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This article was published 6/6/2018 (1227 days ago), so information in it may no longer be current.
A Liberal MLA hopes her new bill will provide municipal politicians targeted with harassment with some recourse.
Judy Klassen (Kewatinook) is scheduled to introduce a bill called the Municipal Harassment Policy Act at the Manitoba legislature this week.
In an interview Monday, she wouldn’t reveal many details of the bill before it was presented, other than her belief a municipal ethics commissioner could help field and investigate behavioural complaints.
Thanks to an extended "emergency session" of the spring sitting — which Premier Brian Pallister asked for Monday to "consider financial matters and other important undertakings which serve in the best interest of Manitobans"— Klassen should be able to introduce her handiwork this week, as opposed to in the fall.
"It was so unfair what happened with so many municipalities, where women were getting targeted and bullied and harassed, having no recourse. It just seems so strange to me," she said.
In early April, the Free Press reported on a slew of bullying and harassment issues happening across the province, with female councillors as the primary targets. The problems spanned from verbal abuse and uttered threats, to councillors being left in the dark in workplace communications, being barred from going to the bathroom and finding dead animals in their yards.
Klassen isn’t convinced her bill will get much support from the Tory government nor the Opposition NDP, but she hopes it will spur change.
"It’s so heartbreaking when it gets denied by the PCs. But I always look to the bright side and, hopefully, they will introduce something (similar) shortly afterwards," she said.
The Progressive Conservative government said in late April it was reviewing the Municipal Act and other relevant legislation to strengthen municipalities’ abilities to enforce punishments on those who breach codes of conduct.
Provincial officials will be meeting with municipalities to discuss their suggestions for improvements at meetings across Manitoba in June and September.