moved for leave to introduce Bill C-406, An Act respecting the mandate of Status of Women Canada.
Mr. Speaker, first, I would like to wish a happy International Women's Day to all my female colleagues in the House.
I have the great honour to introduce this bill on the mandate of Status of Women Canada. This is a goal that I have been working toward for many years so far—since 2004, in fact, when I began my political career. It has not yet been achieved. Status of Women Canada deserves to be a stand-alone department so that it can fulfill its mandate.
This is 2012, and if anyone in this House wants to try to prove to me that gender equality has been achieved, I am prepared to debate with that person any time, anywhere, for as long as it takes, because that is completely untrue.
I sincerely believe that the mandate of Status of Women Canada must be enhanced and that it must be made a separate department that would be in a position to promote and coordinate policy related to gender equality. It should also promote the full participation of women in the economic, social, cultural and political life of the country. It should work with the federal government to ensure that women are equally represented and that gender-based analysis is truly implemented and is not just a concept that is added as an afterthought to the end of a bill. Programs must be truly equal and must remain that way. Status of Women Canada must support programs that promote the status of women and the organizations that work in this field, particularly those that focus on research and advocacy, since so much of their funding has been cut over the past few years. Finally, this department must be able to maintain an active dialogue with stakeholders from all areas related to the status of women.
If the hon. members in this House truly believe in gender equality, I hope that they will support this bill.
(Motions deemed adopted, bill read the first time and printed)