The Ford government says it will support an NDP bill to declare allied violence a disaster

The Ford government says it will support an NDP bill to declare allied violence a disaster

Politicians and lawyers welcomed the move, but called on the Progressive Conservatives to ensure the bill passes ‘without delay’.

EDITOR’S NOTE: This article appeared previously Trilliuma Village Media website dealing with regional politics in Queen’s Park

The Progressive Conservatives said they would support an NDP bill to declare union violence an epidemic in Ontario — marking a shift from the Ford government’s opposition to doing so last year.

While the move was welcomed by politicians and advocates in Queen’s Park on Wednesday, they complained that the issue was still being debated and called on the Progressive Conservatives to ensure the bill passed “without delay.”

Bill 173, the Intimate Partner Violence Epidemic Act, passed second reading Wednesday evening in a voice vote with unanimous support. It has been returning to the Standing Committee on Justice Policy.

“Definitely, the government and this session will be supporting the private bill that comes before parliament later today,” State House Leader Paul Calandra said in the room during question period this morning, adding that the government will go further.

“The Honorable Prime Minister has asked for the advice of the Standing Committee on Justice to conduct a detailed study on all issues related to sexual violence between lovers, the programs available now, some of the reasons for its occurrence. and how we can do better in the province of Ontario,” Calandra told the house.

“Everything is on the table. We want to look at every aspect of this to come up with an Ontario team approach to how we face the challenges we face,” said the minister, adding that if the committee approves. such research, the government will provide the resources they need to travel across the state.

NDP Leader Marit Stiles, whose question prompted a response from Calandra, took a moment to acknowledge the change in government.

“Well, it’s not many days that we do something like that, so I want to thank the government for accepting it today,” Stiles said. Following question period, he told reporters he was “surprised” to hear the government say it would support the bill.

“We’ve had recommendations for a Renfrew inquiry now for years, and every time we’ve spoken to the government, they’ve refused to declare intimate partner violence an epidemic,” she said, calling it “very moving” to see victims. and advocates working together to make a difference.

Last year, the state rejected a proposal that stemmed from a coroner’s investigation into the murders of three women in Renfrew County in 2015 calling for the state to declare intimate partner violence an epidemic. The province said the issue is not an “infectious or contagious disease,” and therefore not an epidemic, according to reports from Globe and Mail. Most of the 86 recommendations focused on states.

“What we need now is for the government to make sure that this passes without delay by declaring it an epidemic,” Stiles said. “Today we put it right, let’s get royal consent. We don’t need another study. We don’t need this to go to committee. We’ve seen the government, to be honest, take the law to committee. Before it just dies there.

Bill 173 — sponsored by NDP MPs Peggy Sattler, Lisa Gretzky, Jill Andrew and Kristyn Wong-Tam — was first introduced on March 7.

The Liberals and Greens said Wednesday morning that they too will support the bill, with Green Leader Mike Schreiner saying he wants the government to “speed up approval on this — we don’t want it to go to committee and die.”

Fartumo Kusow, whose daughter Sahra Bulle was killed last year, called the government’s pledge to support the NDP bill “a good first step.”

“The biggest tragedy here in Ontario we are still discussing this in 2024. How many more women have to die before we say this is enough? If the Ontario government wants to show me that it cares about me, it cares about me. daughter, and all the other daughters around them who are struggling with this, they would pass a bill this by law today,” Kusow told reporters, adding that he didn’t think “another committee” was necessary.

Kusow was one of several advocates from across the state who came to Queen’s Park on Wednesday to share their stories, put pressure on the government and sit in the gallery to watch the debate on the bill. Dan Jennings from Sault Ste. Marie also planned a trip to parliament, as previously reported SooToday. She lost her daughter Caitlin Jennings, 22, last year after she was found dead in London, Ont. at home.

On Wednesday morning during a press conference, Kusow said that until today, the family leaves Bulle’s seat free on the table.

“Her plate is sitting where it should be. Her bedroom is where she left it,” Kusow said, adding that her daughter, whose husband was arrested and charged following her death, left behind 52 family members.

“For every blow he got, every black eye he brought home, every attempt he made to try to save himself or let us save him, it affected us and invaded every part of our lives,” he said.

Kusow spoke about how “widespread, preventable and predictable” intimate partner violence is, and that declaring it an epidemic is not just a symbolic act.

“It is an important step towards mobilizing a comprehensive and coordinated effort to address its source, support victims and hold perpetrators accountable,” he said. “In order for us to treat this disease, this public health emergency, we have to name it first … so we can look at it and treat it.”

Gretzky, one of the NDP MPs who introduced the bill, also said it was important for the province to declare the issue an epidemic – something several cities have already done – to “validate” the results of the investigation and the stories of those who have experienced intimate partners. violence or their families. He said it will also help motivate people to focus on what is needed in the state, such as places to stay for women when they have to leave home.

He pointed to housing in Windsor, saying it had to evict people because there wasn’t enough room.

Erin Lee, executive director of Lanark County Interval House and Community Support, said her organization, which helps women fleeing violence, lacks basic funding for print education.

“We raise public education so that we can be in the community talking and educating others so that we can empower people to not be silent and take the chance and risk to have a conversation with us,” said Lee. “There are a lot of people living in isolation who don’t feel validated and don’t feel like they have ways to reach out and be heard.”

The government did not directly respond to questions about its changes on the issue or whether it would ensure that the NDP bill gets royal assent.

Charmaine Williams, assistant minister for women’s social and economic opportunities, said in a statement that the government is “focusing on measures that bring concrete and tangible results to prevent violence before it happens.”

“We are also making sure that the perpetrators of these horrific crimes are held accountable through the legal system. We have invested more than 1.4 billion dollars in services to combat and prevent gender-based violence, and we will continue to make investments to support victims and fight violence against women and children,” he said.

Editor’s note: This story was updated on the evening of April 10 following the second reading of Bill 173.