Mr. Speaker, I think it is particularly appropriate that we are discussing this issue today. In the riding of Kamloops—Thompson—Cariboo, it is Take Back the Night, where a large group will gather, people will give speeches, and then there will be a march. It is very appropriate to be discussing this very important issue here today. Of course, part of the goal of Take Back the Night is that eventually we will not have to be discussing violence against women and girls.
It saddens me to hear about these violent acts against women, sisters, mothers, daughters, and wives almost every day in communities across Canada. I am a nurse. I worked in aboriginal communities. I worked in rural emergency rooms, and I saw first hand some of the horrendous situations that young women, girls, and older women face.
I find it a little offensive when opposition members indicate that they do not think we care about this issue. We care passionately about this issue, but we disagree on the best way to move forward.
Our government believes that we know many of the causes. I was on the committee of murdered and missing aboriginal women. We heard about programs that were working. We heard about prevention programs. We looked at this for a year. We heard from families. Everyone was touched by the conversations we had with them. I think we need to look at this issue and not say that one group cares and the other does not care. We all care; we just disagree in terms of how we need to move forward.
Again, it is terribly distressing to know that aboriginal women and girls continue to face violence and that so many go missing or are found murdered. These are issues that require concrete, long-term action to address every aspect of these crimes. Nothing is more important than the safety of families and our communities. Of course, we have made this a top priority over many years.
We have also heard about matrimonial real property rights on reserve. I still cannot believe that the opposition did not support that moving forward. It so important.
We heard from the minister, who talked passionately about how some of the things we have done she believes will make a real difference. She talked about matrimonial real property rights and house arrest. We heard the passion in her voice.
The committee's report had a number of specific recommendations, such as stronger laws so that violent, repeat offenders serve appropriate sentences.
In Kamloops we had a violent repeat offender who took a woman from her place of business and brutalized her. It was an awful thing to hear the history of that perpetrator. It was known that he was on the street and that he was a high risk to reoffend. We are bringing in those tougher sentences, and we are doing that through both government and private members' bills.
The victims bills of rights was introduced on April 14 and is mentioned specifically in the committee report. Once passed, victims' rights would be enshrined in Canadian federal law. It would for the first time establish statutory rights to information, protection, and restitution.
Over the period of the summer, I had the opportunity to be joined by the Minister of Justice in a round table conversation. We had the mother of a young girl who was brutally murdered talk to us about how she felt as a mother and how she was treated within the system. She had very practical, sensible recommendations for the victims bill of rights, and she encouraged us to move forward with it because of the experience she had had. It is an important measure.
Another important measure the report calls for is the creation of a national DNA missing persons index. In budget 2014, we committed $8.1 million to do just that. This index would allow for the national collection and matching of DNA profiles to support the investigations of missing persons and unidentified human remains. We intend to introduce legislation to allow for the creation of the index in the upcoming months.
One of the things we heard from some of the families was a strong desire to have closure and resolution. This measure would help provide these families with that closure.
We are also looking at addressing human trafficking in a very strong national action plan to combat human trafficking. This was launched in June 2012. We have introduced aggressive measures and initiatives to prevent human trafficking, identity and protect victims and prosecute perpetrators. Again, theses are significant investments to specifically address violence against aboriginal women and girls.
In budget 2010, $25 million went toward programs and initiatives that addressed the disturbingly high number of missing and murdered aboriginal women.
In terms of the inquiry, the NDP opposition talked to the process in British Columbia. I know Wally Oppal has very specifically come out and he said that we do not need a national inquiry, that there has been report after report and recommendations have been made. He has said that we need to move on.
I will close with the same comment I made at the very beginning. Everyone in the House cares passionately about this issue. The only difference is how do we best move forward. In this case, the government feels we are best to move forward with action, and that is what we intend to do.