Local MPP MacLaren in trouble again

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by Brent Eades

Jack MacLaren, the Progressive Conservative MPP for Carleton–Mississippi Mills, is being lambasted in the press and by his own party leader after saying that a proposed ‘zero-tolerance’ policy on sexual abuse by medical professionals “goes overboard and will be extraordinarily hard—overly harsh—on doctors.”

MacLaren made the remarks during debate on amendments to Ontario’s Regulated Health Professions Act.

The CBC reports NDP MPP Wayne Gates as saying, “I’m absolutely shocked that any member sitting in this House — all 107 of us — and particularly the last member who spoke, the PC member, who talked about… zero tolerance around sexual assault and sexual abuse — I have three daughters and a wife. There should be zero tolerance, no matter what job you have, not just a doctor, not a lawyer, not an auto worker, not a teacher.”

According to the Toronto Star, PC Party leader Patrick Brown called the comment “unacceptable” and “foolish,” warning this “can’t happen again.”

MacLaren has since apologized for the remarks, saying “I have zero tolerance for sexual abuse of patients and the full force of the law should be applied in all cases… so I assure you I’ll be much more careful in the future about choosing my words because that was a mistake and I regret it very much.”

MacLaren received heavy criticism last year for posting apparently fake constituent endorsements on his website, and for a ‘crude and vulgar’ joke he made at a fundraiser in Carp.