House of Commons Hansard #213 of the 41st Parliament, 2nd Session. (The original version is on Parliament's site.) The word of the day was chair.


National Action Plan to Address Violence Against WomenPrivate Members' Business

6:10 p.m.


Kirsty Duncan Liberal Etobicoke North, ON

Mr. Speaker, I rise today to speak on Motion No. 444 because we absolutely need a national action plan to end violence against women and we need a public inquiry into missing and murdered indigenous women and girls immediately. Our party, the Liberal Party, has been pushing very hard for both of these fundamental issues.

I am profoundly saddened that such a motion is even needed in this millennium, in the year 2015, and that such a motion is needed to make the current government act. The motion is indeed needed because the level of violence that women and girls experience in Canada has changed little over the past two decades; that is, the current response to violence against women and girls failed to significantly lower the levels of violence they experience. I thank the member for Churchill for bringing this forward.

Civil society, including the YWCA and the Canadian Network of Women's Shelters & Transition Houses, has been clear. In order to build a Canada where women and girls are not subjected daily to violence simply because of their gender, our governments must take a new approach.

Canada needs a coherent, coordinated, well-resourced national action plan on violence against women. This will require the leadership of the federal government, along with the co-operation of provincial, territorial, and municipal governments, as well as on- and off-reserve first nation and aboriginal governments.

The process of constructing a national action plan will be key in determining the plan's success. There are many individuals, organizations, communities, and researchers working diligently to end violence against women. In my riding of Etobicoke North, I want to recognize the extraordinary life-saving work of Ernestine's Women's Shelter, a touchstone in our community, and all of those who work and volunteer for the organization.

The government must draw upon the diversity and depth of knowledge and experience offered by these communities, organizations, and individuals, and the final national action plan must clearly reflect the findings of those communities, organizations, and individuals.

Canadians should know that the rates of self-reported spousal violence in 2009 are the same as in 2004. We know from our daily lives that gender-based violence remains rampant. The facts support this conclusion: half of women in Canada—half—have suffered physical or sexual violence.

I do want to briefly touch upon sexual violence.

According to a 2013 Statistics Canada report that relied upon police-reported data, women aged 15 to 24 experience the highest rates of sexual violence in the country. Women reported 460,000 incidents of sexual assault to social service providers in 2009, but less than 10% were reported to the police.

I have asked the Minister of Status of Women to put the issue of sexual assault at Canadian post-secondary institutions on her next federal/provincial/territorial meeting agenda, as an estimated nearly one in five women are likely to be sexually assaulted as students.

In our country, on any given night, 4,600 women and their 3,600 children are forced to sleep in emergency shelters as a result of violence. On a single day, 379 women and 215 children were turned away from shelters in Canada, usually because they were stretched to capacity.

Exactly when did we, as a society, become accustomed to violence? Why do some men still respond angrily when the issue of gender-based violence is raised? Why does the government respond to a long-standing serious crisis in our country in a fragmented and piecemeal fashion?

Violence against women and girls is abhorrent. It is a human rights violation, with devastating and serious impacts that may last generations.

Each year in Canada, violence and abuse drive over 100,000 women and children out of their homes and into shelters. Women in Canada continue to outnumber men nine to one as victims of assault by a spouse or partner.

Girls between the ages of 12 and 15 are at the greatest risk of sexual assault by a family member. The human costs of violence are incalculable.

There are also economic costs. According to a study by the Department of Justice, violence against women costs Canadian society $7.4 billion each year, including $21 million in hospitalizations, visits to doctors and emergency rooms, as well as $180 million in related mental health costs.

On August, 2013, the Minister of Health spoke at the meeting of the Canadian Medical Association, or CMA, where she announced she would make ending family violence the theme of her tenure. She repeated a similar message at the most recent meeting of the CMA in April 2014. I know her work in this area, but Canadians are still waiting for a national action plan to end violence.

Under international law every country has an obligation to address violence against women. The United Nations has called on all countries to have a national action plan by 2015. Other countries have developed such a model, such as the U.K. and Australia.

Currently, Canada has no comprehensive national plan or strategy to deal with violence against women. Initiatives at the federal level lack co-ordination, rely too heavily on the criminal justice system, and fail to acknowledge the gender dimension and root causes of violence against women.

Although Status of Women Canada lists ending violence against women as a priority area of their funding program, the rates of violence have yet to change. Does this not lead to questions about the effectiveness of the funding models at Status of Women Canada?

This results in underfunded and inadequate services that do not reflect women's lived realities, or effectively prevent violence and reduce impact. National action plans provide a framework for strengthening the systems that respond to violence against women. They establish national standards and call for collaboration between all levels of government, civil society, survivors and service responders. They put women's knowledge, experiences and needs at the centre.

A national action plan in Canada would help ensure: consistency across and within jurisdictions in policies and legislation; shared understanding of the root causes of violence against women; consistent approaches to prevention of and responses to violence; collective pursuit of the most appropriate solutions; and co-ordinated, clear and effective services, and systems for survivors that respect and respond to diversity.

Other needs include: new commitments and clear targets; effective prevention mechanisms; universal coverage of response mechanisms for survivors; review of all justice mechanisms, including policing, prosecution and offender management practices; efforts to strengthen social policies that affect women's vulnerability to violence; support for reliable data collection; and I could go on.

The time has come that we no longer talk about reducing violence against women, but actually end emotional, financial, physical, psychological and sexual violence. To do this there needs to be a concerted and sustained effort to develop a national action plan to end violence against women and girls, with real consultation with those women who are fleeing violence, with shelters and support services, with the provinces and territories. We need a national public inquiry into missing and murdered indigenous women and girls immediately.

It is time for all of us to stand up and say that violence against women is not okay and that the time for action is now, so that no women will ever again face violence at the hands of a man.

National Action Plan to Address Violence Against WomenPrivate Members' Business

6:20 p.m.


Peggy Nash NDP Parkdale—High Park, ON

Mr. Speaker, I am pleased to take part in this debate this evening on this very important motion, Motion No. 444, to create a national action plan to address violence against women.

I would like to thank my colleague from Churchill who has been tireless in her advocacy for this national plan and who is standing up strongly for an inquiry into the missing and murdered indigenous women. I would like to salute her and thank her for all of her hard work.

It is really shameful that we even need to have this debate. Clearly, we need a national action plan to address violence against women and girls in this country. It should not be necessary because for so many years this is something that has been urged for, both domestically and internationally. Even the UN has been calling for Canada to adopt this plan.

The rates of violence against women and girls in Canada is persistently and shockingly high, especially for doubly-disadvantaged, indigenous, racialized, LGBTTQ women, and those with disabilities. These calls for a national action plan come from all feminist women's organizations across the country. The government, clearly, needs to respond in creating this plan. It is fundamentally important for women in this country.

Let me just quote a credible, long-time activist organization, one that provides services for women in Canada, which is the YWCA. Ann Decter, who is the director of advocacy and public policy, wrote, “Canada needs a national action plan on violence against women that will set national standards for prevention, support services, legal services and access to justice and crucial social policies, such as access to safe, affordable housing. A National Inquiry on Missing and Murdered Indigenous Women needs to be part of the plan. M-444 provides for all of this, and as such, has our full support.”

Therefore, what is called for is clear. Women's organizations are speaking with one voice on this and it is long overdue that our government take action.

I want to give a couple of recent examples of what is happening in my city of Toronto.

On May 8, we had the murder of Suraiya Gangaram who was 31 and a single mom of three daughters. Her alleged murderer had threatened to kill her last year. He was out on bail and required to stay away from her. Nevertheless, he killed her and then threw himself in front of a train, but lived and, of course, will stand trial for this murder. However, she is now deceased and her three daughters are left without anyone to care for them.

Just last year we had another horrible, tragic case of 43-year old Zahra Abdilla who was murdered as were her two sons. They were killed in their home in Toronto. What was particularly tragic was that Mrs. Abdilla had been in a shelter for two weeks. She had been fighting to get custody of her sons, but could not afford a lawyer and had no options. There was no second-stage housing for her to go to with her sons, so she returned to her abusive husband and their home. She was killed and her husband subsequently committed suicide.

These are just a couple of the many examples of murder, but there are all kinds of other horrible situations of sexual violence and abuse.

In my own community of Parkdale—High Park, about a decade ago, a woman, Rosie McGroarty, was bludgeoned to death by her partner. It was a particularly gruesome case. I will not go into details, but it was again a situation that brought home the terrible reality of the kind of violence that far too many women are facing.

These are extreme examples, but the reality is that half of all women have experienced an incident of physical or sexual violence since the age of 16, and of course, an issue that has been all too prevalent in this House has been the call for an inquiry into the more than 1,200 missing and murdered indigenous women in this country and a call for the government, finally, to take action.

Instead, the government has cut many women's programs. We have certainly seen a failure to act in terms of funding for housing, affordable housing, second stage housing. The government cut and abolished the court challenges program. It slashed the budget of the Status of Women Agency by 70%. It took the word “equality” out of the Status of Women Agency's mandate.

It erroded pay equity legislation, blocked the NDP bill on trans rights. In case after case, whether it is failing to create even one child care space in this country, failing to have a national housing strategy, the government has failed women in this country.

I want to salute the many community members across this country who are trying desperately to fill in the gaps and are taking action. I want to salute, for example, in my own community the Redwood Women's Shelter, which is a safe haven for women who are leaving an abusive relationship, which is one of the most difficult things for a woman to do, especially if she has children. However, Redwood and its wonderful staff and volunteers provides emotional, practical and social support for women and their children while they are in that safe haven. It has a very high success rate: 80% of the women who are fortunate enough to find support at Redwood Shelter do not go back to their abusive relationship.

I want to salute the Parkdale anti-violence education group. I have worked with them to create a scholarship in the name of Rosie McGroarty, the woman who was very brutally murdered in our community. I especially want to salute Parkdale Community Legal Services and its community outreach person, Peggy-Gail Dehal-Ramson, who has been a real leader in working with women who have faced violence and are trying to get their lives back on track. She has provided really inspiring community development work with so many women in our community.

These community organizations exist across the country along with a small army of volunteers. Women, primarily, but some women and men who want to try to eliminate this terrible situation of persistent violence against women and girls need government leadershp.

In closing, I want to be very clear what it is that we want. We want the Government of Canada to finally commit to the creation of a national action plan to address violence against women. We want it to do this in consultation and partnership with the provinces, territories, first nations, Inuit and Métis, governments and communities. We want broad consultation in all regions to include these front line service providers, housing advocates, legal advocates, law enforcement personnel, survivors and marginalized women advocates. This is long overdue.

I salute my colleague for bringing this motion forward and I challenge all members in this House to adopt this motion and finally take definitive action to help women and girls across this country.

National Action Plan to Address Violence Against WomenPrivate Members' Business

May 13th, 2015 / 6:30 p.m.

London North Centre Ontario


Susan Truppe ConservativeParliamentary Secretary for Status of Women

Mr. Speaker, I welcome the opportunity to participate in this debate on the motion before the House today, put forward by the member for Churchill. It deals with the very important issue of ending violence against women and girls. Our government takes the issue of violence against women and girls very seriously, and we have taken a multi-faceted approach to addressing it. Allow me to take a few moments to discuss some of the actions that we have taken.

We have made communities safer for all Canadians by enacting over 30 measures into law since 2006. For example, amendments to the Criminal Code made under the Safe Streets and Communities Act that came into force in 2012 promote safety and security. They also assist in holding criminals fully accountable for their actions through increased penalties for violent crimes, including child sexual offences, and restrictions on the use of conditional sentences and house arrest for serious and violent crimes.

Another example is Bill C-13, the Protecting Canadians from Online Crime Act, which came into force in March. It provides for a new Criminal Code offence, the non-consensual distribution of intimate images, which prohibits the sharing or distribution of nude or sexual images without the consent of the person depicted.

We have supported the needs of victims with Bill C-32, the Victims Bill of Rights Act, which received royal assent on April 23. This bill provides rights for victims of crime, many of which will benefit women who have experienced violence. For example, the bill gives victims the right to have their security and privacy considered, the right to be protected from intimidation and retaliation, the right to request the protection of their identity if they are a complainant or witness in a criminal justice proceeding, and the right to request testimonial aids.

Another recent example is Bill S-7, the zero tolerance for barbaric cultural practices act. This bill would address forms of family violence that are predominately perpetrated against women and girls. It contains proposed amendments to the Immigration and Refugee Protection Act, creating a new form of inadmissibility to Canada for those practising polygamy. It includes proposed amendments to the Civil Marriage Act to codify the requirement for free and enlightened consent to marriage and to introduce a new national absolute minimum age for marriage of 16. The bill would also introduce proposed new offences in the Criminal Code related to forced or underage marriages. It would extend the offence of removing a child from Canada to include removal for the purpose of a forced or underage marriage abroad, introduce a new forced or underage marriage peace bond to prevent these marriages from taking place, and limit the application of the defence of provocation so that it would not be available in honour killings and some spousal homicides.

These examples highlight the leadership role of our government in responding to violence against women and girls by establishing a strong legislative framework to protect victims and hold perpetrators to account. These legislative actions are a critical element of the multi-faceted approach that we have put in place to reduce and prevent violence against women and girls.

I would now like to describe some of the actions that we have taken beyond legislation. The Government of Canada has allocated more than $140 million since 2006 to give victims a more effective voice in the criminal justice system through initiatives delivered by Justice Canada. Last September, we launched the latest phase of the stop hating online campaign to combat cyberbullying. This is a national awareness campaign to protect our children and youth from cyberbullying. On February 20, the Government of Canada announced a 10-year $100-million investment to prevent, detect and combat family violence and child abuse as part of our government's commitment to stand up for victims.

On April 1, the Government of Canada began the implementation of its action plan to address family violence and violent crimes against aboriginal women and girls. We also continued collaborating with aboriginal leaders, aboriginal communities and other levels of government to get the most out of our respective action plans.

Our government also believes in giving communities the tools to help end violence against women and girls. That is why we have increased funding to Status of Women Canada, including the women's program, to record levels. In fact, we have invested over $162 million in more than 780 projects through Status of Women Canada since 2007. This includes over $71 million in projects to specifically address violence against women and girls. These efforts include a number of different calls for proposals for projects in rural and remote communities and in post-secondary campus communities.

Another call for proposals is helping communities respond to cyber and sexual violence. More than $6 million has been invested in these projects through Status of Women Canada so far.

My view is that we must continue taking actions like the ones I have described today, and therefore I will not be supporting this motion. However, we must continue working together because we know that no single individual, organization or government working alone can address the problem of gender-based violence.

We have made this issue such an important priority because we know that helping women and girls live violence-free lives is the right thing to do. However, we also know something else. We know that enabling women and girls to live free of violence removes a barrier to achieving their full potential for themselves, their families and their communities. Doing that will move us closer to equality in our country, which is something we all wish to see.

National Action Plan to Address Violence Against WomenPrivate Members' Business

6:35 p.m.


Yvonne Jones Liberal Labrador, NL

Mr. Speaker, I thank the member for Churchill for bringing this motion to the floor. I am pleased to speak in support of Motion No. 444 to look at a national action plan to end violence against women in our society. I would think that all Canadians want to see an end to violence because we know what the impact is upon all women, whether it is violence in the home, sexual harassment in the workplace or sexual assault. No matter what the case may be, it does pose many barriers for women to be able to progress and move forward and live a life without fear, stress and restraint. Those things are very important.

In 2015, it is unimaginable that any woman has to endure sexual assault or sexual misconduct in the workplace. It is unbelievable that any woman has to endure violence within the home and feel there is no avenue for escape, and feel that there are no other options available to her. We live in Canada. We live in a society where we look after those who are important to us, those people whom we represent.

In 2015, we should not have women marching in the streets asking for initiatives to end violence against women. However, unfortunately, that is where we are and that is the society that we are living in. It is very saddening that we even have to bring this motion to the floor of the House of Commons for debate, to call upon members of Parliament from across Canada to support a strategy like this. It is a strategy that should already be in place. We should be looking to end violence against women and not just to develop a strategy at this stage.

Unfortunately, this motion is needed. It is needed so that the level of violence against women and girls in Canada can be eliminated, so that what we have seen over the last decades will be no more. That is what all women and children out there want to see. They want to see a civil society where they are free to grow, learn and examine every opportunity that is open to them, and where they are not subjected daily to violence because of their gender.

In a country like Canada, we have the resources to not only develop a national action plan on violence against women, but we have the resources to ensure that the plan works, to ensure that resources are available to all communities, towns, cities and people who need it. However, it cannot happen without leadership. I listened to the member opposite on the government side talk about the initiatives that her government has brought forward to help women in society and the changes the Conservatives have made within the justice system to ensure greater penalties to those who commit the crimes of violence against women and girls.

No one is disputing that. What we are asking for is more, because we know that more can and should be done. There are a lot of communities around Canada where women are violently abused within their homes and have no place to seek refuge. There is no shelter. There are no programs that cater to the violence that they endure. The women do not often see a way out.

Last night, I sat in a session viewing the film Highway of Tears that talked about the many missing women and murdered aboriginal women in Canada.

One woman who spoke at the launching of the film talked about 21 years of enduring violence from the person she had married, her spouse. Twenty-one years feeling there was no refuge, that there was nowhere to go and 21 years of enduring violence and feeling she had no way out. Is that we want for the next decade in this country? I do not think so.

What we really want is a coherent, coordinated plan that works, that brings resources to the people who need it. We need women to feel safe and secure in their homes, safe and secure to raise their children and to live their lives. There are so many women who do not have that option and we often fail to recognize that.

When we talk about an inquiry into missing and murdered indigenous women in this country, it is not talk. There are 1,021 women missing or murdered in this country. Some of them on the Highway of Tears that I have spoken about, some of them in other regions of Canada and some of them from my home. It is not acceptable for the Government of Canada to say it will not do an inquiry into missing and murdered indigenous women. The message we are sending is that it is not that important. That is wrong.

How do we ever end violence against women if we are not prepared to get to the root of where these problems come from? Whether it is in aboriginal communities or non-aboriginal communities, what message do we send to the perpetrators of violence against women when we say we do not want an inquiry into over 1,000 Canadian aboriginal, indigenous, Inuit, Métis, first nations women who have died or gone missing?

The message is not a good one that we send. We do not end violence against women by ignoring these issues and assaults. We end violence against women by acting upon it. We are not going to end violence against women just because we increase the sentences of those who commit the crime. That is one very small part of it.

What about the reoffenders? What about the guy I met in a correctional centre who was serving his sixth sentence for violent assault against his wife? It was his sixth time in the lock-up for violently assaulting his wife. It is okay if we add three or four months more onto his sentence, but have we really ended violence against that woman?

These are the questions that we have to ask ourselves when we look at issues like this. This is not a statistic. It is real and it is happening. I am not the only person who can stand in the House of Commons today and tell the many stories of violence against women that should be prevented, that should be ended, and the need that we have to do that. There are so many other members of Parliament who can do the same.

While I thank my colleague from Churchill for bringing this motion forward and standing up for this issue, I also want to encourage all members of Parliament to support this and do everything they can as a parliamentarian to enact this strategy and ensure it has the resources that work. We must really put our efforts into ending violence against women in Canada.

National Action Plan to Address Violence Against WomenPrivate Members' Business

6:45 p.m.


Linda Duncan NDP Edmonton Strathcona, AB

Mr. Speaker, it is my absolute privilege to stand in support of the motion by my colleague, the member for Churchill, the official opposition critic for aboriginal peoples. She continues to be a staunch advocate in whatever portfolio she is in. I know she represents many Métis and first nations in her constituency, and she does them proud, not simply in speaking for them but in being a voice here and sharing their stories and desires.

This motion put forward by my colleague, remarkably, does not simply ask for a coordinated national action plan to address violence against women but asks that it be done in direct collaboration with the provinces, the territories, civil society, first nations, Métis, and Inuit peoples and their representatives. This is something we do not see happening under the current government. It is time we brought everyone together who has some power in this country. We need every order of government to come together, including indigenous peoples, to address this inequity, and inequity it is.

When we listen to the speeches that have been given on this important motion, we hear about the vulnerability of the women of this country—elderly women being the poorest of the poor, indigenous women being the poorest of the poor—simply because they are born into an indigenous community. My province and my city have, sadly, experienced a very high proportion of this violence. Between 1980 and 2012, Statistics Canada reports that over 740 of the almost 6,500 female homicides in Canada occurred in Alberta. Almost one-half of those were aboriginal women. This does not include the many aboriginal women and girls who remain missing.

The Sexual Assault Centre of Edmonton, of which I am proud to say I was one of the co-founders, advises that 700 to 900 clients a year come to them. Shockingly, these range from the age of three years and up. This is a matter that affects Canadian women of every age. The centre advises that one in three girls will experience sexual violence in her lifetime. This has to stop.

The Alberta Council of Women's Shelters advised me that despite the pressing need, including on aboriginal reserves, there has been no increase in funding for shelters for women who are victims of violence since 2007. As we are here today, only two of those communities have shelters, despite the violence they face.

It is a national problem. Women's shelters have been under-supported everywhere. In Alberta, as I said, there are only two second-stage shelters for abused women and their children to adjust to a more secure life. The majority of women seeking safe shelter do not fall within the government definition of the chronically homeless, so they do not have access to the shelters that many men do, and there has been no new money committed for housing. The shelter enhancement fund remains, unbelievably, $130,000 a year for all of these women suffering this abuse.

I intend to focus the remainder of my remarks in support of Motion No. 444 on addressing the critical situation faced by aboriginal women in our society who are seeking violence-free lives. I again commend my colleague, the member for Churchill, who has spoken not only for action to address violence against all women but has stood time after time in this place begging the government to listen to the first nations people of this country and initiate a national inquiry, which is long overdue.

Nationally, aboriginal women make up only 4% of our population yet are 16% of those murdered and 11% of those missing. The RCMP has advised that these statistics likely miss many cases. However, it is critical, in understanding the need to take the action set forth in her motion, to recognize that we are not just speaking about mere statistics. We must realize that these more than 1,100 missing and murdered aboriginal women are someone's mother, someone's sister, someone's daughter, and someone's friend and neighbour.

Missing since February of this year in my province is Misty Potts, a 37-year-old mother from the Alexis Nakota Sioux Nation. She has her master's in environmental sciences and is an outspoken advocate against environmental degradation and the impact on aboriginal people, yet she is a victim of violence.

Missing is Shelly Dene, from Fort McMurray and Fort McKay, since August 2013. She is a mother and a student.

Cindy Gladue, 36 years old, was a homicide victim. She was a mother of three, and it took first nations people taking to the streets of Edmonton for the government finally to agree to appeal the acquittal in that case.

Because of the rising number of cases of missing and murdered aboriginal women, every aboriginal woman is left feeling vulnerable and at risk.

Katherine Swampy, an aboriginal woman from Alberta, bravely ran for office in Alberta for the New Democrats. This is the story she shared with us. She said that the comment she received in social media that hurt her the most was a Facebook message that said:

I support Katherine Swampy and I support the NDP. It's just too bad she has a higher chance of turning up missing than she does of winning this constituency.

It is a sad state of affairs in our country. She said that really struck a nerve, because a childhood friend had been murdered in Calgary just months before.

Her concern is well founded. The Action Coalition on Human Trafficking, an Alberta-based group addressing human trafficking that has been engaged in a project funded, interestingly, by Public Safety Canada, in 2013 and 2014, identified that aboriginal girls and women are easy prey for human traffickers due to poverty, drug addiction, and mental health problems. It reported that 15% of sex trafficked cases are aboriginal women. It is very, very sad.

The current government says that we do not need special action, but even the public safety department is saying that there is a concern about aboriginal women, so we should be acting on those findings and taking action.

This national inquiry my colleague has called for is supported by the former Treaty 6 Grand Chief Mackinaw; the current Treaty 6 Grand Chief Bernice Martial; the Canadian Human Rights Commission; the Native Women's Association of Canada; the Assembly of First Nations; all 48 Treaty 8 chiefs, by resolution; the Inter-American Commission, which is an affiliate of the Organization of American States; and all of the Canadian premiers. I am pleased to say that the Alberta premier-elect has reversed what Jim Prentice had said. She says that she is joining all the premiers in supporting the call for an inquiry.

What more do we need to show the current Conservative government that this inquiry needs to proceed?

I personally can attest to the many frigid winter evenings that aboriginal elders, leaders, grandmothers, mothers, sisters, and cousins have marched in support of the long-desired and long-awaited national inquiry into missing and murdered aboriginal women. I have been privileged to join them.

The government complains that most of this violence is happening within families. Well, the aboriginal families understand that they need to do their part, and I am proud to say that I am wearing a piece of moose hide, which was gifted to me by the friendship centres today. It is part of an action the aboriginal men of Canada are taking called “I am a Kind Man” to encourage all first nation men and boys to honour, respect, and protect women and children.

As Tanya Kappo, an Alberta first nation woman, mother, and lawyer has commented, a national inquiry would examine the underlying causes of missing and murdered aboriginal women. It would provide the opportunity to examine the roles played by our justice and police systems and the role of the residential school legacy so as to prevent and reduce these vulnerabilities.

As Ms. Kappo shared two years ago at my public forum, she worked hard to raise her children and to become educated as a lawyer, yet when she left the forum that night, she too would be vulnerable to attack.

What more must be done by aboriginal girls and women in this country for us to finally address this travesty?

In closing, I encourage every member of this place to take the opportunity to view Walking With Our Sisters, the more than 1,100 pairs of moccasin vamps that show us clearly all of those lost souls.

National Action Plan to Address Violence Against WomenPrivate Members' Business

6:55 p.m.

Chilliwack—Fraser Canyon B.C.


Mark Strahl ConservativeParliamentary Secretary to the Minister of Aboriginal Affairs and Northern Development

Mr. Speaker, I am pleased to have this opportunity to take part in the debate on Motion No. 444, presented by the hon. member for Churchill. In my remarks I will be addressing the components of the motion that touch directly on the mandate of Aboriginal Affairs and Northern Development Canada. First, I will address the proposal for a national public inquiry into missing and murdered aboriginal women and girls. Second, I will address the proposal for strategies that address the specific needs and vulnerabilities of different communities, with specific attention to aboriginal women.

Let me begin by emphasizing our government's continuing deep concern about missing and murdered aboriginal women and girls in Canada. We regard all acts of violence against aboriginal women and girls as abhorrent and intolerable.

As the House will appreciate, reducing violence requires a collective effort by all sectors of society involved, including government at all levels, aboriginal organizations, the judiciary, the police, and aboriginal communities themselves. We saw just such a gathering on February 27, 2015, when representatives of the federal, provincial, and territorial governments, aboriginal leaders, and affected families met in Ottawa for the national round table on missing and murdered indigenous women and girls. The objective of this round table, coordinated by the Assembly of First Nations, was to work toward better prevention, safety, policing, and justice measures to address, in a concerted and collaborative way, violence against aboriginal women and girls across the country.

Allow me to reiterate that crucial point. We are all involved, and we all have a role to play in finding a solution to these heinous acts of violence that cause individuals, families, and communities such terrible grief.

Aboriginal organizations and family members have told us that what is needed now on this issue is action rather than inquiries, and that is exactly what this government is providing. Several families and witnesses who appeared before the Special Committee on Violence Against Indigenous Women, of which I was a member, expressed the wish that the committee's report include recommendations that would make a real difference in the lives of aboriginal women and girls. In fact, there have already been over 40 studies related to the issue of violence against aboriginal women and girls, and every one of those studies urged action.

As the House is aware, the RCMP national operational overview, released on May 16, 2014, provided critical information on the nature and extent of this issue. The report reaffirmed earlier findings on key vulnerability factors for aboriginal women and girls and common factors among perpetrators. It is the most comprehensive account of missing and murdered aboriginal women in Canada to date and was compiled with the assistance of Statistics Canada and 300 policing agencies across the country.

The action plan to address family violence and violent crimes against aboriginal women and girls, which our government released on September 15, 2014, builds on the knowledge gathered through our previous investments and the many studies and reports on this issue, including the RCMP's national operational overview. This action plan, therefore, has an extremely solid and well-considered foundation. It thoroughly reflects our government's conviction that strong, concerted action is needed on this issue now. Moreover, it responds to all 16 of the recommendations identified in the report of the Special Committee on Violence Against Indigenous Women.

In developing the action plan, the Minister of Status of Women met with leaders of several aboriginal organizations and communities as well as with a number of individual victims and families. These discussions identified the following priority areas: preventing violence by supporting community level solutions, supporting aboriginal victims with appropriate services, and protecting aboriginal women and girls by investing in shelters and continuing to improve Canada's law enforcement and justice systems. The action plan includes a new investment of $25 million to support our work on these three priorities with aboriginal communities and stakeholders and provinces and territories. In total, the range of measures focused on this issue is nearly $200 million.

The investment in shelters through Aboriginal Affairs and Northern Development Canada's family violence prevention program is an important component of the action plan. This program supports 41 centres throughout the country. These shelters offer women and their children a safe and welcoming environment in times of crisis. Most provide culturally sensitive counselling and programs, such as family violence prevention, parenting and life skills training, traditional healing programs and mental health support.

As of April 1, the budget for the family violence prevention program increased to $31.7 million per year, with an additional $1.3 million available for family violence prevention activities both on and off reserve. In addition, the program allocates funding to the National Aboriginal Circle Against Family Violence to provide a national coordinating role by supporting shelters and their staff through training forums, gatherings, research and collaboration with key partners.

Specific measures set out in the action plan to prevent violence include the development of more community safety plans on and off reserve across Canada. This initiative allows communities to take ownership of the issues and develop culturally sensitive, local solutions. The action plan also supports projects to break intergenerational cycles of violence and abuse by raising awareness and building healthy relationships.

As I noted earlier, reducing violence is a task that requires the contributions of many committed partners. In that regard, our government's efforts complement equally important work being done by the provinces and territories, police and the justice system, as well as aboriginal families, communities and organizations, to address violence against aboriginal women and girls.

We will continue to work closely with these partners, carrying out concrete measures that will bring about a real difference to aboriginal families and communities. Only concerted action, rather than more studies or public inquiries, will enable us to tackle this intolerable situation.

To conclude my remarks, I would like to focus on the second component of the motion relevant to the mandate of Aboriginal Affairs and Northern Development, mainly the proposal for strategies that address the specific needs and vulnerabilities of different communities, including specific attention to aboriginal women.

I am pleased to remind the House of the range of programs our government has available to help meet the needs of aboriginal women. These include pre-employment support, such as literacy and life skills training. These initiatives will enhance the employability of eligible first nations women.

Aboriginal Affairs and Northern Development Canada also recognizes the needs of aboriginal women who are aspiring entrepreneurs. The department has in fact exceeded the initial commitment of $1 million in funding for aboriginal women in economic development, announced in 2010, in support of the implementation of the federal framework for aboriginal economic development. To date, we have committed to fund 21 projects totalling more than $2.6 million in direct support of aboriginal women in their entrepreneurial careers.

In addition, through the urban aboriginal strategy, the department assists aboriginal women off-reserve to develop the skills they need to join the labour market. Of course, there are aboriginal skills and employment training strategies, the skills and partnership fund and the first nations job fund, all of which aim to increase the participation of aboriginal people, including women and girls, in the job market.

Our government is dedicated to supporting brighter, safe, secure futures for aboriginal women and girls throughout the country. I can assure every member of the House that we will continue to pursue relentlessly, with all our partners, the imperative objective of reducing violence against aboriginal women and girls.

National Action Plan to Address Violence Against WomenPrivate Members' Business

7:05 p.m.


Niki Ashton NDP Churchill, MB

Mr. Speaker, I am exceptionally proud to stand here and be part of the movement to bring a national action plan to address violence against women in Canada. I would like to thank my sisters and brothers in the NDP who have joined me in championing this critical issue.

Since the beginning of my time as an MP, in every region of the country I have heard from women who have experienced violence. These women are survivors and they are strong. I am honoured that they took it upon themselves to share their stories with me because they hoped that I and that we could make a difference. I want to thank all the people who placed their trust in me and our team to bring their voices forward in the House. I hope every parliamentarian will recognize that it is in his or her power right now to make a difference for women who have survived violence, women who live with violence, and women who dream of growing up and living in a world free of violence.

Women are strong as hell. All studies, statistics and common sense prove that when women are secure and thriving, so too are their families, their communities and our societies. When women are empowered to advocate for themselves and take up space in politics and business and activism, we see all people everywhere reap the benefits. This is the Canada in which I want to live.

Therefore, with the support of many, I have placed before the House a proposal to create a national action plan to end violence against women. The YWCA, the Canadian Network of Women's Shelters & Transition Houses, DAWN Canada, the Native Women's Association of Canada and the Families of Sisters in Spirit along with quite a few other major national anti-violence organizations have done tireless work to coordinate consensus and awareness around a national action plan, and I want to thank them for their work.

I have travelled across our country to talk to women and to hear from organizations on the ground about what a national action plan could mean to them. Everywhere I went, I heard similar stories about underfunding, lack of coordination and the frustration of not being able to see change at the systemic level.

In Victoria, B.C., we heard from Victoria Pruden at the Bridges for Women Society. She said:

We at Bridges for Women Society wholeheartedly support the call for a national plan of action on violence against women. Every day we see not only the human cost of violence to women and children, but the economic costs of violence and trauma to Canadians...we need a national action plan NOW.

Jenny Wright, the executive director of Marguerite's Place in Newfoundland, who works on the other end of the country bringing justice and safety to women, particularly sex workers, shared a similar message. She said:

Years of funding cuts and closures, and silencing of women's organizations are in themselves a pervasive form of violence against women. Federal policy must act to strengthen women's organizations and to secure sustainable funding, so they do not continue to be casualties of the fluctuations in our economy, political agendas, and our laws.

I am deeply grateful to the movement of like-minded women, to the movement of feminists who are pushing for this change. I would remind the members of the House that a national action plan has been enacted with great success elsewhere in the world, in countries like Australia and the United States. The vote on this motion could be the first among many positive steps toward healing and empowerment.

I have been east, west, north, south. I have been in urban centres and rural communities. I have been to first nations and Métis communities. What is clear is that we must listen to women. We must listen to their stories of intersectional oppression, to indigenous women, disabled women, women of colour, refugee women, queer women and trans women. They are all facing major systemic challenges, which leave them increasingly vulnerable to violence. There is much work we can do to help. All we need to do is listen to their words.

The need for action of this kind is one of the most urgent issues facing our country. I hope we can see past our partisan aspirations to take real action on this front. Let us not waste more time, and let us stand up in support of a national action plan to end violence against women.

National Action Plan to Address Violence Against WomenPrivate Members' Business

7:10 p.m.


The Deputy Speaker NDP Joe Comartin

The question is on the motion. Is it the pleasure of the House to adopt the motion?

National Action Plan to Address Violence Against WomenPrivate Members' Business

7:10 p.m.

Some hon. members



National Action Plan to Address Violence Against WomenPrivate Members' Business

7:10 p.m.


The Deputy Speaker NDP Joe Comartin

All those in favour of the motion will please say yea.

National Action Plan to Address Violence Against WomenPrivate Members' Business

7:10 p.m.

Some hon. members


National Action Plan to Address Violence Against WomenPrivate Members' Business

7:10 p.m.


The Deputy Speaker NDP Joe Comartin

All those opposed will please say nay.

National Action Plan to Address Violence Against WomenPrivate Members' Business

7:10 p.m.

Some hon. members


National Action Plan to Address Violence Against WomenPrivate Members' Business

7:10 p.m.


The Deputy Speaker NDP Joe Comartin

In my opinion the yeas have it.

And five or more members having risen:

Pursuant to Standing Order 93 the recorded division stands deferred until Wednesday, May 27, immediately before the time provided for private members' business.

A motion to adjourn the House under Standing Order 38 deemed to have been moved.

Foreign AffairsAdjournment Proceedings

7:15 p.m.


Elizabeth May Green Saanich—Gulf Islands, BC

Mr. Speaker, I rise tonight in adjournment proceedings to pursue a question I asked in the House during question period on March 25. Some time has passed since then.

The question I asked pertained not just to Canadian involvement in Ukraine. All members here want to see us do what we can to restore freedom, security, and peace to the region, and there is tremendous concern across Canada about Putin's aggression. There is no question about that.

However, my question actually goes to the matter of the engagement of Parliament when we make decisions about foreign affairs, particularly decisions that increasingly bring us within the range of hostility of another country with which we have, for other purposes, the relationship of allies. I am speaking of Russia.

Through all manner of trade arrangements and other multilateral agreements, we have relations with Russia. We are not at war with Russia, and although I believe Canadians would want to press Putin to withdraw from Ukraine, there is a lot here that we have in common.

My question on March 25 for the Prime Minister was in relation to our support for Ukraine. The extent of Canada's involvement is not clear and public on the website of DFATD. We do not necessarily know, except through the media, about the provision of RADARSAT-2 data to Ukraine, which has been reported as occurring over the objections of the Department of National Defence and of the Department of Foreign Affairs.

I also asked point-blank that I had heard there is a memorandum of understanding between Canada and Ukraine, and I asked the Prime Minister to confirm if such a memorandum exists and to share with parliamentarians when that memorandum of understanding would be tabled with the House.

The response I received from the Minister of Foreign Affairs spoke to those things about which we all agree and all know, which is that Canada is standing with the people of Ukraine and will continue to do so. However, the response was—and this is not a shock in this place—a response that was not responsive.

Since the time I asked that question, I have also learned that Ukraine is not satisfied with the quality of the RADARSAT-2 data it is receiving through the Department of National Defence. Additional requests have been made of Canada to actually place a RADARSAT-2 station in Ukraine so that the Ukrainian government will be able to more quickly access the RADARSAT-2 data. This is highly technical material. It takes trained DND personnel to massage the data to be able to tell Ukraine what it says and what it means.

I would pursue this matter again with the parliamentary secretary, to the extent that he is able to share it with us. Again, this is an area where we will all be in agreement, but unlike the situation in Iraq and Syria, for which we had a debate in the House and talked about what is being planned, we are finding out in dribs and drabs what Canada is doing to assist Ukraine, increasingly in a military context.

We know we have Canadian military there to help in the training. My question again is this: is there a memorandum of understanding between Canada and Ukraine? Will the House be able to review this agreement? Will we have a debate on it? Is it true that we are now contemplating putting a satellite system into Ukraine? If by any chance it was struck during conflict, it would actually compromise our access to RADARSAT-2 data for all the other things Canada needs that data for. Whether it is for weather or information about Canada, we need that data to be secure.

Foreign AffairsAdjournment Proceedings

7:20 p.m.

Cypress Hills—Grasslands Saskatchewan


David Anderson ConservativeParliamentary Secretary to the Minister of Foreign Affairs and Consular

Mr. Speaker, my colleague opposite has brought up a whole host of issues. Certainly I am glad to be here tonight to talk about our broad support for Ukraine. Hopefully she will get some information here that will help her to understand that.

We are a leading supporter of Ukraine sovereignty and territorial integrity. We continue to strongly condemn the actions taken by Russia, including its illegal annexation of Crimea and its efforts to destabilize southern and eastern Ukraine. We have repeatedly called on Russia to withdraw its forces and immediately de-escalate the situation.

On February 13, 2015, we joined other G7 leaders in welcoming what was called the “Package of Measures for the Implementation of the Minsk Agreements” adopted on February 12, 2015, and urged all sides to adhere strictly to the provisions of the package and to carry out its measures without delay. Russia's provocative military activity remains a serious concern to the international community and cannot go unanswered.

We have been at the forefront of the international community's response to this crisis and have provided deep and wide-ranging support to Ukraine, including humanitarian and development assistance, financial aid, and non-lethal military aid.

To support Ukraine's security and stability, Canada has provided $16 million in non-lethal security equipment to Ukraine's armed forces, including winter clothing, a mobile field hospital, explosive ordinance disposal equipment, and other goods.

In addition, we are deploying approximately 200 Canadian Armed Forces personnel to Ukraine until March 31 of 2017 to develop and deliver training and capacity-building programs for Ukrainian forces personnel. We have also imposed a broad range of sanctions against more than 270 Russian and Ukrainian individuals and entities.

In terms of assistance to Ukraine, Canada is providing $400 million in low-interest loans to help Ukraine stabilize its economy. As well, over $202 million has been announced in bilateral development assistance projects. Humanitarian assistance has been provided to help an estimated five million people who have been affected by the violence in Ukraine.

In the face of Russian aggression, Canada has contributed to NATO assurance measures and $1 million to NATO trust funds, as well as $3 million to NATO's centres of excellence to assist allies in Eastern Europe.

Within the broad range of support that Canada is providing, we are also sharing RADARSAT-2 satellite products with Ukrainian authorities. The member opposite had asked about that. At a time when the international community is closely monitoring Russia's implementation of the Minsk commitments, this technology allows Ukraine to have much better situational awareness.

Ukraine's political stability is imperative, and Canada continues to strongly support the OSCE's special monitoring mission. We have just announced an additional $2 million contribution to it, as well as an extension to the term of Canadian monitors.

Canada's assistance to Ukraine is multi-faceted. We remain committed to supporting Ukraine as it resists Russian aggression while undertaking the reforms necessary to ensure Ukraine's future as a democratic, stable, and prosperous country.

Foreign AffairsAdjournment Proceedings

7:20 p.m.


Elizabeth May Green Saanich—Gulf Islands, BC

Mr. Speaker, I really appreciate my friend, the hon. parliamentary secretary, sharing what he did. I do think the Parliament of Canada needs to know more about the nature of our commitments to Ukraine in terms of RADARSAT-2 data.

I am still very curious and I do not yet have an answer. I am certainly grateful to the hon. parliamentary secretary for sharing as much as he did, but if he is not certain if such a memorandum of understanding exists, I would appreciate it if he would take it upon himself to ask the minister.

Canadians know that the Parliament of Canada is the place where we review our commitments, whether militarily or internationally. We discuss and we debate in this place, and it really is important that all members of Parliament be fully informed about the extent of our commitments overseas, particularly in those cases where we are going to be in broad agreement.

A memorandum of understanding, should it exist in the context of our constitutional monarchy and our Westminister parliamentary democracy, should not be executed solely by the executive on its own. We would want to know what we are committed to, even if we are in agreement. As a matter of respect for the supremacy of Parliament, that memorandum of understanding should be made available to members.

Again I thank my hon. colleague, the parliamentary secretary, for whom I have nothing but deep respect.

Foreign AffairsAdjournment Proceedings

7:20 p.m.


David Anderson Conservative Cypress Hills—Grasslands, SK

Mr. Speaker, the member can be reassured that we made a commitment to continue to be at the forefront of the international community's support for Ukraine's long-term stability, security, and prosperity.

We view the situation in Ukraine with the gravest concern. We remain committed to a political and diplomatic solution to the conflict. As the situation evolves, Canada will also continue to co-operate closely with its G7 partners, NATO allies, and other like-minded countries.

Canada is committed to supporting the humanitarian, the political, and the economic well-being of the Ukrainian people through this difficult period. We expect the Government of Ukraine to demonstrate true commitment to reform by implementing key priority reforms in the coming year.

The EconomyAdjournment Proceedings

7:25 p.m.


Adam Vaughan Liberal Trinity—Spadina, ON

Mr. Speaker, I last rose back on March 10. It was so long ago that the Minister of Finance actually used to answer the questions asked of him. It has been a while, though. It is now as difficult to get an answer from him as it is to find a Tory in Alberta. It is a frustrating experience at times.

The question centred on the economy in Alberta. It was at the beginning of the crisis with the drop in oil prices, which has had a devastating impact on the local economy, and there are challenges that many of us are now being made aware of. I had a visit yesterday from the Canadian Home Builders' Association and a representative from Calgary, who gave me an extraordinarily detailed profile of what has happened to the housing market.

The housing market has gone soft in Calgary. Prices have stagnated and sales have virtually come to a standstill. This is having a huge impact on the financial security of a lot of middle-class families, who are now wondering if their major investment is going to grow with the economy or fall behind. They are very worried and are looking for action from the government, which they helped to elect, in standing up to protect housing prices in Calgary. In particular, they are looking to the CMHC.

I would remind the government that the first “C” stands for “Canada”. There is a national housing agenda and program that the government is responsible for. People are looking for the CMHC to do a couple of things. The first is to restore stability to the market.

The question that I asked at the time flowed from an International Monetary Fund report that highlighted problems in Canada's mortgage market, problems in the housing market, and, particularly, problems in Calgary. It talked about the fact that we have a fractured market, diminishing oversight, and a department that has seen cutbacks in the last year that are removing staff, removing capacity, and removing regulatory ability to stabilize the housing market. What we are seeing is that even though CMHC is generating a surplus and providing revenue to the government, the government is walking away from programming in this area.

We are seeing the government walk away from stabilizing the private housing market and walking away from sustaining housing affordability and viability. At the same time, it is also walking away from affordable housing responsibilities by allowing operating agreements to expire and allowing dollars that low-income Canadians are paying into the system to flow out of the housing portfolio and fund things like tax cuts for affluent Canadians. Literally, low-income Canadians are subsidizing high-income Canadians as part of this government policy. All the while, we are seeing the housing market start to disappear.

The question for the government is this: when is it going to re-engage on the housing file? When is it going to stop pretending that the Canada Mortgage and Housing Corporation is not a national institution with national responsibilities? Particularly in Calgary, when is it going to listen to the Canadian Home Builders' Association and do things like remove the federal sales tax from development charges, which means that people are literally paying a tax upon a tax?

When is the government going to do things to stabilize the housing market by utilizing CMHC? When is it going to take action to protect housing affordability and, in particular, protect the investments that Canadians have made in their homes?

The EconomyAdjournment Proceedings

7:25 p.m.

North Vancouver B.C.


Andrew Saxton ConservativeParliamentary Secretary to the Minister of Finance

Mr. Speaker, let me reassure the hon. member for Trinity-Spadina that we have taken action and we will continue to monitor all parts of the economy, including areas that may pose a particular risk.

It is thanks to the prudent fiscal management and the sound leadership of our Prime Minister that Canada has weathered the storm of the great recession. Our economy has created over 1.2 million net new jobs since the depths of the recession, one of the strongest job creation records in the G7. The overwhelming majority of those jobs are full-time in the private sector and in high-wage industries.

According to the International Labour Organization's global wage report, Canada has the best pay gains in the G7. The Centre for American Progress says that Canada has experienced continuing middle-income growth, while for many countries it has halted.

Unlike the NDP and the Liberals, we will not raise taxes on Canadian families, drive the country further into deficit, and pile on more debt. That is why our government took a prudent approach and made a number of adjustments to residential mortgage insurance, and we will consider others, as warranted.

Our government does not see the need for a major shift at this time. Our long-term objective is to gradually reduce the government's exposure to residential mortgages. We will continue to monitor the real estate market, as necessary.

However, let me remind the House that the NDP and the Liberals voted against every measure our government introduced to make houses more affordable for Canadians while limiting taxpayer exposure.

Our government has acted to adjust the rules for government-backed insured mortgages. These adjustments include: requiring a minimum down payment of 5% for owner-occupied properties and 20% on other properties; reducing the maximum amortization period to 25 years from 35 years for mortgages with loan-to-value ratios of more than 80%; and lowering the maximum amount Canadians can borrow in refinancing a mortgage to 80% from 95% of the value of their homes.

Similarly, we strengthened the housing finance system by amending the oversight of Canada Mortgage and Housing Corporation, CMHC, to ensure the corporation's commercial activities are managed in a manner that promotes the stability of the financial system. We will continue to act when necessary to support the long-term stability of Canada's housing markets and encourage savings through home ownership.

There is no doubt that housing has been top of mind for many Canadian families. That is why our government is helping make life more affordable for families with our family tax benefits. Under our plan, every family with children will stand to benefit. In fact, an average family of four will receive $6,600 this year alone. That is money back in the pockets of Canadians to help them with their priorities, like buying a new home, for example.

We also doubled the TFSA, the most important savings tool for Canadians since the RRSP. Over 11 million Canadians have already opened up tax free savings accounts.

There are many more items, but I would like to highlight that our government knows a stable and well-functioning housing finance system is important for the health of Canada's financial system and economic stability, which benefits all Canadians. After all, the biggest investment most Canadians make in their lifetimes is the purchase of their homes and ensuring that such an investment is secure is the responsible thing to do.

The EconomyAdjournment Proceedings

7:30 p.m.


Adam Vaughan Liberal Trinity—Spadina, ON

Mr. Speaker, every step the member just outlined has actually made it more difficult to own a home in Calgary. That is one of the things the Canadian Home Builders' Association in Calgary is complaining about. The borrowing requirements become so laborious for homeowners, in particular, first-time homebuyers, that the government has made the housing crisis not just one of affordable housing but housing affordability. To remove regulatory power and oversight from CHMC as a stated goal is insane.

I have one last question for the member. In the budget, CMHC announced $150 million for relief of penalties when public housing is refinanced in this country. The specific question that has not been answered by anybody in the department is this.

When people refinance their mortgages, do they have to surrender the subsidy agreements that are tied to the mortgage agreements, yes or no? When people refinance and subscribe to the fund that is there to pay off the penalty for renegotiating, do they have to surrender the subsidy agreements tied to the mortgage agreements, yes or no?

The EconomyAdjournment Proceedings

7:30 p.m.


Andrew Saxton Conservative North Vancouver, BC

Mr. Speaker, I can assure the member opposite that consumer protection is one of the top priorities of this government. It is unfortunate because he voted against every single consumer protection measure that we introduced.

The government has adopted a responsible and measured approach to ensure Canada's housing market remains strong and stable. We have acted to adjust the rules for government backed insured mortgages. We withdrew government insurance from backstopping home equity lines of credit. We have strengthened the housing finance system by amending the oversight of CMHC. We will continue to closely monitor the housing market and we will stand ready to implement further measures should they be warranted.

Our government believes these efforts will contribute to the long-term stability of the housing market and will benefit all Canadians. Shamefully, this member voted against each measure our government introduced to help Canadians buy their first homes.

The EconomyAdjournment Proceedings

7:35 p.m.


The Deputy Speaker NDP Joe Comartin

Pursuant to Standing Order 81(4), the motion to adjourn the House is now deemed to have been withdrawn, and the House will now resolve itself into committee of the whole for the purpose of considering all votes under Indian Affairs and Northern Development in the main estimates for the fiscal year ending March 31, 2016.

I do now leave the chair to go into committee of the whole.

(Consideration in committee of the whole of all votes under Indian Affairs and Northern Development in the main estimates, Mr. Joe Comartin in the chair)