Nova Scotia

Dalhousie dentistry Facebook posts not 'boys being boys,' says minister

Nova Scotia's premier and the minister responsible for the status of women are expressing disgust over misogynistic Facebook posts attributed to some male members of Dalhousie's faculty of dentistry.

Minister Joanne Bernard hoping for 'strong punitive measures'

Joanne Bernard, Nova Scotia's minister responsible for the status of women, said she is "disappointed and disgusted" about news of misogynistic comments coming from some dentistry students at Dalhousie University. (CBC)

Nova Scotia's premier and the minister responsible for the status of women are expressing disgust over misogynistic Facebook posts attributed to some male members of Dalhousie's faculty of dentistry.

Premier Stephen McNeil said he was in disbelief when he heard the news.

"It was disbelief how these young men could, in any way, think it's appropriate to be having that discussion — whether it's online or verbally to one another. It's completely unacceptable," McNeil said Wednesday.

"Fathers and men across this province need to make sure that they're talking to their sons to very clearly lay out that it is not acceptable behaviour and that is not the way you talk about or treat another human being. It can't be any more clear than that."

Joanne Bernard, the province's minister responsible for the status of women, said she is "disappointed and disgusted."

"I'm very confident that the president [Richard Florizone] will look at this in all aspects and I'm really hoping for for some strong punitive measures at the end of this," said Bernard.

Not just 'boys being boys'

She also said she has grave concerns that "many of these students are an exam set away from being a doctor."

Bernard also dismissed any implication that the offensive posts are just "boys being boys."

"These aren't boys. These are men and they're very well aware of what the repercussions are for their actions," she said.

"To be as direct and as blatant in their misogynistic remarks, quite frankly, is completely unacceptable in any forum, let alone an academic university."

Bernard said she's not surprised by the misogyny displayed.

"We find it in all levels of society whether it be in government, whether it be in the public forum with a CBC personality — it doesn't matter, it is just all there," she said.

"It's our job to re-educate people. To fight that at every level and to make sure that people are held accountable at the end of the day."

She went on to say, "Men who do not have this value, who respect women and respect themselves, need to start standing up and we have been saying that for years."

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