Ottawa, February 2012
By the Honourable Rona Ambrose
Minister of Public Works and Government Services and Minister for Status of Women
In Canada, women and girls are equal to men and boys under the law and all have the right to live free from violence and abuse. The freedom and security to make one's own choices in life is a cornerstone of Canadian democracy. Our government is committed to protecting women and girls and other vulnerable persons from all forms of violence and to holding offenders accountable for their acts. We have been very clear: so-called “honour” killings are barbaric, and like all family homicides, represent a serious violation of Canadian laws.
As Minister for Status of Women, I am proud that our government continues to take strong action to ensure the equality, safety and security of women and girls in communities across Canada. We are committed to ending violence against women and girls in all its forms, including violence committed in the name of “honour.”
Let me be very clear: these forms of violence are the actions of individuals. They can be distinguished from other forms of family violence because they are often committed with some degree of approval and/or collusion on the part of individual family members and/or others. As a result, victims have fewer options for seeking help or leaving abusive situations.
All acts of violence against women and girls are crimes, serious abuses of power and severe violations of their dignity and human rights. I am proud that our government stands against these heinous crimes and is making progress on addressing these issues.
Our government has been working with communities to improve safety and security and has supported a number of important grassroots projects that produce concrete results for women and girls in every part of the country. For example, we supported a project in Edmonton that addresses violence against women and girls, committed in the name of “honour”. The project educates and trains social workers, police officers and prosecutors.
Our government has also made important changes to the citizenship guide, Discover Canada: The Rights and Responsibilities of Citizenship. The guide includes information on common Canadian values such as democracy, human rights and the rule of law. These values include the fair and equal treatment of women and girls. The guide further stresses that “honour” killings, female genital mutilation and acts of gender-based violence will be severely punished.
I will continue to work with communities across the country and with my colleagues across all levels of government to explore additional measures our government can take to protect vulnerable women and girls and to break the cycle of violence. It is only by working together and by enhancing our knowledge and understanding of this issue that we will end all forms of violence against women and girls.
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Rona Ambrose is the Minister of Public Works and Government Services and Minister for Status of Women
Director of Communications
Office of the Minister of Public Works and Government Services and
Minister for Status of Women
Director General, Communications and Strategic Planning
Status of Women Canada