Quebec National Assembly moves on sexual harassment policy
WATCH: Quebec’s National Assembly is second only to Nunavut to have a policy covering politicians and their staff. As Caroline Plante explains, the protocol comes nine months after allegations of sexual harassment rocked Parliament Hill.
QUEBEC CITY – Parliaments are often compared to boxing arenas where jabs are permitted – even applauded – and testosterone runs high.
“Seeing that everyday, some people become less sensitive to violence and what we say today is, sometimes yes, it is violence,” said Françoise David, co-leader of Québec Solidaire.
Last October, two female MPs complained they had been victims of sexual harassment, around the time CBC star Jian Ghomeshi faced serious allegations he had mistreated women. In Quebec, the two events sparked the hashtag #BeenRapedNeverReported and got MNAs thinking they needed to put some kind of process in place to deal with complaints.
“We took the time we needed to work on an innovative policy,” said CAQ MNA Sylvie D’Amours.
The National Assembly’s new workplace policy covers its 500 politicians and staff. It tells them exactly what to do in case of abuse. Only Quebec and Nunavut have policies placing everyone on equal footing.
“No matter who you are,” explained PQ MNA Carole Poirier, “someone will be there to listen, to investigate and offer mediation.”
PQ MNA Maka Kotto said some of his colleagues he suspects are mis-educated will have to fall in line.
The anti-harassment protocol is just the beginning. Starting June 16, a travelling committee will begin hearing groups on sexual harassment, domestic violence and the exploitation of women in general, to update government policies. The committee will stop in Montreal, Riviere-du-Loup and Gatineau.
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