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April 13, 2017

Wildrose invokes spirit of cooperation for sex assault training in Ottawa, urges support for motion

Wildrose Leader Brian Jean is using the example of cooperation between Conservative Leader Rona Ambrose and NDP Leader Tom Mulcair in Ottawa as an example for what he hopes will happen with his motion on sexual assault training for judges and lawyers this afternoon, the Wildrose Official Opposition said today.

In a display of non-partisanship, Mulcair worked collaboratively with Ambrose to fast-track a bill on judges receiving training on issues of sexual assault. Mulcair said in the House of Commons “It is, indeed, very rare in the House for leaders of political parties to support each other’s private member’s bills, but when the issue is how our judicial system handles cases of sexual assault, we all have to come together and say that we believe survivors.”

“The display of cooperation across party lines in Ottawa is what I am hoping will happen with my motion of a similar nature today,” Wildrose Leader Brian Jean said. “I am hopeful that the NDP government will agree that this topic is beyond partisanship, and that they will choose to support this motion.”

The topic of training in the law as it relates to sexual assault is an idea supported by Neil Wittmann, Chief Justice of Alberta’s Court of Queen’s Bench. The motion respects the independence of the judiciary by allowing judges and lawyers in Alberta to develop their own training.

“Making our judicial system a better place for sexual assault survivors is a laudable goal, and one that I sincerely hope will receive cross party support,” Wildrose Shadow Justice Minister Angela Pitt said. “As legislators, we have the power to send a strong signal that training in the law must be improved.”

Jean’s motion reads as follows:

Be it resolved that the Legislative Assembly urge the Government to work collaboratively with the Law Society of Alberta and the Provincial Court Judges’ Association of Alberta to ensure that anyone being considered for appointment as a judge of the Provincial Court of Alberta has successfully completed a comprehensive education on the current state of the law with regard to any crime of a sexual nature, and that continuing education plans for judges and lawyers involved with victims of sexual offences are adequate in respect of matters related to crimes of a sexual nature, including instruction in evidentiary prohibitions, principles of consent and the conduct of sexual offence proceedings, as well as education regarding myths and stereotypes associated with sexual offence complainants.