2nd Session, 41st Parliament,

Volume 149, Issue 13

Wednesday, November 6, 2013

The Honourable Noël A. Kinsella, Speaker

Foreign Affairs

National Action Plan on Women, Peace and Security

Hon. Mobina S. B. Jaffer: My question, which I provided in advance, is for the Leader of the Government in the Senate.

[English]

This is a question on the national action plan on women, peace and security. By way of background, 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, and 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 a national action plan to identify clear priorities and coordinate interdepartmental cooperation and allocate resources to implement Resolution 1325 at a 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, Trade and Development 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 the report publicly available.

Leader, since 2011 not one national action plan has been tabled by our government. I asked this question in June, and I have been patiently waiting for an answer; so I ask you again: When will Canada’s national action plan on women, peace and security be tabled?

[Translation]

Hon. Claude Carignan (Leader of the Government): Thank you for your question and especially for giving notice.

Our implementation of United Nations resolutions on women, peace and security attests to Canada’s long-standing support for human rights and the participation and well-being of women and girls.

In developing the action plan, the government consulted experts on peace and security in civil society in order to develop concrete objectives, actions and indicators that will guide government departments and agencies in their future activities.

We have taken a three-pronged approach to implementing the action plan: first, establish departmental and interdepartmental structures and processes in order to manage implementation; second, engage Canada at the national level and abroad by promoting the program for women, peace and security; and third, create programs to promote the theme of women, peace and security in fragile countries and those affected by conflict.

We implemented gender-based analysis training, which is given on a regular basis to all officers who are members of the Stabilization and Reconstruction Task Force, and more targeted training for officers chosen to develop internal expertise.

We also offer this training to officers working in other areas of the Department of Foreign Affairs and International Trade and in other government departments in order to promote a government-wide approach to implementing the action plan.

With regard to your more specific questions, I will be sure to pass your concerns on to the Minister of Foreign Affairs, Mr. Baird, but I think that, from the additional information I just gave you in this answer, you can see that our government feels strongly about human rights, particularly when it comes to the well-being of women and girls. We will be sure to take practical measures in developing this action plan.

[English]

Senator Jaffer: Leader, I appreciate your speaking to Minister Baird, and I appreciate your response, but your response had nothing to do with the national action plan.

Let me tell you what happened in June. The Human Rights Committee has regularly asked Foreign Affairs when the national action plan will be tabled. We again asked officials to appear before us. On May 6, 2013, the Human Rights Committee heard from Marie Gervais-Vidricaire, director general, Stabilization and Reconstruction Task Force at Foreign Affairs, Trade and Development 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.

Leader of the Senate, if I had known that this report was not going to be tabled, I would have had more questions of Ms. Gervais-Vidricaire. I believed her, and I have no reason to believe that the plan is not ready. What I want to know is when will it be ready and when will it be tabled?

[Translation]

Senator Carignan: As I explained, we are in the process of developing the action plan and consulting experts in the area of peace and security in civil society in order to finalize the objectives, actions and indicators.

We have targeted and taken action in three areas: the establishment of structures and processes within the departments; Canada’s commitment to promoting these programs both within the country and abroad; and programs focusing on women, peace and security.

With regard to the exact date that the plan will be tabled and follow-up action taken, I will pass your comments on to Minister Baird.

[English]

Senator Jaffer: I appreciate your following it up. While you are following it up, could you please convey to Mr. Baird that Canada was a leader when it came to Resolution 1325; we don’t have a presence now.

I was in Istanbul a few weeks ago, and everybody was asking me, where is Canada? Where is Canada’s national plan?

Could you please tell Mr. Baird that the women of the world expect Canada to lead in these issues, and Canada has disappeared.

[Translation]

Senator Carignan: I imagine that they are also satisfied if they expect Canada to be a leader. They are surely satisfied with the leadership of the Government of Canada and the country in standing up for human rights and the participation and well-being of women and girls, which is demonstrated in the ongoing implementation of the UN Security Council resolutions on women, peace and security.

[English]

 

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