Canada's Original Think Tank

National Defence — Gender Representation

National Defence — Gender Representation

National Defence — Gender Representation

Hon. Mobina S. B. Jaffer: 

My question is also to the leader in the Senate.

Leader, my question deals with Minister Freeland’s announcement regarding women, peace and security. During her announcement yesterday, Minister Freeland promised $2 million in funding to help the UN investigate and prosecute sexual and gender-based violence. She also committed to training 200 female police officers.

Leader, I would like you to convey to her that this is an exceptional step and I never thought I would see it in my lifetime, so I congratulate her for that.

Including more women in peace processes would lead to longer lasting peace with more stable, inclusive and secure post-conflict societies. Putting these police officers into leadership roles will also help to ensure that gender-based perspectives are included during peace processes.

I have one concern, leader, and you will understand where I’m coming from the question I asked Minister Sajjan the other day.

The government has still not followed through on its commitment to provide 600 Canadian Armed Forces members, 150 police officers and $42 million to UN peacekeeping.

Leader, Canada cannot afford to make these promises if we are only going to delay following through. To truly promote women, peace and security, we need to have a clear strategy and implement it.

Are the 200 female police officers that were promised yesterday over the 600 that were promised two years ago, or are they part of the 600 that were promised two years ago?

Hon. Peter Harder (Government Representative in the Senate): I thank the honourable senator for her question. With respect to her preamble, be assured that I will pass on her comments to the minister.

Sometimes processes works slowly in government, as the honourable senator will know, and I notice as I look at her that she is wearing a very beautiful brooch with a turtle on her shoulder, which reminds us of the pace of government from time to time.

I want to assure the senator that I know the minister will be heartfelt in her thanks to you for the compliments that you have passed on.

With respect to whether this is within or in addition, I would be happy to make that inquiry and report back, but I want to assure the senator, as Minister Sajjan attempted the other day, that the government is moving forward on this with discussion and consultation, but an absolute commitment.

Senator Jaffer: Leader, also when you make the inquiries, can you please ask the minister whether the government will follow through on its women, peace and security commitments under UN Resolution 1325 and ensure that at least 15 per cent of the personnel it provides to UN peacekeeping are women?

Senator Harder: I will do so.