Baillie to McNeil: Dedicate spring legislative session to protecting sexual assault survivors

March 10, 2017 at 10:52 am

PC leader wants comprehensive legislation passed this spring

HALIFAX, NS – Today Progressive Conservative leader Jamie Baillie held a press conference at Province House to urge Premier Stephen McNeil to dedicate the spring session of the House of Assembly to protecting the survivors of sexual assault.

Baillie wants the House of Assembly to pass an all-party bill this spring that would protect survivors and send a strong message to offenders.

“No political party has a monopoly on good ideas when it comes to protecting sexual assault survivors,” said Baillie. “Today, I’m calling on Premier McNeil to commit to dedicating the spring session of the legislature to protecting the survivors of sexual assault. Furthermore, I am calling on all parties to work together to introduce and pass a comprehensive, tri-partisan bill.”

Baillie was joined by Chrissy Merrigan and Amanda Dodsworth, two of the key organizers in this week’s powerful protest march against Judge Lenehan’s ruling and comments.

“This cannot be the end of the conversation,” said Dodsworth. “The public conversation around sexual violence and sexual assault may have be born out of anger, but Nova Scotia has an opportunity to lead the charge and create real meaningful change. I’m proud to join this call and do my part to keep the conversation going.”

Merrigan says there is a lot of raw emotion and pain right now, but this is a key moment to take a stand against rape culture in Nova Scotia.

“We are all angry, and we should be angry, but there is an opportunity to channel that frustration into positive action,” said Merrigan. “Prioritizing this in the spring session sends a message that we don’t have to suffer in silence anymore. Nova Scotia has a chance get this right.

Baillie says he hopes all members of the legislature will put politics aside and put survivors first.

“This is an opportunity for all of us to show Nova Scotians the good work this legislature can do when we put partisan politics aside and do what’s right,” said Baillie. “If the Premier is ready to work with us, the Progressive Conservative Caucus will be at the table.”