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Opinion

Willful blindness, like Trudeau’s, steals progress on sexual misconduct

By Kathleen Finlay      

Sometimes those at the top simply don’t want to know—or don’t want others to know just how far-reaching and destructive this epidemic has become.

Far from deserving credit because he didn’t know, Prime Minister Justin Trudeau should be faulted for why he didn’t have the slightest interest in ensuring that the allegations against Gen. Jonathan Vance did not involve sexual misconduct. The fact that he thought a one-word answer would suffice when called out on the subject speaks volumes, writes Kathleen Finlay. The Hill Times photograph by Sam Garcia

When Prime Minister Justin Trudeau was asked on March 30 if he had any knowledge in 2018 about allegations of sexual misconduct involving then General Jonathan Vance, he gave a sharply self-satisfied “No” to Global National’s Mercedes Stephenson. That “No” was punctuated by a loud echo. No concern was expressed about sexual misconduct in the military. No reassurance was offered to victims. Just “No.” It was more than a brusque reply to a reporter’s question. It was a huge sign of disrespect to countless women who wonder if they are ever going to be protected from the plague of gender-based violence and sexual harassment that has infected Canada’s military, law enforcement and federal public service.

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