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Federal Party Platforms

What do the parties promise to do, if elected, related to violence against women and gender-based violence?

WSC has reviewed the party platforms of the five federal parties that will be participating in the official election debates as they relate to VAW/GBV, including the National Action Plan. We included promises related to housing because lack of safe, affordable housing is an enormous barrier for women fleeing violence and is also linked to capacity issues faced by many shelters. We also reviewed gun control promises as the presence of a firearm in the home increases the risk of domestic homicide. We will be updating this analysis as the parties continue to release their platforms. Please note that these reviews are solely for the platforms as they relate to VAW/GBV; WSC does not endorse any particular party. In alphabetical order:

Bloc Québécois

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Conservative Party of Canada

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Green Party

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Liberal Party of Canada

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New Democratic Party

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Bloc Québécois

Promises:

  • VAW/GBV:
    • Harsher sentences for crimes related to DV and register this as an aggravating factor in the Criminal Code, while also amending the Young Offenders Act
    • Commission of inquiry on prevention of “honour crimes” and legislative framework on these crimes
    • Demand funding from the federal government for violence prevention in Quebec, including a special court for sexual crimes and DV
  • Gun Control:
    • Increased control of the circulation of weapons, especially illegal ones
    • Federal amendment to the definition of what constitutes an assault weapon rather than banning brands 
    • Federal government to monitor handguns 

Review:

  • Does not mention the NAP
  • Does not mention supporting VAW shelters
  • No mention of ending GBV or addressing root causes
  • Briefly connects VAW with gun control, in mentioning that it is owed to the victims of violence such as the Polytechnique femicide
  • Focuses on violence prevention and a special court for Quebec only
  • No mention of increased housing for women specifically

Le Bloc Québécois proposera des peines mieux adaptées et plus sévères pour les crimes liés à la violence familiale et inscrira ce type de crimes en tant que facteur aggravant dans le Code criminel, modifiant également la Loi sur les jeunes contrevenants. Le Bloc Québécois proposera la tenue d’une commission d’enquête sur la prévention, l’encadrement législatif et la coercition des violences familiales qualifiées de « crimes d’honneur ». – Bloc Québécois platform

Read the Bloc Québécois’s response to WSC’s letter (in French)

Conservative Party of Canada

Promises:

  • Amend the Criminal Code:
    • it is an aggravating factor in sentencing for assault where victim is in domestic/dependent relationship
    • use of firearm is an aggravating factor in sentencing
    • mandatory minimum penalty for indictable offence
    • prohibiting those with peace bond from owning certain weapons
    • enacting Clare’s Law
  • For survivors:
    • Easier for victims to hide their new location from abusers
    • Expand Canada Child Benefit by $500 per month for women living in women’s shelters
    • Fund to incentivize educational institutions and private sector organizations to partner with women’s shelters to provide career training for women served
  • Gun control:
    • Amend Firearms Act
    • Repeal Bill C-71 and May 2020 Order in Council

Review:

  • Does not mention NAP
  • Harsher punishment and criminalization of domestic violence policies can criminalize survivors through dual charging scenarios
  • Clare’s Law is under provincial/territorial jurisdiction, not federal
  • Does not mention supporting VAW shelters beyond partnering for career training
  • No mention of ending GBV or addressing root causes
  • No mention of increased housing for women specifically
  • WSC supports Bill C-71 and does not want to see it repealed
  • Does not link gun control to VAW or domestic violence

We have let people who commit domestic violence off with a slap on the wrist for far too long. This does a massive disservice to their innocent victims who are left to suffer. It also puts the broader community at risk. We have seen time and again that the criminals who commit acts of violence almost always start by abusing their spouse or partner. Canada’s Conservatives believe that we should impose tough sentences on those who assault their spouse or partner while making it easier for victims to escape their abusers and rebuild their lives. – Conservative Party of Canada platform

Read the CPC’s response to WSC’s letter

Green Party of Canada

Promises:

  • Develop a national action plan with collaboration with grassroots organizations and dedicated funding to eliminate VAW/GBV.
  • Increase access to shelters by investing $40 million over four years in the Shelter Enhancement Program, providing more than 2,100 new and renovated spaces in first-stage shelters and hundreds of spaces in transition houses. (Note: Platform does not specify if these amounts are in addition to those include in the National Housing Strategy)

Review:

  • Specifically mentions NAP on VAW/GBV
  • Funding for shelters included
  • Nothing specific on women’s housing
  • Nothing specific about gun control in relation to VAW/GBV

In collaboration with women’s and Indigenous organizations, develop a comprehensive Canada-wide plan of action – with a timetable and dedicated funding – to eliminate violence against women, girls and gender-diverse people. – Green Party of Canada platform

Liberal Party of Canada

Promises:

  • VAW/GBV: 
    • Continue to move forward on the development of the NAP and begin negotiations with the provinces and territories (P/Ts) within a year 
    • Accelerate establishment of Secretariate and accountability framework for the NAP 
    • Work with community-based anti-violence experts to track progress of the NAP 
    • Work with P/Ts to enact Clare’s Law 
    • Work with P/Ts to develop specialized sexual violence courts 
    • Invest $300 million over three years starting in 2022-23 in accelerated NAP 
  • Gun control: 
    • Lifetime background checks to prevent those with a history of abuse against their spouse or partner from obtaining a firearms license 
    • “Red flag” laws that would allow immediate removal of firearms if that person is a threat to themselves or others, particularly to their spouse or partner 
  • Women’s housing: 
    • Increase funding to National Housing Co-investment fund to be used for building affordable housing including developing projects for vulnerable groups such as women, youth, and persons with disabilities.   

Review: 

  • Clear actionable items to get the NAP off the ground 
    • Recognition of need to work with anti-violence experts  
    • Secretariat and accountability framework  
    • Investments of $300 million
  • Willingness to work with P/Ts on a variety of fronts such as the implementation of Clare’s Law, the NAP, and sexual violence courts 
  • Preventing those with history of DV from having a firearm license  
  • Brief mention of housing for women specifically 

A re-elected Liberal government will: Continue to move forward on the development of a 10-year National Action Plan to End Gender-Based Violence and begin negotiations with the provinces and territories within a year. – Liberal Party Platform

Read the Liberal Party’s response to WSC’s letter

New Democratic Party

Promises:

  • Delivery of the National Action Plan on VAW/GBV
  • Core stable funding for women’s organizations
  • Funding for shelters and programs especially in under-served areas
  • Tackle femicide

Review:

  • Specifically mentions NAP
  • Funding for shelters included
  • No mention of increased housing for women specifically
  • Does not link gun control to VAW or domestic violence

Our vision of Canada is one where women’s organizations have stable core funding so that women can access the support and advocacy they need, when they need it. We will tackle femicide and we’ll deliver a National Action Plan to end gender-based violence, backed by funding to ensure that shelter services and other programs are available in all regions of the country, especially areas that have traditionally been under-served. – NDP platform

Read the NDP’s response to WSC’s letter