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Robert Goguen’s to remain on committee despite troublesome rape questions

Posted in Talking Politics

Published on July 11, 2014 with No Comments

Timea Nagy, an advocate for women forced into prostitution, has said that she wasn’t offended by a Conservative MP’s questions at a committee meeting , when he compared her gang rape to the importance of freedom of expression. Nagy, who told MPs on the House justice committee about her experience being trafficked into prostitution, said  that Conservative MP Robert Goguen’s question was awkward, but that she’s faced much harder questions in the past. Robert Goguen drew criticism when he asked a committee witness whether she would have worried about her charter rights had police intervened to save her during her gang rape.

Liberal justice critic Sean Casey, however, said Goguen should be taken off the justice committee and removed as parliamentary secretary to the justice minister for the line of questioning.  The committee is studying the government’s proposed prostitution legislation, bill C-36. Goguen tried to focus Nagy on statements made by another witness who criticized the billGoguen referred Nagy, who supports C-36, to her previous testimony about being trafficked and gang raped at a massage parlour. “You were describing a scenario where you were being raped, I believe, by three Russians. Let’s suppose the police authorities would have broken in and rescued you. Would your freedom of expression have been breached?” Goguen asked Nagy.

Nagy told reporters that she expected the questions to be tough. “I’ve been speaking on my personal experience for the last four years and I knew that I’m going to become a witness in the House of Commons, which I believe is a political setting, so I was fully aware that politicians will be asking me questions about the legislation,” she said.

Casey said Goguen should have apologized right away for using a horrifying situation to score political points. “This reflects very badly on  Justice Minister Peter MacKay  it reflects very badly, very badly on the government, and honestly I think it reflects very badly on us as committee members, to treat witnesses like that,” Casey said.

A spokesman for Prime Minister Stephen Harper said Goguen remains a member of the committee. “Ms. Nagy supports C-36 and we call on the opposition to do the same. Following her testimony, Ms. Nagy continues to support the bill,” Jason MacDonald said in an email to CBC News.




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