Debates of the Senate (Hansard)

2nd Session, 40th Parliament,
Volume 146, Issue 17

Tuesday, March 10, 2009
The Honourable Noël A. Kinsella, Speaker

International Trade

Social and Corporate Responsibility Overseas

Hon. Mobina S.B. Jaffer: Honourable senators, the war in the Democratic Republic of the Congo has been called the war against women. In eight years of civil war, tens of thousands of women have been the victims of rape as a weapon of war on a scale that the world has never before seen. They are physically ravaged, emotionally terrorized and financially impoverished.

Given that Canadian companies are some of the largest investors in prospecting in the Congo, can the Leader of the Government in the Senate tell us what the government is doing to help these women? How is the government working with Canadian companies to help them? Have we set up medical clinics near our mining interests?

Hon. Marjory LeBreton (Leader of the Government and Minister of State (Seniors)): I listened to the previous statement of the honourable senator. It is heartbreaking to see what these people go through.

With respect to Canadian interests in some of these countries, I do not know off the top of my head whether there are specific criteria that involve communities surrounding Canadian interests abroad, but I do know that when the Minister of State for the Status of Women addressed the United Nations last week, she put on record Canada’s ongoing commitment to the equality and proper treatment of women worldwide.


Senator Jaffer: I have a supplementary question. I understand that criteria were being set up for corporate and social responsibility for our companies working abroad. I ask that Senator LeBreton find out what the criteria are and if these companies are following the criteria.

Senator LeBreton: I am happy to do so, Senator Jaffer.