Mr. Speaker, I am pleased to have an opportunity to speak again to this bill in short order after question period. Prior to question period, I talked about some of the issues that were involved with the bill. I want to speak now about what is ahead of us on family matters.
I would refer the House to a Globe and Mail article this morning that talked about a Nanos poll. Nanos indicates:
When asked which federal party was most trusted to help Canadian families, 34 per cent of the poll’s respondents picked the NDP. That compared with the 27 per cent who chose the Liberals and the 26 per cent who chose the Conservatives.
This speaks directly to the problems with this bill. The Conservatives have proposed an approach on marriage, a part of the family cycle that is so valuable to everyone. They proposed changes to it without consultation with the provinces and territories, putting forward an idea that really does not accomplish much. The laws of duress are already in place. Other countries that have established similar laws have shown no results from them.
What the NDP would do for families and for women to deal with violence was very clearly articulated by the member for Churchill when she put forward Motion No. 444. It was a motion to establish a coordinated national action plan to address violence against women. Part of that would be strategies that address the specific needs and vulnerabilities of different communities, including specific attention to aboriginal women, women with disabilities, women from minority groups, and young women.
What we proposed in our national action plan was to get to the bottom of the issues surrounding groups such as those. Certainly the ideas that the Conservatives are concerned about and would deal with by criminalizing forced marriages would be dealt with inside a framework that would look for actual solutions to the problems rather than by criminalizing those engaged in it, and criminalizing them in a very broad and capricious way that really does not allow for definition or for any kind of rational action on that part.
I think this is really important, as it comes on the heels of the Truth and Reconciliation Commission's report, which followed many groups in society by asking for an inquiry into missing and murdered indigenous women.
Violence against women is one of the biggest and most pressing problems that we have with families in this country, and the need for that public inquiry is so important. Why is it so important? The Prime Minister said that this is not a social issue. Of course it is a social issue, much as forced marriages are a social issue. All of these are social issues that need to be dealt with in a respectful, responsible fashion. We need to get to the bottom of the issues in society that create the conditions that lead to violence and forced marriages and all of the things that all of us in this House today would not want to have happen in our families, in aboriginal families, or in minority group families.
Yes, we are concerned about it, but using retail politics to put forward a bill that does nothing except provide a title to an issue is really the wrong approach. That is why the polling results that we see today across this country with respect to who the Canadian population trusts to deal with issues for families are so revealing. We talk about real ways to come to grips with society's ills. That is not through legislation; that is through careful, enunciated conditions that arise out of a careful examination of the issues.