12/08/2015 12:03 EST | Updated 12/08/2015 12:59 EST

Alberta Legislature Votes To Unanimously Pass Domestic Violence Bill

EDMONTON — In a rare move, the entire Alberta legislature has voted to pass third reading for a private member's bill that could make life easier for some victims of domestic violence.

Bill 204, introduced by former NDP member and now independent MLA Deborah Drever in November, will allow tenants affected by domestic violence to break their lease early without any financial penalty.

Shannon Phillips, the minister responsible for the Status of Women, said the bill will help ensure survivors of domestic violence are safe and have the supports they need to maintain their independence.

The legislation will be proclaimed after consultation and drafting of supporting regulations with key stakeholders including landlords, tenants, and women's organizations.

Recently, the NDP's Maria Fitzpatrick moved many fellow members of the legislature to tears during a speech in support of the bill.

She gave an emotional recounting of her own harrowing history as a victim of domestic violence, recalling that at one point during her troubled nine-year marriage to her ex-husband, she awoke to find he had pointed a gun to the back of her head.

She said the man, who has since died, beat her, raped her and threatened to kill her and their daughters.


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