It has been a highly colourful week in Canadian federal politics, with divisive issues being contested that show no signs of slowing down. In particular, a great deal of media attention has gone towards alarming allegations of sexual harassment in Parliament, as two NDP MPs have come forward about sexual harassment from two Liberal MPs, Scott Andrew and Massimo Pacetti. While these unfortunate circumstances have prompted a much needed conversation on sexual harassment policies in Parliament, the handling of the issue has caused relations between the two parties involved to sour further. Indeed, it seems stranger than ever to recall that many prominent politicians and members of the media were proponents of a merger between the Liberals and NDP as recently as two years ago.
Upon Justin Trudeau’s discovery of these allegations, they were investigated by Liberal whip Judy Foote- and following a meeting with NDP caucus members, Trudeau took action quickly. He suspended the two Liberal MPs from caucus, and announced the reason for this to the public. The fallout has been quick, as Trudeau’s decision to publicize the allegations has been met with controversy. While many in the public and media praised him for his transparency, Thomas Mulcair and some of the NDP caucus have condemned this decision- as one of the alleged victims requested anonymity, and did not want to see the issue raised publicly
Conversely, the Liberals assert that Trudeau went out of his way to keep the members in question anonymous, and that immediate action needed to be taken. Mulcair went as far as to say that making the issue public has caused the NDP members to once again be victimized, a notion that has reportedly made Trudeau livid. This will only serve to worsen the already fractured relationship between the two leaders, and by extension their parties at large. Despite the need for cooperation in addressing the concerns of sexual harassment in Parliament, the incident is causing further divisions. An issue of this gravity should not be politicized- and although opinions differ on which party was guilty of committing this error, it is highly disappointing to see nonetheless.
Although this story has garnered the most significant media attention in Canada, another issue of great importance was presented to Canadians recently through the Harper government’s income splitting proposal. I wrote an article decrying the policy for its inegalitarian and inefficient nature- check it out if you want to find out more on an economic issue that will continue to be prominent as we head closer to the election. Conversely, Gabriela Rolls has covered an important social issue in Canadian politics that receives very minimal attention. Check out her piece as she details the glaring gaps in Canada’s and particularly Quebec’s, animal rights and protection legislation.
On our neighbours to the south, fellow EIC Michael Swistara analyzes the results of the midterm referendums on marijuana, recognizing the growing trend of legalization happening in progressive states. Check out his excellent piece here, as this contentious topic continues to ignite debate. Elsewhere, Adrian Carlesimo examines the worrying newfound correlation between Chilean anarchist activities, and violence that could be considered terrorism. And lastly, Hakim Saleck discusses the political turmoil going on in Burkina Faso, and the potential implications from their recent upheaval.
That’s it for now- thanks for reading, and stay tuned this week for our next slate of articles. For quick news and analysis, be sure to follow our Twitter account (@ThePoliBouillon).