Minister Patricia Hajdu Up in House of Commons

Parliament Hill

OTTAWA – POLITICS – Thunder Bay Superior North MP and Minister of Status of Women Patricia Hajdu has had her ‘baptism under fire’ during Question Period in the House of Commons.

The new Minister was questions on the issue of ending violence against women.

Here is the exchange from the House of Commons

Ms. Sheila Malcolmson (Nanaimo—Ladysmith, NDP): Mr. Speaker, 26 years after 14 women were murdered simply for being women, for daring to study engineering, violence against women remains unacceptably high. We in the NDP believe we can work together to end violence against women, but federal leadership is required.

The new government promised a strategy on gender violence, including an immediate inquiry into the terrible issue of murdered and missing indigenous women and girls. Can the minister please tell us when her government plans to call this important inquiry?

Hon. Patricia Hajdu (Minister of Status of Women, Lib.): Mr. Speaker, the member asked an excellent question.

We are very excited to move forward on this file. The murdered and missing indigenous women are a national tragedy that not only affects women but also their families and communities. We intend to move forward incredibly quickly and with a great deal of respect. We will do this by ensuring that we work with families, communities, and national stakeholders to make sure we get it right the first time.

Ms. Brigitte Sansoucy (Saint-Hyacinthe—Bagot, NDP): Mr. Speaker, 26 years after the Polytechnique tragedy, too many women are still victims of violence simply because they are women. According to Quebec’s Fédération des maisons d’hébergement pour femmes, 10,000 women were turned away last year alone. When I worked at a shelter, I had to turn women away myself. Women who are victims of violence need to have access to this essential service.

Can the minister tell us when her government will invest in shelters?

Hon. Patricia Hajdu (Minister of Status of Women, Lib.): Mr. Speaker, as a former executive director of a homeless shelter in Thunder Bay, I can tell members that there is nothing more heartbreaking than not being able to provide women a safe shelter. Therefore, it is my incredible honour to be able to work on this file and ensure that when women need a safe place to stay, barriers will be eliminated, and even more, that we move forward to transitional housing that would eliminate the need for the cycle of sheltering.

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