Protest outside National Assembly held in support of sexual assault victims
Published Wednesday, February 15, 2017 1:10PM EST
Last Updated Wednesday, February 15, 2017 10:56PM EST
Organizers of a demonstration that took place outside the National Assembly Wednesday night say they want justice for victims of sexual assault.
They are also denouncing what they describe as a ‘rape culture’ at the National Assembly.
The demonstration began at 6 p.m. with simultaneous protests planned in Montreal and Sherbrooke.
Alice Paquet, the woman who made allegations of sexual assault against Gerry Sklavounos, made her first public appearance since the Crown prosecutor's office cleared the Liberal MNA and determined no crime had been committed.
She disagreed with the decision.
"Rape culture is to tolerate, to excuse, to normalize. I think it's important that information circulates, and sexual consent is not a topic that we discuss enough," said Paquet.
Sklavounos, though, isn't welcome back in the Liberal caucus; Premier Philippe Couillard said he wasn't satisfied with the MNA’s explanations after reports of inappropriate behaviour toward women at the National Assembly.
On Tuesday, Liberal Caucus President Nicole Menard confirmed she's received more complaints about Sklavounos.
Meantime, former Liberal minister Pierre Paradis was also recently kicked out of caucus because the SQ is investigating allegations against him of sexual misconduct.
When asked if it’s fair to say a ‘rape culture’ exists at the National Assembly, both Couillard and PQ leader Jean-Francois Lisée said it is important to be careful about using that that term, because those are strong words -- but they do feel it's important to send a message.
“The message here is full respect and consideration for women in the workplace and elsewhere and we will be repeating this message again and again,” said Couillard.
MNAs Kathleen Weil and Stephanie Vallée said that after a decade in Quebec City they did not believe that discrimination against women was tolerated.
“The underlying message to push back against any inappropriate behaviour is the right message,” added Lisée.