In the Chamber -- Grant Mitchell's Blog

Asking the government about gender issues here and abroad

Posted 10/7/2009 by Grant Mitchell

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Here is my question from Question Period today:

Honourable senators, United Nations Resolution 1325 on Women, Peace and Security is internationally important and supported. Resolution 1325 has been endorsed by Canada and yet no one would know because Canada has not fulfilled even the most basic of its obligations: to prepare an action plan for the implementation of UN Resolution 1325.

My question is for the Leader of the Government in the Senate. Other than the fact that the Prime Minister thinks that women are a left-wing fringe group, is there any another reason that this government halted work on that action plan such that Canada still does not have one?

Hon. Marjory LeBreton (Leader of the Government and Minister of State (Seniors)): My only suggestion to the honourable senator is that he continue to keep his eye on, and perhaps sit in on, meetings of the Standing Senate Committee on Human Rights which is dealing with this subject matter at the moment.

Senator Mitchell: Honourable senators, the Human Rights Committee is dealing with this subject because the government will not deal with it. Thank God for the Senate.

Canada is immersed in a war in Afghanistan, where a key element for consideration is the treatment of women. Why can this government not make it a priority to develop an action plan on UN Resolution 1325, not tomorrow, not next week, but yesterday? Come on, let us get after it!

Senator LeBreton: As I have said to the honourable senator before, he does not have to yell. I can hear him quite nicely, thank you very much.

The government does not have to take a back seat to anyone in terms of our support of women in whatever walk of life. The Conservatives gave women and Aboriginals the right to vote. The matter is being studied by the Standing Senate Committee on Human Rights because the government is very concerned about it.

Hon. Grant Mitchell: Honourable senators, let us pursue this subject a little further. In Budget 2008, the government made a commitment to prepare a federal action plan for women but 18 months later there is no plan. Why is that? Is this a trend? Is something not being revealed, or is it just that the Prime Minister does not care all that much about women's issues?

To read the full exchange click here.

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