Watch above: During a campaign stop in Saskatoon Monday, NDP Leader Tom Mulcair announced measures aimed at ending violence against women. Joel Senick says the plan also includes an inquiry into murdered and missing aboriginal women.
SASKATOON – NDP Leader Tom Mulcair is promising to enact a national plan to end violence against women if elected prime minister in October. He made the announcement in Saskatoon Monday, during his first campaign stop in the province this federal election.
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“We will launch a comprehensive national action plan to end violence against women; the plan will set meaningful benchmarks and be supported by dedicated funding,” said Mulcair, in front of a crowd of supporters at Station 20 West, a west-side community centre.
The plan will include a $40-million investment in shelters that serve women and children. The money would restore a program that was cut by the Harper government.
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“I am committing today that under an NDP government we will take action to ensure that never again will a woman in need be turned away from a shelter,” said Mulcair at the announcement.
“Hopefully this is a turning point where racism isn’t OK, discrimination isn’t OK and that our women aren’t disposable,” said Kimberly Jonathan, the Federation of Saskatchewan Indian Nations (FSIN) interim chief, who spoke prior to Mulcair on Monday.
“That our women matter and our children matter,” she added.
The topic of violence against aboriginal women in particular has been a national topic for months. At a campaign stop in Ottawa Monday, Conservative Leader Stephen Harper said his government has taken on the issue.
“We’ve put additional money into prevention services and protection services, particularly for women living on reserves, we’ve also brought in a series of criminal justice reforms,” said Harper.
“What I notice about the other guys is what they always leave out is actually taking any action against the perpetrators of violence,” he added in his response.
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Saskatoon-Grasswood Liberal candidate Tracy Muggli says both Mulcair and Harper have incomplete plans to deal with the issue of violence against women. She says poverty is one of the problem’s root causes and that a targeted approach will help solve it.
“Our child benefit is one plan,” said Muggli at her campaign headquarters in Saskatoon.
“We do not want to give universal child benefit to people that are wealthy and don’t necessarily need it we want to give it to people that need it,” she added.
Under a Liberal government, Justin Trudeau has pledged no child benefit dollars to families with a household income over $200,000.
“I applaud any action that’s taken to support women who need to leave a terrible situation, but I really think we need to start talking about some root cause issues,” said Muggli, who serves as the director of mental health and addiction services for the Saskatoon Health Region.