Debates of the Senate (Hansard)

1st Session, 41st Parliament,
Volume 148, Issue 7

Wednesday, June 15, 2011
The Honourable Noël A. Kinsella, Speaker

Foreign Affairs

Gender-specific Training in Afghanistan

Hon. Mobina S. B. Jaffer: Honourable senators, my question is for the Leader of the Government in the Senate.

In the Speech from the Throne, the government said:

The Canadian mission in Afghanistan is transitioning to training, diplomacy and development.

At the end of 2010, when I was Deputy Chair of the Standing Senate Committee on Human Rights, the committee released its report entitled Training in Afghanistan: Include Women.

My question for the Leader of the Government in the Senate is the following: what concrete plan does the government have for implementing and following up on the required actions?


Hon. Marjory LeBreton (Leader of the Government): I thank the honourable senator for the question. It was announced in November of last year that the Canadian Forces will continue to support the Afghan national security forces in training through to 2014, through a contribution of some 950 Canadian Forces personnel. As honourable senators know, the transfer back to the capital area from Kandahar will be taking place over the summer months. It is clear; we have been upfront about the commitment to continue training in Afghanistan. As witnessed by our personnel over there, we have made great strides in this area. Of course, the goal is ultimately to leave Afghanistan with the Afghan security forces well trained to provide security for their own country.


Senator Jaffer: Honourable senators, I have a supplementary question for the Leader of the Government in the Senate. What form will this new training take, and is there any guarantee that gender-specific training will be one of the critical aspects included?


Senator LeBreton: The honourable senator asked a question specifically with regard to gender. We have a very good record as a government in the work we have done specifically targeted to women and children. Obviously, when we are there to provide security and democracy to the people of Afghanistan, gender is a big part of it.

It is not clear if the honourable senator is referring in her question to a specific program. I would be happy to provide as much information as possible in many areas, from not only the military but from our diplomatic and non-government organizations that are working to move Afghan society forward in the interests of all of its citizens.

Senator Jaffer: I have a supplementary question. I thank the leader for her answer. I respectfully ask her to find out if there will be gender-specific training under United Nations Security Council Resolution 1325. More specifically, in some of the training we have done around the world our police have trained other police forces on rape investigations. Will the training that we do in Afghanistan consist of training to ensure we protect the women of Afghanistan?

Senator LeBreton: Obviously, honourable senators, ensuring that women and children live in a safe environment in Afghanistan has been one of the primary goals of our efforts in Afghanistan. If I am able to provide the honourable senator with additional information in this area, I will be happy to do so.