ZERO tol­er­ance

Al­berta’s United Con­ser­va­tive Party won’t tol­er­ate sex­ual mis­con­duct, says leader Ja­son Ken­ney

Lethbridge Herald - - FRONT PAGE - Co­lette Der­woriz THE CANA­DIAN PRESS — ED­MON­TON

The leader of the United Con­ser­va­tives in Al­berta says the party will rig­or­ously vet prospec­tive can­di­dates for con­duct re­lated to sex­ual harassment or ag­gres­sion. Ja­son Ken­ney, a for­mer fed­eral Con­ser­va­tive MP, was sworn in on Mon­day as a mem­ber of the leg­isla­tive as­sem­bly after win­ning a Cal­gary by­elec­tion in De­cem­ber.

The United Con­ser­va­tive Party cau­cus has been meet­ing in Ed­mon­ton and dis­cussed sev­eral is­sues, in­clud­ing re­cent al­le­ga­tions of sex­ual harassment against politi­cians.

“I spoke to our cau­cus about this yes­ter­day, given the cur­rent con­text, and re-em­pha­sized that our party and cau­cus has a zero-tol­er­ance ap­proach to­ward sex­ual mis­con­duct,” Ken­ney said Tues­day dur­ing a news con­fer­ence.

He was re­spond­ing to ques­tions about the #MeToo move­ment, which has brought down movie pro­duc­ers, ac­tors, jour­nal­ists and politi­cians as women go pub­lic with long­sup­pressed com­plaints about sex­ual mis­con­duct.

Ken­ney said he’s pleased to see that the Al­berta leg­is­la­ture al­ready has pro­to­cols in place to deal with sex­ual harassment.

“I do hope that this im­por­tant move­ment, both in pol­i­tics and other walks of life, that women and oth­ers who have been sub­ject to any form of sex­ual ag­gres­sion or harassment feel em­pow­ered to come for­ward to share their sto­ries,” he said.

Ken­ney said the pre-screen­ing of po­ten­tial can­di­dates will in­clude con­duct re­lated to harassment or sex­ual ag­gres­sion.

“If we iden­tify that kind of mis­con­duct on the part of an ap­pli­cant for a nom­i­na­tion, we will red light them,” he said. “They would not be per­mit­ted to pro­ceed.”

Ken­ney said his party will also at­tempt to at­tract more women can­di­dates, but noted that he doesn’t be­lieve in quo­tas.

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