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House of Commons Hansard #129 of the 36th Parliament, 2nd Session. (The original version is on Parliament's site.) The word of the day was firefighters.

Topics

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4:05 p.m.

NDP

Angela Vautour NDP Beauséjour—Petitcodiac, NB

Mr. Speaker, I do agree. I do not have the figures the hon. member mentioned. What I do know is that when women go to a shelter it means they need shelter.

We need to address the problem. When partners are convicted they need rehabilitation. We need to have programs out there, maybe before the partners are convicted. We do not have enough programs. There was a program at one point that was called the turn around program. The success rate was not very high but at least it was a beginning for men who wanted to work out their violence and their tempers.

Those programs cost money, but unless we have those programs, unless we invest in having these programs available to help these men who do not want to be violent any more, who want to control their violence and who want to have a normal life, these men do not have the resources to get themselves out of it. A lot of men who hit their women are not happy with themselves but they do not have the resources to get themselves out of it. We need to have resources available, not only for women but for men.

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4:05 p.m.

Bloc

Francine Lalonde Bloc Mercier, QC

Mr. Speaker, I am very proud to address this Bloc Quebecois motion. I am not only proud because the Bloc Quebecois presented this motion, but because this extraordinary march of women in 2000 has its roots in a similar initiative by the Fédération des femmes du Québec in 1995, a march that all Quebecers remember and which was called the Bread and Roses March.

This women's movement is something extraordinary for all Quebecers and Canadians, for all those interested in organizing a movement to counterbalance the constant and rampant phenomenon whereby the rich are getting richer—it is true of countries and it is also true of the people living in these countries—and the poor are getting poorer, which is also a reality for countries as well as for the people living in them.

In a way it is just a start, but a very promising one, which was strongly felt in my riding, and perhaps also in yours, Mr. Speaker. In the riding of Mercier, women's groups, and two women's centres in particular, namely the Centre des femmes in Pointe-aux-Trembles and Info-Femmes in Tétreauville, mobilized and prepared this great march of women, first in my riding and then here in Ottawa. A number of these women are currently in New York city to take part in the great international march. I am very proud of all the work that has been done.

However that is not the end of it. One only had to hear the replies provided today by the government to realize that the fight is far from being over. This mobilization—that is what this is—will ensure that issues as serious and as important as poverty among women and children and violence against women will no longer remain secret. The women who are the victims of such situations will no longer be isolated and basically led to believe that they are responsible for what is happening to them.

Even if the time available is extremely short, I would like to speak today to the international outlook of this march of women, which began in Quebec, became Canadian and is now an international event.

What are Canadian women calling for? They are calling for an international outlook. They are calling on Canada to get ready to meet the international aid objective of 0.7% of GDP, which could be called the nation's wealth. It makes sense to link international aid to wealth.

They also called on the government to reduce the debt of the 57 poorest nations. They are so right, because these debts are eating up what little revenue these small countries have leaving nothing for health and education.

The government's reaction to this should not be that everything it is doing is just fine. I would remind the House that it was in 1990 during a full recession that Canada made its commitment to the UN to meet an objective of 0.7% of GDP. At the time, Canada was contributing 0.48% of its GDP to international aid. It was already close to 0.7%.

Since then, its contribution has continued to slide. So much for the so-called “best country in the world”. Right now, international aid stands at 0.25%, compared to the 0.48% it was at the time the commitment was made. How many years have we been enjoying this period of prosperity of which the government is so proud? Six years, seven years?

The situation is completely unacceptable and I am extremely grateful to women for adding their voices to those of all the people in Quebec and in Canada who think that Canada's position does not make sense.

It makes so little sense that in committee I asked the president of CIDA and the minister responsible for international cooperation what percentage of international aid comes back to Canada.

The minister was somewhat taken aback. At first she said it was 30%. The president of CIDA had to step in to correct that statement by saying that it was 75%. Of all the international aid we provide, which is far from the objective set out by Canada in 1990, 75% comes back to Canada.

Everything we heard about helping underdeveloped countries to repay their debts, about helping poorer countries by providing international assistance, about targeting the hundreds of million dollars announced by the minister is nonsense.

We are very worried because it is in the poorest countries of the world, mostly in Africa, that the status of women is the most vulnerable in terms of health and violence.

What is even more horrible is that these women often have to face poverty and violence in countries that are fighting what seem to be endless wars, where the international community is reluctant to interfere because it fears that it may not be equal to the task. People have to realize that the international community has been extremely cautious. Unfortunately the troops the UN sent to Sierra Leone, for instance, became the laughing stock of the world, to make a long story short since my time is limited.

I want to quote a report that everyone ought to read, the Year 2000 Report of the United Nations Population Fund. The introduction begins as follows:

Gender inequality holds back the growth of individuals, the development of countries and the evolution of societies, to the disadvantage of both women and men.

It goes on:

The facts of gender inequality—the restrictions placed on women's choices, opportunities and participation—have direct and often malign consequences for women's health and education, and for their social and economic participation.

They added something that is extremely important and important to this country too:

Yet until recent years, these restrictions have been considered either unimportant or non-existent, either accepted or ignored. The reality of women's lives has been invisible to men. This invisibility persists at all levels, from the family to the nation. Though they share the same space, women and men live in different worlds.

That is true here, improved to some extent in certain areas, but it is poignantly true in developing countries and in the poorest countries.

I am going to wait for the party opposite, on the eve of an election, to wake up and provide money instead of fancy words, wherever it wants to appear generous. Canada does not have the situation under control by any means. Far from it. This is shameful in the field of international aid.

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4:15 p.m.

NDP

Dennis Gruending NDP Saskatoon—Rosetown—Biggar, SK

Mr. Speaker, I thank my colleague for Mercier for her perceptive comments and also for the motion that has come forward today.

I want to make a few comments rather than ask a question if I may have a minute or two to do so.

Our leader spoke this morning about the women's march and the women's demands.

A group from the women's march on poverty met with our caucus recently. When its representatives presented us with their demands I found that they fit like a hand in a glove with the kinds of things the New Democratic Party has been proposing.

We believe an election may be near. Each party is coming up with a platform, and we are as well. While I do not have all the details, I will go through some of their demands and indicate how closely they resemble some of our platform points.

They want to restore federal funding to health care. We have argued for that all along. They want to enforce rules against privatization of health care. We have fought that fight as well and agree with the women of Canada.

They want an additional 1% of the budget spent on social housing. The government has removed itself from social housing almost entirely and we have a crisis on our hands. The government has done virtually nothing during this crisis. We are with the women of Canada in saying that we must do something about social housing. We are proposing 25,000 units per year.

They want a promised national child care fund set up. The Liberals made that promise in 1993 and it still has not been acted on. I recently presented a petition in the House from parents and other members and friends of the Confederation Park Childcare Cooperative in my riding asking about that fund. They were talking about the fact that two-thirds of Canadian women work outside of the home. Not everyone has a situation whereby a family member can care for the children. In this economy, if we want to be productive and just, we must have such a program. We in the NDP are pushing for that.

They want old age security payments increased. We have fought the Liberal government's attempts to reduce old age security payments.

We have also supported the reduction of the head tax on immigrants. The women of Canada have asked for that.

Like my colleague from Mercier, we have also been calling for a restoration of our overseas development assistance to the target level of .7 of 1% of GNP. We are saying that we have to get to .35% immediately. In that, I agree with the women and with my colleague.

Finally, we have adopted the proactive pay equity legislation. The women of Canada are calling for that and we support them entirely.

I merely wish to state that the wishes, desires and demands brought forward by this group of women from Quebec and from all over Canada fit very closely with what the NDP has been advocating for years. Perhaps it is no accident. We have eight or nine women members in our caucus and they have had a great impact on bringing forward issues from the women of Canada.

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4:20 p.m.

Bloc

Francine Lalonde Bloc Mercier, QC

Mr. Speaker, the Bloc Quebecois is most decidedly happy to have the NDP vote in favour of its motion. Indeed, what would make us really happy is to have the entire House support it.

This motion is an extension of the march of women, these women who have developed positions that we in the Bloc Quebecois are extremely comfortable with because we have been fighting for these proposals for years in the House of Commons. We are very proud to see that the Regroupement canadien des femmes fully recognizes that the provinces are the ones to act in matters of provincial jurisdiction, as the president of the Fédération des femmes du Québec put it so forcefully.

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4:20 p.m.

Mississauga South Ontario

Liberal

Paul Szabo LiberalParliamentary Secretary to Minister of Public Works and Government Services

Mr. Speaker, the member had a quote that I thought was interesting. She said that men and women live in different worlds. We have an organization, Men Against Violence Against Women, which was created because men had been shut out of the process.

Does the member agree that the issue of domestic violence is in fact not just a women's issue but a societal issue? If she does agree, would she not support all men and women getting together to work together on effective solutions for the issue of domestic violence?

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4:20 p.m.

Bloc

Francine Lalonde Bloc Mercier, QC

This is an interesting question, Mr. Speaker, and I shall answer it in this way. The more one studies these questions the more one knows that the solution to violence toward women must be found in a context where there is no need for men to be violent.

The way to make it possible for men and women to be equal partners is to ensure that both can fulfil their total potential and then they will go on to be capable of a partnership of equals.

What we are finding more and more, and what some people have realized for a long time already, is that the couple must be based on a relationship of equality. As for help, the networks of men and women must be such that they create couples in which there can be an equal to equal relationship.

This is the case not only here but also in the poorer developing countries. I find the report so extraordinary because it states that the inequality between the sexes is considered a problem of the utmost urgency and is a priority for development. To quote the report, it is “a matter of urgency affecting both human rights and development priorities”.

Inequality must be brought out into the light and solutions sought, with women first of all, in order to manage to attain a level of equality so that within the couple, the woman can assert herself in situations relating to her fertility. There are millions—

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4:25 p.m.

The Deputy Speaker

I am sorry to interrupt the hon. member but her time is up.

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4:25 p.m.

Bloc

Hélène Alarie Bloc Louis-Hébert, QC

Mr. Speaker, on this opposition day on the World March of Women, I would like to welcome to the world my granddaughter Béatrice, who was born at midday.

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4:25 p.m.

Some hon. members

Hear, hear.

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4:25 p.m.

Bloc

Hélène Alarie Bloc Louis-Hébert, QC

My wish for her, her mother and her grandmother is that we may live in a world where increasing efforts will be made to eliminate poverty and violence, and that she, her grandmother and her mother may be able in their respective communities to establish themselves and live in the equality that is vital to their development.

I would like to reread the motion we introduced this morning because every word in it is important in my view:

That this House immediately work to provide the means needed to fight poverty and violence against women as demanded by the World March of Women, particularly in the areas of income protection, health, international aid, violence and wage parity, so as to ensure a fairer distribution of wealth between women and men.

As has been repeatedly pointed out today, the government is in a position and has the means to help women with their demands. The budget surpluses can be used to do much to improve the conditions in which women and, by extension, their children live.

The World March of Women, which brings together 5,000 groups of women from 159 countries, managed to get over three million signatures in support of its demands. These signatures are cards that will be delivered to Kofi Annan, the UN secretary general.

This march has its roots in Quebec, where a group of organized women, of activists, came to the conclusion that many policies at all levels were not working and were harmful to women. Back then people probably did not think that the movement would spread to other countries, that these women would join forces with others to achieve the success that we are witnessing this week.

I took part in the march in my riding and felt solidarity between the men and women who participated. Colleagues, friends, fathers and even young men took part in the march. We could feel solidarity among us and, above, all dignity and pride in representing women who, after all, symbolize the perennial character of society and account for at least 52% of its members.

That march was necessary and it was a wake up call for many people. Wherever we are we must recognize that the poverty level is increasing.

In my area, an organization called La Table de la pauvreté conducted a survey. It found that in a riding which appears to be rich 25% of the families were living below the poverty line. I can assure members that living below the poverty line in a city is very difficult. It may be more difficult than in the country where people can sometimes manage to get by, which is not the case in cities.

In echoing what was said here this morning, I would like to talk about two groups in particular. The first one concerns aboriginal women and human rights.

Members may wonder why I am the one speaking about the human rights of aboriginal women. It is because I had the pleasure—and I say the pleasure because I discovered a lot of things with them—to study with a group of aboriginal women.

I would like to salute them today. I am thinking about Fernande St-Onge, Suzanne Achini, Germaine Pinette, Marie Jourdain and her sister, Angéline, who came from Maliotenam to study on the south shore, in La Pocatière, in my colleague's riding.

They came to the south shore because they wanted an education that would help them make things better in their society. It was not easy for them to attend a boarding school and be away from their people for a whole school year. But they did it and today they hold values that they share with us.

Those involved in the march of women are calling for a lot of things. To eliminate poverty and violence against women they are asking the federal government to support the human rights of aboriginal women as well as the welfare of their children, their family and their community and to respond to their concerns regarding housing, health, education, justice, territorial issues and resources.

They are also asking the government to make funding available to national and regional groups representing aboriginal women so as to ensure their full participation in discussions on self-government.

They are asking that all programs include a gender equality analysis. When we realize that the aboriginal peoples have a concept of equality governing their traditions, this demand appears totally justified.

They are asking for changes to the Indian Act to restore the traditional rights enjoyed by women in the transmission of native heritage.

They are asking for sufficient funding for aboriginal women's groups to enable them to set up halfway houses and other services in the communities.

Finally, they are calling for the full implementation of the recommendations of the Royal Commission on Aboriginal Peoples, which includes a whole section on the equality of women.

The Bloc Quebecois has already proposed a review of the rules of the dissolution of an aboriginal marriage, which discriminate against women by failing to recognize the right to equal division of matrimonial property. It also proposes a bill to rectify the situation given the government's inertia on the matter.

We support funding for aboriginal women's organizations, as requested.

I would also like to speak of another group of citizens for whom the march of women has made demands. They are calling for the implementation of a progressive immigration reform so that domestic workers receive immigrant status as soon as they arrive.

Domestic workers are all too often a source of cheap labour governed more by the terms of modern slavery than by positive immigration measures.

The Bloc Quebecois proposes that the government tighten up the procedure for support of candidates for this program so they may be monitored by an immigration officer in order to prevent abuse.

We also want the immigration reform to call for the elimination of the head tax for all immigrants. We want this federal tax to be abolished because the federal government is taking no responsibility whatsoever except in Quebec, I might add for the integration of immigrants.

Another major recommendation concerning new immigrants would include persecution based on gender or sexual orientation as a specific reason justifying the granting of refugee status.

The 1951 United Nations convention relating to the status of refugees stipulates that:

As a result of events...and owing to well-founded fear of being persecuted for reasons of race, religion, nationality, membership of a particular social group or political opinion—

In 1993 the Supreme Court of Canada ruled that membership of a particular social group must include people who are afraid of being persecuted for other reasons such as gender or sexual orientation.

The Bloc Quebecois wants the federal government to ensure that visa officers overseas interpret the definition of a refugee according to the court's ruling.

I have only one minute left, but I could keep going for hours. I just want to say that, as my hon. colleague pointed out, we are in favour of forgiving the debt of the 53 poorest countries of the world.

As agriculture critic for my party, I want to add that the farming industry could very easily help to feed the poor on this planet. The problem has nothing to do with production but rather with the fair distribution of our production.

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4:35 p.m.

Mississauga South Ontario

Liberal

Paul Szabo LiberalParliamentary Secretary to Minister of Public Works and Government Services

Mr. Speaker, the member started off by saying that it would be nice to abolish poverty. That might be part of the problem. There seems to be a sense that somehow we can legislate it away.

The member will know from the prior debate that the statistics with regard to the lone parent situation is quite alarming. In fact 14% of all families in Canada are lone parent families but they account for over 54% of all children living in poverty.

With that as background, if the member is truly interested in finding constructive solutions to address the problem of child poverty, we will then have to deal with issues such as family break down. I hope the member would acknowledge that and comment on it.

Second, I would like to pose to the member another approach. If we cannot legislate behaviour, maybe the approach within programs at all levels of government should be to create an environment in which children are raised to develop good, sound social, moral and family values so that when they grow up and take their place in adult society they will make decisions that will make sure they do not end up in poverty or in situations where domestic violence occurs.

The idea is prevention, not remediation after we have the problem. I wonder if the member has some comments on those.

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4:35 p.m.

Bloc

Hélène Alarie Bloc Louis-Hébert, QC

Mr. Speaker, I thank my colleague for his question. I must say there are all manner of means for lessening the tensions that lead to major difficulties.

In reference to lessening tensions, since this morning I have been thinking that what we have been discussing is a series of steps that can be readily taken in relation to funding social housing, health, the aging population, and all that can be done to set up day care centres. These ought to be able to accommodate very young infants. All of this would improve the social climate in our society.

Very often, when one looks into social problems more thoroughly, one realizes that poverty is indeed very much what lies behind social problems.

I would say that the poverty in which people live is a natural source of conflict, so if part of the conflict can be eliminated through measures providing direct assistance to women, and when we are speaking of women then we are speaking of families, in order to provide them with more support and more of a chance to catch their breath, then probably there would be less tension within the family, which is what leads directly to violence.

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4:40 p.m.

Liberal

Paul Szabo Liberal Mississauga South, ON

Mr. Speaker, the member would like to discuss child care so maybe I could pose to her the principle that the most important thing for a child is a secure and consistent attachment with an engaged committed adult.

I am not sure whether or not day care, as a simple solution, will necessarily provide that to all families. As a matter of fact, it appears to me that we have both the urban and rural and accessibility and affordability of child care may be an issue. Does the member not believe that families should have more choices so that they include such things as allowing families to be able to provide direct parental care? Right now more than 50% of families provide direct care. Does she not believe that maybe promoting simply a child care solution is somewhat simplistic and does not take into account the realities of the Canadian family?

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4:40 p.m.

Bloc

Hélène Alarie Bloc Louis-Hébert, QC

Mr. Speaker, of course, in a perfect world each child would be able to stay home with one parent or both. Unfortunately that is not they way things are. Because of that, I think we need a family policy that addresses the needs of both parents and children.

When we talk about $5 a day day care, it is a very effective way of helping parents. When parents can do another kind of work during the day, they come home at night with an open mind ready to resume their child-rearing duties.

We must help families so that children can grow up in the best environment possible. We must be realistic, however. It is easy to say that the ideal situation would be this or that, but reality is different and we must find the means to address the major problems in our society.

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4:40 p.m.

Bloc

Antoine Dubé Bloc Lévis, QC

Mr. Speaker, I rise on a point of order. I would like to ask for the unanimous consent of the House so that, notwithstanding the standing orders governing private members' business, we can have one more hour tonight, October 16, at the end of government orders, to allow debate on Bill C-213, dealing with shipbuilding, at report stage and, if necessary, at third reading stage. This bill is extremely important, and with all the rumours we hear about an upcoming election, it should be dealt with as soon as possible.

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4:40 p.m.

The Deputy Speaker

The member said he would like one more hour. Does he mean tomorrow night or tonight, even though consideration of private members' business was this morning?

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4:40 p.m.

Bloc

Antoine Dubé Bloc Lévis, QC

Yes, but if there were unanimous consent—

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4:40 p.m.

The Deputy Speaker

I just wanted to clarify the request.

Is there unanimous consent of the House to proceed in this fashion?

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4:40 p.m.

Some hon. members

Agreed.

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4:40 p.m.

Some hon. members

No.

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4:40 p.m.

The Deputy Speaker

It is my duty pursuant to Standing Order 38 to inform the House that the question to be raised tonight at the time of adjournment is as follows: the hon. member for Peterborough, Infrastructure.

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4:40 p.m.

Liberal

Sue Barnes Liberal London West, ON

Mr. Speaker, I will be splitting my time with my colleague, the member for Etobicoke—Lakeshore.

I want to speak on the subject of violence against women and girls as a health issue of grave concern.

As women have marched across the country, not only in Canada but around the world, governments have had to concentrate on and remind themselves of the enormity and complexity of this problem, a problem that continues in Canada despite the efforts of organizations, governments and individuals to eliminate it.

When we speak about violence as a health issue, we include violence in all its forms, physical, sexual, psychological and spiritual, which then includes things like abuse, date rape, stalking, violence in the home and in the workplace, and violence by family members, acquaintances or persons in positions of trust.

There is no doubt that all forms of violence seriously impact on the health and well-being of women. Along with immediate and more physical impacts of physical and sexual violence, there are many other possible consequences, which would include the possibility of HIV-AIDS, sexually transmitted diseases, unplanned pregnancies and permanent pain, injury and disability.

Violence against women and girls has serious psychological impacts. They can become withdrawn, have depression and low self-esteem, have eating disorders and self-destructive behaviours which I have seen evidenced in my own constituency office with people having to deal with these issues. They can have physical problems that are a consequence of poor mental health.

We do not have a simplistic viewpoint. There is a whole range of areas to be considered. These all have an impact on women's ability to empower themselves and to interact with their community, with their family and with society. In a sense they have this area of their lives where they feel powerless. I think that is wrong and it is very difficult to overcome.

Health is a function of much more than biology and health services. Health is also greatly affected and impacted by the social and economic factors. The social impacts of violence against women can include hours of lost work, lost income, loss of home and isolation. These can all worsen one's health.

In March of 1999 Health Canada released its “Women's Health Strategy” which had a significant component of the government's health agenda. There were 64 commitments in the strategy which were based on a health determinants approach. As part of the strategy, Health Canada undertook to integrate a gender based analysis. We have talked about that many times in the House. I think the fact that gender based analysis is integrated into the department's programs and policy development work will have an eventual impact on what we are trying to do.

Gender based violence is a risk factor that women face and has wide ranging consequences for not only health but for the health system. We had recent negotiations at the UN's special session of the general assembly. It has been commonly referred to as Beijing +5. It did address the violence issue as a health issue. States recognized that while some advances had been made in the provision of specialized health services for women and children, there was a lack of a co-ordinated multidisciplinary approach responding to violence. We need to include not only health systems but education systems, media, workplace knowledge as well as the justice system.

As a result of the Beijing +5 commitments, we have a view now of a more holistic approach to the issue of violence against women and girls, including marginalized women and girls. That would also then encompass those areas of provision for appropriate health care and services which on the whole are not well integrated in all our communities in Canada at the present.

However, in the health sector we need to do more than treat the impact of violence. This has been mentioned a number of times today. We need to encourage and engage in preventing violence before it starts, in all of our systems. Health care services should also recognize the symptoms of violence and provide support to women and girls.

We also know that we have marginalized women and girls in our society, often aboriginal women, immigrant and refugee women, lesbians, women with disabilities, older women, and women of minority, racial, ethnocultural and linguistic groups. They need services that are sensitive to their culture, their situation and their life experience. Unlike the reform alliance, one size does not fit all and cannot help all the people that need to be helped.

Along with those groups, women in isolated and rural communities also have difficulty accessing the services they require. Community groups and non-governmental organizations have been active in these areas and are to be commended for their work to date, which is essential to achieving the holistic system we are after, that holistic response to violence.

I will give a few examples. Through the Health Canada health transition fund, the University of Montreal completed a project to implement and evaluate the use of a screening tool in local community health service centres for the detection of women abuse. Recently in my home town, the London based task force on the health effects of women abuse released a report recommending that health care providers screen female patients for abuse. The Centre of Excellence for Women's Health has studied the relationship between health and violence among aboriginal women, the impact of violence on women's mental health and the provision of health services to women diagnosed with mental illnesses who are survivors of trauma and abuse.

Through family violence initiatives, Health Canada supports research related to health consequences of violence against women, particularly with a view to encouraging and educating the health care sector to respond more effectively to violence against women as a health issue. This includes guidelines for physicians who are dealing with women abuse and the criminal justice system, a handbook for health and social service providers and educators and children who are exposed to women abuse, and a handbook for health and social service professionals responding to abuse during pregnancy, a particularly vulnerable time.

The National Clearinghouse on Family Violence contains many resources that provide information to aid women, including women from these marginalized areas of our country and from minority groups. I hope that women and men will access these resources.

The government will continue to promote respect for the physical and psychological integrity of all individuals. Health and well-being are necessary to women's full participation in society. Girls and women of all ages, I believe, cannot achieve any real equality until they are free from all forms of violence. I see around this House people who understand the issues, many in different parties but certainly on the government side of the House. We have to understand the problem while we work at the solution. Women and men, civil society, all governments and all members of the House must be engaged to eliminate violence.

I was very pleased on Sunday to come to Ottawa a day early to spend time with some of the people who came from London, Ontario to visit the Hill and participate peacefully in a demonstration that raises very significant issues for Canadians to understand, to take action on and to involve themselves in. The government has been working in its various departments to continue the work that has progressed since we have been here. I can only speak of the time since 1993, but this is not my first debate on these issues of violence against women. I hope that by the time the grandchild of the hon. member opposite, who just had a grandchild today, reaches the age where she or he can enter the House, it not be in a similar debate.

There are good people in the House and in the communities who believe this is an important area. The Alliance Party in particular demonstrated earlier today some misunderstanding of some of the basic theory that goes with some of the issues we talk about in the House and that we have to follow through with our policy and practice in our ridings.

There will not be a debate in the House on violence that I do not want to participate in because it is important to recognize it, not to hide behind the statistics that say everything is getting better. It is always important to stand up and say that there are still marginalized people, that we are still underserviced in many ways and that resources, both human and monetary, have to go into these areas for progress to continue to be made. I believe that the government, with its gender analysis, will help integrate all those solutions into the policy development of the government.

I thank the members of the House for participating in this worthwhile debate. I also thank the member from the opposition party who put forward this motion today.

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4:55 p.m.

Reform

Philip Mayfield Reform Cariboo—Chilcotin, BC

Mr. Speaker, I rise on a point of order. I am aware that there is quite a list of speakers who would like to get involved in this debate. I was wondering if there would be unanimous consent for us to forgo questions and comments so that more speakers might be involved.

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4:55 p.m.

The Acting Speaker (Mr. McClelland)

Does the hon. member for Cariboo—Chilcotin have unanimous consent of the House?

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4:55 p.m.

Some hon. members

Agreed.