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Parliament Hill has a longstanding, pervasive problem with sexual harassment and misconduct. And yet the body is in no hurry to enact rules under which MPs and their senior staff members would be obligated to disclose romantic relationships with underlings, or to outright ban those relationships as other places have done.

Just this week, Employment Minister Patty Hajdu, who is piloting new legislation to protect federal workers from harassment, resisted calls to include a legislated ban, or some kind of monitoring system, on intimate relationships between MPs and their staffers.

Instead, Ms. Hajdu says regulations covering Parliament Hill will be decided by MPs themselves after the law is passed.

Ms. Hajdu may be hesitant to monitor consensual relationships involving MPs – even though any involving an employee is by definition fraught and ill-advised.

But she and her fellow Parliamentarians shouldn't miss this opportunity to send an unambiguous signal about their desire to clean up their own house while passing laws that affect other federal workers.

They should also seize on a moment when the culture is shifting. The case of former fisheries minister Hunter Tootoo, who left both cabinet and the Liberal caucus following revelations of a consensual relationship with a junior staff member, is evidence of that.

So is the fact that the U.S. House of Representatives last month unanimously outlawed relationships between members and their staff. In Australia, the Prime Minister has banned sex between cabinet ministers and their staff.

If our Parliament doesn't want to go that far, it should at least create crystal-clear rules around a workplace where employer-employee relationships typically extend beyond the normal nine-to-five workday. It should also create a system for safely and anonymously lodging a sexual-harassment complaint.

Lots of other workplaces in Canada are saddled with such issues, but Parliament happens to be the seat of Canadian democracy. If any place should be reliably hospitable and respectful to everybody who works in it, it's the people's house.

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