It was a rare emotional moment from the minister.
In a rare show of emotion, Quebec Justice, Language, and Secularism Minister Simon Jolin-Barrette broke down in tears at a recent National Assembly meeting on Friday afternoon while discussing the new Bill 92, "An Act to create a court specialized in sexual and domestic violence and respecting training of judges in these matters."
Barrette took a long pause to gather himself after he started crying while describing how sexual assault victims "come forward and ask us 'I've been a victim of sexual assault, can you help me?'"
The minister fought back more tears after pausing for close to half a minute and was warmly given a round of applause by his colleagues at the National Assembly.
"When you hear this kind of testimony, it touches people," explained Barrette before trailing off once again. Struggling to gather himself, he asked for a pause to the proceedings and stepped away from the microphone for a few minutes.
In September, the government announced that it would like to create a specialized court for victims of sexual and domestic violence to remove barriers from coming forward with allegations. Barrette and a group of experts presented the Bill.
The new bill is intended to better serve victims who come forward about sexual assault.
"We no longer want people who are victims of sexual or domestic violence to hesitate to report and file a complaint in Quebec," Jolin-Barette said in a statement during the first presentation of the bill in September.
"Culture change is needed in the justice system and must happen."
If you require resources or assistance surrounding sexual assault in Quebec, the CAVAC helpline is available 24/7. Those who may need support can call 1-866-532-2822. Other crisis lines and 24/7 options can be found at The Lifeline Canada.