Editorial Cartoon by Graeme MacKay, The Hamilton Spectator – Wednesday January 31, 2018
#MeToo’s moment on Parliament Hill suggests another way more women could change politics
The great unravelling continues. And as it does, it reveals the difficult truths about sexual misconduct by those who occupy the institutions of Canadian political power.
Beyond the question of what might be revealed next, there is the question of what must change to ensure this moment is never relived.
At noon on Monday, a day after another report of sexual misconduct allegedly perpetrated by one of its members, the House of Commons turned its attention to Bill C-65, legislation to implement new rules and processes for dealing with sexual harassment in federally regulated workplaces.
“We have been powerfully reminded in Canada and indeed around the world that harassment and violence remain a common experience for people in the workplace,” Labour Minister Patty Hajdu said. “Parliament Hill, our own workplace, is especially affected.”
She proceeded in greater detail.
“Parliament Hill features distinct power imbalances, which perpetuates a culture where people with a lot of power and prestige can use and have used that power to victimize the people who work so hard for us,” she said. “It is a culture where people who are victims of harassment or sexual violence do not feel safe to bring those complaints forward. It is a place where these types of behaviours, abusive and harmful, are accepted and minimized and ignored.”
Three hours later, MPs unanimously agreed to pass C-65 at second reading and send it immediately to a committee for further study.
The bill is, in Conservative MP Michelle Rempel’s words, “a positive step in the right direction.” But, in and of itself, C-65 “will not correct all the issues associated with the current state of affairs,” she said.
So more must change, including perhaps the most obvious: the number of women who currently occupy seats in the House of Commons. (Source: CBC)