Federal Conservatives are pressuring the Liberal government to ensure that the final draft of the new citizenship guide includes a warning that female genital mutilation (FGM) is a crime in Canada.
Prime Minister Justin Trudeau did not speak to the guide when pressed about the issue in question period Wednesday, but said he is committed to ending the “barbaric practice” around the world.
Tory immigration critic Michelle Rempel noted in the House of Commons that the United Nations Entity for Gender Equality and the Empowerment of Women — better known as UN Women — tweeted about FGM as part of its “16 days of activism.”
The UN group called FGM — the intentional cutting of female genital organs for non-medical reasons — a human rights violation that has been perpetuated against 200 million women and girls.
“Canada’s citizenship guide informs newcomers that FGM is a crime in Canada. However Canada’s prime minister has decided to delete this information,” Rempel charged.
The MP was referencing a working copy of the new citizenship guide the government is preparing. The draft, which was obtained by The Canadian Press in the summer, reportedly omits lines stating that certain “barbaric cultural practices,” such as FGM and honour killings, are illegal in Canada. The previous Tory government included those warnings in their overhauls of the guide.
Rempel urged Trudeau in the House to stand with FGM survivors and the UN by reversing what she called his “decision.” She made similar comments on Twitter shortly after question period.
Trudeau responded that he “personally brought up this issue” during a visit to Liberia last year, “challenging local leaders and governments to step up on the fight against FGM.”
Then he said something that drew an immediate reaction from Tories.
“We will continue to lead the way pushing for an end to these barbaric practices of female genital mutilation everywhere around the world. This is something… and here in Canada… this is something we take very seriously.”
Originally posted on Huffington Post: