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.