2nd Session, 41st Parliament,
Volume 149, Issue 147
Wednesday, June 3, 2015
The Honourable Leo Housakos, Speaker
Murdered and Missing Aboriginal Women and Girls
Hon. Mobina S. B. Jaffer: Honourable senators, I was very touched by the way the Leader of the Government talked about the history, and that we are all responsible for the history and that we all have to work to make things better.
The issue of murdered and missing Aboriginal women is not history. I come from British Columbia and, sadly, this is a continuing issue. If we can learn anything from history, it’s that this pain is continuing. We have to stop it. Will the government now appoint a national inquiry?
Hon. Claude Carignan (Leader of the Government): Over 40 studies have been conducted on this particular issue. As I have said numerous times in this chamber, I believe that it is time to take action because people need concrete action, such as we are taking right now.
Senator Jaffer: I have a supplementary question. Leader, I agree things have to be done. I would appreciate knowing what the government is going to do to stop the murder and disappearance of Aboriginal women, especially in my province.
Senator Carignan: Senator, as I already said, we have taken strong and significant action on this issue. We introduced the Action Plan to Address Family Violence and Violent Crimes Against Aboriginal Women and Girls and the Family Violence Prevention Program.
Since coming to power, our government has passed 30 new criminal justice and public safety measures to protect Canadians, including tougher sentences for murder, sexual assault and kidnapping and mandatory prison sentences for the most serious crimes. We also passed historic legislation that gives Aboriginal women living on First Nations reserves the same matrimonial rights enjoyed by other Canadian women, including access to emergency protection orders in violent situations. We eliminated a legislative gap that had existed for 30 years by ensuring that hundreds of thousands of people living on First Nations reserves would have the same human rights protections enjoyed by other Canadians.
Senator, I believe that our government has taken concrete action and that it will continue to take measures to combat violence against Aboriginal women and girls.