Behaviour that can’t be tolerated
he point has been made many times. Following instances of abuse, we need to ensure the victim is not revictimized in the effort to establish justice. That said, the process of finding justice can require a bit of a balancing act.
As if Canadians needed to hear yet another negative mark from our political realm, we learned the news this week of allegations of inappropriate behaviour by two male Liberal MPs toward female counterparts from another party.
With that breaking news we’re also hearing commentary suggesting instances of sexual impropriety aren’t uncommon on Parliament Hill. If that’s the case, finally, let’s see that it receives due attention and that such behaviour is stopped and met with zero tolerance in the future.
But as it unfolds, other elements complicate the matter. NDP Leader Tom Mulcair has slammed Liberal Leader Justin Trudeau for, as he says, publicizing the matter by suspending his two MPs and stating the reason. Mulcair says that aids in revictimizing the complainants, who we learn belong to the NDP and who didn’t necessarily want their complaints to be public knowledge.
But, be it known, the Liberal leader did not identify the complainants or their party, nor did he say the nature of the misconduct. He also explained that in suspending members of his caucus he felt he must provide a reason.
Sensitive circumstances indeed, but it’s relative at the same time. The delivery of justice is a public process. As an analogy, the name of a complainant in a sexual assault case is banned from publication, and rightly so. But there’s no anonymity. If someone wants to go to the courthouse for the trial, the identities are not a secret.
We certainly want to avoid revictimizing. At the same time, don’t unduly politicize this unhappy set of circumstances. That helps no one, including the alleged victims. It’s vital to hold people to account, acknowledge this kind of behaviour is happening, and see that it’s stamped out.