House of Commons Hansard #64 of the 44th Parliament, 1st Session. (The original version is on Parliament's site.) The word of the day was chair.

Topics

Missing and Murdered Indigenous Women and GirlsGovernment Orders

8:55 p.m.

Conservative

The Chair Conservative Chris d'Entremont

I just have a reminder before we go back to debate. The quicker we can ask a question, the quicker we can get an answer, so that everybody can participate in tonight's take-note debate.

Resuming debate, the hon. Parliamentary Secretary to the Minister of Natural Resources and to the Minister of Northern Affairs.

Missing and Murdered Indigenous Women and GirlsGovernment Orders

8:55 p.m.

Labrador Newfoundland & Labrador

Liberal

Yvonne Jones LiberalParliamentary Secretary to the Minister of Natural Resources and to the Minister of Northern Affairs

Mr. Chair, first, I want to acknowledge that Canada's Parliament is located on the traditional and unceded territory of the Algonquin Anishinabe people, a very proud people.

I also want to take a moment to recognize all of the indigenous partners who have worked so hard to bring together in their communities the commemoration of Red Dress Day.

We are here this evening to debate a very important issue. It is an integral part of this government's efforts in the shared journey of reconciliation with indigenous people.

Tonight, I have listened to many of my colleagues on both sides of the House as they have spoken. They have spoken with tremendous insight and understanding. They have spoken after listening. They have spoken with action, and I truly appreciate their words. The violence that indigenous women and girls have suffered and the pain that this has caused survivors and their families is an injustice that has ripped at the very fabric of indigenous communities, of communities like mine.

Tonight, I would like to read into the record the names of some of those sisters who have been stolen in Labrador, some of the missing and murdered indigenous women and girls we continue to mourn everyday, whose families suffer. They suffer silently, they suffer in communities and they suffer while holding close in their hearts those whom they love and now miss: Nellie Broomfield, Dina Semigak Igloliorte, Molly Pardy, Daphne Mesher Brown, Anne Hilda Abraham, Sharon Murphy, Henrietta Millek, Hannah Obed, Pamela Asprey, Elaine Flowers, Dr. Mary Kerohan, Deborah Careen, Joanna Andersen, Misty Dawn Boudreau, Deirdre Marie Michelin, Marguerite Dyson, Mary Evans-Harlick, Sarah Obed, Kimberly Jararuse, Martina Ford, Bernice Joan Rich, Katie Obed, Loretta Saunders and her unborn baby Saunders, and Regula Schule.

What we do to support missing and murdered indigenous women, to help end the suffering of families, to rise up wherever we can, all indigenous women in Canada, we do in memory of women like those whose names I have read into the record tonight, women I have known whose lives are lost and whose families continue to suffer.

In our culture we have a ceremony. It is the lighting of the sacred qulliq, which is a traditional Inuit soapstone lamp. My colleague from Nunavut would know of it and practise lighting it in her culture very well. It honours the fact that women are the life carriers. It raises women up. It holds them in a place where they are teachers, where they show the strength and resilience to lead the way that is best for their families and for their communities.

As a government, we have a responsibility to shine a light as well. To shine a light on the injustices is our responsibility. I say that our government has been shining that light. We have been moving forward with missing and murdered indigenous women by providing different encouragement and investments as they have been identified through our dialogue and through our process of reconciliation. We will continue to do that in the path forward with each and every one of them.

I ask my colleagues to learn more, to share more and to continue to advocate more, because in doing so we are saving lives and saving heartache and grief for so many families in indigenous Canada.

Missing and Murdered Indigenous Women and GirlsGovernment Orders

9 p.m.

Green

Elizabeth May Green Saanich—Gulf Islands, BC

Mr. Chair, I thank my hon. colleague, the parliamentary secretary, for focusing on the names of the women, girls, mommies, aunties, sisters and daughters who are missing from her territory.

The report that we hold in our hands and that we study tonight is one that calls on us to do much more than anything we have even imagined, which includes ending the culture of misogyny, patriarchy and racism, and of extraction from and oppression of the land itself. I want to ask the parliamentary secretary if the government she serves is prepared to look at the recommendations that the extractive industries themselves, the transient industrial workers along pipelines in mining camps throughout the country, are actually a threat to indigenous women and girls.

Missing and Murdered Indigenous Women and GirlsGovernment Orders

9 p.m.

Liberal

Yvonne Jones Liberal Labrador, NL

Mr. Chair, my colleague from Saanich—Gulf Islands always provides insightful thoughts in her questions in the House of Commons.

I am open to looking at all aspects of society that infringe upon the rights of women and girls. No woman, no girl, no individual should ever feel unsafe within their homes or communities. Whether that perpetration comes from within family, community, workplaces or any form or aspect of the society we live in, then we have a responsibility to address that.

I would tell my hon. colleague that I am always open to learning where harm is being done and doing my part to correct it.

Missing and Murdered Indigenous Women and GirlsGovernment Orders

9 p.m.

Conservative

Garnett Genuis Conservative Sherwood Park—Fort Saskatchewan, AB

Mr. Chair, it is unfortunate to hear the member from the Green Party try to single out one particular sector. We know there are problems of violence against women from people in all different sectors and all different parts of the economy. It is a problem we need to address more broadly. To single out workers in one sector is very unfair and reflects another agenda.

I want to ask the member a follow-up question from the speech given by the minister with respect to human trafficking. We know that human trafficking disproportionately affects indigenous women. There were concerns raised by members of our caucus with respect to Bill C-5 and the fact that amendments to Bill C-5 opened the door for possible house arrest for people involved in human trafficking. It is our contention that tough sentencing in response to human trafficking is part of the solution to combatting this. I wonder if the member has a comment on that.

Missing and Murdered Indigenous Women and GirlsGovernment Orders

9 p.m.

Liberal

Yvonne Jones Liberal Labrador, NL

Mr. Chair, I thank my colleague for pointing out that violence against women and girls is not sector-related. It is happening in all aspects of society. I think we all recognize that, and we all have a responsibility to do what we can to end it. That is our job here as parliamentarians. That is what Canadians look to us to do.

In terms of human trafficking, the story of human trafficking around the world is one that we all look at with tremendous sorrow. We wish that we could stop it today and that we had the means and ways to end it in every single aspect of the world that we live in. We have many tools available to us to be able to do that. It is a matter of having the ability and resources to stop it before it happens. Educating people and making sure we have the right stops in place to stop human trafficking before it can start is the path we need to be on now, a path that really singles out perpetrators, as well as others who could be involved.

Missing and Murdered Indigenous Women and GirlsGovernment Orders

9:05 p.m.

Bloc

Andréanne Larouche Bloc Shefford, QC

Mr. Chair, I thank my colleague for her speech and for taking the time to put names to this tragedy, which I think could be called the shadow pandemic, because it happened during this pandemic. These are people we are talking about; these are numbers. In the case of missing and murdered indigenous women, it is difficult to get numbers and statistics because it is not spoken about. It is hard to speak up on behalf of these women; they have been completely forgotten.

How does my colleague think that we could get a lot more numbers and statistics that would help bring this issue out of the shadows so that we can finally address it and find concrete solutions for these women whose disappearances have gone unacknowledged?

Missing and Murdered Indigenous Women and GirlsGovernment Orders

9:05 p.m.

Liberal

Yvonne Jones Liberal Labrador, NL

Mr. Chair, the real information we need is the stories of victims and the stories of families. Many of them could only enable themselves to tell their stories with the health supports and victim support services that they have around them.

That is why the National Inquiry into Missing and Murdered Indigenous Women and Girls was so important. It was important so we could lay out the investments that were needed, not only to get to the root causes that contribute to the tragedy of missing and murdered indigenous women and girls, but also for the health supports and the victim services that are needed in so many communities, and the infrastructure that is needed. That is the road we are on. I just wish we could, in society, take that road a bit faster than we have been.

Missing and Murdered Indigenous Women and GirlsGovernment Orders

9:05 p.m.

Conservative

Karen Vecchio Conservative Elgin—Middlesex—London, ON

Mr. Chair, it is truly an honour to be standing in this House speaking on this. I have heard, especially when I speak of the member for Winnipeg Centre, passionate voices, and I am learning about these things. I would like to thank all of the members who have so far participated in tonight's debate because they are bringing so much genuine thought and care to this discussion. That is why tonight I will be splitting my time with my colleague from Calgary Nose Hill, to discuss the things we need to have genuine discussion about, such as murdered and missing indigenous women and girls. This is something we must focus on.

Throughout this pandemic, we have seen an absolute increase in violence against women. If we want to look at the statistics and want to be embarrassed, we should look at what those statistics are for indigenous women. The statistics are truly undeniable for people to disagree with or to not take into consideration. Indigenous women do face the highest levels of violence of any other women in this country. We need to recognize that. We need to say, “How can we do better?”

As the member mentioned earlier, we are doing a very important study at this time. It is a study where we can talk about what is happening in the resource sector. What can we do to make sure the lives of families and the lives of women and girls in those communities are better? What can we do to ensure that, when we are talking about human trafficking and sexual exploitation, when we are talking about the lack of resources and lack of supports for indigenous people in their communities and when we are talking about the intergenerational trauma, what is it that we can do to help? What can we do?

We know that indigenous-led and indigenous solutions are where we need to start. We have heard that from all of the members in here. It cannot be a top-down approach. It needs to be a time when we are looking at women who are facing extreme circumstances in their own homes. Sometimes, it is because of addictions. Sometimes it is abuse. We know from the past that so much healing needs to be done.

That is why I really am enjoying listening to this debate and listening to the members. I can feel that we are in a room where people actually care. People actually want to do something. I am hoping that the tone of this debate stays there. We can sit here and try to divide. We can try to wedge people. We can try to put in a question that might get a lot of likes on Twitter, but it is not going to help one single women or girl who needs that help in indigenous communities.

That is why I am speaking about this tonight. What can we do when we are talking about this? We need to talk about the intersectionality. We need to talk about things like the gender-based analysis, which we do talk about, and the gender, sex, age, citizenship and immigration status, income, and education, but, most of all, we need to talk about the location in Canada. The location in Canada is so important because, when we are talking about resources, we recognize that in rural and remote communities these resources may not be available. We are looking for shelters. We are talking about women having to get in a plane to fly to another community because they may not have any health care within their own communities. We are talking about an issue where we know that when they want to speak to the authorities, there is no trust. That is something that I have heard time and time again.

We need to work to rebuild that trust. That is why, as I am listening to this, I am hoping for a non-partisan approach where we are actually trying to do what is right for the women and girls who are indigenous. We are trying to improve, so I am very excited to participate in this debate today, and I am looking forward to the rest of it.

Missing and Murdered Indigenous Women and GirlsGovernment Orders

9:10 p.m.

Niagara Centre Ontario

Liberal

Vance Badawey LiberalParliamentary Secretary to the Minister of Indigenous Services

Mr. Chair, I thank the member for her comments, and I agree that this is a non-partisan issue. I see three of the member's colleagues sitting behind her who sit on the Standing Committee on Indigenous and Northern Affairs with me, and I see some members from the NDP here as well. We do work together, in a bipartisan manner, to get to the job at hand.

The federal government has created policies, and we have had legislation pass recently in these past few years, such as the Indigenous Languages Act; An Act respecting First Nations, Inuit and Métis children, youth and families; as well as UNDRIP.

The question I have for the member goes to her comments. We know what the “what” is, but now let us concentrate on the “how”. As we move forward, we want to accelerate our efforts. All of us in this House are committed to that.

My question to the member is this: How? How does she think we move forward? How does she think we accelerate this? How can we work closer together to in fact deal with the job ahead?

Missing and Murdered Indigenous Women and GirlsGovernment Orders

9:10 p.m.

Conservative

Karen Vecchio Conservative Elgin—Middlesex—London, ON

Mr. Chair, I think those are some of the hardest questions I have been asked in the House of Commons in the last seven years. How do we do something that is so overwhelming?

We talk about elephants, and we talk about one bite at a time. However, I think we have to take direction from indigenous leaders and indigenous communities to say what that first bite is that we need to take.

We know that the government has stated that it is moving forward on things. I know that it is moving slowly, because we hear that. The member for Winnipeg Centre asked about where the money was, because we are not seeing it allocated.

We need to sit down and be accountable, transparent and do what is right with indigenous leaders.

Missing and Murdered Indigenous Women and GirlsGovernment Orders

9:10 p.m.

NDP

Leah Gazan NDP Winnipeg Centre, MB

Mr. Chair, I appreciate my hon. colleague's openness to learn and to support an end to violence, including for indigenous women and girls.

We are currently studying the connection between resource extraction and increased violence against indigenous women and girls. No matter how you feel about resource extraction, is it not urgent that indigenous women and girls around the resource extraction projects are immediately provided with supports and resources to mitigate this crisis of violence and genocide?

Missing and Murdered Indigenous Women and GirlsGovernment Orders

9:10 p.m.

Conservative

Karen Vecchio Conservative Elgin—Middlesex—London, ON

Mr. Chair, the member is going to think that this is a very odd answer, but the other day when I was sitting in the status of women committee watching her speak about some of these things, I thought, “That girl and I need to go out and take charge.” That is how I feel on some of these things. I do not know exactly how we do it, but I do know that we need to work together, and we need to be there. We need to ensure that everybody is being listened to.

The trust issue, I think, is the number one issue that we have deal with because for years and for generations people have been told that things are going to be done, and they are still waiting. We need to see more movement on this, and I will do everything I can to be part of that movement.

Missing and Murdered Indigenous Women and GirlsGovernment Orders

9:10 p.m.

Conservative

Jamie Schmale Conservative Haliburton—Kawartha Lakes—Brock, ON

Mr. Chair, in Canada, we know that there are different campaigns and organizations that exist to raise awareness and honour indigenous women and girls who have either been murdered or gone missing. As some members have mentioned, tomorrow is Red Dress Day. There is also the Moose Hide Campaign Day, the Faceless Dolls Project and many others.

In addition to participating in events such as those, how does my colleague for Elgin—Middlesex—London plan on engaging on this important issue and encouraging others to take part in some of these campaigns?

Missing and Murdered Indigenous Women and GirlsGovernment Orders

9:15 p.m.

Conservative

Karen Vecchio Conservative Elgin—Middlesex—London, ON

Mr. Chair, I believe that if one wants to learn how to cook, one goes into the kitchen. This is the same thing, and that is the way I want to approach it.

If I want to learn, I have to speak to the people who are living these lives each and every day. I need to be able see it, and then I will be able to ask, “What can I do?” That is just the way I work, and that is the way I will be moving forward.

Missing and Murdered Indigenous Women and GirlsGovernment Orders

9:15 p.m.

Bloc

Andréanne Larouche Bloc Shefford, QC

Mr. Chair, I thank my colleague for her speech. She is the chair of the Standing Committee on the Status of Women.

Earlier I touched on the fact that the Standing Committee on the Status of Women does a lot of studies. We hear from witnesses from different indigenous communities and different groups that work with indigenous communities. The committee hears solutions during our studies.

These studies are important, but so is action, and so are the reports we could be taking into account, such as the report from the Standing Committee on the Status of Women that suggests various measures to prevent another indigenous woman or girl from going missing or being murdered.

Missing and Murdered Indigenous Women and GirlsGovernment Orders

9:15 p.m.

Conservative

Karen Vecchio Conservative Elgin—Middlesex—London, ON

Mr. Chair, when I look at the member's question along with the question prior from the NDP, I wonder what we should do with resource extraction. We need to make sure that everyone is held accountable, from the person working elsewhere to the people working within the community, so that social infrastructure is there. We know that populations increase and we need to make sure supports are there as well.

There are lots of things we need to do, but I think the most important thing is to drop the idea that dropping resource development is the solution. It is going to continue. Let us look at other things. I have asked people if they have walked into a frat house or a place with many people, and sometimes we see this mob mentality. We need to do more on that.

Missing and Murdered Indigenous Women and GirlsGovernment Orders

May 4th, 2022 / 9:15 p.m.

Conservative

Michelle Rempel Conservative Calgary Nose Hill, AB

Mr. Chair, in the spirit of reconciliation, I acknowledge that the people of Calgary Nose Hill live, work and play on the traditional territories of the people of the Treaty 7 region, which includes the Blackfoot First Nation tribes of the Siksika, the Piikani and the Kainai; the Stoney Nakoda Nation tribes of Chiniki, Bearspaw and Wesley; and the Tsuut'ina Nation. I acknowledge that the city of Calgary is also homeland to the historic Northwest Métis and to Métis Nation of Alberta Region 3.

I hate these debates because I find that even though we mark annual events, so little progress is made. I know we have to talk about the progress that has been made, but it is never enough, particularly when the issue we are discussing is still so prevalent.

Many of my colleagues, in the spirit of good faith, have shone a light, and rightly so, on the statistical evidence of the hardship, violence and misogyny that many indigenous and first nations women experience. It is very important for us to wake up to those realities and hear them, but again, as the parliamentary secretary said earlier, what next? What do we do?

I have with me the master list of the report recommendations from the National Inquiry into Missing and Murdered Indigenous Women and Girls, and I have read the subsequent reports. What really strikes me is that there are short-term solutions that we need to move on and there is longer-term systemic action that needs to be taken as well. With the brief time that I have tonight, what I want to focus on is the lack of representation of first nation indigenous women in the Government of Canada and the organizations that are tasked with implementing these recommendations.

What strikes me tonight is this. If I asked anybody here how many first nations women and indigenous women held positions of power in the RCMP and in the bureaucracies of Crown-Indigenous Relations and Northern Affairs Canada, Indigenous Services Canada, Public Safety and Health Canada, I think the answer would be woefully inadequate.

Even when we look at representation in this chamber or in the other place, where are they? That lack of footprint and lack of voice speak most starkly to the violence and misogyny that these women face. Even when they are here, it is not easy. We all know one colleague from the NDP in the previous Parliament who gave heart-wrenching testimony, which will stay with me forever, about her experience here. We cannot erase these stories.

Tonight, in debate, the topic of violence near resource extraction camps is coming up. I believe we have to acknowledge that this is happening while not impugning everybody working in these industries. At the same time, we should say this is a problem and actually address it. These women are counting on us and they are not here. Who is going to speak for them if we are not being precise and if we are not trying to get them to positions where they have control in their hands on the levers of power?

There have been many a day when I, so close to the levers of power, have felt the violence and misogyny of this place, and that is me from a position of privilege. They are not even here. If we are truly going to change the “what next?”, these women have to have the equal say, equal voice, equal power and equal agency that they deserve and are owed as inhabitants of this shared land. That is just the reality.

More importantly, we all have a duty to be their allies and fight for them while we fight to bring them here. We have to change the patriarchal system of power that works against them. We cannot gloss over it. We cannot let the inertia of bureaucracy work against them, because every day more of these women die and more of them are just another statistic.

I hate these debates being about victim porn and talking about what happens next. We have to have action, and that is what I call on all of my colleagues here to take.

Missing and Murdered Indigenous Women and GirlsGovernment Orders

9:20 p.m.

Winnipeg North Manitoba

Liberal

Kevin Lamoureux LiberalParliamentary Secretary to the Leader of the Government in the House of Commons

Mr. Chair, this is an issue that all members take very seriously on all sides of the House. I cannot help but think of the red dress in a window just before the Salter Street bridge in the north end of Winnipeg. It is a constant reminder, and I think that is important.

Symbols matter, but action is more important. That is why, whether it is with reconciliation, the calls for action or the calls in the report for murdered and missing indigenous women and girls, we all have a role to play, not only the national government, but our local governments and our community leaders. Part of reconciliation is understanding the past, taking a holistic approach and encouraging and taking the actions necessary to ensure it. Today, we still see murdered and missing indigenous women and girls, and it needs to end. We all need to play a role.

Could the member provide her thoughts on that?

Missing and Murdered Indigenous Women and GirlsGovernment Orders

9:20 p.m.

Conservative

Michelle Rempel Conservative Calgary Nose Hill, AB

Mr Chair, yes, I agree.

Missing and Murdered Indigenous Women and GirlsGovernment Orders

9:20 p.m.

NDP

Leah Gazan NDP Winnipeg Centre, MB

Mr. Chair, it was nice to listen to the intervention of my hon. colleague. I do agree with her. I think part of the problem is that decisions are made about us without us. Our voices are often excluded in decision-making circles, including on things that directly relate to our safety and well-being.

I am wondering what my colleague thinks needs to happen immediately in the House to ensure that women are safe, particularly women who are Black, indigenous or people of colour. In the House, there have been so many incidents reported of racism and misogyny that it has become unwelcoming for indigenous women and girls and people of colour to even consider being in here.

Missing and Murdered Indigenous Women and GirlsGovernment Orders

9:25 p.m.

Conservative

Michelle Rempel Conservative Calgary Nose Hill, AB

Mr. Chair, I am not here to make people comfortable. That is number one. When we speak truth about these experiences, our colleagues need to listen to them. It is a violent place here for women, and when we add the intersectional issues and lenses of racialized women and women from the LGBTQ+ community, I cannot even imagine what it is like.

Every person in this place has tacitly stood by, watched this violence occur and been silent, and what needs to change in here is the culture. We repress people and punish them for speaking out, speaking their mind and having their own positions. That needs to end, and anybody who is comfortable with doing that is comfortable with this culture continuing.

What needs to change? People in here need to look inward and ask themselves if they are comfortable with the environment here and if they are comfortable with the lack of diversity and equity in the voices this place contains.

Missing and Murdered Indigenous Women and GirlsGovernment Orders

9:25 p.m.

Green

Elizabeth May Green Saanich—Gulf Islands, BC

Mr. Chair, I want to thank, from the bottom of heart, the hon. member for Calgary Nose Hill for such a thoughtful and inclusive approach to talking about the take-note debate tonight. I particularly appreciate her perspective on what the report calls out.

To my hon. friend from Sherwood Park—Fort Saskatchewan, I did not invent this or pull one industry out of many. The extractive industry is the only industry mentioned in the report as a threat.

The hon. member for Calgary Nose Hill is so correct, and I want to ask her to expand on this, if we can accept that it is a thing and it is happening. Nobody would ever suggest that it is every single person in that industry. That would be appalling. However, there are other recommendations in this report that would make things safer for women near those extractive industry camps, such as safe ground transportation, which is also called for in call for justice 4.8.

Does the hon. member have some thoughts on how we can face this reality and make it safer?

Missing and Murdered Indigenous Women and GirlsGovernment Orders

9:25 p.m.

Conservative

Michelle Rempel Conservative Calgary Nose Hill, AB

Mr. Chair, I say yes to safe transportation and yes to all these things that make women safer, but to say this is the only industry where first nations and indigenous women experience violence is wrong. What about sex work, just to start? What about any downtown core? I grew up in Winnipeg. My family has lived in the member for Winnipeg Centre's riding.

I think we can acknowledge that in some industries and specific areas there are problems to fix and work on, but are we trying to suggest that they are the only places? I can only feel and imagine the frustration of women from these communities who are asking, “Are you kidding me?”

I would just ask everybody to take a moment and take a pause. Let us make extractive communities safer for these women, but let us not pretend those are the only places where this happens, because it is dangerously laughable and disgusting to think otherwise.

Missing and Murdered Indigenous Women and GirlsGovernment Orders

9:25 p.m.

Thunder Bay—Superior North Ontario

Liberal

Patty Hajdu LiberalMinister of Indigenous Services and Minister responsible for the Federal Economic Development Agency for Northern Ontario

Mr. Chair, it is such an honour for me to be here today. Kwe kwe. Unukut. Tansi. Hello. Bonjour.

I will be sharing my time with the member for Fredericton.

We are talking about this tonight, and tomorrow, May 5, is Red Dress Day. Tomorrow, many across the country will wear red or hang a red dress in a public space to grieve and remember the far too many missing and murdered indigenous women and girls, and 2SLGBTQQIA+ people in Canada.

I will take this moment to remember just two people from my city: Sandra Johnson and Rena Fox. Both of their deaths were violent. Both are unsolved. Both leave devastated families behind. I acknowledge Sandra's sister Sharon who, long before many others, worked so hard to bring this ongoing tragedy to light. Sharon's full moon walk has inspired a nation.

Tonight's debate is essential not only to demand more from ourselves, but to reinforce that we must move forward with concrete and measurable steps on a path to healing and ending the cycle of trauma and violence that still exists for far too many. The final report of the national inquiry, “Reclaiming Power and Place”, outlines concrete steps that we must all take to address the historic inequities and better protect indigenous women and girls, and 2SLGBTQQIA+ people.

I know that so many have spoken tonight from a true sense of commitment, passion, grief and determination. I share all of those feelings, but this is indeed a crisis that has many roots. We can only do better if we recognize that the underpinnings of safety are choice, equity and the existence of equal access to the social determinants of health.

That is why we have made investments in child welfare, ensuring children get access to health care and supports through Jordan's Principle. There is also our work addressing anti-indigenous racism and health care, building shelters and supporting indigenous-led development, delivering mental wellness supports, delivering much-needed infrastructure including renewed and brand-new schools, expanding access to education and adult training opportunities, and providing supports for survivors. These are all responses to these calls to justice. These are just the responses directly from Indigenous Services Canada.

I agree with my colleagues that colonialism has led to this scourge of violence and breaking the cycle of violence is, indeed, multi-faceted. Addressing the social determinants of health is perhaps nowhere more apparent than when we look at the treatment of children.

Indigenous children and families have the right to grow up surrounded by their culture, their loved ones and their language. The coming into force of the Act respecting First Nations, Inuit and Métis children, youth and families on January 1, 2020, marked a historic turning point for first nations, Inuit and Métis children and families.

This act puts in place what indigenous people across this country have been asking of the government for decades: that their jurisdiction over child and family services be affirmed so that they can decide what is best for their children, their families and their communities. I was so honoured to be in Wabaseemoong as the coordination agreement was signed with Ontario. Agreements like this are going to change lives.

This is the work we have to continue to do. Children deserve all the support they need to grow up healthy and to grow up full of life, no matter where they live. Jordan's Principle, for example, makes sure that all first nations children living in Canada can access products, services and supports that they need when they need them. The funding can help with a wide range of health, social and educational needs, including the unique needs that first nations, two-spirit and LGBTQQIA children and youth, and those with disabilities, might have. This has been backed by $7.1 billion of new funding since 2015.

The inquiry also made it clear that we need more safe spaces for women, girls and gender-diverse people escaping violence, so the construction and operation of indigenous-led emergency shelters and transition homes is an important step toward the Government of Canada's federal pathway. Since last June's announcement of 12 new shelters, three are already under construction in Lil'wat, Hollow Water and Whitefish Lake.

The violence prevention strategy is backed by $724 million, which includes funds to build at least 38 indigenous-led emergency shelters and 50 indigenous-led transition homes across Canada. Let me stress the words “indigenous-led”, because indigenous-led services are demonstrated to provide better refuge, culturally relevant programming and treatment to help the survivors of family violence heal and recover from trauma.

As a minister of the Crown tasked early on with launching the inquiry, I will forever carry with me the stories of survivors, friends and family members of missing and murdered indigenous women and girls. It is their voices and stories that push me to work as quickly as I can to implement the calls to justice, and to push our partners at all levels to do so as well.

I know we can do better together. The federal government will continue to lead work across many departments and sectors to put women and girls at the heart of our actions. Our country will be much stronger when everyone is safe. Thank you. Meegwetch. Merci.