Mr. Speaker, on December 3, I tried to get an answer about the delayed follow-up report on the implementation of the Convention on the Rights of Persons with Disabilities.
Canada ratified the convention in 2010 and had two years to produce its report; therefore we should have received this report in April 2012. It is now December 9, 2013, and we still have no news of this report.
However, this obligation is clearly outlined in article 35 of the convention. To refresh the Conservatives' memory, the following is an excerpt from this article:
1. Each State Party shall submit to the Committee...a comprehensive report on measures taken to give effect to its obligations under the present Convention and on the progress made in that regard, within two years after the entry into force of the present Convention...
We have to understand that the purpose of this convention is to promote and protect the human rights and fundamental freedoms of persons with disabilities and to ensure respect for the dignity of each and every one of them.
My Conservative colleague simply ignored the question. Instead of answering me, he thanked me for my attendance at the International Day of Disabled Persons. That has nothing to do with my question. I must admit that I did not expect to get an answer to my question, much less a reason for the delay, but I would have greatly appreciated being given a possible date for the release of this report.
I am very well aware that there are various programs for people with disabilities, but that is not the issue.
I want to know whether there have been any advances or setbacks in terms of providing support for people with disabilities.
At the risk of repeating myself, people with disabilities, as a group, still require more attention and increased support from all stakeholders in our society, because they often live in poverty and still face too many significant obstacles to their integration in society.
All the necessary measures to provide these people with better support must be based on the understanding that the situations that challenge them result from their interactions in a physical or social environment that does not take into account their functional characteristics or specific needs.
The UN Convention on the Rights of Persons with Disabilities is a powerful international legislative tool that must guide all countries that have ratified it to ensure that persons with disabilities can exercise their rights on an equal basis especially by providing the appropriate supports to do so.
Although Canada was closely involved in developing the convention's content and the process leading to its adoption, the Conservative government has not shown leadership with respect to its implementation in our country. Instead, it has been quite indifferent and has shown little interest in having Canadians with disabilities exercise their rights.
In my opinion, in order to show the leadership required to ensure the implementation of the convention, the Canadian government must do the following: first, sign the optional protocol to the convention in order to clearly demonstrate to the international community that it is engaged in a process that will guarantee that all Canadians with disabilities can exercise their rights; second, establish a Canadian plan to implement the convention and to give the Canadian Human Rights Commission the mandate to put in place an oversight mechanism together with the provinces and the territories; third, respect the spirit of the convention by ensuring that organizations that represent persons with disabilities are involved in the process to oversee its application.
I will repeat my question: when do the Conservatives plan on presenting the follow-up report and implementing the Convention on the Rights of Persons with Disabilities to create a more accessible and inclusive Canada?