What a week in Canadian politics.
The provincial Progressive Conservatives are working their way out from under the house of cards that collapsed around them following the ouster of party leader Patrick Brown.
He had first stood alone before a throng of reporters at Queen’s Park after allegations of sexual misbehaviour were about to see the light of day. CTV News worked the story to its end, getting information from anonymous sources that allege Brown’s pattern of inappropriate behaviour.
The leader vowed to fight back against the allegations, and still appears to be doing so, but his plan to continue on as the party’s top dog ended quickly. Caucus colleagues forced his hand, and Brown stepped aside only hours after his press conference.
The PCs were just finally getting the deck chairs rearranged when party president Kent Dykstra resigned, he, too, facing allegations of less than reputable behaviour.
The federal Liberals also had one of their own step aside, as cabinet minister Kent Hehr vacated his role after allegations of inappropriate actions on his part came to light.
All of this comes at a time when the #MeToo movement is gaining momentum, and the once voiceless victims of sexual assault and harassment are finding a leg to stand on.
It’s an outstanding revolution as one by one those who seemed to use control and power as a justification for their actions have been brought down.
Yet, questions remain. Should a social media mob mentality be the bellwether? Should we as a society accept cryptic Tweets or Facebook posts as evidence of wrongdoing? Should zero traction in the court of law be a suitable exercise in justice?
What becomes of those accused, but without follow-up after that? Brown’s career is no doubt extinguished, given that he reached such a peak and toppled off.
Right or wrong, there’s a much bigger picture to all of this.
All of this is a fundamental shift in gender relations and social expectations; we’re only at the beginning now. This is all much larger than enforcing rules against sexual crimes and wrongdoing as what has been traditionally understood. What is involved is the establishment of a new normal of respect between men and women in public life, workplaces, and day-to-day life.
It’s no doubt a difficult, lengthy task – but it’s a vital one.