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Bill S-205 - interim release and domestic violence recognizance orders - amendment - Senator Pate

Hon. Mary Jane McCallum: Senator Pate, my question is around the violence that occurs in the communities. Stemming that violence has many origins and they require different interventions, and some of those interventions go beyond legislation. They cannot be legislated. Those are societal responses. The communities need to play a part in what is happening in their communities. For that reason, I arranged a meeting with Senator Boisvenu and Indigenous groups in Winnipeg that are addressing this violence, and they are working hand in hand with Senator Boisvenu now.

I think that, like you said, it is not a stand-alone. I have seen this happen time and time again with legislation and there was no community involvement. The work that’s being done by the communities in Winnipeg is successful, and they are willing to work with Senator Boisvenu. Wouldn’t it be good for this to go to committee so that people can hear about what is happening at the community level?

Senator Pate: I absolutely agree with going to committee. I think you know that in Manitoba alone, there are some incredible examples of where Indigenous communities have stepped in precisely because of what I have just spoken about and have taken the position that they will remove the men from homes and provide supports in the home for women and children. That impact, that approach has had hugely positive success, but it requires resourcing and requires supports for communities to do that. Looking at those sorts of approaches would absolutely be a fantastic opportunity, so thank you for suggesting that.

Senator McCallum: When they talk to Senator Boisvenu and myself about the programs they have, they work with the men who have committed the violence. They have a very high success rate. They also work individually with women. They work with youth. And there is so much potential.

One of the reasons we met with her was to look at what resources were needed. I think that if we do more work like this, working with the community, with the legislation that we’re working with, that there is much more success, our legislation will have fewer gaps, and that we will see if these interventions will work. They are willing to go through this and work with the system. So I think it’s a great step ahead.

Senator Pate: I’m not sure there was a question, but I’m happy to add that I think it’s true. The challenge is, as you have already experienced in talking to those women, when the only response you provide is a criminal law response, women who have had a history of not having any kind of avenues to get support often will leap to that and cling to that, when in fact as you have already experienced, when you go and speak to them, that’s the last thing they want. They want a whole host of other supports and services to prevent them from ending up before the courts in the first place.

My concern is offering electronic monitoring as though it will solve the problem creates that false sense of security, and creates a sense that it actually will be effective when, as I hoped to lay out, in fact, there is ample evidence that is not true. If at the committee we take the opportunity to say, what should we be doing instead of this, I think that would be a fabulous opportunity, so thank you very much.

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