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Kirsty Duncan, MP

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Letter to Minister MacKay regarding gender gap among judges

Posted on August 29, 2014 | No Comments

August 29th 2014

 

The Honourable Peter Gordon Mackay, P.C., Q.C., M.P.

Minister of Justice and

Attorney General of Canada

284 Wellington Street Ottawa, Ontario

K1A 0H8

 

 

Dear Minister MacKay,

 

We are writing to you to discuss the glaring gap of diversity among our judges, and to ask for transparency to help address underrepresentation in the judiciary.

 

This has been a topic of conversation between the President of the Canadian Bar Association (CBA) and the former federal Minister of Justice at their annual in-person meetings. Moreover, the CBA recently passed a resolution urging the federal government to address a lack of diversity in appointments to superior courts across the country.

 

As you know, great strides have been made in ensuring law school and Bar admissions are more representative of the population; in fact, by the 1990’s, half the graduates from law schools were women. But unfortunately, the percentage of women judges remains far lower.

 

As of January 1st, 2013, 364 of 1,180 judges in all Canadian courts were women;  11 of the 36 Federal Court judges were women, and six of the 24 Tax Court of Canada judges were women.

 

More recently on June 13th, 2014, your government announced eleven judicial appointments. Ten were men, continuing a disturbing pattern that shows the appointment of women continues to lag far behind that of men.

 

Yet it is of critical importance to increase the representation of women on the federal bench. When women are fairly represented, they can bring an understanding of the impact of the law on the lives of women and girls, and so the quality of justice improves. More women and men may then have confidence that the court understands the real-world implications of its rulings.

 

Therefore, will you and your government provide more transparency? Will you start to publish the number of women applicants, as well as the number of applicants from other underrepresented groups? And will you provide the number of such applicants recommended for appointment by Judicial Advisory Committees? Canadians need to have these statistics to understand and help address underrepresentation in the judiciary.

 

In closing, the failure to appoint women to the bench is not “a women’s issue.” Rather, it affects all citizens of our country.  I therefore look forward to hearing from you at your earliest convenience.

 

Yours truly,

 

 

 

Kirsty Duncan

Member of Parliament, Etobicoke North

 

 

Sean Casey,

Member of Parliament, Charlottetown

Letter to Ministers Leitch, Moore and Holder regarding diversity in STEM fields

Posted on August 29, 2014 | No Comments

August 29th 2014

 

The Honourable James Moore, P.C., M.P.

Minister of Industry

The Honourable Ed Holder

Minister of State for Science and Technology

C.D. Howe Building 235 Queen Street Ottawa, Ontario

K1A 0H5

 

Dear Minister Leitch, Minister Moore and Minister Holder,

 

I am writing to you regarding women in science, technology, engineering, and math (STEM) fields.

 

Although women make up a bit more than half of the world’s population, men still hold the lion’s share of jobs in STEM fields and take home most of the prestigious science awards. In the United States, women receive half the doctorates in science and engineering, yet account for only 21 percent of full science professors and a paltry 5 percent of full engineering professors.

 

If Canada is to succeed in the knowledge economy and out-compete the rest of the world, we need to utilize all our talent, regardless of gender. We need to know what challenges women face entering STEM programs, and what holds women back from completing their studies and working in their chosen fields.

Biases and challenges do persist, especially for women in STEM fields. After all, it is not too long ago that a Harvard University President remarked that intrinsic aptitude could possibly explain the gender gap at the higher levels of research in math and science.

 

Today young men make up less than 45 percent of university entrants in many institutions. And while the gender gap is smaller for the biological sciences and reversed for medical programs, Canada needs more women computer scientists, engineers, mathematicians, and physicists.

 

 

Canada remains in the bottom third of OECD countries for Masters and doctoral degrees; and in order to increase the output of highly qualified graduates, we must increase the number of women in STEM programs.

 

All governments should inspire girls and young women to broaden their job aspirations before they start their careers, through partnerships with education and science.

 

I met with members of the Society for Canadian Women in Science and Technology (SCWIST)’ in Vancouver, who asked me to follow up with you regarding their proposal to create a Women in Science and Technology Task Force. It is my understanding that Minister Leitch wrote to SCWIST on June 19th, 2014, and the organization’s proposal was being shared with both Ministers Holder and Moore. Could you advise of the status?

 

I very much look forward to hearing from you, and to learning what the government is considering with respect to women in STEM fields.

 

Yours truly,

 

Kirsty Duncan

Member of Parliament, Etobicoke North

 

 

CC. James Moore, Minister of Industry

Ed Holder, Minister of State, Science and Technology

 

 

Letter to Minister Paradis regarding Ebola in West Africa

Posted on August 5, 2014 | No Comments

August 4 th, 2014

 

Dear Minister Paradis,

We are writing to you in order to ask about Canada’s response regarding the Ebola outbreak in West Africa.

As you know, the scale of the outbreak is unprecedented, with over 1300 confirmed and suspected cases reported, and more than 720 deaths in Guinea, Liberia and Sierra Leone since March, 2014.

Therefore, what is your department doing to ensure the safety of Canadians travelling to West Africa to undertake humanitarian work, commerce and trade, or safeguard the well-being of those who are there now and in areas where Ebola is spreading?

Specifically, what guidance is being provided to Canadians (1) before they leave, (2) while in areas in which Ebola has been reported, (3) if they think they have symptoms compatible with Ebola, and (4) what they should do upon their return to Canada?

Regarding Canada’s humanitarian response, both you and Minister Ambrose announced $1,285,000 to address the outbreak on April 18th, 2014. It is being reported that Canada has spent $1.41 million.

What has Canada specifically contributed to the effort, and what is the cost of each contribution please? How many specialists and in what disciplines has Canada sent to the World Health Organization to help out?

We are sure you will agree that the needs on the ground have changed significantly since April, with the World Health Organization (WHO) announcing on July 31st a $100 million emergency response plan. The WHO will be reaching out to the international community to drive the response plan forward. Will the Government consider providing additional funding to humanitarian partners if asked?

As Minister Baird expressed, biological threats such as Ebola do not recognize borders, but rather represent a global problem that requires coordinated international action.

Finally, we will not address guidance for air transport, border services, or healthcare workers, as this is outside your mandate, but ask that you work with your colleagues and relevant departments to show leadership in these areas.

Canada has now followed other countries and issued a travel warning, and we must remain vigilant even though the risk is low. Therefore, is Canada ready to isolate and care for someone if affected, does the Public Health Agency of Canada (PHAC) have a public awareness plan to help Canadians understand the prevention, transmission, and signs and symptoms of the disease, and does PHAC have a communication link with all provinces/territories?

Thank you for your attention, and we look forward to hearing from you.

Yours truly,

Kirsty Duncan MP                                                                  The Honourable Hedy Fry MP, PC

Etobicoke North                                                                     Vancouver Centre

 

 

Letter to Ministers Baird and Paradis regarding Central African Republic (CAR)

Posted on July 7, 2014 | No Comments

The Honourable John Baird, P.C., M.P. The Honourable Christian Paradis, P.C., M.P.   Dear Ministers Baird and Paradis, I am writing to you in order to […]

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Letter to Minister Paradis regarding Global Partnership for Education

Posted on June 24, 2014 | No Comments

The Honourable Christian Paradis, P.C., M.P. Minister of International Development Place du Centre, 12th Floor 200 Promenade du Portage Gatineau, Quebec K1A 0G4   Dear Minister […]

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Letter to Minister Paradis on the Abduction of Nigerian Schoolgirls

Posted on June 20, 2014 | No Comments

The Honourable Christian Paradis, P.C., M.P. Minister for La Francophonie, Minister of International Development Place du Centre, 12th Floor 200 Promenade du Portage Mail Stop:MIN Gatineau, […]

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Question on the Central African Republic

Posted on June 19, 2014 | No Comments

 

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Adjournment proceeding on CAR

Posted on June 17, 2014 | No Comments

For a complete transcript please click here  

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Question on Northern Gateway

Posted on June 16, 2014 | No Comments

For a complete transcript plese click here

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Liberals hold roundtable on potential role for Canada in South Sudan and Central African Republic conflicts

Posted on June 13, 2014 | No Comments

                      RELEASE Liberals hold roundtable on potential role for Canada in South Sudan and Central African […]

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Contact Us

House of Commons:

613 Confederation Building
House of Commons
Ottawa, ON
K1A 0A6

Phone: (613) 995-4702
Fax: (613) 995-8359

Constituency Office:

815 Albion Road
Etobicoke, ON
M9V 1A3

Phone: (416) 747-6003
Fax: (416) 747-8295

kirsty.duncan@parl.gc.ca