MLA disheartened after resolution honoring female politicians turns into ‘painful’ statement

A Manitoba MLA said some of his colleagues undermined what should have been a respectful discussion about the achievements of women politicians.

While debating a Progressive Conservative resolution recognizing women’s historic role in Manitoba politics, MLA Liberal Cindy Lamoureux said Tuesday she heard “hurtful and disrespectful comments” that she found deeply disturbing on International Women’s Day.

During the debate, Lamoureux said, a male politician asked aloud who wrote the speech read by a female legislator.

She recalled three individuals who said there were no feminists in other parties, which Lamoureux condemned, saying if politicians took this “blame attitude, they were actually blocking any systemic change.”

An MLA man referred to other members as “bad girls,” Lamoureux added, before retracting the statement, while some members mocked International Women’s Day by singing. Stand With Your Man.

“I am blown away at the level of disrespect in this room, and I am ashamed that the Manitobans deserve better,” Lamoureux, who represents Tyndall Park, said in response to members’ statements. Several MLAs at the Tory caucuses gave him a standing ovation.

Observers also blame: Lamoureux

Lamoureux told the legislative assembly that she dropped her earlier statement on International Women’s Day to draw attention to the issue of modesty. The resolution was debated in the morning, before a question and answer session in the afternoon.

He declined to name or blame any political party, saying all MLAs were to blame because “we all just stood by as observers when it happened.”

But Health Secretary Audrey Gordon, with the Progressive Conservatives ruling, pointed the finger at the NDP.

“What message are they sending to these other girls and women who want to sit in the Manitoba Legislature, that they’re going to be shouted at and told they’re evil and we don’t deserve to be here? That’s unacceptable.”

Manitoba Health Minister Audrey Gordon said bad behavior in the legislature could discourage other women and girls from running for elected office. (Thomas Asselin/Radio-Canada)

He is the individual who speaks up when a male MLA questions whether he is writing his speech to acknowledge the achievements of female politicians, Gordon said.

She pointed out that her speech was non-partisan, recognizing former Liberal leader Sharon Carstairs, the first woman in Canada to lead a political party, and current NDP MLA Amanda Lathlin, the first First Nations woman to become an MLA in Manitoba.

Responding to the accusations against her party, NDP MLA Malaya Marcelino said she had only heard one of the comments and said that the “bad girl” statement was retracted by her colleague after being uttered.

“I’m here to focus on the things we as legislators can do to improve things for women on International Women’s Day, and I’m sure all the legislators gathered here today want the same thing.”

Close the pay gap, says NDP

To that end, Marcelino introduced a private member bill Tuesday to ask the government to help close the pay gap by requiring private employers with more than 100 employees to file a salary audit report, outlining disclosed gender and racial identity and pay levels. for each position.

The law would also require companies bidding on government contracts to ensure they achieve equal pay. The bill, however, cannot be passed without the support of the governing Progressive Conservatives.

Starting last year, federally regulated employers were required by law to provide everyone with equal pay for the same type of work.

After Tuesday’s period of questioning, Lamoureux said he hoped his members’ statements would help improve civility at home, which he said was deteriorating in his opinion.

The day before, House Speaker Myrna Driedger told the house that “overall noise levels” had become too high now that all MLAs were in the rooms again as pandemic restrictions had eased.

“It can also provide negative or unattractive views from the assembly to those watching our proceedings, especially at this time of world unrest,” Driedger said, according to the legislative transcript.

In 2019, a tearful Lamoureux condemned the “cheap shots” of the NDP member implying his achievements in politics because of his father’s political pedigree.

Jackson Wintringham

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