1st Session, 41st Parliament,
Volume 149, Issue 181
Wednesday, June 26, 2013
The Honourable Noël A. Kinsella, Speaker
National Action Plan Annual Report
Hon. Mobina S. B. Jaffer: Honourable senators, my question is also for the Leader of the Government in the Senate. This is not a question I expect her to have an answer to at the moment, but I humbly urge her to get me an answer as soon as possible in order to assist me.
United Nations Security Council Resolution 1325 was adopted unanimously by the United Nations Security Council on August 31, 2000. Canada played an instrumental role in the success of this resolution. As all senators know, this resolution was developed to protect and empower women in conflict zones.
In 2004, the Security Council urged all member states to develop national action plans in order to identify clear priorities, coordinate interdepartmental cooperation and allocate resources to implement Resolution 1325 at the national level.
In October 2010, our government launched Canada’s National Action Plan. A national action plan means little without concrete and effective implementation. In Canada’s National Action Plan, the Department of Foreign Affairs and International Trade committed to publishing an annual report on Canada’s progress in implementing Security Council resolutions with respect to women, peace and security, and to make this report publicly available.
The Senate Human Rights Committee, of which I am chair, has held many hearings on the issue of women, peace and security. We have been waiting for this progress report on Canada’s National Action Plan since 2011. Canada has not tabled a national action plan since then.
Our committee has regularly asked Foreign Affairs when the national action plan will be tabled. We again asked officials to appear before us, and on May 6, 2013, the Human Rights Committee heard from Marie Gervais-Vidricaire, Director General, Stabilization and Reconstruction Task Force at Foreign Affairs and International Trade Canada. Ms. Gervais-Vidricaire said to us:
The government will table in Parliament, before the House rises this spring, the Canadian National Action Plan’s annual report for the fiscal year 2011-12…. We believe that this will be of interest to Canadians and to the international community. The report is in its final stages, and we would be happy to provide the committee with a copy once it has been tabled.
Honourable senators, I have checked everywhere and, despite the assurance given to the committee, it is my understanding that this report has not been tabled. What is happening to this report? When can we expect to see a copy of it?
This has put me in a very difficult situation. Had Ms. Gervais-Vidricaire not said that, I would have had questions of her. I have worked with Ms. Gervais-Vidricaire and I take her at her word. I am sure she was not misleading the committee. That is not my tact.
When can we expect this report to be tabled? As I said, I do not expect the leader to have an answer today.
Canada has been a leader on this issue in the past, and we should hold ourselves accountable. As a supplementary question, how will we ensure that this report is produced annually in the future?
This summer, I will be travelling with many women around the world learning how they are implementing national action plans. I will be going without a national action plan from Canada. This is an embarrassing situation. Since 2011, we have not filed a national action plan.
May I have the leader’s assurance that she will let me know when we have one?
Hon. Marjory LeBreton (Leader of the Government): I thank Senator Jaffer for the question, but I am not sure under what auspices she will be travelling around the world this summer.
Senator Jaffer: I am paying for it myself.
Senator LeBreton: Although she had that responsibility under the previous government, she has no responsibility to represent this government’s position.
Canada is a world leader in the protection and promotion of the rights of women and girls. We will continue to focus on concrete measures aimed at improving the lives of women and girls around the world.
With regard to the specific report that Senator Jaffer has requested, I will have to take that question as notice and will provide a delayed answer.
Senator Jaffer: Honourable senators, I wish to put on the record that I am travelling at my own expense, as I have done every summer, to work with women in conflict zones. I also wish to put on the record that I would never want to represent a government of which I am not part, but I am a senator of Canada. As such, people expect me to know when the national action plan for 2011 will be tabled.
Senator LeBreton: Senator Jaffer indicated in her preamble that her country, Canada, did not have a position. That is her view. I was simply pointing out that while people are free to travel the world, they are not part of an official Canadian delegation. I would leave it up to the officials of Canada to represent Canada’s position at these international organizations.
Senator Jaffer: Will the leader find out when this report will be tabled so that I can share that information?
Senator LeBreton: I have already said that I will take the honourable senator’s question as notice.