House of Commons Hansard #115 of the 35th Parliament, 2nd Session. (The original version is on Parliament's site.) The word of the day was fisheries.

Topics

Violence Against Women
Statements By Members

11:05 a.m.

Bloc

Maurice Dumas Argenteuil—Papineau, QC

Mr. Speaker, Parliament has designated December 6 as Canada's national day of remembrance and action on violence against women. All this day, from dawn to dusk, the flag on the Peace Tower will hang at half mast. Throughout Quebec and Canada, community organizations are involved in programs to fight violence against women.

I would like to bring attention today to the exceptional commitment shown by Le Carrefour des femmes de Lachute, which has developed a number of projects. For instance, the "Colombe noire", the black dove, commemorates the names of women who have lost their lives at the hands of a man.

Their group Vision Plus bolsters women's feelings of security. They also have a therapeutic support group, Liber-Ailes, to help women survivors of incest or other forms of sexual assault.

I salute all of these people for the responsibilities they are shouldering in connection with violence against women.

Violence Against Women
Statements By Members

11:10 a.m.

Reform

Margaret Bridgman Surrey North, BC

Mr. Speaker, as today is Canada's national day of remembrance and action on violence against women, I rise today in the House of Commons to offer courage and support to all those who merit recognition on this day.

Women deserve to feel that they are safe in their homes, at work, at school, on the street and in their communities. Women want a country where they can look to the future instead of over their shoulders. Most important, women who are victims of violence want their rights as law-abiding Canadian citizens to be put ahead of those of the criminals.

I assure the House that a Reform government would provide women with safer streets and safer homes and would enact a victims bill of rights that would put the rights of law-abiding women ahead of those of their offenders.

That is not only a fresh start for Canadians, that is a fresh start for women.

Violence Against Women
Statements By Members

11:10 a.m.

Liberal

Maria Minna Beaches—Woodbine, ON

Mr. Speaker, as we remember the many women who have suffered violence in their lives we must also recognize our duty toward them.

Through my community work I have been directly involved with victims of domestic violence. I have seen firsthand the devastation caused by violence.

Fifty-one per cent of all Canadian women have experienced at least one incident of physical or sexual violence since the age of 16. The serious economic, health and social consequences of this violence to individuals, families and society are unacceptable.

The estimated annual cost of $4.2 billion does not even begin to measure the psychological and human costs of violence against women.

Aggressive action is needed now. The justice system must be strengthened and preventive measures such as raising public awareness and funding community based projects must be imple-

mented to stop the scourge of violence that is sweeping across Canada.

Violence Against Women
Statements By Members

11:10 a.m.

Liberal

Ronald J. Duhamel St. Boniface, MB

Mr. Speaker, December 6 marks the national day of remembrance and action on violence against women.

Today we honour the memory of the 14 young women who were slain at Montreal's École Polytechnique.

We continue to observe this day because violence against women is still a fact of life in communities across Canada. We know that over half the women in our country have been the object of violence, be it physical, sexual, psychological, financial or spiritual.

Last year there were over 85,000 admissions of abused women and their dependant children to transition houses across the country. Women who are subjected to and suffer long periods of violence often end up with long term health problems. Their physical and mental injuries affect them, their families and their communities.

The cost of violence relating to health and well-being is over $1.5 billion per year.

The next generation of Canadians needs us to build the foundation for a violence free Canada. Violence is totally unacceptable.

Let us all work together to eliminate violence, not only against women, but all violence, wherever present.

Copyright Legislation
Statements By Members

11:10 a.m.

Reform

Jim Abbott Kootenay East, BC

Mr. Speaker, here we have it. The Liberal government is bringing in copyright amendments under Bill C-32. It is going to be putting on a tape levy so that everybody who purchases a tape will be considered guilty before they can prove themselves innocent. Churches are concerned about this. Authors and composers who use tapes in their work are concerned about this.

Under neighbouring rights we are going to be seeing a levy placed on radio stations. They will no longer be competitive with the U.S. stations across the border. By the way, on both the tape levy and on neighbouring rights we can guarantee that there will be a U.S. attack.

Historians and genealogists are not having their balance concerning being able to go after documents in libraries as compared to the rights of authors and composers.

In addition to that, we now have rumours of committee by exhaustion.

The heritage minister is out of control. The Bill C-32 process is out of control. Why does the government not just take it back to the drafting board and make things right?

Violence Against Women
Statements By Members

December 6th, 1996 / 11:15 a.m.

Liberal

Robert Bertrand Pontiac—Gatineau—Labelle, QC

Mr. Speaker, every year, the memories of the death of the Polytechnique students remind us of how blind and insidious violence is. Every year, the memory of their deaths reminds us that we are all both victims and accomplices to such violence.

Victims, because violence is beginning to rule our lives and shape our behaviour. Accomplices, because of our silence, our lack of courage to speak out against it, and our reluctance to take steps to fight it.

More than ever before, we must join together against this violence. On behalf of the victims and their families, I am making an urgent appeal to Conservative and Reform members to give up their pro-firearm lobbying and to support our gun control bill.

Status Of Women
Oral Question Period

11:15 a.m.

Bloc

Gilles Duceppe Laurier—Sainte-Marie, QC

Mr. Speaker, my question is directed to the Acting Prime Minister.

It has been clearly established that women with a family income of less than $15,000 are twice as likely to suffer physical abuse as women in the general population. In a document establishing the link between violence against women and poverty, the government said that unfortunately, the circumstances of women seemed to be getting worse. Governments are cutting budgets, reducing social programs and eliminating a number of programs and services that help low income women, men and children who are exposed to violence. These changes will probably lead to more poverty and more violence. And once again, women will be the worst off.

Will the Government of Canada admit that by slashing its social programs to the tune of nearly $5 billion by 1998, it is going too far and that instead of helping women, it is making matters worse?

Status Of Women
Oral Question Period

11:15 a.m.

Glengarry—Prescott—Russell
Ontario

Liberal

Don Boudria Minister for International Cooperation and Minister responsible for Francophonie

Mr. Speaker, the hon. member opposite is right to be concerned about violence against women, as we all are.

However, these accusations against the government are unfair. The hon. member must know that the new system of pensions for the elderly provide nine persons out of ten who live alone, and we know most of them are women, with benefits that are far more generous than under the old system. This is one example of the government's plans to ensure that women living below the poverty line will be better off under the system we intend to implement.

Status Of Women
Oral Question Period

11:15 a.m.

Bloc

Gilles Duceppe Laurier—Sainte-Marie, QC

Mr. Speaker, I was referring to a government document and to figures that appeared in the government's budget. These are not accusations, these are facts.

I will continue. In the same document, the government said that as a society, we have a responsibility to do everything we can to help women get out of the vicious circle of poverty and violence. This means they must be given adequate resources in terms of child care, housing, training, social assistance benefits, and so forth.

Since the federal government recognizes the link between women's poverty and violence against women, why it is cutting social programs by $5 billion? Why does the government insist on reducing its deficit at the expense of the neediest in our society, the majority of whom are women?

Status Of Women
Oral Question Period

11:15 a.m.

LaSalle—Émard
Québec

Liberal

Paul Martin Minister of Finance

Mr. Speaker, it is exactly the other way around. For instance, and I am following up on what my colleague said, the new old age benefit announced in the last budget is intended to deal with the concerns raised in the report.

Seventy-five per cent of elderly persons will benefit under the new system. Benefits will be the same or exceed those now received by the elderly. We announced an increase for those receiving the annual $120 supplement, because we too are concerned about the problem of violence against women, especially older women.

Status Of Women
Oral Question Period

11:15 a.m.

Bloc

Gilles Duceppe Laurier—Sainte-Marie, QC

Mr. Speaker, we were treated to another minister, but the same answer. I agree that the measure that was announced is a good one. We did not say all the measures were bad. But it is rather odd we could find only one this morning. Two ministers for the same measure. Two ministers for the same answer.

In the press release announcing the international day of remembrance and action on violence against women, the Secretary of State responsible for the Status of Women said that she hoped that Canadians would renew their commitment to prevent violence.

Does the Secretary of State or anyone in this government realize this statement is contradicted by the decisions the government has been making?

Status Of Women
Oral Question Period

11:20 a.m.

Glengarry—Prescott—Russell
Ontario

Liberal

Don Boudria Minister for International Cooperation and Minister responsible for Francophonie

Mr. Speaker, once again, the hon. member is making accusations. He must be aware of all the measures initiated by our government to deal with violence against women.

The Minister of Finance has just described a number of social reforms that will be beneficial.

I would also like to remind the House of the amendments to Bill C-72 concerning self-induced intoxication used as a defence in cases of assault, especially against women. Amendments were also made to Bill C-68 concerning firearms and to the Criminal Code through Bill C-42. I could also mention sentencing reform and the review of the Criminal Code.

Status Of Women
Oral Question Period

11:20 a.m.

Bloc

Madeleine Dalphond-Guiral Laval Centre, QC

Mr. Speaker, my question is for the Minister of Justice.

Last December, the Supreme Court of Canada allowed persons charged with sexual assault access to the medical and psychological files of their victims. As the result of this decision, a lot of women will now refuse to lodge a complaint for fear of finding themselves in the prisoner's dock.

Given the Minister of Justice's promise to act quickly in this matter to protect victims of sexual assault, could he explain the delay in having legislative measures passed to ensure fair and equitable trials?

Status Of Women
Oral Question Period

11:20 a.m.

Windsor West
Ontario

Liberal

Herb Gray Leader of the Government in the House of Commons and Solicitor General of Canada

Mr. Speaker, I want to assure my hon. friend on behalf the Minister of Justice that this continues to be a priority which engages the minister's attention. He is very conscious of the findings of the supreme court on this matter. Certainly action will be forthcoming before too long.

Status Of Women
Oral Question Period

11:20 a.m.

Bloc

Madeleine Dalphond-Guiral Laval Centre, QC

Mr. Speaker, as the government is favourably disposed, I will test its sincerity.

Over two years ago, the justice committee proposed that the provisions for the Criminal Code on obscenity be amended to prevent the exploitation and glorification of horror, cruelty and violence in all its forms.

How does the government justify the fact that no bill has yet been tabled to deal with this problem?