Statement on Maternal Mortality Rate

Ms. Irene Mathyssen (London—Fanshawe, NDP): Mr. Speaker, Canada has recently dropped in the UN ratings for gender equality. A key factor in this is the increase in maternal death rates in this country.

Specifically, the Canadian maternal mortality ratio has been growing steadily since 1990. In fact, the number of deaths has doubled. There are many factors that contribute to this, including rising obesity rates, more caesarean sections and an increase in overall maternal age.

To reverse this trend, we need investment in education and women's health, more specifically, family-centred care that promotes the healthy, normal process of pregnancy and birth.

Another factor affecting gender equality is access to regulated, affordable child care. Yesterday's budget ignored the needs of Canadian families. The government failed to take steps to increase the number of affordable regulated daycare spaces.

Like their Liberal predecessor, the Conservatives refused yet again to introduce a national child care program that would give Canadian women a much needed boost in the direction of equality.