well. Since 2001, a number of police task forces have been established in areas of the country where more significant numbers of these cases have happened. Project Devote in Winnipeg, Project E-PANA in northern and central British Columbia, Project EVEN-HANDED in Vancouver, and Project KARE in Edmonton are great examples of RCMP-led multi-agency task forces that diligently investigate cases of homicides and missing persons in Canada. These task forces have been successful in advancing investigations and solving a number of cases of missing and murdered aboriginal women.

The RCMP focuses its operational efforts on preventing and resolving missing persons cases through multi-agency community engagement, victim support, and effective coordination of timely and quality investigations. Its operational policy directs police officers to give operational priority to a missing-person complaint or report and to investigate all cases of missing and murdered persons within its jurisdiction, regardless of sex, ethnicity, background, or lifestyle. One example of a tool the RCMP might use is the national public website canadamissing.ca to inform and seek tips from the public.

In 2013, Bob Paulson, the Commissioner of the RCMP, initiated the compilation of all available police data related to missing and murdered aboriginal women on behalf of the Canadian law enforcement community. Something that was requested, and clearly needed, was a central gathering of evidence and numbers so that we had reliable statistics related to the high incidence of these cases. The result was the national operational overview, which was published in May 2014. This provides the most accurate account to date of missing and murdered aboriginal women in Canada.

We now know definitively that missing and murdered aboriginal women are overrepresented vis-à-vis their proportion of the Canadian population. The numbers show that aboriginal women accounted for 16% of female homicides and 11.3% of missing women. This is three to four times higher than the representation of aboriginal women in the Canadian population.

This research enabled the RCMP to identify both key characteristics and key vulnerability factors of the missing and murdered aboriginal women victims. The overview also highlights that the rate of homicide perpetrated by strangers against aboriginal women is low, at 8 %, practically the same as for non-aboriginal women at 7%. This information is guiding the police community in its investigations as well as informing the government and partners in the development of future prevention, intervention, and enforcement policies and initiatives.

Public awareness is very important. We spoke to the witnesses at committee and I have talked to ordinary folks in my riding who are concerned about this issue and have been watching the excellent coverage and assistance the CBC has been providing in identifying cases and raising public awareness. I would like to acknowledge that effort and thank the CBC for that, because public awareness is a very valuable tool. When Canadians understand the severity of a problem, they encourage us to look for solutions, which is exactly what this government has done with this action plan.

I am thankful for the opportunity to talk about the action plan and the three main pillars of the action plan as well as the work we did on the special committee on missing and murdered aboriginal women, which was a non-partisan, all-party, comprehensive study that looked into this serious and tragic situation.

We all have a role to play in protecting aboriginal women, and I thank members for the opportunity to speak to this issue today.

Topic:   Private Members' Business
Subtopic:   Missing Aboriginal Women
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NDP

Megan Leslie

New Democratic Party

Ms. Megan Leslie (Halifax, NDP)

Mr. Speaker, I have been listening to the debate today with keen interest. I had an opportunity earlier to ask a question of my colleague, the member for St. Paul's, who moved this motion. I asked her why there should be an inquiry. Why, for example, in a Halifax courthouse, when two people have pleaded guilty to the murder of Loretta Saunders, do we need an inquiry? Why does her family want an inquiry? Why do activists in Halifax still want an inquiry, when those two people have pleaded guilty? Has justice not been served?

It is because violence against indigenous women is systemic. That is the real issue. That is what we need to get at with an inquiry. It is systemic in nature. It is both the cause of and is caused by poverty, poor health and mental health, economic insecurity, homelessness, lack of justice, addictions, and low educational attainment for indigenous women and girls. All of these things place these women in precarious situations where the risk of violence is greater. There is nothing that can realize justice except an inquiry into these issues.

I am really proud of the New Democrats' record on this issue. The member for Nanaimo—Cowichan has been a strong and consistent voice when it comes to the need for an inquiry. The member for Churchill, first as the status of women critic and now as the first nations, Inuit and Métis affairs critic, brought forward Motion No. 444, which calls for an inquiry into murdered and missing indigenous women.

This fall, the NDP had an incredible day when our MPs flooded the House of Commons. There were enough of us present on that day that we were able to force a vote and take control of the House of Commons' debate for a day. It was an incredible thing to be part of. When members have the opportunity to take over debate, they can debate anything. There are a lot of really important issues that deserve the attention of the House, but we chose to debate murdered and missing indigenous women and the need for an inquiry.

I was so proud to be here that day, to sit in my seat and listen to the first NDP speaker on that debate, my colleague from Abitibi—Baie-James—Nunavik—Eeyou, himself a residential school survivor who represents communities and comes from a community that know all too well the issue of murdered and missing indigenous women. He stood and gave an incredible, passionate, emotional speech, and that was one of my proudest moments in the House. I was so proud to know that these women, families, and communities realized just a bit of justice that day, not the justice of an inquiry but the justice of knowing that there is a group of MPs on the Hill and an entire political party that think this issue is important enough that we took control that day and debated this issue, and we are making it a priority.

Why have an inquiry? We have touched on it a little. The member for St. Paul's raised several very good reasons, and I want to add to those reasons. A national inquiry could actually compel witnesses' truthful testimony and could probe government institutions, like the RCMP and Aboriginal Affairs and Northern Development Canada. I will give credit to the RCMP. It has done an incredible job recently of realizing how important this issue is and that it has the power to do something. It put forward a report in which it gave us the numbers to show us how incredibly important this is. The numbers were stark, they were chilling, and I credit the RCMP for making sure that this is a priority.

A national inquiry is also important because it can give a voice to families who have lost loved ones and give them the justice they have been denied. It can raise the question of systemic racism against indigenous people in this country. That conversation can be had on a national level, and that conversation is not what we are going to get when these individual moments of justice are realized, like in the case I talked about earlier, where two people have pleaded guilty to murder.

We are not talking about systemic issues in a murder trial. We are talking about the specifics of an incident. However, when aboriginal women and girls are so much more likely to go missing or be killed because of who they are and the colour of their skin, it is about more than the plea of not guilty or guilty or the finding of guilty or not guilty in a courthouse.

We are not alone in this. There are so many organizations that have come forward and so many governments that have come forward. In fact, the Conservative government stands alone among governments and the majority of indigenous communities in opposing a national inquiry. They are outliers. The inquiry is an essential step in confronting the epidemic of murdered and missing indigenous women in Canada and realizing justice for the families who have lost their loved ones.

I will be proud to support the motion. The member for St. Paul's can count on my vote in the House.

Topic:   Private Members' Business
Subtopic:   Missing Aboriginal Women
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CPC

Barry Devolin

Conservative

The Acting Speaker (Mr. Barry Devolin)

I must interrupt the member at this time. When this matter returns before the House, the hon. member for Halifax will have three minutes remaining if she chooses to take advantage of that.

The time provided for the consideration of private members' business is now expired and the order is dropped to the bottom of the order of precedence on the order paper.

Topic:   Private Members' Business
Subtopic:   Missing Aboriginal Women
Permalink
CPC

Tom Lukiwski

Conservative

Mr. Tom Lukiwski (Parliamentary Secretary to the Leader of the Government in the House of Commons, CPC)

Mr. Speaker, I am rising to respond to the question of privilege raised on Friday afternoon last by the hon. member for Toronto—Danforth.

As the honourable member for Northumberland—Quinte West indicated, our side wanted to look into these allegations before offering a response. I am prepared to offer such a response now.

The assistant of another one of my Conservative colleagues was standing among the group on the sidewalk which the honourable member for Toronto—Danforth referenced. I understand that the staff member confirms the sequence of events recounted by the honourable member, including his admission that the delay was less than a minute. Additionally, she was able to indicate, given that she was in the process of leaving the Centre Block, that she saw the honourable member “walking with purpose” toward the delay. While I do not doubt the honourable member's statement that he was on his way to the House of Commons, it sounds like it may have been an effort to “hurry up and wait”, to borrow a phrase.

Similarly, I understand that the Royal Canadian Mounted Police take no exception to the sequence of events expressed by the honourable member. They acknowledge that he was briefly delayed, for the purpose of traffic control, in a scenario consistent with the experience of the honourable member for Acadie—Bathurst last autumn. For the same reasons the government House leader expressed last Monday in relation to the question of privilege of the honourable member for Skeena—Bulkley Valley, and on the strength of the same precedents cited on that occasion, I would ask that you also find no prima facie case in the present circumstances.

While I will follow the lead of the honourable member for Toronto—Danforth in not repeating the citations used in the previous matter for which the Chair is currently seized, I do want to make three observations.

First, as I indicated, I was advised that this related to traffic control related to the movement of the motorcade of the President of the Philippines. The Procedure and House Affairs Committee recently reported on the complaint related to the motorcade of the President of Germany. The Chair has already heard the government House leader's arguments on that report, with which I would associate myself. The honourable member for Toronto—Danforth and I will simply to have to agree to disagree about what conclusions any reasonable observer may draw from that report.

Second, this incident is not dissimilar to the 1970 incident, referenced last week, when momentary delays were incurred at the time of an arrival or a departure of a visiting dignitary.

Third, the honourable member for Toronto—Danforth indicated that the member of the force said that her orders had equal application to every person. You will recall that a real point of consternation for the Procedure and House Affairs Committee, in its report on the visit of President Bush, was the seemingly selective nature of security barriers, with members being held back while some non-members were allowed to pass. That is not the case here.

Last Monday, the government House leader offered a reductio ad absurdum about what could eventually happen here. Given the report of the honourable member “walking with purpose” toward the delay, I really have to wonder if it is not that far away.

What is more is that I would observe that he waited until after the debate on the NDP's opposition day motion had concluded before rising on his question of privilege. Given the timing of the incident, the honourable member could have easily given the hour's notice required by Standing Order 48, and made his intervention after routine proceedings.

Before concluding, I simply cannot let the remarks of the House leader of the official opposition pass without any reply. Ever since the Royal Canadian Mounted Police succeeded the Dominion force in 1920, that force has had responsibility for the security of the grounds of Parliament Hill. That was the case last decade, last year and it certainly was last week as well. The NDP House leader had to be reminded of this point last Monday, and I remind him of it again now.

In closing, we do not believe this case warrants your finding of a prima facie case of privilege.

Topic:   Private Members' Business
Subtopic:   Privilege
Sub-subtopic:   Access to Centre Block
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NDP

Peter Julian

New Democratic Party

Mr. Peter Julian (Burnaby—New Westminster, NDP)

Mr. Speaker, I will be brief because we have a very important opposition day motion to honour our nation's veterans coming forward. I look forward to hearing the comments from the member for New Westminster—Coquitlam.

What disturbs me, and I raised this with you last Friday, as well as at a previous point of privilege that the member for Skeena—Bulkley Valley raised a few days ago, is that it is the inclination of the government to now investigate breaches of privilege that are raised by members of the opposition. That is not its role. It is not its role to do investigations or to decide on whether it constitutes a breach of privilege or not.

Mr. Speaker, that is your role. I have now raised this three times.

Last Friday the member for Northumberland—Quinte West said, “We are going to investigate this”, as if it is the government's purview and role. This was our concern when the government, the Prime Minister's Office, brought in all of the changes without consulting the opposition or you, just rammed it through Parliament. We are seeing an increasing number of breaches of privilege that are very serious, indeed, and it is your role, not the role of the Parliamentary Secretary to the Leader of the Government in the House of Commons, not the role of any member of the government, to do these investigations it has been doing.

It is up to you, Mr. Speaker, to do that, and we are confident that you will investigate this and find that a prima facie case of breach of privilege occurred.

Topic:   Private Members' Business
Subtopic:   Privilege
Sub-subtopic:   Access to Centre Block
Permalink
CPC

Tom Lukiwski

Conservative

Mr. Tom Lukiwski

Mr. Speaker, just a quick response to my hon. colleague's comments. I wish to make two points.

First, the government does not investigate questions of privilege. We merely want to try to get to the facts. I think all members would agree that the facts in a case of privilege are what really matter here.

You will recall, Mr. Speaker, the member of the official opposition raised a question of privilege at one time, only a few weeks ago. When the facts were finally uncovered, that member withdrew his question of privilege because the facts contained information of which the member was not aware. Once the member became aware of that, the question of privilege was withdrawn. It is important to get the facts straight.

Second, I would again point out, for the third time now, to the opposition House leader, despite his protestations that the force, the RCMP, has always had responsibility for security on the grounds of Parliament Hill. The official opposition House leader seems to infer that the changes made to security protocols in this place and on our grounds have sometimes, somehow, been altered, with respect to who is responsible for security on the Hill. The RCMP has always been responsible, and continues to this day to be responsible, for security on the grounds of Parliament Hill. There is no change. The government did not ram any changes through. I wish that my opposition House leader colleague could finally understand that very basic and simple point.

Topic:   Private Members' Business
Subtopic:   Privilege
Sub-subtopic:   Access to Centre Block
Permalink
NDP

Peter Julian

New Democratic Party

Mr. Peter Julian

Mr. Speaker, I am using the word “investigate” because that is the word the member for Northumberland—Quinte West used last Friday and it is actually the term that was used by the government House leader in this House subsequent to the question of privilege that was raised by the member for Skeena—Bulkley Valley. It is the government itself that is saying, “We are going to investigate these claims”, as I have stressed.

I will say a final time, Mr. Speaker, it is your purview and your role to investigate any possible breaches of privilege that have occurred in the parliamentary precinct.

Topic:   Private Members' Business
Subtopic:   Privilege
Sub-subtopic:   Access to Centre Block
Permalink
CPC

Barry Devolin

Conservative

The Acting Speaker (Mr. Barry Devolin)

The Chair, as always, appreciates the input from hon. members related to points of order or questions of privilege and will return to the House with a ruling, at the appropriate time.

Topic:   Private Members' Business
Subtopic:   Privilege
Sub-subtopic:   Access to Centre Block
Permalink
NDP

Fin Donnelly

New Democratic Party

Mr. Fin Donnelly (New Westminster—Coquitlam, NDP)

moved:

That, in the opinion of the House, a standalone covenant of moral, social, legal, and fiduciary obligation exists between the Canadian people and the government to provide equitable financial compensation and support services to past and active members of the Canadian Armed Forces who have been injured, disabled or have died as a result of military service, and to their dependants, which the government is obligated to fulfil.

Mr. Speaker, I will be sharing my time with the hon. member for Châteauguay—Saint-Constant.

I am pleased to rise in the House to address today's NDP motion calling on the government to formally recognize the existence of a stand-alone covenant of moral, social, legal and fiduciary obligation between the Canadian people and the Government of Canada to provide equitable financial compensation and support services to past and active members of the Canadian Armed Forces who have been injured or disabled or have died as a result of military service and to their dependants.

Canada's New Democrats recognize this social covenant as the foundation of a respectful relationship between our government and our veterans. When the Conservatives deny this sacred obligation, they undermine the relationship with those who have fought for all of us. We call on all parliamentarians to stand up for veterans by supporting this motion.

To begin, I would like to thank my hon. colleague from Sackville—Eastern Shore for the tremendous work he has done, and continues to do, on behalf of Canada's veterans and their families. His tireless efforts championing the needs of our brave men and women are unrivalled and deserve the recognition of all members of the House.

Our country has a long history of standing up for the rights and freedoms that Canadians hold dear. The men and women who join the Canadian Armed Forces know they may be called upon to risk their lives on behalf of Canada to uphold peace, security or human rights here at home and around the world. For those who answer the call, we honour their service and are grateful for their personal sacrifices, including those sacrifices made by their families.

The social covenant with veterans was first openly recognized in our country by Prime Minister Robert Borden in 1917. He said:

The government and the country will consider it their first duty to see that a proper appreciation of your effort and of your courage is brought to the notice of people at home that no man, whether he goes back or whether he remains in Flanders, will have just cause to reproach the government for having broken faith with the men who won and the men who died.

This historic covenant acknowledges that our nation and its government and citizens will support our men and women in their missions, honour their service and look after them and their families when they are injured, they are disabled or they die in the service of our country.

New Democrats recognize the covenant between the Canadian people and the government to provide equitable financial compensation and support services to past and active members of the Canadian Armed Forces who have been disabled or have died as a result of military service and to their dependants, which in turn the government is obligated to fulfill. Yet rather than recognizing the covenant, the Conservative government continues to do damage control rather than live up to its obligation to veterans. It has made piecemeal funding announcements that only apply to a limited number of permanently injured veterans while so many more remain unserved.

While all parties voted for the new veterans charter in 2005, the Conservatives have implemented it in a way that denies essential pension and support services that veterans deserve.

In response, the veteran's group Equitas is suing the government, claiming this change in benefits violates the covenant that exists between the government and veterans. Shockingly, the government's own lawyers claim no such covenant exists despite modern legislative and constitutional legal precedent otherwise.

Let me quote directly from Equitas' statement of claim against the government, as I believe it lays out the foundation for why formal recognition of this sacred covenant is so important. It says:

When members of the Canadian Forces put on the uniform of their country they make an extraordinary personal commitment to place the welfare of others ahead of their personal interests, to serve Canada before self and to put themselves at risk, as required, in the interests of the nation. A veteran, whether regular or reserve, active or retired, is someone who, at one point in their life, wrote a blank cheque made payable to “the Government of Canada,” for an amount of “up to and including their life.”

Military experts and veterans' advocates agree with New Democrats that the government must honour its moral, social, legal, and fiduciary obligation to Canada's veterans and their families.

For instance, the Royal Canadian Legion, representing more than 300,000 members, “...firmly believes this country has a solemn obligation owed to our military members” and states that:

...the Veterans Bill of Rights must be included in the New Veterans Charter and in the Pension Act, and that a modified version of the section 2 of the Pension Act be incorporated into the New Veterans Charter, and read as follows:

The provisions of this Act shall be liberally construed and interpreted to the end that the recognized solemn obligation of the people and Government of Canada to provide compensation to those members of the forces who have been disabled or have died as a result of military service, and to their dependants, may be fulfilled.

Further, when asked at the veterans affairs committee whether she believes the government has an obligation to honour this sacred social covenant, Dr. Stéphanie Bélanger, of the Canadian Institute for Military and Veteran Health Research, testified:

There is a social covenant and this is what started the research institute. ... There is lots of evidence of that social covenant existing in every country where the government will task people with a clause of unlimited liability, and because of this clause there is an obligation to serve back.

Tragically, in spite of the compelling case made by veterans' advocates, after nine years of Conservative government, too many veterans and their families still cannot access adequate health care, pensions, and vital supports.

In Veterans Affairs budgets, $1.13 billion has been returned to the federal treasury since 2006—over $1 billion. That is shocking. This money should have gone toward improved benefits and services for veterans and their families. Veterans and their families are dealing with the closure of nine front-line Veterans Affairs offices and a reduction of more than 900 jobs from Veterans Affairs since 2009, amounting to 23% of the department's workforce. That is unacceptable.

Canadian Forces veterans and their families deserve our deepest gratitude and deserve to be taken care of. Injured and disabled veterans should not have to fight the government in court for the compensation and care they rightly deserve. Canadians expect parliamentarians to ensure that our veterans and their families are well cared for from the moment they sign up to the moment they pay the ultimate sacrifice. That care includes a dignified funeral and burial.

If the Conservatives are serious about improving veterans' care, they will stop fighting veterans in court and recognize this historic social covenant to provide comprehensive and compassionate care for the brave men and women who have served on our behalf. They would also not have hastily included the entirety of Bill C-58 in their latest budget implementation act in a cynical move to force the opposition to vote against legislation it would support if it were presented as a stand-alone bill. As well, we would have attempted to improve it on behalf of veterans and their families.

This move underscores the political games the Conservatives are playing with veterans' issues, and it is exactly why today's motion is so important.

It is Canada's New Democrats who have led the way on proposals to improve the programs and services available for veterans and their families. An NDP government would end service pension clawbacks. We would reopen shuttered Veterans Affairs offices. We would widen access to quality home care, long-term care, and mental health care services.

Today we repeat the call for the government to repair our country's relationship with our veterans to one that is based on respect, rather than neglect, by supporting our motion to recognize this sacred social covenant and taking immediate action to enshrine it.

Topic:   Government Orders
Subtopic:   Business of Supply
Sub-subtopic:   Opposition Motion--Care for Veterans
Permalink
CPC

Laurie Hawn

Conservative

Hon. Laurie Hawn (Edmonton Centre, CPC)

Mr. Speaker, I have been around the veterans file for quite a while, certainly as long as the member opposite, and I do not recall this member raising any veterans' issues at all until very recently.

Certainly during the months of hearings in the standing committee on veterans' issues when we started the New Veterans Charter, there was not a single interjection from this member. Reading this motion, it is clear that the member has not been involved and is instead focused on some political effort back in his riding, perhaps because he is running against a veteran.

It was only about seven weeks ago that the minister tabled the support for veterans and families act. This is a very substantive act, with lots of measures or recommendations in line with the committee's recommendations. Here we have the member for New Westminster—Coquitlam putting forward a non-binding resolution that does not even go as far as the wording in that legislation.

I would ask if this is the type of action that the member's constituents can anticipate, or will he ramp up support for the support for veterans and families act measures when it comes to a vote and maybe ramp down some of the political rhetoric?

Topic:   Government Orders
Subtopic:   Business of Supply
Sub-subtopic:   Opposition Motion--Care for Veterans
Permalink

May 11, 2015