Gender-based violence remains a serious issue across our country. Oakville North-Burlington is not immune to this issue, and there is tremendous work being done locally to raise awareness and provide support to survivors of gender-based violence.
The Status of Women Committee, of which I am Vice-Chair, provided input to the government on important issues like sexual assault and gender-based violence. I was pleased to see our work reflected in several government announcements recently. Bill C-51 will amend the Criminal Code to update the sexual assault provisions around consent. In addition, our Committee’s recommendations informed the announcement made by the Honourable Maryam Monsef, Minister for the Status of Women, when she announced Canada’s Gender-Based Violence Strategy on June 19th . The Strategy lays the foundation for greater action and is based on three pillars that will improve Canada’s overall response to gender based violence: prevention; support for survivors and their families; and the promotion of responsive legal and justice systems.
“In 1982, NDP MP Margaret Mitchell rose in the House of Commons to ask a question about violence against women. She was loudly heckled and had to remind her colleagues in the House that this subject was no laughing matter. Sadly, it seems little has changed in 35 years.”
Member of Parliament, Oakville North-Burlington
During Question Period on the day of Minister Monsef’s announcement, I asked the Parliamentary Secretary to the Minister of Status of Women to update the House on the actions the government is taking to mitigate gender-based violence. Unfortunately the opposition heckled so loudly that I was unable to hear the response to my question. The rules governing behaviour in the House of Commons are clear — Members must take responsibility for their conduct and are to show respect for one another and for different viewpoints. I rose on a Point of Order to call out this disrespectful behavior and I am heartened by the response to my intervention in the House. I have had members of all parties thank me for speaking out on the issue. I also want to thank residents of Oakville and Burlington who have been supportive with their comments on my Facebook post.
It is my sincere hope that the spirit of co-operation and collaboration that I see so often in my Committee work will find its way to Question Period. As Members of Parliament we can respectfully agree to disagree. Gender-based violence is a very serious issue and it should be treated as such by everyone, especially those who represent Canadians in the House of Commons. And I trust we can agree that an important non-partisan issue like gender-based violence is no laughing matter.