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Inexcusable

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With new revelations of sexual misconduct and other forms of harassment being levelled almost daily against politicians of all stripes and levels, Canadians must be wondering just who we have entrusted to run our country (or respective province), not to mention spend our money wisely.

One gets the distinct impression the House of Commons and Queen's Park, as well as the halls of power in other provinces, are mired in a “frat house” mentality—fraught with crass behaviour and fuelled by alcohol.

So much so, apparently, that it even prompted Crown-Indigenous Relations minister Carolyn Bennett earlier this week to remind MPs on the “cocktail circuit” to be cautious about their booze consumption in order to avoid any inappropriate comments, gestures, or actions.

The so-called “casting couch” long has been a Hollywood myth since, well, the silent movie era. But clearly that same mindset also is rampant among many of our politicians, who somehow believe it's okay to abuse their position of authority in order to take advantage of vulnerable staffers or anyone else.

Who do these people think they are? More importantly, why has this behaviour been allowed to persist for so long? If staffers are whispering amongst themselves about who not to get in an elevator alone with, or not to be left in a room alone with, that's an obvious indication all this was common knowledge that no one was willing to step forward to stop.

Until now, thankfully.

MPs currently are debating Bill C-65, which, among other things, will extend workplace harassment protections for the first time to political staffers on Parliament Hill. That's one step. There's also talk of developing a Code of Conduct that MPs would have to sign and adhere to.

It's sad to think we need a formal Code of Conduct for MPs to follow. One would hope they, if anybody, given the immense responsibility of their role, would know sexual misconduct and harassment is inexcusable behaviour.

Evidently not.

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