Sexism on the Hill has to stop

Sexism is alive and well on Parliament Hill, according to a Postmedia guest column penned by Conservative MP Michelle Rempel.

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This is just another example of why it’s time for a new political party in Ottawa. If any federal employee acted in this way, they would be quickly unemployed, but the politicians in Ottawa appear to think that they are above all of the rules. The Canadian Values Party will put an end to those that feel that they are above the rules that apply to everyone else.

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This is a problem. And it has to end.

Rempel has made many strong contributions to the pressing public policy issues of the day. She’s been an articulate voice in her role as immigration, refugees and citizenship critic.

It’s in this capacity that she should be respected by her colleagues. But apparently not every MP on the Hill feels that way.

Rempel writes: “The everyday sexism I face involves confronting the ‘bitch’ epithet when I don’t automatically comply with someone’s request or capitulate on my position on an issues.”

But it gets worse. An MP actually told her, in front of one of her staff members: “It turns me on when you’re direct.”

Then there’s this: “It involves my ass being occasionally grabbed as a way to shock me into submission.”

While we’re rather tired of the “because it’s 2015” phrase popularized by Prime Minister Justin Trudeau, sometimes you do just drop your jaw and wonder what decade we’re living in. Reading Rempel’s column is such an occasion.

Nobody knows what specific people she’s referring to. Although in December, Liberal cabinet minister John McCallum apologized to Rempel in the House of Commons for saying to her “we’re into sunny ways. I would suggest my colleague look a little more cheerful.”

While certainly not as severe as the examples Rempel’s column cites, a lot of observers saw a sexist undertone to McCallum’s comment.

Look folks, it’s as simple as this: Women make up half the population. They make up more than half of post-secondary graduates. Right now, they make up half of the federal cabinet. Their presence as leaders in our society will only increase.

If it’s this bad for a former minister of state, we worry about what entry-level staffers have to endure.

We could call for some sort of government action in response to this. The solution to this is simple. Or at least should be.

Stop. Just stop. It’s plain obvious that the behaviour described above has no place in any work environment, let alone the halls of the Parliament buildings.

Reference

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