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Because she’s a woman

May 20th, 2016 | Posted by Amy Boughner in Issues | Ottawa

So a thing happened in Ottawa this week. It was handled badly.

The facts are this – Our Prime Minister strode across the floor of the House of Commons, grabbed the Opposition Whip by the arm while said Whip told him to let go, told the third party leader to “get the fuck out of the way” according to reports, and in doing so accidentally elbowed a female MP in the breast. Which, by the way, is something that can really hurt. I won’t compare it to getting a shot to the testicles because I have no frame of reference for that, just like cisgendered men have no frame of reference for getting shoved into a test and elbowed in the breast.

So this happened. The Prime Minister had not reason at all for his actions beyond the fact that his temper ran away with him. No reason. If the Opposition Whip was having an issue it would be the job of the Speaker or even the Opposition House Leader to deal with that. There was no delay to the vote – as both the current and a former Speaker have said – the Chief Government Whip had taken his seat and the vote could be called.

Instead the PM took it upon himself to lay hands on another member of the House.

He has since apologized twice. Once for the accidental elbowing of a fellow MP and once for not holding himself to a “higher standard.” These apologies have, I think, been accepted.

And yet.

The Prime Minister is being defending online, the Opposition Whip is being congratulated for how he handled the situation and the woman who was standing in what happened to be, completely by chance, the wrong place at the wrong time, is facing abuse.

Apparently it is her fault. She has been told she should resign, that she’s a disgrace, that she wasn’t in fact hurt at all. That she is “playing the victim.”

This is fascinating, because as far as I know Ruth Ellen didn’t say anything about the issue at all until she had to stand in the House to explain missing the vote. In fact, she still has only said that she was hit and it did hurt.

I’d like people to take a step back and ask themselves how a stupid decision by the PM became the fault of a woman who just happened to be there.

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