Hey there, time traveller!
This article was published 4/10/2016 (1201 days ago), so information in it may no longer be current.
The Pallister government is tossing out the NDP's proposed post-secondary sexual-violence policy bill and starting fresh.
Education Minister Ian Wishart is expected to introduce a new bill as early as next week to address sexual violence and harassment on campus.
"Students in Manitoba must feel safe on and off campus in order to have a positive learning experience," Wishart said in a prepared statement.
"Over the summer, I worked closely with my colleague, Hon. Rochelle Squires, Minister of Sport, Culture and Heritage, to listen to the views of students, faculty and administration, and women's organizations.
"Manitoba's new government will bring forward stronger legislation to protect students, women and other vulnerable groups."
The bill is seen as a replacement to the former Selinger government's bill, The Post-Secondary Sexual Violence and Sexual Harassment Policies Act. The bill would have required every college and university to develop policies and procedures on sexual violence and sexual harassment on campus.
The schools would also have been required to make incidents public. The bill died after its first reading following the Tories' victory in April's provincial election. It was re-introduced by NDP education critic Wab Kinew last session as a private member's bill, but it's rare for one to make it into law.
Kinew called it concerning that the Pallister government would decide to "play politics" with the issue by introducing a new bill when they could just support his.
"It is (about the) safety of women and young people on campus and the bill we brought forward, I think, was designed in consultation with... colleges and universities and, most importantly, students," Kinew said. "For them to do a last-minute switch, so they can take the credit..."
The details of what will be in the new bill were not revealed, but Michael Barkman, chairman of Canadian Federation of Students, said he met with Wishart and Squires over the summer to discuss the issue and other student-related matters.
Last month, the student lobby group sent out a press release urging the Pallister government to pass Kinew's bill.
Barkman said the federation will support any bill that highlights a stand-alone sexual assault policy for post-secondary schools. He mentioned an incident last spring at Brandon University as an example where a clear policy would benefit students and school administration. The school came under fire after a first-year student was forced to sign a document — which has been described as a gag order that effectively punishes a complainant — after reporting she’d been sexually assaulted in a residence on campus.
The document stated the woman could not contact the other person involved or discuss what happened with anyone other than a counsellor, and warned a breach of the contract could result in disciplinary action.
Barkman would like to see greater accountability measures for schools that don't report sexual assaults.
"We want don't want to see policy that is buried in a larger policy document... we want something that is easy, something that anyone in the university or college can reference," Barkman said. "What happened at Brandon University is directly related to this; they had a policy, but it was buried in a larger document and it made it tricky for administration to know how to respond.
"If there is anything that goes above and beyond — say clarifying repercussions for colleges and universities that don't follow through on reporting — we would (also) be supportive of that."
— with files from The Brandon Sun
Updated on Tuesday, October 4, 2016 at 6:42 PM CDT: Updates headline