Why has this government taken such a strong line on protecting Canadian women and girls from barbaric cultural practices?
Many believe that these sorts of things don’t happen in countries like Canada: Female genital mutilation – a horrific practice still common in some parts of the world – has been a criminal offence in Canada since 1994.
Tragically, a story out of England shows the need for our continued vigilance.
In September 2014 alone, the British National Health Service found 467 cases of women and girls needing treatment after being forced to undergo female genital mutilation (FGM). It is estimated that up to 170,000 women and girls living in the UK have had this happen to them, despite the practice being illegal since 1985.
What does this mean for Canada? It means we can’t be complacent in believing our country is immune.
We must make it absolutely clear that those who commit these barbaric crimes against girls will face the full force of the law.
In 2011 alone, almost 29,000 women from Africa and the Middle East – where this practice is still common – became permanent residents of Canada.
We have been clear in our Canadian citizenship guide: We explicitly condemn female genital mutilation as a barbaric practice and will not tolerate it in Canada.
It’s also why our Conservative government introduced our Zero Tolerance for Barbaric Cultural Practices Act last year. We believe that all women and girls in Canada deserve the full protection of the Canadian law.
The message is clear: You can’t engage in this practice here. And you can’t remove a child from Canada to force them to undergo this mutilation somewhere else. It’s that clear.
And that goes for child marriage, female genital mutilation, and so-called “honour killings” too – none are acceptable.
Canada is the land of equality and opportunity – and we will continue to make it clear that these barbaric practices that hurt women and girls have no place here.
Let me know you stand with Prime Minister Harper and all Canadians in condemning these practices:
Unlike Justin Trudeau, Canada’s Conservatives stand against barbaric cultural practices. Share this page to get the message out: