Alex Pierson: Ladies, pick your battles

Conservative MP James Bezan asks a question during question period in the House of Commons on Parliament Hill in Ottawa on Wednesday, June 8, 2016.
Conservative MP James Bezan asks a question during question period in the House of Commons on Parliament Hill in Ottawa on Wednesday, June 8, 2016. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Sean Kilpatrick

So when is a joke just a joke? And when does it cross the line and turn into sexual harassment?

The latest to be added to the apology tour is Conservative MP James Bezan. His crime? Saying a mildly lame joke in front of two Liberal colleagues who happen to be women during a photo-op. So what did he say? While standing for the picture with these women he quipped: “This isn’t my idea of a threesome.”

Hardy har har.

READ MORE: Liberal MP accuses Conservative James Bezan of ‘humiliating’ sexual comments

It was nothing more than making light of a partisan moment. Had he said that to me, I’d have shot back with something far more embarrassing to him. But hey, I’m not easily offended.

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In this case, the Liberal MP, Sherry Romanado says she was subjected to “inappropriate humiliating and unwanted comments.” And she made this declaration in the House of Commons for the whole world to see and for fellow politicians, all perfect themselves, to grumble and wave a finger.

Pardon my confusion, but if the offence was so devastating, why did it take this woman seven months to announce it? Bezan tried to apologize for the remark the following day. He was ignored. A week later he was told a complaint had been filed by the MP. Bezan asked for mediation. That too was denied. He tried to offer a written apology. Still not good enough. In August, following a review, it was ruled the comment didn’t constitute sexual harassment and discipline was not necessary, and yet MP Bezan then voluntarily went to sensitivity training.

READ MORE: How Canada’s Parliament deals with sexual harassment claims

What the heck is that? You sit and talk to dolls about how awful you are?

It is clear to those who are sane that this MP may have stepped in a very small pile of doo-doo but clearly realized his mistake. Then he went above and beyond to apologize. And yet here he was AGAIN apologizing, this time fully shamed in front of all his colleagues, cameras rolling, in the House of Commons. Talk about overkill, or maybe just political opportunism.

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I can’t imagine what the Liberals might be trying to distract from these days.

I don’t know this Liberal MP. But three pro-active apologies and sensitivity training should have put this non-issue to bed.

Can I even say that? Or is that also too suggestive for delicate ears?


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Had Bezan pinched a cheek, harassed the MP, made light of the issue then I’d say he deserves what he gets. But he didn’t.

We are at a turning point in how women are treated in the workplace. And that’s a good thing. But ladies let’s not pretend we are perfect. Not every playful or stupid thing a man says to us is sexual harassment. And, often, we say just as suggestive stuff.

If this accusation is overused it will end up further hurting those who truly are victims because no one will take it seriously.

Ladies, pick your battles. Remember what happened to the little boy who cried wolf? After a while, no one bothered to listen.

Alex Pierson is the host of ON Point with Alex Pierson on Global News Radio 640 Toronto, 900 CHML and 980 CFPL.

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