Maternal and Child Health

Hon. Nancy Greene Raine: Honourable senators, I would like to go back to the issue of maternal and newborn child health issues we have around the world. We all know in Canada that we also have a very big problem with missing and murdered indigenous women and girls. We have problems, especially in remote communities, where housing is such an issue that it is causing difficulty for maternal, newborn and child health.

I want to ask the Leader of the Government in the Senate if he would please find out how we balance where our money goes. Are we neglecting what we need to do at home in order to help? It’s a fine balance, I recognize, but I’m always a bit concerned that we are not looking after the Third World conditions that we have in our own country.

Hon. Peter Harder (Government Representative in the Senate): I thank the honourable senator for her question.

I would point out that it is the view of the Government of Canada that while there is nothing that cannot benefit from improvement, it is important that we have an activist agenda both in Canada and internationally. We have a demanding role to play as a country that is privileged in this world with respect to our economic well-being.

Certainly our initiatives on the global stage have provided leadership and continue to do so. The announcement today does that, particularly when other governments are choosing to withdraw from providing reproductive health and other basic needs to women and girls.

I am not for a moment saying there is not more that can be done internationally or domestically, but the Government of Canada is of the view that Canada needs to play a leading role internationally, especially at this time.