Progressive Conservatives committed to greater protection for women against domestic, sexual violence

Re-elected PC Government would implement ‘Clare’s Law,’ extend eligibility for employment leave to all victims of sexual violence: Squires

A re-elected Progressive Conservative government will provide additional supports for victims of domestic and sexual abuse, Riel PC candidate Rochelle Squires announced today, surrounded by a record number of female PC candidates.

“Our PC team is the only party that is committed to help end cycles of violence by supporting women as they leave abusive relationships,” said Squires. “Unlike the NDP, we are committed to disclosing information to women so that they can make decisions to protect their safety.”

A re-elected PC government would implement ‘Clare’s Law’ in Manitoba, Squires announced.

The United Kingdom enacted Clare’s Law in 2012 to ensure that women could access information about their partner’s past history of domestic violence, empowering women to leave potentially abusive situations. ‘Clare’s Law’ is named after Clare Wood, a UK woman who was murdered by her boyfriend in 2009. Wood’s boyfriend had concealed a past six-year jail term he served for holding a woman at knifepoint for 12 hours.

A re-elected PC government will work with police, women’s shelters and privacy experts to develop a protocol for the disclosure of this information to women. The protocol will allow women, their family members and other professionals to request this information but the disclosure would only be provided to the woman.

“We know that far too many women are killed at the hands of their intimate partners in Manitoba – in fact, four women tragically lost their lives last year,” said Squires. “We have more work to do to protect women from violence, and a re-elected PC government will do that work.”

A re-elected PC government will also extend eligibility under the Employment Standards Code for leave to all victims of sexual violence, regardless of whether or not they were in a domestic relationship with their perpetrator. The Employment Standards Code currently entitles victims of domestic violence to take leave from their employment of up to 10 intermittent days, as well as one continuous period of up to 17 weeks.

These changes complement other important PC government initiatives to better support victims of domestic and sexual violence, Squires added, including recent changes the PC government made to The Residential Tenancies Act to allow victims of sexual and domestic abuse to quickly and safely move away from their abuser.

In addition, the PC government created Manitoba's first Gender-Based Violence Committee of Cabinet to ensure a whole of government approach to addressing this important issue. The government also took a leadership role in addressing inappropriate behavior and sexual harassment in the workplace by strengthening the province’s Respect in the Workplace Policy, which is now the best of its kind in Canada.

The NDP has taken the opposite approach. An internal review of inappropriate behavior and sexual harassment conducted by long-time NDP activists found the following about their own party’s record on women in the workplace over their 17 years in government:

  • “The presence of a workplace culture of fear and loyalty”;
  • “No consequences for certain MLAs for bad behavior”;
  • “An ‘old boys club’ culture still existed, reinforced with the constant presence of alcohol but also, overt sexism and sexist behavior directed towards female staff and female MLAs”; and
  • “These behaviours and the party’s response has created and continues to create an environment where women could not and still cannot participate fully”.

“Wab Kinew’s NDP is a risk women can’t afford,” said Squires. “We believe women’s safety matters, and our PC team will continue to take meaningful action to build a safer, more secure province for all women in Manitoba.”

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