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127th Assembly of the IPU

Honourable senators, others have already spoken of the IPU, but did honourable senators know that the Inter-Parliamentary Union is the oldest multilateral organization of Parliaments, even preceding the League of Nations? Established in 1889, the IPU recently held its one hundred and twenty-seventh assembly. Over 1,300 delegates from 162 member Parliaments gathered together in the most welcoming of nations — Canada. For six days, from October 21 to 26, the delegates met in pict…
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International Day of the Girl: Malala Yusufzai

Honourable Senators, I would like to recognize October 11, 2012 – the first official International Day of the Girl. On that day last week, I had the honour of launching a panel discussion here in Ottawa, on behalf of the Honourable Rona Ambrose. At the panel, I spoke of one extraordinary girl, 14-year-old Malala Yusufzai. When the Taliban took over the valley of Swat in 2009, 11-year-old Malala started blogging for the BBC under an assumed name. All Malala wanted was an educati…
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Framework for Suicide Prevention

Hon. Salma Ataullahjan moved second reading of Bill C-300, An Act respecting a Federal Framework for Suicide Prevention. She said: Honourable senators, I previously spoke about my daughter’s friend, John. A funny, gentle and positive kid, John was a joy to have around. However, John faced demons that none of us knew about. Recently, John died by suicide. I can still picture his face, his shy smile and his glasses. At the time I wondered, “Could I have done something to help him…
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Republic of Azerbaijan & Women’s Right to Vote

Honourable senators, I rise today to commemorate the ninety-fourth Independence Day of Azerbaijan. On May 28, 1918, Azerbaijan was proclaimed a republic. It was the first successful attempt to establish a democratic state in the Muslim world. I would like to emphasize that Azerbaijan was the first Muslim country to grant women equal political rights to men. Women were granted the right to vote in the same year as independence, 1918, one year later than in Canada and two years e…
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Youth Suicide

Honourable senators, today I want to tell you about my daughter’s friend John. John was just like any other kid — a fine, gentle, positive person. He described himself as an optimist. He was completing a bachelor’s degree at Brock University and hoped one day to become a teacher. Honourable senators, I am sad to say that John recently killed himself. I can still see his face in front of me — his glasses. He was at my home so many times that I wonder — could I have reached him?…
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Maternal and Child Health

Honourable senators, you may recall that I spoke to you in November regarding my role as the Canadian co-rapporteur for a draft report of the Inter-Parliamentary Union on maternal and child health. Along with my colleagues from Uganda and India, I presented a report that stressed the role of parliaments in addressing key challenges to securing the health of women and children. The report and the feedback we received from deliberations served as a basis for an IPU resolution tha…
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Dr. Shaheen Shariff

Honourable senators, I rise today to congratulate Dr. Shaheen Shariff and her team at McGill University for being named as one of the four recipients worldwide and the only Canadian recipient of Facebook’s Digital Citizenship Research Grant, a $50,000 award. Out of nearly 100 grant applications from more than 10 countries, Dr. Shariff’s Define the Line project, based on her pioneering research in media and technology, is designed to help reduce cyberbullying and promote respons…
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