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Results: 1 - 15 of 156
View Anita Vandenbeld Profile
Lib. (ON)
Thank you very much, Mr. Chair.
It's good to be back on the defence committee after the extensive study on this in 2021.
Justice Arbour, I am very pleased to see you here, especially because of the voice that you've given to the survivors. I know that in the beginning there was some question, even on this committee, as to whether your report would be necessary. I think we've proven that not only was it necessary, but also incredibly value-added. Thank you so much for that.
I note that the key takeaway from your report is that the Canadian Armed Forces is not able to make these changes and change the culture by itself. There needs to be external help and external accountability. There was a lot of speculation that this would require an outside monitoring and accountability mechanism, like an inspector general.
My first question is, why did you choose not to go that route with your report?
View Anita Vandenbeld Profile
Lib. (ON)
Thank you.
As you mentioned, a lot of these changes are things that have to be done internally. We know that within CAF there are change-makers, some of whom have been fighting for decades. They know what the solutions are; they've been putting them forward, but there have always been barriers. In many ways, they've been losing steam.
How do we make sure that those change-makers, the ones who are committed to doing this, are the ones who are empowered and are in leadership within CAF?
View Anita Vandenbeld Profile
Lib. (ON)
Thank you very much, Justice Arbour.
I wonder if you'd like to answer my previous question about change-makers and making sure that those reformers from within are empowered. Do you have any thoughts on that?
View Anita Vandenbeld Profile
Lib. (ON)
I would dare say that your report has gone a long way in giving oxygen to some of those change-makers and reformers from within.
We know that a lot of the focus has been on sexual violence, sexual assault and sexual misconduct. That is, of course, an incredibly low bar to set when we look at processes that make things more inclusive. It's not just about changing the toxic masculinity; it's also about making sure we create a welcoming environment where everybody can thrive. We know this isn't really about sex; it's about power, and it doesn't just affect women, but it affects men equally.
In your recommendations, what would you point to that would go beyond the treatment of actual offences to look at the processes and institutional change that is needed? That would include, I note, some of the things you said about human resources and who gets promoted on what basis. What would be the most important of your recommendations in going beyond ending the bad behaviour and moving towards good behaviour?
View Anita Vandenbeld Profile
Lib. (ON)
Thank you, Mr. Chair.
Minister, thank you so much for being here today, and for your very evident, strong commitment to making real, transformative change. You're not just ending the toxic culture and the bad behaviour, but, as you said, in your words, really making it a place “where all members...can be respected and protected.”
I think this is the key. It goes well beyond sexual misconduct. To really make a difference, it has to be a place where women and other equity-seeking groups are not just accommodated but included, and all processes and the institution are transformed so that it is a welcoming environment where everyone can thrive, which I know you're very committed to. That includes not just justice; it includes sex- and gender-based analysis around women's health. It includes career trajectories, military families, child care, recruitment and all of the above.
My question is for you, but I would like to hear from General Eyre, General Allen and General Carignan on this as well, so I hope everyone will be very brief.
How do we go beyond changing the toxic masculinity culture and move toward a complete institutional change, so that every single person can find their place within CAF?
View Anita Vandenbeld Profile
Lib. (ON)
Thank you very much.
I would like to ask Ms. Segura to pick up on something you said in terms of the multilateral foreign intervention. The reason I'm asking is that most of the witnesses, certainly the civil society witnesses we've heard, have been quite vociferously opposed to having a foreign military-style intervention.
One thing we heard is that a lot of the gangs are children who've been forcibly separated from their families, put in orphanages and then recruited into gangs. The spectre, particularly if Canada were to send soldiers to this, would be Canadian soldiers face to face with armed gangs and potentially in a shooting battle with what are essentially child soldiers.
The other thing, of course, is what you said about it being better than the alternative of inaction. I think we've heard a lot of alternatives throughout the course of this study, including sanctions and stopping the arms. The oligarchs who are supporting these gangs are the ones we need to be going after. We need to stop the arms from getting in through the border, among a number of other things that we've been told, and also include capacity-building for the police, the local police.
I just wonder, given all of that, what your reasoning is for wanting to have a multilateral force.
View Anita Vandenbeld Profile
Lib. (ON)
Thank you.
Do any other witnesses wish to add anything on the subject?
View Anita Vandenbeld Profile
Lib. (ON)
View Anita Vandenbeld Profile
Lib. (ON)
Thank you. One minute is so short.
I first want to say that I'll start with you, Ms. Forsyth, and say that given everything you've experienced, we all applaud and appreciate the fact that you're taking your trauma and turning it into finding solutions.
I have a quick question for both of you. We've seen over and over again that this is an intergenerational thing. This is something that has existed for a very long time and has become normalized. My question is, how do we break the cycle?
Given that OSIC has only been in existence for six months, do you see that as part of the solution? In, like, 30 seconds, how would you improve it? You can also send a brief if you need to.
View Anita Vandenbeld Profile
Lib. (ON)
Thank you.
I really want to thank both of you for being here. It's not easy to give this kind of testimony.
What strikes me is that we're hearing this now across different sports, so this is clearly systemic. What I'm really touched by and horrified by, actually, is the fact that you were victimized not just by what happened to you, but by the fact that when you tried to stop it from happening to other people and other children, you weren't heard. The idea that the very people who were meant to protect you were weaponizing your information and were gaslighting and shaming you is something that we need to make right. The fact that nobody listened....
I want you to know we're listening, so thank you for being here.
View Anita Vandenbeld Profile
Lib. (ON)
Ms. McCormack, you talked about things you've cobbled together, informal peer networks, trying to get therapy where you can, and you mentioned not being able to access legal supports and different things, and being siloed and alone.
There are organizations and places where, if somebody comes forward with a testimony of something that happened to them, they're immediately given an advocate who can walk them through what they need. We know that that changes over time. If it's therapy, if it's peer support, if it's legal support or if it's just advice about what the process is, they're an advocate for that child or for that person.
What would that have looked like? Let's look at it right now, for a young girl who is in soccer or in boxing. If the system worked properly, what would it look like when that young girl comes forward? What would a good system look like?
View Anita Vandenbeld Profile
Lib. (ON)
He should have been. It is a human rights issue and these are children.
View Anita Vandenbeld Profile
Lib. (ON)
Children cannot know these things. This is something that we need to do to protect the children.
Thank you.
I also wanted to give Ms. Da Silva Rondeau a chance to answer on what a good system would look like.
View Anita Vandenbeld Profile
Lib. (ON)
Your being here is changing things. Thank you for being here.
View Anita Vandenbeld Profile
Lib. (ON)
Thank you very much, Mr. Chair.
I think it's very noteworthy that we're meeting here today at the beginning of the 16 days of activism against violence against women.
I'd like to address my first question to Ambassador O'Neill.
I was glad to see that you, in your remarks, equated the decline and backsliding and threats to democracy with the increasing violence and threats against women. We're seeing right now that the polarization is no longer left and right. It is between authoritarianism or tyranny and democracy, and along with that the values of democracy, including gender equality, pluralism and diversity.
What I'd like to ask you is a little bit about that, about the fact that right now we're seeing a perfect storm between COVID-19, climate emergencies and increasing conflict, which is really causing the women of the world to be the ones suffering the most. At the same time, we're seeing an increase in gender conservatism. That's not just happening in authoritarian countries. We see it south of the border in the rollback of important hard-fought rights of women over their own bodies.
In this context, could you tell us a little bit about the need for global networks? How important is it that when women's voices are being silenced in one country, women in other countries are able to amplify and draw attention, and in so doing provide safety for those who are on the ground fighting?
The other question I have comes from our previous study in a previous Parliament in this committee on women human rights defenders. One of our recommendations at that time was that Canada create a human rights defenders immigration stream, because what we were hearing was that when things go bad, they go bad quickly.
Yesterday I was at a Dignity Network event, where I heard from a transgender woman living in a country where the legal structures are not helpful. She said that when it happens, she needs to get out in three hours. But they don't want to leave. It's not immigration. They're not refugees. These people want to return, want to keep fighting for their country. They just need temporary asylum, to be able to get out when it's hot, and then be able to go back when it's safer.
After that, the Government of Canada did create a human rights defenders stream of 250. I think we all agree we need more than that.
Would you give some advice about how we could tailor that so that it is more rapid and so that it is more reflective of the realities of human rights defenders on the ground?
Also, maybe elaborate a bit on how Canada could more readily foster global networks, even among parliamentarians, that would allow us to be able to amplify the voices and make sure that the women who are really fighting on the front lines are fully supported by the international community.
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