Hon. Jane Cordy:
Honourable senators, I want to thank Senator Hartling for the tremendous job that she did at the Human Rights Committee in guiding this bill through the committee, and Senator Pate, who brought forward some excellent amendments, some of which were accepted by the minister. I want to thank Minister Hajdu, because this legislation and the efforts to make things better on Parliament Hill are long overdue. I want to thank Minister Hajdu for bringing it forward.
There is definitely a culture change, but it’s really important that it’s in legislation. The culture can change, but when employees on Parliament Hill actually see legislation and what their rights are, it is extremely important. We heard heart-wrenching evidence from employees on Parliament Hill about situations that happened to them, and we certainly don’t want that to happen again. Senator Hartling commented about her P’s and R’s, about prevention, and that is the first thing we want so we don’t even have to look at the bill. But we want these things not to happen at all on Parliament Hill, or anywhere in Canada for that matter. If in fact they do, we can respond effectively. Someone made the comment earlier that sometimes these things were pushed under the carpet and not spoken about because we don’t want things to look bad. With this bill, people have a process that they can work through if something happens to them, that it’s not being done behind closed doors and it’s not having to meet in camera, in fact, they have a way to resolve the situation.
I believe this bill is a very positive step for all of us here on Parliament Hill and for people in Canada, and that this bill will make things better.