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Contributor

Joy Smith, M.P.

Member of Parliament

MP Joy Smith holds a Bachelor's Degree (B.Ed.) and a Master's Degree (M.Ed.) in education and was a teacher for 23 years devoted to educating high school students in mathematics and science.

Mrs. Smith is also a best-selling author and a recipient of the Hedley Award for Excellence in Research. She was nominated as Manitoba's Woman Entrepreneur of the Year. She is also a wife and mother of six children.

Before becoming Member of Parliament for Kildonan - St. Paul, Mrs. Smith was the Member of the Manitoba Legislature (MLA) for Fort Garry and served as critic for Justice, Education, and Intergovernmental (Urban) Affairs. She also led the Manitoba Task Force for Building Sustainable Communities.

Mrs. Smith was first elected to the House of Commons in 2004 and was re-elected in 2006 and 2008. In November 2007, Mrs. Smith was appointed Chair of the House of Commons Standing Committee on Health and was reappointed in 2008. The health of Canadians is of utmost concern to Mrs. Smith and as the Chair of the Health Committee she is diligently working to ensure Canadian health issues are effectively addressed.

Among the many parliamentary groups on Parliament Hill, Mrs. Smith is an executive member on Canada-Ukraine Parliamentary Friendship Group, vice-chair of the Canada-Israel Canadian Parliamentary Friendship Group, and a member of the Canada-USA Parliamentary Association, Canada-Europe Parliamentary Association and the CPC Health Caucus.

Mrs. Smith has been recognized as one of Canada's leading anti-trafficking activists. Since being elected, Mrs. Smith has led the discussion on human trafficking at a national level which has resulted important changes in the Immigration and Refugee Protection Act. Her continued efforts to raise the issue of human trafficking on the Status of Women Committee resulted in an intensive study of the issue by the committee and the release of highly regarded report on human trafficking in 2007 called Turning Outrage Into Action.

One of her major achievements was the unanimous passing by the House of Commons in 2007 of her Private Members Motion M-153 on human trafficking which called on Parliament to condemn the trafficking of women and children across international borders for the purposes of sexual exploitation and to immediately adopt a comprehensive strategy to combat the trafficking of persons worldwide.

Over the past few years, Mrs. Smith has worked with federal Ministers on key legislation to further combat human trafficking and protect its victims

Mrs. Smith has also been acknowledged for securing federal funding to fight the trafficking of aboriginal women and children from First Nations communities from across Canada.

In September 2010, Mrs. Smith released a proposal for a National Action Plan to Combat Human Trafficking called Connecting the Dots. This proposal has been strongly endorsed by law enforcement, agencies and victims groups across Canada and adopted by the Conservative election platform in the recent election.

In 2009, Mrs. Smith introduced Bill C-268, An Act to amend the Criminal Code (minimum sentence for offences involving trafficking of persons under the age of 18 years). This Bill amended Section 279.01 of Canada’s Criminal Code to create a new offence for child trafficking with a five year mandatory penalty.

Bill C-268 has received broad support from stakeholders in the fight against human trafficking including law enforcement, victims’ services, First Nations representatives, and religious and secular non-governmental organizations.

Mrs. Smith has worked with her colleagues across party lines to gain support for this important legislation. On September 30, 2009, Bill C-268 received near unanimous support from Conservative, Liberal and NDP parties and was passed by the House of Commons in spite of opposition by the Bloc Quebecois.

On June 29, 2010, Bill C-268 was granted Royal Assent and became law. The successful passage of a Private Members Bill is rare and it is only the 15th time in the history of the Canada that a Private Members Bill amended the Criminal Code.