Canadian politics has had a troubling start to 2018.
The leaders of two provincial parties have resigned amid allegations of sexual harassment; the leader of a federal party has been accused of workplace bullying; a federal cabinet minister has resigned after accusations of sexual harassment; and a former MP has been publicly accused of inappropriate conduct and abuse by former staff.
The Minister of Employment, Workforce Development and Labour, Minister Patricia A. Hajdu, has gone so far as to characterize Parliament Hill as a “workplace in crisis.”
While the situations mentioned above are being investigated, as they should be, MPs are continuing their work on behalf of Canadians. I want to assure constituents of my riding that members of the Conservative Opposition are continuing to hold the government to account.
Meanwhile our nation’s debt continues to grow, international trade agreements are in jeopardy, and pipeline construction is at a virtual standstill—all of which are a consequence of this government’s paralysis.
There is no place for sexual harassment and bullying, whether on Parliament Hill, in the private sector, or in private. But giving the impression that the government is in a state of crisis over these allegations is misleading for Canadians.
My concern is that if politicians become so focused on these allegations, it will limit their ability to be managers of the business of the Government of Canada. In effect, we lose the political direction of this country as chosen by the Canadian people, and we are left with a government run by the public service.
My second concern is around encouraging good people to seek elected office. A federal election may be as close as a year away, and all parties are presently engaged in the process of nominating candidates. What reason is there to seek public office if one believes he or she will be entering a “workplace in crisis”?
Parliament is not without fault, but the vast many of my colleagues in the House of Commons, from all parties, maintain the highest standards of professionalism.
Changing the culture on Parliament Hill is the shared responsibility of every MP and I commit to doing my part.