The provincial New Democrat's oh-so-painful attempt to birth a harassment policy continues. Loyal Public Eye readers may recall, at their last meeting, provincial council delegates voted to refer that policy to the Dippers' constituonal and party affairs committee for further development (where many hoped it would stay). But now it seems the committee has thwarted those hopes, drafting what some would consider a wet dream for the party's political correctness crowd.
If passed, the New Democrat's harassment policy will be required reading "at the commencement of formal meetings of the BC NDP, including but not limited to BC NDP Convention, constituency executive meetings, Provincial Council and Executive meetings, policy review and standing committee meetings, YND and WRC conventions." Oh boy.
But wait, there's more delights. Under the policy, the chair of the women's rights committee will be a member of the committee reviewing harassment complaints. Surely those accused of said harassment will get a fair hearing from her! The following is a complete copy of that policy, which was leaked to Public Eye and will be discuss at this weekend's council meeting.
The BC New Democratic Party is committed to ensuring that all Party activities be conducted in an environment that is free from harassment and/or discrimination and that all members treat each other with respect and dignity.
In dealing with actions, words, or behaviour by a member or members that is offensive to another, the following ideal should be observed: The purpose is to promote communication and understanding between people. The goal of the policy is to foster a harassment-free environment as well as to encourage discussion and resolve problems that may occur between people.
The BC New Democratic Party will neither tolerate nor condone any behaviour which is likely to undermine the dignity or self-esteem of an individual, or create an intimidating or offensive environment.
What is Harassment?
Harassment or discrimination, including sexual harassment, is an expression of perceived power or superiority by one person over another.
Harassment or discrimination happens when a comment or action occurs that is known or ought to have been known to be unwelcome or offensive.
Harassment or discrimination can be based on many grounds including but not limited to gender, race, age, political belief, ancestry, colour, family status, sexual orientation, class, physical or mental disability, religious affiliation, or place of origin.
Who Will Resolve Harassment Complaints?
Following the call to order of formal meetings of the BC NDP, Harassment Officers shall be chosen from delegates to serve until the end of the meeting. Two Harassment Officers, one male and one female, shall be chosen.
Between formal meetings, if a person or persons feel they have been subjected to harassment or discrimination, the information should be reported immediately to the two Harassment Officers designated by the Provincial Executive
Where the alleged harassment or discrimination involves one of the appointed Harassment Officers, then that Officer will be excused and replaced by a member of the Executive who is not directly involved.
How Will Harassment Complaints be Resolved?
The Harassment Officers will investigate the matter and attempt to mediate the issue informally or have it investigated and/or mediated by a person designated by the Provincial Executive. The complaints will be investigated in an expeditious manner.
Both the complainant and the alleged harasser will be interviewed, as will any individuals who may be able to provide relevant information. Confidentiality and the rights of all members concerned will be respected. The subject of a complaint has a right to know the nature of the complaint and to make reasonable explanation or defence.
The goal of the policy is for Harassment Officers to deal with the incident in a way that satisfies the parties involved.
If mediation fails to resolve the issue, the person or persons who feel harassed or discriminated against will put the allegations in writing and submit the issue to a committee consisting of the President, two Vice-Presidents, and the Chair of the Women's Rights Committee.
The committee will review the information and seek input from persons with a direct interest in the complaint. After hearing the matter, the committee will fashion a remedy which could include but is not limited to issuing appropriate sanctions. If the complaint is determined to be unfounded, the complaint will be dismissed.
Application of the Policy
This policy shall be read at the commencement of formal meetings of the BC NDP, including but not limited to BC NDP Convention, constituency executive meetings, Provincial Council and Executive meetings, policy review and standing committee meetings, YND and WRC conventions.