Madam Speaker, it gives me great pleasure to rise to speak to this motion today. I do apologize for some of the confusion that happened.
Before I go any further, today is December 6, the National Day of Remembrance and Action on Violence Against Women. Of course, on this day we remember the 14 who were murdered and the 10 who were injured in 1989 at École Polytechnique. I want to change the tone a little, because of this day and its significance, in how I usually give my speeches.
A couple of days ago, I had an opportunity to read an article by the Harvard Graduate School of Education entitled, “What's love got to do with it?” It speaks about John Miller's new book and the role that love and compassion play in education. I was wondering how we could introduce that concept here in Parliament and in politics. I know that each of us in the chamber has different perspectives and different ways of ensuring that Canada will be a better place. At the centre of everything, we love our country and are compassionate about our constituents.
As this may be the last speech I give in this particular chamber, I promise to do things differently. It gives me great pleasure to speak to Motion No. 163, by my colleague, the member of Parliament for Etobicoke Centre, on the establishment of an ambassador for women, peace and security. It is a wonderful opportunity to speak with love and compassion about people around the world, especially the most vulnerable among us, and the love that we have for our planet.
When we look at why individuals are placed in very precarious situations, it often has to do with climate change, which is the destruction of our planet, or with conflict. In both of those situations, women and girls are often most vulnerable. They are often used as weapons of war. They are often very much strategic targets of violence.
In the time that I have, I want to speak a little about what Canada has done so far to ensure that this natural progression to the establishment of this ambassadorial role is fitting, and how it fits within the context of what we have done so far.
As members know, I was the parliamentary secretary to the Minister of International Development. In that term, I had the tremendous pleasure of being with our Minister of International Development and launching our feminist international assistance policy, where which we put the promotion of women and girls at the centre of everything we did in that policy. We know that the best way to eradicate poverty, to look to achieving some of the sustainable development goals, which I did not have an opportunity to speak to earlier but which are really important, is to ensure that we are putting women and girls at the centre of everything we do.
The feminist international assistance policy, although it had women and girls at its centre, had five pillars. The first pillar was to promote human dignity and to support access to quality health care, to nutrition, to education and to timely needs-based humanitarian assistance. Again, we know that human dignity is at the centre of ensuring that we have a world that is free from violence.
The second pillar was growth that works for everyone, to ensure that women have access to economic opportunities that work for them and access to resources that help them achieve economic independence.
The third pillar was environmental protection and the encouragement of climate action, supporting initiatives that governments are taking to ensure that we are looking after our planet and are building resilient communities. Again, women and girls will be disproportionately impacted by what happens to our planet.
The fourth pillar was to support inclusive government and to work to end gender discrimination by promoting and protecting human rights, which an ambassadorial role would help to ensure not just domestically but also internationally.
Lastly, around this central focus on women and girls, the fifth pillar was to help strengthen global peace and security, to support greater participation of women in peace-building and post-conflict reconstruction.
It gave me great pleasure to be in that role.
In November 2017, we launched Canada's national action plan on women, peace and security that went from 2017 to 2022.
We put a lot of thought into this. If I could look back over my time in Parliament as I speak about love and compassion, I could see that the initiatives that we put forward here, the passion and the dedication we put into these policies, clearly indicated our love for our communities, our country and our planet. Maybe people will not think it as they are watching on the television. We used a whole-of-government approach when we launched this national action plan for women, peace and security. Global Affairs Canada, the RCMP, DND Canada, the Canadian Armed Forces, Status of Women Canada, Immigration Canada, Public Safety Canada and the Department of Justice were all involved in creating this plan.
The plan has five objectives: to increase the participation of women; to prevent impunity and respond to gender-based violence; to promote and protect women and girls' human rights; to meet the needs of women and girls in their settings, often in fragile states; and to strengthen the capacity of peace operations by increasing the number of women there.
We heard from my hon. colleague that when we add women, we strengthen the peace process. Gender equality creates a more peaceful society. Having women in prevention, mediation and resolution of conflict, in humanitarian responses and peacekeeping and peace-building; in post-conflict resolution; in counterterrorism; and in counteracting violent extremism increase all peace and security efforts. That is why I am so honoured and proud to stand in support of this motion put forward by my hon. colleague from Etobicoke Centre.
It has been really important to stand with a Prime Minister who, on a number of different occasions, has stood on the world stage to promote gender equality.
Canada led a coalition of partners in the G7, including the U.K., Germany, the European Union, Japan and the World Bank in announcing $3.8 billion for women and girls' education. This has been the single largest investment in women and girls' education in conflict and crisis situations ever.
When we talk about peace and security, we cannot look at it within a silo. We have to look at it holistically. We have to look at how education, legal and climate play a role in ensuring that we leave no one behind. We need to take an approach that is inclusive, that works to true inclusion regardless of age, race, gender, ability, sexual orientation, religion, class or identity. Everyone can be a part of a solution that helps to build peace and security and leave no one behind.
It is with great pleasure that I support my colleague from Etobicoke Centre and Motion No. 163, to support an ambassador for women, peace and security, to assure that we have a high-level person in charge of advancing a women, peace and security agenda, both here in Canada and abroad.
While I am standing, I would like to wish everyone in the House, those watching on TV in Whitby, and all Canadians, a very merry Christmas and a peaceful and secure new year.