This is the first post of a seven part series featuring the great work accomplished by the PC Caucus during the most recent legislative sitting in the Fall of 2018. Over the two weeks, we will be highlighting the actions of PC MLAs in seeking accountability and answers, showing strong leadership, and advocating on important issues bringing about positive action and real changes on behalf of Islanders. Today, we are focusing on a piece of PC legislation which passed this Fall: Bill 110 – Mandatory Sexual Assault Law Education Act, sponsored by our Justice critic and MLA for Borden-Kinkora Jamie Fox.
Bill 110, introduced by Bordon-Kinkora MLA Jamie Fox, mandates training in sexual assault law for incoming judges and retired judges seeking part-time appointment, came to the floor of the Legislature for second reading on November 29th, 2018.
Congratulations @JamieDFox & @RonaAmbrose for tabling & passing Bill 110, "Mandatory Sexual Assault Law Education Act". Another proud moment for the @PC_Caucus_PEI in doing what is right for the most vulnerable & exploited. #PEI #Support4All pic.twitter.com/xgzPyXzXZx
— James Aylward (@jsjaylward) November 29, 2018
Bill 110 recognizes the necessity of educating members of the judicial system on principles of consent, how to conduct a sexual assault hearing, and discriminatory myths surrounding sexual violence complainants. It acknowledges that sexual assault victims are too often being re-victimized in judicial proceedings through improper questioning and ignorance to the psychological variants involved in sexual violence trials.
“It’s very traumatic for them and for them to have to relive it not only in front of a police officer but in front of a crown attorney … then in front of the court system alone. We must ensure that the sensitivity of these types of complaints are fully understood”, Fox explains in an interview with CBC.
The Hon. Rona Ambrose, former Interim Leader of the Conservative Party of Canada, travelled to the Island to express support her support for the bill. Ambrose spearheaded the sister federal bill, Bill C-337, in July 2017 which has been stalled in Senate.
Today, #PEI could make history and become the 1st province to mandate that lawyers who want to be appointed as judges are trained in sexual assault law! I’m here at @peileg today with @JamieDFox to give my support to his PMB #Bill110 @WadeMacLauchlan @JordanBrownPEI
— Rona Ambrose (@RonaAmbrose) November 29, 2018
“Let me tell you there was a groundswell of support for this, we want to see more transparency in the judiciary, we want to know that judges have this kind of training. We want to know that when men and women come into the courtroom that there will be a fair trial.”
Bill 110 has been met with excitement both across the Island and Canada-wide. Advocates against sexual violence have raised their voices on social media applauding the Opposition for bringing this bill to the floor. Bill 110 passed second reading on November 29th, and third reading on December 5, 2018.
PEI Singer-Songwriter Kinley Dowling became an advocate for sexual assault survivors after the release of her song Microphone, sharing her own experience with sexual violence. Since then, she has raised her voice through music, performing at the PEI vigil commemorating the women murdered at Montreal’s Ecole Polytechnique on December 6th, 1989. She also staged a protest outside the Hedley concert in Summerside last year, after numerous allegations of sexual misconduct against the band came to light.
Dowling was present in the legislature for the passing of the bill, calling the experience “so special”.
“Shoutout to Jamie Fox for all his hard work to make this amazing change so much closer to happening!”
Many others took to Twitter to express their congratulations and excitement about this bill, highlighting that PEI is the first province in Canada to implement mandatory sexual assault education for sitting and incoming judges.
I’m pleased to see the PEI legislature debating a bill to mandate sexual assault law education for lawyers that want to become provincial judges and justices of the peace. Thank you for your leadership @ronaambrose and @JamieDFox #makehistory https://t.co/BYYBwh7x70
— Caroline Mulroney (@C_Mulroney) November 30, 2018
This is an important bill. Judges need to be held accountable for the sentences they are handing down to sexual predators. Rape is a living murder of ones soul and should be sentenced accordingly. Education is needed for those that are handing out these sentences.
— Theo Fleury (@TheoFleury14) November 29, 2018
Congratulations to @JamieDFox – he worked really hard on this bill and across party lines to do so. Congratulations also to @KinleyDowling who has been a strong advocate for the legislation, and to @RonaAmbrose for her expertise. #peipoli
— Hannah Bell 🇨🇦💚 (@hannahbethbell) November 29, 2018
— Christy Clark (@christyclarkbc) November 29, 2018
You can view the passed bill in full here.