Mr. Speaker, I rise to acknowledge the extremely importance of this issue that has been brought forward by the hon. member. It is something that permeates and lies in the very inequality of women. The fact is there is a huge amount of gender discrimination. It is still alive in Canada and around the world.
What highlights what the member is speaking about is the fact that in 2005 Canada stood at number four on the United Nations gender development index. That index speaks to a country's efforts to improve the social and economic status of women in that country. Today, Canada stands at 83. In three short years, Canada has slid to the depths at which it now stands. This has to be laid at the feet of the current government.
The issue of violence against women in its many forms is an important one. It was a Liberal government in 1994 which brought forward a survey that showed how violence affected women and girl children in this country from the age of 14 moving forward and the depth of violence. We mapped this out and brought forward a strategy to deal with violence against women in this country.
One of the things we noted was that the issue of violence against women was not just limited to gender but that the diversity of women's gender and of women's experience, immigrant women, women from minority groups that condoned violence within the home, domestic violence, and the inability to get justice on those issues. Those were things the Liberal government of the day dealt with in the 1990s. On an international front our Liberal government brought forward concerns of violence at the Beijing conference, the concept that women's rights were human rights. It was an absolutely horrible thing to suddenly realize that it had been forgotten that women's rights were human rights. Finally, in 1995 we saw language for the first time that told us about the depth of violence in all its forms against women in this country.
We looked internationally at violence against the girl tribe, girl children who are forced into marriage at the age of 10 in many countries, girl children who are bought and sold. It was the Liberal government as well that looked into the fact that young women still were being trafficked across the country. Young girls were being moved from province to province. There was massive trafficking. It looked at girls being trafficked in and out, and at commercial sexual exploitation of children under tourism.
It was the Liberal government that brought in legislation to deal with sexual tourism, to deal with trafficking. In fact, a massive bill dealing with trafficking of women and girls was brought in by a Liberal government. Of course I need not tell the House that that government was brought down before the bill was passed. The NDP members who stand in the House and make such wondrous statements about violence against women colluded to bring down the government before that bill could be passed.
Also, on the issue of violence, the hon. member referred to domestic violence, most of it including guns. It was a Liberal government that brought about gun control legislation in 1995 but it was absolutely voted down, not only by the Conservatives of the day but by the NDP that did not support gun control legislation.
This is an extremely important broad ranging topic. The lack of action by the Conservative government and the ability of the NDP to support the Conservatives in that lack of action needs to be discussed in greater detail.
This is such a serious topic that it deserves to be debated today in another forum in a very fulsome manner, but the motion was presented to the House without any notice. In the next 20 minutes the Standing Committee on the Status of Women will be meeting. There are witnesses who are waiting to present to the committee today. They have come from outside Ottawa to present to the committee. We cannot afford to deal with this issue right now and give it the appropriate attention it deserves.
We must return to this topic on another day when we can discuss it in all of its detail and fulsomeness and bring to the attention of the people of Canada the problem with respect to women's equality in this country.
Therefore, Mr. Speaker, I move:
That the debate be now adjourned.