November 2014 eNewsletter
November 27th, 2014 - 4:10pm
November is a special month. It’s a month of remembrance. It’s a month that provides us an opportunity to reflect on our past and work towards a better future.
Remembrance Day on November 11th was as emotional as it always is. It’s a day to honour the fallen men and women serving our country and men and women who continue to serve our country in times of war, conflict and peace now and into the future. I attended the Remembrance Day ceremony in Esquimalt and we saw record crowds this year. Unfortunately, this year, we have two new names to add to the Canadian heroes who have given their life in service to Canada. They are Corporal Nathan Cirillo and Warrant Officer Patrice Vincent. Once again, I would like to express my sympathies to their families.
Transgender Day of Remembrance on November 20th followed only nine days later. People in communities across Canada and around the world marked this day by remembering victims of transphobic violence and rededicating themselves to working to end discrimination against transgender, transsexual, and gender-variant people. Last year, there were 83 murders of trans people, and countless more were victims of violence and discrimination. We must remember but also look forward and ask how we can make things better. The past year has seen some progress on trans rights in places as diverse as Dallas, Texas, and Mexico City. Five Canadian provinces have recently added to their human rights codes explicit protection against discrimination, but it is clear that much more remains to be done to build a more inclusive Canada where transgender and gender-variant Canadians can participate fully and live without fear. At the federal level, the Senate remains the last obstacle to full legal equality for the trans community. Unfortunately the Senate ignored my call in a statement in the House of Commons to honour this day by passing my Private Members Bill which would provide equal rights and protections for trans people. The Senate has now held up passage of Bill C-279 for nearly two years after its approval by the House of Commons.
The month ended with the International Day to End Violence Against Women on November 25th. It is unfortunate that we still need to bring awareness to this issue, and even more disturbing to find examples of violence against women in the House of Commons itself. Despite prolonged efforts to eliminate violence against women, the statistics remain alarming. According to the Canadian Women’s Foundation:
- On average, every 6 days a woman in Canada is killed by her intimate partner
- Half of all women in Canada have experienced at least one incident of physical or sexual violence since the age of 16
- 67% of all Canadians say they personally know at least one woman who has been sexually or physically assaulted
- On any given day in Canada, more than 3,300 women (along with their 3,000 children) are forced to sleep in an emergency shelter to escape domestic violence. Every night, about 200 women are turned away because the shelters are full.
- As of 2010, there were 582 known cases of missing or murdered Aboriginal women in Canada. Both Amnesty International and the United Nations have called upon the Canadian government to take action on this issue, without success. According to the Native Women’s Association of Canada, “if this figure were applied proportionately to the rest of the female population there would be over 18,000 missing Canadian women and girls.”
We must remember. We can and must do better as we continue working toward a more equal, inclusive, peaceful, and just Canada. I salute the many individuals and groups in my riding who work toward these goals each and every day.
With my sincere regards,