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16 Days of Activism against Gender-Based Violence

Honourable senators, today I would like to speak to you about the invisible pandemic of gender-based violence. More specifically, I will highlight the negative impact our ongoing emergency health crisis is having on domestic violence. November 25, the first day of 16 Days of Activism against Gender-Based Violence, was also the thirty-fourth birthday of Audrey Hopkinson, a mother of two from Brockville, Ontario. Sadly, for the first time last week, Audrey’s family and friends ob…
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Chemical Weapons Convention Implementation Act

Honourable colleagues, I rise today to speak on Bill S-2, An Act to amend the Chemical Weapons Convention Implementation Act. With this bill, the government proposes to amend the act to add four new categories of controlled chemicals banned by the Organisation for the Prohibition of Chemical Weapons. This bill would add nerve agents of the Novichok group to the list of banned chemicals. When the bill’s sponsor, Senator Coyle, spoke to the proposed legislation, she noted the pro…
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Trafficking of Human Organs

Honourable senators, I rise today to speak to Bill S-204, which aims to create new offences with regard to organ harvesting and organ trafficking abroad. This bill has been introduced in the Canadian Parliament multiple times over the last decade. In fact, this is the third time that I am tabling this bill, which was almost passed in the last Parliament. As much as I would like to pride myself for slowly and steadily making this bill a reality, I fear we are behind. While medic…
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The Late Honourable David Osborn Braley, O.C.

Honourable senators, I rise today to pay tribute to my former seatmate Senator David Braley. When I was first appointed to the Senate I had the good fortune of being seated next to David. When I took my seat next to him, we kind of sized each other up. We couldn’t have been a more unlikely pair, but we soon realized how much we had in common despite our different backgrounds. We had many heartfelt discussions about our roles in the Senate. He took the time to teach me valuable…
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Commissioner for Children and Youth in Canada Bill

Honourable senators, I rise today to speak to Bill S-210, An Act to establish the Office of the Commissioner for Children and Youth in Canada. While I rise today as critic of this bill, as someone who has spent most of my professional life advocating for women and youth, I welcome this important and long overdue initiative. The discussion surrounding the need for a commissioner of children and youth in Canada has been happening since the late 1980s. In 1989, the UN adopted the…
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Presence of Racism and Discrimination within Canadian Institutions

Honourable senators, I rise today to speak to Senator Plett’s inquiry. I would like to begin by thanking Senator Plett for initiating this much-needed inquiry into the presence of racism and discrimination within Canadian institutions. Indeed, examples of continued bias against Black, Indigenous, Muslim, Jewish and other racialized people across our country are unfortunately endless. To believe that the Canadian Multiculturalism Act is sufficient in binding us together is proof…
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Inter-Parliamentary Union

Honourable senators, as many of you have heard, I am the candidate for the presidency of the Inter-Parliamentarian Union. I am the first ever and only Canadian candidate running for this international leadership position. In the last two days, I have been approached by many of my colleagues who are unfamiliar with the IPU and its mandate. I thought I would take this opportunity to share more details about the work done by the IPU and my contributions over the last decade. The I…
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COVID-19 Response Measures Bill

Honourable senators, I didn’t intend to speak to Bill C-4, but as I listened to the debate I felt there was one group left out and thought it was my duty to stand up and speak about this group: those who come to Canada as refugees and those who are new Canadians but don’t have all the health benefits. They have fallen through the cracks. If you look at the data where mapping has been done, some of these vulnerable groups have been most impacted by COVID. It’s our duty as Canad…
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