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Male MPs must work to combat sexual misconduct on Parliament Hill, says Nathan Cullen

Male MPs must work to combat sexual misconduct on Parliament Hill, says Nathan Cullen
From CBC - January 8, 2018

Male MPs must help to usher in a culture change on Parliament Hill and combat sexual misconduct, says veteran NDP MP Nathan Cullen, who is looking to work with colleagues of all stripes to address inappropriate behaviour often viewed as a "public secret."

Cullen said the "ecosystem" of people who interact in and around the corridors of power including support staff, lobbyists and parliamentarianscan create a space where professional and personal environments blur and challenges are created.

"There's long hours often away from home," said the SkeenaBulkley Valley MP.

"There's a clear work environment but there's also the receptions ... and opportunities where people either intentionally do wrong or misunderstand the relationships that exist. That's what I have noticed."

Environment Minister Catherine McKennawho has publicly pushed back over being called 'Climate Barbie' onlinesaid there are examples of harassment on the Hill and other workplaces that must be fought, adding that movements like #MeToo will be effective only with action.

"If we do not take action on this, what example are we setting for the girls and boys?" McKenna said in an interview from San Francisco.

"I have two daughters. I have a son, too. Are we going to make it ... better, safer, more equal for all of them?"

MPsopen up about sexual misconduct on Hill

The Canadian Press conducted a survey last month of female MPs about their experiences with sexual harassment and found more than half of respondents58 per centreported they had personally been the target of one or more forms of sexual misconduct while in office, including inappropriate or unwanted remarks, gestures or text messages of a sexual nature.

Thirty-eight of 89 female MPs took part in the voluntary, anonymous survey.

Three MPs who responded said they had been victims of sexual assault, while four said they experienced sexual harassment, defined in the survey as insistent and repeated sexual advances.

Nearly half of respondents47 per centalso said they were subjected to inappropriate comments on social media.

"It offends me, it troubles me, but does not surprise me," Cullen said.

"I guess that is ... a comment on the environment we have allowed to exist. I do not know how it compares to other work environments but Parliament should be an example of a safe place for people to be."

'They are sick of it'

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