Psychological harassment in parliament: a member referred to a complaint

Harcèlement psychologique au parlement: un député visé par une plainte

Harcèlement psychologique au parlement: un député visé par une plainte

The last year has given rise to a new series of reports and complaints about what goes on sometimes behind the closed doors of the offices of parliament.

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June 21, 2020 16h49

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Psychological harassment in parliament: a member referred to a complaint

Jocelyne Richer

The Canadian Press

Despite the rhetoric from it and its aura of respectability, the national Assembly of Quebec is not a workplace safe from harassment, both psychological and sexual.

The last year has given rise to a new series of reports and complaints about what goes on sometimes behind the closed doors of the offices of parliament. A total of 11 formal complaints of psychological harassment had to be considered. A case of sexual harassment has also been reported.

The representatives of the people do not always give the example : an elected member of the national Assembly, member of parliament or a minister, has been the subject of a formal complaint of psychological harassment, within the framework of its functions, in the last few months.

The elected official in question is he a man? A woman? Simple backbencher or minister in sight? A member of the government team or the opposition? It is Impossible to know. And what made him reproach-t-on? We don’t know more. And the victim alleged, what was his employment relationship with the alleged harasser? No answer.

The annual report 2020 harassment in the workplace produced by the national Assembly and made public recently is content to provide the bare minimum of information on the facts reported, under the pretext of ensuring the absolute privacy of the people involved.

This report, which was based on the policy of prevention of harassment in the national Assembly, is a total opacity. A firm has recently received the mandate to review the foundations of this policy, adopted in 2015, and to formulate recommendations to the Assembly, by December.

In the meantime, we are told to take, “any other information about the nature of the complaints, the complainants or the accused persons are the personal information of a confidential nature and that the Assembly can therefore respond”, commented the spokesperson of the national Assembly, Julie Champagne, in response to a request for clarification by The canadian Press this week.

This year, the national assembly has also had to deal with a report of sexual harassment, folder, who, however, has not given rise to the filing of a complaint in good and due form. As it should, the report says nothing of the nature of the alleged offences and does not provide any information on the person subject to the allegation.

Reports and complaints may come from an employee of the cabinet (of the minister or of a deputy or of a member of the staff of the national Assembly.

If there is a complaint, the review process is undertaken by an external consultant, who should assess whether it is admissible. If needed, an investigation will be instituted.

In total, during the year, 10 people related to the national Assembly were said to have been the object of a form or another of harassment, possibly by an elected official. Of this number, most of the time (7 of 10 cases) it was to denounce the fact of having suffered psychological harassment. We identified only one case of denunciation of sexual harassment. The other two were about other types of behaviors.

In total, thereafter, 11 formal complaints were filed, all relating to psychological harassment. Two of these cases are still under investigation.

Training: the mps-compliant

During this time, several elected representatives are to draw the ear, constantly with the latest training provided, but mandatory, to prevent any form of harassment in the parliament.

As employers, members must attend training on the prevention of harassment in the workplace, both psychological and sexual. This training lasts only two hours.

However, it has been 20 months since the election in October 2018, and nearly 14 % of members (17 out of 125) were not always followed, most of them belonging to the parliamentary group formed by the Coalition avenir Québec (CAQ). In November, the government was still committed to ensuring that all members caquistes have received the training later in February.

A new training session, which includes a theoretical component and simulations, is scheduled for fall to accommodate the latecomers.

During the year, two ministers have dominated the news because of difficult relations with their employees.

On the side of the minister delegated to the regional economic Development, Marie-Eve Proulx, Quebecor reported that 14 employees of his cabinet had resigned in a year, denouncing a work environment toxic.

The minister of public Safety, Genevieve Guilbault, had to make a public apology after it announced that it had fired some of his employees for incompetence. Injured, the people in question had responded by demanding an apology.

In addition, Quebecor has reported this year that the former member of parliament and ex-president of the national Assembly Jacques Chagnon has been targeted by allegations of sexual touching, that would have occurred in 2011 in the parliament. As there has been no complaint filed by member of parliament of belgium, the origin of the story, the national Assembly has not opened an investigation. Mr. Chagnon has categorically denied the allegations.

Le Soleil

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