Critics: Trudeau Counters Female Genital Mutilation Overseas But Not At Home

REUTERS/Chris Wattie

David Krayden Ottawa Bureau Chief
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Canada’s Liberal government announced $3 million in funding to fight female genital mutilation (FMG) in Africa — but critics say it ignores the practice at home.

International Development Minister Marie-Claude Bibeau said Tuesday that Canada will fight the procedure in the African country of Benin, but the Conservative Party’s Michelle Rempel says that Trudeau and his supporters need to stop turning “a blind eye” to the “vile” operation that is prevalent in many Muslim countries around the world.

Rempel says the procedure is a lot more common in Canada than the Liberal government cares to admit.

“It’s something that’s so inherent to gender rights,” Rempel said at a news conference Monday. “Women’s bodies and sexual agency have long been used to promote gender inequality, and worse. This is something so vile and so heinous that I really feel the government needs to act and to act quickly, not to turn a blind eye to this in Canada.”

The Trudeau government has been conflicted over the issue. After removing a reference to the practise in Canada’s citizenship guide, a line about female genital mutilation being illegal in Canada reinserted just last month.

Rempel said the government needs to get serious about ending FMG at home by both stopping the procedure at its source: barring practitioners from entering Canada and stopping travel outside of the country to have it performed.

Bibeau says more talk is required.

“It’s really a matter of belief and cultural norm, so we have to have this conversation with mothers, grandmothers, religious and traditional leaders, to end this practice,” she told CBC News.

According to the World Health Organization, a staggering 200 million women have been forced to endure the procedure around the globe.

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