Be­hav­iour that can’t be tol­er­ated

The Citizen-Record (Cumberland) - - OPINIONS -

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.


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