(Quebec) For months she has worn the hangman’s clothes in public, but now she is determined to support the victim’s. Not the one trying to regret their fate, but the one showing determination to fight for their reputation, to keep their sanity, to save their skin.
Posted at 6:11 p.m
In a lengthy interview with The Canadian Press on Friday, after her decision to reluctantly give up running in the next election, announced earlier this week, CAQ MP Marie-Eve Proulx drained her heart.
The former regional economic development minister and outgoing Côte-du-Sud MP, who has been the victim of bullying allegations for more than a year, says he is a triple victim.
She pretends to be the victim of these ex-employees who, according to their own statements, want to harm her, although she has nothing to blame. Victims also of a system that leaves managers empty-handed, their reputations in tatters, unemployed, without protection, without recourse or compensation, even if purged. Victims finally as politicians, smitten by the double standard that makes cabinet ministers much more demanding of their superiors when it comes to a woman. And don’t let anything happen faster.
She made her decision to give up politics “out of respect” for her. “It’s the first time I’ve really voted for myself,” said the MP, who defines herself as a “good person”, resilient and strong, who “doesn’t want to hurt anyone”.
Recently, she felt that her morale was being eroded and decided to keep her sanity. “I didn’t see how to get out of this,” said the mother-of-three, with that sword of Damocles hanging over my head throughout the campaign. She was too afraid that the situation would “degenerate” and preferred to avoid the “People’s Court”.
Before allegations of psychological harassment caused her downfall, Marie-Eve Proulx was an MP and minister aspiring to a very long political career serving Quebec. But in May 2021 she lost her post as minister because of these allegations, and in a month, when the current mandate ends, she will be out of a job and wondering what her future will be.
Several times during the interview, she insists that her file is clean, that the two complaints made against her by two former employees and filed with the National Assembly were deemed unfounded, “after a long and difficult investigation.”
“There was relentlessness. In my case there was defamation. There was a reckoning “from these ex-employees, a man and a woman, who they say flouted non-disclosure agreements by attacking their ex-boss in the media on condition that anonymity, leading to the perception in the media and public that the name Marie-Eve Proulx is synonymous with workplace harassment.
Why this relentlessness? She explains that these are people who shouldn’t have been hired when they started, back in 2018, because they don’t have the profile to work in politics, nor the skills required. His version of the facts: They were fired, didn’t accept it and went out to get revenge.
Complaints have been lodged with the National Assembly and the Administrative Labor Court (TAT). A first case was settled out of court. In the other case, the plaintiff returned to the prosecution and the file is being examined at the TAT.
Tired of having to defend herself over and over again, she is “considering” the possibility of fighting back by filing defamation lawsuits against those who caused the precipitous end of her political career.
She is angry at the protocols put in place in the National Assembly or elsewhere to consider complaints of harassment, which provide nothing to undo the damage suffered by an elected official who would be acquitted at the end of the trial.
I lost my job as minister, I will not represent myself, I choose myself for my sanity. We will not be compensated, there is nothing to compensate for this, although I have two investigations in my favor which (reveal the allegations) are unfounded.
Marie-Eve Proulx, member of the CAQ
“We leave missing managers and missing politicians to fend for themselves in situations where we are falsely accused,” pleaded the MP, concerned about the legal vacuum in this area.
She believes that we are currently witnessing a return of the pendulum in Quebec, particularly in the political arena, which favors employees who are willing to file a harassment complaint for a yes or a no.
According to her, we have gone from one extreme to the other, “from one spectrum to the other”.
women are more vulnerable
In his opinion, female politicians are more likely to be the subject of such complaints. Traditionally, authority has been embodied by men who can afford linguistic discrepancies or reprehensible behavior without being questioned by those around them.
Cabinet officials are even more “afraid of men” in power today, she says. Their anger is allowed, their decisions respected. But a minister, “we can afford to challenge her,” argues Mme Proulx, who says he has a lot of empathy and compassion for MP Marie Montpetit, who was expelled from the Liberal group even after allegations of psychological harassment. In his case, there was never a formal complaint.
Despite setbacks, M.me Proulx assures that she will “recover” shortly, although she says she has no idea what the future holds for her.
“I want to get involved more,” says the social worker. “I have this power. I have this resilience that lives in me,” assures the woman who is undeterred by her setbacks.
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