Sexual misconduct: women deputies federal respond to a questionnaire

Photo: Lars Hagberg Agence France-Presse
Some of the misconduct allegedly perpetrated by colleagues on Parliament hill, or by the citizens met in the district.

The sexual misconduct have frequently made headlines in recent months. The canadian Press wanted to know if this type of behavior is present on Parliament hill. Of women, federal — from all parties — have agreed to disclose some of their experiences in the wake of the movement of denunciation #Moiaussi.


A questionnaire was sent to the 89 women elected representatives who currently sit in the House of commons to find out if they had already lived through misconduct or sexual harassment prior to or after their entry into politics. Thirty-eight agreed to respond. Their responses were collected anonymously, but some have chosen to identify with.


“It is the right time to show leadership and take advantage of our reputation on Parliament hill to affirm that sexual harassment can occur in any workplace and not only in Hollywood,” explained the mp néodémocrate Sheila Malcolmson, referring to the scandal surrounding the american producer Harvey Weinstein.


“When we are in a political environment, it is in an environment of power that is very hierarchical. Therefore, it is clear to me that it is a medium where you can’t move to the side, ” said, for his part, the minister of national Revenue, Diane called to order.


Of the 38 respondents, more than half reported having already experienced a form of sexual misconduct, whether by notes, text messages and comments on social networks that are inappropriate or even gestures. Four women reported having ever experienced sexual harassment in the course of their duties, and three say they have suffered a sexual assault.


Fifteen said they have never experienced any form of sexual misconduct since they were elected. Only one person preferred not to answer this question.


Some of the misconduct allegedly perpetrated by colleagues on Parliament hill, or by the citizens met in the district.


Of the 22 women elected representatives who have experienced a form of sexual misconduct, five indicated that it came from a member of parliament or a minister of their own party, and ten have wrote that it was rather a member of parliament or a minister of another party who was responsible.


Eight reported that the misconduct originated from a lobbyist, a citizen or another person related to their role as mp, and 18 have rather indicated that it was either a person outside the policy community, a person they did not know or an anonymous person. Respondents could choose more than one answer to this question.


An mp who requested anonymity told in interview that she had never been the subject of gestures on Parliament hill, but as it was, however, repeatedly heard male co-workers make sexual comments about other elected and employed. That every time made her feel uncomfortable.


“You address me, talk to me about it and I’m not interested in, she said. I don’t want to hear it. “


She has already tried to make them understand that it was inappropriate, but without success. She then thought to file a complaint in the House of commons, but it was finally not done.


She has not confronted his colleagues for fear of damaging the work atmosphere. For her, it is a way to “buy peace” even if the discomfort is still present.


But this mp, like most of those who responded to the questionnaire, does not believe that sexual misconduct is more prevalent in the world of politics than in the rest of the company.


Nearly two-thirds were of the view that there was neither more nor less than in any other setting.


“I sincerely believe that this is no different than anywhere else,” said the liberal mp Alexandra Mendes.


“It seems to be part of a certain mindset that is male, this way to diminish the skills of the women, and always too “, she continued.


Another member of parliament has told, that a citizen has put the hand on one buttock during a photo-taking during the last election campaign. She had to get him to wear one of his signs that he puts on his land.


“I remember the discomfort of pushing the hand after, but not to come back (on the subject) because we are in election campaign “, she said.


“That is what we do with it ? I tell him he is disgusting and that I have to have ? But no, I let it pass. “


If they don’t have all experienced this kind of incidents, respondents were likely to be aware of a woman in the workplace who has already suffered a form of sexual misconduct, whether of a political staff member, a page, a trainee, an employee of the House of commons, a civil servant or an elected official.


Twenty-five reported having witnessed or been informed, but rarely. Four reported having witnessed or been informed often. Six women have reported to have witnessed or been informed that a man from their community had experienced sexual misconduct.


Minister Diane Lebouthillier is part of this category. She told in an interview that she had inspired two young people used to file a complaint after he found their unease in the face of a person in a position of authority.


The House of commons has not wanted to confirm if a complaint had indeed been filed for reasons of confidentiality.


Ms. Lebouthillier did not want to give more details on the nature of the complaint. However, she specified that she had pointed to these employed to inscribe his name on the document.


“I have clearly said if you had not been there, if you do we had not encouraged, we would not have made the complaint because they don’t want you to embarrass you “, she narrated.


“I said no, he should never think like that. The best friend of violence, is silence. So, if someone says to you, “you will embarrass myself” that person is not there to help you. “


The canadian Press


– 38 of 89 deputies of the House of commons responded to the questionnaire from The canadian Press

– 22 were found to have experienced a form of sexual misconduct in the performance of their functions

– 4 deputies said that they had experienced sexual harassment in their workplace

– 3 were said to have suffered a sexual assault

– 24 responded that there was not more of sexual misconduct that in any other setting

– 15 women have claimed to have never experienced, since they are elected