Chilliwack-Kent’s MLA-elect took a stand against inappropriate, sexualized and sexist messages sent her way via Facebook.
Kelli Paddon posted on her personal Facebook page on Thursday (Nov. 19). While she said appreciates Facebook as an easily accessible forum through which she can connect with her constituents, she decried those taking that opportunity to connect as an invitation to be inappropriate and sexually explicit.
“I want to be clear. Women or men in public positions are not ‘fair game’ for crude sexualization or objectification,” Paddon wrote. ‘My femaleness does not represent permission or encouragement to send pictures or propositions of a sexual nature.”
A note about connecting on Facebook. Over the past several days I have had the pleasure of connecting with so many…
Paddon said she would be blocking anyone who sends inappropriate messages to her, calling the behaviour “disappointing” and saying harassment of that nature only serves to suppress the diverse opinions and ideas those in the Chilliwack-Kent riding can provide.
“I have received advise that this [harassment] is intended as a compliment, that I should ignore it or that it happens,” she concluded. “Let’s do better by calling it out and not accepting this as ‘normal’ or ‘to be expected.’”
Paddon’s Thursday message was met with widespread showing of encouragement and support, including from Chilliwack MLA-elect Dan Coulter and Chilliwack city councillor and fellow 2020 election candidate Jason Lum.
“I wish I could say I’m surprised to hear this from our new MLA Kelli Paddon, but sadly, I’m not,” Lum wrote two hours after Paddon’s post went live. “This toxic male [expletive] isn’t ok when it happens in person, and it’s not ok when it happens online. Sexualizing women in positions of power is demeaning, it’s not complimentary. It’s a calculated way to disempower and objectify.”
I wish I could say I am surprised to hear this from our new MLA Kelli Paddon, but sadly I’m not. Serving in public…
Winning over 36 per cent of the 2020 snap election vote, Paddon is the first woman elected as MLA in the Chilliwack-Kent riding. While the riding was Chilliwack-Hope from 2009 to 2017 before redistribution, Gwen O’Mahoney (also NDP) held office from 2011 to 2013. Paddon will succeed outgoing incumbent and ex-B.C. Liberal Laurie Throness, who served in office for more than seven years.
Paddon, along with other new MLAs throughout the province, is set to be sworn in on Nov. 24, prior to the B.C. Legislature resuming on Dec. 7.
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