Up North

CBC's Up North checks in with two sides of the #MeToo debate

With the ongoing allegations of inappropriate sexual behaviour against high-profile politicians, the #MeToo movement seems to be gaining momentum. But detractors say it's a dangerous trend that's being set.

#MeToo: A cultural awakening to the widespread abuses women face, or a trend that's causing further harm?

Kathleen Stokes and Jennifer Chisholm spoke on CBC's Up North radio program about their views concerning the #MeToo movement. (Jason Turnbull, Lakehead University)

With the ongoing allegations of inappropriate sexual behaviour against high-profile politicians, the #MeToo movement seems to be gaining momentum. 

Supporters say they are hopeful this trend will lead to change in society.
An assistant professor in the women's studies program at Lakehead University in Thunder Bay. Jennifer Chisholm says the #MeToo movement is a major step forward for womens' rights. 

​"I think it's interesting to ask ourselves, 'why in this instance specifically does something have to be proven in court in order for us to entertain the possibility that it's true?'," she told CBC Up North host Jason Turnbull in an interview.

"When I hear accusations like that, what I'm first thinking about is, what did the person coming forward risk losing in doing so?"

With the ongoing allegations of inappropriate sexual behaviour against high-profile politicians, the #Metoo movement seems to be gaining momentum. Jennifer Chisolm is an assistant professor in the women's studies program at Lakehead University in Thunder Bay. She says the #Metoo movement is a major step forward for womens' rights. 15:18

But detractors say it's a dangerous trend that's being set. 

Sudbury lawyer Kathleen Stokes says the campaign is dangerous because it presumes people are guilty without having their day in court. 

Women have a right to make complaints, and I believe that those complaints should be investigated," she said.

"But do I believe that there should be what in my day was called a public churching, where you get up and accuse people of something without their right of response? No I don't believe that."

Some #Metoo detractors say it's a trend fraught with danger. Kathleen Stokes, a lawyer with Weaver Simmons in Sudbury, says the campaign is dangerous because it presumes people are guilty without having their day in court. 13:06

Last week PC leader Patrick Brown stepped down as leader after allegations of sexual misconduct from incidents dating back 10 years.

And on Monday, a day after another report of sexual misconduct allegedly perpetrated by one of its members, the House of Commons turned its attention to Bill C-65, legislation to implement new rules and processes for dealing with sexual harassment in federally regulated workplaces.

"We have been powerfully reminded in Canada and indeed around the world that harassment and violence remain a common experience for people in the workplace," Labour Minister Patty Hajdu said.

"Parliament Hill, our own workplace, is especially affected."

with files from Jason Turnbull