Mr. Speaker, today I rise to pay tribute to the victims of the recent tragedy in Toronto and victims across the country who suffer in silence every day.
Mr. Speaker, over the last few days we’ve learned that the man who killed 10 people by driving a van down a busy street in Toronto on Monday has pledged allegiance to a cause called “Incel Rebellion” – an organized online community of men who objectify and spread messages of hate towards women. This online community condones violence against women and even goes as far to blame women for their own shortcomings in life.
Mr. Speaker, it is sometimes hard for us on Prince Edward Island to understand the magnitude of some of these groups and movements as we would like to believe that these types of mindsets and thoughts don’t exist in Prince Edward Island; but, we know that is wrong. Prince Edward Island has the lowest rate of reported acts of sexual assault and sexual violence in Canada – but we also know, that sexual assaults and sexual violence are drastically underreported. It is the same with domestic abuse – we know that our statistics on Prince Edward Island are underreported and that there are women and children suffering across the province that need our help.
Mr. Speaker, the reality is that fear, division, and hatred are on the rise in this country. Just this week, Statistics Canada released detailed analysis of hate crimes for 2016. Although the agency says two-thirds of hate crimes go unreported in this country, there is nevertheless a documented increase across various categories including, religion, race, gender, ethnicity, and sexual orientation.
Mr. Speaker, we all need to respect and value one another – we all need to stand up to those who do not share those values. These principles deserve more than lip service alone; especially after the tragedy in Toronto on Monday. We should all, as elected members and community leaders take a stand against these senseless acts of violence against women that are happening across this country and across our province.
Mr. Speaker, feminism is defined as “the advocacy of women’s rights on the basis of the equality of the sexes”.
Mr. Speaker, I am a feminist, and I invite all members of this legislative assembly to take action to promote feminism.
Thank you, Mr. Speaker.