New Cabinet Committee on Gender-Based Violence
Will Better Integrate Government Services: Squires
The Manitoba government is remembering victims of gender-based violence and creating a cabinet committee to find solutions, Sustainable Development Minister Rochelle Squires, minister responsible for the status of women, announced today.
“Manitoba has some of the worst rates of gender-based violence in Canada,” said Squires. “As Dec. 6 is the National Day of Remembrance and Action on Violence Against Women, we are honouring 12 women we have either lost to acts of violence over the past year or were confirmed as victims of homicide over the past year, as well as the women and girls who experience violence as their daily reality.”
The minister and Barbara Bowes, chair of Manitoba Women’s Advisory Council, hosted a memorial in the Legislative Building Rotunda where they acknowledged the 14 women murdered Dec. 6, 1989, at l’École Polytechnique de Montréal. The event included speaker Natalie Pirson, a consultant at the Independent Living Resource Centre, as well as Emily Cablek, a Winnipeg mother and author who survived domestic violence and the abduction of her children.
“It is way past time for women with disabilities to be included in the conversations regarding gender-based violence,” said Pirson. “My hope is that we will work together to ensure that no group in society feels that they are not being heard.”
“I’m pleased to be joining Minister Squires for the National Day of Remembrance and Action on Violence Against Women,” said Cablek. “It’s an honour to be able to use my voice on such an important day – sharing my story to inspire and empower young girls and women to stand together and continue fighting against gender-based violence. My hope is that by remembering our past, we can change our future.”
The event showcased a local video, Stand Up, co-created by Rhonda Dagg and Holly Stahn to feature Manitobans taking a stand against domestic violence.
The minister also announced the appointment of a Gender-Based Violence Cabinet Committee to better collaborate across departments to meet the needs of Manitobans in critical situations.
“This is the first time a cabinet committee will focus solely on this topic in Manitoba,” said Squires. “The committee will help us integrate services and take a government-wide approach to co-ordinate policies, legislation and initiatives on pervasive issues such as domestic and sexual violence and harassment.”
Squires will chair the committee and announced the appointments of:
• Education and Training Minister Kelvin Goertzen;
• Families Minister Heather Stefanson;
• Health, Seniors and Active Living Minister Cameron Friesen;
• Indigenous and Northern Relations Minister Eileen Clarke;
• Justice Minister Cliff Cullen; and
• Janice Morley-Lecomte, legislative assistant to the minister of families.
The minister noted the committee responds to two Truth and Reconciliation Calls to Action related to culturally relevant and Indigenous-specific programs and services by all levels of government. The cabinet committee held its inaugural meeting today and will meet a minimum of three times per year.