The MLA for Steinbach is applauding a move by his government to update the rules on conduct and harassment for all provincial personnel. Health Minister Kelvin Goertzen says the 'Me Too' campaign has turned the spotlight on these issues and he wholeheartedly supports a review of government rules of conduct.
"We are taking another look within the Legislature. That will be lead by Speaker Myrna Driedger. I know that when I was the House Leader, both in government and in opposition, we did put policies in place when it came to harassment. But those largely focused on the individual MLAs and how they interacted with each other. I think there was a recognition at that time it needed to be looked at and broadened in terms of how the staff is involved as well. I believe that led by Myrna Driedger, that will be happening and it's appropriate that that happens."
Goertzen says he has been involved in politics for many years both as a politician and a legislative assistant and it is important that people in all of those roles are treated with respect and equality and in a way that makes people feel safe and appreciated for what they do. He notes not all people are raised the same way on these matters but that's not an excuse to behave inappropriately.
"We all grow up in different environments but, at the end the day, we're all still responsible for how we conduct ourselves. And there are a lot of basic tenets that are not that hard to live by. Certainly, one of those that we believe within our own office and in my own constituency office is, let's treat people the way we would like to be treated. Let's treat people respectfully and let's treat people in a way that they feel that they are being fulfilled within their occupation."
Goertzen notes there will always be disagreements in politics which is where some people get off track and harass those who have different views than them.
"There are going to be disagreements but that doesn't mean that the respect that we have for each other as individuals, whether that's within a political party or across political lines, should be lost. It's a lesson for everyone, whether they are in politics or not, that we need to treat each other the way that we would like to be treated and to treat each other respectfully and fairly and equally, regardless of our political party and regardless of our gender and regardless of our views."